October 31, 2007

A great disturbance in the Force

There has been a nattering around the edges of the 'Blog-o-sphere' about a Sexual Scandal involving a Presidential Candidate. Several people at MSM are saying that something is up but they are being told to sit on it and not publish it.

Pajamas Media author Ron Rosenbaum writes:

Shocking Inside DC Scandal Rumor: A Media Ethics Dilemma
So I was down in DC this past weekend and happened to run into a well-connected media person, who told me flatly, unequivocally that “everyone knows” The LA Times was sitting on a story, all wrapped up and ready to go about what is a potentially devastating sexual scandal involving a leading Presidential candidate. “Everyone knows” meaning everyone in the DC mainstream media political reporting world. “Sitting on it” because the paper couldn’t decide the complex ethics of whether and when to run it. The way I heard it they’d had it for a while but don’t know what to do. The person who told me )not an LAT person) knows I write and didn’t say “don’t write about this”.

If it’s true, I don’t envy the LAT. I respect their hesitation, their dilemma, deciding to run or not to run it raises a lot of difficult journalism ethics questions and they’re likely to be attacked, when it comes out—the story or their suppression of the story—whatever they do.

I’ve been sensing hints that something’s going on, something’s going unspoken in certain insider coverage of the campaign (and by the way this rumor the LA Times is supposedly sitting on is one I never heard in this specific form before. By the way, t’s not the Edwards rumor, it’s something else.

And when my source said “everyone in Washington”, knows about it he means everyone in the elite Mainstream media, not just the LA Times, but everyone regularly writing about the Presidential campaign knows about it and doesn’t know what to do with it. And I must admit it really is was juicy if true. But I don’t know if it’s true and I can’t decide if I think it’s relevant. But the fact that “everyone” in the elite media knew about it and was keeping silent about it, is, itself, news. But you can’t report the “news” without reporting the thing itself. Troubling!

It raises all sorts of ethical questions. What about private sexual behavior is relevant? What about a marriage belongs in the coverage of a presidential campaign? Does it go to the judgment of the candidate in question? Didn’t we all have a national nervous breakdown over these questions nearly a decade ago?

Now, as I say it’s a rumor; I haven’t seen the supporting evidence. But the person who told me said it offhandedly as if everyone in his world knew about it. And if you look close enough you can find hints of something impending, something potentially derailing to this candidate in the reporting of the campaign. Which could mean that something unspoken, unwritten about is influencing what is written, what we read.

Charles at LGF is linking to two other sources. One — Patterico writing at Hot Air says that his source inside the LA Times says that they have not heard of anything.

Charles's other link is to Luke Ford who has this to say:

A Dark Unseen Scandal Star?
Mickey Kaus writes:
Do you sense there is some large mass of dark matter, an unseen Scandal Star, the gravitational pull of which is warping the coverage of what seems, on the surface, a pretty dull presidential race? I do. So does Ron Rosenbaum. I thought the Dark Star was the Edwards affair allegation. But Rosenbaum says “everyone in the elite Mainstream media” knows about another juicy scandal that the LAT is supposedly sitting on. I guess this is proof that I’m not in the elite, because I don’t know what he’s talking about. … My vestigial Limbaugh gland tells me it must involve a Democrat, or else the Times would have found a reason to print it. … P.S.: If it’s just Richardson, that will be very disappointing.

I’m placing my money on the lesbian-Hillary angle (I was the first to assert this publicly, Tues. 8 pm PST, with connection to the Ron Rosenbaum report).

Here’s a picture of Huma Abedin. Huma Abedin. Huma Abedin.

BigHeadDC posts a picture of “Abedin trailing Clinton and gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres during a recent “girl’s only” trip to NYC.

This may all just blow over and be forgotten and definitely the 24 hour rule needs to be invoked but the possibilities are there, other references to a lesbian Hillary have been out there over the years and power is a very stimulating aphrodisiac. One person commented at Charles's site that if this story is true, Hillary is getting better looking women than Bill.

That person needs to come here and clean off my monitor…

Posted by DaveH at 09:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The new location of Antarctica - in the USA

At least according to the I.R.S. — from The Boston Globe:

Tax ruling leaves 150 Raytheon workers out in cold
Pay for Antarctic work not considered by IRS as earned outside US

Meghan Prentiss thought working for Raytheon Co. as a meteorologist at McMurdo Station in Antarctica was “like going to the moon for a year.” But as far as the IRS is concerned, she never left the state of Massachusetts.

What the 31-year-old Boston resident describes as “the ultimate adventure” seven years ago turned into a painful lesson in tax law. Prentiss is among about 150 people who worked on the frozen continent for the Waltham-based defense contractor who were penalized by the Internal Revenue Service for claiming on their taxes that they were working outside the United States.

Because other federal courts have ruled that Antarctica is a foreign country with regards to tort claims and the Fair Labor Standards Act, the workers believed they were on safe ground claiming the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which allows some US citizens who work overseas to exempt as much as $82,400 in income from federal taxes.

But the Tax Court, which handles disputes between the IRS and taxpayers, thought otherwise. In a January ruling that's binding for all the cases, the court said the workers' arguments were “irrelevant or without merit” since they were based on laws other than the tax code, which specifies that foreign countries must have governments recognized by the US government. The US rejects any territorial claims over Antarctica.

“I guess I fought the law and the law won,” joked Prentiss, whose case was officially decided this month.

That is heartless.

Posted by DaveH at 08:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Karl Marx in a new light

From Right-Thinking from the Left Coast comes this interesting insight into Karl Marx:

Mr. Skin
Who knew that Karl Marx was literally a butthead?
Karl Marx suffered from a skin disease that can cause severe psychological effects such as self-loathing and alienation, according to a British dermatologist.

The father of communism’s life and attitudes were shaped by hidradenitis suppurativa, said Sam Shuster in the British Journal of Dermatology. One of its symptoms is alienation-a concept that Marx, a martyr to boils and carbuncles, put into words as he wrote Das Kapital.

The condition was described as early as 1839 by a French physician, Alfred Velpeau. But, Professor Shuster says, ideas crossed the Channel less readily than wine and Marx’s true condition was never diagnosed.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. A classic case for retroactive birth control — Communism killed, what, about 100 million people?

What are 100 million lives worth when you are advancing the idea

Posted by DaveH at 08:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good free software

Just ran into the Freeware Genius website today and WOW! is it ever a good resource…

Well done reviews of better than average free Windows software sorted into category (Applications, 3D, Business, Audio, PDF, etc.) along with links to the authors websites for download.

CTRL-D'd into my Favorites folder…

Posted by DaveH at 07:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 30, 2007

F@#$% China again - counterfeit Square D circuit breakers

This is getting downright rediculous… China really needs to get on track if they want to keep building the bubble they are currently riding. The crash could be awful.

From The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Connecticut Electric Recalls Counterfeit Square D Circuit Breakers Due To Fire Hazard
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Counterfeit “Square D” Circuit Breakers

Units: About 64,000

Distributor: Connecticut Electric & Switch Mfg. Co. (Connecticut Electric), of Puyallup, Wash.

Hazard: The recalled circuit breakers labeled “Square D” are counterfeit and could fail to trip when they are required to, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Connecticut Electric has not received any report of incidents or injuries associated with these counterfeit circuit breakers.

Description: The counterfeit circuit breakers are black and are marked as Square D products. Connecticut Electric has identified the following breakers as possibly being counterfeit: QO115, QO120, QO140, QO2125, QO215, QO220, QO230, QO240, QO250, QO260, QO1515, QO2020, QO3100, QO320, QO330, QO340, QO360, QOB120, QOB130, QOB220, QOB230, QOB250, QOB330, and QOB360. Actual Square D circuit breakers have (a) the amp rating written on the handle in white paint on the front of the breaker; (b) the Square D insignia molded onto the breaker side, and; © a yellow chromate mounting clip with half of the top of the clip visible. If your Square D breaker does not match this description, it could be counterfeit.

Sold through: Electrical Distributors and hardware stores nationwide from February 2005 through August 2006 for between about $6.50 and $15.50.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should contact Connecticut Electric to determine if the breaker they have is counterfeit and if necessary, to arrange for a free inspection and replacement or refund.

Square D is the gold standard for residential and light industrial* electrical components. I am going to have to go through our switchboxes here and at the store because this is the brand of choice for me and I have added a number of new circuits over the last few years.

Connecticut Electric's website is here.

*light industrial: when you get into the heady realm of 200 amps and above or need to do 'explosion proof' wiring, then you start dealing with companies like Crouse Hinds, Allen Bradley, ASEA Brown Boveri and the higher reaches of Square D with prices to match…

Posted by DaveH at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Telling it as I see it - NY Times version

A writer for the New York Times covered a visit by Presidential Candidate Fred Thompson to Concord, NH and wrote about it on a NY Times Blog.

Bruce writing at No Looking Backwards was at the same event, was shooting video and his story is quite a bit different than the NY Times author…
Quell suprise!!!

New York Times Blogger “Phones One In”
Here's a shocker! Someone writing for the New York Times has proven herself to be not all that accurate or factual.

I know. Say it isn't so.

On Fred Thompson's afternoon in Concord, where he signed his candidacy papers, Christine Mauser writes on the New York Times' “The Caucus” blog:
And that was his final remark. Outside the room where Mr. Thompson signed his papers, about a dozen supporters stood waiting for him, holding placards. But he exited through a door that put his back to them, and proceeded down the hall, not feeling the hand of one of his aides who tried to stop him.

Really?

Here's the comment I just left for Ms. Hauser.

Visit the site for the rest of Bruce's entry including his comment posted to Ms. Hauser's website (which surprisingly has not shown up yet). Bruce also posts two video clips that show Ms. Hauser to be quite off on her facts.

Posted by DaveH at 09:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

RIP - Fup, the bookstore Cat

Sad news from Portland. From Powell's Books:

powells_fup_shopcat.jpg

A Tribute to Fup. Store Cat.
Fup, the resident cat at Powell's Technical Books, passed away on October 25. She was 19 years old. She continued to greet her admiring public to the end, when her health failed and there was no choice but to put her to sleep. Her lifelong veterinarian made the trip out to the store to perform the task and Fup died peacefully at home with several of her longtime co-workers present.

Fup was born on or about June 30, 1988. She was adopted as a kitten by the Technical Store's first manager, so her exact birthdate is unknown and she was always quite coy about that. As for the origin of her name, legend has it that the manager's sister had a cat named Puff, so he sort of spelled that backwards. There was also a book titled Fup by Jim Dodge, published in 1983, which may have played into it as well.

When Powell's Technical Books moved to its present address in November 1990, Fup made the move as well. After clearing the building of any remaining mice, she claimed the store as her own. She showed little interest in the outside world, except to watch birds and falling leaves outside the window. She didn't care for toys, either — Fup took her position quite seriously. Except for the summer of 1997, when she was moved to an employee's apartment for about six weeks while the store was being remodeled, her rule was uninterrupted.

In her youth, Fup would sometimes climb ladders and hide at the top of book fixtures to look down upon the humans in her domain. Over the years, Fup acquired a well-earned reputation for biting employees who intruded on her time for more than about 30 seconds. However, she would always be sitting in front of the office to greet whoever came to open the store in the morning, demanding her serving of canned food for breakfast. She was more patient with visitors; Fup played the celebrity game well. She received many gifts and cards and emails from fans, which she appreciated.

In her later years, she mellowed out quite a bit and even became friendlier towards her co-workers, especially if they shared their lunches. Her favorite foods were canned tuna, chicken (especially Tandoori), and pulled pork. Cold cuts were also welcome.

Sounds like a wonderful Cat…

If you are ever in Portland, Powell's is a must-visit. The website does not begin to convey the scope of this place…

Posted by DaveH at 08:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Great Llama photo

As you may know, Jen and I have four Llamas that we dearly love. Pancho, Lefty, Waylon and Willie (their original names were banal and we were on a bad-boy theme when we renamed them).

Stumbled across this critter at the ever-wonderful Dark Roasted Blend:

goofy_llama_Avi_Abrams_photo.jpg

Yes, buck teeth are standard.

The image comes from Avi Abram's Flickr photo set.

Heh…

Posted by DaveH at 08:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Coming around, ever so slowly but still...

The Saudi's are starting to gain some much needed public attention as the actual money behind much of the world's terrorism. This is both by direct funding as well as giving funds and reading matter to new mosques springing up through the Western World. Several people have noted that the translations of the Koran being given as well as the ancillary reading materials are very slanted toward violence against the Dhimmi (that's everyone non-Muslim) and the Jews, specifically calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.

(check it out here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.)

From FOX News:

Protesters Harass Saudi King Abdullah in Britain
Demonstrators harassed Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Tuesday during a state visit being overshadowed by criticism of the kingdom's human rights practices and his comments that Britain has failed to do enough to stop terrorism.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomed Abdullah, who reviewed an honor guard on Horse Guards Parade before taking a carriage to Buckingham Palace. Protesters gathering nearby carried banners that condemned government “hypocrisy” and said: “You can't do this in Riyadh.”

Before Abdullah arrived on Monday for the first state visit by a Saudi king in two decades, he accused Britain of failing to act on intelligence that might have prevented the 2005 London transit bombings, triggering debate about the kingdom's response to terrorism.

British officials denied the king's claims, saying they received information from Saudi officials about an apparently separate attack, which bore no similarities to the London transit bombings in which 52 commuters and four suicide bombers died.

“For King Abdullah to tell the world, as he did in a BBC interview yesterday, that Britain is not doing enough to counter 'terrorism,' and that most countries are not taking it as seriously as his country is, is really pushing it,” veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk wrote in a front-page column in The Independent newspaper.

“Weren't most of the (Sept. 11, 2001) hijackers from, er, Saudi Arabia? Is this the land that is really going to teach us lessons?”

The visit by Abdullah, 82, had a rough start even before his remarks. The acting leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, promised to boycott the visit to protest Saudi Arabia's human rights record, especially concerns over torture, public executions and discrimination against women.

Activists pointed to executions, floggings, detention of critics without charge and violence against women among their complaints about the kingdom.
Posted by DaveH at 07:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Very cool news from Afghanistan

From the UK Telegraph:

Key tribal leader on verge of deserting Taliban
An Afghan tribal leader is in talks to defect from the Taliban and take thousands of armed tribesmen with him to fight alongside British forces in southern Afghanistan.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that the Afghan government hopes to seal the deal this week with Mullah Abdul Salaam and his Alizai tribe, which has been fighting alongside the Taliban in Helmand province.

Diplomats confirmed yesterday that Mullah Salaam was expected to change sides within days. He is a former Taliban corps commander and governor of Herat province under the government that fell in 2001.

Military sources said British forces in the province are “observing with interest” the potential deal in north Helmand, which echoes the efforts of US commanders in Iraq's western province to split Sunni tribal leaders from their al-Qa'eda allies.

The Afghan deal would see members of the Alizai tribe around the Taliban-held town of Musa Qala quit the insurgency and pledge support to the Afghan government. It would be the first time that the Kabul government and its Western allies have been able exploit tribal divisions that exist within the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

Mullah Abdul Salaam is an incredibly courageous man - I wish him and his tribe the best as this is an awesome first step to freedom.

His Wikipedia entry shows that he had direct ties to the Taliban and was in fact being held at Guantanamo until two years ago.

An interesting turn of events…

Posted by DaveH at 07:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 29, 2007

From one generation to the next - New York State Politics

A haunting comparison of events over at Right-Thinking from the Left Coast:

Two Generations of Douchebags
Oh, one more thing about Hillary and New York. When FDR died a member of his cabinet named Harold Ickes wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt recommending that the popular former First Lady run for an open Senate seat in New York. You can read her letter declining the offer here.

Five decades later, Harold Ickes Jr. was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. When Moynihan’s Senate seat opened up, Ickes (along with New York’s senior Senator Chuck “Dickbag” Schumer) recommended that Hillary run for the open seat. And as we all know, Hillary Clinton likes to have imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt.

Truth is stranger than fiction, my friends.

Eleanor Roosevelt had class - the Clintons do not.

Posted by DaveH at 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A perfect location

The National UFO Reporting Center moved from Seattle last year. It's new location is unique to say the least. From the Seattle Post Intelligencer:

UFO Reporting Center operates out of former missile site
To find the new home of The National UFO Reporting Center, you must go several yards underground at a former nuclear missile site in Eastern Washington.

The National UFO Reporting Center, which moved to this sparsely populated farm country from Seattle last year, is basically a telephone, tape recorder and desktop computer run in an underground bunker by one man who collects and publishes UFO reports from across the country.

Director Peter Davenport took over the UFO center's work from founder Robert Gribble in 1994. It had been located for years in Seattle's University District, until Davenport decided he wanted a change and paid $100,000 for the former Atlas missile site about 50 miles west of Spokane.

“There was the allure of owning my own missile site,” Davenport said.

Missile Site No. 6 now contains a large row of file cabinets and boxes, neatly organized by date, containing thousands of reports of UFO sightings stretching back decades. A typical file reads:
“Longview, WA. February 25, 1999 1158 hrs. (Pacific) Description: Fourteen forestry workers witness a horseshoe shaped object lift an adult elk out of the forest and fly off with the apparently dead, or unconscious, animal.”

The missile site covers 22 acres, and the massive concrete buildings are underground. The old Atlas E missiles rested flat, not upright in silos, in what were called “coffin launchers.” In the event of war, a concrete lid would slide open, the missile would be hoisted upright and the engine fired.

The UFO files, along with some office furniture, are stacked in a dark, dank room the size of a basketball court, where the yellow missile hoist remains in place. A few bare bulbs provide lights.

Davenport is still cleaning out the missile site, which is pretty decrepit, and is living in an apartment in nearby Harrington while he works to make it habitable.

There is quite the market for used Missile Bases

The National UFO Reporting Center's website can be found here.

Posted by DaveH at 09:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2007

Not that much into commercial sports but

Go Sox!

From the Denver Post:

That'll do it: Red Sox sweep Series
Sometimes dreams, no matter how inspiring, are not enough.

The Rockies' magical season died on Sunday night, forever frozen within reach of a goal that seemed laughable when the players arrived in Tucson seven months ago. Four games, four loses. A paradise and championship lost.

The Boston Red Sox are the World Series champions after a nervy 4-3 victory Sunday night at Coors Field.

The Rockies carried this dream for five weeks, nearly made it real. But at nearly 10 p.m. MST, the clock struck midnight and the valet brought back a pumpkin. While they became competitive - the final three games were winnable - the Rockies never got comfortable in the sport's floodlights.

Spent many years in Boston — first at College (BU) and then working for a public Aquarium and then with these new-fangled computer thingies. Spent a few evenings at Fenway Park watching some games.

Posted by DaveH at 09:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who ya gonna call - computer repair department

Sobering three-minute video from CBC on YouTube.

They took a perfectly good desktop system, swapped the working memory out with one that was broken and then called in ten on-site technicians to diagnose the problem. Three of them got it right (a $25 repair) but one of them went so far as to say that the hard disk needed to be opened in a clean-room for the data extraction (they quoted about $2,000 for a $700 job) Most of them stated the the entire motherboard needed replacement (a couple hundred bucks).

Stunning lack of ethics or intelligence or both…

Posted by DaveH at 09:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cool Tool - list of links

Check out the Wall Street Executive Library

Hat tip to Maggie's Farm for the link…

Posted by DaveH at 05:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An interesting insight into Mohandas K. Gandhi

I didn't know that he was such a racist.

From Ghandism.net:

Ghandi and Blacks
Gandhi is idolized by people of all political stripes around the world, and his life is popularly considered a model for the American Civil Rights Movement.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid called Gandhi “a giant in morality.” Former U.S president Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a “National Day of Recognition for Mohandas K. Gandhi.” South African leader Nelson Mandela called Gandhi “the archetypal anticolonial revolutionary” whose “nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements.” African-American Senator Obama reportedly keeps a picture of Gandhi in his office.

Martin Luther King, Jr. associated Gandhi with the African-American struggle against inequality, segregation, and racism. Reverend King believed Gandhi was “inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward…peace and harmony.” When the Indian government paid to place a statue of Gandhi at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta, Mrs. King spoke about her husband's admiration for Gandhi, saying, “It is gratifying and appropriate that this statue is installed in this historic site.”

Unfortunately, these people were never acquainted with the real, historical Mohandas Gandhi, who was a virulent racist.

And a bit more with some details:

In 1904, Gandhi founded The Indian Opinion, a newspaper which he used as a political tool to promote his personal views. It is in this paper, which Gandhi edited until 1914, that we find a record of his extensive anti-black activism and opinions. A list of anti-black quotes from his writings, in which he invariably refers to the South African natives as “Kaffirs,” can be found here. Gandhi's opinion of the native is best summarized when he calls them people “whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”

Finally, in 1906, Gandhi cheered on the British as they waged a war on the black Zulus. He then volunteered for military service himself, attaining the rank of Sgt. Major in the British Army and assisting the war on blacks in every way he could. You can learn more about this here.

The website has a lot of corroborating links — an odd bit of history…

Posted by DaveH at 04:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2007

Four years ago today

I posted the first entry to this Blog.

Fun then and fun now.

Hello world indeed!

Posted by DaveH at 10:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Looking fuelish in Zimbabwe

From the London Times Online:

‘Miracle’ fuel that made a mockery of Mugabe
When Nomatter Tagarira, a spirit medium, claimed that she could conjure refined diesel out of a rock by striking it with her staff, ministers in Robert Mugabe’s Government believed that they might have found the solution to Zimbabwe’s perennial fuel shortage.

After witnessing her apparently miraculous gift they gave her five billion Zimbabwean dollars in cash (worth £1.7 million at the start of the year but now worth one seven-hundredth of that) in return for the fuel. Ms Tagarira was also given a farm, said to have been seized from its white owner during Mr Mugabe’s lawless land grab, as well as food and services that included a round-the-clock armed guard on the rock in the district of Chinhoyi 60 miles (100km) from Harare, the capital.

And of course, it was a simple scam:

According to the police docket at the court, Ms Tagarira, 35, discovered a large bowser of diesel last year, suspected to have been abandoned in the hills of Chinhoyi during the country’s civil war in the 1970s.

She laid pipes from the bowser to a point at the bottom of the hill. Whenever she assembled an audience, she would strike a rock and an assistant at the top of the hill would open the tap and lo, fuel would pour out. The bowser eventually ran dry but that didn’t stop Ms Tagarira. “They would buy diesel from lorry drivers and keep it in the pipe on the pretext it was coming from a rock,” the docket said.

By June the Government had decided the claims were plausible enough to warrant an official investigation. However, where a single geologist would have sufficed, they dispatched a large “task force” of politicians and members of the security forces, led by the deputy commissioner of police.

The task force duly reported to Mr Mugabe’s politburo, the most powerful body in the country, that the liquid appearing at the rock had been siphoned into lorries and that they had driven off without problem.

However, it was when a second “task force” of ministers was sent by the politburo a month later that Ms Tagarira’s ruse ended. She “failed to prove the existence of the fuel”, it said. She disappeared and was arrested this month. “It is not the woman who ought to be arrested, it is the idiots who authorised this criminal waste of public money,” said a lawyer, asking not to be named.

I am amazed that Mugabe is still among the living — he took a great nation and ruined it and will not see the impact of his policies.

Paging Dr. Watson, Dr. James D. Watson to the courtesy phone.

Posted by DaveH at 06:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The price of pasta

It seems the price of pasta may be going up and there are some concerns about the manufacturers business practices.

From the BBC News:

Italy investigates pasta makers
Italian authorities have opened an investigation into pasta manufacturers over alleged price fixing.

Italy's regulator said it would examine the practices of Italian pasta manufacturers to see whether they were uncompetitive.

The probe follows a warning from the federation in July that pasta prices would surge by 20% by the autumn.

High wheat prices were blamed for the sharp rise, but consumer groups accused pasta makers of behaving like a cartel.

Italian authorities will investigate whether members of the Industrial Union of Pasta Makers, which represents about 85% of the market, colluded to fix the price of spaghetti, fettuccine and other favourite pasta dishes.

It follows last month's plea from consumer groups to refrain from buying or eating pasta for one day in protest against the recent price increases.

Manufacturers have argued that they have to pass on the rising cost of durum wheat, from which Italian pasta is made.

The price of wheat has risen, in part because producers of biofuels buy it, hence demand is outstripping supply.

Not good at all — I would not be too surprised if they found a Cartel. This sort of activity isn't just limited to American companies (thinking Archer Daniels Midland).

A minor nit — the grain is not used for biofuels, the grain is more expensive because more land is being given over to Corn because of the subsidies for biofuels. Supply and demand.

Hat tip to Amazon al Dente's Blog for the link.

Posted by DaveH at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, at least this way they will do less damage...

From the New York Times:

Democrats Plan a Shorter Workweek
Shortly after winning a majority last year, Democrats triumphantly declared that they would put Congress back to work, promising an “end to the two-day workweek.” And indeed, the House has clocked more time in Washington this year than in any other session since 1995, when Republicans, newly in control, sought to make a similar point.

But 10 months into the session, with their legislative agenda often in gridlock with the Bush administration and a big election year looming, the Democrats are now planning a lighter schedule when the 110th Congress begins its second year in mid-January.

The House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, told fellow Democrats this week that the House would not be in session next year on Fridays, except in June for work on appropriations bills.

Explaining that decision to reporters, Mr. Hoyer said, “I do intend to have more time for members to work in their districts and to be close to their families.”

How low will their approval rating sink before they wake up to the fact that people are generally pissed at their behavior and they need to change if they plan to get re-elected. Talk about being insulated from reality…

Posted by DaveH at 04:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 26, 2007

A nice model train setup

The setup measures 124ft by 23ft and was 12 years in the making. Here is grand Central Station in New York as it was in the 1940's:

rod_stweart_model_train_set.jpg

And the person who built it is none other than Pop Star Rod Stewart.

From the UK Daily Record:

Rod Stewart's Train Set Dream Comes True
Rocker Rod Stewart has fulfilled a lifelong ambition - by appearing on the front cover of a model railway magazine.

Experts said the 62-year-old singer has created one of the best train sets they have ever seen.

And when Rod and wife Penny went out to posh London restaurant Nobu on Monday night, the December issue of US magazine Model Railroader could be seen in the back of their car.

The singer had spent 12 years making his special railway, which measures 124ft by 23ft.

Rod spent thousands of hours - and dollars - putting it together before sending pictures in to the model railway magazine.

They decided to put it on the front cover. In an interview inside the magazine, Rod revealed just how special that was to him.

He said: “It means more to me to be on the cover of Model Railroader than to be on the cover of a music magazine.

There is another article in This Is London:

Do ya think I'm sexy now? Rod's latest model isn't tall and blonde - it's a railway set
It's no secret that Rod Stewart has a thing for models.

But it may come as a surprise that his passion extends beyond the blonde, statuesque variety.

The raspy-voiced rocker has created an impressive model railway featured in an American magazine.

Laid out at his Beverly Hills mansion, the 1:87-scale version of New York's Grand Central Station in the Forties boasts 100ft of track, period locomotives, skyscrapers, advertisement hoardings and lots of tiny passengers in period hats and coats.

Its appearance on the cover of this month's Model Railroader realises a lifelong ambition for 62-year-old Rod, who has said that such an honour would “mean more to me than the cover of Rolling Stone”.

As Jen commented — the music is his job, the trains are his passion.

Very cool!

Posted by DaveH at 09:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

35 Inconvenient Truths

Denny at Grouchy Old Cripple links to a wonderful post outlining 35 wrong “facts” about Al Gore's movie.

Christopher Monckton writes at Science and Public Policy:

35 Inconvenient Truths
A spokesman for Al Gore has issued a questionable response to the news that in October 2007 the High Court in London had identified nine “errors” in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. The judge had stated that, if the UK Government had not agreed to send to every secondary school in England a corrected guidance note making clear the mainstream scientific position on these nine “errors”, he would have made a finding that the Government’s distribution of the film and the first draft of the guidance note earlier in 2007 to all English secondary schools had been an unlawful contravention of an Act of Parliament prohibiting the political indoctrination of children.

Al Gore’s spokesman and “environment advisor,” Ms. Kalee Kreider, begins by saying that the film presented “thousands and thousands of facts.” It did not: just 2,000 “facts” in 93 minutes would have been one fact every three seconds. The film contained only a few dozen points, most of which will be seen to have been substantially inaccurate. The judge concentrated only on nine points which even the UK Government, to which Gore is a climate-change advisor, had to admit did not represent mainstream scientific opinion.

Ms. Kreider then states, incorrectly, that the judge himself had never used the term “errors.” In fact, the judge used the term “errors,” in inverted commas, throughout his judgment.

Next, Ms. Kreider makes some unjustifiable ad hominem attacks on Mr. Stewart Dimmock, the lorry driver, school governor and father of two school-age children who was the plaintiff in the case. This memorandum, however, will eschew any ad hominem response, and will concentrate exclusively on the 35 scientific inaccuracies and exaggerations in Gore’s movie.

Ms. Kreider then says, “The process of creating a 90-minute documentary from the original peer-reviewed science for an audience of moviegoers in the U.S. and around the world is complex.” However, the single web-page entitled “The Science” on the movie’s official website contains only two references to articles in the peer-reviewed scientific journals. There is also a reference to a document of the IPCC, but its documents are not independently peer-reviewed in the usual understanding of the term.

And on and on and on with references, citations and quotes.

Quite the wonderful stompdown…

The 21 page PDF file can be found here.

Good stuff which needs to be spread around more. It is well past time to get off the Anthropogenic Warming bandwagon and back into the charted regions of peer-reviewed Science.

#1) - Sun is a variable star.
#2) - Historically, we know that Earth's climate changes.
#3) - We are entering a warming period.
#4) - Mars, Jupiter and Pluto are also warming now. (read here and here)

Posted by DaveH at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Just passing through - a horrible fatality at the Vancouver, BC airport

This will be nasty. From the Toronto Globe and Mail:

Questions hang over taser death
He spent 10 hours frustrated by airport bureaucracy. Just 24 seconds later, police shot him with tasers

Dazed and confused after more than 15 hours of travel, unable to communicate in English and scared because he couldn't find his mother, Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski was jolted by a taser just 24 seconds after being confronted by police in Vancouver International Airport.

That allegation was made Thursday by a lawyer for Mr. Dziekanski's family who says video evidence will show that the RCMP took him down with a taser jolt moments after approaching him.

“I've been in touch with witnesses. I have viewed a video, which was taken by a bystander, which is not going to be released until at least the time of the inquest. From my observation, the interaction between the police and this individual, who didn't appear to me to be posing a danger to anybody at the time … was 24 seconds, roughly, before he was tasered,” Walter Kosteckyj said, adding the airport surveillance videos also won't likely be released until an inquest is held.

And more:

The radio log does not indicate when police first approached Mr. Dziekanski, just that he was down two minutes after they arrived — and that by 1:32 he had lost consciousness.

CTV reported there was a 12-minute delay before medical help arrived. Mr. Dziekanski died shortly after being tasered — only 10 hours after arriving in the country that was to be his new home.

Asked to describe what he saw on the video, Mr. Kosteckyj replied: “I would describe it as something that will be shown to police academies around North America as not the way to intervene in this kind of situation.”

And more:

Mr. Dziekanski arrived at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14.

“He made his way to primary customs in the ordinary fashion … he went through there in the normal time frame … he then proceeded through and was directed to secondary customs, which is normal for someone who doesn't speak English and is immigrating to the country,” Mr. Kosteckyj said. His papers were in order and he proceeded without difficulty.

But what happened after that was far from normal. For nearly 10 hours, Mr. Dziekanski stayed in the Arrivals Hall, growing increasingly frustrated and eventually becoming frantic.

Outside, in the public area, his mother spent nearly six hours pacing the corridors and, in broken English, asking airport officials for help in locating her son.

Mr. Kosteckyj said she visited one booth in international arrivals “at least three to four times and conveyed to them that she was concerned about her son being in the area and she wanted to get a message to him and how could she do that? They wrote her name down and said that they would make inquiries.”

At about 10 p.m., she was told he wasn't there. She made the long drive home, only to find a phone message waiting, saying her son had been found.

“She called back to immigration when she got in, which would have been around 2 a.m., and spoke to someone there and was advised that her son was somewhere in the area and was fine. And she advised, you know, 'Please take care of him because he can't speak English and I'll get there as soon as I can.' And of course he had died, been killed really, some time on or about 1 or 1:30,” Mr. Kosteckyj said.

At a news conference, Ms. Cisowski said she had dreamed of opening a small business in Kamloops with her son. “I've lost my only family,” she said. “I studied English during the day and at night I saved money to get my son to Canada.”

Mr. Dziekanski arrived with three bags, two of which were filled with geography books.

This is wrong on so many levels — the investigation will be deep and thorough and Ms. Cisowski will get a nice chunk of money. Neither of these will bring her son back to her but it will serve as an aide-mémoire to any officers in a similar situation in the future…

Posted by DaveH at 08:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 25, 2007

Dino Rossi for Governor in 2008

Very cool — Dino Rossi who made a very very close bid for Governorship of WA State in 2004 is coming back for another run.

From Sound Politics:

Rossi Kickoff Coverage
It is hardly surprising news. And anyone with even the most arthritic finger on the pulse of local politics knew it was going to happen.

Dino Rossi formally announced his intention to run for governor in 2008 this morning. A crowd of 300 to 400 supporters packed Issaquah's Village Theater to hear the magic words that the GOP faithful have been pinning their hopes on for three years.

For a party that has had its collective head kicked in during the so-called “Blue Wave” of 2006 those in attendance were more than energetic. A sense of confidence and optimism seemed to spring unbidden and stood in contrast to some of the Republican kickoff events in prior election cycles.

Rossi was constantly interrupted throughout his speech with applause and standing ovations.

As historic and unprecedented as the 2004 election recount was, Rossi spent very little time focusing on the controversial past and he barely touched it in passing at the end. While applauding election reform efforts which came as a consequence, cleaning up voter rolls, he said that the focus was on the race ahead.

“This is about the future. And we are not going to get this job done by looking in the rear view mirror at what happened in 2004,” Rossi said.

Very cool — I voted for him in 2004 and was disappointed that the election was so close, especially after all of the voter fraud issues came to light (phony registrations). 2008 will be closely watched.

For more on the 2004 election fraud issues, go here and start reading…

Posted by DaveH at 09:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Arrrrgggghhhhh...

Swiped shamelessly from Mr. Completely:

An Arrest at JFK International Airport
NEW YORK — A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Senator Edward Kennedy said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction

More at the site including quotes from Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton. Heh…

Posted by DaveH at 09:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2007

GIMP 2.4 is released

Version 2.4 of the GNU Image Manipulation Program or GIMP has been released after several years of development.

The Relase Notes have a list of the improvements and there are a lot of them! Photoshop has a very worthy contender now and it's free…

Posted by DaveH at 09:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The San Diego fires

Bad news from ABC News:

Fires threaten remaining power link to San Diego
Wildfires threatened to shut down the last remaining major power transmission link to San Diego, which would make the Californian county an electricity “island,” susceptible to major blackouts, the manager of the state power grid said Wednesday.

If it is cut off from external electricity supplies, San Diego County would have to rely only on the power its own plants can generate, which would greatly increase the chance of major blackouts, said officials from the California Independent System Operator.

Yikes — these plants were probably designed to provide additional power when needed and not to supply a baseline load for the entire city…

Jen was concerned about the San Diego Wild Animal Park — an amazing facility run by the SD Zoo. Fortunately, they came through with only two animals lost:

As of 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24, the Wild Animal Park is cleaning up from the fire and wind damage and currently preparing to re-open tomorrow if all goes well. Of the over 3,500 animals that reside at the Park, two animals (a clapper rail and a kiang) were lost due to complications from the fire. More than 600 acres surrounding the Wild Animal Park were burned. These were open buffer zone areas and not exhibit space.

The California condors and other endangered bird species, as well as other animals that had been relocated to the Paul Harter Veterinary Medical Center fire-safe area, have been returned to their home habitats.

The animals remain safe, secure, and have weathered the firestorm well. The Wild Animal Park did lose one of the empty condor breeding facilities to the fire as well as a storage facility containing Festival of Lights event materials. Winds have damaged trees throughout the Park, but again the animals and exhibits have weathered the storm. A core group of employees is on hand to care for the wildlife. Other employees and some contractors are currently assisting with clean up and restoration efforts. As an energy conservation measure, the Wild Animal Park has voluntarily removed itself from the SDG&E power grid and is operating on generators.

I had the occasion to visit this place a few years ago — if you are ever in Southern California, spend the time to check it out. They are doing incredible work and you get to see the critters in a very natural habitat, not a zoo cage.

Posted by DaveH at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Supporting the troops in the UK

Just a wonderful heart-warming story from England. From The Sun:

Garage wouldn't serve soldier
An Asian worker at a BP filling station provoked fury by turning away a soldier because he was in uniform.

The shocked Army officer – wearing combat fatigues – was told to go away and change before he could buy beer from the service station shop.

But witnesses claimed the snub was due to the attendant’s antiwar views.

The incident is the latest in a series of blows to Forces personnel, who feel neglected by the nation.

The officer is a captain with 16 Air Assault Brigade, whose 5,000 troops fought heroically against the Taliban in Afghanistan last summer.

He said the public snub – at Wisley South Connect station on the A3 near Guildford, Surrey – left him humiliated and shamed in front of a dozen other customers.

He asked to remain anonymous in case of reprisal attacks by extremists, but reported the incident to BP and to the Army Families Federation.

The federation’s spokeswoman Melanie Pullan told The Sun: “I talked to this officer, and it was very disappointing to hear his experiences. It made our blood boil.

“We would ask the nation to get behind their troops, considering the sort of sacrifice so many are making.

“Their war has never been against Muslims. It’s a shame people can’t respect their service to the country, whether you agree with the politics behind it or not.”

Make that line: “An Asian ex-worker at a BP filling station” please…

BP did issue an apology but:

BP last night issued a grovelling apology to the officer, claiming it was a bungle over the licensing laws and NOT a result of prejudice or politics.

A BP spokeswoman said: “We apologise sincerely to the Army officer for the inconvenience and embarrassment that has been caused.

Too bad - BP is an otherwise good company regarding the environment…

Posted by DaveH at 08:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

Dumb Criminal - printer driver division

From Ars Technica:

Would-be identity thief finds himself stumped without printer drivers
There are a few things in this world that thieves need to keep in mind in order to run a successful criminal operation. For example, don't take the cash you just stole from one bank to another bank down the street to have it deposited into your account. Don't steal someone's MacBook and take it to the Apple Store Genius Bar the next day to get help with OS X. And finally, don't steal a drivers' license printer from the DMV, only to call up the manufacturer the next day looking for drivers. That's one tip that 33-year-old Missouri resident Timothy Scott Short apparently wasn't aware of when he stole some equipment from the Missouri Department of Revenue earlier this month, only to find himself facing jail time after outing himself to tech support.

Short stole the Digimarc printer, along with a PC containing names and birthdates, from the Department of Revenue's contract office in St. Charles. Unfortunately for Short, the PC was locked, and he was unable to access anything on it, department director Trish Vincent told IDG. But without the software installed on the PC, the printer was essentially useless. Think of the millions of fake IDs that could be created on that thing!

Short apparently couldn't stop thinking about it, as he broke down and called Digimarc for support—twice—a couple of days later asking whether he would be able to obtain printer drivers. Secret Service Special Agent John Bush told IDG that he recognized Short's voice on the recording from another, unrelated investigation and that the phone number that Short had provided matched up to another identity theft case. Here's another tip for thieves: don't use your regular phone number for all of your crimes. Get a business line or something.

Short was then tracked down a few days later and charged with possession of document-making implements with the intent to use them for fraud. He now faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

Heh… Talk about being stupid.

Posted by DaveH at 05:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2007

Nice move - Barack Hussein Obama

When standing for the National Anthem, placing your right hand over your heart is considered proper etiquette.

It seems that a certain senator could stand to learn this.

From Time Magazine:

Tom Harkin's Iowa Steak Fry
Respect

Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin stand during the national anthem.

Here is the photo that accompanied this article:

barack_obama_harkin_steak_fry_08.jpg

And yes, his middle name is Hussein

Posted by DaveH at 10:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Light posting tonight

Was in Bellingham today getting some prescriptions refilled for my Dad and running a couple of errands. Just got back from dinner and feeling kinda full and tired. Going to check email and head off to an early bed…

Posted by DaveH at 09:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 21, 2007

On this date in 4004BC

Wow! Remembered Trafalgar but almost missed this anniversary.

From Wikipedia: James Ussher

James Ussher (sometimes spelled Usher) (4 January 1581–21 March 1656) was Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625–1656. He was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to time and date Creation to the night preceding October 23, 4004 BC.

Big Bang indeed!

That and some errant dinosaurs and a strangly placed geeological record.

In his favor, science was still very much in the dark ages and the Bible was still considered to be the words and work of God. We know much better these days.

Posted by DaveH at 08:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

202 years ago today

Lord Horatio Nelson defeated the French navy at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Nice bio of Nelson at Wikipedia

An excellent analysis of the Battle of Trafalgar

Posted by DaveH at 05:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A tale of two carjackers

Meet Keith Rogers and Deron Mitchell.

They carjacked a vehicle and sped away. The police gave chase and one of these fine upstanding citizens made the decision to resist arrest.

See if you can guess who it was:

carjack_booking_mug_shot.jpg

Jacksonville Florida station News4Jax has the story:

Teen Carjackers Arrested After Chase
Police arrested two teenagers Thursday evening who they said carjacked a Mustang and led officers on a chase through northwest Jacksonville.

Police said Deron Mitchell, 17, took the car at the intersection of Kings Street at North Canal Street and sped away. A police officer spotted the allegedly stolen car at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and West 22nd Street and tried to pull over the driver.

The driver accelerated, running several stop signs, police said.

Mitchell and Keith Rogers, 19, were apprehended when police said the car crashed through a mailbox and fence, hitting a parked car and one house.

Both Rogers and Mitchell are charged with armed carjacking and fleeing a law enforcement officer. Mitchell is also charged with resisting an officer.

An example of what happens with good parenting…

Posted by DaveH at 04:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Whither Socks the Cat

Ever wonder what happened to the Clinton's 'First Cat' Socks?

Caitlin Flanagan who writes for The Atlantic did and has these words to say:

No Girlfriend of Mine
Sometimes I imagine Betty Currie (remember her?) starting another long morning of her golden retirement. She pours a cup of coffee, glances at the headlines of the newspaper on the kitchen table, and then, with a sigh of infinite resignation, she cinches the belt on her dressing gown a little tighter, finds a plastic bag, and heads to the bathroom to clean the litter box of a former celebrity.

When I first heard, during the strange final days of Bill Clinton’s presidency, that the first couple were going to jettison Socks, the family cat, I assumed that it was one of those weird rumors that attach themselves to the Clintons, in this case one easily dispelled: a single photograph of the kitty happily curled up on a window seat in his new home, and that would be the end of it. But then, as so often happens with weird rumors that attach themselves to the Clintons, the story turned out to be 100 percent true. Reporters asked Bill about it during a press conference, and he hemmed and hawed. As the final days passed by—which, as you may recall, included a newsy sluice of pardons and outrages, hardly a time when journalists had to invest minor incidents with greater importance—reporters couldn’t quite get their heads around the business with the cat.

In this hour of crisis, the official Socks the Cat Fan Club sent an inquiry to its namesake’s most stalwart champion. Hillary’s Senate office replied with a note—at once chilly and patronizing— suggesting, more or less, that they butt out.

The remaining part of the article is only available to subscribers but fortunatly, Sarah Baxter at the London Times picked up the article and wrote about it:

Ouch! Hillary Clinton's softer image is clawed over dumped cat
As the “first pet” of the Clinton era, Socks, the White House cat, allowed “chilly” Hillary Clinton to show a caring, maternal side as well as bringing joy to her daughter Chelsea. So where is Socks today?

Once the presidency was over, there was no room for Socks any more. After years of loyal service at the White House, the black and white cat was dumped on Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s personal secretary, who also had an embarrassing clean-up role in the saga of his relationship with the intern Monica Lewinsky.

Some believe the abandoned pet could now come between Hillary Clinton and her ambition to return to the White House as America’s first woman president.

And a bit more:

Clinton’s treatment of Socks cuts to the heart of the questions about her candidacy. Is she too cold and calculating to win the presidency? Or does it signify political invincibility by showing she is willing to deploy every weapon to get what she wants?

“In the annals of human evil, off-loading a pet is nowhere near the top of the list,” writes Caitlin Flanagan in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. “But neither is it dead last, and it is especially galling when said pet has been deployed for years as an all-purpose character reference.”

Flanagan’s article, headed No Girlfriend of Mine, points out that Clinton wrote a crowd-pleas-ing book Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, in which she claimed that only with the arrival of Socks and his “toy mouse” did the White House “become a home”.

A politician in the very worst sense of the word… I hope that she has her ass handed to her on a platter in 2008.

Posted by DaveH at 02:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A nice haul from north of Baghdad

From Reuters:

19 tons of explosives found in Iraq
U.S. forces in Iraq discovered nearly 19 tons of explosives in a weapons cache north of Baghdad this week, one of the biggest finds of its kind, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

The cache was discovered west of Tarmiya, some 30 km (19 miles) northwest of the capital Baghdad, in Salahuddin province where Sunni Arab militants have a strong presence.

The find was made up of 41,000 lbs of ammonium nitrate and 35 mortar bombs. U.S. forces destroyed the cache.

“It's a crippling blow against the enemy, it's really huge,” said Peggy Kageleiry, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces in northern Iraq.

Very nice — this will lessen the pressure on the Iraqi citizens and the coalition forces.

Posted by DaveH at 02:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Chaos - a poem

I had run into bastardized versions of this poem several times before.

Finally found the original. The Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité

Here are the first five stanzas:

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
  I will teach you in my verse
  Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
  Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear;
  Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
  Just compare heart, hear and heard,
  Dies and diet, lord and word.

Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it's written).
  Made has not the sound of bade,
  Say-said, pay-paid, laid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
  But be careful how you speak,
  Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak,

Just the thing to print out and hand to someone for whom English is not their first language… And there are 52 more stanzas to go!

Posted by DaveH at 01:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 20, 2007

Note to self - stupid criminal department

If you already have two felony convictions and live in a state with a Three-Strikes law, and if you are planning to write a book about your gang activities, it might be best not to tell the story of your 2003 heist at a Robinsons-May Co. department store jewelry counter in Temecula…

From Yahoo/AP:

Former Calif. gang member gets 126 years
A former gang member convicted in a jewelry heist that resembled robberies he described in his memoir has been sentenced to 126 years in prison.

Colton Simpson, 41, declined to speak during Friday's sentencing hearing and showed no reaction when Superior Court Judge F. Paul Dickerson III issued the sentence.

Simpson, who has previous felony convictions, was sentenced under the state's three strikes law. He was found guilty of robbery, burglary and grand theft for his role in a 2003 heist at a Robinsons-May Co. department store jewelry counter in Temecula.

And the book in question:

Dickerson permitted Simpson's 2005 memoir, “Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang,” to be presented as evidence during the trial.

Sucks to be you… People like this make me think that Dr. James D. Watson has the right picture.

Posted by DaveH at 09:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Get the lead out - WalMart this time

You would think that with all of the publicity, China would do something about the lead paint on kids toys.

From Yahoo/AP:

Wal-Mart recalls toy animals for lead
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is recalling toy animals made in China because of excessive lead levels discovered since it stepped up safety testing in August, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer said Friday.

In a news release, the nation's largest retailer and largest toy seller described the recalled items as sets of realistic-looking farm animals, jungle animals and dinosaurs.

The toys are sold in loose sets in cellophane-type bags without a brand name. Wal-Mart said independent testing revealed excessive levels of lead in the material the toys are made of.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley declined to name the manufacturer and did not know how many sets were sold or exactly how long they've been stocked. “We've had these for a while,” she said.

Christ on a corn-dog — this is getting rediculous…

Posted by DaveH at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

email scamming hits the big time

Namely grocery store chain SuperValu and for $10 Million.

From the Idaho Statesman:

SuperValu loses about $10 million in e-mail scam
SuperValu, which bought most of the Albertsons supermarket chain last year, has fallen prey to an e-mail scam, losing about $10 million after wiring money to fraudulent bank accounts, according to federal court filings.

The scam is detailed in a pair of forfeiture cases filed under seal earlier this year in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

The fraud began after the supermarket chain received two e-mails — one from someone purporting to be an American Greetings Corp. employee and another claiming to be with Frito-Lay, according to court documents. Both e-mails claimed the companies wanted payments sent to new bank account numbers.

The company sent more than $6.5 million to the phony American Greetings account and nearly $3.6 million to the phony Frito-Lay account before realizing it was all a scam. The FBI was able to capture the money before it was whisked away by the scammers.

But American Greetings and Frito-Lay still want to get paid. They and SuperValu have all laid claim to the money. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill will decide where it should go.

“SuperValu was the target of attempted financial fraud,” company spokeswoman Haley Meyer wrote in a prepared statement. “We were able to quickly discover and report this to the FBI. As a result of the quick work of the Boise FBI Office and the U.S. Attorney, any funds lost are minimal.”

Meyer declined to say whether the scam struck SuperValu’s Boise office, the former Albertsons headquarters.

Megan Ferington, a spokeswoman for American Greetings, said it couldn’t comment on the case because it’s under litigation. Officials with Frito-Lay and the FBI did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press.

American Greetings produces some gift wrap, greeting cards and other party goods sold in SuperValu stores, and Frito-Lay makes several foods sold by the Minnesota-based grocery chain.

DOH! How could these people have sent off the money without really verifying the source of the request. That being said, I would bet it's an inside job or the result of a keystroke logger on a compromised machine.

Still, trust and verify is the best way to deal with any email. The telephone is your friend here…

Posted by DaveH at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 19, 2007

Snuck up on me...

Noticed that the last post was number 6504 — I saw the 6500 number in the crosshairs but missed commenting on it…

Coming up on five years blogging on October 27th.

Still as much fun now as it was when I started.

Dave

Posted by DaveH at 11:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quote of the day - Windows Vista

From an email list — talking about using Win2K, XP or Vista on an older machine:

Load Vista and it jerks like a dog crapping peach pits.

Heh…

Posted by DaveH at 10:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Light posting tonight

Kinda tired - going to check email and head off to bed.

Posted by DaveH at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More 'Mussel' from Dopamine

An odd bit of serendipity. Scientists looking at the adhesive that the Mussels use found something quite unexpected…

From Discovery News:

Super Sticky Coating has 'Mussel'
Mussels have a remarkable strategy for staying put in surf zones, despite the crashing waves: they secrete a fluid that can bond to virtually any surface.

Now scientists have developed a coating that mimics the tenacious adhesion of a mussel. The coating could improve biosensors, medical devices, marine and medical anti-fouling coatings, purify water contaminated with heavy metals, and advance manufacturing methods for flexible displays.

“We demonstrated something like twenty-five different materials that this would work on,” said Phillip Messersmith, professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

He and his team report their findings in today's issue of Science.

The coating is made from dopamine, a molecule more commonly known for it neurotransmitting abilities. Although it does not exist in mussels, dopamine contains two key chemical groups that are present in the crustacean's holdfast — the part that helps it cling to surfaces. By capitalizing on these chemical properties, Messersmith and his team were able to mimic the mussel's steadfast stickiness.

Creating the coating involves a relatively simple procedure free of the expensive, chemically sophisticated techniques often necessary to produce other coatings. The scientists dissolve the dopamine in water and then adjust the pH level to match a marine environment. When they do that, a chemical reaction occurs that produces a polymer in the solution.

Now any object can be dipped into and coated with the polymer, or conversely the solution can be sprayed or painted onto any surface. And like the mussel secretion, this polymer sticks to virtually any surface.

What makes it even more interesting is that a second layer of just about any other coating can be applied on top of the polymer and, in most cases, stick.

Simple and elegant. I hope that Dr. Messersmith has a good financial adviser as he is probably going to become very wealthy from his discovery. Very cool stuff…

Posted by DaveH at 09:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 18, 2007

Looks like the pig bastards didn't waste any time at all.

The Religion Of Peace™ is alive and well in Pakistan these days.

From the New York Times:

More Than 100 Dead in Pakistan Blasts
Two bombs exploded Thursday night just seconds apart and feet from a truck carrying the returning opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, narrowly missing her but killing scores of people and bloodying a triumphal homecoming after eight years in exile.

Various reports said up to 126 were killed and some 150 were wounded, including civilians and party workers. In the initial chaos, however, the Interior Ministry could only confirm 70 deaths.

Ms. Bhutto, who had spent eight hours on the roof of the truck waving to supporters, had climbed inside the armored vehicle 10 minutes before the blast occurred just before midnight, said Rehman Malik, Ms. Bhutto’s security adviser and close associate.

She was immediately taken to Bilawal House, her home in Karachi, ending her parade through the city to the tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Ms. Bhutto’s arrival here around 2 p.m. local time on Thursday had drawn huge crowds, perhaps 200,000 or more, who danced on the tops of buses and surged forward as she inched her way through her home city.

The strong outpouring provided an emotional homecoming for Ms. Bhutto and political vindication of sorts for a woman twice turned out of office as prime minister, after being accused corruption and mismanagement.

It also demonstrated that Ms. Bhutto remained a decisive political force in Pakistan, even after her long absence, and marked what supporters and opponents alike agreed was a new political chapter for the nation.

And a bit of backstory on why Ms. Bhutto is returning just now:

The opposition leader’s return was made possible after months of back-channel negotiations with Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, over a way for the two leaders to share power as Pakistan makes a transition from a military government.

Earlier this month, Ms. Bhutto’s party did not join other opposition parties in boycotting presidential elections by the national and provincial assemblies. The move allowed General Musharraf to successfully engineer his re-election, though he still faces legal challenges in the Supreme Court over his eligibility.

For his part, General Musharraf issued an amnesty for Ms. Bhutto and others accused of corruption in recent years, and he agreed to resign his post as Chief of the Army Staff and serve his next term as a civilian.

The left likes to think that our 'aggression' in the Middle East is what is driving the terrorist attacks toward us. What they fail to see is that the Islamists are attacking every non-Muslim populations, this is going on worldwide and flying under the MSM radar.

Check out The Religion of Peace website for a list of the last two months of activity. Scroll down and keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Over 450 separate incidents before I stopped counting — in just two months…

Posted by DaveH at 06:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The recent condemnation of Turkey over the Armenian genocide.

I heard about this on the news while traveling and didn't think that much about it.

David Limbaugh did and came up with an interesting idea — quite plausible considering the leanings of the people who initiated this.

From David's website:

An Egregiously Reckless Resolution
Why, now, of all possible critical moments, are congressional Democrats insisting on passing a resolution guaranteed to offend Turkey, our vital ally in the Iraq War, by denouncing the Ottoman Empire's century-old massacre of Armenians as a “genocide”?

Nancy Pelosi and her cohorts have been warned that Turkey will be deeply offended by the move and may even take punitive action against us by withdrawing their permission for us to use Incirlik Air Base, through which well more than half of our air cargo passes in route to supply our troops in Iraq. Human Events editor Jed Babbin reports that some 95 percent of the new MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush protected) vehicles, designed to save our troops' lives, pass through Incirlik. Also as a result, Turkey might decide to attack Kurdish terrorist forces against our strong urging not to do so.

What on earth are Democrats trying to pull here? They are the same people that barely blanch when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust. It's not like we need to worry about offending Iran, a charter member of the Axis of Evil and by last count a sworn enemy of the United States, actively working to defeat us in Iraq.

Appalling divisiveness on the part of the Democrats — no wonder Congress' performance ratings are in the dumpster…

Posted by DaveH at 05:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Meet Mona "The Hammer" Shaw

A true American Hero.

From the Washington Post (use bug-me-not for a username and password):

Taking a Whack Against Comcast
Mona Shaw Reached Her Breaking Point, Then for Her Hammer

Sometimes truly American virtues arise in outlaws who — by dint of heroic but questionable endeavors — display the mettle of the national character.

For instance: The Dillinger Gang, robbing banks (and destroying mortgages) when banks were foreclosing on the poor. Stephanie St. Clair, matron of the numbers racket during the Harlem Renaissance, striking a (dubious) blow for both gender and racial equality. Junior Johnson bootlegging liquor during Prohibition (the benefits of which were self-evident).

Fear not, fellow Americans! In these dark days of war, pestilence and Paris Hilton, a new hero has arisen. She is none other than 75-year-old Mona “The Hammer” Shaw, who took the aforementioned implement to her local Comcast office in Manassas to settle a score, and boy, did she!

This was after the company had scheduled installation of its much ballyhooed “Triple Play” service, which combines phone, cable and Internet services, in Shaw's brick home in nearby Bristow. But Shaw said they failed to show up on the appointed day, Monday, Aug. 13. They came two days later but left with the job half done. On Friday morning, they cut off all service.

This was the company that has had consumer service problems serious enough to prompt the trade magazine Advertising Age to editorialize that Comcast and other cable providers should spend less on advertising and more on customer service. And has spawned a blog called ComcastMustDie.com that's filled with posts from angry customers.

So on that Friday, Mona Shaw and her husband, Don, went to the local call center office to complain.

Let's pick it up, mid-action, according to Shaw:

Mona demands to speak to a manager. A customer service representative says someone will be right with them. Directs them to a bench, outside. (Remember, it's mid-August.) Mona and Don sit.

Tick, tick, tick, goes the clock. Sit, sit, sit, go Mona and Don.

For. Two. Hours.

And then — this is the best part — the customer rep leans out the door and says the manager has left for the day. Thanks for coming!

Oh, the sputtering outrage!

And “The Hammer”?

The insulting idea that, as Shaw puts it, “they thought just because we're old enough to get Social Security that we lack both brains and backbone.”

So, after stewing over it all weekend, on the following Monday, she went downstairs, got Don's claw hammer and said: “C'mon, honey, we're going to Comcast.”

Did you try to stop her, Mr. Shaw?

“Oh no, no,” he says.

Hammer time: Shaw storms in the company's office. BAM! She whacks the keyboard of the customer service rep. BAM! Down goes the monitor. BAM! She totals the telephone. People scatter, scream, cops show up and what does she do? POW! A parting shot to the phone!

“They cuffed me right then,” she says.

Her take on Comcast: “What a bunch of sub-moronic imbeciles.”

And the upshot:

From what we can tell, Mona Shaw is not, actually, a raving lunatic armed with construction tools.

She is a nice lady who lives in a nice house. She and Don are both retired from the Air Force (she was a registered nurse). They have been married 45 years. She is secretary of the local AARP, secretary of a square-dancing club and takes in strays for the local animal shelter (they have seven dogs at the moment). She has a heart condition. She lifts weights at a local gym. The couple attend a Unitarian Universalist church.

Police gave her the hammer back, though she swears she's content to ride off into the sunset of True Crime Stories in America, never again to go Com-smash-tic on her local cable provider.

She does, however, finally, have phone service.

On Verizon.

Heh… And the ComcastMustDie website is a good read.

Posted by DaveH at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2007

President Bush's horrible budget deficit

or NOT if you look at the numbers.

From Megan McArdle at The Atlantic:

The budget deficit falls again
Thanks to George Bush's amazing deficit reduction plan, the budget deficit is now only 1.2% of GDP. If this trend continues, by the time George Bush leaves office, the budget will be within a hair's breath of being balanced. I can only hope that Democrats don't squander this precious legacy of fiscal responsibility.

Just kidding! Not about the budget deficit, I mean, but about the reason for it. The reason the budget deficit has closed is a combination of economic growth and increasing inequality, which has allowed the government to collect more revenue on a smaller base. The rich really are different—they pay higher tax rates.

These are the perils of attributing economic activity to presidential will. Democrats who got angry when they read the first paragraph should note that the budget deficit is closing whether or not George Bush wants it to; broad trends in the economy dominate even large changes in tax rates. Likewise, the fact that Bill Clinton wanted to close the budget deficit doesn't mean he did; in fact, broad changes in the economy were a much more important driver of change.

Yes, one could argue (and Bob Rubin has) that closing the budget deficit a little made for amazing economic growth, thus raising tax revenues and allowing for even more deficit reduction. But the behavior of tax revenues under George W. severely undercuts this story. For reasons we still don't understand, though inequality clearly plays a large part, tax revenues started rising faster than the rate of economic growth under Clinton. This trend has continued under Bush. That—and neither Rubinomics, nor supply side magic—is why tax revenues in both administrations keep delivering huge upside surprises, regardless of whether the administration cut taxes or raised them.

The growth under the Clinton years were more fueled by the Tech Bubble than by any economic planning.

Bet you don't see this information in the MSM anytime soon…

A big tip 'o' the hat to AMCGLTD for the link.

Posted by DaveH at 09:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pros and Cons of the Metric System

I had written earlier about how it would be a mistake to consider the Système International (Metric) a superior system of measurement.

Here is a website that presents a nice argument for sticking with the English System.

Check out Thought You Should Know:

Here is a brief excerpt of their Metrication 101 essay:

Without getting too technical, the reason that these tools are non-decimal is because base 10 is a poor system of calculation. This is because it can be divided by relative few other numbers … 1,2,5 and 10 … without yielding a fractional/decimal result. Half of ten is 5. Beyond that it gets messy. Half of 5 is 2.5. Half of 2.5 is 1.25 and so on. 12 is better. It can be divided neatly by 1,2,3,4,6 and 12. And dividing by 2 gives us 6 and then 3. 16, found in our weight and volume units, is even better - with factors 1,2,4,8 and 16. Dividing by 2 gives us 8,4,2,1 etc.

This points to advantages of manipulation in many American units because when we work with amounts we often manipulate in terms of halves, quarters and even thirds. To be sure of being objective, think of situations free of American or metric units. Sharing out a cake. Dividing up a document so that it fits on a diskette. Folding a piece of paper. More often than not divisions with which we are comfortable, halves, thirds, quarters come into play. Divisions out of which our customary system of measurement has grown. Half a foot is 6 inches, a quarter is 3 inches a third is 4 inches. Half a meter is 50 centimeters, a quarter is 25 centimeters and a third is 33.3333…. centimeters. Take your pick.

There is a simple piece of empirical evidence that points to the fact that the entire world can handle units that are not in base ten … Time. Nowhere are there 100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour and 10 hours in a day etc. And yet the world manages to tell time and to calculate time-related problems.

Lots of good stuff and links to other pro-English websites.

Posted by DaveH at 08:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Security" cameras

Is there a direct coorelation between the number of security cameras and the crime rate? It's not what you would think in England.

Theodore Dalrymple writes at the excellent City Journal:

Cameras, Crooks, and Deterrence
Constant surveillance seems to have had little effect on Britain’s sky-high crime.

After the North Koreans, the British are probably the most highly surveyed people in the world. Around 10,000 publicly funded closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras—to say nothing of the private ones—watch London every day. The average Briton, you often hear, winds up photographed 300 times a day as he goes about his business, even if his business is crime.

Whenever a brutal murder is committed in a public place, the police announce that they are examining the video evidence: no such murder ever seems to occur off camera. Yet the number of CCTV cameras in place seems to have no effect on the number of crimes solved—the police in the London boroughs with many cameras, for instance, clear up no larger a proportion of crimes than those in boroughs with few.

A recent study demonstrating this failure to improve the clear-up rate, however, could not also show that the cameras failed to deter crime in the first place. Common sense suggests that they should deter, but common sense might be wrong. For if the punishment of detected crime is insufficient to deter, there is no reason why the presence of cameras should deter.

Lot's more at City Journal — a very thoughtful essay.

Posted by DaveH at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Don't bogart that joint my friend

It seems that some employees of the Canadian ferry system have found an interesting way to pass the time.

From Reuters/UK:

Canadian ferry crews warned against smoking pot
Ferry crews on Canada's West Coast who work under the influence of marijuana endanger the lives of passengers, safety officials said on Wednesday, in response to allegations of cannabis smoking on board one of the ships.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board issued a warning note to BC Ferries Corp after the board said it had learned that that several crew members of the ferry Queen of the North, which sank last year after running into island, “regularly smoked cannabis between shifts, both on board and off the vessel”.

The federal agency said it heard the allegations of marijuana use while investigating the sinking, but said there was no evidence that the bridge crew of the Queen of the North was under the influence of cannabis at the time of the accident on March 22, 2006.

The board, which has not yet released its report on the cause of the sinking, which killed two people, did not say from whom it heard the allegations of marijuana use, but its investigation has included interviews with all crew members.

Better to be smoking pot than boozing it up but still, anything that affects performance should be stopped. Maritime travel is very risk-prone and your full attention is needed at all times.

Posted by DaveH at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heh - a joke from Iraq

Shamelessly swiped from Theo Spark:

A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.

The Marine reported, “I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road. I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scumbag who got what he deserved, and he yelled back that Ted Kennedy is a fat, good-for-nothing, left wing liberal drunk who doesn't know how to drive.Then I said that Osama Bin Ladin dresses and acts like a frigid,mean-spirited lesbian! He retaliated by yelling, “Oh yeah? Well, so does Hillary Clinton!” “And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us.

Heh…

Posted by DaveH at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2007

Blackwater in Iraq

Unintended consequences - Iraq division.

On September 16th, some employees of Blackwater shot and killed a number of Iraqi non-combatant citizens.

Now they are being asked to leave by the Iraqi government. From CNN:

Iraqi adviser: Blackwater shooting unprovoked, guards must go
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked the U.S. State Department to “pull Blackwater out of Iraq,” after an Iraqi probe concluded that the private contractors committed unprovoked and random killings in a September 16 shooting, an adviser to al-Maliki told CNN.

But in Washington, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the department has received “no specific request” from Iraq to withdraw the company's contractors.

Al-Maliki adviser Sami al-Askari told CNN the Iraqis have completed their investigation into the shooting at Nusoor Square in Baghdad.

Al-Askari said the United States is still waiting for the findings of the American investigation, but al-Maliki and most Iraqi officials are “completely satisfied” with the findings of their probe and are “insisting” that Blackwater leave the country.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Natango told CNN by telephone that the Iraqi-U.S. joint commission met and is proceeding with its work on the matter.

I find it wonderful that the flack from State Department hadn't heard about this. The State Department is broken so it seems there are alternate channels of communication opening up.

If it's broke, work around it.

This is just what a sovereign nation should do - something that Iraq was not up until a year or two ago.

Posted by DaveH at 07:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 15, 2007

Back Home

Woke up at 4:30AM Boston time and we got into Bellingham around 2:30PM Bellingham time. Stopped for dinner, dropped my Dad off at his condo and drove home.

It has been a long long slog of a day and although it is only 6:00PM local time, it's 9:00PM to our internal clocks. Time for a quick surf of the web, a glass or two of wine and an early bedtime…

Great trip but simply wonderful to get back home again.

Posted by DaveH at 05:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2007

notes from the road - Penultimate Day department

In Brattleboro Vermont tonight. Had the great pleasure to visit the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont this afternoon.

New England was in many ways the birthplace of the American (and Global) Industrial Revolution. England may have had the Steam Engine and heavy industry but it was Yankee Ingenuity that got us from the rough heavy industry to the precision heavy industry. The idea that someone could make a tool that could repeateadly cut to a one thousanth of an inch precision was unthinkable until people in the small mill-towns in Vermont and New Hampshire started tinkering.

One centerpiece of the museum was Bridgeport's first commercially produced Milling Machine. And it wasn't just any Mill, this was Serial Number #1 - I stood in awe of that machine for a few minutes — this was where the modern Industrial Revolution really got its start… The notes for this exhibit said that Bridgeport went on to sell several hundred thousand of this model. I believe it.

All in all, a wonderful afternoon. Heading back to Boston tomorrow (driving through Western Massachusets) and back to our home that following day. A fun trip but it will be so good to get back home to our routines.

Spew will resume Tuesday sometime.

Posted by DaveH at 06:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 12, 2007

more notes from the road

Bedded down for the night in St. Johnsbury Vermont after a day of wonderful driving through some of the smaller back-woods roads that I knew of from 30 years ago. Rainy and cloudy weather so nothing great for photography but still gorgeous colors and scenery.

Turned on the TV this morning (Hanover, NH) and saw that the Goracle won the *$#& Peace Prize. Goes to show again just how irrelavent this award is. The award was shared with the members of the IPCC which actually does turn out some good science but Gore???

Anyway, headed down through Vermont tomorrow, get into Boston and fly out Monday very early morning.

Posted by DaveH at 04:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 11, 2007

notes from the road

The trip is going well - we are at the base of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and will be driving to the summit this morning after breakfast.

Boston was even more crowded and expensive than I remembered - still a very fun and beatiful city but not one I would want to live in.

Heading on to Hanover, NH (home of Dartmouth University) this afternoon - my Mom and Dad lived there for ten years so my Dad is looking forward to seeing it.

The Hotel machine is running Linux (cool) but the keyboard is really crappy — cannot touchtype on it (not cool - grumble grumble grumble…)

Back to the farm and the store around the 16th…

Posted by DaveH at 06:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2007

Science and Islam

Hat tip to Slashdot for the link to this article at Physics Today:

Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement
Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong.
Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy

This article grew out of the Max von Laue Lecture that I delivered earlier this year to celebrate that eminent physicist and man of strong social conscience. When Adolf Hitler was on the ascendancy, Laue was one of the very few German physicists of stature who dared to defend Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity. It therefore seems appropriate that a matter concerning science and civilization should be my concern here.

The question I want to pose—perhaps as much to myself as to anyone else—is this: With well over a billion Muslims and extensive material resources, why is the Islamic world disengaged from science and the process of creating new knowledge? To be definite, I am here using the 57 countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as a proxy for the Islamic world.

It was not always this way. Islam's magnificent Golden Age in the 9th–13th centuries brought about major advances in mathematics, science, and medicine. The Arabic language held sway in an age that created algebra, elucidated principles of optics, established the body's circulation of blood, named stars, and created universities. But with the end of that period, science in the Islamic world essentially collapsed. No major invention or discovery has emerged from the Muslim world for well over seven centuries now. That arrested scientific development is one important element—although by no means the only one—that contributes to the present marginalization of Muslims and a growing sense of injustice and victimhood.

Injustice and victimhood? WTF - blindness and intolerance more likely.

But he continues:

Is boosting resource allocations enough to energize science, or are more fundamental changes required? Scholars of the 19th century, such as the pioneering sociologist Max Weber, claimed that Islam lacks an “idea system” critical for sustaining a scientific culture based on innovation, new experiences, quantification, and empirical verification. Fatalism and an orientation toward the past, they said, makes progress difficult and even undesirable.

In the current epoch of growing antagonism between the Islamic and the Western worlds, most Muslims reject such charges with angry indignation. They feel those accusations add yet another excuse for the West to justify its ongoing cultural and military assaults on Muslim populations. Muslims bristle at any hint that Islam and science may be at odds, or that some underlying conflict between Islam and science may account for the slowness of progress. The Qur'an, being the unaltered word of God, cannot be at fault: Muslims believe that if there is a problem, it must come from their inability to properly interpret and implement the Qur'an's divine instructions.

One last little excerpt:

In the 1980s an imagined “Islamic science” was posed as an alternative to “Western science.” The notion was widely propagated and received support from governments in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere. Muslim ideologues in the US, such as Ismail Faruqi and Syed Hossein Nasr, announced that a new science was about to be built on lofty moral principles such as tawheed (unity of God), ibadah (worship), khilafah (trusteeship), and rejection of zulm (tyranny), and that revelation rather than reason would be the ultimate guide to valid knowledge. Others took as literal statements of scientific fact verses from the Qur'an that related to descriptions of the physical world. Those attempts led to many elaborate and expensive Islamic science conferences around the world. Some scholars calculated the temperature of Hell, others the chemical composition of heavenly djinnis. None produced a new machine or instrument, conducted an experiment, or even formulated a single testable hypothesis.

A long article - the bias is evident but it is worth reading only for insight into how an Islamist reconciles their adherence to 9th century dogmatic practices with their lack for “science”.

No mention of education — widespread education would represent a threat to the theocrats. One of the comments to the Slashdot post summed it up perfectly:

Islam is a joke. The more educated Muslims you get, the more educated ex-Muslims you'll have as they wake up to the utter absurdity of this bullshit. That's why Muslim leaders hate education so much.

Hell, that's why the Muslim religion has a standing death threat for converting away.
Posted by DaveH at 06:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Light posting for the next two days and then a big posting lull

As I had mentioned briefly a few days ago, Jen and I and my Dad are heading to the East coast for a memorial service for a long-time family friend who passed away last May.

Since Dad wants to re-visit some of his haunts and since Jen has never seen New England, we are planning to spend about ten days over there, driving around and enjoying some of the Fall foliage (peak day is supposed to be around October 13th).

I used to live in Boston and spent a lot of time in other parts of New England so it will be a fun trip. Looking forward to having dinner here.

Anyway, I will not be bringing the laptop so any blogging will be on borrowed computers or from hotel business centers. Spending today and tomorrow running down last-minute stuff for the business and packing.

Posted by DaveH at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2007

An unbiased online survey

No bias in this online survey, none at all. No, nope nada.

Here is a screen capture:

inside_bay_area_survey.jpg

The survey is at the InsideBayArea.com website.

Hat tip to Charles at LGF

Posted by DaveH at 09:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sucks to be you - Russian ordnance dealers

One wonderful blowback of the Israeli penetration, retrieval and subsequent penetration and bombing mission was that it pointed out to the world just how poor the Russian defense systems really are.

More on this at Strategypage:

Russia: The Losers Lament
The September 6 Israeli air raid in Syria has been a major setback for Russian arms sales. The Syrians had invested heavily in new Russian air defense systems, and the Israelis apparently brushed right by them. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russians have been trying to rehabilitate the reputation of their weapons. Throughout the Cold War, whenever Russian and Western (especially American) weapons met on the battlefield, the Russians lost. The Soviets tried to compete on price, but even “free” was not low enough for many countries. Using Soviet weapons came to be seen as a sure ticket to battlefield defeat. In the 1990s, Russia upgraded its manufacturing capabilities, and its weapons designs. Much Western technology was imported. By the late 1990s, sales were climbing. OK, the Iraqis went down real quick in 2003, but they didn't have any of the new stuff, nor did the Taliban in 2001. Sales continued to climb, until now. Russias arms customers are asking for answers, but so far the Syrian incident is being dismissed as nothing to worry about.

It will be interesting to see what the rest of the world does. The Islamic nations are heavily invested in Russian military systems.

Oops…

Posted by DaveH at 09:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Go ahead, make my day...

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Teens attack older man, end up running for safety
The man at the back of the Metro bus was older, wore glasses and apparently drew the attention of a group of alleged gang members who reportedly began harassing him.

But when one of them tried to take the man's glasses, he pulled a knife and fought back, Seattle police said.

“He began swinging at his attackers in self-defense,” spokeswoman Renee Witt said.

When the mêlée was over, four of the teens had cuts, including some with superficial cuts to their buttocks, and one had a dislocated shoulder. The man was not hurt.

The incident began about 11:15 p.m. on a northbound bus traveling along Rainier Avenue South, Witt said. The five teens boarded near Rainer Beach High School, having attended a football game there, she said.

Police reports described the teens as known to officers and active members of a local gang.

Officers called to the bus after the fight initially believed the wounded teenagers were the victims, until other passengers aboard the bus told officers that it was the teens who started the disturbance.

Heh…

Posted by DaveH at 08:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack