Wednesday, December 21, 2005

OWNED!

Sen. Roberts dropkicks Sen. Rockefeller (emph added):
I am puzzled by the release yesterday of a July 2003 letter from Senator Rockefeller ... regarding the recently exposed intelligence collection program ... . Senator Rockefeller asserts that he had lingering concerns about the program ... but was prohibited from doing anything about it.

A United States Senator has significant tools with which to wield power and influence over the executive branch. Feigning helplessness is not one of those tools.


SMMMMMMACKDOWN!

Just for the record, I am persuaded that the operation was necessary and legal, and that it resulted in the apprehension of terrorists and the disruption of their plans to kill Americans. The person or person who leaked this information has damaged the national security of the United States and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


Just in case you couldn't guess.

NTSB Says Plane Crashed After Wing Fell Off

Ya think?

I know, it was a tragic loss of life. And it highlights the issue of an aging commercial fleet - seaplanes really take a pounding, and this airframe had been in service nearly six decades. There might also be an issue with the fact that the airplane was re-engined - the original radial engines were replaced with turboprops. Since the turboprop is lighter, it had to be placed further forward to maintain the aircraft's balance. That increases the twisting load on the main spar. I'm sure the engineers worked that through, but fatigue cracks are still poorly understood.

Still, that was a really dumb headline.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Science Journal: Wikipedia Pretty Accurate

According to Nature Wikipedia is nearly as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Not terribly surprising, but interesting nonetheless. What surprised me was the discovery that the professionally-written, edited, and reviewed Britannica has an average of three errors or omissions per article!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Not just an Ent, but an Evangelical Ent!

A few weeks ago I discovered that I was an Ent.

Now it turns out that I'm an Evangelical as well (I know, it's shocking!).

  You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

86%

Reformed Evangelical

79%

Neo orthodox

71%

Fundamentalist

50%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

46%

Classical Liberal

39%

Emergent/Postmodern

36%

Roman Catholic

18%

Modern Liberal

18%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com


At least I'm in good company!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Not a tame Lion - redux

Edited to 500 words per the Radioblogger content rules.

I watched the Narnia movie with my older three kids, ages 10, 7, and 6. They are very well-acquainted with fantasy-adventure films and computer-generated special effects, with the Narnia story, and as Christians, with the "back-story".

I found the opening scenes deeply moving, but then things slowed down. The family dynamic among the kids was lacking - they felt more like cousins than siblings. Lucy does light up the screen, though. Mrs. Macreedy seemed to be channeling Professor McGonagal, though, and the Professor seemed cartoonish.

When Lucy finally met Mr. Tumnus, I wanted to scream, "Don't you KNOW about strangers!?!?!?!" I had to keep reminding myself that this story was written long before Amber Alerts became common. Still, when he began to weep about "what he's going to do" I got a serious case of the creeps.

The older children's treatment of Lucy when she returned with her fantastic tale was utterly believable. Jadis the White Witch felt a bit cartoonish, but she positively exudes evil.

I wondered why the children weren't complaining about wet, cold feet. But hey, this is fantasy. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver felt like a real married couple. - we're accustomed to CGI characters, and the dialogue works. The encounter with Father Christmas felt contrived - too much deus ex machina. Lucy's pointed comment to her siblings made it entirely worthwhile, though. The camp of the Narnian army had a magical-yet-believable feel. The armor of the fauns and especially the centaurs looked right. Aslan's facial expressions were ... just ... real. Liam Neeson's voice wanted more rumbly resonance, but when Jadis asks him after their conference how she can be sure he'll keep his promise, the Lion's reaction is perfect.

When Aslan presents himself at the Stone Table, the evil and hatred of Jadis' minions is palpable. The sadness and resignation in the Lion's eyes is real. Oddly, it's the humans - Lucy and Susan - who lack emotion. They should show real shock, horror, and sadness. They don't. If there's a real flat spot in the film, that's it. But as we all know, death has no power over Aslan, as it had no power over Christ. The innocent who willingly gives his life for the guilty fulfills the Deep Magic and shatters the Stone Table.

The battle scenes are fantastic - one simply believes that centaurs and minotaurs are battling hand-to-hand, and that beavers wear chain mail.

Aslan arrives, Jadis is vanquished, and the childen are enthoned at Cair Paravel. Years later, they stumble back through the wardrobe just as the Professor enters the room.

That exchange is my favorite from the whole film. :-)

Overall impressions: As a fantasy film on its own merits, A-. Though some of the storytelling and acting falls short of perfection, Narnia feels as real as Hogwarts or Middle-Earth.

As a film adaptation of C.S. Lewis's classic, a solid A.

As an entertaining family film, A++. My kids – even the jaded 10-year-old - pronounced it, "the best movie ever."

Monday, December 12, 2005

When jokes go wrong

Man Apologizes After Fake Wikipedia Post At least Brian Chase had the guts to stand up and say, "I did it, and I'm sorry." A lot of folks would have just faded into the anonymity of the Internet. He quit his job over the furor, too.

Goes to show that some jokes just aren't funny. I wonder if Ted Rall and Whoopie Goldberg are listening?

Not a Tame Lion

Warning - picked nits, spoilers and inevitable comparisons follow. Bottom line - go see the movie!

I watched the Narnia movie this weekend with my older three kids, ages 10, 7, and 6. They've seen the Star Wars, Potter, and LOTR epics (the younger two have not seen SW3 and no one has seen HP4, and we FF'd through the scary parts of LOTR), and the CGI-heavy "Sky Captain." So this little audience was very well-acquainted with fantasy-adventure films and computer-generated special effects.

We're also familiar with the story. A year or two ago we read through the Narnia Chronicles for bedtime storytime, and the kids watched the BBC production of LWW last year or thereabouts. And as a Christian family, we're also quite familiar with the back-story, as it were.

Going in I was concerned a bit about the previews, having seen what came up on the big screen prior to SW3. I was pleasantly surprised that the theater managers had chosen "The Twenty" and previews that were targeted to the family demographic. They certainly piqued our interest. Maybe H'wood has finally figured out that "values voters" will spend money at the theater, too.

The opening scenes of The Blitz were pretty well done. I'm an airplane buff, and the He-111 interiors looked believable. When Edmund runs back to get the picture of his dad to take into the shelter, that could have set up some good emotional context for later, but as it turned out it didn't have a payoff. It was just a set-piece to show that Edmund doesn't do as he's told, and that kind of fell flat to me.

The following scene where the children are loaded onto trains to escape the war was very moving. It had as much impact as the scene in LOTR2 where the Rohan village mother packes her children onto a horse to escape the approaching orc horde.

At the country manor, Mrs. Macreedy seemed to be channeling HP's Professor McGonagal - I couldn't escape the comparison. The child actors played well at being bored kids, though the family dynamic seemed to be a bit lacking. They felt more like cousins than siblings. The Professor seemed a bit cartoonish as well, at least in appearance.

And then Lucy (finally!) finds the Wardrobe. That transition was very nicely done.

When Lucy goes off with the very charming Mr. Tumnus, I wanted to scream at her - "Don't you KNOW about going off with strangers!?!?!?!" I had to keep reminding myself that this story was written long before Level Three offenders and Amber Alerts became common features of a parent's landscape. Still, when the faun began to weep about "what he's going to do" I got a serious case of the creeps.

Every reviewer seems to rave about Lucy, and I agree - she positively lights up the screen. She doesn't do "sad" terribly well - I know what a heartbroken six-year-old girl looks like - but apart from that she did a wonderful job.

The older children's treatment of Lucy when she returned with her fantastic tale was utterly believable. Edmund then follows Lucy back into the wardrobe and meets Jadis, the White Witch. She seems a bit like a cartoon character, but she positively exudes evil, much as the Satan character in "The Passion." Edmund's betrayal of Lucy on his return to "the real world" further cements our opinion of him.

The filmmakers then take a bit of license to get all four children into the wardrobe, and the adventure can finally really begin. I've walked in the snow in inadequate footware, and I wondered why the children - especially the younger ones - weren't complaining more. But hey, this is fantasy.

The talking animals weren't jarring in the least. We're now well-accustomed to treating 100%-CGI characters as real, and the children didn't break the spell. I heard one patron behind me say, "English beavers?" On reflection, he had a point - they're native to North America. The dialog between Mr. And Mrs. Beaver was well-done. They really felt like a married couple.

Fast-forward to the encounter with Father Christmas. This felt flat to me - too much deus ex machina. I'll need to review the book to see how the children get their weapons, but it felt contrived. Still, Lucy's pointed comment to her siblings after he departs made it entirely worthwhile.

The camp of the Narnian army had a magical-yet-believable feel to it. Certainly more sanitized than the Rhohirrim encampment outside the Dimmul, but not totally contrived. The armor of the fauns and centaurs - especially the centaurs! - looked right. Clearly the LWW armorers took the same care as those on LOTR.

Aslan's facial expressions were completely believable. I felt that Liam Neeson's voice lacked a bit of rumbly resonance - comparisons to James Earl Jones' Musafa are unavoidable. Still, there's a nice contrast between the power of a full-grown lion and the wise and gentle voice of Qui-Gon. When Jadis asks him after their conference how she can be sure he'll keep his promise, the Lion's reaction is perfect.

About Aslan's sacrifice I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said. The evil and wickedness of Jadis' minions is palpable. The sadness and resignation in the Lion's eyes, real. Oddly, it's the humans - Lucy and Susan, who seem to lack emotion. They should show real shock, horror, and sadness. They don't. If there's a real flat spot in the film, that's it.

But as we all know, death has no power over Aslan, as it had no power over Christ. The innocent sacrifice who willingly gives his life in the place of the guilty both fulfills the Deep Magic and breaks the stone table forever. Christian audiences get this. I wonder how non-Christians will see it.

The battle scenes were fantastic, reminiscent of LOTR's battle of Pellinore Fields. This is hardly surprising, since Weta Workshop did the CG work. The special effects are completely transparent - one simply believes that centaurs and minotaurs are battling hand-to-hand. Again, some obvious thought was given to the question, "how does this culture - this species - fight?"

We know the rest of the story - Aslan and the revived victims of the White Witch arrive to turn the tide of battle, Jadis is vanquished, and the childen are enthoned at Cair Paravel. Many years later, they stumble back into and through the wardrobe into the spare room, just as the Professor enters.

The exchange that follows is my favorite from the whole film.


So, finally, my overall impressions. As a fantasy film on its own merits, A-. Narnia certainly feels as real as Hogwarts or Middle-Earth, and visuals sell the story and the characters. Unfortunately, some of the storytelling and acting falls short of perfection, and the music was unmemorable.

As a film adaptation of C.S. Lewis's classic, I give it a solid A. The filmmakers took some liberties, but you have to do that in bringing any story to the screen.

As an entertaining family film, it earns an A+. My kids loved it, pronounced it "the best movie ever." Even my jaded 10-year-old declared that it was better than LOTR or even - gasp! - Star Wars III.

We'll be seeing it again, and I don't mean waiting for the DVD.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

I posted this over at LA's site, but decided it deserved a slot over here as well. It was prompted by a quote from one of the passengers on the Columbia-to-Florida flight saying that they hadn't heard anyone say anything about a bomb.

From the reports I’ve seen, Rigoberto Alpizar made the bomb comments while on the jetway, not on the airplane. Little wonder the passengers still on the plane didn’t hear anything.

Imagine this alternative version, though:
“The effectiveness of the Air Marshalls program was being called into question today after a disturbed man was allowed to rush up a jetway and into the terminal from an airplane that had just landed from Columbia.

The man forced his way off the plane and ran up the jetway with a backpack, shouting that he had a bomb. Air marshalls drew their weapons and ordered him to stop, but he ignored their commands and ran into the terminal. Hundreds of passengers waiting to board their aircraft panicked and rushed for the exits. Forty-two were injured in the stampede, and two were killed in the crush, including an elderly man and a two-year old.

‘He was wild-eyed and panting,’ said one witness who declined to be identified. ‘I was scared he had a gun or a bomb or something. Everybody just ran.’

Not everybody. Frank Wilson, a retired police officer, tripped and tackled the suspect as he ran past. Wilson tossed the backpack - which did not contain a bomb - to the side as he held the disturbed passenger to the ground.

‘I just reacted, I guess.’ said Wilson. ‘Old habits die hard. You see someone running like that, and, well, I just took him down. I’m not as young as I once was - I’m a little sore, actually.’

A spokesman for the Air Marshalls said, ‘Our agents are trained to carefully evaluate a potential threat in order to avoid over-reacting. In hindsight, the passenger was clearly not a threat, so we’re very gratified the Marshalls on the scene did not open fire.’ Asked about the passengers who were killed and injured by the panic in the terminal, the spokesman said, ‘That’s a very tragic thing, obviously.’”

My heart goes out...

...to the parents and family of 6-year-old Joshua Woods, who was killed when a Southwest Airlines jet skidded off the end of the runway at Chicago Midway airport and crushed the car in which he was a passenger.

You talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My prayer is that he is safe in the loving arms of his Savior (whose name is also Joshua), and that God will send comfort to the family.

My heart goes out, too, to the air traffic controllers and the pilot of the flight. They will be wracking themselves for the rest of their lives, playing woulda shoulda-coulda over the decision to clear the flight to land, and then to attempt the landing.

For some reason, it's not newsworthy that our commerical aviation system routinely operates in miserable weather with near-perfect safety year-round.

Still, this Christmas one family is going to be without a six-year-old unwrapping presents under the tree. It breaks my heart.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Shameless

The so-called Liberal Avenger links to a newspaper story about a soldier who was killed in Iraq. LA wants to milk it for all it's worth. He wrote,
Even if it’s a bit hokey, if it is grist for the anti-war propaganda mill, I’m all for it.


Perhaps he can find similar stories for the tens of thousands killed by Saddam.

Or the millions massacred by the Khmer Rouge and the NVA after we pulled out of Vietnam.

Or the hundreds of thousands of US soldiers who died in WWII.


Every soldier's death in this struggle is tragic, but it is not a meaningless tragedy so long as we emerge victorious. Would the dead of Normandy and Iwo call their deaths meaningless, without value? To attempt to exploit a soldier's death - provide grist for the anti-war mill as he so callously puts it - in order to make our mission in Iraq appear futile is to dishonor the honored dead, to piss on their graves.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Serious question for our moonbat friends

The infamous Liberal Avenger and friends have been discussing the war in Iraq, whether or not we are winning, and what we should do. That leads me to turn his hypothetical question around, and ask the following:

Suppose just for a moment that we "wingnuts" are correct, and there really is a global radical-Islamist organization - absolutely ruthless, implacable, and dedicated - that has as its stated goal the destruction of the State of Israel, the elimination of all democratic governments, the establishment of a worldwide caliphate, and the imposition of the strictest Sharia law on every man, woman and child on the planet.

What should we do?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Rall and Trudeau spit on the troops

Garry Trudeau's latest series has wounded Iraq vet B.D. (sans helmet) suffering flashbacks and drinking heavily. The excerable Ted Rall, a far less accomplished artist* and commentator, goes further, insinuating that returned vets are all ultra-violent nutcases, at least as regards their sex lives. (ht - Michelle Malkin).

Thank God for Chris Muir, who can actually draw, and for Michael Yon, who gave us the photos of the jaw-dropping babes gracing the arms of the redoubtable warriors of the Deuce Four (can't WAIT for that new Bruce Willis flick!).

Rall really needs to see somebody about his sick fantasies.

* The airplane Rall has dropping bombs on the girlfriend's house (to break off the relationship) looks like it has the aft end of an F-4 or F-101 (with the horizontal stabilizer removed) and the front end of an F-105. The wing looks a bit like that on an A-4.

All of those are obsolete, long-retired, Vietnam-era aircraft.

Kind of like the Left's tired, tired "Vietnam" meme.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Superman as the Anti-Christ?

In the teaser trailer for Superman Returns, the voice of Jor-El tells Kal-El (the alien soon to be known as Superman) that humans have "great capacity for good. For that reason, I have sent them you, my only son."

God sent Jesus, his only Son, for precisely the opposite reason.

HT: Michelle Malkin

Paging Mr. Lynne, Mr. Barry Lynne....

Michelle Malkin reports on yet another excerable 9th Circus decision. This one supports an "educational" program that has children in a public school role-playing at Islam, including reciting Arabic prayers and fasting during Ramdan.

HELLOOOO?!?!?! Where's the ACLU on this? Where's Americans United for the Separation of Church and State?

More: Daniel Pipes reported on this in 2002.

George meets Ghengis

Gateway Pundit: George Bush Makes History, Praises Mongolian Democracy

Great photos.

What liberal media bias?

Two big stories out of Iraq this morning. This on the wires:

Iraq "Full" Coverage on Yahoo! News (quote marks added) leads with the AP report of "U.S. Forces Mistakenly Fire on Vehicle:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. forces mistakenly fired on a civilian vehicle outside an American base in a city north of Baghdad on Monday, killing three people, including a child, the military said."

Then there's this, from the blogs:

UPDATED: Arab Media Reports al-Zarqawi Dead:
"According to the Jerusalem Post, at least one Arab television network has reported that al-Qaeda mastermind in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been killed.

The report says that coalition soldiers encircled al-Zarqawi’s hideout, at which point several terrorists blew themselves up in order to avoid capture."

Which one will you see on CNN tonight or read about in the papers tomorrow?

Three guesses, the first two don't count.

Semper Fi, indeed

I have nothing to add to this; it speaks for itself.

Our Humvee was in the kill zone, and we were taking a lot of fire. A rocket-propelled grenade hit the weapon I was holding, an M-249 SAW, and just blew my hands off and blew my leg open. My femur was fractured and sticking out. My artery was hit, too, and bleeding like crazy. One of the Marines was able put the tourniquets on.

I was irritated that I couldn’t pull the trigger. I was thinking, “Damn, I can’t shoot back; what can I do?” What I could do was talk to my Marines and issue orders and supervise. I was still in a leadership position even though I didn’t have my hands.

- Sgt. James E. Wright

Friday, November 18, 2005

Good!

The House GOP is growing a spine. They're forcing a vote on Murtha's irresponsible resolution to cut and run in Iraq. With a GOP majority, the resolution will fail, of course. The only question is by how much. Democratic Representatives will have to decide whether to break with their party by voting for Murtha, or break with their base by voting against him.

Any Republican foolish enough to vote for surrender, of course, will be out of a job next election.

Break out the Orville Redenbacher's - this is gonna be good!

Dear Senator Kerry

I just saw you on CNN denouncing "another Swift Boat attack" on John Murtha's character by people who never chose to wear the uniform of the United States. I'm not sure what you meant by that.

The Swift Boat vets were themselves verterans - some of whom served alongside you, and who called into question your inflated version of your wartime service. If anyone had standing to question you about your claims, or your character under fire, they did. It's not their fault you lied about spending Christmas in Cambodia, or claimed to have served with a man you didn't, described covert operations for which no records exist and no corroborating witnesses have come forward, or wrote your own award recommendation. They just brought these facts to light.

The criticism of Murtha's proposal to abandon the Iraqis to the same fate as the South Vietnamese and Cambodians is simply pointing out that if retreat and surrender did not bring peace and freedom to Southeast Asia, it is unlikely to work in Southwest Asia. That's not an attack on the man's character, it's an attack on a very stupid idea.

To the best of my knowledge, the only charge against Rep Murtha's character has been that by proposing we cut and run, he has denigrated the sacrifice of those who have bled and died so that the Iraqi people have a shot at determining their own future. No one has intimated that he did not honorably serve his country in uniform.

Some of Murtha's harshest critics, by the way, are active-duty soldiers and Marines and their families. They have counted the cost, and paid the price, and see Murtha as selling them out. Do you consider their criticisms valid, Senator Kerry?


"Chickenhawk" disclosure: I tried to join the USAF in the late 80's. They didn't want a flatfooted, nearsighted asthmatic. My dad served with Nimitz. Had Truman not dropped the bomb he probably would have been taken out by a kamizake attack on a carrier during the invasion. One of my uncles was a paratrooper who jumped at Normandy and the Bulge, earning two Purple Hearts with an Oak Leaf Cluster. He carried shrapnel in his legs to his dying day. Another uncle was infantry in Italy I believe. Another uncle had three ships shot from under him in the Merchant Marine (*they* couldn't shoot back). Another uncle lost a finger to a Howitzer breech mechanism in the hedgerow country. My Scoutmaster was a mud Marine in Korea.

No, I was never shot at. But I knew them what was. And I believe that they would be repudiate Rep. Murtha without hesitation.

How to grow a spine

#1. Dump Frist
He's in love with the idea of being in the Senate. He sees himself as a modern-day Byrd (as Byrd imagines himself to be). I like the idea of a Senate, too. Deliberation and all that is not a bad thing - the founders had a good idea. And the asbestos thing was overblown- Frist was talking to the National Association of Manufacturers, and the asbestos litigation issue is HUGE in their world.

But still. Frist has demonstrated time and again that he'll sacrifice party, principle, and President for precedent. Get him gone.

#2. Get Delay back on the mound
Or at least coaching from the bullpen. Back in the game somehow.

#3. Schedule an up-or-down roll-call vote on an IMMEDIATE withdrawal of troops from Iraq. No amendments. Bring it on, let's git'r done, as they say.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

SAFE

So Pennsylvania Democrat Re. John Murtha wants to "immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces" and let the Iraqis fend for themselves.

Yes, let's keep our troops safe, by all means. Bring them home. Keep them safe.

We'd best ground the Air Force, too - it's not safe to fly those big jets. Keep the Navy in port - that water is deep and cold out there. It's not safe. Don't let the Army drive those tanks - what if they were to run over someone's foot? And for the love of safety lock up all those dangerous guns and missles and things.

We don't want anyone to get hurt. Especially not the men and women who have volunteered to go in harm's way to defend the rest of us. Let's all stay nice and safe.


Until the masked men come to our door with their beheading knives.


UPDATE: The new headline paints John "Cut-n-Run" Murtha as a "Hawkish" Democrat. He's a decorated Vietnam vet, a former Marine intel officer. How can he POSSIBLY want to visit upon the Iraqi people what the retreat from Vietnam visited upon Southeast Asia?

Unbelievable.

Netflix for geeks

Cool beans!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The good, the bad, and the Uruk-Hai

If I were Lileks, I'd have sound clips. But I'm not, so you'll have to use your imagination.

I'm watching the extras extended edition DVD of the Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers, taking a break to get a bite to eat, and it suddenly strikes me. The Rohan theme - dah dah dah di dah di dah dah, dah dah dah di dah di dah daaah... sounds a WHOLE LOT like the theme from the Clint Eastwood classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Who-ee-oo-ee-ooh bwah bwah bwah. Who-ee-oo-ee-ooh bwah bwah bwaaah...

The Rohirrim are people of the horse. They live in wooden towns on windswept plains. The men are brave and loyal, the women are strong and stoic. They have swords instead of sixguns and a king rather than a sherriff, but STILL!

Has anyone noticed this before?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This needs a good fisking

TCS: Tech Central Station - Is Intelligent Design a Bad Scientific Theory or a Non-Scientific Theory?

So full of errors and bias I'm amazed that Glenn linked to it.

Crank it up to eleven

I quit trying to explain this to my intermediate guitar students some time ago. The new electronic tuners are good enough.

Tune it or die.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Absence of evidence = evidence of absence?

Shifting Icebergs May Have Forced Penguin Evolution

So three widely-separated colonies of penguins are genetically identical. But-but-but, evolution says that they should be different! So we have to come up with a mechanism to explain why evolution doesn't seem to have happened in a place where it should. Whew! Crisis averted.

Oh - the article includes this statement:
Microevolution involves small-scale genetic changes in a species over time. The classic example is a color change undergone by British pepper moths in response to changing levels of air pollution.
Only problem is, that example is a well-known hoax, not a classic example.

Monday, November 07, 2005

How do you say "Mein Kampf" in Farsi?"

Clifford May echoes my own thoughts:
Eighty years ago, Adolf Hitler published an autobiography-cum-manifesto. Its title translates as “My Struggle.” In it, Hitler talked of his desire for revenge against France, the German nation's need to control more land, and the means by which his National Socialist Party could gain power. It also included, of course, a clear indication of his genocidal intentions against the Jews. Last week, Iran's president echoed those themes. He talked about his “struggle” – the word translate into both Arabic and Persian as “jihad” -- his desire for revenge against America and the West, the Islamic nation's need to control more land, and the means by which his Militant Islamist movement could gain global power. Of course, there are differences between Hitler in 1925 and Ahmadinejad in 2005. Perhaps the biggest is this: When Hitler made his threats he was an obscure politician whom hardly anyone took seriously. By contrast, Ahmadinejad is the president of a large and wealthy nation that operates terrorist organizations and is well on its way to developing nuclear weapons. (emphasis mine)
(emphasis mine) Couple that development with the riots in France, and things are getting...interesting.

Are the New Testament Gospels Reliable?

WOW. The erudite and readable Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts has completed a 30-part series on the historical reliability of the Gospels. In his closing segment, Robers notes,
I don't believe I've proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the New Testament gospels are historically reliable. I do believe, however, that I've shown it is reasonable to regard these gospels as historically accurate.
I've long argued that proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" - the standard set in criminal law - is not a rational standard to evaluate the historicity of the Gospels. Indeed, theologically it is impossible to do so. If the truth of the Gospels is proven beyond doubt, then there is no room for faith.

"Preponderance of evidence" and "most likely explanation" - the civil legal standard - is a far more reasonable standard to employ.

Lots of reading to do.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

An even more insignificant protest

A few weeks ago, perhaps as much as 100,000 people marched in Washington to protest the war in Iraq, the existence of the state of Israel, global warming, etc. I noted then that it was statistically insignificant, since the marchers represented at best 3.3% of the population - a fringe movement by any definition. Today, about 9,000 students cut classes nationwide to protest the war in Iraq.

That's .003 percent - 1 in 33,333. If the population were the bloodstream, and the protestors were alcohol, the nation would not only be legal to drive, a blood test wouldn't even pick it up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Scientists in a snit

In an escalation of the nation's culture war over the teaching of evolution, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association announced yesterday that they will not allow Kansas to use key science education materials developed by the two organizations.

The refusal came after the groups reviewed the latest draft of the Kansas State Department of Education's new science education standards and concluded that they overemphasize uncertainties about the theory of evolution and fail to make it clear that supernatural phenomena have no place in science.

Next up, watch for the NAS and the NSTA to castigate Kansas for using "substandard" curriculum materials.

Monday, October 31, 2005

As if any more proof was needed...

...that the UN is a worthless, toothless organization:
Key U.N. Security Council members dropped the threat of sanctions against Syria on Monday in a last-minute effort to get all 15 nations to back a resolution demanding that Damascus cooperate with an investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The resolution had called for possible economic sanctions if Syria didn't comply, citing the U.N. Charter. But the new text dropped the reference to the charter, saying only that if Syria doesn't cooperation "the council, if necessary, could consider further action."

During negotiations that began Sunday night and continued early Monday morning, the five veto-wielding council members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — also agreed to drop an appeal to Syria to renounce all support for terrorism

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What part of "wiped off the map" don't you understand?

Iran's president addressed a conference call called "The World Without Zionism." Citing Ayatollah Khomeni, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that, "Israel must be wiped off the map."

This from a nation that is pursuing nuclear weapons.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Who would Jesus Bomb?

Lileks went off on another screed this week, about an anti-war protestor with a sign reading, "Who would Jesus bomb?" It prompted my old buddy Pete from Detroit to write the following:

I get SO tired of these sanctimonious prigs. The OBVIOUS answer (and the point of the barb at W) is that Jesus was not a bombing kinda guy. And so it is. Were he to deal out vindication he'd be much more personal about it - the scene with the moneychangers in the temple being a classic example. Then again, there's the lesson of Sodom and Gommorah. Granted, that wasn't specifically Jesus, but it's hard to think of a nuke attack being described in biblical terms any more accurately.

We also know God takes a dim view of people who oppress Jews, their armies, and their sons (hello, Pharoh, the plagues weren'tenough? You had to drive the army into the sea?). So, from various perspectives, we have indications that the divinity has visited retribution on those who cheat the people in the name of 'religion' and convenience, (Oil for Food, anyone?), the sexually promiscious (Yasser, Saddam, his sons) and oppressive regiemes and their minions.

Also, more to the point the people he would certainly NOT bomb would be tourists at a disco, families in a pizza place, soldiers in theirbarracks (or on a boat), grandmothers on a bus, kids on a school bus or even actually IN the school. Those, I think, are the ones Jesus would not bomb.

Which side are these *sshats ON, anyway?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy birthday, Your Excellency!

Baroness Maggie turns 80 today. (My Dad does the same shortly.)

A fitting tribute to the Great Lady is Mark Steyn's comments on Hugh Hewitt's show today (as transcribed at radioblogger.com). They contain a cautionary note for those U.S. conservatives carping about President Bush today:
And it shows the danger when you have...you know, great leaders are very rarely honored by their parties, because the parties are full of all the safe time servers. And that's what Mrs. Thatcher's Torry Party was. She was a bold, courageous leader. You see it now. Tony Blair in Britian, John Howard in Australia, and George W. Bush in the United States. And innumerable Eastern European leader that nobody knows the names of. These are all essentially Thatcherite leaders operating Thatcherite policies at home and abroad. And yet the one place where she didn't have a working majority in those few months in 1990, was her own political party.
(Emphasis mine.)

An idiot, but a dangerous idiot

On the eve of the first free, deomocratic constitutional referendum in the country's history, Michael Fisk says that Iraq has descended into anarchy.

I guess in his little enclave in the Green Zone he doesn't have access to Michael Yon or Arthur Chrenckoff.

What makes Fisk a dangerous idiot rather than simply an idiot is that people listen to him, thinking that he is speaking the truth. Not many people, and not powerful people, but generally loud people. And unfortunately, often a few loud people get noticed by many or powerful people.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A great, great speech

The President finally gave the speech he's been needing to give for a couple of years. This is why we're fighting, and what we're fighting for.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

We put the fun in disfunctional

A quick shout-out to the members of my family that I finally got brave enough to tell about this blog. I know we disagree about many - ok, most - political, social, and religious issues, but I love you guys to the end of time. So break out the Maalox and keep reading.

Molech must be pleased

Netherlands legalizes killing babies (Donald Sensing).

Like the death of a parent, you know it's coming, you see it coming, it's not really a surprise, but you're still stunned when it happens.

Maranatha!

She blinded me .. with SCIENCE!

When I get around to putting a blogroll on this thing, Mark Shea and Patrick O'Hannigan are gonna be on it.

Missing the point on Miers

UPDATED - the original was WAY too long and rambling.

Half the conservative world is up in arms over Harriet. "How do we know she's a real conservative? How do we know she's a strict constructionist?" they cry.

It's blindingly obvious to me - she's an evangelical Christian.

Harriet Miers has attended and been active in an Evangelical church for decades. Social moderate-conservatism is in the water, the air. (You'll also find some extremely strong social conservatives, but fewer in Evangelical than in Fundamentalist churches.)

Many of Miers's critics grudgingly accept that she's probably a social conservative. But they're unsure about her stance on the interpretation of the Constitution. Again, her faith-based worldview informs this.

Evangelicals study the Bible, trying to discern the writer's original intent. "What's the 'therefore' there for?" There are wide-ranging arguments over how to interpret many passages (most a result of different ways to translate the original languages and discussions over cultural and historical context), but the bottom line is, "What does the Bible SAY?" We let the text speak for itself, and take the most plain meaning possible.

I'm not worried about Harriet Miers rewriting the Constitution.

Note: I wrote this BEFORE I saw the post on Captain's Quarters or the WSJ article talking about this very issue. Great minds think alike, eh? :-)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Be mindful of the consequences of errors in your work

NASA said today that the likely cause of the PAL-ramp foam coming off Discovery's tank was workers damaging it either by cutting it while working nearby, or leaning against it and cracking it. The loose blanket under the window had shoddy stitching. The bits sticking out on the belly tiles were improperly glued.

The shuttle is the most complex machine ever built - over one million pieces, each one delivered and assembled under government contract by the lowest bidder.

I used to think that was funny.

More signs of the impending end

Jeb Bush is piggybacking on Disney's marketing of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to get school children to read the C.S. Lewis classic for his statewide reading initiative.

Hide your children.

Seriously, it'd be great to have some organized protests. Then we can put The Narnia Chronicles on the "read a banned book" table at the public library.

Great minds think alike

I'm delighted that Hugh, Beldar, and Thomas Lifson all share my point of view that Harriet Miers is a very shrewd choice.

The vocal red-meat red-staters need to understand that this President thinks and acts strategically, not tactically. They might have preferred a nominee that would generate a nuclear war on the floor of the Senate, but even if the Byrd option were imposed (and I frankly don't think Frist has the spine to pull the trigger) and cloture forced, it would be a Pyrrhic victory. It might have the base whoopin' and hollerin, but the vast majority of voters would be turned off.

This way, the President gets a solid conservative whose views are personally known to him and keeps his powder dry until Stevens retires after the 2006 elections.

As my kid's sensei says, the best way to win a fight is to avoid it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

What is Web 2.0? - definition from examples

John Hagel has a thoughtful post on what Web 2.0 is. Up to this point, it's been a concept with lots of examples, but without a definition. Hagel provides a definition and goes through each word of the definition in exegetical fashion to show why it fits.

Good stuff on many levels, not the least of which is providing a worked example of developing a list of attributes from a set of prototype examples.

Miers for SCOTUS

I'm puzzled, too, but I suspect there is more going on than meets the eye.

As Counsel, Miers has worked with the President. Bush has gotten to know her, to know her views. They are certainly not very different from his own.

Miers has no judicial record, and a thin record was the one bit of damp ammo the Democrats had on Roberts. That and the 'Texas Mafia' line (Miers and Laura Bush were classmates, I've read) may be all they have on Miers as well. We'll find out soon enough. No record and a charge of cronyism may be enough to sink the nomination. In which case, one might assume that Bush did the political calculus, and has another nominee in the wings.

Bush isn't running for re-election. His poll numbers are pretty much meaningless. But with cries of dismay coming from the right, the opposition simply isn't going to be energized, except for the terminal-BDS crew.

Crazy like a fox? I hope so.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Monkeymagic: Wifi, Cafes and Solitude ruminates on an interesting phenomenon - wireless coffee shows are getting quiet. There's just as much business, just a whole lot less conversation. Well, there's probably a lot of conversation, just none taking place between the people in the shop. Everyone has a laptop, and is busy IMing and blogging with people who are elsewhere and elsewhen.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A statistically insignificant protest

There were some anti-war protestors in DC this weekend, we're told. About 100,000 according to the reports I've seen. The media is breathlessly reporting it, no doubt, as a sign of the public's decreasing support for the US mission in Iraq.

Let's take a deep breath. Poll questions are usually asked as yes/no questions - it's easier to parse out for public consumption. But another method is to use a Likert scale - the familiar five-point strongly agree / agree / neutral / disagree / strongly disagree.

It's safe to say that 99% of the protesters in DC this weekend would fall on the "strongly disagree with the war" end of the scale. After all, they gave up a weekend (which they could have spent getting pre-positioned to provide relief services to hurricane victims) and no small amount of money. (DC is not a cheap place to stay, and I don't think they all camped out on the Mall or found crash space with symathetic locals.)

So these folks are committed to their cause. Customer service experts tell us that for every customer who complains, there are ten just as dissatisfied who don't take the trouble to complain. Let's give that number to the protestors and bump it by an order of magnitude. Let's assume that for every person on the Mall waving signs like "Bush is the terrorist" or "Socialist Revolution is the Only Answer" or "We support our troops when they shoot their officers" there are 100 people back home (or getting pre-positioned to help the communities devasted by Rita and Katrina) who support their cause, who are strongly opposed to our mission in Iraq.

So that rally on the Mall represents 100 x 100,000, or 10^2 x 10^5 or 10^7. 10,000,000. Out of a country of 300,000,000. Ten out of three hundred, one out of thirty.

That's 3.3% - the sampling error for most national polls. Way out on the tail of a normal distribution, beyond two standard deviations. Statistically,the anti-war protestors are indeed out on the fringe.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Stuck on stupid.

NB: As of Friday MID-DAY, the freeways out of Houston were clear. But here are a few notable phrases from the AP's "national writer" in a story that appeared on the web Friday EVENING:
Panicked drivers ... a spectacular, deadly bus fire clogged traffic near Dallas], and freeways were red rivers of taillights that stretched to the horizon. ... an age of terrorist danger and with [MSM-fueled] memories of the nightmare in New Orleans ... Thousands of drivers [most of whom DID NOT NEED TO BE ON THE ROAD] ... extreme heat, out of gas — as gas trucks, rumored [rumours spread HOW??] to be on the way ... never came. ...frustrated, angry and growing desperate, [which explains the massive outbreaks of road rage... oh, wait. Reports of people sharing food and water in line, giving each other gas? Doesn't fit the narrative. Carry on.] scattered and stranded ... monster storm .... etc. etc. etc.
Media hysteria? naaaaaahhhhhhh......

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Global warming affects Mars, too.

Mars Orbiter Spots Changes on Red Planet

"The planet may be undergoing a climate change, according to images that show a shrinking of carbon dioxide deposits near the south pole. For the last three Martian summers, the deposits have shrunk from the previous year"

BushCheneyRove's environmental plundering even traverses interplanetary space! Who knew?

If for no other reason...

...than to give some webcrawling linkbot a raison d'etre to link to it, here's Professor Reynolds' money quote as transcribed at Radio Blogger: "I have never known reporters to be especially good at accepting constructive criticism."

That could apply to a lot of folks. Especially them what is stuck on stupid. (That link is to an MP3. Here's the transcript.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Some things you simply don't countenance (PG-13 at least)

ht Roger L Simon Gay Patriot - Iranian Authorities Torture Gay Youth As a theologically and socially conservative Christian, I do not condone or celebrate homosexuality. (This despite the fact that I have had many fine gay coworkers, not to mention a couple of family members whom I dealy love.) I am tolerant, in the original sense of the word. Merely tolerant, perhaps, but tolerant at least. But this. This. Is savagery.

I can hardly wait for the reviews

Working with wordsmith Mary-Rose Hayes, Sen. Barbara Boxer has penned - literally - a suspense novel about the inner workings of Washington politics.

For mindcandy I usually go in for technothrillers in the vein of Clive Cussler, John Nance, and Dale Brown and Tom Clancy back when they were readable.

This one should - ok, could - be interesting. It would be truly fascinating, though, to compare the handwritten manuscript with the finished typeset work. Not that it'll be possible.

Might even be more interesting to find out whether the galleys were corrected by Sen Boxer or Ms. Hayes.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Next International Right?

Professor Reynolds links to this article. Key takeaway - genocide doesn't happen to armed populations. Ever. Period. So why, if the UN wants to eliminate genocide, does it want to ensure that no private citizen has the right to keep and bear arms?

Internet Time Blog: Another way of looking at instructional design

Internet Time Blog: Another way of looking at instructional design

I need to carve out a little time to look at this in detail. He may have a point. On the other hand, he might just be ranting. Not quite sure, yet.

UPDATE: He's ranting. Move along.

Well, DUH!

As I predicted a couple of weeks ago, astute members of the Connecticut library community have figured out who was ordered by the FBI to turn over the record of a patron who is a suspect in an ongoing anti-terrorism investigation.

Even better, a judge has ruled that the library organization that recieved the order can publicly identify itself next week, pending the government's appeal.

So follow this, civis students. The Legislative Branch passes a law - the Patriot Act - which contains a proviso intended to protect ongoing investigations. The Executive Branch enforces the law, requesting the library records of an individual suspected of something having to do with terrorist activities.

The ACLU posts on its website a whiny affidavit from the library official who got the order. The affidavit laments the fact that she's been "put under a gag order" and so - alas! - she is prevented from warning her fellow librarians about the - shock! gasp! - intrusiveness of this nefarious law. (A law which should not have surprised her with its provisions if she were really as knowledgeable about patron privacy issues as she gives herself credit for being.) ACLU's thin redaction of the affidavit makes it easy to figure out who this individual is and who she works for. But to make absolutely sure that the person being investigated is thoroughly tipped off to the fact that he's under investigation by the feds, the ACLU goes crying to the Judicial Branch, trying to get it to override the other two branches and allow the library to identify itself.

As a result, someone who may have been plotting another 9/11 is going to go underground. Sleeper terrorists already in the US will be tipped off that their use of American taxpayer-funded public libraries to reseach ways to kill large numbers of American taxpayers can be monitored. Hopefully their plans are still too embyronic to be put into motion once they catch the clue that they can be rolled up.

Somehow, I don't think that this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind by "separation of powers" and "checks and balances."

The Roberts Court will likely rule that the national interest in preventing a terror attack trumps an individual library patron's expectation of absolute privacy. Unfortunately, the damage was done when the ACLU posted its warning to the terrorist.

Friday, September 16, 2005

NASA to unveil plans for 2018 moon mission

Yes. Yes indeed. Let's get going. What's keeping us? We're three decades late.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Another reason not to go to Holland

"Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, all citizens will be tracked from cradle to grave in a single database — including health, education, family and police records — the health ministry said Tuesday.

As a privacy safeguard, no single person or agency will be able to access all contents of a file. But organizations can raise "red flags" in the dossier to caution other agencies about problems, ministry spokesman Jan Brouwer said

...

"Child protection services will say, 'Hey, there's a warning flag from the police. There's another one from school. There's another one from the doctor," Brouwer said. "Something must be going on and it's time to call the parents in for a meeting.""


Or it's time to call in the doctors at Groeningen for a meeting. Not now, OF COURSE! Not even perhaps soon, but eventually.

Eventually... "

Sunday, September 11, 2005

SHOCKING! not

FLASH! The US might possibly consider thinking about not entirely disregarding the potential application of its entire range of deterrent force!!

IOW, you nuke us, we just might nuke you. This is new??

Friday, September 09, 2005

Eject! Eject! Eject!: TRIBES

Bill Whittle is back. As usual, his excellent writing could benefit from a good editor, but he is well-spoken in this thoughtful essay.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A professional's response to the Katrina carping

I work with a fellow who is a retired Fire Chief and FD Training Director. Currently, he is the Program Director for a national Emergency Management training program. I asked him for his take on the response to Katrina, and the response to the response. Here's what he wrote:
Hi Corrie: I wanted to wait a couple days before responding so I could "take in" the various accounts of the situation. Here's my perspective:
  • While FEMA has been slow and inefficient, they were NEVER designed to be an "emergency response" organization. They are an umbrella agency that coordinates response of other agencies. That said, they have been overly bureaucratic and inefficient in doing their job.
  • FEMA has been blamed for too much! For as long as I have been around, local and state government has been repeatedly told they should expect to be on their own for 48-72 hours and plan accordingly. It can take 48 hours for the national guard to arrive, likewise for a USAR team, and FEMA.
  • NO exercise design or drill has ever taken into account responders would be shot at nor receive assistance from able bodied evacuees. Every book or course I have read/attended assumed able bodied evacuees would do everything possible to assist the responders and those around them. In many cases this did not happen in New Orleans, and will certainly be included in future plans.
  • Had cautions been heeded this probably would not have happened. It is my understanding the levees were designed to withstand a maximum Cat-3 storm. It was also known the levees needed repair/upgraded and sufficient funds were not allocated to do this.
  • To some extent, I am unsure about the "race" issues the media repeatedly brings up. I truly believe the problem is overwhelming and multiple problems such as the unusual combination of hurricane, destroyed levee, flood, roads out, bridges out, shooting at responders, and lack of communications due to the systems being down, and not a matter of blatant racism.
  • The sad part is much could have been prevented directly by those most affected. Thousands ignored a MANDATORY evacuation issued 48 or more hours prior to the hurricane. FREE public transit was provided to anyone who needed a ride to the evacuation centers. Some of the evacuees screaming the most are those who ignored the MANDATORY evacuation orders - and even today some still are !
  • Because of our "federalism" form of government, home rule, and laws certain steps have to be taken to get federal assistance in a disaster such as this. There is a lot of arguing going on as to when each step was or was not accomplished, but basically the following usually must occur for federal help:
  • (1) The local head of government must declare a state of emergency to the county/parish.
  • (2) The county/parish must declare a state of emergency and notify the governor.
  • (3) Only once the governor makes the declaration can even the national Guard unit - even a block away - be activated.
  • (4) Once the governor declares the state of emergency a request can be made to the President for a federal declaration and federal (FEMA) assistance. I know it's a lot, but that's the form of government we have lived with for 200+ years, and any elected official should know what has to be done to get the needed help.
  • The Red Cross and others get there faster than FEMA because they don't have all the steps government has to take to respond.
  • I am very frustrated we have not taken better advantage of the international aid. Last count 98 countries had offered assistance. I think it's disrespectful we have not either accepted the aid or cut the red tape to get it here.

That's my two cents (or maybe a buck or more?). Thanks for listening. Lee

Friday, September 02, 2005

How disingenuous, how dangerous

In the course of an ongoing counterterrorism investigation, the FBI used a tool authorized under the Patriot Act, called a national-security letter (NSL), to request library records. The DoJ has argued that revealing the name of the library will irreparably harm the investigation. One of the provisions of the NSL is that a recipient can't disclose that they've gotten it. The gag order sensibly protects ongoing investigations.

So what does the ACLU do? They get an affidavit from the librarian decrying the use of the NSL, block out some information, but leave enough info that one could if so inclined identify the librarian through her description of her professional activities on behalf of patron privacy.

It's hard to believe that a librarian so intimately concerned with the issue of patron privacy would not be aware of the provisions of the NSL. It's highy disingenuous for the ACLU to post an affadavit chock full of statements such as, "If not for the gag order, I would tell other librarians about XYZ..."

And it's dangerous to an ongoing counterterrorism investigation to post information that will let a bad guy know he's being watched.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Going the last mile

Americans Open Homes to Katrina Refugees:

It's wonderful - and unsurprising - that Americans are willing to open their homes to strangers in need.

It's also no surprise that a website, Craigslist, has sprung up as a cleaninghouse. But as the article says, there needs to be a way to get that information to the people who need it.

We need to go the last mile. We need folks with laptops in refugee centers with wireless connectivity - and wireless needs to be set up in places like the Astrodome if it's not there already - to match up refugees with folks offering shelter.

Hopefully Hugh and Glenn will pick up on this and give it some visibility.

Katrina Relief

Instapundit has a list of organizations that are accepting donations for victims of Katrina. The recovery will be long and painful for these people. Please donate generously. Right now, cash is the best thing to give, as it's fungible. Later, there'll be a need for able-bodied workers to hep rebuild, and tools and materials to rebuild with.

Most of all, pray.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Katrina "proves" Bush failed New Orleans? yaright

Bob Brigham is busted, big-time. (When the alliteration is this easy, you HAVE to take it, right?)

Bob rants about how the damage from Hurricane Katrina is Bush's fault. The article he linked, where the pull quotes came from, contains a KEY sentence that he somehow neglected to quote:

"Congress is setting the Corps budget."

That's right. Congress, not the Administration. Further, the article makes it pretty clear that the reason the Democratic Representative was upset about the cuts was that they were pork-barrel cuts. Nary a word about public safety - her concern was for the poor contractors who wouldn't be able to line up at the public trough.

If he wants his argument to stick, he needs to demonstrate (not merely insinuate) that the unfunded projects would have made a lick of difference faced with 165mph winds and a 28-foot storm surge.

Here's a bit of unpleasant calculus for you. Libs seem to forget that W is a Harvard MBA. One of the things you learn in biz school is risk management. Sometimes it's a wiser course of action to maintain liquid funds that can be used to pick up the pieces if an unlikely event occurs (or be otherwise usefully employed if it does not occur), than sink those funds in risk-prevention that might not work.

The risk-prevention we have undertaken in Afghanistan and Iraq has been demonstrably effective. It's not at all clear that dumping a few billion bucks into New Orleans levees would save / would have saved the city from Katrina.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Michael Yon - Gates of Fire

If you have not read Michael Yon's latest dispatch from Mosul, stop what you are doing and take the ten minutes needed.

Then take another moment to thank God that we have men such as LTC Erik Kurrilla in our Armed forces, and Michael Yon to tell us about them.

Because as sure as Hell is hot, the mainstream media would never tell this story.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

No excuse

Robertson backs off Chavez assassination call:
"'There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted,' Robertson added. Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition and a presidential candidate in 1988, said on Monday of Chavez, one of Bush's most vocal critics: 'If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.'"
"I was misinterpreted" doesn't fly.

Jesus of the Bunnies

Remember that 70's eco-sci-fi Bruce Dern flick "Silent Running"? I always liked it. I mean, you had SFX by Doug trumbull, a score by Peter "PDQ Bach" Schickele, ATVs, and R2D2-precursor robots. So what if it was dripping in 70's sentiment? James Lileks takes it apart in typical Lileks style. "Near-fatal dose of Joan Baez ... Marty Feldman Ocular Protrusion Acting Method." He's dead on target, of course, which is what makes it so danged funny.

This hits close to home

Breakthrough Work Converts Stem Cells into Lung Tissue

I've got pretty severe asthma, and over the years it's resulted in significant, permanent tissue damage. I live on the equivalent of less than one lung.

So if someone offered me an injection that promised to repair my damaged lung tissue, would I take it?

Well, DUH. Here's my arm, d00d. Gimme teh goodz!!


But what if the label stated that it was derived from embryonic stem cells?

Well, DUH. No way, d00d.

I didn't really have to think about it, somewhat to my surprise. I'm not willing to sacrifice a child to save my own life.

And this is a *bad* thing?

The L.A. Times breathlessly reports that - GASP! - conservative, Christian organizations are training young men and women for public service.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

al Qaeda's Mein Kampf

The Word Unheard: Zarqawi to Journalist: al Qaeda's Seven Steps to Caliphate Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in jail. The book outlined his plans for world domination. Once he was free, he began to carry out the plan. If the world had taken him seriously enough, early enough, WWII might have been averted. Now, it appears that Zabu al-Zarkawi, the al-Qaida mastermind in Iraq, has confided to a Jordanian journalist his seven-phase plan to bring the world under Islamist sharia law and usher in the new caliphate. We need to take him at his word. Scary stuff. Brings a new light to Revelation. ht: Donald Sensing

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

So that's what a corrie looks like

Down the corrie wall ... from Exiled from GROGGS

Can we major on the majors, please?

Crosswalk.com reports on a tiff between Christianity Today and Focus on the Family.

Come ON, people! While there still is vigorous disagreement over the extent to which human activity causes climate change, there is little doubt that climate change IS in fact occuring. How can looking into ways to mitigate human contributions to global warming be anything but A Good Thing?

I've been a fan of Dobson and his organization for a long time, but why Focus on the Family is wading into environmental policy I have NO idea.

Sometimes I just wanna smack people... In love, of course.

Fighting Sioux, indeed!

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for posting a link ot this. Open letter to the NCAA from the President of the University of North Dakota. As brilliant a fisking as I have ever seen. Powererfully understated.
Is it the use of the names of tribes that you find hostile and abusive? Not long ago I took a trip to make a proposal to establish an epidemiological program to support American Indian health throughout the Upper Great Plains. On this trip I left a state called North Dakota. (Dakota is one of the names the indigenous people of this region actually call themselves.) I flew over South Dakota, crossing the Sioux River several times, and finally landed in Sioux City, Iowa, just south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The airplane in which I traveled that day was called a Cheyenne. I think you should find my confusion here understandable, since obviously if we were to call our teams “The Dakotans,” we would actually be in more direct violation of what apparently you are trying to establish as a rule, even though this is the name of our state. ... Is it only about applying names to sports teams? If so, would this be extended to the use of the names of all people, or is it just American Indians? Why would you exempt the “Fighting Irish” from your consideration, for example? Or “Vikings,” which are really fighting Scandinavians, or “Warriors,” which I suppose could be described as fighting anybodies? Wouldn’t it be “discrimination on account of race” to have a policy that applies to Indians but not to Scandinavians or the Irish, or anybody else for that matter? ... Help me understand why you think “hostile and abusive” applies to us. We have more than 25 separate programs in support of American Indian students here receiving high-end university educations. Included among these is an “Indians Into Medicine” program, now 30+ years running, that has generated 20 percent of all American Indian doctors in the United States. We have a similar program in Nursing, one in Clinical Psychology, and we are about to launch an “Indians into Aviation” program in conjunction with our world-class Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. I am very proud when I visit reservations in our state to see that a large number of the teachers, doctors, Tribal College presidents, and other leaders are graduates of the University of North Dakota. Do you really expect us to host a tournament in which these names and images are covered in some way that would imply that we are ashamed of them? ...
If President Kupchella ever tires of academic life, he should start a blog. Now then, I'm a fan of the Cleveland Indians. I like the "cheesy grin" of the Chief Wahoo logo. I can understand how some Natives, though, don't find him endearing. I grew up with stereotypical cartoon depictions of "Negros" with big noses and lips, family members who used the "n-word" simply as a descriptive term without malice, but I find those images and terms unsettling today. I used to live in a desperately poor neighborhood with a large Native population. Community activists were trying hard to build on "Native Pride". it was an uphill struggle, especially since their cousins on the reservation south of the city were growing rich from casino gambling. As a person of Acadian descent, I refuse to see any Adam Sandler vehicle because of his offensive "Cajun Man" routine on Saturday Night Live. I'm not closely connected to my Cajun heritage, but his depiction offended me deeply. Many people don't know that the Cajun people are survivors of one of the first attempts at ethnic cleansing in North America. Longfellow's epic poem "Evangeline" describes in romantic terms a fictional account of a real event - the forced eviction of the Acadian people from their land in 1755 by the British, aided by the Governor of the Colony of Massachusets. Families were separated. People were killed. The territory of Acadia was emptied of Acadians. Do I have a right to be offended? Sure. Do I have the right, because I - a descendant of survivors of ethnic cleansing - find him offensive, to ban Adam Sandler movies from the theaters or airwaves?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Begin with the end in mind

Harvard jumps into evolution debate - Boston.com

"'My expectation is that we will be able to reduce this to a very simple series of logical events that could have taken place with no divine intervention,' said David R. Liu, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard."

Well, if that's what they expect to find, I'm certain they will find it. Or more likely, they'll issue a report that says, "Well, we still don't know how life began, but we're completely confident that God didn't do it. Can we have some more money?"

Friday, August 12, 2005

For cryin out loud

CutUsABreak.org

Students at a Kutztown PA school figured out the admin password on the laptops they had been issued. (It was printed on the back of the computer.) They used the admin access to get around the laptop's lockdown and install P2P software, chat, etc.

They've been charged with a 3rd-degree felony for "Computer Vandalism."

If they'd driven over the laptops with their bikes, that would have only been a misdemeanor.

Sure, they violated the school AUP and deserve some sort of sanction - but a FELONY CHARGE?

Free curriculum - at what cost?

Jimbo (Wikipedia) Wales guest-posts at Lawrence Lessig's blog

He is going down a list of "Ten things that will be free." Not should be free, but will be free. #2 is Curriculum.

Commentor Frank has a very good point - there's a financial incentive to produce non-free curricula. What's the incentive to produce free curricula? A sense of public service? A tiny bit of ego perhaps (but let's call it Mazlowvian self-actualization)?

This was echoed in a recent discussion on ITFORUM on the value that publishers add in the new world of online self-publishing. David Wiley made the point that the real value that publishers can bring is the process of editing and providing a structure for peer-review of content. (One might counter that that's the same argument made by the "MSM" against blogs, invoking the high and mighty system of "journalistic checks and balances.")

The main problem that I see is that without a well thought out compensation model, the quality of freely-produced content is going to be all over the map. As was pointed out in the comments, good writing and good illustrations matter a great deal and take time and effort. Where does this time and effort come from? Wikipedia is an interesting model of how people can and will contribute their spare time (and I've certainly done my bit), but the product that results is inconsistent.

How do you enforce a style sheet on unmanaged and unmanageable volunteers? Without a system of compensation, how do you make clear roles and expectations? If Expert A doesn't like the edits that Writer B makes to his ramblings, he can pack up his kit and go away, leaving an article - or a book - or an interactive multimedia program - high and dry. What then? Do we blithely assume that someone else with copious amounts of free time will just step in and pick up the pieces out of a sense of social contribution? That certainly seems to be the case.

Finally, I have to say that I find the political tone of some of the comments amusing, if not surprising. There seems to be an assumption that all forward-thinking educators drink from the same pool of social progressivism. Not so. Some of us are shockingly conservative in our worldview. :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Fundamentalists and heretics

Short Attention Span - Blog Archive - Fundamentalists and heretics

Kevin over at Short Attention Span hits the nail on the head regarding anti-ID fundamentalists.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Are you a good learning theory or a bad learning theory?

State of the Art Instructional Video Games Working my way through the current issue of Innovate Online, from Nova Southeastern. J.P. Gee opines that successful video games are based on "good theories of learning" while much traditional instruction is based on "bad theories." It will be interesting to see how he dichotomizes them. Gee says that distributed authentic professional expertise (DAPE - my acronym) is a "good learning theory. He doesn't say why, other than to note that the real world is typically characterized by this. While I agree with his premise that dropping an unguided learner into a rich environment is not a good idea, that doesn't automatically make DAPE "good learning theory." He says this: "Good video games, like Full Spectrum Warrior, distribute authentic professional expertise between the virtual character(s) and the real-world player." Maybe I'm reading in a syllogism that doesn't exist, but there are plenty of good games without DAPE. And I suspect there are DAPEful games that are lousy games. But maybe I'm seeing things that aren't there. Back to the article... Alright, finished. I'm disappointed. Gee didn't really explain why DAPE is superior. Indeed, his "state of the art" instructional model looks an awful like cogntive apprenticeship, a topic on which I presented way back in 1997. Well, on tot he next article.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Amazing and amusing tales from the Cold War

Special Operations.Com The amazing story of how the US eavesdropped on Soviet naval communications from the 1970s until they were sold out by spy Robert Pelton in 1980.
In the early 1970's, the U.S. government learned of the existence of an undersea cable running parallel to the Kuril Islands chain, connecting the major Soviet naval bases at Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk.
...
[A] joint Navy-National Security Agency (NSA) mission was initiated, code-named Operation Ivy Bells, involving the use of U.S. Navy fast attack submarines working in conjunction with specially-trained Navy combat divers. Working in tandem, they would make monthly incursions into these dangerous waters to "tap" the line.
...
Once the device was in place, subsequent missions were required in which a submarine would return to the location to pick up the six to eight weeks' worth of recordings inside the pod. For this operation, the frogmen would depart the sub's escape trunk, swim to the cable (reportedly with the aid of a minisub on occasion), remove the recorded tape, and then make their way back to the waiting submarine. This tape was then delivered to the NSA for processing and dissemination to the appropriate military and civilian agencies. Not long after the recovery of the first tapes, it was discovered that the Soviets felt so sure of the security of their undersea communication line, that the majority of the concersations recorded were completely uncoded!
Also this related, lighthearted tale from < a href="http://spookgroup.tripod.com/id8.html">Spookgroup:
From LCDR(Ret) John Arnold
On Halibut, after our 2nd back-to-back Ivy Bells mission, my 4 Chiefs were bored and up to mischief on our return to CONUS. They stole the CO's stateroom door. The CO had the XO's door transfered to his stateroom & told the XO he didn't care if they ever found the door. Needless to say the XO was ticked. Each watch section had a search/recovery team looking in vain for the elusive door. To add insult to injury, the spook Chiefs re installed the (missing for 10 days) door on the XO's stateroom. All of this accomplished without discovery or even a clue as to who pulled off this great TF. It wasn't until our mission debrief at NSA that we revealed the Mystery to the skipper-Chuck Larsen. I've heard that other ships have tried this but the door has always been found and many times the culprit is caught in the act of removing the door. These guys were a cleaver team aside from providing NSA with hundreds of the finest broadband tapes that they had ever received!

True, and correct, and yet not far enough

Youssef M. Ibrahim is getting close

The world of Islam is on fire. Indeed, the Muslim mind is on fire. Above all, the West is now ready to take both of them on.

The latest reliable report confirms that on average 33 Iraqis die every day, executed by Iraqis and foreign jihadis and suicide bombers, not by US or British soldiers. In fact, fewer than ever US or British soldiers are dying since the invasion more than two years ago. ...

A couple of weeks ago London was on fire as Pakistani and other Muslims with British citizenship blew up tube stations in the name of Islam. ...

Madrid was on fire, too, last year...

...let us not forget that in September 2001, long before Iraq, Osama Bin Laden proudly announced that he ordered the killing of some 3,000 in the United States, in the name of avenging Islam. Let us not forget that the killing began a long time before the invasion of Iraq. ...

They killed innocent tourists and natives in Morocco and Egypt, in Africa, in Indonesia and in Yemen, all done in the name of Islam by Muslims who say that they are better than all other Muslims. They killed in India, in Thailand and are now talking of killing in Germany and Denmark and so on. There were attacks with bombs that killed scores inside Shia and Sunni mosques, inside churches and inside synagogues in Turkey and Tunisia, with Muslim preachers saying that it is okay to kill Jews and Christians - the so called infidels.

Above all, it is the Muslim mind that is on fire.

The Muslim fundamentalist who attacked the Dutch film director Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands, stabbed him more than 23 times then cut his throat. He recently proudly proclaimed at his trial: "I did it because my religion - Islam - dictated it and I would do it again if were free." Which preacher told this guy this is Islam? That preacher should be in jail with him.

Visas for Arab and Muslim young men will be impossible to get for the United States and Western Europe. Those working there will be expelled if they are illegal, and harassed even if their papers are in order. Airlines will have to right to refuse boarding to passengers if their names even resemble names on a prohibited list on all flights heading to Europe and the United States.

I fear those naïve Muslims who think that they are beating the West have now achieved their worst crime of all. The West is now going to war against not only Muslims, but also, sadly, Islam as a religion.

In this new cold and hot war, car bombs and suicide bombers here and there will be no match for the arsenal that those Westerners are putting together - an arsenal of laws, intelligence pooling, surveillance by satellites, armies of special forces and indeed, allies inside the Arab world who are tired of having their lives disrupted by demented so-called jihadis or those bearded preachers who, under the guise of preaching, do little to teach and much to ignite the fire, those who know little about Islam and nothing about humanity. ht: Hugh of course

Here's the problem as I see it: There's no call to action. It's hand-wringing worthy of the best of the American Left. "Oh, these terrible arhabi have brought the wrath of the Infidel West down on us, and we're scr3wed."

He stopped short.

He could - and IMO SHOULD - have said something like this: "The arhabi have perverted Islam and as a result, have incurred the wrath of not only the infidels, but that of other Peoples Of The Book, with which Islam teaches we should live peacefully. In the name of Allah the merciful, it is the holy duty of al Muslims to expose to the full justice of the law those who committ or who plan to commit such shameful acts that bring dishonor to Islam and the name of Allah."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Al-Qaida Says It Killed Algerian Diplomats

Al-Qaida Says It Killed Algerian Diplomats - Yahoo! News: "Wednesday's statement, which appeared on an Islamic Web site, claimed the envoys had been killed because of the Algerian government's repression of Muslims in the north African country."

I really want to see how the Left spins THIS as Bush's fault. Not that I don't expect them to try, of course.

It IS notable that the Algerians were kidnapped and killed in Iraq. Perhaps AQ has no operatives inside Algeria itself? No access to Algerians anywhere else in the world? Or perhaps this is part of AQ's strategy to keep Iraq from becoming a normal state, to keep it stirred up and disfunctional by constant attacks.

That strategy will fail in the long term. The vast majority of Muslims do not buy into arhabi ideology, and the atrocities they commit merely drive them further away. The Muslim world will not rise up against the West. Most of the arhabi are foreigners, and as Iraq gets control of its borders they will decrease in number. There's not an inexhaustible supply of suicide bombers. It may be a large supply, but it is finite. As we have seen in London and the Netherlands, some number of them are living in the West already. Some may be able to perform their missions, though we are drying up their money and cutting their communication lines. When we find them, we either kill them or lock them away.

HMMM

Aircraft Industry Shaking Up Unions - Yahoo! News

Too. Rich.

Military Jokes Military Humor:

"Roosevelt: o yah hit the navajo button guys
deGaulle: eisenhower ur worthless come help me quick
Eisenhower: i cant do **** til rosevelt gives me an army
paTTon: yah hurry the fock up
Churchill: d00d im gettin pounded
deGaulle: this is fockin weak u guys suck
*deGaulle has left the game.*"


RTWT

WAYYY too funny!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

A visit to Club Gitmo

HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: Gitmo Prisoners Are Right Where They Belong by Carlton Sherwood

Business casual

LILEKS (James) Screeeeeeedblog: Lileks riffs (and rips) on some yahoo who didn't like the way the Roberts family was dressed:
"I dress casually in the summer, because it’s hot. But for the last few years I’ve returned to good slacks and decent shoes and a crisp shirt and a tie. Grown-up clothes. Dad clothes. A man ought to be able to put on a shirt and tie without thinking he’s putting on a costume to deal with The Man; he should regard it as the Rainments of Masculinity, the costume we wear to project the impression of seriousness. If we’re not serious, it’ll be apparent quite soon. ... I just know that I feel different in a shirt and tie. I stand up straighter. I don’t feel as though I’m owed more respect; on the contrary, I feel obliged to be more respectful.
...
Not classic, but old-fashioned. Yes, that’s a distinction starkly apparent to the rest of the nation. A cut above the light-up-shoe hoi polloi, perhaps – but only because that particular demographic may have forgotten or rejected the very notion of dressing up, and sees nothing wrong in sending the kid to Sunday School wearing a Ninja Turtles t-shirt instead of a nice shirt with a clip-on tie and itchy church pants. [ummm.... sorry, James. I pick my battles. But I get your point.]

Why, it’s almost as if the Roberts thought they were better than the rest of us. I’ll tell you this: when it comes to dressing the kids, it’s quite possible they look at parents who get on airplanes in flip-flops with 12-year old daughters who have the word JUICY spelled out on their behinds, and they actually do think they’re better than those parents. Because they put some stock in appearance, in public decorum. When required. Like showing up at the White House. To be nominated for the Supreme Court. That's the sort of event that makes a man spend fifteen minutes choosing his socks, even though they'll never been seen, and even though they're black. "

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Paging Ms. Morissette, paging Ms. Alannis Morissette

Kerry Seeks Release of Roberts' Documents

I don't recall from reading the bios whether or not Judge Roberts ever served in the military. Is Kerry calling on him to sign a SF-180?

Seriously. If the Left is THIS politically stupid, how can they be trusted to run a nation? When Tancredo jammed his foot down his throat, at center-right bloggers were first off the mark telling him to can it.

Did no one counsel John Kerry that talking about "releasing documents" is not particularly la good idea?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Scotland Yard says bombs were 'home-made'

Scotland Yard says bombs were 'home-made'

This tripped the absurdity alert system. OF COURSE the bombs were home-made. You can't just pop down to Bombs-R-Us and pick one off the shelf.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

French fry logic

From HughHewitt.com: The opinion of Judge John Roberts in the "Case of the consumed french fry:
No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation. A twelve-year-old girl was arrested, searched, and handcuffed. Her shoelaces were removed, and she was transported in the windowless rear compartment of a police vehicle to a juvenile processing center, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and detained until released to her mother some three hours later - all for eating a single french fry in a Metrorail station. The child was frightened, embarrassed, and crying throughout the ordeal. The district court described the policies that led to her arrest as "foolish," and indeed the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry. The question before us, however, is not whether these policies were a bad idea, but whether they violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Like the district court, we conclude that they did not, and accordingly we affirm.
Emphasis added.

That is what an appeals-court judge is supposed to do.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Long Ride Home

Firepower Forward - The Cutting Edge of Freedom: The Long Ride Home

READ THE WHOLE THING.

Payoff is at the end. Warning - eyes may sweat a bit.

Hitchens: WE CANNOT SURRENDER

Christopher Hitchens gets it.
I remember living in London through the Provisional IRA bombing in the 70s. ...

And, even as I detested the people who might have just as soon have blown me up as anyone else, I was aware there were ancient disputes involved, and that there was a potential political solution.

Nothing of the sort applies in this case. We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Airshow weekend

Tired, sore, sunburned, blisters on the feet (at least until they popped)... I musta had a good time, eh?

Ohhhh....yeah.

Worked the flightline at a local airshow this weekend. Three days. Worked with aircraft ranging from a radio-controlled 1/3-scale Piper Cub to Cessna 152 (local guy) to a DeHavilland Chipmunk (x2) to a replica Junkers CL-1 to a YAK-52 and a CJ-3 to a 3/4-scale P-51 to General Patton's (no kidding!) L-bird to an AD-1 Skyraider to a B-17. Yes, I got to park a B-17.

Good times.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Problems



Once again, Lileks hits the nail on the head:

"I would be highly remiss to call any of the contrusions I'm facing as "problems." They are, at worst, situations, and at best opportunities. A "problem" is taking fire when you're in a helicopter heading off to rescue comrades. I was listening to Hewitt's show today about the SEALs shot down in Afghanistan, and felt abashed for having anything on my mind by a song and a smile. These are the men who make my fat happy life possible, who will jump on a plane and go to Venus on behalf of people whose idea of sacrifice is taking a few minutes to sort the plastic from the glass on recycling night. Puts things in perspective.

Anyway. The doorbell rang tonight, and my wife answered. She traded the check and the coupon for a nice hot pizza.

I never have to worry about who's at the door, or why they've come. My heart never leaps when the doorknocker falls; my stomach never flips when the phone rings.

I am a modern happy American. I have no idea."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bias? What bias?

Bloggers Fighting Government Regulations - Yahoo! News

The AP's story on bloggers and the FEC quotes Kos and Atrios - and ONLY Kos and Atrios, despite the fact that the opposition to FEC regulation of political speech spans both sides of the blogosphere. Sure makes it look like the Big Mean Conservative Government is trying to beat up on "antiestablishment" little guys.

The REAL abuse at Gitmo

FrontPage magazine.com :: What I Saw at Gitmo by Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu

Hat tip - Captain's Quarters

Thursday, June 23, 2005

WHY do you NEED to KNOW?

Intelligent Design the Future - Who Designed the Designer? (A Lengthier Response)
Jay Richards with a well-reasoned dissection of the flaws in the "Who designed the designer?" argument often put forward by opponents of Intelligent Design.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sweet Irony

Sugar Not So Sweet

A new sugar-derived pesticide (an ester is added to the sucrose molecule) is being used to fight the mites that are killing honeybees.

Hey, Alannis - how about a new verse?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Telic Thoughts - Meeting of Minds

Krauze over at Telic Thoughts is hosting another Meeting of Minds blog symposium on Intelligent Design. Need to put on the old thinking cap...

Monday, June 13, 2005

BLACKFIVE: The Third Rule of War

BLACKFIVE: The Third Rule of War

Read.

The.

Whole.

Thing.

Gulag, schmulag

Lileks' new 'Screedblog' details the injustices and inhumane treatment suffered by a Gitmo detainee.

I'd have traded him for Jr. High Gym class in a heartbeat.

For the record, many years ago I sent money - American Dollars, as my dad would say - to Amnesty International. I did so because they were on The Front Lines, Taking Direct Action, saving lives one at a time. (cue the kid-and-the-starfish story). They very nicely sent me a sticker, and for a couple of decades now it has adorned the case of my primary guitar.

Tonight I peeled it off and tossed it in the trash, where it now belongs. So now I've got a spot about 3" square available for a new sticker. Suggestions, anyone?