Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A blast from the past

Today I made one of my occasional visits to Arts & Letters Daily.  I found there, in the New Books section, a link to The great dictators, a review of two books about the The Great Books.

I have the 54 volume first edition sitting on ridiculously overstuffed bookshelves.  

Neither the authors nor the reviewer apparently thinks much of The Great Books.  To be honest, though I've owned them for nigh unto 30 years, I've read very little from them.  They've been useful the few times I've needed to dig in there after some tidbit or other but that has been rare.  The reason I own them differs from what the reviewer claims for other owners.  I own them because they came available to me for a paltry price of some $50 which included The Annals of America - my set of which may be of extraordinary value since it consists of 19 volumes rather than the 18 volumes available from Amazon.  

I have found the Annals useful from time to time.  Certainly moreso that the Great Books.  But I always figgered the Great Books were an investment in the future.  Something I'd be able to drool upon in my dotage.  Alas, it may just have been $50 poorly spent.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Blog Site for Tech Links

I have created a new blog for pure tech links here. I will be posting all my tech links on that site Instapundit style going forward. I will only be posting political links on this blog going forward.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Last Doughboy

I needed to cool my heels for a few minutes and spotted The Last Doughboy in the dead tree version (ht: me).   The story of the (should be) esteemed Mr. Buckles is also covered by George Will and the American Legion.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Here's nothing...

Two-party vote: Obama/Biden 53.6% - McCain/Palin 46.4%

11/4 DJIA close: 8,500

Posted by: Patrick Tyson | October 26, 2008 at 01:56 PM @ justoneminute.typepad.com

A month in:

The DJIA closed at 8,376.24 after spending most of the day between 8,500 and 8,600 while New York State (among others) certified with a vote count that sent Obama/Biden thru 53.6% to 53.66% of the two-party vote.

...and so it goes.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Links

Does Obama scare al-Qaida?

Switching to the WSJ?

Nearly as hard as diamond, slipperier than teflon.

Russian paranoia runs rampant.

Does time exist?

The great British prostitution debate.

Movies of atoms in motion.

Free plane tickets for the Canadian obese.

We sleep to forget.

China steps up its computer espionage attacks on the US military.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Links

The proud and sad history of the Detroit oligopoly.

Now we know: almost all matter is nothing but quantum fluctuations in the vacuum.

Massive glaciers have been discovered on Mars.

Chicago is on a roll.

Bad cars can live almost forever.

Google axes 3D.

Why worry about a little trillion dollar deficit?

A new Ebola virus has broken out in Africa.

China's expanding sphere of influence in Latin America.

Learning math causes massive reorganization of the brain.

Shades of Stalin: Iranian blogger "confesses" to spying for Israel.

Introducing GlassDoor.

Is the universe teeming with aliens?

Japan is itching to take on the pirates.

Limitless clean energy for the taking.

Is the US going down the tubes in the next two decades?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Links

Why people are lucky. (H/T: Jeff)

An Estonian spy passes NATO's cybersecrets to the Russians.

A vaccine for skin cancer?

Let it go to a happier home.

The body's secret network of tunneling nanotubes.

MIT open courseware—in video.

Controlling your time.

A new generator that can boost wind turbine power output by 50%.

Botnet control passed to Russia.

Success begets success.

The case against Hillary.

2 million dead?—oops! Sorry!

Podcasts from Oxford.

The leader of the year.

Godzilla meets King Kong: both dead.

US physicist sends secret military information to China.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Links

Global warming mongers embarrassingly debunked.

How much per second?

Is there a genius in all of us?

Chromosome division is different between women and men.

Putin: why do we need so many stinkin' elections?

North Korea gets tough.

Can ancient Chinese medicine yield a cure for AIDS?

Some transitions are more equal than others.

Is China its own worst enemy?

How to hide molecules.

Venezuela down the tubes.

How to bail out GM.

Why ant colonies don't have traffic jams.

Dictatorship in Nicaragua.

Time travel in Google Earth.

Friday, November 14, 2008


We weren’t too worried about beauty when
The season opened, —oaks over the old
Pumice stone quarry downhill, with its pond,
Going gold in that all but exhausted light

Reflected, in a last spasm of what,
Ever alert to changes, the first rain
Brings by, backed up along the ridge toward town
And down valley, touching the waiting bay…

Well, if mere “understanding” is the key
Coordinated universal time
Will offer us, the world rolling by,
Stubbornly, we’ll ignore the vanishing

That’s trickling up nearby seasonal streams,
Salmon against the current, shaking free.
So oak leaves settle on the forest floor.
And fall’s no more a form of breathing out, —

It’s all openness now, last laughs have been
Vouchsafed, withdrawn, then granted in a kind
Of pitiless accounting—I’m “all in.”
It’s all a gamble. Speaking with the bee

Person last week, I have this great idea
But lose it in the hum of flying home,
Hoping to hear the reassuring word,
That somehow, what you wrote got past the guard,

Reached spirits in the cold, second-growth woods
Along the Hudson. Shoot me an email:
It looks as though van der Waals forces hem
Us in for now, our world alight with ice

And blowing snow, a type we rarely see
In coastal northern California, free
Of any taint of commerce, the great sky
At peace with us at last. Despair’s a sin

And we won’t take the moss for granted when
Winter rain lights it up—close to the sea,
It won’t do to be backing off, being true
By faking it. You have to build from here

By tearing down sand castles in the air,
Gradually building back: I hope to show
That x to the nth power takes us home,
Flying blind under the weather radar now.

For Lynne Knight


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Links

The persistent and dangerous illusion of political unity.

President Nanobama.

The demise of the Republican party?

Ruby + Lisp in one slick package.

Obama and the KGB.

Are sharks going extinct?

The opportunities of Taiwan.

The home of the apple.

Obama and the Founding Fathers.

Evolving white blood cells to kill HIV.

Introducing BeatMyPrice.

Opportunities sadly missed.

The robot guitar tunes itself.

Close the border!

Rethinking the idea of the gene.

Just how do you lose a whole pyramid?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Links

Shown: uranium eating bacteria.

Secret Al-Qaida enclaves of the UK.

A triumph of temperament not policy.

Teaching nanoparticles to swim.

Kasparov beseeches Obama.

When things get too dry the government is toast.

A Hard Day's Night is finally solved.

When photoshop goes bad.

The good virus.

The top 10 most irritating phrases.

Individual responsibility and self-reliance are for chumps.

The hotel of the future.

Beware the 5 year old witches.

A man of decency and integrity.

Be the first on your block to get a mini nuclear plant.

The top 10 things to look forward to in Windows 7.

No bittorrent in China.

Chandrayaan enters lunar orbit.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Two Views of Wealth

Wealth is a slippery and difficult concept. Even money, the most visible manifestation of wealth, is hard for most of us to really grasp. What is it? Where does it come from? Why do some have so much more than others? Why don't we just make more of it?

It was as late as a college economics class that I learned that banks create money when they issue loans. Then I knew we were in deep doo-doo.

As for wealth, the views and understandings are myriad and nuanced, running the gamut of sophistication and erudition. But to simplify greatly there are two common views. The static view is that there is a fixed amount of wealth and the economy is simply the process of moving it around from person to person. Like the "spot" in The Cat and the Hat. If I have $5 I can keep it, in which case I have it and you don't, or I can give it to you and now you have it and I don't.

There are two ways I might give you the money. You could make me something I want, and I could give you the $5 in order to have that thing—we trade. Alternatively I could just give it to you. Either way, the money has moved from me to you, the spot has moved from the wall to the towel.

Dig deeper and there's a world of difference between these two scenarios. If you make something for me to get my $5, then afterward you do indeed have the $5 but I have something I didn't have before. In the dynamic view wealth is not just money, it is something created by the efforts of human beings. It is not like matter. Our exchange has created wealth that didn't exist before. It follows that economic policies can and should be formulated so as to increase wealth as much as possible. The dynamic view has prevailed since Reagan and Thatcher.

I like Obama's temperament. My greatest fear is that, having never held an "ordinary" job in his entire life, his understanding has never matured from the static view of wealth to the dynamic. I fear that he will seek to "spread the wealth around", killing the wealth-creating economic goose in the process. Let us all hope not.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wednesday Links

Russia responds to Obama's election with missiles.

Antitrust kills the Google + Yahoo deal.

The 10 genetic secrets of a cancer revealed.

Obama's scientific policies, in his own words.

British Big Brother wants to monitor and record every single use you make of the internet.

Some electoral map perspective.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace.

The 8-armed animals of yesteryear.

Economic crisis mounts in Germany.

Bacteria you can hold in your hand.

The case against humanitarian intervention.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Congratulations to President-Elect Obama

This blog did not support Barack Hussein Obama for President but we predicted it. We are however happy about his success and wish him the very best during the next four years.

All Republicans can take great pride in the outcome of this election, one set in motion by the Republican party more than 150 years ago. We are proud of President-elect Obama and realize that his victory is a victory for all of us. He is not our enemy; we believe him to be misguided, not evil. We hope that the weight of experience will lead him toward what we consider to be better policies for the survival of the Republic.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Last Thing to Read Before You Vote

Here's Stanley Kurtz's summary of what we actually know about Obama.

...four inter-related points stand out: Obama’s radicalism, his stealthy incrementalism, his interest in funding and organization-building, and his willingness to use — or quietly support — Alinskyite intimidation tactics.

Obama’s troubling associations are more than isolated friendships or instances of bad judgment. His ties to Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi, Michael Pfleger, James Meeks, ACORN, the New Party, and the Gamaliel Foundation all reflect Obama’s sympathy with radical-left ideas and causes — wealth redistribution prominent among them....

Following well-worn organizer strategies, Obama knows how to wrap ideological radicalism in the soothing rhetoric of “pragmatism” and classic American values. There is a kernel of truth to the pragmatism, however. Radical though his ultimate goals may be, Obama follows classic organizer strategy — pursuing his ends in tiny, incremental, and cumulative baby-steps....

Obama has often claimed that his early community organizing, and his redistributive legislative work, were at the very core of his political identity. We’ve heard his radicalism on the radio in 2001. Does anyone really believe that he’s changed in 2008? Obama’s political radicalism consolidated his shaky personal identity. It formed him as an adult....

Obama is clever and pragmatic, it’s true. But his pragmatism is deployed on behalf of radical goals. Obama’s heart is, and will remain, with the Far Left. Yet he will surely be cautious about grasping for more, at any given moment, than the political traffic will bear. That should not be mistaken for genuine moderation.

Well boys and girls...

...the election is upon us. So far, during the entire campaign season, our comments section hasn't been visited by a single Ron Paul loon or Obamabot. A small victory to be sure, but I'll take it.

Here's hoping for a McCain win. After all, I would hate to wake up a year from now in Idaho, behind barbwire, growing potatoes, getting properly re-edumacated, and learning how to chant "Ohh-Bahhh-Mahhh, Ohh-Bahhh-Mahhh, Ohh-Bahhh-Mahhh... " with the correct level of enthusiasm.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Links

(Apologies for today's tardiness.)

Which Obama will we get?

Dubhe is not in the moving group.

Iran's new naval base.

The end of economic progress?


Why Windows 7 will smash Vista.

Germany's richest woman in a sex-blackmail scandal.

Your new speakers will be made of carbon nanotubes.

Russia wants to help Venezuela get the bomb.

Where Caesar landed.

If it quacks like redistribution....

Red on women drives men wild.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Links

Download the latest version of World Wide Telescope—totally awesome.

The US must update its nuclear deterrent.

Attractive fathers do not attractive sons make.

The court limits business method patents.

What kids are up to these days.

The candidate of decline.

Introducing Hushie.

The paradox of an unattractive Russia.

Is malaria winning the race?

Contrary to propaganda, McCain is not more of the same.

Why not just let them marry?

More scary—but hidden—Obama connections.

The persecution of Christians continues in Iraq.

The persecution of Christians continues in India.

Is the Iceman from a different branch of humanity?

Is the Newest Deal bad for the market?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In my CLU.

USMC Camp Lemonier, Djibouti.

A Containerized Living Unit. Spartan. 20 X 8 X 8. A desk, a twin bed, a few lockers. Books from home.

Bathroom nearby, in another container. About 200 yards from an active runway.

It is remarkable what a mollycoddled civilian can get used to after three months. At least I'm not getting shot at.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday Links

Progress in plasma propulsion.

Shame cubed.

Microsoft reveals Azure.

Yet another Islamic woman stoned.

Transsexual genes.

Turns out that she's smart after all.

Solomon's copper mines found.

Touchpad without the pad.

Suppressing the Obama tape.

Nuclear planes.

Will Sarkozy become the first "President of Europe"?

The master of fire is at least 790,000 years old.

Why's everybody always picking on Russia.

7 of the greatest hoaxes of all time.

It's all downhill after 39.

Childhood's end.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

But Who Pays?

Obama has called for people to take off work on election day to vote. Are people to be paid for not working or are they supposed to forego a day's wages during an economic crisis? I'm not sure if the campaign has answered that question. It sure says something though.

Quote of the Day

"...not everyone agrees that the stimulus packages, which are designed to loosen up tight credit, will prove helpful. Peter Schiff, president of broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital, believes the impact will be decidedly negative.

"The goal of all these plans is to give consumers more money to spend. However, excess consumer spending is part of the problem, not part of the solution" he said. "After a decade-long spending orgy, market forces are finally trying to restrict consumer spending and dampen credit. But the stimulus looks to provide a new source of funds after savings, income, and credit have been exhausted. Our imbalanced economy is in desperate need of retrenchment, but stimulus plans will effectively hold the firemen at bay while throwing gasoline on the flames."

Original article.

Monday, October 27, 2008

But, Teddy Bears are cute!

I've had this article from the Daily Mail bookmarked for a couple of weeks. There is something about it that puzzles and horrifies me, but more on that in a bit.

It is a news story about a British Columbian fellow by the name of Jim West who was out walking his dog. He heard a grunt behind him, turned around, and discovered a rather pissed-off black bear. He tried to scare it off by kicking it, and ended up with a bear on top of him mauling him. Somehow he rolled free and got his hands on a large tree limb. He cronked the bear over the head with it. The bear was stunned by the blow, and he figured his only hope was to keep swinging the tree branch. Amazingly he survived the encounter by killing the bear with that tree limb.

That's all remarkable, but it is not the part of the article that really caught my attention. The final two paragraphs are what puzzle me to this day. I quote:

Sadly, the bear was the mother of two young cubs - who had to be euthanised because it was believed they would not survive the cruel Canadian winter without her.
Even so, he said, he did not regret what he had done - believing it had been necessary for him to survive.

Seriously, did the reporter actually ask him if he regretted saving his neck by killing the bear? Who would even ask such an idiotic question? Poor little bear cub orphans aside, did they think Mr. West would regret making it out alive of a situation like that to return to his family and friends?

There is a frightening fuzziness of thought in mechanics of that question -- I imagine a reported solemnly grieving for the bear cubs and not noticing the fellow with 60 stitches standing in front of them.
Oh yea, there is one comment on the piece. Again, I quote:
I'm sorry, but I'm totally on the side of the bear here. Those poor cubs... was there not a zoo they could have gone to?
Totally on the side of the bear? Good God Almighty, doesn't that fool realize how callous their sensitivity sounds?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Links

The global electoral college.

Can Ford be saved?

Giving Caesar control over the things that are Christ's.

3M's new x-ray business.

Good news in Kashmir.

Are the orcas starving?

The facts of press bias.

A turnaround in housing?

Computing in the cloud.

The real Italian job.

Smarter smart cars.

Tens of thousands march for independence.

You've seen Google Mail, Google Maps, Google Knol,.... Introducing Google Fighter Jet.

Rebooting the immune system to cure multiple sclerosis.

Afghanistan on the edge of disaster.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Links

Why the Republicans must lose!

If you're going to Mars, you better be prepared to stay.

Blowing up Jews in Russia.

10 things to do for a freshly laid-off developer.

The irony of Obama.

Did feathered dinosaurs precede birds?

Lighting up Berlin.

The current state of the cancer art.

Mexico's spreading drug violence.

18 ways to live below your means.

Check out some people in the Living Library.

Chavez expands his empire.

When spiders eat birds.

US Johnny still can't add.

Ready for a brain wipe?

Spend now, tax later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama in his natural habitat

I probably should be ashamed of myself, my political commentary seems to have dwindled to nothing more than posting odd YouTube videos. All I can say in my defense is that I am absolutely gobsmacked by how strange this election has been, and gah... can the media sink any lower into Democratic Poodle status?

Anyhoo, above is my latest silly YouTube offering.

Hat tip to hillaryclintonforum.net, which is a forum I've gotten addicted to lurking at. It is a forum full of PUMAs and, if you think Republicans hate Obama, they're pikers compared to these folks. They positively loathe Barrack.

It has been very interesting watching their transformation. They were kind of in despair until Sarah Palin was selected as McCain's VP. A lot of them posted that this year's Republican convention was the first they had ever watched. They were struck by how upbeat the Republicans were, and the absolutely went wild over Palin's speech.

Since then they've come to believe McCain is an honorable and decent politician, that Palin is a delight (second only to their beloved Hillary), that the MSM's Democratic campaigning is a scandal, and that ACORN's attempted vote-rigging is beyond the pale. Most of them are going to be pulling the lever for a Republican for the first time in their life, with a number of them already having switched parties. A number are also actively campaigning for McCain/Palin.

I have no idea how many of them there are, although the forum is extremely active (this, with their registration locked to prevent it from being overran by Obamabots). It is quite an interesting daily visit.

Wednesday Links

Drugs of the Stone Age.

Born in Columbia, made in the USA.

Putin's weak-kneed western defenders.

With only a billion years left, is it time to move the Earth?

100 more banks to fail?

Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.

Sometimes you just have to stand on principle.

Global warming goes poof.

Russia to world: "death solves all problems".

Your Mexican drug dollars at work.

Not enough ads for all the startups?

Aid workers vs. the Taleban.

Good times breed bad times.

UFOs over England?

World Champion Anand wins a second game as black, and one as white.

Robotic surgery on a beating heart.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Links

Who stole the beach?

Running the economy into the ground.

How to buy a mattress.

The audacity of Obama.

The waft of a plant in agony.

Sinbad's time capsule.

Where communism is the new fad.

Logical bacteria.

Was Milan Kundera an informer for the communist secret police?

Camel wrestling in Turkey.

Yahoo's coup de torchon.

Friday, October 17, 2008


A few of us, being left more time to sort
The verbiage, thought we'd find "wisdom," for sure, —
Books in the old man's library, lake house
Still standing, despite earthquake and wildfire
Consuming so much from so many years.
So one stumbles around, looking for verbs.

(The verb in Spanish would be evitar,
As in Tu sabes, quiero evitar…)

Though end-of-summer loopiness pervades
The dry air, hinting lavender, —a tinge
Of leafy close-to-happiness remains
To squander, hours of freedom to bestow
After the passing of the private pain
The flesh is heir to.
One might reel stuff in,
Appreciate the meanings, toss it back,
And hope it doesn't work its way back home
Somehow, to cloud significance the mind
Assigned to aspects of reality
Already dealt with. Firmly. I insist
We stipulate migrating humpback whales
Be counted at least once, and in a space—
"Virtual" space—of our own making, so
The doubters and deceivers, on a whim,
While being besieged by this beleaguered blue
Bounding our earthly spaciousness, let go
Of pointing out the pointlessness of time
Well spent on Heidegger's first question: Why
Is there something, rather than nothing? No,

The sun may be taking the decade off,
Cutting back on his spots, and girls may bathe
Blithely in his last rays, and children swim
Against the current of the what's-to-be…

I've half a mind to let the whole bunch go.
The sea turtles, I mean. Also the sea
Cucumbers, other vegetables the sea
Deposits on our shore, as though our faith
Were somehow limited. If you must know:
It's like, you take the middle of the three
Thirds of a line segment (you have to leave
The endpoints on the page) but endlessly
Repeating the same taking/leaving, you

Are left with just this "dust of points," somehow
Still infinite, its cardinality—
Roughly, the "size" of its "infinity"—
The same as what you started with. Just so,
Your attitude is generous and calm.

After the moon moved on, we walked a bit
Down to the garden, cosmos of starlight
Or light dusting of stars, where the old man
Had buried secrets for the grandchildren.
Long since invisible, the ghosts of these
Still haunt the place, at least if you believe
In secrets, keeping them. Down by the creek,
Watery voices, the first light of dawn.


Friday Links

Is it time to ban recess?

9,000 year old tuberculosis.

Who is the real Obama?

Can magnets cure deep coma?

Can electricity cure paralysis?

Wind-powerd bicycle lights.

Democracy vs. Property.

Is Jobs leaving Apple?

You need a podcar.

A ton of snake.

The $58 trillion elephant in the living room.

Balloon sculpture.

Google's chips are hotter than thine.

Don't laugh at the bear.

What is the speed of life?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Links

Hang the Christians.

H1-B visa fraud is rampant.

Why "Russian human rights" is an oxymoron.

Black silicon to the rescue?

Rising gun culture in a gunless land.

Why you should write your goals.

Russia and China play the UN like a fiddle.

The 200 greatest songs of the Sixties.

Can nanolevers kill superbugs?

The debtor nation.

Free movies online while they last.

Chavez managed to lower oil production 25% so far.

The baldness gene.

Racism ueber alles.

Almost human.

The statists are on a roll.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Links

Is it a government-induced problem?

Is it time for a time-out?

The end of Capitalism?

The end of free trade?

The end of the Universe?

Iran celebrates.

In defense of (copyright) piracy.

The secret to a long life? Maybe it works better for women.

Trying out the Touchless. Video here.

Mexico City is bad for children and other living things.

He's got magic hands.

They just can't hold onto their data.

California breaks the ozone law.

When Big Brother just isn't big enough.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


So today I get the following from Wells Fargo

Fed Drops Rates Again
Take Advantage of Lower Home Equity Rates

So the Fed lowers the rates and it's an excuse to dun up more debt among consumers. And don't tell me the folks who borrow on their house are good credit risks. There might be occasional good reasons, medical expenses and such, but I'm inclined to regard someone wanting such a loan as a bad indicator. And aren't there better things for Wells Fargo to invest in? And aren't home equity loans the main exposure of Wells Fargo to the housing bubble? But what do I know, maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Links

What Ayers believes.

The fungus that eats pollutants.

Two questions that mattered.

The colors of the brainbow.

$900b gone today. Dow in worst decline since 1931.

Machine learning for a more beautiful you.

You need the $12,000 bulletproof shirt.

Why energy in Germany comes increasingly from Russia.

When character trumps degrees.

Earthquakes in the Midwest.

Trees growing in Antarctica.

Salmon in Switzerland.

2008 rankings of the top 200 worldwide universities.

When doctors go bad.

How the turtle got its shell.

The right to free universal health care.

Errant black holes.

A mouse-bites-snake story.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

The cutting room floor...

Considering the editing of interviews and remarks taken out of context... oh, bah-humbug... enough with political wind-baggery for a bit. Time for some pure puffery. I found the following Presidential Debate edit and was amused by it.

HT: Monkeys for Helping


The fear was jays just had no way to know
Those codes, embedded in the morning rain,
Trucks bearing gondolas loaded with grapes
Gearing down on the highway, as though months

Of hastening toward fall’s beckonings would play
Out in what coming sundries! —But the eye
Still hungers. We’ll be leaving ample room
There to maneuver, where the starling starves,

Where vines appear—to love hard times as much
As any of us, that the vintage be
Torn from the earth quietly as sunlight
Falls on a hillside vineyard.
Let the rains

Continue, I am happy as scrub jays
Harvest their acorns. Such a bumper crop
Has not been here for years, among a dearth
Of sadness, to judge by the hermit thrush

Down in the darkening garden, where we breathed
For free…
Until distilled intoxicants
Arrive, we’ll be left hanging—out in back,
With the alembic, say, of Plato’s mind

To guide us for a while. But in the thick
Of thinking things through we’re so often lost,
Albeit in a “compact metric space,”
Austere and timeless, a Platonic form

Itself, of sorts.
Out standing in the field,
Electric, with a buzz on, in my shorts,
I’d rather celebrate when static air
Goes lively, new waves battering the shore.


Friday Links

On moral philosophers and child murderesses.

A complete collapse in the ethics market.

Snow on Mars.

Exiled to Siberia for his rap song.

Martian fossils?

No honor among thieves with machine guns.

Dragonfly robots for Mars.

Africom goes operational.

You think the CIA is a bunch of clowns? Check out these guys.

Making coasts invisible to tsunamis.

80 of the best web illustrator resources.

Bleeding without being cut.

Addicted to debt.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sawatdee Khrub!

Wednesday Links

Democracy won.

Rescuing children from forced marriage—in England.

Carbon nanotubes was the secret of Damascus steel.

China's secret African slave empire.

Rich men are more likely to find mates, sire children.

The newest prime number.

Iran is more important than Wall Street.

Fourth time's a charm.

Mortgage brochures from hell.

Search Flickr by color.

Things you can get for free.

The warrior and the priest.

The social threat of naked long-buyers.

Learning from mistakes only works after age 12.

Study a little history, lest you relive it.

How government went wrong with mortgages.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Links

We overbid because we are afraid.

We won the debate.

A detector for anything.

Is the fire back in Intel's belly?

The Caspian Sea Monster.

4 aspects of a well-done critique.

Jetpacking over the English Channel.

It's his policies, stupid.

A 20% fuel efficiency improvement?

Is North Korea changing?

Goal-setting for skeptics.

Faking the space reports.

The first sound bites.

The Somali pirates grab some tanks.

Is this Cassandra's moment?

Russia needs a missile defense shield too.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I have a bracelet too!!!

"It was given to me by the mother of... um... ah... just a minute... (squint, squint)... uh.... Sgt. Made in China."

What an idiot. I can't believe he actually had to read the name off the bracelet on national TV.



Many of us await the crescent moons
Of August, through October, in between
Those struggles to redeem a sense of shame
At not having lived fully, morally.

It’s like you had an argument with God
And lost. The buzzing of a Piper Cub
Over the olive orchard, and your dreams
Are dust. My struggle with the fruit flies leaves

Me breathless, but not yet devoid of hope
The rains of late October will begin
A new era of solvency and birds
Like birds of Paradise, but subtler still

Borne on cool winds off the Pacific, high
Enough to clear the treetops, but not too.
As I was reading in The Book of Tea,
It came to me, building the time machine—

While not a waste of time, exactly—was
Beyond my powers, although there was still time
To redesign the thing, wandering around
In that time that remained, the cloudy now

Of early autumn. —The mental machine
Of evening seizing up, we’re on the loose—
Fueled by a web-based sadness. Razzmatazz
Sloshing like strong drink around the brainpans

Of solid citizens. Are we the last
But one, among the many, to construe
Our Age as limiting, while sweet things size
The rivals up, the stars glittering sky?

Friday Links

What's causing the flyby anomalies?

Surrogate mothers are big business in India.

The madness of pundits.

Organ harvesting in Albania.

Obama's leftism.

Entire galaxy clusters are being pulled steadily outside the visible universe.

Chavez visits his friends in Russia.

Laid-off workers get revenge.

The 50-year low in the solar wind.

Cows that milk themselves.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Links

Is Obama shrinking?

Russian warships in the Caribbean.

High-speed molecular shape-shifting captured.

Cramer explains the meltdown.

The geography of personality.

How to get audio transcribed cheaply on Mechanical Turk.

Big Government to the rescue.

270 tools for your online business.

A neolithic hospital?

Life imitates art.

Defending the City.

Speculation and fraud got us here.

Neanderthals feasting on seals and dolphins.

Drive your company into the ground, get rich.

The pre-crime detector.

New world, new rules.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Good night, sweet prince...

This is my most special place in all the world, Ray. Once a place touches you like this, the wind nevers blows so cold again.

Field of Dreams, screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella

Sunday Links

Reasons for economic optimism.

Iran's asymmetric naval warfare.

The Golden Rules for making money, 1880.

How McCain looks to a real economist.

Al Qaida's defeat in Iraq.


Russia successfully fires a new ICBM.

Declining air pollution is causing more rain.

10 reasons to write every day.

The huge terrorist suicide bomb in Pakistan.

Virtual boyfriends.

Nanoscopic meadows to drive your electric car.

Telepathy machines—sooner than you think.

Drug subs in Seattle.

Fighting in the German streets to find who's right and who's wrong.

What's coming and what's going?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who Dunnit?

There is plenty of blame to go around for the country's latest financial crisis.

When you unwind it,legislation requiring lenders to make loans to people that could not afford them is at the heart of the problem. The legislation is the Community Reinvestment Act. It was passed in 1977 during the Carter Administration and got more teeth through Clinton Adminstration changes to the implementing regulations. As can be seen from the link, Bob Rubin was a major advocate of these changes which allowed securitization of underlying instruments memorializing these high risk loans. Bob Rubin is one of BHO's primary economic advisors.

Everything after 1993 was designed to spread the risk.

Fanny and Freddie were the primary guarantors of that risk, and rather than highlighting that risk, those institutions, under Raines, Johnson and Gorelick, hid it. Their reward was very high compensation running in the tens of millions dollars. All three of those individuals are democratic stalwarts. Raines and Johnson have connections with the Obama campaign. Obama is one of the recipients of the most largesse from Fannie and Freddy.

The financial institutions (e.g. Countrywide -- for whom Johnson worked after FNMA, NationsBank, etc.) who originated the loans ignored the risks as well and as a result the loans were overvalued.

Those who purchased, carved up, repackaged, securitized and sold the repackaged loans to investors (e.g. Bear Stearns -- the first marketer of these instruments -- and Lehman Bros.,with the assistance of Wall Street lawyers and major accounting firms) continued the problem by inflating the purported value of the loans even more.

Then the ultimate purchasers (e.g. AIG and other insurance companies, pension plans and 401k's, wealthy investors worldwide, etc.) of the repackaged loans had overvalued assets on their books (knowingly or unknowingly?) which has or will eventually cost them.

The caricatures necessitated by the exigencies of political advertising will oversimplify the problems to place blame on the "other guy".

Which caricatures, are on balance, more accurate may well determine the election.

Friday Links

In a crisis, you want a crisis manager.

Software that spots the spin in political speeches (check out the graph).

Bring on the business failure tax.

Secret Big Brother in Germany.

Selling arms to Iran and Venezuela.

Are crows smarter than monkeys?

Greed beyond irresponsible.

Big Brother for your car.

Bring back the Resolution Trust Corp.

The fastest life on the planet.

The Rosenbergs were definitely spies.

Russia wants a piece of the Arctic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Links

Wall Street is kaput.

Mickey Mouse must die.

Enough with the economic pessimism nonsense.

A breast cancer vaccine that works?

Business based solely on ramping up risk and leverage doesn't work.

Twilight of the GPU.

Diving deep into the Obama tank.

Search outside the law of the land.

Who runs Russia?

An object unlike any ever seen before.

Sharia courts are operating in Britain.

The first new family of ants since 1923.

How Petraeus did it.

Embracing English after all.

Not clear on the facts.

Do the hinterlanders reject "liberalism" or are they deeply racist?

She's not really top, top drawer, is she?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sunday Links

Outstanding progress in Iraq.

Cunningly manipulating the press.

The two ancestors of beer.

So good it's scary.

Clinton (I) censors a movie.

Perfect vision in 5 years?

Honor vs. empathy—your choice.

5 great explanations of the Higgs Boson.

Cuil VP bails after only a month.

What drives the Taliban.

The love lives of the ancient Romans.

Burmese child soldiers.

When stem cells go bad.

A girlfriend for a case of beer.

Friday, September 12, 2008

135F in the shade.

Camp Lemonier, in Djibouti.

Maybe 85F just before sunrise. It pays to get up early.

We are under CJTF-HOA (Combined Task Force Horn of Africa).

Lots going on, though these 14 hour days leave me far too busy - and exhausted - to blog. A reasonably decent pizza joint in the Djibouti city square, should you ever visit. And you can't miss the camel drives down the main drag downtown.

Friday Links

Russian bombers in Venezuela.

Honeybees do the wave.

Feminism's greatest leap forward since Madonna.

What Google can do to your stock price.

The secret pop vs. soda civil war.

The next generation of neural nets.

Dreaming of a better world.

10 underground lakes and rivers.

Has Obama's Minsky moment already come?

How Bush forcefully muzzled the cur.

September 11th on the New York subway.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday Links

The politics of hate.

Let them eat paint.

Who's weirdest wins.

The party of adults, revitalized.

The penniless father of the iPod.


The Euroweenies are getting the roles confused.

Faster shrinking brains, but more synapses?

Is Kim Jong-Il dead?

What makes a startup succeed?

The vanishing barn.

Life in a country where Sarah Palins are not allowed.

Red state feminism.

World: vote for Obama.

Creating artificial life.

Gordon Brown chooses Obama.

Stevie Wonder had it wrong.

The Democrats need to learn some respect.