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.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Heeeeeeeeeere's Charlie!

Well, we now blog with the rich and famous. Here's the video from our guy Seneca. Next time you're on, don't forget to explain what a YARGB is :>). The question is whether we'll have to start a site to put to rest all the vicious Charlie Martin rumors. h/t Tom Maguire.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

She shoots...she scores

This is all just good good to be true. Sarahcuda clinches the 1982 Alaska High School Women's Championship with a free throw at the end. And get this.
Hollywood couldn't have written a more dramatic script for Sarah Barracuda than her final basketball game. It was a David-and-Goliath match-up, with Wasilla the underdogs. The state championship was on the line, and Sarah was suffering from a fractured ankle.

"You've got to discipline yourself, you've got to push yourself to the max, so I think she showed that mental toughness," Nelles said.

She played through the pain. The Warriors were leading in the dying seconds, but their opponents were fighting back. Sarah was fouled.

She had the chance to clinch the game, and the state championship.

"Sarah Heath goes to the free throw line...the Warriors are ten seconds away from the 1982 state championship!"

Coolly, she made the throw.

"Sarah's shot is in there! Sarah just aced the game for the Wasilla Warriors!"

The Old Swordsman

McCain and Palin scare the fool out of the pro-Obama supporters and the chattering classes all along the political spectrum because they are authentic and human in their presentation to the public.

Public servants. That is what our leaders are supposed to be. Servanthood, not grandiosity, is the quality that most of us respect and desire in political leaders. That isn’t glamorous, but it is refreshing. Bill Whittle’s eloquent recognition of the authenticity displayed in John McCain’s speech should be preserved in a political science textbook and read by everyone thinking of running for public office. But it probably won’t be. It makes too much sense.

McCain’s speech reminds me of the old story of an middle-aged famous sword fighter who was challenged by a wreckless young man. The older man discouraged his challenger, telling him that there would be nothing to be gained by a fight. When the youth insisted, they began the duel. It didn’t last long, and quickly, the older man had a small nick on his arm. The young man crowed that he had won. The older man said no. The youth pointed out that he had drawn blood and was unscathed. The old swordsman replied, “just wait until you shake your head”.

In several deft, scalpel-like cuts, McCain picked the best running mate for the theme he wanted to run on — the old sheriff cleaning up the town, cut himself off from an administration (of which 70% of the country disapproves), stated his goal of cleaning out the Congressional den of thieves (of which 90% of the country disapproves), and co-opted his opponents theme.

It’s taken a few days for the Dems and chattering classes to shake their heads.

Cross posted as comment on PJM

Update: Added Bill Whittle link.

Sunday Links

Use the Internet 21 times, pay $19,370.

The windiest spot on the planet.

Fighting the real enemy.

Killing cancer with nanoboats.

65 mpg—but only in Europe.

The sustainable political narratives.

You are your walk.

A glimpse of the new Republican party.

Is "junk" DNA the secret of our success?

Let the crowd settle your disputes.

Stalking the central black hole.

Urban sprawl is not the problem.

No free speech if we don't like your speech.

Remembering is like reliving.

Sleep is the new sex.

Friday, September 05, 2008


For Sandy and Theresa

I don’t know how it’s going back home—out here
It’s long been building back up to a kind
Of vehement optimism, weather clear
And cold: blue days like we’ve not seen, fresh winds

Harrying fall in. Quiet, dry yellow light

Rattles the English walnut, and the jays
Uneasy with the change, arrange to fly
Back to ancestral homes up in the pines.
But many central facts I haven’t weighed

Flit in the hills like shadows. And the dream
Hangs on.

God won’t return my calls.


Like bees settling into a new hive.)

Harvesting honey, don’t forget to leave

Enough for bees to over-winter, —I’ve

Got some stored in the pantry, to sweeten
The autumn air. For bees, I mean. What, sir,

Gives worries legal standing? Who’ll out-source
The reckonings? To labor in the fields

The sun’s been beating on since early May,
Lets guys we knew in high school have a say
About the vintage layout but, in sooth,
While walking in your vineyard I was stunned

I’d learned Euclidean geometry,
The postulates and theorems we all love—

Enough of reminiscing! Could you leave
A Wilson’s warbler, a wood duck or two,
Behind, let mare’s tail cirrus linger on
Above the hills maybe another hour…

There’s time: put on raiment of camel’s hair,
The meat of locusts and wild honey being—

So I returned. The old host in the woods
Was much the same. New doors were opening
To autumn light. It’s not by being shy

That I’ve accumulated several tonnes
(I like the British spelling) of ripe fruit,
All redolent of black current and Bing
Cherry, a brix just under 24, —

With so many pretenders shown the door.
Now long, late summer days, cool evenings, too,
Breach forward toward the barrel aging, but

We can’t be resting on our laurels now
That bay laurel in this heat exudes a smell,
At once piquant and sweet, up in the wood,
And storms assemble, equinoctial,

Patiently waiting out in the northwest
To ruin the harvest of our neighbor. Now —

I’ve mentioned the ambrosias of the rains
Winter will carry in, the year’s deer mice
Battening the hatches as in Robert Burns,

Working up nests of dried grasses and moss
Against the day of difficulty—

Prevents our souring on the mix of rain
And wind, is nothing less than optimal
Arrangement of the fallen leaves, the light
That’s all but free among the homing bees,

And soaring turkey vultures, that will win
Their place in heaven, however uncouth

Or ungainly their struggles on the ground
Dining on the unspeakable. Remains
Of these days being parceled out among

Us, the survivors, will beckon us toward
The solstice, as the wine’s laid up, and Juan

Calls us out for the olive harvest, rain
Or subtle shine that in the silvery leaves

Bespeaks a certain reticence, a song
Of water working its way down, the earth

Fissured, but gratified, vine roots at rest.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wednesday Links

Impossible fractals.

The world's fastest train.

Easy to gain, very hard to lose.

A Stasi for England.

3,000 year old beehives.

The British army triumphs in Afghanistan.

Introducing Many-Eyes.

Robots that follow.

The Energizer Bunny credit crisis.

Was this Henry VIII's problem?

Sarah Palin Faqs.

Let's make some up:

1) Sarah Palin saved Obama's butt by finding eight missing states.

Strange but True

The race has come down to Obama vs. Palin. It's hard to believe that there is a guy out there willing to spend close to 1$B running for the job of small town mayor. Especially when the opposition already has that on her resume. But hey, whatever. If you've got the money, go for it.