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.