Drink Tank

Extra Aqua Vitae Nulla Salus

6.30.2005

Two Dozen Hot Dogs Please, and No, They're Not to Go

Try 53½ frankfurters. I dare you.

Wanted: A Constructive Opposition

"[insert group] really don't have any better ideas than the two-pronged Bush strategy of 1) supporting a new, inclusive democratic Iraqi government and 2) training and deploying Iraqi security forces as rapidly as possible."

I would add 3), increasing the pace and severity of sweeps against insurgent regions in the mid-west & north-west by US forces. Read this and this.

PixelRoller

Good for graf. Rarely would you want block letters painted inside, right?

Probably good for cheap sign making too.

WSJ On Africa

Aid-financed, public-sector projects are approved by people without a personal stake in their long-term success. Aid agency officials frequently move on to other assignments in different countries. Recipient-country politicians don't have to account to their own electorates when the projects are funded by foreign taxpayers, who themselves are mostly unaware of how their money is spent abroad. Such projects invite corruption if supervision is slack. Illicit rewards are mostly gained at the construction stage (from contractors), not during project operations. And if their failure results in unmanageable debt in the long run, there will always be influential voices calling for debt cancellation. So moral hazards are ignored and the unproductive cycle begins again. Rapid poverty reduction requires fast growth of incomes, not redistribution. The high-growth economies have brought the percentage of their populations living in extreme poverty down to an average of 14.2%, little more than a quarter of the level in the negative-growth group.

6.29.2005

Somebody Call DeBeers


Thousands of people have been flocking to a beach in India's financial hub in a manic diamond rush, but police said Wednesday the stones were fakes and warned them to stay away after one treasure hunter was drowned.
...
"We heard people found diamonds on the beach," said Dhruv, a 15-year-old boy who sells newspapers on Bombay's commuter trains. "So I came here with my friends and we have found more than fifty diamonds which we managed to sell."

WTF?

At least she has a bathing suit on.

Colbert makes the show

Mexicans VS Black Americans

First those Fox comments. Now this!

Shoot the Stupid Consumer

It would be nice is you could get mail-in rebates by typing a code online and getting paid through Pay-Pal or something. Then again, I guess the point is that it is hard to do.

"Free!" I Scream, at Starbucks

I don't know how many of you have heard of this place called Starbucks before today - I hadn't. Either way, they are hoping to addict you to their ice cream. As they say in the announcement, serving sizes are 4 ounces or less, so be ready to travel to multiple locations to enjoy this cool treat.

Speech Question

Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done.

...

Our task is to make the Iraqi units fully capable and independent. We are building up Iraqi security forces as quickly as possible so they can assume the lead in defeating the terrorists and insurgents.


My binary question: does that mean that we will continue to be at war in Iraq until terrorists and insurgents are defeated, or until a time when Iraqis shall defeat terrorists and insurgents themselves?

Palpatine Grabs The One Ring

Following a meeting of American business executives and Putin at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg last Saturday, according to Russian news reports, Kraft showed his 4.94-carat, diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring to the Russian president, who tried it on, then put it in his pocket and left.

It was not immediately clear whether Kraft, whose business interests also include paper and packaging companies and venture capital investments, intended for Putin to keep the ring...

The Speculist: Carnival of Tomorrow 5.0

6.28.2005

Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter?

"The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

The Lost Liberty Hotel

I pledge a gift of 50 dollars to help build the hotel if you get the permit to build on this land. Also please feel free to relay this pledge to anybody you wish.

Sincerely,
Oded Burger
New York City NY

Le Syndicat Electronique Gramophone

Vstone robot

The panoramic camera on the head looks awesome. Another encased in glass on the chest would add the mega-man look.

Maybe a stereo unit that looked like a rocket pack would be appropriate.


Rove Kerfluffle, con't

I don’t care if you’re President, if you say God talks to you, you’re a schizophrenic and a menace to society. You should be on drugs in a mental institution, like the Son of Sam.

I don't think there's any way to syndicate Larry David's blogging. So linking to individual posts is the next best alternative.

Insane

This is outrageous. I really think criminalization of normal behavior is a horrible threat to society. It encourages police to harrass whomever they please, and trains us to expect bad rules. I can think of no public service which justifies this bid at moneyraising.

Kyoto and the Art of Political Backtracking

Watch the video mentioned, if you're a friend of science...

Tom Cruise Kills Oprah

gold...

Best of the Web Today

This section is usually entertaining. It mentioned the Rove Kerfuffle, which Miguel called "conservative righteousness". I would agree if Rove's comments weren't true.
Rove's detractors offer two chief criticisms. The first is that Rove is overgeneralizing--that there are some liberals who are serious about the war. There is, for example, Sen. Joe Lieberman. Another example would be, um--hmmm . . . oh, did we mention Joe Lieberman? You see what we mean: This is a quibble.

The second criticism..."
Either way, talk of response to 911 makes me wonder: why aren't there stinger missiles or some other anti-aircraft on top of large or important buildings? In a town like NYC, you wouldn't even need em on every building. Also, why aren't cockpits closed to passengers? Why don't pilots have guns, or stewards? Why the hell are people searching my bag for scissors?

Why don't I hear about more special forces operations? Where is UBL? Why is Pakistan still a dictatorship? When are we going to rock the house in PyongYang? What the hell is going on Iraq’s borders with Syria and Iran? Why is there still a drug war?

sigh…


Assembling a Honda in Guangzhou, China. Laborers earn roughly $1.50 an hour in wages and benefits, compared with $55 an hour for workers at General Motors and Ford factories in the United States.

6.27.2005

Bruce Wayne, Defendant

Don't click this good link until you've seen the great film Batman: Begins (and I know at least 3/7ths of Drink Tank still hasn't).

Time to get a gun and a machete

How else would you defend yourself?

"Boffins create zombie dogs"

Hmm

Letter to the Economist:

SIR – You seem surprised by the failure of militant Islam in South-East Asia (“Turning back the tide”, June 4th). The word “tide” itself suggests an inevitable movement that was quelled in the nick of time by liberal democracy. This is not so. If militant Islam doesn't appear to pose an immediate threat now it is because the threat was largely illusory. In the last 20 years, only Sudan and Afghanistan have had radical Islamic governments, with large swathes of their populations opposing such government (incidentally, in both cases the Islamists were funded and supported by the United States as anti-communist forces prior to taking office). You also suggest that America's recent actions have helped stem this tide with a new secular and democratic order. I fail to see how. Secularism is not going to be made popular in the Muslim world by continuing support for dictatorships such as Pervez Musharraf's Pakistan or Islam Karimov's Uzbekistan. Moreover, the implication that a positive, anti-Islamist order has been established partly by the toppling of Saddam Hussein is absurd. How have Islamists been hurt by the replacement of a stable secular regime with an impoverished, unstable, insecure democratic regime dominated by a non-secular Islamist party, with ties to Iran, and whose parliamentary politics are reminiscent of Weimar Germany?

Craig Willy
Roquefort-les-Pins, France

Today's Tape Tax

I've never been a big Frank Zappa fan, but he did persuade me that parental advisory stickers were a coverup for other recording industry legislation in the 80s: legislation which made blank tapes weirdly expensive to prevent people from duplicating recordings.

Today's scumbag lawmakers have continued working for moneyed special interests and fighting the bad fight against technology, and our crummy Judicial branch today declares that tools for copying files are illegal in the USA. Slashdot. Talk Left. I would presume that this ruling affects anyone with software to remove DRM from their music installed on their computer.

6.26.2005

Since We All Love Rumsfeld

I see he'll take Josko's bet about drinking tea on the Euphrates by 2009.
"We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.

"Coalition forces, foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency," the Pentagon chief told "Fox News Sunday."

Also, from Land of The Dead:
Dennis Hopper (talking about John Leguizamo): We don't negotiote with terrorists!

Rumsfeld today.

6.24.2005

Now I Know What The "Anti" Is For

Anti EP is an EP by the electronic music group Autechre was released by Warp Records in 1994. It is the only Autechre release - EP or otherwise - to have an explicit purpose for release. It was a protest against the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which would prohibit music that has "repetitive beats." So, the third track - Flutter - has been advertised as having non-repetitive beats. But following their disclaimer, it was advised to DJs to "have a lawyer and a musicologist present at all times to confirm the non repetitive nature of the music in the event of police harassment."

The profits from this release went to the British NGO, Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties) with this last statement: "Autechre is politically non-aligned. This is about personal freedom."

6.23.2005

Guest Blogger: Kofi Annan

Tuesday, June 21, 2005;

Today I am traveling to Brussels to join representatives of more than 80 governments and institutions in sending a loud and clear message of support for the political transition in Iraq.

A year ago, in Resolution 1546, the U.N. Security Council set out the timetable that Iraq, with the assistance of the United Nations and the international community, was expected to fulfill. The Brussels conference is a chance to reassure the Iraqi people that the international community stands with them in their brave efforts to rebuild their country, and that we recognize how much progress has been made in the face of daunting challenges.



Elections were held in January, on schedule. Three months later the Transitional National Assembly endorsed the transitional government. The dominant parties have begun inclusive negotiations, in which outreach to Sunni Arabs is a major theme. A large number of Sunni groups and parties are now working to make sure that their voices are fully heard in the process of drafting a new constitution, and that they participate fully in the referendum to approve it and the elections slated for December.

Indeed, just last week an agreement was achieved to expand the committee drafting the constitution to ensure full participation by the Sunni Arab community. This agreement, which the United Nations helped to facilitate, should encourage all Iraqis to press ahead with the drafting of the constitution by the Aug. 15 deadline.

As the process moves forward, there will no doubt be frustrating delays and difficult setbacks. But let us not lose sight of the fact that all over Iraq today, Iraqis are debating nearly every aspect of their political future.

The United Nations has been strongly urged by a wide spectrum of Iraqis to help them maintain momentum, as we did with January's elections. They have sought our support in constitution-making, in preparing for the October referendum and the December elections, and in coordinating donor assistance for the political transition as well as reconstruction and development.

Our response has been prompt and resolute. We have set up a donor coordination mechanism in Baghdad, deployed a Constitutional Support Unit, and established an active and collaborative relationship with the assembly's constitutional committee. Today more than 800 U.N. personnel -- both local and international, including security staff -- are serving in Iraq in the U.N. assistance mission.

In a media-hungry age, visibility is often regarded as proof of success. But this does not necessarily hold true in Iraq. Even when, as with last week's agreement, the results of our efforts are easily seen by all, the efforts themselves must be undertaken quietly and away from the cameras.

Whether U.N. assistance proves effective will depend largely on the Iraqis. Only they can write a constitution that is inclusive and fair. The United Nations cannot and will not draft it for them. Nor do we need to, because Iraqis are more than capable of doing it themselves. They would welcome advice, but they will decide which advice is worth taking.

As important as particular constitutional provisions is the underlying accommodation between Iraq's diverse communities. My special representative, Ashraf Qazi, is encouraging and facilitating the delicate task of political outreach to all Iraqi communities to promote a truly inclusive transition. His work, too, is necessarily carried out away from the media glare, as he seeks to build the trust and confidence among the various constituencies that will be the key to the successful transition envisaged by Security Council Resolution 1546.

There are, of course, those who wish to exacerbate communal tensions and prevent the emergence of a democratic, pluralist, stable Iraq. They seek to capitalize on the serious difficulties faced by ordinary people, and to exploit popular anger and resentment to promote hatred and violence. Their work is seen on the streets of Iraq every day.

I do not believe that security measures alone can provide a sufficient response to this situation. For such measures to be successful, they must be part of a broad-based and inclusive strategy that embraces the political transition, development, human rights and institution-building, so that all of Iraq's communities see that they stand to be winners in the new Iraq. These efforts must be underpinned by steps to deal with Iraq's tortured past -- a past that still exacts revenge and will, if not addressed, blight future generations. This is difficult for any society in transition, let alone one as dangerous as some areas of Iraq are today.

In aid of the transition, the United Nations is at work, both inside and outside the country, to support donor coordination, capacity-building of Iraqi ministries and civil society organizations, and delivery of basic services. Reconstruction of schools, water-treatment and waste-treatment plants, power plants and transmission lines, food assistance to children, mine clearing and aid to hundreds of thousands of returning refugees and internally displaced persons -- all of these activities occur every day in Iraq under U.N. leadership.

The Iraqi people continue to endure a painful and difficult transition, and they still have a long and tough road ahead. The United Nations is privileged and determined to walk it with them. In doing so, we serve not only the people of Iraq, but the peoples of all nations.

The writer is secretary general of the United Nations.

"It's thoughtful, it's societal, it's political, and it's very cool.... It's the return of the master."

I'm so excited to see this that I want to go burn an American flag.

TV

Senator Edward Kennedy and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made for some fun television exchanges in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee---fodder, to be sure, for West Wing writers.

Remind Me Not To Do That

On flag burning:
``Ask the men and women who stood on top of the Trade Center,'' said Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif. ``Ask them and they will tell you: 'Pass this amendment.'''

On conservative righteousness:
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.

As has always been obvious, using The Massacre to help yourself to the control of government coffers is, frankly, more disgraceful than flag burning.

"Bionic Man Moves Artificial Arm With Brain"

Hopefully this can be applied to tele-operation of robots sooner, rather than later. For instance, systems like Bleex are difficult in that they need to sense your action and then aid it. I would imagine a fast brain-computer interface is pretty optimal for almost any control algorithm.

Jeez

"High court OKs personal property seizures"

Supreme Fascists

Property not yours if WalMart could do something "carefully considered" on it for private gain.

Iraq and the Polls

" Biden's speech brought to mind something Franklin Roosevelt told the country on Feb. 23, 1942: "Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst, without flinching or losing heart. You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us." "

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such sentiments. I guess even in 1942 it wasn't true on either side.

HomeCam-1

Later I'll post of video of this camera looking out my office window, snapping a pic every 15 seconds. The link in the title is a minimal page that auto-refreshes.

6.22.2005

Asinine Legislation

OR "How I Got My Right To Share Ideas Using Combusting Colored Clothe Taken Away From Me."

Work Cam

I'm setting up a bit of a surveillance system in my house. I mainly want to watch the mail man not close the front gate at least once :)

For now, you can watch me live here at work, using this software.



[refresh to prove to yourself it's live]

More On Chinese Blogging And MS

Twenty-eight floors above the traffic-choked streets of China's most wired city, blogger and tech entrepreneur Isaac Mao sums up his opinion of Microsoft and its treatment of the Chinese bloggers with one word. "Evil," says Mao. "Internet users know what's evil and what's not evil, and MSN Spaces is an evil thing to Chinese bloggers."
Funny how lazy link-posting in the States can be a life-line to free speech in China. Or am I undervalueing blogs? Maybe I just hate Bill Gates.

Michael Goodstein: Playlist for 10/12/04

IT & My Computer have a new LP, "Musiques Pop!". I can't seem to find it, and have to listen to long, spotty college radio sets to get a taste.

Anyone know of an obscure store where I can get it? They also have another album I'd like "Eat My Computer".

You can start looking here.

Rant Against Farm Subsidies Turns To Questions About Robot Takeovers

LITERATURE about farming often gushes about living in harmony with the eternal rhythms of nature. “Eternal” certainly seems the right word to describe the generous subsidies that rich-world farmers enjoy. For a group whose population is rapidly shrinking, and whose products have been declining in value for centuries, farmers wield an astonishing amount of political power. Though farm subsidies are the bane of liberal and conservative economists alike, farmers have survived decades of trade liberalisation almost unscathed, and may well emerge from the current Doha round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations with little alteration to their pampered existence.
Maybe we have Jefferson to blame for his shortsighted masturbatorial fantasies of agrarian utopiae. But maybe it's called an (Industrial) Revolution cos no one could foresee it? Ivan's right to say that 2% to 0.02% will plummet the number of us working on feeding the rest of us.

Too bad predictions of robot emergence are notoriously and consistently optimistic time-line-wise. Why is that? To get grants/venture-capital or what?

6.21.2005

tripe

squidball @ siggraph 2k4 : a game experiment ::

Zero emission Hummers

"We fully expected to target SUV drivers with SUV guilt," he said. "It just doesn't exist"

Maybe I should change the funky title, or at least link to an ED site.

Stop Censorship

Wanna help stop Google, Yahoo, MS, and the autocrats in China from stamping on free speech with a black steal boot? Adopt a Chinese Blog!

Ever since blog became popular in China, there have been a number of occasions where some blogs were shut down by telecommunications company or internet service providers due to their political speech. These incidents not only brought risks to bloggers themselves but also to blog service providers in China. Many blog service providers had to increase their effort in content filtering. All these brought pressure and helplessness to people who dare to make truthful expressions.

Especially since April 2005, when the law on non-profit website registration became effective, website owners are required to submit their real personal information when they register their websites. The annual registration process as well as hefty penalty for failure in compliance have angered many website owners that use an independent virtual server and domain names.

Therefore, many bloggers in mainland China began to consider moving their blogs outside of China. But because of language barrier, financial, payment and other issues, the cost of moving is rather high and the situation is not optimistic.

It is based on the belief of free speech that we started the Adopt a Chinese blog project. We hope that we and others on the internet who shared the same belief, can share resources and help bloggers who want to freely express themselves and find a safer space for blogging, so that they can continue to blog without retribution.

As a matter of fact, the goal of the program is to help bloggers. The support is not limited to any specific country. It is borderless and global. At least this is what we wish: let people freely express themselves, without the worries that their blog may one day be shutdown.

Help Chinese peasants read the musings and day-to-day banalities of other Chinese peasants through he miracle of blogging.

Digital 'Antigraffiti' Peels Away the Years


-Jonathan Tobin

Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

You can also get the book, Pirattittude.

6.20.2005

The Supreme Court upheld the federal government's right to ban marijuana use, even in states that allow it for medical reasons. What do you think?


"Dude, the small-government-advocating, states-rights-supporting conservatives must've been totally high when they wrote that decision."
-Daniel S. Korobkin
Podiatirst

"Reagan and me, good," Saddam said.

I know since his death, Reagan has been getting rave reviews from almost everyone, but this is a bit silly.

Okay, Computer, What's The Best Album Of The Last Twenty Years?

The British band's album edged out Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" and Nirvana's "Nevermind" on a list in Spin's 20th anniversary issue, currently on newsstands.

"Between Thom Yorke's orange-alert worldview and the band's meld of epic guitar rock and electronic glitch, ('OK Computer') not only forecast a decade of music but uncannily predicted our global culture of communal distress," reads the editorial note on what separated the 1997 disc from the other 99 ranked albums.

In Africa...

.

High-Speed Cameras

Check out the water balloon pierced by a scalpel. The skin quickly evaporates like a self-peeling apple. The water inside retains the shape while falling.

These are also awesome because digital high-speed cameras are up and coming.

6.17.2005

Neal Stephenson Has Something To Say About Star Wars And Geeks In The New York Times

Listen, The N-Man Just Felt A Little Like An N-word, Alright?

Speaking Wednesday night at a Washington fund-raiser to retire the debt from his 2004 presidential campaign, Nader complained that Democratic Party powerbrokers had kept him off the ballot in such Southern states as Georgia and Virginia - which reminded him of the oppressive Jim Crow laws that denied African-Americans equal rights.

"I felt like a nigger," remarked the 70-year-old white multimillionaire graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

Geo-Greens

"The only thing we have a shortage of now are leaders with the imagination and will to move the country onto a geo-green path."

I like all of the tech Friedman mentions. But this last sentence is an insult. Here is another view.

To say that the government is the only mover and shaker in America not only insults the entreprenurial spirit of capitalism that makes this country run, but also raises (or keep raised?) government onto a pedastal. It is the ONLY actor. It MUST do something before change can occur.

From Health Care to Plug-in cars, inspired leaders are not necessary.

Science Takes Another Hit To The Groin So Old People Can Buy Heart Medicine After A Life Of Eating Bacon & Eggs For Breakfast

A giant laser being built to simulate the explosion of a hydrogen bomb is facing funding cuts in the Senate that supporters say could kill the project after $2.8 billion has been spent on it.

The device, which would focus 192 lasers at a single point to create a huge release of energy, is nearing completion at the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab in Northern California.

But a spending plan for energy and water projects approved Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee would shut off further construction money for the project, leaving it with just the four laser beams now in place...
I've been to this laser, still under construction, in the summer of 2001. It was a gigantic building longer than an American-football field. We had to wear little booties over our shoes, hairnets, and Bill Nye science coats, which made me feel important. The lasers are 3m-wide beams of ultraviolet, and they bounce back and forth in the giant room in tubes until, in principle, they'd all be harnessed in a 10m wide metal sphere that looks like a deep-water submarine. There they'd be focused into a tiny golden cylinder a few millimeters wide containing some deuterium gas. The laser would basically crush/heat this material enough to make it start fusing.

(Ivan, you'd be happy to know that they were in the process of making the entire room serviceable by robots alone, to keep it all super clean. They looked like big refrigerators.)

As far as I know, they'd gotten the thing running partially already. The idea was to study lasers, fusion (with, maybe, commercial applications), hydrodynamic instabilites observed in supernovae, and simulate big thermo-nuclear explosions so actual weapons testing was unnecessary. Science time allocated for the latter made up about 20% of the future running time.

Anyhow, I'll be sorry to see it go. It was a pretty cool experiment. It's kinda like Hubble and the Superconducting Supercollider in the sense that it was killed by a bumbling Congress with no grasp of science, blah, blah, blah.

I'll take solace in the fact that the wretched old in America will live a few weeks longer to enjoy apple sauce, complain about modern music, and reminisce about how great the 1950s were.

Why I Shouldn't Have Kids

or "Hey, Why Didn't I Think Of That?!"

From The Department Of Palpable Irony

6.16.2005

I'm Back!



I'm pleased to report kirigin.com has just switched hosts (as if you noticed). SSH + WinSCP is your friend. Expect much more content, some password protected (i.e. not quite legal) but permanent.

On a side note, VirtualDub is powerful and free. The plug-ins are awesome.

Z-man Unplugged

War Nerd's take on the al-Zarqawi phenomenon.

Triumph vs the Michael Jackson Supporters

Peggy Noonan on PBS

Though I enjoy the NewsHour, PBS really shouldn't have a slant.

6.15.2005

Sexy Serb Guys & Girls

Weird google-ads on the side-bar.

How about some sexy Croats!

English EU.0

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as
"Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza.

Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Zen ve vil rul ze world!!!

Energy Bill Illusions

President Bush likewise charges, "If [lawmakers] are interested in jobs staying here at home, if they're interested in creating an environment in which we're competitive, we need an energy bill, one that encourages reliability for electricity, and one that encourages conservation and helps us become less dependent on foreign sources of energy."

This is not simply nonsense -- it's nonsense on stilts.

War on Terror Won

Governing class back to usual business.

Great job all around, my glorious rulers. That whole national security crisis thing was terrifying.

LILEKS' screedblog

"If we gang-mimed the guy and had 17 men in striped shirts with white makeup pantomime falling out of a burning skyscraper, would the critics demand we not only let the guy go but pay him a per diem for his troubles?"

6.14.2005

Heroic Teen Projectile-Vomits On Petulant Spanish Teacher; Hilarity, Misdemeanor Ensue

The McCain Formula?

George W. Bush and John McCain may prefer not to need each other. But by 2008, they could well become codependent. American politics has produced stranger alliances.
1. Ran for president in 2000, lost out nomination to Bush.
2. Public and private beef with Bush, until...
3. Courted by Kerry Kamp 2004.
4. Still wanted to be prez himself, realized he couldn't get a future GOP nomination if he said yes to Kerry---indeed, wouldn't get a future Dem nomination if he said yes to Kerry. Says no to Kerry.
5. Gives a non-anti-Kerry but powerfully pro-Bush speech at GOP convention. Praises Bush's most contentious position: Iraq.
6. So, he scratched Bush's back, and Bush was re-elected. The GOP, aware of the current unpopularity of Bush, may back McCain for 2008. Bush could throw in his support for a McCain-JebBush ticket.

There are circumstances for which I'd vote for McCain (I like his fiscal policy and say-whatever-the-fuck-he-feels-like-ness). Joining the nepotism ticket, however, is not amongst them.

Social Security: Bad for the Democrats

Interesting account of the discrimination in the system.

The World Memory Championships

Play the random numbers game.

Google Advanced Operators

The Old and the Rested

"Social Security is widely thought of as a kumbaya program that unites Americans in caring for the elderly, but it actually creates ugly political battles among generations."

We need a AAWP stat, [w=working].

Potty Parity

Cutting the queues

Michael Bloomberg, New York's mayor, certainly curried favour with some women by recently signing a “potty parity” bill. The law will require new and renovated public buildings—such as theatres, cinemas, sport stadiums, concert halls and bars—to have twice as many toilets for women as for men. (A 1984 law had foolishly enforced equal numbers.) Venue owners are allowed to circumvent the law by making their bathrooms unisex.

The law will not apply to municipal buildings, restaurants, schools or hospitals, where long lines are less a problem. The mayor quipped that the bill will not only ease the lives of women, but also “reduce waiting-around time for their male companions”.

6.13.2005

Thrillionaires: The New Space Capitalists

HSA working?

You should request them if you're healthy and young.

Pro-Trade Democrats Go AWOL

Clinton was a balanced budget, free trader. I'm guessing that's why his tenure was successful (though there was a great rise in the regulatory body at the same time).

Their opposition to free-trade is something that makes me dislike today's Democrats.

Arrest This Man!!!


This is the SITH LORD you've been looking for all these years, PULLING the strings in an elaborate ploy to ensnare AFRO-AMERICAN entertainers. He is an imperialistic JEHOVAH'S WITNESS with TEN (10) children and the worst piece of authoritarian anti-revolutionary tripe since that dance-hating sheriff in Foot Loose. Viva la DANCE-DANCE Revolution!

The Complete Far Side 1980-1994 (2 vol set)

Japan unveils "robot suit" that enhances human power



I was thinking the other day what I would do if I became unable to move. I'd probably try to build a suit like this.

America's Greatest Enemy?

In addition to these very bad things, this is the Satanist responsible for adding the Mark of the Beast REAL ID provisions to May's military appropriations bill.

Go Buy Something at Kim's

Because freedom isn't free.

On Bullshit

Got this short book for my little brother's high school graduation. A pretty good read. Just thought I'd post that at one point he mentions bloggers.
Why is there so much bullshit? Of course it is impossible to be sure that there is relatively more of it nowadays than at other times. There is more communication of all kinds in our time than ever before, but the proportion that is bullshit may not have increased. Without assuming that the incidence of bullshit is actually greater now, I will mention a few considerations that help to account for the fact that it is currently so great.

Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person’s obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic are more excessive than his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. This discrepancy is common in public life, where people are frequently impelled — whether by their own propensities or by the demands of others — to speak extensively about matters of which they are to some degree ignorant. Closely related instances arise from the widespread conviction that it is the responsibility of a citizen in a democracy to have opinions about everything, or at least everything that pertains to the conduct of his country’s affairs. The lack of any significant connection between a person’s opinions and his apprehension of reality will be even more severe, needless to say, for someone who believes it his responsibility, as a conscientious moral agent, to evaluate events and conditions in all parts of the world.


(Actually, he published this in the 80s and presumes that people were called upon by their careers to talk out of their ass. As far as I can tell, he didn't foresee folks doing it for free.)

Kissinger: China =! Soviet Union

It is unwise to substitute China for the Soviet Union in our thinking and to apply to it the policy of military containment of the Cold War. The Soviet Union was heir to an imperialist tradition, which, between Peter the Great and the end of World War II, projected Russia from the region around Moscow to the center of Europe. The Chinese state in its present dimensions has existed substantially for 2,000 years. The Russian empire was governed by force; the Chinese empire by cultural conformity with substantial force in the background. At the end of World War II, Russia found itself face to face with weak countries along all its borders and unwisely relied on a policy of occupation and intimidation beyond the long-term capacity of the Russian state.

The strategic equation in Asia is altogether different. U.S. policy in Asia must not mesmerize itself with the Chinese military buildup. There is no doubt that China is increasing its military forces, which were neglected during the first phase of its economic reform. But even at its highest estimate, the Chinese military budget is less than 20 percent of America's; it is barely, if at all, ahead of that of Japan and, of course, much less than the combined military budgets of Japan, India and Russia, all bordering China -- not to speak of Taiwan's military modernization supported by American decisions made in 2001. Russia and India possess nuclear weapons. In a crisis threatening its survival, Japan could quickly acquire them and might do so formally if the North Korean nuclear problem is not solved. When China affirms its cooperative intentions and denies a military challenge, it expresses less a preference than the strategic realities. The challenge China poses for the medium-term future will, in all likelihood, be political and economic, not military...

6.12.2005

Robots; Poker; Robots Playing Poker! Wooo!

The opponent in the online card game might be a computer. 'Bots' are beatable because they miss human nuances, but they're learning...

Of the millions of gamblers who have rushed to play Texas Hold 'Em and other fast-growing poker games online, Roger Gabriel isn't the most intimidating.

The 30-year-old Newport Beach engineer started playing for money only a month ago. He lurks online at the tables for the chicken-hearted; even there, where the biggest ante is 4 cents, he can't win consistently.


But Gabriel has a potentially powerful alter ego. In his spare time, he's perfecting a computer program to go online and play the game for him.

His BlackShark software is still a work in progress, but Gabriel has no doubt that such programs eventually will be championship quality. "In the future," he said, "robots are going to take over..."

Heroic Man-Beast Fumbles Fight Of Its Life

Update.


Tyson tried to break McBride's arm in the final round, then tried to hit him low. When all else failed he aimed his head at McBride's forehead, butting him and opening a cut next to his left eye.

"I was desperate," Tyson said. "I wanted to win."

When the round ended, though, it wasn't McBride who was in trouble. It was Tyson, pushed to the canvas by his 6-foot-5, 271-pound opponent, with his head stuck between the ropes. Tyson seemed barely able to get up and, when he did, he wobbled to his corner and sat on the stool for one last final time.

"I felt like I was 120 years old," Tyson said.
...

"You're smart too late and old too soon," Tyson said. "I just got caught up in that suction cup. I feel like Rip Van Winkle right now."

NOOOOOOO! Not that suction cup! The world is yours, Mike, the world is yours. :,(

6.10.2005

Guys, We Missed The Truffle Shuffle Dance Contest

..but that's alright cos we can throw our own, perhaps over a game of 2210 or a game of "Drink The Most Whiskey." Love that game.

Healthspan Calculator

87.9 for me.

I am quite certain that in 64 years, the questions asked on a quiz about life expectancy will be quite different.

Have you updated your nano-cell firmware recently?
Are you, or do you live near, a Luddite?

Post For Free To Choose Fans

Freidman states the obvious: united Republican government is horrible for freedom.
Progress in his goal of rolling back the role of government, he said, is "being greatly threatened, unfortunately, by this notion that the U.S. has a mission to promote democracy around the world," a big Bush objective.

"War is a friend of the state," Friedman said. It is always expensive, requiring higher taxes, and, "In time of war, government will take powers and do things that it would not ordinarily do."

...

"There's no question if we're holding down spending, a Democratic president and a Republican House and Senate is the proper combination."

Carnival of Tomorrow 4.0

America Needs New Immigration Policy Like A Fat Circus Clown Needs A New Chain On His Funny Little Clown Bicycle

NEW IPSWICH, N.H. -- The police chief of this tiny whitewashed New England town has crafted his own border-control policy -- he has charged illegal immigrants from Mexico with trespassing in New Hampshire...

"The $64,000 question is why these police chiefs are doing this," said state Rep. Hector M. Velez (D), who was born in Pennsylvania and served in Operation Desert Storm before moving to Manchester, about 20 miles northeast of New Ipswich. "They talk terrorism, but none of these guys were looking for anything except hard work. You ask me, some people are afraid of the unknown..."

...But police chiefs W. Garrett Chamberlain and Richard E. Gendron reserve much of their annoyance for the federal government, which they say spends billions of dollars on homeland security even as the southern and northern borders remain sieves. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, estimates that 8 million illegal immigrants live in the United States; about 465,000 are fleeing deportation orders.) "I just find it hard to believe that we spend billions of dollars on high-tech security stuff and then we let 8 million people come across our border illegally and say nothing," Gendron said. "My son is with the Army in Iraq, and he says the biggest challenge is to tighten the border. Why is it any different here?"

6.09.2005

When Dwarves Slap Together In The Night

Accompanying article.

Eh, Sexuals---Nerdy Sexuals!

It would seem that---can't you just hear it coming?---NERD IS THE NEW BLACK! (Notwithstanding my claim a fortnight ago that BLACK was the new black.)

Asexuals

BIRDS do it, bees do it. But not necessarily all of them. Among bees the sisters of queens do not engage in sex. And in certain species of birds - Florida scrub jays, for one - some individuals, known as helpers, do not breed but only help the breeders raise their offspring.

But could indifference to sex extend to humans, too? An increasing number of people say yes and offer themselves as proof. They describe themselves as asexual, and they call their condition normal, not the result of confused sexual orientation, a fear of intimacy or a temporary lapse of desire. They would like the world to understand that they can live their entire lives happily without ever having sex...

Women Hit Two Hole-In-Ones; William Safire In Crowd Bellows "It's HOLES-In-One, Jackass!"

Belgium VS The Dutch

Belgium's prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, apologised to his Dutch counterpart, Jan Peter Balkenende, after the Belgian foreign minister was quoted in an interview, given after the Dutch referendum on the EU constitution, likening the Dutchman to Harry Potter, but without the charisma.

Pirates In Iraq, Matey

Charlie Brown denies responsibility

No word on whether any "r" peglegged.

Selfish Us

The American government is notoriously stingy with its foreign aid, giving just 0.2% of GDP to poor countries every year. Even when Americans’ ample private donations are added in, America still falls near the bottom of the rich-nation pack in generosity to those abroad. Yet American voters believe they are absurdly generous. A 2001 poll showed that they think 24% of their federal budget goes on foreign aid, a figure that would amount to more than 4% of America’s GDP. Given that perception, it would be difficult for Mr Bush to agree to substantial spending increases, much less get such an agreement through Congress—especially with a budget deficit expected to top $400 billion this year.

But catering to selfish American voters is not the only reason that Mr Bush—and many analysts—are reluctant to endorse Mr Blair’s bold new vision for Africa. Critics of such grand plans argue that the continent does not need, in the words of Gordon Brown, Britain's finance minister, “a new Marshall Plan”. The rich world has already poured the equivalent of six Marshall Plans into Africa, with very little to show for the money. What Africa needs most, the Americans argue, is decent governments—not perfect ones, just ones that are less corrupt, incompetent or violent. Without such governments, aid will do nothing but build roads to nowhere and line the Swiss bank accounts of the ruling kleptocrats.

The International Freedom Center

A response to an earlier article about the 9/11 Memorial.

Excellent tech

"Grocery wholesaler James Hall has cut costs and administration time by investing a six-figure sum in a voice technology system to help staff pick out orders."

This is also discussed here, where the blogger thinks this will lead to a rise of robotics, in a very negative way.

Free to Choose

"After 50 years, education vouchers are beginning to catch on." - A reading according to the article of Friedman.

On the way to work...

I usually walk through Harvard Square on my way to work. It's a nice area, and particularly nice today, both because of the lovely weather and the graduation ceremony afoot.

Walking down the street, I saw a guy trying to sell newspapers. Yah know, those 'Spare Change' or whatever clever titled paper that homeless people sell to make a bit of cash.

So as I pass this guy, who is walking in the opposite direction, a junkie teen gets up from her seat on the concrete/brick sidewalk and yells "Hey Homeboy! I'm doing something here!". Her junkie boyfriend was getting up behind her, gesticulating wildly while ejaculating a grunt. I turn back to the girl, now behind me, and see her cardboard sign: "Homeless! Please Help! blah blah blah..."

I was tickled. These able-bodied wanna-be gutter-punk beggars apparently couldn't find good enough jobs to get a room at the Y (or wherever), but they could be enterprising enough to vehemently defend they beggar turf. After all, they have to make a living somehow!



To be fair, they may not have been junk addicts. It could easily have been meth.

6.08.2005

More fun with Gifs

Heroic Man-Beast Enters Fight Of Its Life


After a brief but vigorous workout Tuesday, Mike Tyson sat on a stool and uttered a favorite expression that has been used to describe his career and his life.

"Old too soon, smart too late," he said.

Almost 39, Tyson is seeking a new chance in the ring. Tuesday his sweat formed a puddle...

High Schools Disrupt Natural Teen Sleep Schedules

Duh.

The alternatives presented sound awesome:
Technology should be used to allow kids to adjust their learning schedules to their body's circadian rhythms. The use of pre-recorded high quality and high resolution lectures would allow kids to watch lectures on difficult subjects when their minds feel keen enough to handle difficult material. Our current regimented method of marching kids through a series of fixed time length classes strikes me as a hold-over from the factory era. Lecture delivery could be done electronically at any time of the day or night. A kid who has a hankering to just listen to hours of biology on one day and hours of history on another day ought to be able to do that as long as all the needed material is viewed. Or if the kid wants to watch physics lectures only after 9 PM then make it easy to do so.

I can even picture electronic methods to detect whether each kid paid attention to n hours of biology lectures and m hours of calculus lectures. Biometric scanning equipment attached to a device that plays lecture videos could track whether each kid has watched each lecture. Or kids could have to set for automatically delivered tests to monitor their progress.

Kids could even win greater flexibility in the use of their time by meeting testing goals. A kid who manage to, say, test as being a month ahead of schedule could be allowed to spend more hours listening to music, watching movies, playing video games, or other activities. We should make education less like a planned regimented socialist economy and give kids ways to earn the ability to exercise greater control of their time. I bet many kids would learn more rapdily and also be happier about learning.

David's (Nuclear) Sling: The EMP Threat

Ridiculous.

This is interesting too.

Sometimes A Little Silence Is Nice

A freestyler on the Terrapins swim team, Cabrera packs his own tunes -- with the help of a waterproof device and headphones -- while practicing at the University of Maryland pool, which already has underwater speakers piping music to swimmers.

He listens to music of his own choosing while: eating, running, painting, pumping weights, driving. He listens to music while giving directions to someone on campus. He even listens to music in the classroom. "Like if it's a history course," he says, "I really could care less. The teacher is talking in a monotone. I turn it up. I put in one earbud and turn my head a little and the teacher can't tell."

All day, every day, Cabrera sets his waking hours to music. He is, in effect, creating the soundtrack of his life.

He is a musicholic and a classic creation of our time: the Era of the Ear, the Epoch of Omnipresent Song, this miraculous Age of Ubiquitous Music.

When folks gain babble-fish technology with surgical inserts, we'll have automatic translation of all known human languages (+built in dog-bark translator?), unlimited supply of music, and deconstructively interfering inputs for either uncorrupted music free from ambient sound, OR a perfectly silent world where even the sound of your beating heart and sloshing blood is silenced. Only then can auditory spontaneity be eliminated completely from our lives.

The Great Ground Zero Heist

"This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona."

Call to bullpen: 'Give me R2-D2'

While Pirates pitcher Oliver Perez's job is in no danger, coaches and others who pitch batting practice before games could one day be relegated to the bench by a robot.

A preview could come tonight, when the S-3 Platform Robot, built by Aliquippa-based RoPro Design and Beaver County Area Vocational Technical School, will deliver the first pitch as the Pirates square off against the Baltimore Orioles on "Robotics Night" at PNC Park.

So automated pitching machines don't count? I guess they never use them in a game. They should have a 0th inning, where 3 batters from both teams compete in hitting against a really powerful pitching robot. This could be used both to break ties and humiliate merely human players.

6.07.2005

Ewe Boat



From Flying-Pig. What a great site. I enjoyed this one also:

I hope that was an empty bottle, George! You can't afford to waste good liquor, not on YOUR salary!

Interesting article, but I have to say that with an alcoholic couple in a miserable marriage, the whole point of the story is that you can't win. It's one of the best movies ever, though, and honestly I can't wait to play. Email preorders available here, developer blog here.

A Chance to Escape

Clearly, the main opponents of even experimental school voucher programs are union folks who don't want smaller public school teacher counts, and the associated publicly funded union dues.

Death of a Salaryman's Uniform

Dressing down

A dark suit, white shirt and unadventurous necktie have been de rigueur for generations of Japanese salary men and government employees. But this summer the government is asking them to ditch their suits in a bid to conserve energy. The campaign to use less air-conditioning is part of a plan by Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's prime minister, to cut electricity usage and reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases.

By government decree, thermostats in public buildings are to be set no lower than 28º C from June 1st until September. To encourage hierarchy-conscious businessmen and government workers to adopt the casual look, Mr Koizumi promised that he and his cabinet members will shed suits and ties this summer for all but the most official functions. A newspaper advertisement of the policy has him pictured in a short-sleeved shirt. The environment ministry has plans for a fashion show called “Cool Biz Collection”—featuring Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of Toyota Motor—to show salary men how to cope with the change.

6.06.2005

Just Do Something

"Mr. Blair will be in Washington this week trying to persuade Mr. Bush to do the right thing."

Somehow aid to Africa is the moral choice, regardless of the effects of that aid. I wish Bush would be more blunt about trade being the best way to help the Africa, and a removal of farm subsidies in America & Europe the more effective policy choice to help Africa.

It's funny (in a depressing sort of way), that Milton Friedman's "Free To Choose" from 25 years ago addresses the oddity of free-market countries choosing socialist policies for poorer nations through subsidies of local goods, barriers to trade such as tariffs, and welfare for dictators through aid. One could almost believe the Marxist rhetoric about rich nations oppressing poor nations if they didn’t say the cause of the oppression was the little trade there is.

Ridiculous.

The article mentions the percentage of gross national income going to aid. That has got to be the worst possible measure of giving, looking only at the image of a nation as being charitable, and ignoring completely the results of the aid.

Let Us Condemn Michael Jackson in Accordance With This Scientific Data, Not Hearsay


...

6.05.2005

Jews Are Smarter Than Me

6.03.2005

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Free Doughnut Day!

Derek Smalls Is Right


I do want to hear President Bush say a little bit more about the "crazy" drinking debate where McCain went off on Alan Keyes. [Video]

Oxytocin Makes Human Minds More Trusting

"Arguments for the existence of free will are hard to square with scientific advances which show how to bend the will."

Defrag


I'm very pleased with this defrag result.

I'm also very pleased with my desktop. Click for larger.

6.02.2005

Come See My New Film

In DUMBO, on Saturday.

Info.

Mother Fuckers

About 8,000 Muslim men and boys were rounded up and killed after Bosnian Serb forces captured Srebrenica, a UN-protected enclave.

The BBC's Matt Prodger in Belgrade says it is a truly chilling video which begins with a Serbian Orthodox priest blessing paramilitaries before they go into battle and ends with what appears to be the same paramilitaries shooting badly beaten civilian prisoners in the back with machine guns.

The killers are wearing the uniforms of a unit known as the Scorpions, which prosecutors say fell under the command of the Serbian interior ministry.

At one point the man filming the executions complains that the power supply for the camera is running down and is told by one of the killers to keep filming as long as he can.

Our correspondent says this is the first time that the Serbian media has presented the public with such graphic and direct evidence of the Srebrenica massacre.

There are three elements of this story that make me irate. I will simply list them:
-UN "safe haven" Srebrenica. Fuck the UN.

-Carla del Ponte (a hero that is loved in Croatia) and her remarkable ability to homogenize the atrocities in the Serbian Wars. "Bad things happened on all sides" is like saying "Oh, at some point during WW2, there were some Jews that killed some Germans."

-Dude, a strung out bunch of meat-heads calling themselves the Scorpions, getting blessed by a saggy Orthodox priest and goin' off rapin' women and shooting 8,000 men and boys in the back with machine guns! (For the record, many were bayoneted.) You know how the West even found out about this shit in the first place? Through fuckin' satellite images of the surrounding Srebrenica fields in infra-red---the decomposing bodies warmed the top-soil quite a bit over many many acres.

I should emphasize that the Srebrenica thing was by no means an isolated event over about a decade of barbarous "Greater Serbia" campaigns.

To wit, mother fuckers...

Sudoku

Fear and Rejection

"This is the chief problem with the welfare state, which has nothing to do with the success or efficiency of any individual program. The liberal project of the postwar era has bred a stultifying conservatism, a fear of dynamic flexibility, a greater concern for guarding what exists than for creating what doesn't."

A Cappella Techno

Idioteque

sigh...

Africa

Aid?

Africa received over $500 billion of foreign aid between 1960 and 1997. Adjusting for inflation, that is more in real terms than the Marshall Plan money that America invested in Europe after the Second World War. Yet Africa ended up poorer than before. Much of the money was embezzled or used to finance extravagant but useless projects, including wars.

For instance, General Sani Abacha, the former dictator of Nigeria, was able to steal between £1 billion and £3 billion in under five years - something of a record, even for Africa.

Much of Africa'’s ill-gotten wealth is now stashed abroad. One recent study of 30 sub-Saharan African countries showed that total capital flight for the period from 1970 to 1996 amounted to $187 billion. If you add the interest that money would have earned, the stock of Africa'’s private capital kept abroad may be close to $300 billion - a sum equivalent to 145 per cent of the debts owed by those countries.

In other words, bizarre as it might seem, sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world. Its external assets probably exceed its external debts. The difference is that the assets are private while the debts are public.

Contrary to popular misconception, western aid to Africa is already rising. Aid is now increasing by around 11 per cent year on year. In real financial terms, aid to Africa is currently at a historic record high of $20 billion per annum - and that is before any decision taken at the G8.

What should the G8 leaders do?

The developed world funnels nearly one billion dollars a day in subsidies to its own farmers, coincidentally enabling them to dump artificially cheap food in poor countries, resulting in yet more poverty.

At the same time, high tariff barriers are directed against African farmers trying to sell sugar, rice and cotton to the West. For instance, the United States, Japan and the EU subsidised their domestic rice production by $16 billion in 2002, the latest year for which full data is available. That'’s almost as much as the entire aid package to sub-Saharan Africa. No wonder Ghana'’s rice-growing industry cannot compete.

The World Bank estimates that if G8 nations would end their farm subsidies and tariffs, the poor nations would benefit by as much as half a trillion dollars and lift 150 million people out of poverty by 2015.

That would be a genuine campaign to make poverty history. Lower agricultural tariffs and reducing subsidies are in the hands of the G8 leaders.

What should the G8 protesters do?

Instead of coming to Edinburgh for the G8, if a million people pooled the money saved - including two days'’ salary - that might come close to half a billion pounds.

That would pay for a decent political campaign to reduce western agricultural subsidies, thus creating a sustainable market for African farmers. Alternatively, it would build a complete tourist industry infrastructure in any sub-Saharan country you care to name. Or it would endow a university in any sub-Saharan capital.

Trans-Atlantic Dogfight

"For taxpayers on both sides of the Atlantic, the best possible outcome would be one that takes both companies off the public dole, once and for all."

Word.

6.01.2005

John McCain == John McClane ?

An update of sorts.

A naval aviator, John McCain was stationed aboard the USS Forrestal where, on July 29, 1967, he escaped death when a missile accidentally launched across the ship, striking John McCain's A-4 Skyhawk. The impact ruptured the fuel tank on McCain's aircraft, the leaking fuel instantly ignited, and knocked a bomb into the fire. John McCain escaped from his jet by climbing out of the cockpit, walking down to the nose of the plane, and jumping off the nose boom. A minute and a half after the impact, the bomb exploded underneath McCain's plane, starting a major fire which killed 134 sailors and nearly threatened to destroy the ship.

Video tape shot aboard the Forrestal shows McCain narrowly escaping the explosion.

Later in 1967, he was shot down over Vietnam, and was held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for five-and-a-half years. When the North Vietnamese discovered he was the son and grandson of admirals, he was offered a chance to go home, but he refused to break the military code that POWs are released in the order that they are captured.

He was finally released from captivity in 1973, having survived the injuries he received when he was shot down, the beatings from an angry crowd and his captors, a year of torture, and two years of solitary confinement. Once released, his POW injuries prevented him from receiving a sea command, so in 1977, he became a Navy's liaison to the Senate. He was discharged from the Navy in 1981 as a Captain, on the day he watched his father buried next to his grandfather, in Arlington National Cemetery. During his military career he received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, and a Distinguished Flying Cross.

U.S.S. Nepotism Sails The Seas From 2008 to Forever

Clinton, Bush, whatevs. GMAFB, dude!

Charlie Don't Surf

You may have heard of Donald Rumsfeld using a robot to get out of signing condolence letters to the families of our war dead. Did you know that the man who reported it had eight Purple Hearts and was the inspiration for Robert Duvall's character in Apocalypse Now? R.I.P.
He even took a three-star general to task in 2002 for prohibiting American soldiers in Germany from drinking beer. ''Can you imagine George Patton cutting off the grog just before D-Day?" he wrote.

"AI Seduces Stanford Students"

A pre-programmed VR sales pitch that varies only in mimicry of the gestures of the listener is found to be more persuasive.

I recall reading a ninja mind-control book about this.

I've been meaning to get that character recorded somewhere...

Nixon: Quid Pro Quote

  • "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore. Because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." 1962 after losing the race for Governor of California.
  • "This is the greatest week in the history of the world since the Creation, because as a result of what happened in this week, the world is bigger, infinitely." (concerning the Apollo Moon landing)

On Watergate

  • "I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got." November 17, 1973 Televised press conference at Walt Disney World, Florida.
  • "I don't give a shit what happens. I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or anything else, if it'll save it, save this plan. That's the whole point. We're going to protect our people if we can." (to Haldeman, tapes ordered released for the trial of Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Mitchell)
  • "I recognize that this additional material I am now furnishing may further damage my case," (after the ordered release of the White House tapes August 5, 1974)
  • "When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal." (explaining his interpretation of Executive Privilege to interviewer David Frost)
  • "I was under medication when I made the decision not to burn the tapes."
  • "Well, I screwed it all up real good, didn't I?"
  • "The greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain... Always remember, others may hate you. Those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself." Farewell to White House staff August 8 1974.

On peace

  • "Any nation that decides the only way to achieve peace is through peaceful means is a nation that will soon be a piece of another nation." (from his book No More Vietnams)
  • "The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker." (From his 1969 inaugural; later used as Nixon's epitaph)

Miscellaneous

  • "Sock it to me?" (on the television comedy series Laugh-In)
  • "I don't know a lot about politics, but I do know a lot about baseball."
  • "Solutions are not the answer."
  • "I would have made a good pope."
  • "Let me say this about that."
  • "cookie pushers in striped pants", referring to the Peace Corps and the State Dept. Foreign Service