Drink Tank

Extra Aqua Vitae Nulla Salus

7.31.2005

Best. Cell. Number. EVER.

617-777-4317

Gimme a call sometime.

7.29.2005

V for Vendetta

New trailer

7.28.2005

Security Awareness Posters

Sure, I mentioned these posters a while back, but looking at this wonderful collection of security related posters(there are hundreds - and they are all classics) I realized that I should bring them up again here. The quotes and graphics are truly memorable.

7.27.2005

Nasa

"NASA grounds the space shuttle program while engineers determine the effects of debris falling from Discovery during blastoff. More soon."

Why is there a "while...". When will the program be completely scrapped?

Instead of trying to put it in space again, they should spend the $1B+ per launch on a "Extracting Useful Technology" program, and make all engineering and science amassed available to those interested in picking up where the shuttle left off.

iPod Flea

Hilarious.

7.26.2005

Support for Bush's Iraq Policies


American support for President Bush's Iraq policies continues to decline and is at its lowest level since March 2003, when Harris Interactive first measured public sentiment on this issue.

The latest Harris poll shows 64% of adults believe Mr. Bush is doing a "poor" or "only fair" job of handling Iraq, while 34% say he is doing an "excellent" or "pretty good" job. In May, Harris found Mr. Bush had a 61% disapproval rating, while 37% approved. (See related graphic)

Public opinion of U.S. involvement in Iraq has declined in other areas as well, the latest poll shows. Fifty-nine percent of Americans say they aren't confident U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful and nearly half (49%) think taking military action against Iraq was the wrong thing to do. Additionally, only 17% of Americans surveyed believe the situation for U.S. troops in Iraq is improving.

Former Bush Aide Turns Tough Critic As Iraq Inspector



Wall st. Journal:

During a routine audit last summer of an American office in charge of doling out reconstruction funding in Hillah, Iraq, U.S. government investigators made a series of startling discoveries.

The office had paid a contractor twice for the same work. A U.S. official was allowed to handle millions of dollars in cash weeks after he was fired for incompetence. Of the $119.9 million allocated for regional projects, $89.4 million was disbursed without contracts or other documentation. An additional $7.2 million couldn't be found at all.

To many officials in both Baghdad and Washington, the only thing more surprising than the problems was the identity of the man who had uncovered them: Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

Mr. Bowen is a Texas lawyer who parlayed a job on George W. Bush's first gubernatorial campaign into senior posts in Austin and Washington. He began the Iraq war lobbying for an American contractor seeking tens of millions of dollars in reconstruction work. Last October, California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman singled him out in a report on "The Politicization of Inspectors General" in the Bush administration. The report suggested that such auditors wouldn't be "independent and objective."

Instead, Mr. Bowen has become one of the most prominent and credible critics of how the administration has handled the occupation of Iraq. In a series of blistering public reports, he has detailed systemic management failings, lax or nonexistent oversight, and apparent fraud and embezzlement on the part of the U.S. officials charged with administering the rebuilding efforts.
White House officials declined to comment on Mr. Bowen. But he has drawn harsh criticism from other quarters.

Aides at both the State Department and the Defense Department have tried to curb the independence of his office. L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority until June 2004, has criticized Mr. Bowen for "misconceptions and inaccuracies" and for expecting the occupation authority, amid postwar chaos, to follow accounting standards that "even peaceful Western nations would have trouble meeting." Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, has called Mr. Bowen's staff "dramatically out of touch with the practical realities of waging war and setting up a new government in a war-torn country."

Yea! lets curb the independace of such a skillfull auditing team! We'll show them for trying to save taxpayers money

What are doing in afganistan?



(CBS/AP) U.S. and Afghan troops fired warning shots after more than 1,000 protesters chanting "Die America!" threw stones at a U.S. military convoy and at the main U.S. base in Afghanistan to demand the release of eight villagers detained in a raid.
I got it. In iRaq we are securing WMDs and deposing Sadam. Can someone remind me why we are still in afganistan.

WSJ.com - Bush May Sidestep Senate, Appoint Bolton During Recess

Associated Press
July 25, 2005 8:32 p.m.

WASHINGTON -- Frustrated by Senate Democrats, the White House hinted Monday that President Bush may act soon to sidestep Congress and install embattled nominee John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations on a temporary basis.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Mr. Bush has used his power for temporary appointments when 'he has to get people in place that have waited far too long to get about doing their business.' He said that 'sometimes there's come a point' when Mr. Bush has decided he needs to act."

...

Mr. Bush could put Mr. Bolton on the job by exercising his authority to make a recess appointment, an avenue available to the president when Congress is in recess. Lawmakers are expected to leave Friday for a summer recess and not return until Sept. 7.

Why even have a congress anyway?

Banana guards aside

Can we deal with this please. Non-answering shall be construed as a binding admission of bullshit.

NASA - NASA TV Landing Page

QUICK, turn on the Nasa TV to watch the launch. I recommend mixing in Daft Punk's "Da Funk". Good contrast.

7.25.2005

Banana Guard

Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier by Edward Castronova

An economics paper.

Im so glad we have meatheads with machine guns in the subways, it makes me feeel so safe

Thanks war on terror!

7.23.2005

iPod Mixer From NuMark

I knew it had to happen sooner or later, and I am glad it finally did:
Numark, the leading name in the world of DJ products and accessories, proudly announces the iDJ Mixing Console for iPod portable music players. The iDJ enables mobile DJs and iPod enthusiasts to seamlessly integrate their portable music libraries with other music and sound reinforcement systems transforming the iPod from a personal music player into a source playback device. With its compact form factor, comprehensive feature set, and a blue on white aesthetic appeal that blends perfectly with the iPod, Numarks iDJ makes the music more accessible and the party better than ever.
Sure, you have to have two iPods, but it's not like having two turntables was ever any cheaper.

7.22.2005

Police ask for tough new powers

When encrytion is outlawed only outlaws will have the unique prime factorization of very large numbers

ZOMBO

You can do anything...

Hallucinated Voices Male Because Male Voices Easier To Imagine

Crazy. Literally.

The World



Watch the video.

7.21.2005

Egyptian Bloggers

The number of Arabs using the Web is still small compared to America, but it's growing all the time. Islamic extremists recruit members and spread hatred via the Web -- and get the headlines -- but far more people in the Arab world are using the Internet to connect and share information.

Police to Check Bags on NYC Subways

Is this constitutional?

Optimus keyboard

Good Question.

How do you report a story about a man who dies while having sex with a horse? With a snigger? Or straight?

Here Come The Drink Tank Millionaires

From J. Calcanis, the overlord of Weblogsinc:
If back in September when we started playing with Google Adsense someone told me it would turn into a $1M a year business I would have laughed. A million bucks without a sales person? Give me a break!

However, yesterday we broke our $2,100 record with a $2,335 day. That’s an impressive number I know, because if we can take that number to $2,739.72 we’re at—wait for it—$1M a year.
That's just crazy talk. Amazicrazy talk. I think Drink Tank needs to go find like 95 more bloggers and post like crazy.

Huge

China Says It Will No Longer Peg Its Currency to the U.S. Dollar

7.20.2005

Primer

Death of Hipster

And people wonder why I have become such a recluse in recent years: read this article from the Los Angeles Times, and it will explain everything. Couldn't have said it better myself. Perfect.

Also full text posted at submunition.com in case LA Times decides to get lame and require registration for this story.

[via LAist]

He canna hol' it togetha any longa, Cap'n

Scotty Dead.

Or is he just crashed on a Dyson Sphere in an infinite teleporter loop?

Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

Don't forget to zoom in.

7.19.2005

More good news from Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - More than two dozen doctors walked out of one of Baghdad's busiest hospitals on Tuesday to protest what they said was abuse by Iraqi soldiers, leaving about 100 patients to fend for themselves in chaotic wards.

7.18.2005

Goodbye, blog

I have some stuff to do for a few weeks. Here's some homework, though, just from the current front page.

1. Do you feel The New Yorker is printing lies? What are they?

2. Explain this. Extra credit if you make it a 1st post on a littlegreenfootballs.com comments thread.

3. I'm curious, though, if you believe that Plame was not undercover, what crime(s) you think are being investigated by the special prosecutor. Let me know when you get a chance.

4. See this movie. Penn: akward and dorky, but loveable.

5. This comment thread contains unanswered questions. Another: is The Economist in any way mistaken to call flypaper as wrong as it is glib?

6. Ivan since you are in a word counting mood. How many words about Iraq's military capablities have turned out to be true? remember the drones that could spray US cities in 30 minutes?

7. This was a fun thread... Do y'all forsee more London/Madrid-style attacks in the West within the next year? Not me, as the thread says, since I think flypaper is working to inspire fighting in Iraq (although it's to the advantage of al Qaeda more than us, since they need the US to generate bad PR more than we need to install Iranian spies into the Iraqi government). Maybe one, since there's nothing those guys like more than cracking a beer and watching westerners cry, sing the national anthem, and invade Muslim lands on TV.

8. Bonus. An antiwar argument for staying the course: the theory of the Next Pointless War:
Until there is a way to prevent the US from entering pointless wars, there is a genuine strategic interest in making the US seem pigheaded, bloody-minded, and almost comically unwilling to see the writing on the wall — “resolute,” in the current rhetoric.

Hayek, Rothbard, Freidman, Rand, YEARGH!

DNC chairman pitches libertarian politics in Deadwoodland.

More tangible irony

"In a suit ACORN, ["the grassroots group agitating for a "living wage" in cities across the country" -ed] filed to exempt itself from California's minimum wage laws, the organization wrote in its brief:
"As acknowledged both by the trial court and California, the more that ACORN must pay each individual outreach worker--either because of minimum wage or overtime requirements--the fewer outreach workers it will be able to hire."
I'm not sure I feel comfortable reading a blog with this picture under its heading.

Sufi Wisdom Archives

by T.L. James of MarsBlog. Part of our weekly Sufi Wisdom series. As terrorist Islam does its best to discredit the religion, it is important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics with roots in many religious traditions. The lessons of Sufism are often communicated through humorous stories and mystical or romantic poetry.


From 7/16:

A bedouin, making a long desert trek, pitched his small black tent and lay down to sleep. As the night grew colder his camel woke him up with a nudge. 'Master, it is cold. May I put my nose inside the tent to warm it?' The traveller agreed, and settled down to sleep again. Scarcely an hour had passed, however, before the camel began to feel colder. 'Master, it is much colder. Can I put my head inside the tent?'

First his head was admitted to the tent, then, on the same argument, his neck. Finally, without asking, the camel heaved his whole bulk under the cloth. When he had, as he thought, settled himself, the bedouin was lying beside the camel, with no covering at all. The camel had uprooted the tent, which hung, totally inadequately, across his hump.
'Where has the tent gone?' asked the confused camel.


Chickenhawk smackdown

...Mark Yost, writing from the air-conditoned splendor of his office or home in leafy Minnesota:

"I know the reporting's bad because I know people in Iraq," he revealed. "A Marine colonel buddy just finished a stint overseeing the power grid. When's the last time you read a story about the progress being made on the power grid? Or the new desalination plant that just came on-line, or the school that just opened, or the Iraqi policeman who died doing something heroic? No, to judge by the dispatches, all the Iraqis do is stand outside markets and government buildings waiting to be blown up.

"I also get unfiltered news from Iraq through an e-mail network of military friends who aren't so blinded by their own politics that they can't see the real good we're doing there. ...Why isn't the focus of the story the fact that 14 of 18 Iraqi provinces are stable and the four that aren't are primarily home to the genocidal gang of thugs who terrorized that country for 30 years? And reporters wonder why they're despised."

* * *

From (Knight Ridder Washington chief) Clark Hoyt:

It's astonishing that Mark Yost, from the distance and safety of St. Paul, Minnesota, presumes to know what's going on in Iraq. He knows the reporting of hundreds of brave journalists, presumably including his own Knight Ridder colleagues Hannah Allam and Tom Lassetter, is bad because his Marine colonel buddy tells him so.

Yost asks why you don't read about progress being made in the power grid, which the colonel oversaw. Maybe it's because there is no progress. Iraqis currently have electricity for an average of nine hours a day. A year ago, they averaged 10 hours of electricity. Iraq's oil production is still below pre-war levels. The unemployment rate is between 30 and 40 percent. New cases of hepatitis have doubled over the rate of 2002, largely because of problems with getting clean drinking water and disposing of sewage.

The "unfiltered news" Yost gets from his military friends is in fact filtered by their isolation in the Green Zone and on American military bases from the Iraqi population, an isolation made necessary by the ferocity of the insurgency. To say that isn't to argue that their perspective is invalid. It's just limited and incomplete.

Knight Ridder's Baghdad bureau chief, Hannah Allam, has read Mark Yost's column. Her response, from the front, says it far better than I could.

* * *

From Hannah Allam:

It saddens me to read Mark Yost's editorial in the Pioneer Press, the Knight Ridder paper that hired me as a rookie reporter and taught me valuable lessons in life and journalism during the four years I spent there before heading to Iraq.

I invite Mr. Yost to spend a week in our Baghdad bureau, where he can see our Iraqi staff members' toothbrushes lined up in the bathroom because they have no running water at home. I frequently find them camping out in the office overnight because electricity is still only sporadic in their sweltering neighborhoods, despite what I'm sure are the best-intentioned efforts of people like his Marine buddy working on the electrical grid.

Mr. Yost could have come with me today as I visited one of my own military buddies, who like most officers doesn't leave the protected Green Zone compound except by helicopter or massive convoy. The Army official picked me up in his air-conditioned Explorer, took me to Burger King for lunch and showed me photos of the family he misses so terribly. The official is a great guy, and like so many other soldiers, it's not politics that blind him from seeing the real Iraq. The compound's maze of tall blast wall and miles of concertina wire obscure the view, too.

Mr. Yost can listen to our bureau's morning planning meetings, where we orchestrate a trip to buy bottled water (the tap water is contaminated, when it works) as if we're plotting a military operation. I wonder whether he prefers riding in the first car -- the most exposed to shrapnel and bullets -- or the chase car, which is designed to act as a buffer between us and potential kidnappers.

Perhaps Mr. Yost would be moved by our office's tribute wall to Yasser Salihee, our brave and wonderful colleague, who at age 30 joined the ranks of Iraqi civilians shot to death by American soldiers. Mr. Yost would have appreciated one of Yasser's last stories -- a rare good-news piece about humanitarian aid reaching the holy city of Najaf.

Mr. Yost's contention that 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces are stable is pure fantasy. On his visit to Baghdhad, he can check that by chatting with our resident British security consultant, who every day receives a province-by-province breakdown of the roadside bombs, ambushes, assassinations and other violence throughout the country.

If Baghdad is too far for Mr. Yost to travel (and I don't blame him, given the treacherous airport road to reach our fortress-like hotel), why not just head to Oklahoma? There, he can meet my former Iraqi translator, Ban Adil, and her young son. They're rebuilding their lives under political asylum after insurgents in Baghdad followed Ban's family home one night and gunned down her 4-year-old daughter, her husband and her elderly mother in law.

Freshly painted schools and a new desalination plant might add up to "mission accomplished" for some people. Too bad Ban's daughter never got to enjoy those fruits of her liberation.

Me & Cato Institute

Me, November 13, 2004:
The thing I don't like about Gonzales is not ideological, but personal. His work experience includes a lot of legal advice to the President... I think he's being promoted to a position where he can do a lot more to ensure the President doesn't get in trouble with the law, and I think that's Bad. This obviously isn't partisan.

Cato, July 15, 2005:
His record as a top administration official is clear: he is altogether too much a company man, all too willing to waive constitutional limits in support of radical expansions of executive power. He should not be allowed to serve on a Court that will in the future be called upon to check that power.

Least scandalous scandal ever

US tried to help pro-US politicians win Iraq election.

Isn't the real scandal that Iran won?

Big style and wit points for the editor who wrote the subhead.
Did Washington try to manipulate Iraq’s election?

Joe Wilson, unraveled

"Did he say anything that was true?"

President re-assures a worried nation

"No one will be in my cabinet and in jail at the same time"

What a silly thing to say. Not commenting was more dignified...

Patents and blood cells

I'm beginning to rethink patents. Are they really useful? Or are they overly abused, granted too often, and granted too broadly?

Considering the only way patents are defended is through expensive litigation, I’m not sure they protect anyone I’d be interested in protecting.

Thoughts?

Wired News: Who Says Robots Can't Bluff?

Wired News: Who Says Robots Can't Bluff?: "Who Says Robots Can't Bluff? "
LAS VEGAS -- Walking away from the poker table with 100 large in your pocket is nothing special in Sin City. But until Thursday, the gambling capital had never seen a robot do it.

7.15.2005

Oh, man! I have some really good ideas

Or: How the EU constitution got so long

Lets get all of Europe together and have a place where we can talk endlessly about how to shape history for generations to come...

Careful, Josko!

Smart bear terrorizes Croatia.

Who eats meat without feet?

Definition: VeggieTechie - a person who eats vegetables and synthetic meat but not meat harvested from an animal.

I prefer "Cultivore".

7.14.2005

Iam's homepage

cool gif

More 'stupid' links :-D

Independence Day for Transformers

Live action version of the best fodder for robot-dancing 3D CGI ever...

We're partying and I'm buying

Based on a conversation I had with Oded, I'll go ahead and post some of the drinks I'd love to share with you if certain events come to pass.

Capture or killing of Usama bin Laden: Dom Pérignon

Jailing of Karl Rove for any of his crimes: Johnny Walker Gold Label

My roommate Mark's computer connecting to my wireless network with XP as the OS: Wild Turkey 100
(hint hint, Oded)

What kind of
special occasions: drinks
would you guys look forward to enjoying/providing?

Plame/Wilson/Rove reading

Interesting.

The 28th Amendment

For some years now, I've been pondering a little amendment to the Constitution. Nothing too grand, mind you. Just a little something that could fit on a cocktail napkin, yet at the same time provide more legal clarity than 100 Sandra Day O'Connor opinions.

And, so, without further ado, here it is, my 28th Amendment:



Amendment XXVIII.

AND WE MEAN IT!!!



Granted, it would be the first amendment written in all caps. And I'm pretty sure it would be the first use of an exclamation point, let alone three consecutive, in any of our nation's foundational documents ("We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor!!!").

7.13.2005

3D Real Time Imaging

Test post. This is a cool site anyway :)

Airfare Watchdog Blog

If you have 43places to go, and you want to do it cheaply, consider checking Airfare Watchdog Blog:
This is Your Inside Guide to the Airlines' Secret Fare Wars and Other Bargains. Every day, airlines lower a few, or a few hundred, fares to amazingly low levels. No one knows why. The airlines won't talk about it, and they don't advertise them. How do you find these fares? By checking this site frequently, every day.
NPR interviewed the creator of the site, George Hobica, this morning.

Isn't that a Disney cartoon?

I'm getting pretty excited!

This page is hosting a file called aristocrats.mp3 which I believe is Trey Parker telling the joke in a scene from this movie.

The official movie site.

Interesting

This sounds pretty bad.

7.12.2005

Fire Down Below

Could this mysterious, 400 degree spot of ground in Santa Barbara be a real entrance to Hell? Very strange:
Scientists are puzzled by a mysterious Los Padres National Forest hot spot where 400-degree ground ignited a wildfire.

Chinese Filtering

Consider filtering. Blocking the Democracy Times at the Chinese border is kid stuff. The Chinese state accomplishes much more by filtering not just Web content, but the tools that allow the Internet to function: search engines, chat rooms, blogs, and even e-mail. The idea is to make filtering a basic fact of the Web. And filtering a tool like a search engine has the benefit of subtlety, because to most people searches will feel free even when they're not. How many of us can tell when something goes missing in a Google result?

Flypaper Swatted?

Shape From Motion



Note that the direction it's spinning is ambiguous.

Free Chili Dogs Today

OK - as noted I am an advocate of free food, but this is just craaazy - two free foods in as many days. Today Wienerschnitzel is offering a free chili dog to anyone who rolls in off the street drunk and hungry between the hours of 5-8pm. They are also offering a free Tastee-Freez ice cream to go with it. Damn.

I still hate that stupid screaming hot dog mascot of theirs though.

Goodbye America

In under 15 hours I will be in Warsaw, Poland. About 32 hours after that, I'll be in Zagreb, Croatia. About a day after that, I should be on the island Brac getting dark, petting my regal dog, and barbecuing with the locals. So long, my fellow Americas and Drink Tankers, and thanks for all the fish!

Tierney: Spare The Murderers, Kill The Hackers

Schwarzenegger

7.11.2005

London Underground Bombing 'Exercises' Took Place at Same Time as Real Attack

Tilts a little bit towards the "conspiracy theory" end of things, but thought I would post this for your review:
A consultancy agency with government and police connections was running an exercise for an unnamed company that revolved around the London Underground being bombed at the exact same times and locations as happened in real life on the morning of July 7th.

War of The Worlds flamebait - why not?

Batman begins: The Imax Experience was sold out, so I saw the Speilberg picture instead. It's an obvious political polemic, arguing aginst the occupation of Iraq. Really. (Even Bill O'Reilly noticed.)

Before the aliens attack, the primary characters throw in a little talk about how the son needs to learn a little more about the French occupation of Algeria. It's no mistake; soon enough a military supremacy takes over the world and men must chose between fighting it to the death (the son and Tim Robbins) or protecting their families (Mr. Cruise). Eventually just protecting his daughter drives the protaganist to violence and, I shit you not, Tom Cruise, possibly America's biggest star, picks up some grenades and uses the technique of suicide bombing against his foes.

It's pretty good and bloody, and the bad ending is only like three minutes long, so I'd reccomend it.

Up against the wall

almost two years ago
Q Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?

MR. McCLELLAN: Those individuals -- I talked -- I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that's where it stands.

Q So none of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?

MR. McCLELLAN: They assured me that they were not involved in this.

Q Can I follow up on that?

Q They were not involved in what?

MR. McCLELLAN: The leaking of classified information.

Q Did you undertake that on your own volition, or were you instructed to go to these --

MR. McCLELLAN: I spoke to those individuals myself.

Today
QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?

QUESTION: Do you stand by that statement?

MCCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that, as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time as well.

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk.

You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation...

QUESTION: (inaudible) when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MCCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish.

QUESTION: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything.

You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?

MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott...

"Did Karl Rove commit a crime?"

White House: No comment.

I know Oded is a fan of reading White House press conferences, so I thought I would say that it's worth reading today's in its entirety for entertainment value. I'm not going to say that our country is run by lying maniacs here. Rather, I'll quote the White House Press Secretary when asked about his credibility:
You and everybody in this room — or most people in this room, I should say — know me very well, and they know the type of person that I am. And I’m confident in our relationship that we have.

Instead Of Coming To Terms With Its Past, Serbia Has Circumvented The Srebrenica Massacre With Narrative Skills Befitting A Psychopath

Follow-up.

Free Slurpees at 7-11 on 7/11

Following my pattern of alerting everyone to free food when it arises, I would like to share the fact that today the 7-11 chain of convenience stores is offering free slurpees to all:
7-Eleven® has launched a month-long celebration of Slurpee’s 40th birthday on July 11, 2005. To celebrate this iconic brand, 7-Eleven is introducing retro Slurpee cups and flavors in participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide, airing original Slurpee radio spots from the 1960s, and offering prizes and promotions as part of the Slurpee Summer Prize Fest, including free music downloads and the chance to win one of four MINI Cooper convertibles.

I am not the biggest fan of the Slurpee, but I thought I would share the news.

Tim Prentice

Wow

Is free trade fair trade?

"The bottom line? Rapid technological change can nullify any cost advantage due to the existence of natural resources (example, oil) or labour (example, textile cloth). For India, technology holds the key whether it is in IT or pharmaceutical exports. Yet India’s R&D expenditure remains below 1% of GDP in contrast to other major world players."

Research Spending In China Places It In Third Place In World

China's population is about four and a half times larger than the United States. The Chinese score above the US average on IQ tests. At the same time demographic trends in the United States show that the US is not going to be able to compete by building a smarter population. If the United States shifted its immigration policy totally toward brain draining the rest of the world and if it ended all immigration below some IQ threshold (say 125 or 130 perhaps) then the US might be able to retain its lead in brain work. But US policy makers are living in a fantasy land where demographics do not matter and US educational problems can be fixed with more money. It is a nice fantasy. But unfortunately reality bears little relation to that fantasy. Until policy makers and intellectuals admit that genetic differences cause most large IQ differences immigration policy will work against national science and technology strategy.

The big wild card down the line in two or three decades time is offspring genetic engineering. Will China or the United States more rapidly embrace genetic engineering for IQ enhancement? The Chinese, being more pragmatic and less religious, might be expected to embrace IQ enhancement more quickly. However, a high IQ population will pose a serious threat to the stability of China's non-democratic government. The leaders might decide that an IQ-boosted population will become impossible to rule autocratically and hence the leaders might block offspring genetic engineering. Or then again, they might embrace the technology and systematically require offspring genetic engineering for cognitive enhancement. Any guesses? I don't know the answer on this one.

7.08.2005

Goddamned Dennis!

Dennis is threatening the return to space of the Shittle, and that makes me want to DEEEAN SCREEEEAM or give MOOOORE GOOORE ROOOOAR!

Amazing, if true

Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west.

[link] via Sploid

I had heard it was the name Asimov's The Foundation was released as in Arabic, but thought the origin of the name was a mystery. Is this it?

Incidentally, re: the last sentence, I think the answer is that the USA figured Afghanistan would be the spoils of that war and Usama would be happy with controlling only that. Oh well. It's like when we were allies with Stalin... things change.

Clarence Thomas's confirmation process was disgraceful

There's nothing wrong with talking dirty at work, as everyone who's ever worked knows. Democrats truly thought he wasn't bright and was an awful ideologue (they could have made a good case to that effect) but they chose the low road and talked shit about his personal behaivior (probably because that approach worked for Bork, I suppose). I fully expect to hate all forthcoming domestic political news as President Bush, true to his scumbag self, appoints scumbags to the Supreme Court and an unworthy opposition humiliates the nation.

Rubber Johnny

Google Financial Information: IVAN

Heh.

Vegetarians rejoice!

Meat without the murder.

London's burning

Not in any particular order of importance, a few thoughts.

1. Weak. The logical conclusion of a low impact uncreative attack like this is that al Qaeda's smartest men are dead, whether by their choice or ours. The simplicity of the London attacks suggests that they want people to do this on their own, as there is no leadership capable of telling them to. The next hope of our antagonists is that widespread alienation will lead to lots of little attacks, and make the whole western world become Israel. Worth a try for the jihad, I guess, but pretty doubtful. (Inspirational speech by Tony Blair's worst political enemy, the very good socialist mayor of London.)

2. I often think that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are very restrained, compared to the bloodlust of their subjects. Here's an interesting complaint that Britain will cease fighting the War on Terror because it isn't doing Britain any good. After whining about the likelihood of the English acting in their self interest, the writer fantasizes about America commiting genocide in the Middle East. Relatedly, the Moustache of Understanding today promises to blame every Muslim for the acts of terrorists. Is he trying to justify the attack of innocents in London?

3. I'm impressed that the mailman delivered an Economist about the attacks to my door this afternoon.

4. Researching how England tends to respond to this type of calamity, it seems to me that they tend to (beligerently) imprison the wrong men. Even this article (a great read) about the English investigation of the downed plane over Lockerbie suggests at the end that the case against the convicted was dubious.

5. It's easy to make fun of flypaper/ "we fight in Samarra today so we don't fight in London tomorrow" arguments after yesterday's events. But that last sentence is it; I won't make fun more because I actually think that there's something to the flypaper argument. 9-11 was needed by al Qaeda, who wish for a united theocracy ruling all Muslim lands, because they were unable to inspire recruits. Now that we've attacked Iraq, there's no end of men willing to fight the Satans, great and little. So there's no real need for logistically complicated large amazing operations like The Massacre of September 11. So I'll say flypaper may be right: if England and the US weren't fielding an occupying army in Iraq, we'd be suffering greater casualties in terrorist bids for attention by our wealthy fanatic enemies.

6. London is a total surveillance society. I think that stinks, although that conflicts with my hope that those responsible will be caught - the security cameras seem to be a major lead for investigators at this point. Didn't help too much when it counted, though!

You Gotta Fight!....For Your Right......


Man Sues for Right to Get Drunk.

A Letter to London Terrorists

What the fuck do you think you're doing?

This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.

Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you're trying to do, it's not going to work.

Tort reform argument bogus?

Insurance rates are going up and putting doctors out of business but it's not because insurers' court costs are going up: they're level.

By the way, is malpractice insurance really a good idea? Shouldn't these settlements be a deterrent to poor practice and paid by the lousy practitioner, not his or her entire industry?

Iran-Iraq war truly and finally over

Axis of Evil superstar to donate free military training to fledgling government of Free Iraq.

750 Years Of Kaliningrad, 50 Under Russia

Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, held a celebration of Kaliningrad's 750th anniversary with France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Mr Schröder. Kaliningrad's two neighbours, the Poles and the Lithuanians were furious not to be invited.
==============
IN THE last European fragment of the Soviet empire, the cobblestones are German and so are most of the cars, but the logic is entirely Russian.

“Only rich people drive Ladas here,” Slava Rotmistrov explained from behind the wheel of a battered old Mercedes. “They have to afford repair bills every day.”

He was only half-joking. Grinding poverty has forced the people of Kaliningrad to adapt in peculiar ways to their unique position, cut off from the rest of Russia on the Baltic coast. They live in a “special economic zone” that has attracted little official business, so they survive unofficially, chiefly by smuggling vodka into Poland. They lack funds for proper sewage treatment, so they pump much of it into the sea. With few natural tourist attractions, they have built one: a shrine to Immanuel Kant, their most famous son — who never went to church — in an old Lutheran cathedral.

Sweden has said that without an urgent £2 billion investment programme, Kaliningrad will infect Europe with disease, pollution and economic migrants as the EU expands eastwards. Such warnings come none too soon.

“Kaliningrad is already an island of poverty and ecological distress,” Yuri Matochkin, head of the regional parliament’s economics committee and a former governor, said yesterday. Average incomes are three times higher in neighbouring Lithuania and six times higher in Poland, and the rate of Aids infection is among the worst in Russia.

The enclave exports crime and the profits of international smuggling and prostitution rings have been invested in a handful of opulent brick villas. Most Russians who stayed on live in ill-lit, five-storey blocks scarcely maintained since Khrushchev’s era.

“Those Lithuanians have rebuilt their whole country in ten years,” Mr Rotmistrov said. “The Communists had five times as long and they did nothing.”

Seldom has a spoil of war been so spoilt by neglect. Having been part of Germany before the Second World War, Kaliningrad was declared sovereign Soviet territory in 1945. Like the Baltic republics, it was sealed off from the West for half a century. Unlike them, it has sunk into torpid isolation since 1991.

Neon-lit kiosks selling imported fruit and cellphones line the main streets of what was to be Russia’s Hong Kong on the Baltic.

Kaliningrad should be a short drive from Gdansk, the thriving Polish port, but endless queues are the norm for traffic heading west as Polish police fight a losing battle against smuggled vodka and tobacco worth £140 million a year to shuttle traders.

Russia’s military planners see Kaliningrad as a western redoubt against Nato. Sheer self-indulgence may yet soften their stance. In a sign of what Kaliningrad could become, BMW has opened a small assembly plant here. Its latest order: dozens of luxury saloons for Russian generals.

Juggler

No Jesus

We were told that Jesus was supposed to show up here - in Echo Park California - last night, but it was a no-show. No Lamb of God. Nothing.

I guess the conditions were not right or something, but that's OK - we had fun anyways. Follow the link and get the scoop and a full account of the evening's happenings. Includes a small video!

Ways To Use Your 2005 Leap Second

7.07.2005

Guest Blogger: William Gibson

When I was 13, in 1961, I surreptitiously purchased an anthology of Beat writing - sensing, correctly, that my mother wouldn't approve.

Immediately, and to my very great excitement, I discovered Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and one William S. Burroughs - author of something called Naked Lunch, excerpted there in all its coruscating brilliance.

Burroughs was then as radical a literary man as the world had to offer, and in my opinion, he still holds the title. Nothing, in all my experience of literature since, has ever been quite as remarkable for me, and nothing has ever had as strong an effect on my sense of the sheer possibilities of writing.

Later, attempting to understand this impact, I discovered that Burroughs had incorporated snippets of other writers' texts into his work, an action I knew my teachers would have called plagiarism. Some of these borrowings had been lifted from American science fiction of the '40s and '50s, adding a secondary shock of recognition for me.

By then I knew that this "cut-up method," as Burroughs called it, was central to whatever it was he thought he was doing, and that he quite literally believed it to be akin to magic. When he wrote about his process, the hairs on my neck stood up, so palpable was the excitement. Experiments with audiotape inspired him in a similar vein: "God's little toy," his friend Brion Gysin called their reel-to-reel machine.

Sampling. Burroughs was interrogating the universe with scissors and a paste pot, and the least imitative of authors was no plagiarist at all.

Some 20 years later, when our paths finally crossed, I asked Burroughs whether he was writing on a computer yet. "What would I want a computer for?" he asked, with evident distaste. "I have a typewriter."

But I already knew that word processing was another of God's little toys, and that the scissors and paste pot were always there for me, on the desktop of my Apple IIc. Burroughs' methods, which had also worked for Picasso, Duchamp, and Godard, were built into the technology through which I now composed my own narratives. Everything I wrote, I believed instinctively, was to some extent collage. Meaning, ultimately, seemed a matter of adjacent data...

Iraq War Fatalities

Interesting animation. I'd like to see a running average, so I can quantify it a bit more.

Aging is a disease

It should be cured soon...

You ARE being lied to.

about what is the question

Meanwhile, not in the real world

Make high six figures gathering gold and mana:

How does it work? The macros for World of WarCraft, for example, control a high-level hunter and cleric. The hunter kills while the cleric automatically heals. Once they are fully loaded with gold and items, the "farmer" who's monitoring their progress manually controls them out of the dungeon to go sell their goods. These automated agents are then returned to the dungeons to do their thing again. Sack's typical 12-hour sessions can earn his employers as much as $60,000 per month while he walks away with a measly $150.

We Need Team America To Take Out Durka-Durka-stan Once And For All

Even the mimes can't hide their shock.

Watch The NYT Ingratiate Itself From The Selfless Acts Of Judith Miller

7.06.2005

Hackers 1, China 0

When will free blogs/media be more common in China? [that's free as in freedom, as annoying gnuts are want to observe]

Oh My God! You Killed Kennewick!

You bastard!

ITER | Economist.com

Like the International Space Station, ITER had its origins in the superpower politics of the 1980s that brought the cold war to its end as Russia and the West groped around for things they could collaborate on. Like the International Space Station, therefore, ITER is at bottom a political animal. And, like the International Space Station, the scientific reasons for developing it are almost non-existent. They cannot justify the price.

Why Is America Worried?

From the Chinese company, CNOOC Ltd., interested in buying Unocal.

7.05.2005

What Did Africans Think Of Live 8?

Nigerian musician Femi Kuti called the concerts a "waste of time," according to The East African in Kenya (as published by allafrica.com).

"I would rather save the money for a ticket to Live 8 and invest it in medical care or school fees for my son. This will benefit me more in the end than going to a concert that will never meet my needs," Femi was quoted.

He said the time has come for Africans to unite and fight corruption and poverty, which he blamed on "old leaders who have refused to leave, so that they can loot till they die."

"Africa has very many old leaders who do not want to leave office. They are the ones who have made our debts reach billions of dollars through corruption and stealing. And they are still asking for more so that they can steal to their graves and leave the youth with the burden of paying the debts. It is selfish," he fumed.

"For God's sake, please stop the aid," said Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati.

"As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems," Shikwati told the German newsweekly Spiegel Online. "If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit."

Africa, he concluded, "must take the first steps into modernity on its own. There must be a change in mentality. We have to stop perceiving ourselves as beggars. These days, Africans only perceive themselves as victims."

Nigeria's Daily Champion lamented what it called "the African paradox."

The continent is "plagued by a paralysis of will... it cannot even speak for itself any more. Hence, world leaders like Prime Minister Tony Blair have enlisted themselves to speak on its behalf," said the Lagos news site, quoted by the BBC.

"What Africa needs first is to put its house in order," said the Nigerian daily.

China buying US companies

Like CAFTA, I have no favored position on this issue. But since Josko worked up the confidence to declare his support of the Communist Party's bid for Unocal, I have to ask the following: would we support the US government buying Unocal? How about Fidel Castro (if he could afford it) on behalf of La Revolución?

I think the strongest argument in favor is that we want the Chinese to like us and not percieve us as enemies. But the strongest argument against is that we are enemies - communism is slavery, etc., you know?

From The Department of Democrats Beholden To Special Interest

A long, slow erosion of Democratic support for trade legislation in the House is turning into a rout, as Democrats who have never voted against trade deals vow to turn their backs on CAFTA. The sea change -- driven by redistricting, mounting partisanship and real questions about the results of a decade's worth of trade liberalization -- is creating a major headache for Bush and Republican leaders as they scramble to salvage their embattled trade agreement. A trade deal that passed the Senate last Thursday, 54 to 45, with 10 Democratic votes, could very well fail in the House this month.

But the Democrats' near-unanimous stand against CAFTA carries long-term risks for a party leadership struggling to regain the appearance of a moderate governing force, some Democrats acknowledge. A swing toward isolationism could reinforce voters' suspicions that the party is beholden to organized labor and is anti-business, while jeopardizing campaign contributions, especially from Wall Street.

...Free-trade Democrats concede that many of the Democratic opponents are motivated by partisan politics: They want to see Bush lose a major legislative initiative or, at the very least, make Republicans from districts hit hard by international trade take a dangerous vote in favor of a deal their constituents oppose. Dozens of Republicans in districts dependent on the textile industry, the sugar growers or small manufacturers have already said they will vote against the bill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) privately warned Democrats last month that a vote for CAFTA is a vote to stay in the minority.
The trade agreement would allow for free trade with several Central American countries whose major exports to the U.S. are, like, garments and sugar made with cheaper labor. Their combined GDP is dwarfed by that of the state of Connecticut. If this doesn't pass I'll be pissed off.

Finnish Your Food!

In summer, Finns go to their summer cottages to barbecue hamburgers, chicken breasts and especially sausages and frankfurters.

They are washed down with ice cold beer or vodka or both.

"Mr Chirac should come to Finland now. The weather's great and you can't beat a barbecue dinner on the lakeside with good friends. The sun stays up all night and so do we. And yes, we also buy long French baguettes to go with salad and other stuff. Finnish cuisine is very international," opined a mother of two young children.

Some commentators have, however, admitted that sometimes Finnish food can be a bit bland.

This is partly a question of tradition - spices used to be very expensive - but also of healthiness.

During the past decades the Finns have been brainwashed to avoid butter, salt and other ingredients that are bad for your heart.

And herein may lie the problem: as any French cook knows, for a delicious dish you need only three ingredients: cream, cream and cream.

Google

IT IS hard to know whether to be impressed, suspicious or amused. This week shares in Google, the world's most popular search engine, rose above $300 each, having defied most predictions by more than tripling in the ten months since the firm made its stockmarket debut at $85 a share. Now valued at more than $80 billion, Google has left in the dust the other three internet Wunderkinder—Yahoo!, eBay and Amazon—and even passed media stalwarts such as Time Warner. How does Google do it?

At least in part by shrewdly manufacturing a winning mystique. No outsider today can prove definitively that Google is not an office park full of geniuses who could at any moment announce, simultaneously, world peace and a cure for the common cold. That is because no outsider today can say anything definitive about Google at all. This is intentional. Google makes itself totally opaque by camouflaging itself with lots of what journalists call “colour”.

Thus, at a recent “factory tour”, the press learned that Google's engineers, in an average month, consume 2,300 lbs (1,043 kg) of chicken, 1,600 lbs of coffee beans, 500 lbs of pasta, and 112 lbs of wheatgrass. They also heard about the sock collections of certain executives. At an event for equity analysts in February, Google did roll out the “CFO”, but he was the chief food officer (ie, chef), Charlie Ayers, who talked about his grilled pork tenderloin. The chief financial officer was there somewhere, but did not actually give a presentation.

Add to this a (slightly more relevant) steady drip of product announcements—typically through the grapevine and still in beta (ie, the test stage). This week, it was “Google Earth”, a bit of software that can be downloaded for free and that allows users to fly around a three-dimensional globe through well-rendered valleys and streets. A day earlier, Google hinted at a new media player for internet browsers that will allow users to search certain types of video. The week before, Google confirmed that it plans an online payment service. And so forth.

Combine such evidence of frenzied activity with mysterious secretiveness, and the imagination is liberated. A Google web browser? A Google operating system? All the world's information? World domination? Buy, clearly.

False Breasts Betray Exam Cheats

This is funnier than even the suing astrologer. Those wacky Ruskis!

Flypaper 2.0

The Magic Kingdom

In an effort to increase our google ad revenue

I present this pictoral/written history of fucking machines through the ages, with keywords "vibrators" and "increase her pleasure." I hadn't known that women used to go to the doctor once a week for hysteria treatment (at least, I figured it was off the books when it happened).

NASA Sued Over Deep Impact

Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday.

Fleischfilm : K.I.L.L. - Kinetic Image Laboratory/Lobotomy

“Our power is boundless and our means are inexhaustible”

episode iii, the backstroke of the west

on Evil ideas

We have had 50 years of Bretton Woods Keynesianism, i.e. the policy founded on the false notion that macro-economic wizards and central planners could grow Africa "like a garden." Nothing has grown since . And the garden metaphor is wrong.

Indeed, economies are not like gardens at all, but ecosystems. And ecosystems can't be grown. But if the IMF and World Bank are in the business of growing gardens, their methods are more akin to dropping fertilizer from 50,000 feet onto the desert. Doubling the amount of fertilizer, far from yielding potatoes and corn, will yield a desert full of shit.

Supreme Market

Deep Impact

Watch the cool video.

Is it just me, or is the comment at the end almost funny in the way the accouncer speaks. I keep on expecting some joke from the Daily Show to pop-up. Nothing came :(

Yikes

Allow me to respectfully suggest that Wisconsin judges and police all be required to wear these things and broadcast their data to the public at all time. Pricks.

China Is Right

Yeah, drunk now (happy id:4!), but more description on this later.

7.01.2005

No More Drug War

Grisly developments in Mexico, where the incentives are so strong that the cops are switching sides.

Some of the victims freed Sunday told authorities they were kidnapped by police officers in Nuevo Laredo, a city of 350,000 across from Laredo, or by members of the Zetas, a gang led by former special forces officers who became drug hit men and are blamed for a rash of killings and violence.


Drug violence is among the USA's most shameful exports. Where are our free trade politicians on this issue?

Giant Catfish

Cajun cooks rejoice - them's good eatin:
Fishermen in northern Thailand have netted a fish as big as a grizzly bear, a 646-pound Mekong giant catfish, the heaviest recorded since Thai officials started keeping records in 1981. The behemoth was caught in the Mekong River and may be the largest freshwater fish ever found.
I like the fact that they compare its size to a grizzly bear. I just like when people use the words "grizzly bear". Don't know why.

From the "yah, that'll happen" Dept.

Would you build a real-world risk board where the armies could move based on computer control?

It would be interesting to have a physical board, and an automated system to change the physical parts. A camera system could easily monitor the dice or autoroll.

A system where the armies moved themselves, upon command from some local tablet or online interface, would allow for a few people to play in a room with a board and a few others to play online.

By the way, Risk is out for me tonight. How about sometime Saturday around lunchtime?

Neato Fireworks Show

West Coast only

USA celebrates 4th by attacking a comet.

At least he is a good example of physical fitness to the kids

"A Queens teacher has resigned after investigators discovered he was on a pro-wrestling tour while claiming to be out sick."

Tenure sucks

"Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?" When a questioner expressed human concern about such an officer's family, Churchill asked, "How do you feel about Adolph Eichmann's family?"

The Worlds Longest Palindrome

I'd post the whole thing, but it's just too damn long. It's 4,963 words long! Better still, the last line is:

I vomit on rats.

Photosensitive Seizure Warning

A very small percentage of people may experience a seizure when exposed to certain visual images, including flashing lights or patterns that may appear in video games. Even people who have no history of seizures or epilepsy may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause these "photosensitive epileptic seizures" while watching video games.

These seizures may have a variety of symptoms, including lightheadedness, altered vision, eye or face twitching, jerking or shaking of arms or legs, disorientation, confusion, or momentary loss of awareness. Seizures may also cause loss of consciousness or convulsions that can lead to injury from falling down or striking nearby objects.

Immediately stop playing and consult a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Parents should watch for or ask their children about the above symptoms - children and teenagers are more likely than adults to experience these seizures.

Is Miguel Heading For The Supreme Court?

So I totally didn't expect this. Rehnquist maybe. Looks like Bush is more important court-wise than I thought (I thought he'd just be replacing the most conservative judge with a similarly or less conservative one).
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said Friday she is retiring.

Possible replacements include Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and federal courts of appeals judges J. Michael Luttig, John Roberts, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Michael McConnell, Emilio Garza and James Harvie Wilkinson III. Others mentioned are former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, and lawyer Miguel Estrada, but Bush's pick could be a surprise choice not well known in legal circles.

The big lie

On the big difference between the following two statements:

"Iraq was operationally involved with the 9/11 attack."

"Iraq is part of the war on Islamic Terrorism. This war reached our shores on September 11, 2001".

Saying Iraq has nothing to do with 911, is like saying Germany had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor, or China with Vietnam, or a few 'ScatterBomb Moon's with a subsequent buildup of MODs at a Space Station by another player.

Such assertions ring a hallow truth, as there is something bigger going on that relates everything. ’"This Third World War is raging" in Iraq’

Note I’m not talking about the wisdom of picking Iraq as an offensive theater. I’m talking about its relevance in the larger war.

Discuss.

Senate Approves Central American Free Trade Pact

Good.