Saturday, June 30, 2007

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 5309 Diggs, is a story about a woman who tries to buy a bunch of iPhones and fails.

Big doin's over at Digg today.

Cheney Lied, and Fish Died

It's getting ever more amazing how politicized the news--and the process of governing--is becoming. Clinton gives China highly sensitive missille technology and gets a pass, Cheney is accused of killing some salmon and he's being probed by Congress.

Immigration vs. Collectivism

An interesting take on the immigration issue. What Nicholas Provenzo describes here is just another form of collectivism, which he identifies specifically as xenophobia. I agree, for the most part.

It's somewhat incidental to Provenzo's essay, but living in Southern California, I can say that many immigrants (legal or otherwise) would benefit greatly from learning the English language. I think many don't because they have no intention to stay for very long. Others don't because they isolate themselves in Latino enclaves where they don't have any reason to learn English, which is of course perfectly within their rights but it necessarily limits their opportunities.

And that little bit is irrelevant, practically speaking, because even that propensity doesn't last long. By about the 2nd or 3rd generation, the assimilation has already pretty much concluded.

Do Stem Cells Have Souls? Do Celery Stalks?

It's truly remarkable that such clashes between science and religion still occur in the 21st Century. This sounds like a debate between Galileo and the Pope.

Islamic Children Brutalized as Farfour Beaten to Death

This is so brutally evil that it's hard to put it into words. Apparently, the Islamic "Mickey Mouse" character, "Farfour," was depicted as beaten to death by an Israeli official to close out the show. The children's show, I might add.

And yet, people still place Israel on the same moral plane as the Islamists bent to destroy her.

Iran is Appeased, Again

"(The UN has) a readiness to accept Tehran's current program, at least initially, in hopes of reducing tensions and creating an atmosphere for negotiations." Isn't that pretty much the definition of appeasement?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Digg Report: No Digg report today, because at this moment (which is, of course, the pseudo-random moment that I've selected, which can't be changed) Digg isn't responding. Probably got burned by the iPhone--a phenomenon that I don't really understand, but that demonstrates Apple's incredible marketing savvy.

2nd UK Car Bomb Discovered

Another car bomb found in the UK. The scariest part: these were most likely set to go off at a specific time, probably coordinated. How many others are there? It's impossible to know, and incredibly lucky that this second one was found.

Update: Via Little Green Footballs, apparently UK officials have a picture of the man who drove one of the car bombs into place. He's Muslim, and he might have been released after being held for a previous plot. Wonderful.

Sci-Fi Author Blog List

For sci-fi fans, here's a list of authors' blogs. Bookmark it, and pick out some feeds that look interesting. I know I will.

John Mackey and Whole Foods Hearts Ayn Rand

Apparently John Mackey of Whole Foods is a good guy. That's good to know.

"Indirect Tactics"?

I might be wrong, but I'm not sure that this story defines what "indirect tactics" would mean for American special forces. Maybe someone can read the article and enlighten me.

Iraqi Surge Causes More Casualties - MSM Clueless

Once again, the mainstream media has demonstrated its ignorance of the simple fact that when one goes on the offensive in war, one tends to suffer more casualties. Again, that's just War 101.

Iraqi Surge Causes More

Once again, the mainstream press seems to misunderstand that the more one goes on the offensive in war, the more casualties one suffers.

UK Terrorist Attack Averted

I don't think anyone knows much more about this yet, but it's good news nonetheless. It also demonstrates that the threat remains real.

Rolling Stone Mag is Smoking Something

I think it's the height of naivete to believe that music piracy would have ended if only the music labels had struck a deal with the original Napster. I'm not sure why it's so difficult for some people (cough, Boing Boing, cough) to believe that millions of people want music for free--because they're cheap, because they're dishonest, because they simply don't believe that they should have to pay for music.

Had such a deal been struck, it would be no different than it is today with numerous paid music sites. Other pirate services would have sprouted up, and the situation would have been no different. Did the labels lose some money by not getting paid for downloads earlier? Maybe. But they've lost billions through piracy, and that wouldn't have changed.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Putin: Russia Owns North Pole

I'm sure Santa's going to be a bit upset, although he always did seem to have some Communist tendencies. I'm not sure how Putin thinks Russia would secure such a claim, which tends to lend some weight to the "Putin as a buffoon" theory.

It's interesting to note, though, that there's twice as much oil up there than is in Saudi Arabia. That could become a real point of contention sometime in the near future.

Germany to Fund Wikipedia Propaganda

This is truly bizarre: Germany is going to pay people to post "accurate" articles on Wikipedia. I guess they just can't get propaganda out of their system.

Bruce Willis on O'Reilly

Celebrity Report: I can't stand O'Reilly, but every now and then Bruce Willis says some decent stuff. I think he's a generally patriotic guy, and should be supported for it. I'll go see the new Die Hard flick.

Putin: Genius or Buffoon?

Putin continues to outflank American and European leadership on important issues. This one's energy.

Again, the question looms: is Putin a genius or a buffoon?

Blogging Success a Daunting Reality

I can only dream of this sort of blogging success. It's inspirational. I don't think it will last, but that's another story entirely.

Cox and Forkum on Poor Leadership

As usual, Cox and Forkum captures the essence of the inherent weakness of our leadership when it comes to the war against radical Islam.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 6111 Diggs, is a story about an airline complaint. It's humorous, yes, but, as with so much in Digg, I wonder at the veracity. Even if true, I wonder at the collective mindset* of Digg that pushes such an ultra-important question to the front page.

*Sardonic humor.

Politics, Columbian-Style

And I complain about American politics...

Best of Times, Worst of Times

It's either a really good time to be starting a freelance writing career, or a really bad time. I suppose it depends: companies tend to ramp up spending on sales (if not marketing), which often requires sales copy writing, and so that could be good. Or, they'll just tighten their budgets and all work will dry up.

So, any suggestions of what a struggling writer with IT, business, sales, and marketing skills can do to supplement an income without giving up and taking another in a line of lame full-time positions?

FTC Says No To Net Neutrality

This is good news. We need competition, not the government, deciding how the Internet plays out. Yegads, but it's barely a decade old. Things like this take care longer to mature.

Senate Wants NSA Wiretapping Info

And, of course, I believe that this has nothing to do with politics. If important national security information is revealed, then that will do nothing but further demonstrate the tragedy of contemporary politics.

RFID <> Privacy

Here's one privacy issue I agree with: implanted RFID tags. Encryption has not reached the point where it's unbreakable, and such tags could contain very important, truly private information.

Printer Companies vs. Toner Pirates

This is one of those issues that seem questionable on the surface, but upon reflection make a little more sense. After all, who are printer manufacturers to limit how their customers buy ink and toner for their legally purchased printers?

Keep in mind, though, that there are numerous scam artists out there who provide shoddy product that provides very little actual ink and that causes real damage to equipment. It’s not unreasonable for printer manufacturers to want to protect against this sort of true “piracy” (which is a term used in the copier world for a very real and very damaging problem).

It’s unfortunate that the casual user and honest purveyor are caught up in the net, but sometimes that can’t be helped. And remember: printers are cheap because the printer companies make their money on toner and ink. You don’t even want to THINK about how expensive the equipment would become if the manufacturers lose their revenue stream from ink and toner.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 8444 Diggs, is about an MSNBC anchor's decision not to report on Paris Hilton. Of all the stories to show a backbone about...

The Diggsters are loving it. They think the anchor's sticking it to the Man, or something. Now, about that jihadi-sponsored story about how America is evil...

Judge Denies Google's Anti-Trust Complaint

It looks like Google will have to go back to competing on its own merits.

Bruce Willis + Windmill = Must Post

Celebrity Report: Not much of a report, really, but one simply must mention a David Letterman visit by windmill-sporting Bruce Willis.

Celebrating Independence

Some required reading for July 4th.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cox and Forkum on Muslim Protestations

It seems like there's never enough things to protest about in the Muslim street. Cox and Forkum capture that notion perfectly.

Looking to Buy a Corvette?

If you're in the market for a 2005 Corvette convertible, go here. It was owned by a great guy who recently passed away, and some of the proceeds of the sale will go to the Ayn Rand Institute, well worth the investment.

Here's the eBay link.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a modest 3691 Diggs, is about the baby on Nirvana's Nevermind album turning 17.

Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

China's Pipe Dream

I find little of value in this. China will either abandon its Communist principles or follow the Soviet Union into the dustbin of history. Already there are signs of resentment of the oppressive conformity of Chinese society, and it'll get nothing but worse.

China is utterly reliant on the US for its economic health. Were we to pull any significant amount of our business from the mainland, China's economy would collapse. And I think the US economy would hardly skip a beat; we'd just reduce our consumption a bit as the cost of some goods increased. People seem to forget that the Chinese GDP is about $2 trillion, while ours is about $13 trillion. That's orders of magnitude stronger and, I image, more resilient.

Also, it's inconceivable that increasing economic freedom in China won't translate to increasing pressure for political freedom. It's already happening, only it's so heavily censored that it takes one back to the Soviet Union, where the people were always happy and the economy was always on track--right up to the collapse.

I still consider China a threat, but mainly because I fear what will happen once the transition really starts.

Ahmadinejad's Butcher

And no, I'm not talking about a member of his intelligence agency. I'm talking about his actual butcher, the guy he buys meat from and from whom he gleans information about the state of the Iranian economy.

Really, I'd consider this guy nothing but a buffoon, if it weren't for the nuclear weapons.

Russian-Chinese War Games?

This surprises me, given what I've always assumed about Russian and Chinese animosities. For exactly which enemy will they be practicing against? The story says "counter-terrorism," but I wonder if this is on the right scale.

Resurrecting Stalin

There become fewer and fewer reasons to believe that Putin's goal is anything but a rivival of the Soviet Union.

Update: More here.

Russian Population Decline - Yikes!

This is pretty dramatic. Check out the chart lower on the page. Such things are speculative, but something even half as bad would be highly significant.

Russia Still a Threat

Proof that Russia remains a formidable military enemy, in spite of Bush's apparent skepticism on the topic.

Carter and Hamas - Hand in Hand

Jimmy Carter supports Hamas. I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Ahmadinejad a Human Shield?

One can only dream.

Reducing Technology Transfers to China

I'd say this makes some sense, although it seems a little late in the game. China probably already has a lot of what it needs.

Bruce Willis on Drug Abuse?

Celebrity Report: Bruce Willis doesn't really make a great deal of sense here on the issue of drug abuse. I'm not sure, really, what he's advocating here, if it's not some sort of (necessarily massive) government mental health program. Nothing new there.

Of course, I would say to him: why does government have anything to do with drug abuse in any case? I know any number of people who abuse all sorts of substances that do just as much harm, including cigarettes (obviously), fatty foods, refined sugar, etc., etc. And, government doesn't have...

Oops, sorry. Government has plenty going on there, as well.

Cultural Reflections on War

A very good essay on the war and on our culture's reflection of it (among other things). I won't try to characterize it beyond that, because I'll just butcher it. So, go here and read it, by Edward Cline, whose stuff is always good.

Sharks Self-Reproduce?

I sometimes think (well, just now, actually) that if sharks were land animals, we'd be screwed. Those are some well-bred bastards.*

*I do recognize the subtle evolutionary irony in this post, thank you very much.

"Land Warrior" Program will Save American Lives

We must continue to invest in these sorts of technologies. Basic training remains paramount, of course; these sorts of gadgets do fail in the field. But the better our battleground awareness, the more lethal (and safe) our soldiers. If I were to take on any political cause, it would be the fight to maintain and increase funding for the "Land Warrior" program.

China + Western Trade = End of Communism

As I've mentioned before, what happens to Communism in China as its people are a exposed more and more to (the remnants of) capitalism? I'd say, first, China will reduce as an "economic powerhouse" (which I don't really believe it is, since all it does is assemble goods made elsewhere, tedious work that people will eventually reject), and then it will slowly ascend as a (semi-)free society.

If that happens, then all predictions (mine included) of China as a future enemy go out the window.*

*This post has way too many parentheticals. Sorry.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 7170 Diggs, is a play on the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme song. Or something.

7170 Diggs. Amazing.

Cameron Diaz Rubs Salt in Wounds

Celebrity Report: I don't think ignorance of history (particularly such brutal butchery) is a very good excuse. Cameron Diaz should be both ashamed and educated.

Immigration: Trust, but Verify

I think people have all sorts of problems with immigration, legal or otherwise. There are those who mistakenly believe that immigrants take away their jobs, there are those who are merely nationalistic, and there are those (like me) who have nothing against immigrants themselves, but a great deal against the social programs that confiscate wealth for their benefit.

Then again, I don't like such social programs for bona fide American citizens, either. So, I guess that means I have no real issue with immigrants. As long as they're law abiding, and registered somewhere to ensure they're not terrorists, they're more than welcome.

Human Rights Movement for Everything but Humans

This doesn't represent a "shadow on the human rights movement," this represents the "human rights movement" today. Whether it's anti-semitism, pro-Islamism, anti-capitalist, or anti-globalization, the real goal of the human rights movement is to destroy Israel, establish a caliphate (among the Islamists, of course, who play a large role in "organized" human rights efforts such as at the UN), eliminate capitalism, and do something to globalization (which will never be identified, because what, exactly, is to be done?).

The human rights movement has no more to do with "human rights" than environmentalism has to do with saving the planet.

Thou Shalt Not Pimp One's Ride

So the Pope has written the "1o Commandments of Driving," or somesuch? I would think this is a joke, but something tells me it's not.

In any case, screw it. I'm going to enjoy driving my very quick sports sedan, and revelling in the fact that it's much faster than many other cars on the road.

Besides, I'm not a Catholic, so none of this applies to me anyways.

Chinese Collectivism in Concrete Form

This reminds me of some science fiction movie whose title I can't remember. I wonder about the underlying collectivism that such rigid working conditions represent. I can't remember seeing an American factory that was quite so confining, even the most cubiclized office space.

What happens to the Chinese machine when this beehive-like efficiency gives way to any kind of individualism? I think the Japanese are in the process of discovering this themselves.

CIA Releases Tons of Redactions

Zzzzzzzzzzzz. I've seen stuff like this, and there's more redaction than content.

"Privacy" vs. Intellectual Property

This all seems very complex to me, and I can see why the courts are having problems with such issues. Should a company be required to track every bit of information that passes through its servers and workstations? My kneejerk reaction is, no, it shouldn't. First, it would be virtually impossible to manage from a sheer storage perspective. Second, does the government have an inherent authority to require the maintenance of such information? Can it, in fact, force private organizations to do its own investigative work?

Note that I'm not a fan of "privacy" as a catch-all to mask all sorts of otherwise illegal activities. Consider that this particular case concerns Torrentspy, a site that makes it easier to locate and download pirated intellectual property. Furthermore, I don't believe that "privacy" is any sort of Constitutional right, nor can it really be found anywhere in the Constitution.

Rather, I believe we have privacy with regard to our own property, such as our homes, cars, bodies, computers, etc. Once we put information out on the Internet, all bets are off. But the linked story does raise some interesting questions.

Class Warfare: FaceBook vs. MySpace

I could be wrong, but couldn't the entire difference here be due to the fact that Facebook began as a college social network service, while MySpace has always been a free-for-all?

Dunno, but it sure seems to make more sense than the class divisions theme asserted here.

Today's Shocker: Diplomat Abuses Parking System!

Boing Boing sometimes posts the silliest little stories. The same sort of thing could be said about every diplomat everywhere in the world. Let's see Boing Bong do some research on British diplomats in the US, and see how many unpaid parking tickets they have.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

One day we'll defeat the alien technology that defocuses and distorts all known human means for recording visual evidence. I mean, come on: it's been decades, and we still don't have a single clear, in-focus, recognizable photo or video of our extraterrestrial overlords.

I can't say that I agree with this list of the top 100 sci-fi movies at Rotten Tomatoes, but it's decent enough as such lists go. I've definitely already noticed a few I haven't seen and probably should, and a few I should see again.

I was disappointed to find Serenity at number 48, though. There are plenty of clearly inferior flicks in front of it. I would have had it in the top 15, at least.

Update: In fairness, this is based on overall reviews (not sure if just on Rotten Tomatoes or elsewhere), and so it's not per se someone's judgement about where any given film should appear.
This doesn't happen every day.
War is a terrible thing, I don't think any rational person denies this. Civilized people have serious problems with it, on an abstract level at the very least. Make it concrete to them, by inundating them with pictures and video of the utter human devastation of war, and it could cause them to lose their will to support war even when necessary.

Refraining from showing the slaughter is therefore the responsible thing to do, because the only point to showing it to people who are perfectly aware of the evil of war would be to help bring about its end regardless of victory or loss. In short, there's a reason why the American media doesn't show an American soldier being blown to pieces by a roadside bomb, while a terrorist organization posts it on the Internet.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a whopping 7394 Diggs, is, I'm sure, some sort of urban legend about misleading the police to get an emergency response to what is likely not an emergency situation.

I can't think of a story that has taken more statistics out of context and used them to draw a more sensationalist and ludicrous conclusion. I'm not sure what kind of site this is (some homeopathic bullshit, mabe), but man, does it suck.

And, it's not even worth a rebuttal. I can't stomach spending any more time on it.
There seems to be alot of this lately, or at least it's making the news more often. Maybe people are becoming less and less wary of nature, which ultimately couldn't give a rat's ass about us Homo Sapiens. And without our technology, we're really pretty helpless in the wild (and, there's a much bigger message there, as well, if you care to think about it).

And a note to those who haven't picked up the clue phone: bears aren't really our friends.
I wouldn't hang him, I'd lock him in a room full of sarin gas. Cruel and unusual? Cruel, certainly. But not unusual for him.

We should put some real meaning behind the nickname "Chemical Ali."
The problem with these sorts of "educational" issues lies within the nature of the public educational system itself which--in addition to the rest of its inherent failures--is necessarily political. Were this a private school, then such an issue would be trivial: simply do what the parents demand, and if you don't, you'll lose paying customers.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

And thus is demonstrated the insane perversity of government confiscating its citizens' wealth to produce entertainment (or, even, news, but no matter). Boing Boing wouldn't see that as the problem, however, but rather efforts to use DRM to protect that government-funded material from being copied against the governm...

Oh, Hell, it's not worth trying to figure out. Just suffice it to say that Boing Boing has no problem with government's involvement in this sort of thing, but rather the story just elicits their usual kneejerk reaction to DRM.
My definition of American-Iranian normalization? Iran as a parking lot and, after the glow is gone, us parked right on top of them.
I have a seven-year-old son. This story almost brought me to tears.


And these "Freedom Fighters," as Michael Moore would like us to think of them, are fighting not for freedom from an oppressive regime, but rather the freedom to oppress.

I hold to my position that we should only fight wars that are in our direct interests. But as long as we're fighting people like this, I say we turn each and every last one of them inside out.

Courtesy of Little Green Footballs, a story that should turn your stomach. Hamas is not our friend, and yet we give them money that they turn into weapons (of course; I almost feel silly simply writing that sentence).

To me, it's tantamount to treason.
I doubt that video games are actually more popular than music. They're just more expensive per unit, and they're harder to pirate. I admit to not reading the linked story that closely, and I might be missing their point entirely. But, that was my first reaction, and I went with it.
And here, I'd say, is the real power and value of the Internet. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogger, Flickr,, and for God's sake, Digg, etc., mean nothing--and, actually, less than nothing--in the face of instantaneously accessing the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.
In this age of digital photography and video, why, oh why, can't anyone EVER get a clear picture of a UFO? I mean, seriously, how will we EVER prove this stuff with nothing but grainy photos of non-descript shining blobs?

And, please tell me: why are airline pilots supposed to necessarily make such credible witnesses?
This may save your life someday.
I love Mythbusters. If only there were more of them.
Note to federal authorities: I'm not calling for a revolution here. But, the Founders were right, I think, in thinking that a little revolution is good for a nation every now and then. Because this stinks to high heaven, and as I stated earlier, I have no doubt that others, including Clinton, have been guilty of precisely the same sort of things. They're just not publicized so, ahem, often.

Now's a good time for my obligatory "I hate politics" statement...
I'd say, this is the brightest Digg yet. And, it doesn't just describe the average Diggster, it describes Digg itself.

Uh, yeah, this site's credible. But I will say: I hope it's true that we plan to use nukes against Iran. I can think of no simpler way to resolve the tension in the Middle East than to show the radical Islamists that we really, really, really mean business, and that even if they get one or two nuclear weapons--well, golly, we have thousands.

They could possibly hurt us, maybe even badly, but we could make it as if they never even existed. Except for the glow, of course.
I have a unique idea: if you tell your boss you're going to work from home, how about actually, well, working?
I highly doubt that this is the only area where Noam Chomsky is dead wrong.
Our government has become so large, so bloated, so powerful, and so corrupt that the layman cannot possibly make heads nor tales of this sort of thing. I fear that our media can't, either, and so they draw their conclusions based on whatever their political leanings might happen to be. Since they tend to be Leftist (and I'd require a significant treatise to convince me otherwise), this sort of this will be ascribed to Bushitler and Cheney far more quickly than it ever was to Clinton. And in my mind, Clinton was by far the more treacherous.

Ultimately, who can really blame the average American, with families to take care of, bills to pay, and, yes, in general, lives to live, for not spending the hours, days, weeks, or months it would require to unravel even a single issue like this one. In writing this blog, I spend far more time than most people on such issues, and I often (almost always, really) feel like I'm just getting sucked farther down the rabbit hole.
I have no idea of the veracity of this, and it's a helluva long read for someone who might want to quickly compare it to other Jefferson writings, but if you want to see what Jefferson (might have) thought about Jesus and the New Testament, take a quick read here. Or not so quick, maybe.
Get some Creationist propaganda with your kid's grilled cheese sandwich.
It's good to know that the up-and-coming generation has at least some ingenuity. Call me a curmudgeon, but I'm not terribly optimistic.
And here might be the only case where I can imagine intellectual property piracy being a good thing. The less money that goes to Michael Moore, the better.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 6432 Diggs, is a complaint about the new Digg comment system. Of which, of course, I was completely unaware, and uncaring, unlike many of the commenters who obviously take things like this personally.

Another light blogging day. Much in the way of personal things to get done. More tomorrow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cox and Forkum on Sir Salman Rushdie. Hee hee, in a sick sort of today's reality way.
And in the meantime, Iran's Imajihadist, or whatever the Hell his name is, gets away free as a bird.

Incidentally, I can think of a few uses for the butter knife.
The ten most hated words on the Internet. They seem rather innocuous to me, but whatever.
Another good article from Capitalism Magazine, this one on the shift from "global warming" to "climate change" as today's environmentalist mantra. I'd noticed this myself, but only peripherally. This story makes the point explicit.
I couldn't agree more with this Capitalism Magazine story. By whatever means, the Iranian regime needs to be removed and, as in Germany and Japan, a constitutional republic imposed whether the Islamists like it or not. And, we should do so at their expense, and not for their benefit but for ours. We can't have vacuums in the Middle East for terrorists and radical Islamists to step in and control, but our goal isn't to make their lives better.

It's to make our lives more secure. If the Iranians want to avoid such actions, then they need to stand up and remove the current regime from power themselves, and demonstrate that they hold no ill-will toward America. In that case, I'm sure we'd be happy to help out.
Thus demonstrating one of the reasons why America is not a democracy. The Founders feared oppression of a minority by the majority just as much as of the majority by a minority. I can only imagine what they would have thought of oppression by the stupid.
This is awesome, and I want one. Hell, I want two. I'm just not sure what I'd do with them. I don't have any proteins that need folding at the moment.

People have often predicted that we'll have supercomputers on our desks (probably, in our hip pockets, or in our hips). By some measures, we're already there. The Singularity looms large, and I for one am looking forward to it.
Google. Do no evil. Compete on the strength of their own products.

And the CCA would do this, because every DVD sold clearly states that unauthorized copying is not allowed. If people really wanted to change things, they'd simply boycott CDs and DVDs until the distributors came up with better ways of dealing with things.

Oh, silly me. A boycott wouldn't work, because the people who really care about this issue don't buy CDs and DVDs in the first place--they just pirate them off of Bittorrent.
RealTechNews kind of misses the point here. It's not population per se that dictates CO2 emissions, it's industrial output, automobile use, etc. At least, so the theory goes as I understand it.

What this really shows is that the more advanced the industrial society, the more technology it can bring to bear on the issue. China is much more heavily reliant on burning dirty coal, hence their #1 ranking. One should also remember that the Chinese economy is still only about a fifth (or maybe a bit less) the size of the American economy, and so their CO2 emissions are even more egregious. Where the US to be as backwards in energy use as the Chinese, our own CO2 emissions would be stratospheric (no pun intended).

That is, to the extent that one believes any of it's meaningful in any sense.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'd think that this might be a surprisingly pro-American post by Boing Boing, except I remember that Boing Boing doesn't really think making money is a good thing.
And how exactly does Boing Boing propose that government keep us secure, since they're basically against government doing anything?
The government's evil and bad and has the Patriot Act and Bushitler and Cheney and Halliburton and all sorts of eavesdropping equipment that can track our every move and we Leftist bloggers are the only safeguards against attempts to take away our freedoms and freely traded MP3's that some of us paid for and everything!

But boy, those government agencies sure have ineffective computer systems, and should fix them pronto! Incompetent dolts, using contractors, even!
Something about this is just simply unappealing. Maybe it's European hygiene.*

*That was a lame attempt at humor. I actually don't know that European hygiene is any worse than American hygiene, except anecdotally. Well, there is that thing about European women and shaving, but I'm not sure if that's the same.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 4366 Diggs, is another story about some poor fool roughed up "unnecessarily" by the police. It's one side of the story, of course, which is bound to make the police officers look bad. Who knows, maybe it's a legitimate complaint.

But this is Digg, y'know?
And I suppose all this Internet traffic is the trading and/or viewing of perfectly legal, non-infringing personal content.
And here's an area where I agree completely with Techdirt: government has no legitimate authority to censor (except perhaps--perhaps--in times of national emergency and war, and then only to protect direct threats to national security). Indeed, censorship is one of the keystones of oppression. From what I can tell, though, Brits are used to this sort of thing.
I maintain my position: mixes and mashups are not original, "innovative" works. They're entirely derivative. They might be "creative," but that's not the same thing. I also don't believe that they constitute any sort of "fair use," and so they're common theft and should be treated accordingly.

It's interesting how the "artist" in this Techdirt story talks about how much his albums would cost if he were required to pay royalties to all the copyright holders he steals from. Interesting concept.
And here, Techdirt misses the point: Madison was talking about government-granted monopolies in the general sense, that is, one company being granted the legal right to control all production and sale of a given product, service, or raw material (e.g., a government-granted cable monopoly), as being evil things. And indeed, such monopolies, when granted by government, are evil things, because they infringe on the rights of any individual who may desire to do business in such property.

Protecting the right to control one's own intellectual property, which does not infringe on anyone's right to sell theirs or any other property, is not the same sort of monopoly. After all, we all have "monopolies" on the uses of our time and energy, for example Michael Jordon could always have withheld his preeminent basketball skills--to the detriment of us all--and been entirely within his rights. The same can be said of an author, artist, musician, etc.

Indeed, I'd guess that upon reflection, Madison would rather not have used the term "monopoly" at all with regard to intellectual property. He might rather have used the term "priviledge," which at the time meant the same as "right" today, as something that government should protect. As usual when considering what the Founders said about some issue, one must be careful to consider their use of the language and how it differs from ours.

Read the story to which Techdirt links. It's a bit different than Techdirt's version. I also concede that my reading might not be precisely the Volokh Conspiracy's, but then I'm not making entirely the same point.
This is ominous. But, no profiling!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I suppose that spending five years in a warzone would have an affect on a person. Doing so with no discernible, rational philosophy would probably be a sort of personal, self-inflicted hell. I read as much of this account as I could, but the nihilism and naturalism was too much to bear.

It sort of felt like looking at birdshit on the crumbling facade of a post-modern office building made to look like it had been through an earthquake. If you know what I mean.
Wow, another free Wi-Fi scheme. I'm sure it'll be secure and reliable.

Why is it that IT folks will go to such ridiculous lengths to get something for free? It's not like they're historically underpaid, or anything.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a high (for the topic) 6489 Diggs, is a list of countries that haven't yet converted to the metric system. Yes, the US is one of them. And yes, the rest of the world can kiss our American asses. The cost of conversion here would be far more than elsewhere, and, well, we just don't want to. And the rest of the world will continue to work with our quaint, antiquated English system because they must.

So all you Diggsters can just sit and spin.
As I've hinted before, the lack of intellectual property protections will drive things underground.* Companies will stop patenting things, and start treating them as trade secrets. The result will be essentially the same as if there were adequate IP protections--companies and invidividuals would be required to come up with truly innovate works, not just derivatives--but the timeframe would be extended beyond the patent's inherently limited scope.

Note that this applies to patents. Copyrights, on the other hand, remain a mess. Perhaps someone will come up with unbreakable encryption that can be applied to copyrighted material, including software, that will render digital copyright infringement almost impossible. That'll do away with physical distribution in a heartbeat, of course, leaving only the computer-equipped able to enjoy music, video and other, non-physical art.

And those who oppose intellectual property rights will only have themselves to blame.

*Note: I'm not sure if this is exactly what the linked story is saying. It's my take on the issue, however.
"Arabs Unwilling to Accept Responsibility." Today's obvious recurring theme. I believe thas has been the case for, oh, about a century or so?
Boing Boing calls this purchase agreement from the early 1900's "abusive." How can one be "abused" when one freely agrees with the terms of a license? When one gives up one's right to make agreements, no matter how onerous they may appear, one gives up the right to control one's existence.

Of course. Boing Boing wants the opposite: to be able to do whatever one damn well pleases if one is a "consumer." If one's a producer, on the other hand, all bets are off. I imagine Boing Boing consumers like Steven King's Lanoliers, all gaping maws eating up whatever's left at the end of time. You'll have to watch the B-movie to get the full effect.

In general, this just shows the long history of recorded intellectual property being licensed, not purchased, giving the lie to those who say that they've "purchased" their music and video and should be able to do whatever they want with it. Again, all I can say is: read the label, and if you don't like the terms, don't buy it. Engaging in theft is not a legitimate alternative.
Go here for a short history of the Middle East as it pertains to Israel and the Palestinians. I'm sure some will call this Zionist propaganda, and so be it. From everything I've read, it's entirely accurate.

It's important for all Americans to watch, to understand the stakes and how such otherwise unfathomable actions in place like Iraq can make some strategic (albeit utterly evil) sense.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a healthy 6084 Diggs, is a good public service announcement. One shouldn't publish other people's private information, including that of suspected criminals. Suspected criminals. Or, maybe even convicted criminals.

We sort of have laws against vigilante justice in this country, and for good reason. Many Diggsters, judging from the comments, don't seem to recognize this. On the other hand, there are a fair number of reasonable comments, and so that's something of a positive.

Overall, a rather lame #1, and not a good return for the Digg Report after a few days' absence.
And does Boing Boing and the rest of the looney Left realize what this means about American justice? The very fact that a court can require the release of such information (rightly or wrongly), in the face of Bushitler and the Neocons, demonstrates that plenty of checks remain against legislation like the Patriot Act.

Looks like the conspiracy buffs will need to return to the days of tin hats and lizardroids.
More on Chavez's efforts to buy goodwill in Latin America through cheap PCs. This would bother me, if I weren't so sure it's bound to be a miserable failure.

Update: They're not even that cheap. This guy's a real wacko. That, or crazy like a fox: maybe he'll make PCs just good enough to drive out other private Latin American competition (to the extent that it exists), and then just nationalize the government-supported Chinese "partner."
Once again, a government is organizing (or offering, depending on one's point of view) a service that private companies would provide if they could make a profit doing so. In all likelihood, if even marginaly "successful" (by whatever bureaucratic definition of success used), municipal Wi-Fi will drive out future, better technologies by offering just enough service for the typical user at just low enough of a price. And, once in place, government will have a vested interest in making sure "its" service is successful, up to and including making it prohibitively expensive for competition.

Mark my words. Things like this will set back better technologies, like WiMAX, for years to come.
"Bush says he’ll veto excessive spending bills." When I first read that headline, I figured it must be from The Onion. There's simply no way that Bush can seriously be saying this so late in the game.

I know the American public has a short memory, but it's not that short. And this is just the sort of thing that the Left will go ballistic over. Bush has yet to veto a spending bill; what could possibly be the benefit of starting now except in a fruitless attempt to win back fiscal conservatives?

As I believe I've mentioned, I hate politics.
And so it starts, and when Israel responds, as it must, it will be blamed for "escalating" violence that has been raging for months. Probably, it will also be blamed for ending some truce that's been violently raging for weeks.
And, as expected, government causes dislocations in the economy. And, also as expected, this will inevitably be blamed on "Big Oil."
Frank Lloyd Wright is turning in his grave right about now. Is there any function in this form?
Cindy Sheehan had some powerful friends. Too bad they were among the enemy.
Those silly pranksters.
It's amazing how Boing Boing goes out of its way to show that terrorism is impossible and thus our guarding against terrorist acts must be the height of both stupidity and oppression. While I wrote just previously about the wrongness of a bunker mentality, I do believe (naturally) in using investigative efforts to locate those who might be inclined to commit acts of terror.

The fact that the particular folks mentioned in the linked story were fools (and, I don't necessarily take one "security guru"'s word on that) doesn't mean that they weren't ripe for the picking by someone with better knowledge on how to commit mass murder. Finding them and incarcerating them, thus removing them from the field of play, seems like a good enough objective on its own.

And as usual, Boing Boing attacks, but it provides no real alternatives.
To me, this is precisely what must happen when a nation assumes a bunker mentality to external threats, rather than removing those threats directly. The Left laments these sorts of things, while simultaneously refusing to allow us to go over those who are directly and indirectly responsible for the threats we face.

If we removed the state sponsors of terrorism, then the terrorists would be that much easier to find, capture, and execute. We haven't found bin Laden because we can't go into Pakistan to look for him, and that's just one example.
The twisted logic in this is impossible to unravel, which is why dealing rationally with the Islamic world is inherently impossible. Salman Rushdie receives Knighthood, which necessarily means that Muslims should commit attacks against... well, non-Muslims, obviously.

An insult can't go unpunished, right?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I haven't listened this podcast, but I find something either simply wrong or just sensationalist about the question "whether it's really possible to make money without doing evil." That's so fraught with straw men and bad philosophy that I don't have the stomach to delve into it. All I'll say for the moment is that millions of people do so every day, and so if one doesn't find it self-evident, one simply isn't looking.
Cox and Forkum's, er, unusual take on Father's Day. It's good stuff, though.

And, to all the fathers (including myself): Happy Father's Day!
This would be cool, if I could stomach DirecTV. Which I can't, and so I won't.
Here we have three major American companies--Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Google-- engaging in precisely the same sorts of competively-driven acquisitions, and the FTC decides to investigate all of them.

How can anyone maintain the illusion that this has anything to do with competition?
I agree that it's a bit over the top to say that intellectual property theft is worse than "real" property theft. At the same time, I hardly think it's any better. The lack of violence may seem worth noting, but in reality there would likely be plenty of violence were one to try to break up the larger and more powerful Asian counterfeit rings. And, there are plenty of "real" property thefts that involve no violence at all.

The one thing that does make intellectual property very different, though, is the ease of it. It's trivial today to steal thousands of pieces of intellectual property, all without leaving the comfort of one's home, and just as trivial to distribute it to thousands--or millions--of other people. It's also relatively easy to do so anonymously; if one is careful, the chances of getting caught approach zero.

One can't say the same about "real" property.
An interesting discussion on atheism and Ayn Rand. I agree: she's the only one who's ever gotten it right. Rational atheism isn't against religion, it's for reason and man's life on Earth.
An interesting debate on the healthcare system. Notice the two different approaches to the argument (any reader of this blog should be able to recognize which argument I support). The comments are also illustrative, at least in part because they demonstrate a lack of knowledge of how government regulation has dictated private insurance policies. The private payor system hasn't developed in a vacuum.
Can anyone wonder what kind of nation China is, that it maintains such tight control over how people name their children?
What this really means is that such decisions should be made by free people via free markets, not by government fiat via political calculations. Had our government acted as it should have when Middle Eastern oil fields were first nationalized, and American investments confiscated, we wouldn't have nearly these concerns.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Here's the money quote in just about all modern discussions of intellectual property:

"For better or for worse, real property should not be confused with intellectual property, which is not subject to the same rules of scarcity."

I'm not sure where this idea of "scarcity" regarding intelletual property, or the lack thereof, orginated. I'll have to do some research, because it's such a ridiculous notion. The only reason that intellectual property isn't scarce nowadays, as opposed to when it was pressed on vinyl, tapes, and CD's, and when books were properly bound, and video provided on tapes and DVDs (let alone simple film at theatres), is precisely because technology has made its copying in virtually infinite numbers entirely trivial.

It's the fact that intellectual property can now be so easily copied that makes it seem like some sort of "non-scarce" resource. Of course, the artists themselves are plenty scarce, which seems to escape those who make this inane argument. The latter use the seemingly infinite nature of digital intellectual property, which is really just intellectual property like any other, only in a digital form, the crux of their argument--thus evading the fact that property requires not just possession, but also control.

They like to argue that the creator doesn't actually lose any thing when his intellectual property is taken, but that's not the point. He loses control over it, which is entirely the point. It would be no different if someone were to let me keep my house, but determined who could live in it with me. Even if they added on space so that I wasn't inconvenienced, the point would remain the same.

Anyways, no time to delve into this at the moment, but delving will be done at some point.
The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. And by the Lord, of course, I mean "government."
Michael Moore's "Sicko" has hit the Internet. I'm sure Moore won't mind, since he's all against things like property and the like. He should be happy, since I'm sure his only intent in producing his sensationalist, journalistically sloppy, exploitative "documentaries" is to enlighten his fellow man, and not to make any money.

Making money is evil, see, in Moore's world. Therefore, he should feel right at home. I think I'll download a copy, clean it up, burn it to DVD, and hand it out to ALL my friends. Not for them to watch, mind you--rather, to burn. To my enemies who already believe Moore's shit, I'll just give free copies to watch to their hearts' content.

Maybe Castro will make up the difference for all the good publicity, courtesy of Moore.

Friday, June 15, 2007

If this is true about Bush deciding not to destroy Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons, it's vastly disappointing. It's also ironically more destabilizing for the Middle East--it leaves Israel almost no choice but to go it alone. One can only imaging the maelstrom that will occur should Israel attack Iran.

Or, maybe it would just be a tempest in a teapot, centered around the Arab "street" and with most of the West at least silently commending Israel for its actions. Part of me believes in this particular outcome, and so I'm rooting for Israel to do what it must.
This looks like fun. I'm not sure it's worthy of a Ph.D. thesis, though.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And so, who wins here? I'd say, Iran and Syria. Who loses? Israel and the US, because our "leadership" won't let either deal with the obvious repercussions.

As I've always thought, things are bound to get much worse before they get much better.
I really have to wonder at how gullible people must be to fall for such obvious attempts to do nothing but foment sectarian violence. It must be obvious to everyone by now that these attacks are meant specifically to push Iraq toward civil war, and for no other purpose. It's almost as if these people believe that a self-fulfilling prophecy, even fully identified, can't be altered.
Computer problems, and so light blogging today. Maybe some posts tonight if I can get everything resolved.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm not sure what Boing Boing means here by the title "Yahoo! blocks anti-censor, pro-human rghts move by sharehoders." It looks like the shareholders themselves simply voted against the measure. And, indeed, who is "Yahoo!" besides the shareholders?
I agree, although I feel this way about all social networking sites. Ultimately, I think they take too much time to maintain, and so unless one makes a career out of them, their attractiveness quickly pales the more of a time-suck that they become. I used LinkedIn, but primarily only to maintain contact with past coworkers--and, not even active contact, but just to know when they've switched jobs.
When I first saw the recent demos of the upcoming OS X upgrade from Apple, Leopard, I thought the same thing. Much of it just seems to be Vista with a little bit more development, and I'm sure that we'll see much of the same in future Vista updates. The Apple stuff is good, but it's not so far advanced over Vista that it offers a compelling reason to switch.

Of course, the fact that a Mac can run Windows (including Vista) has changed things considerably. My next PC will be a Mac, but I'll likely run OS X only as a novelty.
I've kept up with the healthcare industry for almost 20 years, since getting a job straight out of college where researching healthcare payment systems was a primary function. I noted then, and still believe, that government intervention is singularly responsible for the ever-increasing costs, and I remain amazed that our system continues to produce such quality care.

It started with the creation of Blue Cross/Blue Shield back in the 1930's, then continued with government-granted tax benefits for indemnity group health plans (which caused the disconnect we have today between the care that a person receives and how much he pays for it). Medicare has probably singled-handedly held back preventive medicine in this country, by spending hundreds of billions on highly interventionist care in the last few weeks of life, and the National Institutes of Health spends as much on basic research--without the cost-benefit justication that profits require--as the pharmaceutical industry. All of these governmental interventions, among others, have shaped the American healthcare system into the mess that it is today.

This essay by Dr. Onkar Gate of the Ayn Rand Institute just confirms my own beliefs. It's worth a read.
I'd probably do the same, if I had the money. Of course, I wouldn't have chosen an Airbus.
I've always found my Tablet PC to be a great tool, for a number of important functions. I've changed jobs recently, and so haven't had as many occasions to take handwritten notes, but that's the most obvious Tablet benefit. Other than that, there are times when even surfing the Web can be more comfortable on a Tablet in portrait mode.

Here's a story about a novelist who uses a Tablet PC in just about every meaningful way, it appears. If you have any interest whatsoever in the Tablet platform, this might tip you over the edge.
Notice the comments in this story about the WTC. The nutjobs are out in force.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

If you'd like to weigh into the intellectual property debate, go here. My answers were the opposite of what I'm sure IPac is looking for, and the system crashed when I submitted them.

I'm sure it was a coincidence. Maybe you'll have better luck.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a moderate 5568, is a rather inane bit of Anti-Americanism. Really, it's pretty crude. Judging from the comments, though, the Diggsters appear to like it.
I'm not sure I understand Mark Cuban's position in this post:

I recognize that it puts Google in a tough position. In fact, it could also be considered hypocritical on my part because I feel more comfortable with a user off the street buying and owning a DRM free copy of any or all of our movies or shows than I feel with Google holding DRM free copies of my content in order to protect it from pirated uploads. I dont have a good reason, but I don't trust Google with a copy of the worlds content any more than I would trust MicroSoft , IBM of the 1980s or any corporate SuperPower.

Whether or not a "user off the street" has any particular moral compunctions against sharing a file en masse is of course a crap shoot. The "corporate SuperPower"'s have very specific legal interests in recognizing and protecting copyright. They're the ones with the deepest pockets, and are far more likely to be (meaningfully) sued.

Cuban sometimes arrives at some odd positions...
To those Lefists who hold out some love for Communism... Idiotic comments aside.
I'm currently developing a new Web site, that will provide on-going infomation, news, and support for small and medium business either looking to implementat a document management solution or expand an existing one.

If anyone can recommend a free content management system (Mamba, Drupal, etc.?) to use in building the site, I'd much appreciate any input. I'm not exactly sure where to start, but I want to develop a site similar to,, and/or


P.S. Don't go to There's nothing there yet!
Uh-oh! The Council for Foreign Relations has added a secret weapon in its quest for global domination. If you weren't scared before, you should be now.
Harry Binswanger presents an important argument for Objectivists who dislike libertarianism. It's specific to libertarian anarchy, but I believe libertarianism leads to anarchy inevitably and so it's a good refutation of libertarianism in general.

The gist? Libertarianism is a non-philosophical movement, and as such is prone to intrincism, mysticism, and a laundry list of unsupported and often contradictory positions.
Well, the last time I checked, the American economy's at about $13 Trillion GDP, the Russian economy not quite topping $1 billion. To me, that means Russia's still a pretty minor player in things economic, Putin's assertions otherwise notwithstanding.
More nyah nyah nyah from China.
Celebrity Report: A list of (alleged, until verified, I suppose) celebrity Republicans. It's not terribly important, since being Republican is no guarantee of rationality.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I have to say: I use a DVR in the bedroom, and a PVR (Snapstream Beyond TV, to be specific, and I highly recommend it) in the office. I rarely watch a show live, and I always skip through the commercials, and so I can understand CBS's position on ads and timeshiftng. In fact, this raises an interesting question: are some shows inherently more appealing to people who are more likely to timeshift, and if so, then are those shows necessarily harder to sell to advertisers? I wonder.

The bottom line, though, is that the networks need to develop different ways to monetize their broadcasts.
Hee hee. More Cox and Forkum.
Actually, I found the ending to the final episode of The Sopranos to be quite fitting. It was, after all, a show primarily about how "normal" people (read, neurotic, cynical, greedy) can find themselves conducting or condoning evil acts. The show ended by showing the Soprano family at their favorite diner, eating onion rings and fighting with such mundane aspects of existence as parallel parking.

There was no need to kill Tony off, or take him to jail. That was never the show's point.
And, one can then understand why Galloway was so against going into Iraq.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I've always liked this aspect of Lieberman.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a brisk 4690 Diggs, is a link to a cutesy picture of Pluto and the other planets.

Words don't mean much anymore, it would appear:

"Fighting between rival Palestinian militant groups, meanwhile, spread in the southern Gaza Strip, further weakening a shaky truce forged in the face of punishing Israeli air assaults."

I've always thought the word "truce" was synonymous with "no fighting."
This should get the Ron Paulies in an uproar. But beware: these are MORMONS!!!
Very nice.
If you care about global warming policies, this will be helpful come 2008.
Today's "duh!" moment.
A chapter that was removed from H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. As depressing as that novel is, this is even worse.
My wife just reminded me of a fortune cookie we received at lunch during our trip last year to find a place to live in California. We were moving from Chicago in about two weeks.

The fortune read: "You are heading for a land of sunshine."

And that's the definition of "coincidence."
The Diggsters show their compassion. Read the comments.

Funny, the underaged, hormone-driven dweebs that populate Digg were probably the first to download Paris Hilton's sex video. Now that she's in prison, however, they can't pile on enough.
Scrappleface on Paris Hilton. "What's bad for Paris Hilton is good for America."
It might seem like I'm picking on Techdirt, but I'm not, really. There's just a surplus of posts in my RSS reader, and I'm just now cleaning out my Techdirt folder. Nevertheless...

This post says "While we're generally suspicoius of vendor-funded surveys..." I wonder why. Are they equally suspicious of government-funded surveys, or NGO-sponsored surveys, or tech group-sponsored surveys? Most surveys are funded by some entitity with an agenda, whether it's obvious or not. It shows Techdirt's anti-business bias that they only mention vendors in this context.
The word "free" in "free trade" just throws some people, Techdirt among them. They simply can't understand that free markets require government protection of things like contracts, agreements and, yes, intellectual property. It would be fascinating to hear how trade could go on between nations without the protection of such things.

I suppose the Techdirt types imagine everyone will just play nicely, and share.
It's an open question as to whether our embassies should be promoting American culture. I don't really think that's a legitimate government responsibility. But the anti-American bile apparent in this Techdirt post is of more interest.

Techdirt often says it's not "political." Maybe, but it's certainly philosophical. And I used to think the site was about technology.
A particularly effective Cox and Forkum cartoon, courtesy of Little Green Footballs.

Update: The above LGF links might not work at the moment. They're apparently having some database problems.
Here's Boing Boing breaking trust with a film producer who's made their film available on YouTube. Boing Boing is recommending the use of the "Democracy Player" to pull the video off of YouTube for easier playing.

Perhaps the producer would have no problem with this, but it changes the game a bit. Rather than playing the film in the somewhat unwieldy and limited YouTube player, one can now play in a much more convenient player. Thus, one might be just that much less inclined to buy the "super high quality" formats available on the producer's site.

The film is an indy production called "Four Eyed Monsters," and I'm not a fan of indy films. But I am a fan of intellectual property and the creator's right to control it. Boing Boing, as usual, isn't.
This is pretty cool. Hum that unknown tune that's driving you crazy, and this site purports to tell you what song it's from.
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Not only does Google maintain extensive information on our individual Internet activities, but it also has a tendency to be cavalier with intellectual property in general. The problem for the IT Left is that Google has long been their darling, acting as a foil against the company they really consider evil, Microsoft.

Will they accept privacy concerns with Google that they would accept from no other company? It remains to be seen which will take precedence, their hatred of Microsoft or their inherent dislike of business in general. I have no illusions, of course, that they'll be at all concerned about intellectual property.

Note that I'm not convinced that there are general "privacy" concerns in what Google is doing. Once my activities leave my computer, I'm not sure that they're any longer under my control. What happens on my computer should remain private, but that has as much to do with how I use my computer and what software I run.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

If Google is going to dominate the world through sheer mastery of technology, then why does it need to engage in antitrust allegations against Microsoft?
I must admit, I do miss Chicago.
This is good advice. We have probably about 75% of our important documents scanned and saved in a variety of places, including on DVD in a fireproof safe. I like the idea of saving to online storage--not so much for the redundancy, but to make it readily available from any Internet-connected computer. Although I always dream of grabbing one of my notebooks in case of a fire or other disaster, it probably wouldn't happen.

I think I'd grab my kids first.
Some thoughts on terror and the Koran...
I love this: "pitting dog and cat lovers against animal rights activists."

We used to call it "playing doctor." Seriously. Violence is one thing. Messing around is something we all did, or wanted to do, and is another thing completely. I think we're criminalizing what we once saw as mere curiosity.
This lays things on the line: vote Democrat to end the war. It'll be interesting to see how that theme plays out.
Wanna know which movie critics to trust? Go here.
Skull and Bones! Illuminati! Bilderbergers! Freemasons! Trilateral Commission! Priory of Sion! Reptilian Humanoids! Elders of Zion! Shadow Government! Council on Foreign Relations! New World Order! Military-Industrial Complex! The World Bank! Big Pharma! Big Oil! Big Banking!

It's amazing that anything gets done with so many competing interests.
A snowball in Hell? I'm not sure I remember a prominent UN figure, other than the US Ambassador, expressing support of Israel...
This is fascinating, if maybe a little depressingly predictable: a game called Bioshock that seems to incorporate Ayn Rand's philosophy in its background story. I'm guessing that it's hardly correct, although I'll reserve judgement given this review's use of such libels as the alleged "dog-eat-dog" aspect of Objectivism. I'm hoping that the game publisher knows Objectivism a little better than the reviewer, although I'm not that hopeful.

I'll likely buy and play the game, just to see what it's all about. Read the linked story if you have any interest in Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Update: More here.
Is Putin crazy like a fox, or just plain crazy? I think the verdict's still out.
Nyah nyah nyah.
Very, very cool. With a name like "scramjet," it must be powerful.
If nuking Iran were on the Republican agenda, it would raise their stock quite a bit with me. Of course, Ron Paul is the only one who wouldn't.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a 3929 Diggs, is about the world's biggest digger. It's a nice picture of a feat of mechanical engineering that I bet most Diggers can't really appreciate. Because, you know, it's like, physical.
Well, they should know...
Taking a former KGB agent at his word requires a bit of a leap of faith, or something like it. If true, though, this certainly wouldn't surprise me.
This should be required viewing for anyone who gives presentations.
I can't agree that the G8 Summit is just another "sales meeting." It's more so an opportunity for mixed-economy leaders to get together an figure out new ways to inject force into what should be free transactions between individuals, and to confiscate wealth for political purposes.

I'm a big fan of treaty organizations like NATO the provide for common defense among free nations (or, semi-free, of course, but that's beside the point). But I find the G8 to highlight the dangers of the mixed economy.
The reason we have safeguards against things like illegal search and seizure is because government is the greater threat against our freedoms, not individual criminals. By making such tactics in pursuing even legitimate convictions fruitless, in other words by throwing out cases where such tactics are used, government is less likely to use them for illegitimate purposes. Thus, we are safer from government intrusion.

That's why this kind of thing gets such scrutiny. I don't find it inappropriate, necessarily, but I do see how it stretches the bounds of acceptability.
From this MEMRI account, it appears that our journalistic openness provides great intelligence to the enemy. That might be one of the inherent weaknesses of a free society, or maybe it's just bad decision-making on the part of our mainstream media. Either way, it hurts us terribly in our efforts to enhance our security.

Friday, June 08, 2007

If one believes that Google's book-scanning project constitutes copyright infringement, then this guy was making a valid point. Boing Boing, of course, makes a whole host of assumptions, such as that the guy "misunderstands copyright," which is in the title but never supported in the story, and that Google's project is necessarily "laudable."

I hardly think it's a foregone conclusion that scanning books and placing their contents online is not copyright infringement. Personally, I wonder. And, such a project would require extreme methods of digital rights management (DRM) to avoid infringing, even if it's possible, while Boing Boing has historically been anti-DRM of any kind.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 5418 Diggs, is about Paris Hilton's return to jail. The comments in this one are pretty harsh. I don't like her either, but then again, I don't really care.
I have some experience with this sort of thing at my son's after school program. The problem with the issue of porn and school computers is terribly exacerbated by misspelled Web sites, where a kid accidentally connects to a site that downloads all sorts of nasty stuff. I'm really not sure how any teacher could be prosecuted for this stuff.
All that this points out is that removing state sponsors of groups like al Qaida is the only way to make a meaningful impact on their activities.
A more rational treatment of intellectual property issues, which does tend to point out their complexity. This is from Edward Cline posting at the Rule of Reason blog.
Space-based energy? I like it. It does, though, walk that fine line as to what's legitimate for government. The Pentagon has to do things to maintain our military advantages, and so this might just be a necessary evil.
As much as I dislike Apple politically (or, maybe just Apple devotees), they do make some interesting stuff.
More from Boing Boing on stealing intellectual propert.
What exactly does it mean that Putin has agreed to put missile defense technology in Azerbaijan? Or, I should say, to suggest doing so, since I believe Azerbaijan is a sovereign nation. I haven't kept up on the whole former Soviet bloc nation thing, to know what the actual political relationship might be.
Some information on the Creation Museum, linked without comment.
Celebrity Report: I'm not surprised that Will Smith and Bruce Willis are friends, nor that Smith has doled out some good advice.
Here's Kasparov on Putin and Russia. As Ayn Rand said, evil requires the sanction of the good to prosper, and nowhere is that more clear than with Russia and the West.
A one-minute case against environmentalism.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bill Gates has always been poor philosophically, but this is pretty disappointing even for him.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a brisk 8203 Diggs, is a story about Paris Hilton's sudden release from prison. If the story is true, it would appear that the five days she spent behind bars (not three as indicated in the Digg headline) is typical for the crime. So, just the typical misleading Digg hyperbole.

Nothing to see here. Move along.
Those wacky ancient Peruvians!!!
I thought deja vu was caused by transitory timing glitches between each eye. I guess I was wrong, and this explanation makes more sense anyways. It's also sort of freaky.
While I'm a fierce proponent of intellectual property protections, both patents and copyrights, I do believe that advances in technology might require additional reform of the patent system.'s "one-click" patent and, apparently, its cousin, seems to support this notion.

I'm not a patent law expert, though, and so I would rather err on the side of protecting intellectual property. The sooner such things get resolved, though, the better, I think.
Here's another chapter in the US government's on-going war against the evil corporation. In an age of increasing global competition, what we really need is for our government to do everything in its power to make the American economy less competitive.
The money sentence in this story: "There doesn't seem to be an easy way for the RIAA to monetize their problems." "Monetize" their "problems"? Is this a euphamism for "get paid for their products"?

Read the whole thing for the context.
This isn't such a new concept. I remember getting Atari fever back in the day, and Commodore 64osis, which was always quite painful.
While we were playing Space Invaders and Joust, our collectivist enemies were playing strangly nondescript games like "pass." Yes, that would be a driving game, which apparently was the most common video game of the Soviet Empire. Obviously, the proletariat was jonesing for the automobile, big time.

Update: Here's more information. Apparently, the Soviets were way ahead of us in the self-esteem movement--no high scores.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Freedom to steal intellectual property. Freedom to exploit children for sex.

The Pirate Bay. The darling cause of the IT Left.
I don't pretend to understand this quantum mechanics stuff. I also have an inherent distrust of it. I'm not sure how transmitting "information" across a distance can be the same thing as transmitting matter. I'm not sure anyone really does.
Well, this is good news, I supposed. I only wish Fox had listened to the browncoats, and resurrected Firefly.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 5949 Diggs, is the worst sort of Digg misinformation. Here, Guiliani allegedly had some "journalist" arrested merely for asking a question. That's not how I see the video, and note that this was a private GOP event.

And, these were Truthers. Enough said, I think. Read the comments if you want a good laugh.
If you're so inclined, here's Scott Adams latest controversy honeypot. Chime in if you want to join the rabid pack.
Yegads. And this guy's running for President. has a new look. Check it out. It's a tad slower than Google, but it provides more compelling results in that they're also categorized. I can't say that the results are more pertinent; only additional testing will flesh that out one way or the other--and how has time for that?