Saturday, May 26, 2007

And an untold number of cures for human diseases were left undiscovered.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at a light 2588 Diggs, is a story about a Google search with an odd result. Huh.
Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart? Brad Pitt as John Galt? There have to be better options. But, I don't personally think Atlas Shrugged should be made yet. The culture's not ready for it. Maybe in a few years, when the Ayn Rand Institute, Founders College, the VanDamme Academy, and other (explicit or implicit) Objectivist efforts have more effect.

It looks like it probably won't happen, in any event.
And, as munipalities fail in their very highly-touted efforts to roll out "free" WiFi access, purely commercial ventues are necessarily stalled. Better that, though, than if municipal WiFi access were successful, thus rendering commercial efforts entirely moot. Particularly given quotes like this:

"Prices dropped and quality of service went up," [Mark McKibben, Lompoc's former wireless consultant] said. "That's the way a lot of cities look at it. They don't look at business profits and losses. They see it as a driver for quality of life."

Case closed: force rules.
Tron was definitely ahead of its time, and got me started on the whole PC kick. It's hard to believe, though, that it's been 25 years.

Makes me feel old.
I think Jericho was a decent show, starting and (so far) ending well, with a bit of a lull in the middle. That's what probably killed the show--a few episodes were long in relationship-building and short on the suspense and intrigue that set such an entertaining tone in the beginning.

This campaign to bring the show back, though, is surprising. I wouldn't have expected such a groundswell. This is looking to be even bigger, or at least more effective, than the Firefly Browncoats. And Firefly was a much, much better show.

I wouldn't mind another few episodes to see things through, however. There are certainly some interesting questions that remain unanswered.
A reminder: Ayn Rand audio recordings are available for free at It's all very wholesome and refreshing, after a diet heavy in contemporary politicians, journalists, and academics.
I thought Apples were immune to attack. Apparently not. Will Mac admit this to PC? In public?

I doubt it.
Parts of this story seem to contradict the story linked in an earlier post, about China's military buildup. And yet, both stories are based on the same Pentagon report. Seems that people interpret such intelligence estimates differently.

"We don't want a one-sided truce." That's funny. Israel has settled for nothing but one-sided truces since its creation. On a positive note, it's good to see Israel defending itself.
Of course Iran is suddenly identifying American "spy rings." It's not like our efforts at espionage are a secret, or anything.
Are the Chinese smart enough to be using economics, with the ancillary military benefit derived from infusions of American cash, to prepare for a future conflict with the United States? I don't know, but I think it's possible. If so, then our only hope (given the ineptitude of our current leadership) is that the Chinese people will come to recognize the benefits of a free society the more China interacts economically with the West.

It that's possible, then destroying free trade won't be the answer. Which is why it's precisely what our leaders are most likely to do.
I don't know if people appreciate this sort of thing as much as they should. I mean, these are pictures from another planet. And that, in less than a century since such things were merely science fiction.
Here's a story about a home-schooled girl winning a national competition. Statistically, it's meaningless--she might simply be a very, very smart young lady. And, I'm not one to home school my kids--I'd make a horrible teacher. My wife, on the other hand, is a great teacher, and so if she decided to educate either of our children, then I certainly wouldn't complain.

That would be the deeper point here, of course. The quality of education comes down to the teachers and the methods, both of which can be quite variable from one school (and system) to another.

Public, i.e., government-controlled, schools are necessarily run from a political perspective, as opposed to responding to competitive pressures. Parents have no real say in how their children are educated in public schools; the idea that "all politics are local" breaks down when schools must meet State- and Federal-mandated standards that are completely divorced from the local community. And, public schools are funded regardless of how well or poorly they educate their students, and in fact there seems to be an inverse relationship--the worse the school, the more money it receives, as if money itself is the sole determinant of educational quality.

Contrast this with a private school, which competes against both public and other private schools for funds, which are paid directly by a student's parents. Certainly, factors other than educational quality influence the success of a private school--religious, ethical, social, and other factors also weigh in. However, there can be no doubt that a private school that provided poor educational outcome wouldn't last long.

To bring things back to the story linked above, home schooling is no guarantee of success--again, I would be a terrible, if well-intentioned, home school teacher. Rather, it's the underlying philosophy and methods of teaching that matters. Removing education from the public sphere is the only way to ensure that competition, and not political expediency, determines how well our students are educated.
It would seem that the only culture Leftists are comfortable ridiculing is Christian culture. I'm not fond of Christianity either, but I find that compulsion quite telling.
What's next? Is Boing Boing going to publicize methods for bribing police officers to look the other way when one wants to commit a robbery? Or, how to avoid DNA tests when committing a rape?

This particular "HOWTO" is innocuous and, likely, stupid, but Boing Boing's predilection for publishing tips on breaking the law is disturbing.
Celebrity Alert: It's unfortunate that Bruce Willis has been associated (hopefully, unwillingly) with the conspiracy movement. I do remember him saying something about JFK, but hell, that assassination probably WAS a conspiracy of some sort. The only question is, whose? My bet would be on Castro. Whatever, though; at this point, it's not a question I'm too interested in.

But, back to Bruce. Is he on the road to whackiness? I hope not; my Celebrity Reports have been pretty thin lately.
I've long believed that Bill Clinton's real crime wasn't his shenanigans with Monica Lewinsky, but rather his providing missile technology to China. Given the issue of Chinese campaign contributions at around the same time, one has reason to suspect that the Lewinsky affair was merely a smokescreen to obscure the real controversy.

Now, consider this story about a recent Pentagon report, "Is China Developing a Preemptive Strategy?" This is a frightening report in the context of a still-Communist nation with very real concerns about access to energy and material resources. Granted, it should likely be more frightening to Russia, a more historically important enemy of China, than America, with which China has such strong economic ties.

Even then, though, China's military build out is a serious concern, because such a conflict couldn't help but have repercussions for America. And while China may never directly confront the US, it might certainly seek global advantages that impact on our interests. Technology such as that provided by the Clinton Administration can only benefit China in any geopolitical struggle.

Should this go badly for us, we'll have Bill Clinton to thank, at least in part. The Republican Party will also be culpable, given their asinine pursuit of impeachment around Clinton's diddling of Monica Lewinsky. Ultimately, one is left to wonder whether the Republicans simply chose the lesser of two evils over which to pursue impeachment--and why.