Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Discovering Something Good about Heinlein

An interesting take on Robert Heinlein, a sci-fi writer about whom I know surprisingly little but who recently turned 100. Really, for a sci-fi fan, I've not read that much of it, at least of the classics. I should pick up some of Heinlein's stuff, though. Anyone who said "Ayn Rand is a bloody socialist compared to me" is at least worth checking out.

And I'm sure there are real sci-fi fans out there who, upon reading the above, are rolling their eyes in derision at the very notion that I'm just now learning such things about Heinlein. And, they're probably right, after a fashion.
Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 4612 Digg, is a link to a video where an iPhone is blended. That's a big thing in gadgets, you know: whenever a new, somewhat popular gadget is released, someone runs it through a blender. Proving... nothing, of course, but that some people get a kick out of 1) destroying things or 2) proving that they can destroy something that many other people covet.

A Little Bit about Evil

Read this accounting at The Belmont Club of the difference between civilized armed forces, and the likes of al Qaeda. If you come away unmoved, and still consider there to be no moral difference between us and them, then I pity you.

Birds & Caribou vs. American Energy Independence

Nothing says that this is enough oil to grant America the energy independence we need, while we continue to search for and implement alternatives (nuclear power, anyone?). But concerns over wildlife can't trump our need to become more energy independent, and the more sources of oil and gas that we close off to ourselves the less this goal becomes possible.

We simply can't let such environmental concerns overshadow our pressing geopolitical concerns. Technology will eventually reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but in the meantime, we need to do everything we can to minimize the oil and gas we buy from oppressive regimes.

Dr. John Lewis Forced to Resign from Ashland U.

This will be of most interest to Objectivists (and anyone who values free academic expression), but Dr. John Lewis, an Objectivist professor, was recently forced to resign from Ashland University over his views as an Objectivist. Note that he wasn't forced to resign because he was teaching Objectivism at this religious university, but merely for his beliefs.

It's a chilling story, when put in the context of the general attack on intellectual thought on our college campuses.

Better War against Iran, but Let's at Least Do Something

Although I favor outright war with Iran to remove its insidious, poisonous influence in the world, the next best thing might be to heavily support such Iranian opposition groups as the Mujahedeed-e Khalq. This story by Daniel Pipes lays out a compelling argument for lending this group all the support necessary to make it a legitimate threat to the Iranian regime.

Note that I've always been torn in such instances. The US has admittedly supported groups and regimes, for expeditious and often unfortunately pramatic purposes, that have become future enemies. It's a long list, and mostly due to the Cold War, which is why my inherent distaste for such covert and often black ops is so conflicted. We had no choice in the Cold War, I believe, to fight the Soviet Union in anything other than proxy wars. A hot war with the USSR would likely have resulted in nuclear annihilation.

The same isn't true with Iran. Although I don't believe that such a war would be easily won, if the objectives were more clear than in Iraq it would certainly not be terribly difficult. But again, the point of this post: if we don't go to war against Iran, then we had better be supporting someone who will do the job for us. And I think Daniel Pipes has done a pretty decent job of telling us who that someone might be.

Shell Turns Other Cheek

If Western companies are going to strike deals with Russia after having already been burned once, then I suppose it's like the old saying. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

So, Shell, shame on you.