Saturday, June 22, 2002

Assuming this is true, this is a very remarkable achievement. Imagine bullet broof vests that weight as much as normal cotton shirts.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Here is a great quote from a Russian brewer on why beer is better than Vodka:

"It helps men to communicate without making you fall over and beat up your wife and do other terrible things."

Only animal rights activists can get their underwear in a bunch over a game called "chicken tic tac toe" which entails people playing tic tac toe against a chicken. Out of all the injustices in the whole entire world they choose this one??? They are such a waste of hair.
Here is a heartbreaking account from Jerusalem.
Krugman is against Social Security privatization and accuses the supporters of misrepresenting the numbers.

"Social Security as we know it is a system in which each generation's payroll taxes are mainly used to support the previous generation's retirement. If contributions from younger workers go into personal accounts instead, the problem should be obvious: who will pay benefits to today's retirees and older workers? It's just arithmetic: 2-1=1. So privatization creates a financial hole that must be filled by slashing benefits, providing large financial transfers from the rest of the government or both"

Not only doesn't everyone know this, but I doubt that it is very well known at all. From the first SS has been presented as a savings system where workers put in their money and expect to take it out at retirement which is why we are constantly being told about the fictional "Trust fund". It has been from the first an enormous Ponzi scheme with bad actuarial assumptions from day one. Without significant cuts in benefits or increases in taxes the system will be insolvent by 2029. That's the simple arithmetic that Prof. Krugman doesn't seem to understand. While market returns most likely won't repeat their 90s performance in the near future, even if market returns are only 4% (which is a very low estimate) over the next decade it is still far better than the less than 1% returns workers get from their current SS contributions. I guess he missed those classes on the effects of small return differences when compounded while getting his PhD in economics. (I feel the urge for a longer rant but not enough time now, perhaps I will expand on it later. I'm sure the main KrugmanWatchers will pipe in too).
Clinton cleared of any wrongdoing related to last minute pardons. In related news...Marc Rich may be linked to Russian money laundering schemes.
A chilling interview with a mother about her sons suicide bombing:

"I am a compassionate mother to my children, and they are compassionate towards me and take care of me. Because I love my son, I encouraged him to die a martyr's death for the sake of Allah... Jihad is a religious obligation incumbent upon us, and we must carry it out. I sacrificed Muhammad as part of my obligation.

"This is an easy thing. There is no disagreement [among scholars] on such matters. The happiness in this world is an incomplete happiness; eternal happiness is life in the world to come, through martyrdom. Allah be praised, my son has attained this happiness."
"He set out for his operation with cold nerves, completely calm and confident, as if convinced that the operation would succeed."

"But I worried and feared greatly that the operation would not succeed, and that he would be arrested. I prayed for him when he left the house and asked Allah to make his operation a success and give him martyrdom. When he entered the settlement, his brothers in the military wing [of Hamas] informed me that he had managed to infiltrate it. Then I began to pray to Allah for him."

"I prayed from the depths of my heart that Allah would cause the success of his operation. I asked Allah to give me 10 [Israelis] for Muhammad, and Allah granted my request and Muhammad made his dream come true, killing 10 Israeli settlers and soldiers. Our God honored him even more, in that there were many Israelis wounded."

"When the operation was over, the media broadcast the news. Then Muhammad's brother came to me and informed me of his martyrdom. I began to cry, 'Allah is the greatest,' and prayed and thanked Allah for the success of the operation. I began to utter cries of joy and we declared that we were happy. The young people began to fire into the air out of joy over the success of the operation, as this is what we had hoped for him."

"After the martyrdom [operation], my heart was peaceful about Muhammad. I encouraged all my sons to die a martyr's death, and I wish this even for myself. After all this, I prepared myself to receive the body of my son, the pure shahid, in order to look upon him one last time and accept the well-wishers who [came] to us in large numbers and participated in our joy over Muhammad's martyrdom..."

The FT takes notice of blogs.
NY Times article on the increasingly deranged Palestinian culture. This is not a culture that can survive without serious reform.
So an asteroid missed the Earth by only 75,000 miles. What really bothers me is that we didn't even notice until 3 days later. Were the astronomers high or something? I really do hope we get a real space program going. A planet killer wouldn't just kill the six billion people on Earth but the memories of all those that came before. How about we don't keep all our eggs in one basket?
Here is an essay on why feminists hate Martha Stewart.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

According to Neal Travis of the New York Post, Ted Turner is not just some "wacky" billionaire who once in a while puts his foot in his mouth but has a long history of being anti-semitic. Really? Someone from Georgia anti-semitic? And I thought that when the KKK said they hated Jews they were talking about Orange Jewce (okay, bad joke).
So the Supreme Court ruled that you can't execute people who are mentally retarded. One guy from the Death Penalty Information Center said "at least today we have stopped a practice that most Americans and the rest of world finds abhorrent." My question is, since when is locking someone away in prison that much better than the death penalty? The death penalty these days is relatively quick and painless compared to where we were before, and, I would also argue, causes the convict much less suffering than being kept in prison for 60-70 years of their lives. If I were given the choice I'd definitely want to be able to press the reset button (Yes, I do believe in reincarnation).
Here is something to be filed under News of the Weird. Thanks to Drudge for this one.
CNet has a special on holographic data storage.
Like Cindy Crawford needs help defying gravity.
Another article making fun of New York Times "reporting". This time dealing with the subject of global warming. I bet if they were around during the ice age they would have been freaking out about the glaciers retreating from New York City and a string of 35 degree days.
Sometimes he can be a little annoying but I don't think I've ever watched a Dennis Miller show where I didn't find something hilarious. Here are some of his comments on recent issues involving civil liberties and the war.

Here is my favorite, both because its funny and because it provides a nice free-market solution:

“And you know something, the American Civil Liberties Union, when they come out and say you never profile anybody who gets on an airplane. I say we create a new airline, called the ACLA, the American Civil Liberties Airline where you don’t check anybody, you don’t ask any questions, and let those morons fly on that one, okay? The rest of us want to be protected.”
They are at it again, McCain-Feingold is back. This time they want to require free airtime for political candidates. Now does this mean ALL candidates? Are the Socialist Workers party and the Communist Labor party going to be getting free airtime from broadcasters? Are the Libertarians? I bet the answer will go something like this, "no, they would have to be considered major contenders for the seat." In other words, we will be giving free airtime to the Republicans and Democrats who don't exactly strike me as welfare cases. This reminds me of when Congress gets a vote on whether it should get a raise.
Number 5 is alive! I can't believe I just quoted a Steve Guttenberg movie. Time for a breakfast beer.
Mac Scorpio: Homer what country do you like the least, Italy or France?
Homer Simpson: France.
Mac Scorpio: He he, nobody ever says Italy.

Here is why. I couldn't read the whole thing. It makes me too sad. Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for pointing out the article.
Bob Herbert with more apocalyptic hyperbole on global warming.

"We really don't know with any level of certainty what amount of warming would destroy the ice sheet or how quickly that would happen," said Dr. Oppenheimer. He and Dr. O'Neill wrote, "In general, the probability is thought to be low during this century, increasing gradually thereafter."

There is not even agreement among scientists on the amount of warming necessary to begin the destruction. But what is clear is that if the ice sheet were to disintegrate, the consequences would be profound. So you don't want to play around with this. You want to make sure it doesn't happen.

So, lets see, something bad might happen, we're not sure of the probability but currently it's low but we expect it to get worse after a century (assuming of course no changes in current technologies), we're not even sure exactly what the effects will be but we should spend massive amounts of money now to make sure it doesn't happen (but we're not quite sure how to insure that either because we really don't have a good handle on how these massively complex systems work but papers that suggest apocalyptic outcomes are more likely to get grant money than those that say we have no clue what the weather will be like next week to say nothing of next century).

Do I have that about right?
Good George Will piece on the trivialization of the Holocaust among the intelligentsia.
Jude Wanniski on one of the reasons the Republicans are the "Stupid party".

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Duh Award:
Study says support of mate's goals a key to happy marriage.
Charles Johnson at LGF rants (justifiably) over the EU decision to unblock aid to the PA.
Artificial vision for the blind and artificial muscles. if only they could figure out how to do artificial brains for the stupid.
Computer Life:

Scientists are on the verge of creating "life in a computer" -- a simulation of a bacterium so detailed it could partly replace living cells in drug research, researchers announced Wednesday.
One possible application, he said, would be to use the electronic model to learn how to "re-program" living bacteria into what he called "smart pills," which could be used to deliver drugs to cure diseases.

At last, the socialist mindset explained:

In a recent study, Zizzo and Oswald ask, "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others’ Incomes?" "The short answer to this question is: yes," they report. "Our subjects gave up large amounts of their cash to hurt others in the laboratory."
Zizzo and Oswald found that nearly two-thirds of players happily paid for the privilege of impoverishing their fellow participants. Even as the price of burning went up, the percentage of people who chose to burn other players did not fall substantially.
The Stalin Society is upset with the bad press Stalin and Mao get (except among university professors). Sure they killed about 85 million people, but their heart was in the right place. They were only trying to save the poor oppressed workers from the iron-thumb of oppression.
John Lukacs and David Cassidy debate whether Heisenberg was a principled, passive saboteur or a Nazi bastard. I am strongly in the Nazi bastard camp.
Argus Hamilton line:

"The FBI arrested Jose Padilla for training with al-Qa'ida to set off a dirty bomb
in Washington. He's a pretty sharp cookie. A few years ago,
he changed his name to Abdullah Al Muhajir so could enter and
leave the United States more easily"
Apparently the sentence for several hundred thousand dollars of malicious property damage is three months in France. But property is evil and petty criminals with huge egos and small brains are heros in the socialist ethos.
Britney has her own restaurant now too!
In response to the TechCentralStation piece by Dominic Basulto about the usefulness of blogs as checks on Wall Street research, Peter Harrigan posts a very interesting analysis of Worldcom on Gammaholic.
Eric Raymond posts a fine piece on the myth of moderate Islam at Armed & Dangerous.
Stephen Hayes points out that Ted Turner is a moron. Not that this is particularly earth shattering, I just like when people make note of it.
Lileks doesn't care for Jesse as much as I, but he has to live in the state. But read further down for his superb piece on the PLO, root causes and moral equivalency:

" Let’s talk oppression. Let’s talk occupation. Let’s talk genocide, as Arafat likes to call any Israeli action. In college I fell in with a group of Ukes, and learned a good deal about the Soviet horrors visited on their nation. Churches: razed. Language: forbidden. Menfolk: off to the camps. Land: collectivized. Population: starved to death by the millions. You’d talk to the old men, the partisans who made it to America after the war, and their hatred of the Soviets was white-hot forty years later. Ukraine at the time was still under Soviet control, remember. And let’s pause a moment to remember all the campus protests over Russia’s illegal, genocidal occupation.

Didn’t take long, did it.

We housed a dissident who’d been kicked out of the USSR after spending a few years in a “psychiatric” hospital, where they’d done all sorts of horrible things to him and broken his health for good. Sixty years of occupation, oppression and mass extermination, and not one of these men would have taken the war to girls on a bus bound for a Moscow high school. Not one. If a Uke had burst into a home of a Russian official and shot his little girl in her bed, they would have been deeply ashamed that their cause had been corrupted thus - the Metropolitan of the church would have condemned it, the activists abroad would have denounced it, the children kept from the news lest they think that opposition to the Soviet occupiers justified splitting open a baby’s head in her mother’s lap."
Here is a great Ann Coulter quote I found on Neal Boortz's site:

"One hundred percent of the successful terrorist attacks on commercial airlines for 20 years have been committed by Arabs. When there is a 100 percent chance, it ceases to be a profile. It's called a 'description of the suspect.' "
Some people have taken umbrage to my statement that John [of CS&W] is always right. Not only is there ample anecdotal evidence to support John's ubiquitous rightness, but it is a cornerstone of our marriage. Along with the corollary, which is "Barbara [wife of John of CS&W] always gets what she wants", we have the ultimate answer to every domestic argument. Now if that isn't wisdom (or at least common sense), I don't know what is.
Remember hearing about how Saudi Arabia is "finally on our side" because of the fact that they announced the arrest of 7 member of Al Qaeda? Well according to Stratfor, the day before the announcement, it was announced that the Saudi's had released 160 Saudi citizens who were arrested after returning home from the fighting in Afghanistan (fighting US forces that is). Our friends the Saudis.
A short Walter Williams tribute to Adam Smith.
We got a mention on Townhall's C-Log today.
Alas, we are losing the most consistently libertarian governer in the Union. (and also the most colorful). Ventura is also, that rarest of animals, a honest politician who frequently got in trouble for actually saying what he thought without referring to endless polls. A refreshing change that could be well-learned by most of the beltway types. You may not always agree with him but at least you know where he stands.
I was never a fan of the land for peace formula for the peace process. I know that historically its always been, you give us the land and we will give you a "promise" of peace. It's nice to see Sharon finally using the land for peace formula logically. If the Israelis don't get peace, they will take back the land. Seems to make sense. It's kind of like a geopolitical foreclosure. Do I think it'll work? Probably not. But I really can't wait to see what the Guardian and the other "no we aren't anti-semitic, we are just anti-zionist" papers in Europe say about this. I bet right now they have the look of someone who just got a really severe weggie.
Daniel Pipes on "Mainstream Muslims".

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Speaking of Britney, everyone should check out her guide to semiconductors. (A very funny site and quite informative at the same time).
Anybody suprised that Britney Spears is about to make a NASCAR movie? I can't WAIT for her Behind the Music in ten years. Either she will be living in a trailer with a heroine addiction or she will simply be in porn.
Here is an article on the potential uses for nanopharmaceuticals.
A design has been proposed for a large-scale quantum computer by scientists at MIT. The folks at RSA better start thinking of something new...
There is a good Stratfor analysis today on why we haven't been attacked by Al Qaeda lately. The following states pretty clearly what is going on.

"In the long run, al Qaeda's ability to force the United States not only to focus on it, but also to affirm its power and danger is what will make the group effective in the Islamic world. Therefore, its thinking is that as long as the United States is prepared to underwrite its credibility publicly, it can preserve resources and protect against security failures simply by biding its time."

In other words, by constantly making mauve and torqoise color coded warnings we eliminate the need for them to do follow up terrorist attacks since these warnings are creating enough terror already.
And Susanna Cornett handles the Kristof Op-Ed today.
Brad DeLong takes on Chomsky.
Hoystory and Minuteman on KrugmanWatch today.
David Horowitz on the monolithic nature of leftist thought and opposition to diversity of ideas on modern American campuses.
Osama's early career as an advice columnist revealed here.
Howard Kurtz chimes in on the identity of Deep Throat.
WSJ piece linking terrorist and criminal mentalities:

"Osama bin Laden's call for a global Islamic revolution against America and allies like Israel, as well as Muslim "puppet" regimes like the one in his native Saudi Arabia, may use religious rhetoric. But much of the resentment he appeals to is psychosocial. He may come from a privileged background, but his appeal is to the frustrated and the resentful. His thoroughgoing rejection of Western values jibes easily with those who have clashed with Western society's rules already, whether from outside or within.
The rhetoric of extreme Islam has become the dystopian ideology of our age. A century ago it was a potent mixture of Marxist and Nietzschean denunciation of bourgeois hypocrisy. It fed the self-righteousness of a criminal subculture that came to see revolution as justifying theft and worse, much worse, because the victim was the beneficiary of an unjust society and the criminal its true victim."
Interesting note found on which lets people post their deep dark secrets. This is not really in the deep dark secret category but I thought all the World Cup bettors would find it interesting:

"One of my friends sent me an interesting mail about the world cup and I will use this equation to guess the world cup winner. Here is my equation, maybe it will be of some help to loser bet-placers like me: The last time Brazil won the cup is 1994 and 1970 is the year it won the cup prior to that. We sum up these two numbers; 1994+1970= 3964. We repeat this calculation with Germany: 1990+1974=3964 . For Argentina: 1986+1978=3964. Every time we sum up the year in which a country won the cup for the last time and the year it won prior to that, we get 3964. In this sense, to find out who the world cup winner will be, we do this: 3964-2002=1962. According to my equation the winner will be the country which won the cup for the last time in 1962 which is Brazil. So listen to me and place your bets on Brazil as the world cup winner like I will do."
Okay so now Laura Bush is taking Arafat's side on the issue of the security fence. Just in case you people have forgotten why they are building this fence in the first place, there was another homicide bombing of innocent Israeli civilians today with 19 dead so far. So it looks like the world doesn't like it when Israel fights back with force and they don't seem to like it when they take a purely defensive measure that doesn't physically hurt anyone.
And another excellent piece on the idiotic pork and protectionist policies of the Bush administration.

Another great piece by Mark Steyn on the less than stellar intellect of the various terrorist operatives:

"As for the second, as noted in this space, the salient characteristic of al-Qaeda's operatives is how dumb they are. As the number of incompetent Palestinian suicide bombers suggests, in this field it's hard, by definition, to get people with experience. If British shoebomber Richard Reid had invested a handful of euros in a lighter instead of relying on a damp, bent book of matches from the airport EconoLodge, he'd have detonated the plane over the Atlantic. Instead, he's destined to be the most pitiful footnote in terrorist history: a man who couldn't even blow his legs off when his loafers were packed with explosives.

It shouldn't surprise us that al-Qaeda finds it hard to recruit top-quality psychopaths willing to kill themselves to protest the fall of Andalucia in 1492 or whatever other ancient grievance is itching Osama's yak-wool undies. Nonetheless, certain distinctions in the organization's operational moron structure can now be discerned. Mohammed Atta and the other bigshot, wealthy, middle-class Saudi morons get the fun of ploughing the jets into the skyscrapers."

Monday, June 17, 2002

Interesting site collects reviews of movies, videos, cds, etc... and assigns a score to each review and then creates a combined score for you to see. It also has links to the original reviews.
Twelve scientists predict the next great inventions.
Two good Op-Eds in the NY Times this weekend. The first by Thomas Friedman on the new generation in Iran and the second by Lawrence Tribe on proper rules of detainment by US governement.
Interesting report from a University of Illinois Journalism class project to identify "Deep Throat" (no, not Marilyn Chambers, the other one). Prime suspects: Pat Buchanan and David Gergen plus several others.
Okay so it looks like the Israelis are damned no matter what they do. Arafat now calls the fence designed to keep suicide bombers out of pre-1967 Israel, racist. His exact quote is "it is a sinful assault on our land, an act of racism and apartheid which we totally reject."
Using a process called "quantum entanglement", an Australian team effectively teleported a radio signal contained in the laser beam of light from one place to another. In the immortal words of Spaceballs, Scotty beamed me twice last night, it was wonderful.
Another Lileks-moment: woken last night at about 1:30 by my youngest daughter. When I got up to check on her I found that she had fallen out of bed, sort of, since when I got to her room she was about 7 feet from her bed sleeping face down in the middle of the floor.
A frightening piece in the WSJ about Iraqi efforts at developing dirty bombs and the easy availability of radioactive material.
TNR piece on rising anti-semitism at that bastion of leftist thought: Berkeley. Of course, that's the same university running this course:

English R1A, "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Resistance," which
will earn students four units toward their degree:

"The brutal Israeli military occupation of Palestine, [ongoing] since 1948,
has systematically displaced, killed, and maimed millions of Palestinian
people. And yet, from under the brutal weight of the occupation,
Palestinians have produced their own culture and poetry of resistance. This
class will examine the history of the [resistance] and the way that it is
narrated by Palestinians in order to produce an understanding of the
Intifada. . . . This class takes as its starting point the right of
Palestinians to fight for their own self-determination. Conservative
thinkers are encouraged to seek other sections."

Above is the description from a month ago, if you compare the current description in the link the final line was removed and some other softening verbage was added after complaints were made that Berkeley was perhaps not encouraging a diversity of viewpoints.
A good article by Steven Landsburg in Slate
puncturing the "regulations are costless" myth that seems to be so prevalent among the we-need-more-government-not-less types these days.
Very cool if it works. Toyota is testing a prototype plane that is supposed to be as easy to operate as a car. It's about time, it seems to me that commercial aviation technology has basically stood still over the last 30 years. Maybe we're finally getting the the elbow of the curve and we'll see an explosion of improvements in the next few years.
Maggie Thatcher has a piece on Iraq in the WSJ.
Very nice non-political piece by Larry Miller in the Weekly Standard.