May 31, 2005

Harmful Books

For your edification Human Events has compiled a list of harmful books:

HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
They don't really define harmful or to whom these books will be harmful but each listing does come with a brief rationale. Your mileage may vary....

And, as Radley Balko notes they don't want to burn them they want you to buy them via their Amazon account link!

Update (6/1): Tom Traina has a suggestion for an addition to this list.

Posted by Steve on May 31, 2005 | Comments (2)

On the Menu

Click on through for Sunday Brunch.

Posted by Steve on May 31, 2005

About Those Sugars You Are Eating


I take a couple of nuts as Kenyon instantly shifts the topic -- she does that often -- and explains to me that she has totally changed her diet, eliminating most sugars, including those found in processed flour. Hence the peanuts. An experiment with her tiny worms is responsible, she says; that experiment proved that sugar switches on a genetic sequence that increases the amount of insulin produced by an organism, which in turn causes the body to demand more sugar. This not only adds flab to the waistline, if worms had a waistline, but also increases damage to cells in the body, speeding up the slow degradation of cells that contributes to aging.

Via Steeph.

Posted by Steve on May 31, 2005

May 30, 2005

Hosting Problems

I apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced accessing Modulator on Monday 5/30. The server Modulator is hosted on begain failing at about 21:40 GMT and service was not restored until sometime around 07:00 GMT on 5/31.

Puzzling to me is that Sitemeter shows a fair amount of activity during the problem period. Heck, I couldn't get in how could all those folks....?

Posted by Steve on May 30, 2005 | Comments (2)

May 28, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

We went to Star Wars: Episode III tonight and enjoyed it. Fie on all the folks who have been panning it and providing lengthy lists of how they could have done it better, etc., etc. The fact is that they didn't. Perhaps their time will come down the road a bit. No links for them.

It was entertaining, provided plenty of fodder for discussion and left us ready to watch episodes IV-VI again soon!

NB: I was pretty certain it would be just fine when a I read Jaquandor's discussion last week and suggest that you head right over there if you want to read the goods on this episode and the double trilogy.

Posted by Steve on May 28, 2005

May 27, 2005

Some Friday Strangeness

Here are the definitions:

fug•ly (adj.)

frightfully ugly; of or pertaining to something beyond the boundaries of normal unattractiveness. Ex: "That 'Kabbalists Do It Better' trucker hat is fugly."

fug (n.)

1. A state of extreme ugliness. Ex: "The level of fug at the Video Music Awards is always hard to stomach."

2. A proper name for someone possessed of eternal heinousness, as Chloe Sevigny: "Oh look, there's Fug, looking all miserable and dour in her black turtleneck and white frilly farm dress."

fug•ging (v.)

The act of posting on one's blog in order to identify something excruciatingly ugly. Ex: "Hey, I am fugging Li'l Kim again for wearing only a tiny piece of cloth."

Here is the site: go fug yourself.

Via Avatar.

Posted by Steve on May 27, 2005

Do Friday Ark Visitors Prefer Firefox?

So far today:

  1. IE 48.56%
  2. Mozilla 43.62%
  3. Apple 4.94%
  4. Netscape Navigator 2.88%


  1. IE 66.73%
  2. Mozilla 27.20%
  3. Apple 3.72%
  4. Netscape Navigator 1.76%
  5. Opera 0.59%
Hmmm, this is the first time I've seen IE below 50% here. Make of it what you will. I'll update today's figures tomorrow morning.

Posted by Steve on May 27, 2005

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post or email Modulator and we'll add yours to the list. Check back regularly for updates throughout the day on Fridays and somewhat less frequently over the weekend.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and will be hosted this week by Ripe Bananas.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.


InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on May 27, 2005 | Comments (18)

May 26, 2005

Indonesia Illigitimacy

Indonesia demonstrates that, like most other modern governments, its laws, its government do not deserve the respect of its citizens or others around the world:

Accused Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been found guilty by an Indonesian court of importing marijuana into Bali.
Interfering with the consensual exchange of goods and services between individuals is not a legitimate governmental function.

In this case it looks like the victim might not even have been involved in the drug trade.

Posted by Steve on May 26, 2005

No More Netgear Equipment

Tegan will not be buying any Netgear equipment in the future:

So that's it. I'll never buy another one of their products again. And if anyone asks me, I'll tell them to avoid Netgear like the plague, because Netgear doesn't care about its customers.
I used to be a happy Netgear customer as well but the last Netgear wireless router I bought was incredibly flaky so I spent $60 on a newer Belkin model which has been just fine for the last year.

This equipment is becoming so inexpensive and so widely distributed that I don't believe vendors can really afford to provide much direct customer support. So, the product better work out of the box, be well documented both online and with a local copy (hey, if it is broken you may not be able to get online) and the software upgrade process should be a snap.

Hey, when my $39-$69 phone breaks I just toss it in the trash and go to the nearest store and buy another one which may not be the same brand.

Same with home routers.

Posted by Steve on May 26, 2005 | Comments (1)

Golden Girls, Latex Boys and a Big White Bunny

Do any of you know what the cultural context is for this not entirely work friendly bit of wierdness. Perhaps an enactment of something equivalent to a fairy tale or a story from the Japanese mythos.

There is a narrative here1 which begins:

Ok , i have posted some strange dreams before. Some strange, ill, fucked up dreams. But this one takes the cake...

In the beginning, I was at a ballet. But not a regular ballet. For one, the ballerinas were all naked and golden. Also they were dancing with a 7 foot tall fat-as-hell bunny....

It's worth reading the rest of this before looking at the pictures but it does not provide any deep cultural background for the story.

The audience does seem to be enjoying the performance.

Via Unfogged.

1No permalinks so this may not stay at the top.

Posted by Steve on May 26, 2005

Write to the Top

Want to get to the top of of the blog list, join the ranks of the A-listers? Write a lot...25-40 posts/day. And, if there are that many, they won't be very long.

Via Circadian Shift.

Posted by Steve on May 26, 2005

May 25, 2005

War Tax and Draft?

In an interview at author James Bamford, A Pretext for War, suggests that a war tax and a mandatory draft are a sure way to assure full public involvement in the war making process:

The key problem is massive public apathy and extremely poor press coverage. I think the only way to prevent such wars in the future would be to make every citizen an equal shareholder in the war – not just the families of the 140,000 troops currently in Iraq. This would require legislation mandating a draft upon the deployment of a certain number of troops to a combat environment. Also, legislation forbidding deficit spending for a war should be enacted. The cost of a war would have to be paid as a surcharge on all taxpayers in the year the fighting takes place. In this way, nearly every citizen would have both a personal and financial stake in a war.
Well, I fully support the idea of no deficit spending for a war which seems to imply that there could be no deficit spending at all during war years.

The other suggestions need just a bit of modification. A draft is never acceptable so I'd modify his tax and draft ideas just a bit with something filched from Heinlein1. It goes like this:

  1. a majority must support the war,
  2. support of the war includes volunteering to both pay for and fight in the war.
Want another $82 billion...collect the surcharge directly from those who voted for the war. Need soldiers: you have a list of volunteers. This should assure that those who support the war are the full stakeholders in the war.

Via Hit & Run.

1This may not exactly match Heinlein's depiction.

Posted by Steve on May 25, 2005 | Comments (2)

May 24, 2005

Prison Industry on the March

Well, it certainly isn't freedom on the march if Wisconsin representative sensenbrenner has his way with HR1528. Scrutiny Hooligans nicely summarizes just one part of this heinous legislation this way:

To wit, if you see your neighbor smoking a joint on his back porch at 11pm while his kids are safely tucked into their beds 25 feet away, then you must contact law enforcement within 24 hours or be subject to criminal prosecution by the U.S. Government and be sentenced to at least 2 years in prison. Your neighbor will be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Go read more and weep.

If you are even the slightest bit comfortable that stuff like this even gets introduced as possible legislation then perhaps you should move yourself over to North Korea.

Via Skippy.

Posted by Steve on May 24, 2005

Fingerprinting to Use Library Computers

I don't think I'd like to see this become a trend:

The Naperville (Ill.) Public Library board approved a $40,646 contract May 18 with a local technology firm to install fingerprint scanners on its public internet computers. The scanners, to be installed this summer, will replace the current system of requiring patrons to enter their library-card and PIN numbers to prove their identity, the Chicago Tribune reported May 20.
There are a couple of things that concern me about this. First, our fingerprints should not start showing up in multiple databases. Yea, these folks say the special encoding can not be reverse engineered but I don't see anything that says the the fingerprint itself is not retained. And, even if it is not retained initially what are the safeguards to assure it never is retained and just how will you know?

Secondly, the linked articles talks about a law enforcement request for login records. Surely this information along with the logs detailing online activity are deleted in real or near real time. If not, then patrons should be insisting on this. The most that should be retained is the information that an unidentified patron used a computer for x minutes on such and such a day. Anything more than that should be considered a breach of privacy.

Maybe lots of folks will respond with this approach:

West said the library is requiring a fingerprint to set up computer access, although patrons who object could ask a staff member to log them on to a computer.

"I'm sure we won't turn anybody away who refuses to use the technology, but in all honesty, it will be more cumbersome," West said.

And the increased manpower cost will lead Naperville to return to easily used cards. If it leads them to become increasingly restrictive then, I suspect, it will simply hasten their marginalization in an increasingly digital world where the bulk of the written material created will be available to us in our living room, the local park, coffeeshop or where ever else we choose.

Via beSpacific.

Posted by Steve on May 24, 2005 | Comments (1)

'zines in the Future

What will fill the covers of magazines a 100 years down the road? Here are some possibilities.

The future suggested by The Guideposts cover featured at The Presurfer will surely stress the santorums of the world...

The Newsweek cover has something for both California bashers and cat lovers. Go check it out.

Posted by Steve on May 24, 2005

Economics: Reading Assignment

Head over to Crooked Timber and attend the Steve Levitt Seminar.

Levitt is the author, with Stephen Dunbar, of the entertaining and instructive Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.

It may just change the way you look at the world.

Libertarian Jackass
notes this alternate take on some aspects of the book.

Posted by Steve on May 24, 2005

May 23, 2005

Political Fundamentals

Posting at Outside the Beltway Steve Verden sheds some light on the current senate rules folderol by reminding us that:

Of course, this is not in the least surprising since we are talking about politicians and we must always remember the primary law of politics:
Politicians: they lie.
Yes, even the ones you like and remember that little of what they do is in your interest.

Posted by Steve on May 23, 2005

In Line for Revenge of the Sith

It is rude, crude and hilarious.

Posted by Steve on May 23, 2005 | Comments (1)

Is the So-called Nuclear Option Constitutional?

Mark Kleiman argues that it is not and that it is cheating.

Whatever else it may be this debate points out that too much is at stake. Why all the ranting and raving if there is not large treasure at the end of the battle? The treasure comes both in the form of wealth transfer and values imposition. Neither the blues or the reds are exempt from the temptation of both.

You should know who is the source of this treasure. If not, check out your mirror.

A much more interesting discussion would focus on how we can fix our social structures so as to assure that you and I can exchange goods and services free of interference and how you and I can live our lives, choose our activities, enter into relationships of our choice, etc., without interference by others.

Posted by Steve on May 23, 2005

May 22, 2005

Getting Away With Murder

Or, at minimum, getting away with involuntary manslaughter:

"I have come to realize what I did was wrong"
Thus spoke Spc. Brian E. Cammack, who was sentenced to three months in prison over the beating death of a prisoner in Afghanistan. Cammack plead guilty to charges of assault and two counts of making a false statement. In accepting a plea bargain, prosecutors decided not to pursue a charge of maltreatment (I guess manslaughter wasn't on the list of possibilities).
A manslaughter charge certainly is a possibility in a military court.

This pat on the butt plea bargain could be the a result of at a couple different things: 1) The guy really is giving up good info that will lead to more severe penalties for others (don't hold your breath) and 2) this administration and its military still don't think anything wrong has occurred and believe that too severe sentences in these cases will dampen ongoing behavior in the inquisition centers.

Posted by Steve on May 22, 2005

Sunday Wierdness

Why are these people crying while eating? For that matter why has someone posted this stuff? But, then, perhaps by posting this I answer my own question.

Along with Steeph I can't make anything out of it. But, I was able to get through 1.5 of the videos. How many can you tolerate?

Update 5/25:
Thanks to S. Y. Affolee for the comment with the answers. This is all part of a marketing project. There is a cash prize for the winner.

Posted by Steve on May 22, 2005 | Comments (4)

May 21, 2005

eating with bush

I wonder what the prudish base think about the republican national committee hooking bush and rove up with this pair:

Porn star and former gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey will be joining her boss, Kick Ass Pictures president Mark Kulkis, in attending a dinner with President Bush in Washington, D.C. on June 14.

Kulkis was invited to attend the event by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is organizing the event. Over a two-day course of NRCC events preceding the dinner, Carey and Kulkis will be attending a meeting with presidential advisor Karl Rove, giving their recommendations on important national issues.

and exactly which important national issues they will discuss.

Via Skippy.

Posted by Steve on May 21, 2005 | Comments (2)

May 20, 2005

Are My Testicles Black?

I saw/heard this somewhere recently and thought it was pretty funny so when ran across it at Avatar's place I decided to steal it and pass it on the the rest of you:

A white male patient is lying in bed in the hospital with an oxygen maskover his mouth and nose and still heavily sedated from a 4-hour operation. A young nurse appears in his room to sponge his hands and feet.

"Nurse", he mumbles from behind the mask, "are my testicles black?"

Embarrassed, the young nurse replies, "I don't know, I'm only here to wash your hands and feet."

He struggles again to ask, "Nurse, are my testicles black?"

Finally,she pulls back the covers, raises his hospital gown, holds his penis in
one hand and his testicles in the other hand, takes a closer look and
announces, "They look white to me, sir!"

The man removes his oxygen mask and says very slowly, "That was really nice, but listen very, very closely: Are...My...Test...Results...Back?"

Posted by Steve on May 20, 2005

Counting Visitors by Candlelight

Andis Kaulins notes the relatively new Sitemeter blog. Worth bookmarking if you use their service.

Posted by Steve on May 20, 2005

Tin Foil?

Perhaps Bolton can clear this up:

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.

Via Striving for Average.

Posted by Steve on May 20, 2005 | Comments (1)

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post or email Modulator and we'll add yours to the list. Check back regularly for updates throughout the day on Fridays and somewhat less frequently over the weekend.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and will be hosted this week by This Blog is Full of Crap.

Update (5/21): Laurence says that hewill be hosting the Carnival of the Cats tomorrow due to an emergency.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.


InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesDidn't Make It
Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on May 20, 2005 | Comments (21)

May 19, 2005

Winning the War on Drugs

Begins with reframing the context and withdrawing the troops:

Much that needs to be done to end the ‘drug war’ and turn it into ‘drug peace-keeping’ must be done on the state and local level. For as more and more states and localities pull their troops out of the ‘drug war’ the federal government would find itself without the resources or support to continue the war. Actually withdrawing local resources from the 'war on drugs' is the only way to break the political deadlock that has trapped us in a failed policy for decades.

Of course, such a model of policy change has implications for other wars, too...

Yes, on this and many other fronts we need to stop attending the fed's party!

Via The Sideshow and Gail Online.

Posted by Steve on May 19, 2005 | Comments (1)

Sperm on Parade

Some Columbians have it right.

There's some additional good humor in the comment thread.

Posted by Steve on May 19, 2005 | Comments (1)

Chicago Crime

This is good stuff!

I expect that we will see this propagate across the country and I expect that this kind of stuff is the smallest tip of the iceberg. For this specific application I'd like to see a map of arrests as well. Something that shows where the arrests are happening and how effective law enforcement is in resolving real, murder, burglary, theft, battery, etc.

There will be many, many more creative add-ons to the Google interface. I'd be shocked if Google didn't have more really hot stuff in the pipeline.

With just a little thought it is possible to identify applications that could change some significant markets and greatly enhance peoples lives.

Via beSpacific.

Posted by Steve on May 19, 2005

May 18, 2005

Morford Has 2nd Thoughts on Real ID

Mark Morford tries a glass half full view of Real ID:

Ah, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is just rampant paranoia talking and it's just a silly piece of harmless legislation and Real ID is overall a genuinely good and useful idea that will ultimately make us safer and more secure. You think?

Because hasn't BushCo proven to be reliable and honest and just reeking with integrity about privacy and security issues so far? Hasn't the USA Patriot Act been just a wondrous boon to police and CIA and our sense that we are trusted and cared for by our government? Aren't we all feeling just so much safer with this most secretive, least accountable administration at the helm?

After all, why not trust the government on this? Why not put our faith in the goodly Homeland Security Department? Maybe Real ID really is patriotic and constructive and it will be a smooth and secure and completely inviolable system, one that protects citizens while giving them a new sense of freedom to move about the country with carefree flag-waving ease, safe in the knowledge that their big, snarling gummint is watching over them like a protective mother bear -- as opposed to, say, a female praying mantis, who greedily screws her lover, and then, of course, eats him alive.

Really, this raving bit of incompetence by congress and the president is adequate reason to toss them all out of office. This is really one party no one should attend and if it means boycotting the airlines until they scream in anguished pain to get this stuff stricken from what passes for law then so be it.

Posted by Steve on May 18, 2005

There is a Medical Slant... the 28th edition of Tangled Bank which is hosted this week at Chronicles of A Medical Mad House.

Go read!

Reminded by PZ Myers.

Posted by Steve on May 18, 2005

May 17, 2005

It's Not Just in the US

Speaks for itself:

I don't think this is good. Because this is simplifying the issues. And if you simplify too much, you can't have a real discussion and you will never be able to work together towards a good solution.

Posted by Steve on May 17, 2005

May 16, 2005

So, Why is Newsweek Apologizing?

Can it be because they are reporting old news? Or something else....

For a much better understanding read Arthur Silber. Now.

Via Elayne Riggs.

Posted by Steve on May 16, 2005

Setting a Good Example!

Locals everywhere should consider the example of Korasuv:

Local residents have seized control of Korasuv, a border town in eastern Uzbekistan, driving out representatives of the central government.....

Meanwhile, the residents of Korasuv are meeting to discuss how to run their own affairs, free of interference from the authoritarian government, says our correspondent in the town.

This may be shortlived as it is doubtful that the central government gang, like such entities through history, will not react violently.

Nevertheless, central governments gangs in all countries and of all types, federal, state, district, county, what have you, should take heed. This may be another palpable sign that your end is near.

Via Green Ink!

Posted by Steve on May 16, 2005

May 15, 2005

What Might be Next?

After reading bush's poll numbers Tena ponders:

So naturally, one wonders with some fear and trembling just what might happen next. Another attack? Another invasion? Or just a slow slide downward until this 2d term is over? Somehow, I doubt that last scenario, simply because too much is riding on this administration's success and failure for the rest of the Republicans in office. But that puts the Republicans in an interesting quandary - because the risk that anything like another attack or invasion will backfire on the party is really high.
I have a bit of trouble imagining this last scenario as well. These folks have been building a no one but bush can save us mentality (see last election) and there is no reason to believe that they will not go to extreme lengths to retain power. There are trillions of dollars at stake which is probably more important to them than family values. So they may not care whether an event will help them at the polls or not as long as it facilitates a continuation of the regime through voting if that works and if not then, perhaps, unleashing more of the patriot act will remove any opposition.

Via Skippy.

Posted by Steve on May 15, 2005 | Comments (1)

Perhaps he Does Read...

Especially when it is about how he spent his own time in college.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind the idea that bush is reading this particular book and others in a similar vein. I'd just like to see some evidence that he spends more time reading history, economics, philosophy, history of science, political science, etc. The stuff that leaders as opposed to mob bosses might be expected to read and understand.

Posted by Steve on May 15, 2005

May 14, 2005

Unexpected Quiz Result

I really don't think the answers I gave to the Which Science Fiction Writer are You? test matched the result, Ayn Rand. I've read her stuff, am familiar with her life and my answers were not least not her public image.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden explores the inner workings of this test.

Posted by Steve on May 14, 2005

Defender of the Faith?

Not everyone is happy with the the new pope's latest appointment.

Posted by Steve on May 14, 2005

Sitemeter - Firefox

Is anyone else having problems getting to Sitemeter using Firefox?

Today I regularly get a message starting with:

Redirection limit for this URL exceeded. ....
This was not occurring last night and I have not made any software changes and allow all cookies (what I do with them later is another story).

Access works fine via IE. Makes me wonder whether MS made a stealth purchase of Sitemeter....

Posted by Steve on May 14, 2005 | Comments (2)

May 13, 2005

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

ALERT 5/12: The ARK staff will be traveling on land from early, early morning Friday, 5/13, until late afternoon and likely without net access during this time. In the meantime please browse the comments and trackbacks. This weeks edition is up early so we can post as many as possible before we leave.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post or email Modulator and we'll add yours to the list. Check back regularly for updates throughout the day on Fridays and somewhat less frequently over the weekend.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and will be hosted this week by Aptenobytes.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Update (5/13 17:32 GMT): Found some net access and a few minutes to catch up with pings and comments and may be able to make another update in a couple hours before another long disconnect.


InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesDidn't Make It
Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on May 13, 2005 | Comments (17)

May 11, 2005

Accidental Pron? Yea, Right....

Here is the data:

Of the 500 people surveyed, just under a quarter of men admitted to looking at pornography at work, compared to 12 per cent of women. But only 17 per cent of men said that they 'intentionally' watched porn, compared to 11 per cent of women.
So, about 30% of the dudes who viewed pron at work just accidentaly ran across it? Yep, and I have some bridges to sell to you.

Posted by Steve on May 11, 2005

Not on My Car and Hopefully Not on Yours

Mithras spoiled my night. No, whoever came up with this spoiled my night.

NB: I do not object at all to christians putting the fish symbol where ever it pleases them; I would have preferred that the folks who embedded Darwin's name into the fish symbol had chosen some other creature; this, though, is disrespectful of just about everything; it is, well, unAmerican.

Oh, also check out these posts and their comment threads. Warning: language and humor may be offensive to some.

Posted by Steve on May 11, 2005 | Comments (2)

Are they Still in Jail?

Track your favorite inmate(s) via Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE). They will, if you sign up, send notification of a change in status via email. They don't cover everything online yet especially at the county and city level and I didn't see any federal data in the spot checking I did.

I don't know anyone in jail but I can see that this might be a very valuable service for someone who does be they victim, friend, or relative.

Posted by Steve on May 11, 2005

May 10, 2005

Just War and Proportionality

Professor Bainbridge in the course of an interesting discussion of VE Day and the strategic bombings of German and Japaniese civilian populations notes:

Indeed, there seems little doubt but that the strategic bombing campaign violated the precepts of a just war. In particular, it violated the tenets of proportionality and discrimination. Proportionality holds that the response to aggression should not be disproportionate to the original aggression. Was the deliberate firebombing of Dresden or Hamburg, say, proportional to the Blitz? As for discrimination, there is no doubt that Bomber Harris and his US counterparts deliberately targeted German and Japanese citizens.
So, at point do the Afghani and Iraqi campaigns breach the proportionality principle? When we have killed 3000 of them? Destroyed property in value equal to the WTC buildings and related economic damage? Or, what?

Posted by Steve on May 10, 2005

Mr. Floatie

Stories from the British Columbia campaign trail:

The BC Liberals had 71 of 79 seats in the B.C. Legislature when the election was called. But many of its incumbents are ducking the all-candidates meetings that are a staple of politics here.

The Liberals' absence is the object of mirth. When incumbent Lillian Trumper dodged a meeting in the Alberni-Qualicum riding or electoral district, a candidate from the BC Marijuana Party filled her empty chair with a flowering pot plant and an 18-inch glass bong.

A smiley-faced balloon was attached to the chair marked "Liberal" at a Victoria meeting boycotted by two Liberal lawmakers.

The best scene, however, came at a Friday candidates' forum in the Victoria-Beacon Hill riding, where Carole James is running.

A man named James Skwarok showed up dressed as "Mr. Floatie," a 6-foot-tall piece of excrement. He was protesting the Liberal government's refusal to begin treatment of Victoria's sewage. Skwarok claimed to represent a group called People Opposed to Outfall Pollution (POOP).

He wasn't let in. But James said the sewage must be treated and that her party would look at the issue as a priority.

With other Canadian cities at last building treatment plants, Victoria may soon be the only major waterfront city in the United States or Canada to discharge all of its sewage raw and untreated. Eleven million gallons gets dumped into the Strait of Juan de Fuca each day.

British Columbia really does need to fix this problem! They could at least process this stuff and use it as fertilizer for more fields of BC Bud.

Posted by Steve on May 10, 2005

Balancing Barbie

Just to keep the cultural stereotyping fair and balanced when you buy a barbie you should also purchase one of these.

Via Bacon and Eh's.

Posted by Steve on May 10, 2005

May 9, 2005

Eating Less

Well, I'm not making the grade today:

Making permanent, modest cuts in your calorie consumption may help prevent cancer and possibly improve your heart’s health.
But, we really should all be paying close attention to this research and acting on it.

More on calorie restriction.

Posted by Steve on May 9, 2005

What About That City?

Well, just about any piece of data you might want to know:

We've collected and analyzed data from numerous sources to create as complete and interesting profiles of all U.S. cities as we could. We have thousands of pictures, maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment...), geographical data, crime data, housing, businesses, political contributions, weather, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, user-submitted facts, similar cities list, comparisons to averages... If you ever need to research any city for any reason, from considering a move there to just checking where somebody you know is staying, this is the site for you.
Do you like Top 100 lists? They've got plenty.

Via The Presurfer.

Posted by Steve on May 9, 2005

May 8, 2005

al-qaeda # 3 Captured?

Maybe not!

For a day or so last week it nearly impossilbe to escape from the headlines in the papers, at the top of every hourly newscast, on talk radio, NPR, etc., the story that the #3 dude in al-qaeda had been captured. Great news, right?

The sad part is that equal play will is not being given to the follow up story that this guy was simply part of the flotsam and jetsam of al-qaeda. Nothing number 3 about him.

Spin, Spin, Spin!

Posted by Steve on May 8, 2005

May 7, 2005


No, ahhh....

Why would someone search for ah?

Or, why would someone analyze the occurrences of h in the iterations of ah on the net.

Maybe, just because.

Posted by Steve on May 7, 2005

May 6, 2005

Friday Ark

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

I'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals as I see them (photoshops at my discretion and humans only in supporting roles).

Leave a comment or trackback to this post or email me and I'll add yours to the list. Check back regularly for updates throughout the day on Fridays and somewhat less frequently over the weekend.

Dog folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks: remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and will be hosted this week by The Conservative Cat.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.


InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesDidn't Make It
Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on May 6, 2005 | Comments (21)

May 5, 2005

Google Web Accelerator

This is something I won't be using!

First, pages download just snappily on my broadband connection, thank you.

Second, just why would I want to give these folks even more information about my browsing habits than they already get when I use them for searches? Their privacy disclaimer is particularly disingenuous:

5. How does using Google Web Accelerator affect my privacy?

Google Web Accelerator receives much of the same kind of information you currently send to your ISP when you surf the Web:

* Google will receive your requests for unencrypted pages (those with "HTTP:", not "HTTPS:", at the beginning of the URL), along with information such as the date and time of the request, your IP address, and computer and connection information

As you all know this can be a lot of information and they conveniently do not say anything about not gathering the info in the cookie they left on your system the last time you used anything Google.

You do delete your Google cookies regularly, don't you?

Via beSpacific.

Posted by Steve on May 5, 2005 | Comments (1)

Tax Simplification

Bryan suggests:

If Congress wanted to simplify the tax code all they would have to do is eliminate all deductions other than the standard deduction and the individual deduction. The whole tax form would look like the 1040EZ. They don't want to do that because they gain power by having people pay them to include special deductions.
Or provide special subsidies, etc.

That the congress critters and their state level ilk have not done this already, as a first step, is a perfectly good reason to fire them all.

Posted by Steve on May 5, 2005 | Comments (1)

Progressive Indexing Logic

Yea, I know that those red and blue maps paint a two tone picture of a complex world, that red states have lots of blues living in them, that the demographics are infinitely more complex than two colors can represent.

However, often a simple explanation is the best one so perhaps this is what bush's partiality to progressive indexing is all about.

Posted by Steve on May 5, 2005 | Comments (1)

May 4, 2005

Thumbprint Privacy

I wonder how many customers have read the privacy policy of the tanning salons that require a thumb print before selling you a tan? Probably not many. Or perhaps folks that frequent tanning salons don't care about privacy, potential identity theft, or their thumbprint potentially ending up in a Choicepoint, hacker, or doj database.

The evidence, sadly, points to the latter: if folks cared then these businesses would either be closed or would have already revised their POS systems.

Via Politech.

Posted by Steve on May 4, 2005

May 3, 2005

state department Research Puzzle

So, why is someone at the US state department using Google to research "mark-77 napalm fallujah"?

As noted in the above post and its predeccessor and comment thread there is no corroborated proof of napalm use in Fallujah.

Just wondering...

Posted by Steve on May 3, 2005

Pharmaceutical Industry Question

Even though its growth rate has declined from the hot 18% of 2001 to 10% the pharaceutical industry still had a pretty darn good year in 2004:

in 2004 the U.S. pharmaceutical industry reached the quarter trillion dollar mark for the first time, with $251 billion in product sales
I suspect the industry would prefer the 18% growth rate but there are some pressures holding them back:
According to NDCHealth, four factors have contributed to the overall pharmaceutical market growth decline: generic erosion; safety issues and product withdrawals; increased consumer switching to over-the- counter (OTC) medications and a lack of new blockbuster drugs.
On the other hand market penetration for some drugs appears significant:
-Among all patients receiving a drug in 2004, 10% were on Pfizer's Zithromax® and 5% were on Pfizer's Lipitor®.
Here is the question: Is it in the interest of the $251 billion pharmaceutical industry to have a healthier or a sicker customer base?

Based on your answer and given this data:

Overall, drug companies spent $78.1 million on lobbying in 2001, bringing the total lobbying bill for 1997-2001 to $403,071,467. (See Table 2) The companies employed 623 different individual lobbyists in 2001 – or more than one lobbyist for every member of Congress.
what was the industry trying to accomplish and what types of programs would they support? Do you think Pfizer would rather have more or fewer people taking statins and Lipitor® in particular?

Posted by Steve on May 3, 2005 | Comments (2)

May 2, 2005

Murder in the Nest

Things are a bit cuckoo in this part of birdland:

Cuckoos live what seem to be lives full of deception and murder. As adults, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. (Why raise your own chick, when you can dupe others into doing the work for you?)

Cuckoos typically hatch only one offspring at a time. And when they do, the interlopers promptly push the other eggs out of the nest, killing the host birds' true offspring.

For the newborn cuckoo, masquerading as multiple chicks can be difficult, especially when the lone, giant nestling replaces the usual clamoring brood.

Do any human analogues to this behavior come to mind?

Posted by Steve on May 2, 2005 | Comments (1)

Wrapping Up Election 2008 Now

The other pretenders should throw in the towel!

Via Pajama Jihad.

Posted by Steve on May 2, 2005 | Comments (1)

May 1, 2005

Licorice or Liquorice?

Well, the spelling depends on whether you are British or American.

More interesting is that Denni has started the Liquorice Lovers blog (yep, she is British) and there are some good reasons to perhaps increase your consumption a bit. But be careful of overdoing it if you are hypertensive.

Via Tangled Bank.

Posted by Steve on May 1, 2005 | Comments (1)