July 31, 2005

In Memoriam

Zombyboy has written a moving memorial post for his Grandfather, Paul Jones, who passed away this weekend.

May he rest in peace and condolences to the family and friends.

Posted by Steve on July 31, 2005 | Comments (1)

July 30, 2005

Blogrolling Down?

GMT 6:17 7/31: Blogrolling seems to be down. Has anyone else noticed this?

And, uhhh..., did anyone get notified regarding planned maintenance?

I am curious how James Joyner kept his working.

Posted by Steve on July 30, 2005 | Comments (3)

Cats on the Web

Both Laurence Simon and John Cole were kind enough to think of the Friday Ark when they saw this NYT article (R).

Laurence, as its founder, might well have noted, as should have the NYT, the Carnival of the Cats which happens every Sunday. The 71st edition will be hosted this week by Your Moosey Fate.

Get your entries in!

Posted by Steve on July 30, 2005

Syndication Tweaked

It will be important, I'm sure, to our millions of readers to know I fixed the long broken RSS 2.0 and Atom news feeds. See the upper left sidebar.

Let me know if you have any problems...

Posted by Steve on July 30, 2005 | Comments (1)

July 29, 2005

Need A Urinal?

Check'm out before you go. Google continues to raise the bar with the Google Maps Directory.

Its too bad these folks retain so much information about what you are doing when you use the tools. While it is fair for them to exact a price for all these nifty freebies the wise searcher will alternate searches among many of the search engines, regularly delete the related cookies and, yes, search anonymously when possible.

Via Broadsheet.

Posted by Steve on July 29, 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 (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Check back regularly for updates throughout the day on Fridays and somewhat less frequently over the weekend. We seldom add links after Sunday's Carnival of the Cats goes up.

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 the 71st edition will be hosted this week by Your Moosey Fate.

Bird folks: Remember to submit your links to I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers which will be hosted August 4 by B and B.

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

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Note: Haloscan is bouncing a lot of trackbacks today.

Note 2: Regarding next weeks Ark (8/5): Our staff will be with poor or no access from about mid day through the weekend. Comments, trackbacks and emails received by late morning will get on the main passenger list Friday. Late arrivals may not get boarded until Sunday night or Monday. It is doubtful that we will have any time to board folks to do not tell us they are ready.

Cats

InvertebratesDogs
  • enrevanche: Chow Bella Thinks It's the Greatest
  • A Stitch In Haste: Diamond: Joys and Their Toys - Rubber
  • Cybervassals: Jupiter: Fashion Diva
  • Smijer: Outdoor Doggy
  • The Alternate Brain: Shayna In Her Kennel
  • Echidne Of The Snakes: Saturday Dog Blogging: Kelly added 7/30
  • Duck Pond: Taffy and Sasha added 7/30
  • Doug Petch.Com: On The Road With Keen added 7/30
  • PoliBlog: Saturday Night Dogblogging: Grace added 7/30
BirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)
  • Sisu: At least we've got our Friday Ark Marbleslined up. Added 7/30

Posted by Steve on July 29, 2005 | Comments (14)

July 28, 2005

Free Love or Free Sex?

So what was with the sixties? Alina reviews David Allyn's new book Make Love, Not War and calls it a

must-browse for anyone interested in the social and cultural history of American political movements.
And concludes:
Allyn's most valuable insight is his strong distinction between free love and free sex. Contemporary culture a la Maxim tends to conflate the two. Liberation from sexual repression is a far cry from a compulsion to "muck around" (to borrow the Aussie term) with the bar-hopefuls.
Read the rest of her review and,yes, I think I'll at least browse the book.

Posted by Steve on July 28, 2005 | Comments (1)

July 27, 2005

Grand Banks and Tangled Rounds

For your edification the latest editions of Tangled Bank and Grand Rounds are up.

Oh, if you need some help understanding the material go get a little education.

Posted by Steve on July 27, 2005

Midnight Ribbits

Thanks to Gerard for pointing out the 30 second Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Posted by Steve on July 27, 2005

July 26, 2005

Le Tour De Potter II

I still have a few hours of the last stage of the Tour de France to watch but did, last night, finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Wow!

For those of you who have not yet finished the Half-Blood Prince I have a suggestion: read from the beginning of chapter 25 through to the end in one sitting. Turn off your phone, stock your favorite reading location with an adequate amount of your preferred reading beverage and plenty of tissues, put up a do not disturb sign and read straight through.

Jaquandor should have plenty of time to re-read the series before volume 7 as it looks like it will be sometime in 2007 before we see it:

MA: Have you started?

JKR: Yeah. Realistically, I don't think I'm going to be able to do real work on it until next year. I see next year as the time that I�m really going to write seven. But I've started and I am doing little bits and pieces here and there when I can. But you�ve seen how young Mackenzie still is, and you can bear actual witness to the fact that I do have a very small, real baby, so I'm going to try and give Mackenzie what I gave David, which is pretty much a year of uninterrupted �me time,� and then I'll start writing seriously again.

I'll be joining Jaquandor re-reading the series and will likely start in 3-4 months and read in a more studious manner than my recent 4-5 week binge as I know I missed a lot. In fact, I think I'll re-read V6 again before restarting the series.

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

Bow Down to Leo?

Feddie at Southern Appeal argues that this endorsement by Leonard Leo should resolve the issue:

Dear Ann Coulter and all other Roberts doubters: If the following statements by Leonard Leo don't make you feel extremely secure with President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the SCOTUS, then nothing will:
Well, I'm a cipher roberts doubter and this surely doesn't make me reconsider. Amongst other things Leo argues that:
Even though Roberts has never ruled on an abortion issue, Leo says Roberts opinions on other hot political topics show "a respect for the text and original meaning and a presumption of deference to the political branches of government."
Seems a bit oxymoronic and certainly the last thing I want to see from the court is a presumption of deference to the political branches of government. An independent judiciary that properly recognizes the restrictions that must be put on government action if life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and, yes, our economic well being are to survive is just fine, thank you!

Posted by Steve on July 26, 2005

July 25, 2005

A Large Reading Project

A UC Bereley student is reading and blogging the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Find out why here and read a few more posts. I plan to check back regularly to see how he is doing.

Via Joho the Blog.

Posted by Steve on July 25, 2005

Setting Off the Scanners

The radioactive element used in some medical imaging may stop you from flying:

Certain medical scans can render people radioactive enough to trigger false security alarms at airports for up to a month, a Lancet article warns...
Thallium is apparently one of the worst culprits.

The article suggests that you get an information card from your physician if you are planning to travel subsquent to having one of these tests.

Of course, having one of these medical information cards in hand would give your average terrorist another tool to help avoid detection. So I expect the TSA and analogous agencies will be recommending, if not insisting, that if you are planning to that you do not undergo radioactive imaging x days before the flight (x being the number of days the element used in your test will cause security alarms).

Via MedGaget.

Posted by Steve on July 25, 2005 | Comments (1)

July 23, 2005

Do You Want Something?

Shrinkette reminds us that as long as it is good you can get it.

Posted by Steve on July 23, 2005

Sprucing Up to Talk Out

Lauren built a new template for Bitch, PH. D. Check it out.

There's plenty to read at both places!

Posted by Steve on July 23, 2005

July 22, 2005

Excuse Me, But WTF?

This surely must be made up:

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.
Hopefully The American Conservative made this up just to sell subscriptions (and Yglesias now wants a comp sub).

If this is true it damned well better be about the 10 millionth option. But, the bushies know that their credibility is pretty well shot so if they are going to take out Iran they need something big on which to base their action, something that they can pretend requires a quick response not the long brainwashing that occurred prior to the invasion of Iraq.

But, WTF, We've got both the chinese government and possibly now the us government talking about using nukes??? And some of you think these governments as currently constituted are good things???

Via The Alternate Brain.

Posted by Steve on July 22, 2005 | Comments (6)

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 (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

ALERT 18:40 GMT: We are having intermittent problems with trackbacks today. Please double check to make sure yours has worked and leave a comment/send email if in doubt.

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Check back regularly for updates throughout the day on Fridays and somewhat less frequently over the weekend. We seldom add links after Sunday's Carnival of the Cats goes up.

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 Oubliette.

Bird folks: Remember to submit your links to I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers which will be hosted August 4 by B and B.

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

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make It
Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on July 22, 2005 | Comments (16)

July 20, 2005

Scotty: Beamed Up For the Last Time

Rest in Peace:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the apocryphal command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85.

Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) at his Redmond, Washington, home with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, he said.

I did not know James Doohan but I knew Scotty! There was never an insurmountable challenge for him. A model we'd all do well to follow.

Posted by Steve on July 20, 2005

Don't Say These Words...

If you haven't checked out the video blog Rocketboom yet here is a good introduction. Several stories in, about midway through the broadcast, Amanda demonstrates an undocumented shortcut on the TI-99 which produces the 7 words you can't say in kindergarten.

Not work friendly!! Ok, if you are wearing headphones. Oh, and ignore if you are easiy offended by language.

But pretty funny.

Posted by Steve on July 20, 2005

July 19, 2005

Model Call

Laurence is looking for a new hot cat(s) for the margin of the Carnival of the Cats.

Posted by Steve on July 19, 2005

Shouldn't We Quit Interfering in Religion?

Yep, we should!

It is time to take religious institutions off the public dole and remove all their tax exemptions. You should not need any more justification than this but in addition there is no good reason why your and my taxes should be higher just so these folks don't have to pay their fair share.

And if this means removing tax exemptions from non-profits so be it.

Via Pandagon and Norbizness.

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

July 18, 2005

Privacy, Why Worry?

James Joyner finds this NYT article "interesting if somewhat chilling" and then goes on to say that he's pretty much bought into the idea of feeding the maw of the information brokers:

I make all manner of similar choices. For example, I use credit cards rather than cash virtually everywhere that doing so is an option. Theoretically, this creates the ability for Big Brother to track my spending habits and movements. I take comfort in the ubiquity of such information and the belief that it's incredibly unlikely that government resources will be allocated to track the purchase habits of 290-odd million citizens.
Well, James, its not for lack of desire. The Total Information Awareness project in its 1st bush term incarnation was squashed but there is no reason to believe that this work is not ongoing and that federal and state folks are not eager for more similar tools to accomplish their ends, for example, a database of all 16-18 year olds for military recruiting purposes.

You should take discomfort in the ubiquity of such information.

Use cash as often as you can. It is often but not always quicker and leaves no electronic tracks...though you are probably on the security cam anyway. Disrupt the flow of information about you whenever possible.

Posted by Steve on July 18, 2005

July 17, 2005

Le Tour De Potter

After 4 volumes and 15 stages the outcome is still uncertain. Will I be able to complete this reading of the Harry Potter series by the end of Le Tour?

Today I completed The Goblet of Fire and picked up a copy of The Half-Blood Prince at Costco ($16) and watched 4 1/2 hours of Tour de France with Hincapie's deserved win and Armstong's solidification of his position in yellow. There are only a few with any chance left to challenge Armstrong and I believe they must do it on Tuesday, Stage 16, and do it significantly given Armstrong's time trial strength.

Tomorrow, a rest day for the cyclists, I'll get a good start on the Order of the Phoenix and should be on to the The Half-Blood Prince by Friday.

Hey, with six books to read, 2-5 hours of cycing to watch 6 days a week, work, family and chores around the house where is the time for blogging? Well, it turns out there is little...

In closing:

It is my belief, however, that the truth is generally preferable to lies,...

Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, 722

Posted by Steve on July 17, 2005 | Comments (3)

July 15, 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 (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Check back regularly for updates throughout the day on Fridays and somewhat less frequently over the weekend. We seldom add links after Sunday's Carnival of the Cats goes up.

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 Boxing Alcibiades.

Bird folks: Check out the inaugral edition of I and the Bird hosted by 10,000 Birds.

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

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on July 15, 2005 | Comments (17)

July 14, 2005

Religious Inflation

Tyler Cowen notes this Denver Post article which states that:

In 2004, ... Translated into consumer spending, readers spent $3.7 billion on religious books, a category that includes Christian books. That is an increase of nearly 285 percent from 1983.
This is impressive but perhaps not quite as impressive as it looks.

There is no indication in the article that the author made any adjustment for inflation so let's do it for her. First, by her numbers sales of religious books in 1983 would be $1.29 billion ($3.7 B/2.85). The CPI inflation index for the period 1983 to 2004 is 1.897, i.e., 1 1983 dollar equals 1.897 2004 dollars. Therefore 1983 sales of religious books in terms of 2004 dollars would be $2.447 billion and the increase in sales from 1983 to 2004 is about 51% not the 285% stated in the article.

Impressive? Yes! But not near as impressive as the article would have us believe.

Posted by Steve on July 14, 2005 | Comments (3)

July 13, 2005

What Not To Buy At Wal-Mart

Willie Nelson's new album:



Assuming you buy anything at all there.... Wal-Mart apparently doesn't like the cover.

A second thought: Yes, the cover image links to Modulator's Amazon account but perhaps we shouldn't buy it all or anything else put out by Universal Music Group until they stop licking the boots of the censors at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart certainly has every right to stock their shelves with items of their choosing but we do not have to support them or those who support the policy.

Via skippy's place which you should hit many times today. Happy Birthday and many millions of hits to you!

Posted by Steve on July 13, 2005

July 12, 2005

A Bit of Magic A Dose of Morality

Apparently the naysayers are starting to gather and spread their gloom. Alex Knapp properly nails Joel Stein the author of the above linked drivel:

All of this, of course, just goes to show that Joel Stein doesnt know what the hell hes talking about. The Harry Potter books are, in the guise of childrens literature, serious examinations of character, morality, politics, and culture.
.....
This, of course, highlights the genius of J.K. Rowling. In the guise of a fairy tale, she is telling wise, complex stories about human morality. And she manages to do so in a storytelling style that is clear, entertaining, and accessible. Lets seea clearly written, intelligent story about morality. Well, there are lots of books that fit in that moldbut Mr. Stein, Ulysses aint one of em.
Now, I am a fan of Ulysses but I am not reading it for the 3rd-4th time at the moment. I am thoroughly enjoying reading through the first 5 volumes (one for the 5th time) in preparation for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (no, I won't be quite ready to read it this weekend).

Here are some earlier posts on the themes of Harry Potter. The first one emphasized the libertarian themes.

Oh, I am a little disappointed that Volume 6 will be the first volume that is shorter than the previous one. I had been looking forward to 900-1000 pages and was already excited about a 1200 page Volume 7.

Drat!

Posted by Steve on July 12, 2005 | Comments (4)

An Administrative Supoena For You

Congress critters continue to work on spiffing up the patriot act. They have new stuff they'd like to add:

The Patriot Act already gives government too much power to spy on ordinary Americans, but things could get far worse. Congress is considering adding a broad new investigative power, known as the administrative subpoena, that would allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gain access to anyone's financial, medical, employment and even library records without approval from a judge and even without the target knowing about it. Members of Congress should block this disturbing provision from becoming law.

The Senate is at work on a bill to reauthorize parts of the Patriot Act that are scheduled to expire later this year. In addition to extending those provisions, the Senate Intelligence Committee is proposing to add an array of new "investigative tools." The administrative subpoena is not the only one of the new provisions of the current bill that would endanger civil liberties, but it is the worst.

When the F.B.I. wants access to private records about an individual, it ordinarily needs to get the approval of a judge or a grand jury. The proposed new administrative subpoena power would allow the F.B.I. to call people in and force them to produce records on its own authority, without approval from the judicial branch. This kind of secret, compelled evidence not tied to any court is incompatible with basic American principles of justice.

Hell, it is incompatible with any meaningful concept of justice and it is difficult to understand how the writer can turn around shortly after writing the above words and say:
The bill's defenders note that administrative subpoenas are already allowed in other kinds of investigations. But these are generally in highly regulated areas, like Medicaid billing.
Sorry, just because an area is highly regulated does not remove the concern or make administrative supoenas any less incompatible with basic principles of justice. Administrative supoenas need to be removed from the legal process.

And the patriot act itself? Eliminate the controversy and toss the the whole thing out. Then draft up a nice short piece of legislation that reauthorizes the information sharing issues that the administration is so excited about.

Via beSpacific.

Posted by Steve on July 12, 2005

July 11, 2005

Econ Blogs

Just in case your reading is low on economic content Max has some liberal and some conservative economists for you to read.

You can find even more of these folks here.

Posted by Steve on July 11, 2005

New Favorite Blog Title and Pithing on rove

Don't ask me what my old favorite was.

The new favorite is pith in the wind. Today they bring this fine bit of pithing in the wind to our attention:

Q: Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked relating to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Q: Excuse me, but I wasn't actually talking about any investigation. But in June of 2004, the President said that he would fire anybody who was involved in this leak, to press of information. And I just want to know, is that still his position?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but this question is coming up in the context of this ongoing investigation, and that's why I said that our policy continues to be that we're not going to get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation from this podium. The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium. And so that's why we are not going to get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation, or questions related to it.

This goes on and on. Be sure to bring a towel before reading the rest. It is hard to imagine how much mcclellan had to have imbibed to be able to leave it hanging out for so long and this is only a part of today's press conference.

Josh Marshall and Arthur Silber were also thrilled by this display. And via Atrios here are some of mccellan's past statements on the subject.

Posted by Steve on July 11, 2005 | Comments (1)

Justices and Litmus

bush will not appoint someone who will vote to overturn Roe V Wade.

"Why not?" you ask. Jack Balkin has this answer:

Bush must decide if he wants to overturn Roe or preserve the Republicans as the majority party. With Roe gone, the pro-choice movement will be energized and Republican politicians will have to state on the record whether they want to criminalize abortion. Women, libertarians, and moderates may bolt the party, destroying Bush's winning coalition. Republicans may dislike Roe, but they may dislike losing elections even more.
On the other hand Balkin argues that the real plan is likely much more damaging to Roe supporters.

Posted by Steve on July 11, 2005

July 10, 2005

Bit of Wierdness

I'm in the email's 98% category with Radley.

How about you?

Posted by Steve on July 10, 2005

July 8, 2005

Technorati Falling

I like Techorati and I suppose that someday it might be useful again. Perhaps after everyone else stops using it because of persistently receiving error messages like:

ERROR
The requested URL could not be retrieved

While trying to retrieve the URL: http://www.technorati.com/search/real url removed/

The following error was encountered:

* Zero Sized Reply

Squid did not receive any data for this request.

Your cache administrator is noc@technorati.com.
Generated Fri, 08 Jul 2005 21:10:30 GMT by www.technorati.com (squid/2.5.STABLE7)

Or the frequent "We are experiencing a heavy load please try again later" messages, the reported links randomly changing from query to query, or it not showing all of your recent links, taking forever to get to the 2nd page of links and ....

I really do like Technorati...

Posted by Steve on July 8, 2005 | Comments (9)

Supreme Court Recommendation

Professor Bainbridge makes a strong case for Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit:

As for Kozinski, I've met him and like him very much, I admire his brilliance, but worry that his libertarian leanings would incline him to vote with the liberal bloc on social and cultural issues.
Some others like Kozinski even more.

Posted by Steve on July 8, 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 Another Fine Mess.

Bird folks: Check out the inaugral edition of I and the Bird hosted by 10,000 Birds.

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

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make It
Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on July 8, 2005 | Comments (13)

July 7, 2005

London

Condolences to the families and friends of the London victems.

Oh, if any of the perpetrators are captured alive I can not think of a good reason why they should not be treated to the death penalty... unless their life incarceration is in a 6 foot by 6 foot windowless cell containing toilet, shower, a single always on 60 watt bulb, an unlimited supply of water and gruel and nothing else.

Posted by Steve on July 7, 2005 | Comments (2)

July 6, 2005

Download Movies

This may or may not turn into a good thing (R):

Actor Morgan Freeman and chipmaking giant Intel Corp. are teaming up on a new venture to distribute premium movies to consumers over the Internet before the films become available on DVD.

Freeman and Intel executives announced the new digital entertainment company Wednesday at an annual retreat for chief executives of top media companies in this mountain resort.
....
Hollywood has been reluctant to offer digitized movies directly to consumers over the Internet, fearful of suffering a similar fate as the music industry, which has been hit hard hit by piracy enabled by file-swapping services.

Freeman said his deal with Intel should avoid those pitfalls by giving customers a ``simple, easy and attractive'' alternative to piracy.

``We're going to bypass what the music industry had to come up with, and that's to get ahead of the whole piracy thing,'' Freeman told reporters at Sun Valley after making his presentation, which was closed to the press.

Few other concrete details were provided by Freeman and Intel officials about the company. However, they did say that ClickStar will be led by former Sony Pictures executive Nizar Allibhoy.

The devil will be in those missing concrete details.

They do have an opportunity to get it right and I, for one, look ahead to the day when it will be easy (read: I don't have to drive to the rental store or wait for the Netflix envelope to arrive) to see a movie when I want. The price will need to be somewhere close to and ultimately less than the rental price and should allow 2-3 viewings. As I will want excellent quality I'll also want my ISP connection enhanced...my current Comcast connection will not cut it and will need a simple way to deliver it from my hard drive to my future huge wall mounted plasma screen.

Posted by Steve on July 6, 2005 | Comments (2)

Well, It Is July 6th!

And this post from last year is getting a lot of search engine play!

Happy International Kissing Day!

Amber has the details.

Posted by Steve on July 6, 2005

July 4, 2005

Happy Fourth of July!


IMG_36792.jpg

Posted by Steve on July 4, 2005 | Comments (1)

How Stupid Are the Aliens?

Natasha suggests that the alien invaders in War of the Worlds are pretty stupid:

You've had a million years (or even tens of thousands) to plan the invasion of a planet, and not only do you wait as an established civilization grows up, but you neglect to do even minimal epidemiological surveys? In all that time, you don't send one bloody probe to take air and soil samples, culture the results and maybe experiment with some of the lifeforms on your planet to see if there's anything to be worried about?

It's almost as blitheringly stupid as planning to re-invade a middle eastern country for over a decade, ignoring every well-founded opinion on how things will probably go once you get the opportunity, and creating conditions that ensure you can't call for backup if the things people said would go wrong, go wrong. But not quite. There's a lot of recent and well-documented history describing the outcome of land wars in Asia, whereas the movie aliens were clearly invading an inhabited planet for the very first time, so there's an excusable learning curve to go through.

This might be stronger than some of the other 9/11 comparisons I've seen over the past week.

Well, the Modulators are on there way to turn off their brains, enjoy the movie and then turn their brains back on to watch some fireworks.

Happy 4th!

Update: Movie Review courtesy of Mrs Modulator: "That Sucked!" I'm not about to argue with her. If you are human you can not turn off enough brain cells or suspend enough disbelief to make War of the Worlds a good movie.

As to the current event analogies: Spielberg stuck some hooks in the movie to try snag folks but it was too obvious to be meaningful.

How about this for another variant, one for the 4th of July: If you infect it with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness the slimy red tendrils of government will wither and die.

Posted by Steve on July 4, 2005 | Comments (1)

On the 4th

On a day that Americans celebrate Independence Lynn Kiesling reminds us that it is important to know our rights and that:

Governments are institutions that are human artifices that justly exist to protect these natural rights, and when governments fail to protect those natural rights, then citizens have a right to rebel against that government.
Are you ready to go to Arnold, Missouri or stand on Angel Raich's doorstep to turn back the the minions of an illegitimate government?

If not in Missouri or California then in your own community. There are plenty of places to take a stand and turn back the tide.

Posted by Steve on July 4, 2005

July 3, 2005

Mma Ramotswe on Government

"If the opposition would only stop arguing amongst themselves," the cousin went on, "they would win the election and get rid of the government. That would be a good thing, do you not think?"

"No," said Mma Ramotswe.

The cousin stared at her. "But it would be very different if we had a new government, "she said.

"Would it?" asked Mma Ramotswe. She was not a cynical woman, but she wondered whether one set of people who looked remarkably like another set of people would run things any differently.

Alexander McCall Smith, The Full Cupboard of Life, 2003, Page 29.

Seems a pretty good reason to eliminate 95% of what we call government.

Posted by Steve on July 3, 2005

July 1, 2005

O'connor Retires

This is bit of a surprise:

Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court and a swing vote on abortion as well as other contentious issues, announced her retirement Friday. A bruising Senate confirmation struggle loomed as President Bush pledged to name a successor quickly.
Plenty of links and analysis at the SCOTUS Blog: start here.

Posted by Steve on July 1, 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 Watermark.

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

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

New this boarding is the In Memoriam section. This week it is dedicated to Edloe. Please let me know if you have or know a post that should be included.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn Memoriam: EdloeDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)

Posted by Steve on July 1, 2005 | Comments (17)