Saturday, June 12, 2010

Against the-President-as-First-Responder-in-Chief

Paul Mirengoff lays out what is pretty close to my opinion on the matter of the oil spill and the President's proper role in the response.

Don't rescue somebody when there's an emergency. Let the professionals handle it later, if the victim's still alive then.

This kind of thing just makes my blood boil! Terrific job by Snodgrass (the rafting guide & rescuer), and thank goodness for Bradford (the outfitter) having a backbone and standing up for his man!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Israel: the North Korea of the Middle East?

Daniel Drezner makes the analogy. Like Glenn Reynolds, I don't buy it.

Ahh, those peaceful peace activists organizing a peaceful blockade run: They're financed by a terrorist-linked group. Their supporters are just as peace-loving as they are. And of course, there's only one side worthy of reporting. No need to read Israel's side in this.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Intelligence Games and Computer Worms

Fascinating and eerie description of the evolution of a sophisticated computer worm, and the hunt for its mysterious controller. Whoever this is has got millions of computers under his control...whenever he decides to activate the worm.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Use a nuke to stop the oil spill!

Well, it worked for the Russkies, at least with gas well fires. The nuclear bomb: the Swiss Army knife of mineral exploration!

Did Nixon prevent a Soviet nuclear strike on China?

Well, according to Liu Chenshan, a Chinese historian writing in an officially-sanctioned Chinese publication. According to his claim, during a 1969 border war, the Soviets told the United States that they wanted to stop the Chinese threat with a nuclear strike, and they wanted the US to remain neutral.

The US responded that we'd launch a nuclear strike of our own against the USSR if they did so, and this threat worked, sending the Soviets to the negotiating table.

Interesting. Probably a controversial claim, or at least an aspect of history we haven't heard before. I'm curious to see how this holds up.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Quantum entanglement might help bird navigation

From Popular Science. That seemed a bit too far out for me at first, but...

It's been thought for a while that birds navigate using the Earth's magnetic fields. One molecule that's a candidate for their magnetic sense is called "cryptochrome." Here's my reading of their idea how this all might work: When exposed to certain colors of light, cryptochrome can become "activated," producing a pair of entangled electrons, a system in which each electron senses the other's spin direction. A magnetic field affects how long the cryptochrome stays activated. In turn, activated cryptochrome might affect how the retina sees light. This would mean the bird could see magnetic fields with its eyes.

Below is Wikipedia's entry:

According to one model, cryptochrome when exposed to blue light forms a pair of two radicals (molecules with a single unpaired electron) where the spins of the two unpaired electrons are correlated. The occurrence of such light-generated radical pairs and the correlation of the radical pair state have been confirmed recently in a cryptochrome of Xenopus laevis. The surrounding magnetic field affects the kind of this correlation (parallel or anti-parallel), and this in turn affects the length of time cryptochrome stays in its activated state. Activation of cryptochrome may affect the light-sensitivity of retinal neurons, with the overall result that the animal can "see" the magnetic field.

Friday, April 09, 2010

How the Left views the South

Or at least the part of the Left M.J. Rosenberg represents. He's a “Senior Foreign Policy Fellow” at Media Matters. When speaking at a New America Foundation panel recently, he had this to say about Southern support for Israel:

The whole south shifts to the Republican Party over one issue, they don’t like black people…so you have the racism thing, the fact that we’ve eradicated the separation of church and state essentially, which started I have to say when Jimmy Carter was first elected. As a Jew I noticed it — first president who talked about Jesus Christ, and that was sort of like, “whoa, presidents don’t talk about Christ!”…and now you have the modern Republican Party that has to cater to these racists and that gets me to my fundamental point, it is not that they are pro-Israel. They are anti-Muslim. They do not like Muslims. They are on the side of Israel because Israel is — they don’t like Jews that much to start out with, either — but compared to Muslims, they like Jews fine.

They’re infatuated with the Israeli army. Why? Because the Israeli army kills Muslims. I mean, this is what it’s all about….When you hear them talk to the, I don’t want to say the average American, but certainly the average American south of the Mason-Dixon line, “these Muslims” — well, someone said to me the other day, “how’s Keith Ellison doing?” Because he’s a Muslim member of congress, with all these crazy wackos wandering around, I said “how’s Keith Ellison doing?” and he said, “oh, they don’t bother with Keith Ellison, he’s just Al-Qaeda.” …

Huh. That'll be news to my friends in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, especially with our camp's monthly newsletter that usually had an article on Jewish Confederate history. (And I'm pretty sure it was Christians writing those articles, too.) In fact, I'd grown up in the rural mountain South hearing praise for Jews and how it made no sense for anybody to discriminate against them. Israel was simply the place where Jews got to run their own country, and was our democratic ally.

(Via Commentary

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hyacinth Girl on Obamacare

"Looking Down":

Ultimately, it is not the “healthcare for all” proposal I am against, it is the importation of the European idea of prolonged adolescence to America. It is the legitimization of the idea that the government should take care of me, that it is my “right” to be provided with a safety net from cradle to grave. The idea of the nanny state is very seductive–I can feel the siren call tugging at my soul this very instant–but it costs us much more than large percentages of our income. One of the most terrifying (and exciting) things about becoming an adult is the realization that you have no safety net. You are on your own, walking that tightrope across the Grand Canyon. You are able to make your own decisions, but you also have to suffer the consequences of said decisions. At 23, when I convinced myself that I needed to spend my utility money on those perfect red shoes, I did indeed get those red shoes. My power also got disconnected for a bit and I ended up paying more to get it reconnected than I would have if I had just delayed my gratification until the shoes had gone on sale. It would have been nice to have universal electric service, but I’d never have learned to forego my own pleasure to fulfill my responsibilities.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New human species discovered by paleontologists

This brings the count to four! Us, Neanderthals, the "Hobbits" of Flores, and now this new species from Siberia. The ones on Flores were alive as recently as 14,000 years ago. This new species is known from a sample 40,000 years old, but the surprising thing is that it's not from an isolated place like that island is. They would have had more interaction with our ancestors. Interesting!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Was Stupak playing us?

Via NRO: Stupak video from 2009


Well, away we go... Last one out of the free world, turn out the lights.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Car Lust: The best streetcar ever

It's a little out of my area, but I'm posting this because (1) I like trains, or anything on rails, and (2) I went to grad school in Pittsburgh, where these ran until 1999. (The Car Lust blogger is from Pgh. himself, and he has a whole history of the city's streetcars.)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Quodlibeta--whatever you like

Figulus recommends this blog: Quodlibeta. Excellent mediaeval/classical studies by knowledgeable guys. Nice emphasis on the intersection and compatibility between science and religion.

I'm going to add it to our Blog Roll when I have some time. Until then, enjoy it from this link.

P.S: check out their post on Oresme and the moving earth!

Launching NASA on a Path to Nowhere: Analysis

Launching NASA on a Path to Nowhere: Analysis

Former astronaut Tom Jones (whom I've had the pleasure to meet) also wants us to break out of Low Earth Orbit. This is a knowledgeable article by a NASA insider.

Giving up on the Moon?

Giving up on the Moon?

I've disagreed with Rand Simberg on space policy for a while. After some time I finally realized that he wasn't anti-manned space travel, but rather anti-NASA. He wants a strong private space industry, as do I.

But in the near future, the big manned space projects are simply going to be NASA projects. And so Obama's cutting the Constellation project and the Aries rocket out of NASA aren't going to mean that private companies do it instead. Rather, it means we won't do it at all. We've lost the Moon. For the better part of a decade, NASA has been reorganized around going to the Moon and Mars. Manned missions, at long last! Billions(?) spent on developing the hardware, lots of time in institutional reorganization (which everybody just loooves). All of that...apparently poured down the drain, thanks to Obama's budget.

Projects like this can't be done on the spur of the moment. They require years'-long commitments and some level of consistency out of the Federal government, which is tough to get. When we went to the Moon under Apollo, we were lucky to have enough consistency to carry it through three separate administrations: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. This time around, it was started in Bush's first term, carried through his second, and is on track to be killed in the second year of Obama's.

If this is lost now, what have we gotten for our money? And how many more decades will we be stuck in *%*&! Low Earth Orbit??!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union

My Administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate.

Once again, a dirty slam at Bush. I'd like to ask him how his administration's dropping the case against the Black Panthers squares with this.

He's really classless.

State of the Union

9:53 PM: Takes bold stand on freezing the Federal budget. [Yay! Reign in spending! ...after printing money for the last year...]

9:55 PM: This freeze will take place next year...after our economy is stronger. [....awkward pause...giggling by Republican side...] [Oh, like, "I'll start that diet next month...after Thanksgiving...]

State of the Union

9:49 PM: Blaming Bush for the deficit. Classy.

And the snide, defiant attitude you get out of a 13-year-old girl while doing it.