Friday, January 30, 2009


From reader Simi L.:
We Want a Divorce

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists, Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950s, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile, chalk it up to irreconcilable differences, and go our own ways.

Here is a model dissolution agreement. Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by land mass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

We don't like re-distributive taxes so you can keep them. You are also welcome to keep the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA, and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore, and Rosie O'Donnell (you are however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move them).

We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart, and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies, and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan Hockey Moms, greedy CEOs, and Rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood .

You can make nice with Iran , Palestine , and France , and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or way of life are under assault, we'll protect them militarily.

We'll keep our Judeo-Christian Values. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, and Shirley McClain. You can have the U.N. but we will no longer be paying the bill. We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks, and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volvo, Subaru and Yugo you can find. You can give everyone healthcare, that is if you can find any practicing doctors (that is “practicing”, Howard Dean) who will follow to your turf. We'll continue to believe health care is a luxury and not a right.

We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and The National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing, Kum Ba Ya, or We Are the World.

We'll practice trickle down economics, and you can give trickle up poverty its best shot. Since it often so offends you. we'll also keep our History, our Name, and our Flag.

Would you agree to this? In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR on who will need whose help in 15 years.
I want to laugh, but I can't...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Orlosky's Retrial Commences...

Via 10News:
Joseph Robert "Bob" Orlosky, 57, is charged with voluntary manslaughter, two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter and shooting into an occupied vehicle in connection with the Dec. 1, 2006, shooting that took the life of Charles "Chuck" Crowe.
If any of my readers are attending the trial, and would like to publish updates, I'd be happy to provide the service...

Many earlier posts on this subject are here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Bagpiper at a Funeral...

From my cousin Mike D.:
As a young piper, I was asked by a funeral director to play at a grave-side service for a homeless man, with no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost; and being a typical man did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew, who were eating lunch, but the hearse was nowhere in sight.

I apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and stepped to the side of the open grave, where I saw the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long, but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I played out my heart and soul.

As I played the workers began to weep. I played, and I played, like I'd never played before: from My Home and The Lord is my Shepherd to Flowers of the Forest.

I closed the lengthy session with Amazing Grace and walked to my car.

As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, “Jeezuz, Mary'n Joseph ... I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for over twenty years.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ah, Those Irish Catholics...

Via reader Simi L.:
Mrs. McGervey was walking down O'Connell Street in Dublin when she met up with Father Flaherty.

The Father said, 'Top o' the mornin' to ye! Aren't ye Mrs. McGervey and didn't I marry ye and yer hoosband 2 years ago?'

She replied, 'Aye, that ye did, Father.'

The Father asked, 'And be there any wee little ones yet?'

She replied, 'No, not yet, Father.'

The Father said, 'Well now, I'm going to Rome next week and I'll light a candle for ye and yer hoosband.'

She replied, 'Oh, thank ye, Father.' They then parted ways.

Some years later they met again. The Father asked, 'Well now, Mrs. McGervey, how are ye these days?'

She replied, 'Oh, very well, Father!' The Father asked, 'And tell me, have ye any wee ones yet?'

She replied, 'Oh yes, Father! Three sets of twins and 4 singles, 10 in all!'

The Father said, 'That's wonderful! And where might be yer lovin' hoosband?'

She replied, 'E's gone to Rome to blow out yer fookin' candle!!!

Poster of the Day...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

That Didn't Take Long!

Go here.

Lamestream Media, Being, Well, Lame...

Here is the complete text of a very short story posted by one Ben Knight, of the AP:

The political leader of Hamas has declared that his organisation won the recent war in the Gaza Strip.

Khaled Meshaal who is exiled in Syria, says Hamas stopped Israel achieving its aims.

On Wednesday, Israel's army said it had completely withdrawn from the strip, although troops will remain near the border and its spy-planes continue to fly over the territory.

News of the withdrawal sent people back onto the streets for the first time in weeks, as shops opened and people began restocking, after three weeks when many had barely left their houses.

While the fighting has ended in Gaza, the battle to rebuild the territory is just beginning and the destruction is immense.

Whole neighbourhoods have been literally flattened. People are sleeping out under carpets strung across the branches of trees.

The Hamas leadership is still in hiding.

I did a double-take when I read this. If you didn't, just read the first line and the last line, and skip the rest.

What is wrong with these reporters, filing credulous stories on such obvious BS? Are they paid to produce such propaganda? I'm truly beginning to wonder...

Quote of the Day...

From Andrew, posting at the Protein Wisdom Pub:
You just had to, didn’t you? You couldn’t just enjoy your victory, couldn’t just let the man slip away beneath the radar of your Profound and Righteous Contempt. You had to channel your inner adolescent and flip him one last bird, just in case we haven’t been privy, with diamond clarity, to your exact opinions on the matter. You just had to get in that final kick.
That pretty much sums up my feelings about the grace and maturity of what appears to be the majority of left-leaning folks as Obama takes over from Bush.

Some of you wrote to ask how I was feeling about Obama's inauguration, wondering about my silence. Well, the silence was mostly about being busy. But also partly because I don't have a lot to say. I wish Obama well, and I truly hope he will prove to be an effective President. Most of all I hope he keeps us safe.

But I'm not filled with the hopeyness and changitude that the left seems to be a bit...delerious...with. The main hopes I have are these: (1) that Obama's actual approach to this country's defense doesn't resemble his campaign rhetoric, and (2) that Obama's actual approach to this country's economic woes doesn't resemble his campaign rhetoric.

So far, I think I'm happier than most liberals are on those two counts.

The rest of what he does is about 5 levels down on my priority scale...

Mexico: Obama's Iraq?

From yesterday's edition of El Economista (a Mexican newspaper), which included the photo at right of a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tijuana:
Indiscriminate kidnappings, almost daily beheadings, and gangs that scoff at government agents and kill them. No, it’s not Iraq nor Pakistan, its Mexico, which according to the American government and a growing number of experts is becoming one of the major world security risks.

The possibility that the neighbor of the United States could sink into violence and anarchy represents an unexpected challenge for Barack Obama’s next government.

In its most recent report about foreseeing possible risks to global security, the Joint Command Forces of the United States placed Mexico and Pakistan in the same category. It pointed out that both countries are in danger of a “fast and sudden collapse.” In its report published on November 25, the command pointed out “The possibilities that (that may occur in) Mexico appear small, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure, are all under pressure and a sustained assault by criminal gangs and narcotraffic cartels. “The form that this internal conflict may take during the coming years will have a relevant impact on the stability of the Mexican government.”

One more challenge for Obama

The ex chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Michael Hayden told the Mexican press on Friday that Mexico and Iran represented the major challenges for Obama, including over Iraq.

The Department of Justice of the United States pointed out last month that Mexico’s criminal gangs represent the “major organized crime threat for the United States.”
Stephen Hadley, national security advisor, said last week that the worsening of violence threatens democracy itself in Mexico.

The Secretary of Internal Security (sic) of the United States, Michael Chertoff, told The New York Times that he had ordered the elaboration of additional security plans, at midyear, to avoid that kidnappings and assassinations would extend into American territory.

The alarm is also extending into the private sector. Mexico, Latin America’s second largest economy and the third largest provider of petroleum to the United States, is one of the 10 principal global threats for 2009 identified by the Eurasia Group, consultants based in New York.

Mexico has underestimated the preoccupations by the United States.

On Wednesday, Fernando Gomez Montt, Mexican Secretary of Government, said “What does seem to me inadmissible is that the Mexican State be considered as a security risk. There are problems in Mexico that are being attended to, that can be attended to more and better, and that’s where we are, what exists is everyone’s absolute commitment.”

Nevertheless, Obama will find a very different panorama in the neighbor to the south, compared with what George W. Bush found. In 2000, when Bush was elected, Mexico had just elected Vicente Fox in elections considered the cleanest in history, which put an end to 71 years of a single party in power. Mexicans were hopeful of a stable and democratic future.

Fox suggested that he was ready to confront the narcotrafficking cartels, but he placed them in a power vacuum by arresting its leaders. Since then, gangs fight each other for territory.

Seeking to regain control, Felipe Calderón, who succeeded Fox in 2006, immediately placed military forces in the whole country. But the soldiers and police are outnumbered and outgunned, and the narcotraffickers have answered with unprecedented violence.

Deaths attributed to narcotraffic doubled from 2007 and added up to more than 5,300 last year. Mutilated cadavers, some without heads, show up in the streets of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana practically every morning. Some victims are dumped at schools. The majority turns up wrapped in blankets and abandoned in empty lots.
Few cadavers are identified because relatives are afraid of coming to claim them. The majority of assassinations go unpunished.

The battling cartels continue controlling vast areas of Mexico, despite the offensive undertaken by Calderón more than two years ago.. They have let loose an extended culture of violence, from which no one is immune.

Some businesses have closed because their owners cannot pay the monthly extortion amounts which the local gangs demand. Many wealthy persons have fled to the United States so as not to join the list of kidnapping victims, a crime about which Mexico occupies one of the first places in the world. Others have decided not to leave their houses at night.

The government has also launched a campaign to combat corruption in its ranks, “Operation Cleanup” after some of its prominent security chiefs were accused of being at the service of the Cartel of Sinaloa, a northwestern state of the country.

Several soldiers who fight the narcotrafficking gangs were kidnapped, decapitated and dumped in a city to the south of Mexico (City), with a warning: “For every one of mine that they kill, we’re going to kill ten of theirs.”

Conditioned support

The United States government has manifested its support to the Mexican president decidedly (by) recently giving it more than 400 million dollars in assistance to combat drugs. Last week, Obama met briefly with Calderón in Washington and promised to combat the illegal U.S. firearms traffic destined to the Mexican cartels.
Although fewer Americans are willing to cross into the Mexican border area to enjoy a “margarita” or to buy handicrafts, visitors to other parts of Mexico continue to arrive. The Mexican economy seems more hurt by the global crisis than by the growing violence.

The gloomy perspectives arising from the border ruled the Mexican press headlines, but surprised few in Mexico.

Many say that the solution is for the United States to furnish more aid and to allow the entry of migrants who, otherwise, are tempted to dedicate themselves to drug smuggling to earn a living.

Otherwise, violence will propagate with more intensity toward the United States, said Manuel Infante, an architect.

“There is a wave of barbarism that is trying to reach you” said Infante, in reference to the Americans. “We are an uncomfortable neighbor,” he added.
It still amazes me how utterly invisible this problem is to most Americans – even those who live right next to hotspots like Tijuana...


An oldie-but-goodie via my cousin Mike, on the difference between teachers and educators:
According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington was recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lip stick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night the maintenance man would remove them, and the next day the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine the yawns from the little princesses).

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are teachers ... and then there are educators...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oh, Great...

I'm sure you've heard that California has a budget crisis. You may not be aware of the astounding magnitude of the deficit we're facing: $42 billion, which is about $1,200 for every man, woman, and child in the state. That means that the state has spent $42 billion more than it collected in taxes and fees last year – and this rate of deficit spending is continuing at an even higher level right now (because the worsening economy has greatly reduced “revenues”, and spending has actually increased as welfare programs kick into high gear).

Our legistators and governor have demonstrated themselves to be brainless and irresponsible to a degree I wouldn't have imagined possible in a democracy. Apparently I have grossly overestimated the competence of the average voter, because we keep reelecting these evil clowns year after year.

But yesterday came some news that might just wake up some of the voters: John Chiang, California's Treasurer, announced that he'd have to delay payment on income tax refunds by at least 30 days. This will free up some cash ($3.7 billion) California needs to pay its bills. This is a wonderful illustration of the way politicians think about such things: they're simply going to steal money from the citizens of the state to pay the bills that they never should have incurred in the first place.

It's highly unlikely that any bureaucrat or politician will be held accountable for their actions. It's far easier just to steal money from the citizens.

Politicians in Sacremento.
Some assembly required.
Citizen help gratefully accepted.

Miracle on the Hudson...

Just like everyone else, I was overjoyed to find out that everyone on board Flight 1549 survived the crash landing into the Hudson River. I remember well the very different outcome when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River on a wintry day in 1982, and when I first heard about Flight 1549 going down, that was the outcome I was imagining. The miraculous news came in about everyone surviving, and the later reports of the cool competence of the pilot and the instant competent reactions of ordinary people nearby...ah, that was a very good feeling, which I will cherish for some time, I think.

But I got to wondering about the cause of the crash that's being bandied about (no official cause has yet been released). The crew of the aircraft, and passengers who witnessed it, all say that Flight 1549 flew through a flock of geese that took out both engines. From friends in aviation, I knew that airports expended considerable energy getting rid of birds – and especially large birds like Canadian geese – from the areas around airports. They do this because “bird strikes” are well-known aviation hazards, one that pilots have been worried about ever since the dawn of the jet age (jet engines are particularly vulnerable to bird strikes). So I wondered why there was (apparently) a large flock of geese so close to La Guardia airport.

With just a bit of searching, I discovered that Senator Chuck Schumer used our tax dollars to help fund an organization called GeesePeace that advocates “non-lethal” methods for controlling Canadian geese populations and location. Reading through the news stories, press releases, and other materials, one can't help but ask this question: did we make a bad tradeoff between risk to aircraft and humane treatment of geese? I'd have to know a lot more to reach a conclusion, but I know enough right now to be suspicious. And it doesn't help me feel one bit better that Chuck “showboat” Schumer is involved...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Photo of the Day...

From the Botany Photo of the Day web site.

I want one!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh, My...

Said the parent of this young man:

I had one of those moments today that parents have children for. The kind of moment that makes you just so damned proud, you have to share the news on a world-wide-website or something.

Although I am proud, daily, of both of my kids, this time my son is the one earning the special kudos.

Oh, my...

This is so wrong, on so many levels...

At least it's not a tattoo. And a few swipes with a razor could turn that outline into something more likely to catch a young lady's attention – which would be just about anything other than a map of New Jersey!

And someone send this deluded parent a clue card, please...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Backlit Saturn...

Cassini – NASA's robotic explorer in orbit around Saturn – recently traveled into Saturn's shadow, where it took this spectacular photograph (click to enlarge). From Cassini's perspective, the sun is behind Saturn. This causes the bright ring around the edges of the planet, where the sunlight “leaks” through the thinnest parts of Saturn's atmosphere. The rings are all backlit by the hidden sun, providing the best view of them that I've ever seen.

Cassini was launched almost 12 years ago, and has been in orbit around Saturn for the past 4 and a half years. During that entire time, it has been steadily returning solid science results. Our understanding of Saturn and its moons has been vastly increased by Cassini's observations, at a cost of roughly 1/60th that of the International Space Station (best known for its malfunctioning toilets and utter lack of useful contributions to anything except NASA's budget).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spelling. It’s Not as Hard as U Mite Theenk...

A wonderful, entertaining, and classic Rachel Lucas rant...

Rabbit of the Day...

Quite possibly “Rabbit of the Decade”...

If only some of our politicians had the huevos of this bunny...

Cartoon of the Day...

Monday, January 5, 2009

The End Is Near...

For hard disk drives, that is.

The original electronic computers of the late 1940s and early 1950s had hundreds and hundreds of moving parts. The systems I worked on while I was in the U.S. Navy had reduced this to dozens of moving parts – lots of mechanical switches, some relays, cooling blowers (powerful fans), and large hard disks (the size of washing machines) and tape drives (the size of refrigerators) each of which had dozens of motors, actuators, gears, dashpots, capstans, etc.

Once the electronics themselves moved from vacuum tubes to solid state (transistors and integrated circuits), by far the most likely thing to break in a computer was a moving part. In the 1970s, as a data systems tech in the Navy, I spent much of my life cleaning, repairing, lubricating, and adjusting things that moved. The only other common failure was high-voltage solid state electronics, which in those days was still in its infancy. Basically, the fewer moving parts something had, the more reliable it was.

These days, a modern PC generally only has two kinds of moving parts (not counting mouse and keyboard): fans and hard disk drives. Modern direct current fans are very reliable, but they do occasionally still break. Hard disk drives are notorious amongst IT professionals for being the most likely source of problems on a PC. But solid state disk drives have been (a) small, and (b) outrageously expensive.

That's changing, and very quickly. Toshiba is about to introduce a 512GB solid state disk drive – bigger than the hard disk installed on most PCs. It will be pricey – but not outrageously so, and (like all electronic devices) that price will come down rapidly as competitors come on line and production volumes ramp up.

The hard disk is about to become a museum display. I give it 5 years at most, and possibly as little as 2 years.

The only moving part left will be the fan – and as low power electronics get better and better (which they are), the need for these will taper off and eventually disappear altogether...

Security Theater...

Bruce Schneier coined this lovely term (“security theater”) for the actions taken in the name of making us safer, but which actually provide little or no additional safety. The primary value of such actions is political cover, not actual safety. To cite just one of many such examples, Bruce points out that limiting liquids to 4 oz. is completely useless in thwarting a hijacking attempt – any terrorist with an IQ above 50 or so will simply use some other weapon. He repeatedly points out the many ways in which our Department of Homeland Security engages in security theater, irritating a great many American citizens and foreign visitors while accomplishing little to actually make us safer.

Michael Yon, one of my favorite sources for information about the War on Terror, tells the story of a recent encounter with the DHS by one of his friends, a Thai woman named Aew. Here's his conclusion:
When I discovered that she had missed her flight, after about 24 hours of travel thus far, I called immigration at Minneapolis and asked to speak with Officer Knapp. Knapp got on the phone, but this time it was me questioning him. Knapp told me it was legal to read e-mails. I asked for his first name, but he was afraid to give his first name, which was rather strange for someone working within the confines of an airport where everyone has been searched for weapons. Where I work, in a war zone, soldiers give their first and last names and face Taliban and al Qaeda heads up, man to man. I write about al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist groups who kill thousands of people. My name is Michael Yon. My first name is Michael. Mr. Knapp hides behind a badge bullying a woman whose only activities are Yoga, reading, travel, and telling me what is healthy and unhealthy to eat. Knapp is a face of Homeland Security. How many other officers at Homeland Security bully 90-pound women, but are afraid to give their own names?

Knowing that Homeland Security officers are creating animosity and anxiety at our borders does not make me feel safer. How many truly bad guys slip by while U.S. officers stand in small rooms and pick on little women?

I have just returned from Afghanistan and Iraq on a trip with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and I can assure you that we can do better. We do not have to violate human rights and insult our closest allies to maintain our security.

Meanwhile, Aew had missed two flights; standby seats were full on the second flight, and I was considering flying from Florida to Minneapolis to get her myself. I did not want Aew to have to sleep in the airport overnight.

I had intended to show Aew a bit of my country. But it's taking a little while for her to get over her discomfort at being in America. She was treated better in China. So was I.

Security theater may be popular with the politicians, but it's not real popular with people on the ground. When a security hawk like Michael Yon starts decrying the uselessness and unfairness of a policy, you know there's something wrong with it...

500 Most Common Passwords...

In several different capacities over the years, I've been responsible for corporate IT security. One of the things I did was to test password security, by using the same tools that hackers use to break into password-secured accounts. Most of these tools do the same thing as the first step: they try a relatively short list (usually just a few hundred) of common passwords. I was shocked how often this simple first step worked – a great many people obviously chose the same password.

Now someone has published a list of the 500 most common passwords. My passwords are not on this list. Are yours? If so, you're easy prey for any hacker...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Even More Micrographs...

More fun with the EyeClops! This morning I took the thing outside, and tried imaging a few pieces of Mother Nature. First was a granite rock, at right (100x). It looks basically like some sand under a magnifying glass, with some dirt on it.

Next I tried a moss (below left), one of our chaparral mosses that appear in thick layers on rocks as if by magic just after it rains. Just before the rain it looked like some black dirt on the rock, or even like a thick layer of weathered black paint. Within minutes after it starts raining, it turns bright green. At 100x it looks like your lawn! The two right hand micrographs are lichen, at 200x and 100x. These lichen are pale green, and very common around here on granite rocks.

Finally, I liberated a leaf from a native sage. If you're not familiar with sage, their leaves are pale green and they are ever so slightly “fuzzy”. The left hand micrograph is of the back of the leaf, across its spine, at 100x. The next three are of the front of the leave, at 400x, 200x, and 100x. You can see that the entire surface of the leaf is covered by stubby little hairs, growing in interlocking tufts.

Grunt Pranksters...

Our wonderful U.S. Marines have pulled off a wonderful prank. Read the link below before clicking on it:

Take that, you detestable pinkers!

Flying Pig Moment...

I rarely link to the Huffington Post; it's the haunt of a stable of liberal/socialist/communist (really!) political writers who rarely say anything I could agree with. Most recently they added Bill Ayers – former Weathermen leader, domestic terrorist – to their lineup (I'm not making this up!). But today I read a story there that definitely qualifies as a flying pig. It's written by Harold Ambler, a musician, writer, and owner of the site Talking About the Weather. He's not an expert on climate, just an interested observer who isn't dependent on grant money. A small sample (but do go read the whole thing, even though it's on the Huffington Post):
Mr. Gore has gone so far to discourage debate on climate as to refer to those who question his simplistic view of the atmosphere as "flat-Earthers." This, too, is right on target, except for one tiny detail. It is exactly the opposite of the truth.

Indeed, it is Mr. Gore and his brethren who are flat-Earthers. Mr. Gore states, ad nauseum, that carbon dioxide rules climate in frightening and unpredictable, and new, ways. When he shows the hockey stick graph of temperature and plots it against reconstructed C02 levels in An Inconvenient Truth, he says that the two clearly have an obvious correlation. "Their relationship is actually very complicated," he says, "but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it is this: When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer." The word "complicated" here is among the most significant Mr. Gore has uttered on the subject of climate and is, at best, a deliberate act of obfuscation. Why? Because it turns out that there is an 800-year lag between temperature and carbon dioxide, unlike the sense conveyed by Mr. Gore's graph. You are probably wondering by now -- and if you are not, you should be -- which rises first, carbon dioxide or temperature. The answer? Temperature. In every case, the ice-core data shows that temperature rises precede rises in carbon dioxide by, on average, 800 years. In fact, the relationship is not "complicated." When the ocean-atmosphere system warms, the oceans discharge vast quantities of carbon dioxide in a process known as de-gassing. For this reason, warm and cold years show up on the Mauna Loa C02 measurements even in the short term. For instance, the post-Pinatubo-eruption year of 1993 shows the lowest C02 increase since measurements have been kept. When did the highest C02 increase take place? During the super El Niño year of 1998.
I'm certain that at least half the writers at the Huffington Post have orgasmic reactions to the even a whisper of the Goreacle's voice (the other half probably requires visual stimulation, such as a photo of the Goreacle's Hitler-esque speechifying, as well). So why on this earth would the Huffington Post publish this piece by Harold Ambler?

The only reason I can think of is that the Huffington Post folks are trying to provide political cover for Obama and the Democrats to not spend money on mitigating global warming. Their political base has high expectations for serious and incredibly expensive expenditures all based on the notion of anthropomorphic global warming. At this point, to anyone with even 5% of their brain cells functioning, such expenditures are obvious madness – if we're going to spend money, the place to do it is in buttressing the economy, not destroying it with the “green” initiatives demanded by the Goreacle's followers.

If I'm right, this is just one more illustration of the shallowness of the left's ideology.

If I'm wrong, I'd love to know why the Huffington Post (till now a fervent supporter of the Goreacle, brooking no dissent at all) has published this piece...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More Micrographs...

At right is a 100x view of part of one needle from a Noble Fir (our Christmas tree this year). I'm guessing that those white spots are where the waxy and odiferous stuff exudes.

At left is a 100x view of my LCD screen, showing part of a letter ‘e’. If you look carefully, you can see that there are rows and columns. If you look in one row, you can see that each group of three stripes is the same width as the row is high – each of these groups is one pixel. Each pixel contains one red stripe, one green stripe, and one blue stripe. By adjusting the brightnesses of each of these colors, the pixel (viewed at a distance by our naked eye) appears to be a color that is the combination of these three colors (this is the “RGB”, or red/green/blue you may have heard of). To my eye, that ‘e’ appears to be black on a white background – but it sure doesn't look like that in a magnified view!

A Love Story...

Via my mom, the incurable romantic:
A man and a woman who had never met before, and were both married to other people, found themselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a Trans-continental train.

Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, they were both very tired and fell asleep quickly..... He in the upper bunk and she in the lower.

At 1:00 AM, the man leaned down and gently woke the woman saying, 'Ma'am, I'm sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet to get me asecond blanket? I'm awfully cold'.

'I have a better idea,' she replied. 'Just for tonight, let's pretend that we're married.'

'Wow! That's a great idea!' he exclaimed.

'Good,' she replied. 'Get your own damn blanket.'

After a moment of silence, he farted.

Quote of the Day...

From Scott Adams (the cartoonist who creates Dilbert):
I'm sure many of you readers are ahead of me on this story. Eventually I realized her head was on the other side of her body, exactly where it belonged. I had been snuggling my face into my dog's ass.

Been there, done that...

He's Right, But...

Jonathan Hunt is a reporter for Fox News. Mosab Hassan Yousef (at right) is the son of an imprisoned Hamas leader. Yousef has renounced Islam, converted to Christianity, and is currently living in the San Diego area. He agreed to be interviewed by Fox News, and the whole thing is well worth reading. This quote jumped out at me:

JONATHAN HUNT: Do you believe that Israel can ever strike a peace deal with Hamas?

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: There is no chance. Is there any chance for fire to co-exist with the water? There is no chance. Hamas can play politics for 10 years, 15 years; but ask any one of Hamas' leaders, 'Okay, what's going to happen after that? Are you just going to live and co-exist with Israel forever?' The answer is going to be no ... unless they want to do something against the Koran. But it's their ideology and they can't just say 'We're not going to do it.' So there is no chance. It's not about Israel, it's not about Hamas: it's about both ideologies. There is no chance.

Yousef is a well-informed Palestinian who says the same thing on this topic that large numbers of Palestinians say. Michael Totten's reports from the area have been most informative on this subject; it's clear that this sentiment is the norm amongst Palestians (and also much more widely, amongst the Muslim world). But Yousef is on the mainstream media, and those other Palestinians are not – so it's interesting to see this notion in the light.

This is the issue that Israel has been living with since the day they were founded, just over 60 years ago. They are completely surrounded by an implacable enemy who openly declares their objective: to wipe Israel off the map, to kill all the Jews.

Yousef is right. There will be no lasting “peace deal” with Hamas, Fatah, or any other organization of Palesistians.

But that is not the same thing as saying there can be no peace. The world has learned this lesson so very many times, and yet still many reject it. Consider: on January 3, 1941 there was no peace deal to be had with the Emperor of Japan, or with Adolf Hitler. And yet now we are at peace with their nations – even more, we count them amongst our close allies. How did this happen? Did we have discussions? Did the U.N. issue an edict? Did we make “proportionate” military responses to their attacks? Did the Secretary of State send a strongly worded letter?

Of course not. We defeated these countries militarily. We used politically sanctioned violence to forcibly take away their ability to harm us. We fought a war in which millions of civilians were killed, along with tens of thousands of American soldiers. We fought with resolve and desperation and a level of violence nearly unimaginable today.

I believe this is the only way to peace in the Middle East – one side must defeat the other, utterly and overwhelmingly. This may well involve large numbers of civilian casualties. But only then will we have peace in the Middle East.

Personally, I'm rooting for the Israelis. I hope they have the balls to finish the job in Gaza – that would make a great start...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reflections on 2008...

Via my mother:
As I reflect on 2008, I can say we had a great year:

Blacks are happy; Obama was elected.

Whites are happy, OJ is in jail.

Democrats are happy; George Bush is leaving office.

Republicans are happy: Democrats will finally quit saying George Bush stole the election.

And all of us are happy; The election is finally over!

2009 should be even better: Immediately after his inauguration, Obama will balance the budget, revive the economy, solve the real estate problem, solve the auto industry problem, solve our gas/alternative energy problem, stop the fires and mudslides in California, ban hurricanes and tornadoes, stop identity theft, reverse global warming, find Osama, solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, get rid of corruption in government and achieve world peace.

Then on the 7th day, He will rest.
Expectations for The One are very high, and the press seems to keep ratcheting them up even higher. Some Democrats are already actively trying to set expectations lower, as they know even The One can't possibly meet them all.

Judging from his Cabinet appointments (about all we've got to go on so far), The One doesn't appear to be all that much of a change from the current Administration – a surprising development indeed. Most of the conservatives and libertarians I've talked with sound more hopeful than the liberals I've talked with, as the latter are in despair over The One's apparent abandonment of liberal objectives such as immediate withdrawal from Iraq, diplomatic engagement with Iran, and a more pro-Palestinian position in the Middle East.

The most hopeful thing I've seen so far is Obama's decision to retain Gates as Secretary of Defense, something I certainly didn't expect after Obama's campaign rhetoric decrying the current prosecution of the war in Iraq...

Respecting Your Neighbor...

Click the cartoon at right to find out how you can be very respectful of your neighbor's right to ban all guns. And protect yourself and your family at the same time...

Via my wife, who shares my own views on the utility of fine weapons and large stocks of quality ammunition. She's perfectly capable of using our Berretta riot gun (a semi-automatic shotgun with a 7 shot magazine), plus she's a fine shot with a .357!

Unbelievable, But True...

Every single night of 2008, over 100 cars were burned – nearly all of them by young Muslim men. Then on New Year's Eve, two nights ago:

PARIS (AFP)--More than 280 people were detained and more than 1,000 cars torched during New Year celebrations across France, mostly in its troubled suburbs, the interior ministry said Thursday.

Four police officials were slightly injured, according to the interior ministry, which said its security forces "were of the unanimous view" that New Year's Eve was "rather calm and without major incident."

The interior ministry had earlier said 445 vehicles were set on fire overnight, but later revised that figure to 1,147.

Can you imagine even the much larger U.S. tolerating such a thing? This is multi-culti at its “finest” – totally ignoring the reality of the situation, and dealing with it by forbidding the press from making accurate reports (they're not allowed to mention that the perpetrators are almost entirely Muslim). The numbers of cars burned each night is incredible – over 40,000 in 2008 – but the French media is not allowed to report this. Still, with that many cars being burned it must be common knowledge there.

I keep getting surprised (though I suppose I shouldn't be) at how many Americans are completely unaware of this front of the radical Islamic war against civilization. A single car burned by radical Muslims in San Diego would be all over the news, and not tolerated – of this I am certain. But I'm not certain how long that will be true, for the party that just came into power routinely holds France up as an example of how we should approach radical Islam...

More EyeClops...

Here are a few more micrographs from the EyeClops. This time I've got four views of the same digit ‘4’ from the CI scale of a top quality slide rule (a Hemmi 269, for you slide rule aficionados). The characters on this slide rule are “engraved” (actually they are hot-stamped into the plastic). From left-to-right, the magnifications are 100x, 200x, and 400x. Click to enlarge.

The slide rule's plastic is actually bright white, and the red doesn't look quite as vivid as it does in these micrographs. I believe these color distortions are due to the LED lighting used on the EyeClops; I'll test that when I get a chance by using sunlight. In any case, I'm still blown away by how good these images are, produced by a cheap toy...

Operating System Shocker...

It's been a while since I last took a look at what operating system my readers are using (your browser reports this information to the blog). The graph at right (click to enlarge) shows the results, but here are the top four:
62% Windows XP
14% Macintosh OS/X
11% Windows NT
09% Windows Vista
The first one is no surprise, except the number seems a little low – virtually every workstation I know of that isn't a Mac is running Windows XP. The Macintosh number just blows me away – Apple is making real inroads amongst my readers, that's for sure! A year or so ago, this number was under 2%. But the biggest surprise for me was Windows NT – who in the world is still using that? At first I thought it must be Windows 2000 being reported as Windows NT, but no, Windows 2000 is separately reported (at 2%). Finally there's Vista, with a pretty sorry showing – Microsoft's 10 year old OS (Windows NT) is still beating out their latest!

Go, Mac!

Why I Rant...

Why do I rant about the lamestream media? Patterico summarizes a year's worth of just the most egregious “reporting” by one of the country's most respected newspapers: the Los Angeles Times. And this is just one of them!

IDF Links...

For those of you following the events in Gaza, here's the IDF's YouTube channel, their web site (English), and their official blog. All of these are being updated frequently...

Jihad 2008...

Bill Roggio has an excellent summary of terrorist activity and status, worldwide. It's exactly the sort of factual reporting I've come to depend on alternative media for, instead of the meaningless blathering the lamestream media calls “reporting”...

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Amazon had a toy on sale just before Christmas, at a price I just couldn't resist – so I bought one. Shipping was free, because I'm an Amazon Prime member. It was so cheap, I figured even if it was a total bust, I'd only have wasted the price of a couple cups of fancy coffee.

The thing is called an EyeClops, and it's a combination microscope/video camera/still camera – and you can upload the results to your computer.

The results exceeded my expectations, by a long shot. Below are three photos I took this afternoon with my new toy. The first one is a digit on a wooden slide rule, at 100x magnification. The second is another digit, at 200x. And the third is the very fine fabric covering my mouse pad, at 400x. Considering the price I paid, I'd call these results absolutely remarkable. Click on the small photos to get a larger view...

What Israel Is Fighting...

In an interesting article in the Jerusalem Post, I learned two things. First:

Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.

Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.

Aren't those Hamas folks just the warmest and friendliest you've ever heard of?

Makes me think of a cheap way to dispose of a few of our excess nuclear weapons, creating a nice layer of multicolored glass in the process...

Next, there's this:

There is a great deal of ignorance in the West about what the likes of Ahmadinejad and his colleagues in Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas stand for. But this isn't their fault. They tell us every day that they seek the destruction of the Jews and the domination of the West in the name of Islam. And every day they take actions that they believe advance their goals.

The reason that the West remains ignorant of the views and goals of the likes of Hamas and Iran is not that the latter have hidden their views and goals. It is because the leading political leaders and foreign policy practitioners in the West refuse to listen to them and deny the significance of their actions.

As far as the West's leaders are concerned, Iran and its allies are unimportant. They are not actors, but objects. As far as the West's leading foreign policy "experts" and decision-makers are concerned, the only true actors on the global stage are Western powers. They alone have the power to shape reality and the world. Oddly enough, this dominant political philosophy, which is based on denying the existence of non-Western actors on the world stage, is referred to as political "realism."

The "realist" view was given clear expression this week by one of the "realist" clique's most prominent members. In an op-ed published Tuesday in Canada's Globe and Mail titled, "We must talk Iran out of the bomb," Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that given the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the dangers of a US or Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations, the incoming Obama administration must hold direct negotiations with the mullahs to convince them to end their nuclear weapons program.

In making this argument, Haass ignores the fact that this has been the Bush administration's policy for the past five years. He also ignores the fact that President George W. Bush adopted this policy at the urging of Haass's "realist" colleagues and at the urging of Haass himself.

Moreover, Haass bizarrely contends that in negotiating with the mullahs, the Obama administration should offer Iran the same package of economic and political payoffs that the Bush administration and the EU have been offering, and Teheran has been rejecting, since 2003.

Even more disturbingly, Haass ignores the fact that Teheran made its greatest leaps forward in its uranium enrichment capabilities while it was engaged in these talks with the West.

Until I read this piece, I didn't know that these knuckleheads were still at it! The author is right – it is just plain bizarre that after repeated failures of discussion and diplomacy to accomplish anything at all, the proponents of more talking call for … more talk.

How does someone with such a miserable track record get to be “prominent” in a field, anyhow?

2008 In Review...

Israel vs. Hamas...

In the few days since the Israelis commenced their latest attacks on Hamas in the Gaza strip, the media has (as is totally usual and expected) been filled with heavily-spun, pro-Palestinian propaganda. To hear these “journalists” reports, you'd think that the Israelis were some sort of neo-Nazi organization bent on a twisted effort to wipe out Palestinians. I often wonder how these reporters would feel if those Hamas rockets were raining down on their homes and families. I wonder what sort of response they'd think was appropriate in that case?

I don't expect to personally unravel the craziness of Middle East politics. All by themselves, the Israelis have managed to create one of the screwiest democracies around. Reading about their internal politics is enough to make me feel thankful we have the Congress we do, Reid, Franks, Kennedy, Dodd, and Pelosi included...

But watching the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in action fills me with the same sense of awe and even pride that I get when watching our own forces in action. The IDF is doing a bang-up publicity job – on the Internet, since for the main part they can't get the world's press to pay any attention to them. Below is one example of their precision weapons in action, and here there are lots more.

The left-leaning media spins the Israeli attacks as reckless, with great civilian cost (and somehow they always neglect to compare this with Hamas, who is deliberately targeting Israeli civilians). In fact, the IDF has been remarkably successful at hitting exactly those targets they set out to hit, with very light civilian casualties – especially when you consider that Hamas deliberately locates their facilities in densely populated areas, knowing that Israel is loath to cause unnecessary civilian casualties (and once again, the left-leaning media consistently fails to point this out in their stories).

Pakistan's Moment in the Spotlight...

Over the past few days evidence has been accumulating that Pakistan's intelligence agency was directly involved in planning, preparing, and executing the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Here's a nice summary by Bill Roggio:

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only Mumbai terrorist captured by Indian police, admitted his 10-man team trained in Lashkar camps in Pakistan with the support of the Inter-Service Intelligence agency and launched their attack from the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Sabauddin Ahmed and Fahim Ansari, two other Lashkar operatives detained earlier this month, also confirmed elements of Shah and Kasab's account.

Meanwhile, the United States is pressuring Pakistan to turn over Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, the military commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Dawn reported. The US has provided Pakistan with communications intercepts between Lakhvi and the Mumbai terrorists. Lakhvi was also detained by Pakistani police during the sweeps against Lashkar offices and camps.

Immediately after the Mumbai attack, Indian police recovered a satellite phone with a number that was directly traced to Lakhvi in Muzaffarabad. Indian intelligence also intercepted conversations between Yusuf Muzammil, a senior Lashkar operative and the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan rejects Indian, US, and UK evidence

Pakistan has rejected the evidence of Lashkar’s complicity in Mumbai that was turned over by India, the US, and the UK. Pakistani officials said the information is "inadmissible in court," Dawn reported. "They said that since the confessions had been obtained under severe pressure by the Indians, this could not be admissible in judicial process. They have insisted that the information provided would not stand scrutiny in any court."

But Pakistan has been duplicitous in the investigation of Kasab's nationality, refusing to admit he is even a Pakistani despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Pakistan's position on Kasab, which US intelligence views as "incontrovertible," has frustrated US officials.

So it is obvious – and “incontrovertible” – that Pakistan's forces were directly involved. So far, Pakistan is dodging responsibility, doing exactly the opposite of what any rational country would do. They're protecting the people who did this. What's going on?

The only explanation I can think of is that Pakistan's government really does support the terrorism against India. It fits in with the overall ideology (based on radical Islam) of the recently elected Pakistani government. It is, in fact, an example of what many observers feared would happen when that government was elected.

This is a great example of the weakness of one of the left's standard positions: talking to the Pakistanis is failing, and will continue to fail. Some kind of well-enforced sanctions might coerce the Pakistanis into something resembling good behavior, but it won't change their beliefs and it will breed resentment (does anyone remember what happened in Germany after the Treaty of Versailles?). And don't forget that the Pakistanis have proven their ability to produce functioning nuclear weapons that they can deliver via missile...

Sometimes force is the only thing that actually solves this sort of dispute. Though those on the left would be loathe to admit this, in fact the application of force has successfully and lastingly resolved more international disputes than any other method ever tried. Most likely that's why wars are a recurring phenomenon. I'm not saying this is a good thing; I'm just observing a historical fact.

And suspecting that's where we're headed on this occasion...