Friday, October 26, 2007

Show me the money!

Selling some of my Microsoft stock today at $36/share.  Since I bought at around $28.50 this represents a 26% appreciation in only a few months – if only all of my trades were this profitable I could retire early.  Go Micro$oft.  Long live Halo 3.  Finish the fight.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Financial Update

Well, I’m close to pulling the trigger on my Microsoft stock.  In at under 28.5/share – I was thinking Halo3 would boost it to $32, but with it hovering near 31$ I may take the profit.  I’m also happy to say that with the SP500 having snapped back in a big way, all of the buying I did in August looks smart now.  Of course I hold my index funds long-term, so I won’t be trading those.  Alas, I’m not perfect … my Etrade stock (ETFC) continues to get beat like a drunken sailor.  I thought it was cheap at $15/share and was buying.  Now its hovering at $10.5  -- well I stubbornly continue to believe that its undervalued (despite its disappointing earnings this last quarter and the charge its taking next quarter for exiting the wholesale mortgage business).  I believe a year from now the mortgage mess will be behind it and its forward price earning ratio will reflect its status as a strong growth company driven by its brokerage/diversified financial services offerings.  The latest quarter saw record growth in ETrades customer assets and ultimately Etrade makes a profit proportional to the amount of money people put in their banking/brokerage accounts.  Thus the two key metrics for evaluating Etrade’s long term earnings are 1. total customer assets and 2. the percentage of said assets that Etrade skims as profit (through banking fees, trading commissions, interest spread, etc.).  With strong growth in total assets and no reason to assume smaller profit margin on those assets (after the current credit-market/mortgage debacle subsides) it seems that ETFC has a bright future. 


Also, even though I think the stock will continue to under-perform in the short term (the next 4-6 months) I can’t bring myself to sell at a time when the sentiment for banking is so low … my fundamental trading precept is to sell when investor sentiment is exuberant and buy when sentiment is totally depressed.  So yes, I will be looking to add to my ETFC position.  I will be buying if ETFC sinks below 9.5.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Challenge to Scientific Consensus on Global Warming

Press Release:
"A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance."
I tire of reporting this stuff, simply because global-warming-alarmism is so obviously bunk, but many haven't seen the light yet, so ...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weight Update

Well, its been a long while since I talked about my fitness/dieting progress. I'm happy to say that I've achieved my goal weight. I've held steady at around 160 lbs for about two or three months ... that's good considering this post, where you can perhaps follow the link to the google spreadsheet showing I weighed over 170 lbs in June of 2006.

Now the bad news ... I'm still not satisfied! I have adjusted my goal downwards ... I would now like to be at 155 lbs by next summer. Considering where I've been and where I'm going this should be relatively easy (lets face it, losing 5 pounds is a 2-week project, but keeping it off is sometimes a challenge) but time will tell.

I'll keep blogging this stuff because I feel like accountability to my readers (yes all nine of you) is a helpful motivation.

Financial Update

Well, as my post from last week suggests, I believe that the stock market will be kind to investors over the next 5 years. I continued buying all the way down, though I'm still slightly underwater when my buying over the last few weeks is averaged out. I did make a few short term trades that were profitable: I bought 600 shares ETFC, a brokerage/banking stock, for 13.20/share and sold a few days later for 15.85.

So what am i doing now? Well, i've put almost all of my cash into buying S&P500 index funds, buying down into the dip, so I don't have much more sail to put out. I'll be selling some small cap index funds in order to buy more ETFC tomorrow. That stock (at roughly 15 and 1/5 bucks per share) is cheap I tell you, cheap! If its worth a penny its worth 19 bucks a share. I'll be buying on dips and selling for a quick profit, if I can, for as long as ETFC stays below 19$.

I also bough some MSFT last week for 28.25/share. I'm expecting MSFT to get a bump over the next few months as HALO 3 hype machine goes into overdrive ... I'll sell for a quick profit at around 31$ if I can. If not I'll gladly hold it for the long haul.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blogger Finds Y2K Bug in NASA Climate Data

DailyTech :
"NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II."
color me unsurprised. Somebody call Al Gore with condolences.

Friday, August 03, 2007 - Coffee May Prevent Liver Cancer

Study: Coffee May Prevent Liver Cancer:
"Together, the studies included 2,260 people with liver cancer and nearly 240,000 people without liver cancer. Participants lived in Greece, Italy, or Japan.

Participants reported their coffee-drinking habits. The data show that coffee drinkers were 41percent less likely to have been diagnosed with liver cancer than people who don't drink coffee.

For every daily cup of coffee people drank, their odds of having been diagnosed with liver cancer dropped by 23 percent, compared with people who never drink coffee."
Too bad I don't drink coffee. Maybe diet coke has similar cancer fighting power? If so, I'm really set ;)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bear Market! Sell! Sell! Sell!

A Dash of Insight: Fundamentals and the Market:
"What has happened in the last week has little to do with the valuation of most stocks. We find many attractive buys on our 'watch list', and we have added to our positions."
I was trying to be a little funny with the title of this post. Yes, the past week has seen my portfolio diminish in value by a substantial amount. Yes, this has made the little gremlin of fear that lurks deep in the dark crevices of my mid-brain come clawing to the forefront demanding that I liquidate my stocks and put my savings in something less volatile.

But no, I don't put much stock in those who claim the stock market has reached a top. In the long run, as a wise and wealthy investor has noted, the stock market is a weighing machine: the price of a stock is a function of how much money a company earns. period, full-stop, end of story. American businesses are earning record amounts of money, and projected earnings are strong. Inflation is relatively tame. And most importantly the price of stocks remains low relative to bonds (see the Fed Model).

So that's how I see it. I regard this recent sell-off as a temporary blip, and I expect the market will back above 14000 before the end of the year. I've added to my equity positions and I will continue to buy into this bear market until my cash reserves run out or the market rebounds, whichever occurs first.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Less Frequent blogging

Sad news my friends ... the US Air Force, in its near infinite wisdom, has decided to block access to the blogger domain -- so I'm not going to be able to post as often as I've traditionally done.

In other news I've become a rabid fan of Dennis Miller's radio show -- its a wonderful mix of humor, politics, sports, and pop culture. If you're a MillerTime fan then check it out. I download the show in podcast form for free from here (and listen to it on my Zune while at the gym).

Now I know what you're thinking ... but Will what happened to your ipod nano? Well, the thing is ... I needed more space than the 4gigs offered by the nano, and I since i needed a full size i thought i should get video capability as well. I originally thought I'd go for the video ipod, but when I started comparing the video ipod and the zune ... well the zune's screen is bigger and brighter, and the zune has fm radio, the zune has a cool scratch-resistant surface, and the zune has wi-fi capability for sharing music with other zuners. plus it was like 40 bucks cheaper. so, there ya go.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Walton and Johnson

My dad is recommending this comedy radio show. Apparently they have a podcast available ...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Read the sunspots

Read the sunspots:
"In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that 'the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases.' About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all."
Somebody should send Gore this memo.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Slavery in China

Times Online:
"More than 1,000 children may have been kidnapped and sold into slave labour in a brutal human trafficking ring that has shocked and outraged China.

The children, some as young as 8, worked in brick kilns for 16 hours a day with meagre food rations. They were guarded by fierce dogs and thugs who beat their prisoners at will.

Many were abducted right off the streets of cities in the region and sold to factories and mines for as little as 400 yuan (£27). The unfolding scandal, involving negligent law enforcement and even collusion between government officials and slave masters, burst into the open this week.

Horrified Chinese have followed the stark, unusually frank images of the slaves on television as they were rescued by police. Some children still wore their school uniforms."
Crazy that stuff like this still happens. Is this why stuff from China is so cheap?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Florida Tax Reform

Northwest Florida Daily News: "
With that in mind, state lawmakers will meet in a special session Tuesday to codify changes to the state's taxation system.

The results are expected to provide relief to homeowners and small businesses, but force cities, counties and other taxing authorities to cut spending.

Many government administrators fear the cuts will be severe enough to force them to cut services and/or staff."
Well Hallelujah! As if the county doesn't have a ton of fat that could be cut with no change at all in the core fire/police/justice services it provides. I love the concept of forcing the counties to scale back and tighten their belts.

Monday, June 04, 2007

They call this a consensus?

Financial Post:
"My series set out to profile the dissenters -- those who deny that the science is settled on climate change -- and to have their views heard. To demonstrate that dissent is credible, I chose high-ranking scientists at the world's premier scientific establishments. I considered stopping after writing six profiles, thinking I had made my point, but continued the series due to feedback from readers. I next planned to stop writing after 10 profiles, then 12, but the feedback increased. Now, after profiling more than 20 deniers, I do not know when I will stop -- the list of distinguished scientists who question the IPCC grows daily, as does the number of emails I receive, many from scientists who express gratitude for my series.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists -- the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects -- and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position."
FYI -- The IPCC is the international panel on climate change, a UN organized collection of scientists pushing the global-warming-alarmism.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Top NASA Official Doubts Global Warming

ABC News:
'I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists,' Griffin told Inskeep. 'I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.'

'To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change,' Griffin said. 'I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.'
I love it when people talk sense! Read the article to discover the vehement and immediate denunciation from those with a vested interest in promoting global-warming-alarmism.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “Earmarks? No No... Phonemarks!”

Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “Earmarks? No No... Phonemarks!”:
"The Democrats have not only jettisoned any idea of 'cleaning up' Washington and running the most ethical Congress in history... they have become positively ingenious in finding new ways to hide their culture of corruption from public view..."
Disgusting. The republicans were corrupt. Now we see the d-rats are also corrupt. Color me unsurprised. Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

FDA Approves Period Suppression Pill: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

FDA Approves Period Suppression Pill: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance:
"The first birth-control pill meant to put a stop to women's monthly periods indefinitely won federal approval Tuesday. Called Lybrel, it's the first such pill to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for continuous use. When taken daily, the pill can halt women's menstrual periods indefinitely and prevent pregnancies.

Lybrel is the latest approved oral contraceptive to depart from the 21-days-on, seven-days-off regimen that had been standard since birth-control pill sales began in the 1960s. The pill, manufactured by Wyeth, is the first designed to put off periods altogether when taken without break."
I'm not sure what to make of this, but i've heard of women doing this already by just continuously taking their current pills without taking the placebo for the 7 days at the end of the month.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Environmental hysteria, DDT, and dying kids ...

Rich Karlgaard (Via Instapundit):
"The Washington Post concedes that 'numerous' deaths might have been prevented by DDT.

Let's stop here. Any curious reader would ask, Just how 'numerous' is numerous? Wouldn't you ask that question? The Post never asks that question. Why?

Because the answer devastates Rachel Carson and her followers. According to these CDC figures, malaria kills more than 800,000 children under age five every year.

Every year, 800,000 small children die from malaria, a disease once nearly eradicated. Ponder that."

Yeah, the green activists screwed the pooch on this one. It turns out that DDT is an extemely safe insecticide -- its only harmful to a few species of bird and is extremely safe for humans (safe enough to spray on the inside of our homes). So the downside to the mass use of DDT is some birds dying. The upside was the almost eradication of malaria. So what did the greenies make us do ... that's right we banned the stuff, and much of the rest of the world blindly followed suit. Disgusting.

I feel like the same thing is happening again with global warming -- the same forces are at work: mass fear based on shoddy science being pushed on the public by powerful special interest groups aided and abetted by a compliant media and the liberal elites. I foresee the day in 30 years, after we've slowed global economic growth by 1 or 2 percent per year (thus making the whole world substantially poorer, over time) when we ask what the cost was -- in terms of human life*--- of fighting the phantom menace of global warming.

*Because slower economic growth burdens most heavily the very poor, some poor kids won't get adequate medical care or adequate education or even enough food. These are children who would have been able to receive such things had they only been slightly better off: if only their parents could have got a job in that factory that was never built because GDP growth was slightly lower for the past few decades.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bruce Willis Tells Hollywood To Shut Up

(Flopping Aces):
"BRUCE WILLIS is fed up with listening to outspoken actors - and believes their opinion shouldn't mean 'jack s**t' to the general public. The Die Hard star understands some of his colleagues want to do good for various causes, but wishes others would keep their thoughts to themselves. He says, 'I don't think my opinion means jack s**t, because I'm an actor. 'Why do actors think their opinions mean more because you act? You just caught a break as an actor. There are hundreds - thousands - of actors who are just as good as I am, and probably better. 'Have you heard anything useful come out of an actor's mouth lately?'"
Classic. My esteem of Willis just shot through the roof.

Friday, May 11, 2007

U.S. Divorce Rate Lowest Since 1970

U.S. Divorce Rate Lowest Since 1970:
"Despite the common notion that America remains plagued by a divorce epidemic, the national per capita divorce rate has declined steadily since its peak in 1981 and is now at its lowest level since 1970."
I find it amusing that so often people take delight in believing that things are bad and steadily getting worse ... when in fact the opposite is often occurring. Divorce - at almost a 50 year low, crime has been decreasing for almost 2 decades, pollution is at a 30 or 40 year low. Things are good! Technoutopia is here.
Via Instapundit.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Skeptical Optimist:

Profit: Our “thank-you” to effective businesses:
"I wonder why so many people think “profit” is a dirty word? I'm sure politics has a lot to do with it, but in any case, I think of profit as a tip I gladly hand over to the businesses who have learned how to supply what I want at a price I can afford. It’s my way of saying to those businesses, “Thank you for supplying a product of this quality at this price; you're offering me a better value than your competitors are. I’m voting with my dollars, and this time your product is the winner.”"
Yeah this is an interesting thing ... up untill ten or fifteen years ago I sort of felt that way ... that if a company was making a profit then that was somehow my loss. Thus I was constantly irked that people were "ripping me off" by profiting from my purchases of goods or services. Fast forward to today - I don't know why I felt that way ... I guess it was an attitude picked up from family or friends or media. But as the skeptical optimist points out, its a ridiculous way of thinking about purchases -- mainly because we really do live in a world of constrained resource ... scarcity. And when I finally buy something, its because I feel like the whatever-it-is is more valuable to me than the money; otherwise I wouldn't buy, it natch. So this automatically means that I feel like the product or service is improving my life more than simply having that money would -- good for me and good for them ... the essence of why trading, in general, is wonderful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Women's Pay: Lagging From the Start | TIME

Women's Pay: Lagging From the Start | TIME:
"Part of the gap may be explained by the number of hours women work compared with men. But after controlling for all the factors known to affect wages — including occupation and parenthood — the study found that college-educated women still earn about 5% less than college-educated men one year after graduation. This gap, the study's authors go on to say, 'remains unexplained and may be attributed to discrimination."
The explanation is simple: men are slightly more likely to lie when surveyed. Men feel like their salary is more of a crucial indicator of how successful they are in life, and they are thus a liiittle bit more likely to exaggerate their salary -- even on an anonymous survey.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Let's be realistic about reality

"But you can't do that at Virginia Tech. Instead, the administration has created a 'Gun-Free School Zone.' Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says 'Gun-Free School Zone.' And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The 'gun-free zone' turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world."
Exactly. Read the whole thing.
People should remember that limiting gun rights in just one instance of a broader, and more abstract, policy objective: centralizing power in the hands of the few. A society in which everyone is armed is a society of ultimate power decentralization -- it is at its most basic level, immune to tyranny and oppression. Decentralized power leads inexorably to personal freedoms and democracy; its hard to take these things away from a population who has the power to resist. Things like genocide and ethnic cleansing have never been perpetrated on armed populations, how could they be?

In a country that has banned guns for its citizens, there will never-the-less be many guns. The police, the army, and other government agents will have them all. Atrocities will still happen. Madmen will still murder the innocent. When the madman is a regular ole citizen, the murders will be done with home-made bombs, poison, knives, high-velocity cars and trucks, axes, chainsaws, swords, baseball bats, etc.
And when the madman is a government agent or government leader the murders will still be done with guns, but perpetrated on a populace whose ability to defend themselves has been systematically disabled.

So what do we want, as a nation: power centralized and concentrated in the hands of the few or decentralized and extended into the hands of every citizen?


Right meets left in the rhetoric of 'post-scarcity' - Apr. 19, 2007:
"Strains of such techno-utopianism have filtered into the Silicon Valley mindset (even if few executives there work ten-hour weeks). Lately, post-scarcity arguments have been evoked to oppose the more odious aspects of copyright protection. The implication is that if cultural goods have become more or less free to distribute, then legal prohibitions against unauthorized copying no longer make sense."
Thanks to Corey for sending me this article. Its an interesting take on some peeps' excessive optimism in light of the digital revolution. The author makes a good point: the miraculous economies of scale and the near-costless distribution and (sometimes) creation of content in the digital world doesn't mean that scarcity in the real world is about to end. Yet if I look in my crystal ball, I do see the power and reach of the digital (and its associated technoutopian economics) expanding into more and more aspects of our lives.

When you get beyond basic needs (food, shelter, transportation), much of what is left in our daily activities can be put online or enhanced digitally: entertainment, communication, socializing, even fitness (can you say Dance dance revolution or Wii-sports), religion (yes I look forward to the day when we "attend" church services online, by vid-cast, blog, IM, vid-conferencing etc.), fashion (is that a new outfit that your avatar is wearing -- its simply stunning!), and of course the arts. In all of these things we'll see the collective content-creation (ala wikipedia or open-source software), free distribution, free storage; truly a world where "scarcity" is a thing of the past. When was the last time you paid money for a web browser? for banking software? for an email program? for a media player program? for a search tool? dare-i-say for a song?

I predict that in 20-30-50 years much more of our lives will occur on-line, and most of that portion of our life will be governed by a "post-scarcity" economy where pretty much everything is free (though there will be new forms of currency such as the value of getting someones attention or focus -- ads -- and the value of reputation ... sort of an updated version of Rome's old notion of dignitas and autoritas.) Of course we'll still need to live in homes or appartments and we'll still need transportation to get places and we'll definately need the floor-to-ceiling ultra-HD thin-film monitors in every room and the ceiling-mounted 12.1 surround sound systems, and the artificial intelligence major-domo that runs the house -- oops that's not a physical thing. My point is that we'll still need real stuff, that will cost real money, but that "stuff" will take up a smaller and smaller share of our lives.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Arm the Professors?

The Volokh Conspiracy - -:
"I've also heard some arguments that suggest universities are different because they are places for reasoning, not violence: They should be gun-free zones (except of course for university police officers and security guards, who for some reason don't count) because that's needed to create the proper climate of peaceful inquiry. But the sad fact is that you can't make a university into a gun-free zone. Mad killers can bring guns, and use them, regardless of what policies you announce. The question is whether they will be able to use them against a disarmed population, or against a partly armed population. Allowing people the tools to defend themselves against the mad killers does not, it seems to me, worsen the climate."
Exactly what I've been telling anyone who will listen since I first started hearing the typical anti-gun drivel on TV last night arising from masacre at VT.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

OpinionJournal - Featured Article:
"It's that time again, and I was thinking of the old joke about paying your taxes with a smile. The punch line is that the IRS doesn't accept smiles. They want your money.

So it's not that funny, but there is reason to smile this tax season. The results of the experiment that began when Congress passed a series of tax-rate cuts in 2001 and 2003 are in. Supporters of those cuts said they would stimulate the economy. Opponents predicted ever-increasing budget deficits and national bankruptcy unless tax rates were increased, especially on the wealthy.

In fact, Treasury statistics show that tax revenues have soared and the budget deficit has been shrinking faster than even the optimists projected. Since the first tax cuts were passed, when I was in the Senate, the budget deficit has been cut in half.

Remarkably, this has happened despite the financial trauma of 9/11 and the cost of the War on Terror. The deficit, compared to the entire economy, is well below the average for the last 35 years and, at this rate, the budget will be in surplus by 2010."
Fred Thompson has my vote for president if he enters the race. For the uninitiated, Thompson is the actor that plays a senior DA on Law and Order, and played the captain of the aircraft carrier in "Hunt for Red October". He's the former senator from Tennessee.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Politics, Decision Theory and Contradictory Complaints

Arnold Kling - TCS Daily:
"The moral of the story is that when people must make decisions without perfect information, they will make mistakes. The fact that decisions turn out wrong does not by itself condemn the decision-making process. The fact that doctors sometimes under-treat and sometimes over-treat does not prove that for-profit medicine is worse than socialized medicine. The fact that some terrorists elude detection and some people get put on terrorist watch lists by mistake does not prove that watch lists have no value. The fact that some potentially good mortgage borrowers get turned down and other borrowers go into default does not prove that regulators could do a better job of making mortgage lending decisions.

To make improvements in these areas requires more sophisticated analysis...

The best improvements come from introducing better information into the decision-making process."

This article should be required reading for pretty much everyone. Kling has presented some foundational decision theory in a very approachable way; and he accurately notes that uncertainty always leads to uncomfortable trade-offs ... leading inexorably to questions of costs, benefits, and risks.

Virginia Tech: don't blame video games you morons.

Limbaugh: Games Aren't To Blame. Via Kotaku

If you start blaming the video games, you may as well demand video game control because it's the same thing when you start trying to blame guns for this. You have here a sick individual, an evil individual who committed a random act. But if you want to start blaming the video games, this guy was this or that, weeeeell, then you've gotta maybe talk about banning them because that's the same tack that's taken with guns

Limbaugh is right.  People who are already on a Jihad against video games will try to make this about video games (if he's even a gamer, but honestly what 20 year old young guy isn't?) and the anti-gun peeps will try to make this about guns. 

The obvious truth is that the problem isn't games or guns:  hundreds of millions of people play violent games and own guns -- how many of them become mass murderers?  There's just not any evidence of causation here.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Better Gmail (Firefox extension)

"Gmail's good, but it could be better. We've featured several Greasemonkey scripts that enhance Gmail in lots of different ways - like adding saved searches, attachment icons, label colors, keyboard macros, a filter assistant and right-click conversation previews. But not everyone wants to install Greasemonkey and hunt down all those scripts.

To save you the time, I've compiled the best Greasemonkey scripts for Gmail into one handy Firefox extension, called Better Gmail. After the jump, put your Gmail on steroids with Better Gmail."

Sounds good.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Make your Google Calendar your wallpaper

"The only bummer is that you're limited to viewing only one calendar on your desktop, versus seeing them all at once..."

Nice tip.

Penn & Teller: Fallacy of Gun Control (video)

Washington Ceasefire

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rebel with a Cause: The Optimistic Scientist

TCS Daily:
"Freeman Dyson: I am always happy to be in the minority. Concerning the climate models, I know enough of the details to be sure that they are unreliable. They are full of fudge factors that are fitted to the existing climate, so the models more or less agree with the observed data. But there is no reason to believe that the same fudge factors would give the right behavior in a world with different chemistry, for example in a world with increased CO2 in the atmosphere."
World-renowned physicist, professor at Princeton, member of the National Academy of Science and the London Royal Society on Global Warming.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Rosie O'donnell opens her mouth and removes all doubt ...

KnoxNews | No Silence Here:
"Last week on the morning talk show 'The View' Rosie O'Donnell advocated for the conspiracy view of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, saying “I do believe that it’s the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel.'

Preston Taylor Holmes notes that, in fact, fire is pretty much what's always been used to melt steel.

Which leads to this week's poll question.

How do you suppose Rosie O'Donnell thinks steel is melted?"
What a total idiot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Seven Answers From Crichton

The Daily Ablution:
Q: "What is the most serious threat facing our civilisation?

A: Loss of classical liberal values in those western societies that embraced them."
Great interview with Michael Crichton. His views on Global Warming alarmism are spot-on, and I found this nugget at the end where he talks about the wane of libertarian ideals as one of the world's most vexing problems. Great stuff.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Politicians love pork. -:
"The Democrats talked a good game on pork before taking power. But, then, so did the Republicans."

Follow the link for info on the new congress' record on pork spending.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Betraying their base -- the Democrats can do it too - Los Angeles Times

Betraying their base -- the Democrats can do it too - Los Angeles Times:
"The GOP grew sweaty and bloated like a fat man at an all-you-can-eat pasta bar, and the voters were right to pry the Republicans' white-knuckled grip from the hot table's sneeze guard...
So here's the ironic part. Suddenly, it looks as if the Democrats are the Republicans on fast-forward."

Was there ever any doubt? They're all weasels.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Conservative Propaganda: Vets Vs Moonbats, Part 4

Conservative Propaganda: Vets Vs Moonbats, Part 4:
"I didn't read any further than 'FREE IMAM...' when my gag reflex kicked in and I decided whoever Imam Jamil Al-Amin might be, he was probably a guilty dirtbag that I would never want to see on the streets walking free."
Nice and be sure to check out the photo.


Four Years In @ AMERICAN DIGEST: "Four years in. An inch of time. Four years in and the foolish and credulous among us yearn to get out. Their feelings require it. The power of their Holy Gospel of 'Imagine' compels them. Their overflowing pools of compassion for the enslavers of women, the killers of homosexuals, the beheaders of reporters, and the incinerators of men and women working quietly at their desks, rise and flood their minds until their eyes flow with crocodile tears while their mouths emit slogans made of cardboard. They believe the world is run on wishes and that they will always have three more.

Like savages shambling about some campfire where all there is to eat are a few singed tubers, they paint their faces with the tatterdemalion symbols of a summer long sent down to riot with the worms. They clasp hands and sing songs whose lyrics are ash. 'We shall... over... come.' Overcome what, overcome who? Overcome their own nation? Is that their dream?"
I marvel at America's fickle impatience, and the ease with which our body politic can turn completely about. Maybe everyone thinks Islamic fascism is already defeated? But then, who are the psychos killing our troops and blowing up churches and civilians in Iraq?
Via Instapundit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Global warming hype -- New York Times

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype - New York Times:
"Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”"

Gee, ya think?!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Let's all go Vegan. Not!

Classical Values :: PETA agrees -- with me!

Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.
L-M-A-O. by the way "countering global warming" is newspeak for reducing CO2 or its equivalent airborn radiative absorbers.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Global Warming Facts ....

The Rhetoric Garage

For the moment, let’s table the fact that the recent warming trend is far outside the parameters any similar previous temperature fluctuation recorded in the geological record, along with the fact that the ability to farm in Greenland as those lucky Vikings could would come at the price of significant portions of densely inhabited costal areas getting swallowed by the sea.
Thanks to Ted Remington for pointing me to this piece on George Will's use of rhetoric in framing his words on global warming ... all in all I think it was an interesting analysis of Will's word choice.

The art of rhetoric is alive and well (as well it should be): the whole reason for writing an editorial or a position piece in Newsweek is to persuade, convince, and (dare I say) convert. The appropriate tool for that job is rhetoric, this wasn't a submission for a science journal after all.

But enough about rhetoric ... I'd like to correct some faulty assumptions that rhetoricgarage makes about the "facts" of global warming. (BTW -- one of my favorite movie scenes: So I Married an Axe Murderer, the hero's mother explains that her newspaper is trustworthy and reads a headline. "Man gives birth to baby ... and that's a fact.")

Anyway, rhetoricgarage erroneously believes that "the recent warming trend is far outside the parameters of any similar previous temperature fluctuation recorded in the geological record". Unfortunately for him, this is not a fact. The fact is that we don't have high-confidence estimates of global temperature trends beyond 80-100 years ago. The reason is that we didn't have reliable weather stations at enough locations before this time. Lacking any direct temperature data, we scientists are forced to look for proxies of temperature -- essentially variables that are related to temperature (but nevertheless not driven by temperature alone). Examples might be tree rings, analysis of ice cores, etc. These give an imperfect, fuzzy, and error-prone "history" of the earth's temperature but one that is probably accurate only on geologic time scales (i.e. this gives a good idea of how global climate changes over the course of 10000 years.) There were some papers published a decade or more ago that tried to claim our current warming trend is some sort of thermal abberation (the infamous hockey-stick graph) ... but this paper has been heavily criticized from within the scientific community for both its methodology and its conlcusions. in fact the whole thesis is fragile enough to be completely overturned by removing a single proxy set (the bristle-cone pine data).

So its just not accurate to claim that our current warming trend is abnormal -- we simply don't know what "normal" is yet.

The next "fact" presented by rhetoricgarage is that farming in greenland "comes at the price of significant portions of densely inhabited costal areas getting swallowed by the sea." Er, not really. True, global warming causes rise in sea level. But the rate of this rise is the key issue. For the past hundred years average sea levels have risen, what about 8-10 inches? Current rate of sea level rise? = about 10 inches/CENTURY! Yeah, we're going to have a real crisis because of the flooding this causes. NOT. No city is going to be suddenly swallowed by the sea.

rhetoricgarage continues:
With hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies on global warming agreeing, without exception, that the earth is warming due to human actions, it is those who deny that it is happening who are basing their position on faith divorced from facts...
Err, except that this statement is untrue. Though a minority, there are reputable and actively publishing memebers of the global-climate community that dispute this very point. Richard Lindzen and Claude Allegre come to mind immediately. Additionally we should be precise: there are hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing that the earth is in a modest warming period (about 1 degree in the last century). There's a scant handfull of articles that try to establish a link between this warming and man's activities. Think about it -- how does one, even in principle, establish a causal link between mankind's CO2 emissions and global climate change? Is this a process that we can experiment with, can we hold all the variables constant except one and do a test? Can we perform multiple runs and find a least-squares fit??? The best the scientific community has done is establish the plausability of such a scenario, and then trot out some computer simulations as proof. (Please excuse me for a second, while I laugh my a** off at this brand of "science"). Alright I'm done laughing.

Lastly let me make one gesture of reconciliation: I am a scientist, and I could be convinced of global warming catasrophe ... if the global mean temperatures were to suddenly accelerate or if sea levels were to suddenly begin rising at a truly unprecedented rate or if scientists made a computer model that was validated to be accurate for more than a few months and it predicted climate catastrophe, in short if there were a solid, fact-based, case that human-caused catastrophe was impending then I'd gladly support reductions in CO2 or whatever solution was found best to combat the coming ... Armageddon?

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Another one bites the dust...

Allegre's second thoughts

Dr. Allegre now sees global warming as over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank.
His break with what he now sees as environmental cant on climate change came in September, in an article entitled "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" in l' Express, the French weekly. His article cited evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice and that Kilimanjaro's retreating snow caps, among other global-warming concerns, come from natural causes. "The cause of this climate change is unknown," he states matter of factly. There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the "science is settled."
As I've tried to say many times.

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Next gen Dvd Encryption cracked.

More bad news for DRM: PowerDVD AACS key found, AnyDVD supports Blu-ray - Engadget

Bad news MPAA, good news fair use folk: this weekend not only marks the date of extraction for PowerDVD's AACS key (which, as you may recall, is one of the two HD disc-playing apps in Windows right now along with the already cracked WinDVD), but also signals the release of AnyDVD, which officially adds Blu-ray support. Go forth and enjoy easily ripping those heavily armored Hollywood titles, dear readers, and let no motivated power-user take the weekend off from sticking it to the man by consuming their media on the devices and whichever manner they wish.
This was inevitable. And everybody knew it was bound to happen ... so why did the studios demand such restrictive DRM when they had to have known it would be broken?

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Fight the power ...

Boing Boing: NPR "Xeni Tech" - RIAA vs. college students, Gizmodo boycott

The RIAA recently sent out 400 "pre-litigation settlement letters" to students accused of illegal downloading at 13 universities, and launched, where the accused are invited to avoid lawsuits by turning themselves in and paying fines online.
Those b*stards!

Gizmodo is organizing a month-long RIAA boycott that kicks off today. They've published this manifesto, and they're encouraging people to contact lawmakers, write protest letters to the RIAA, and purchase indie MP3s instead of copy-protected songs from RIAA member labels.
Alright then, lets do it. Stick it to the Man!

for more on my thoughts about copyright in the digitial age go here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ann Althouse smacks down moonbat:

Althouse: Eric Alterman contemplates whether he has "the typical liberal tendency toward fascism."

You can't have your democracy, and there are a lot of complex reasons why you can't, as elite, intellectual study shows. I own the truth. I write the books. If you can get your hands on the hard-to-find book and spend some good long time with it, you might come to understand what I already know. I am the gatekeeper of this information explaining why you can't have democracy. Trust me.
Here she's making fun of Alterman's assertion that he understands complex processes that make media "gatekeepers" necessary for the functioning of modern democracy. Basically Alterman wants a semi-official "panel" of top bloggers who should decide which blogs deliver good information and which blogs are not to be trusted, and Ann Althouse (rightly and thoroughly) dresses him down for his anti-free speech mentality.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

More on global warming

Patrick J. Michaels on An Inconvenient Truth on National Review Online

It would be nice if my colleagues would actually level with politicians about various “solutions” for climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, if fulfilled by every signatory, would reduce global warming by 0.07 degrees Celsius per half-century. That’s too small to measure, because the earth’s temperature varies by more than that from year to year.

The Bingaman-Domenici bill in the Senate does less than Kyoto — i.e., less than nothing — for decades, before mandating larger cuts, which themselves will have only a minor effect out past somewhere around 2075. (Imagine, as a thought experiment, if the Senate of 1925 were to dictate our energy policy for today).

Mendacity on global warming is bipartisan. President Bush proposes that we replace 20 percent of our current gasoline consumption with ethanol over the next decade. But it’s well-known that even if we turned every kernel of American corn into ethanol, it would displace only 12 percent of our annual gasoline consumption. The effect on global warming, like Kyoto, would be too small to measure, though the U.S. would become the first nation in history to burn up its food supply to please a political mob.
Thanks to Heidi for bringing this article to my attention. A good summary of the meaninglessness and general gormlessness of the proposed "solutions" to the non-existent global warming catastrophe.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

George Will on global warming

Will: Inconvenient Kyoto Truths - Newsweek George F. Will -

Climate Cassandras say the facts are clear and the case is closed. (Sen. Barbara Boxer: "We're not going to take a lot of time debating this anymore.") The consensus catechism about global warming has six tenets: 1. Global warming is happening. 2. It is our (humanity's, but especially America's) fault. 3. It will continue unless we mend our ways. 4. If it continues we are in grave danger. 5. We know how to slow or even reverse the warming. 6. The benefits from doing that will far exceed the costs.

Only the first tenet is clearly true, and only in the sense that the Earth warmed about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the 20th century. We do not know the extent to which human activity caused this. The activity is economic growth, the wealth-creation that makes possible improved well-being—better nutrition, medicine, education, etc. How much reduction of such social goods are we willing to accept by slowing economic activity in order to (try to) regulate the planet's climate?
George Will is on the money. Read his whole column. I especially love the subtitle of his piece: "Was life better when a sheet of ice a mile thick covered Chicago? Was it worse when Greenland was so warm that Vikings farmed there?". Because really, even if you grant the global warming fanatics that everything they claim about the physics of global climate are true ... I'm left with a big ... "so what?" If the earth continues to warm and the warming accelerates then in a hundred years places like Vermont and Calgary and Scandanavia are going to be a whole lot nicer! Sure, the sahara might be an even worse place to live ... and folks in texas might have to buy bigger ACs ... but so what? should we impoverish ourselves to prevent that end-state?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Czech President -- my new hero ...


For example, we know that there exists a huge correlation between the care we give to the environment on one side and the wealth and technological prowess on the other side. It's clear that the poorer the society is, the more brutally it behaves with respect to Nature, and vice versa.• It's also true that there exist social systems that are damaging Nature - by eliminating private ownership and similar things - much more than the freer societies. These tendencies become important in the long run. They unambiguously imply that today, on February 8th, 2007, Nature is protected uncomparably more than on February 8th ten years ago or fifty years ago or one hundred years ago.
Read the whole interview. this guy has some serious sack, and he happens to be right.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Piracy isn't bad.

Study: P2P effect on legal music sales "not statistically distinguishable from zero"

A new study in the Journal of Political Economy by Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf has found that illegal music downloads have had no noticeable effects on the sale of music, contrary to the claims of the recording industry.
Enough said.

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Another "Global Warming" Article

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change-News-UK-TimesOnline

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do.
I'm just amazed at how many otherwise intelligent people go in for the global warming scam ...

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

mmm mmmm...

Double Chocolate Fudge Coca Cola Cake like Cracker Barrel's

Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola® Cake
like Cracker Barrel's®
Rich, delectable cake with Coke® and plenty of chocolate,
topped with an icing of more Coke® and chocolate.
OK follow the link for an awesome recipe.

Note to my wife: plz make this for me for valentines day. xoxo

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Digital Freedom is coming ...

Court Calls [Record Industry] Lawsuits Frivolous And Unreasonable

The judge also noted that it was completely unfair to put liability on "an Internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from a kazoo." The judge found that the "settlement offers" the RIAA puts forth offer no real way to contest the charges without going to court, and found that such a system does "not advance the aims of the Copyright Act." Indeed.
Score one for the good guys. As I've noted before, and as even Stevie Jobs recently admitted, DRM sucks big nobby rocks. DRM is stupid because:
A -- it doesn't work. I have at my fingertips any and all media (music, video, text, picture) sold at any store in the country. DRM simply doesn't prevent piracy.
B -- it penalizes those who obey the law, yes the people who actually pay for their music have to jump through a bunch of annoying little hoops to do something trivial like move it to another device or computer.
C -- Becase of (A) and (B) above it creates a perverse incentive: its in consumers' best interests to simply pirate media.
D -- DRM relies on the courts to enforce a defunct and unworkable business model. Repeat after me -- its not the government's job to protect somebody's business model. Times change and in business you adapt or you die. If the RIAA wants my business, then they should find a way to create value for me ... instead of trying to extort money from me by threatening lawsuits if I download a song.
When will the RIAA and other media-peddling industries realize that transferring bits on shiny disks adds zero value to their customers? And since when has instigating mass lawsuits against your customers been a sound business practice?

Update: Dvorak agrees with me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

13% of Republicans buy into Global Warming Alarmism

Think Progress » POLL: Only 13 Percent Of Congressional Republicans Believe In Man-Made Global Warming

POLL: Only 13 Percent Of Congressional Republicans Believe In Man-Made Global Warming
And they'd be right to be skeptical. The thing I find funny is that 95% of the Dems buy into this global-catastrophe BS. Its laughable except that they're running the country.

Atmospheric Weather Data

MSU Science Homepage
The overall trend in the tropospheric data is now +0.08 deg. C/decade (through 2004). Click on the charts to get the numerical data. Surface thermometer measurements indicate that the temperature of the Earth is warming at an average rate close to +0.20 deg. C/decade since 1979, while the satellite data shows a warming trend of about half of this. These differences are the basis for discussions over whether our knowledge of how the atmosphere works might be in error, since the warming aloft in the troposphere should be at least as strong as that observed at the surface.
The news here is that the satelittes show modest warming consistent with about 1-2 degrees F per 100 years. This is about what happened in the last 100 years and is not very alarming in terms of climate change. This is also much less than the global-warming-alarmist crowd says will happen. The beauty of these satellite readings are that they are basically impossible to fudge and stand as a testable and verifiable check on the wild claims of Environmentalist nuts.

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Filibuster: Good when used by D-rats, BAAD when used by republicans

As a commenter notes, filibusters were essential to democracy when they were used against a Republican majority, but now that Democrats are in the majority they're back to being bad efforts to shut down debate. . .

More Here.

Libertarians and Liberals ... an uncomfortable fit.

TCS Daily - Why Be a Conservative Libertarian?

My point is not that the liberals have no case for an alternative approach. What disturbs me is that they are issuing rhetorical put-downs as a substitute for laying out an alternative and thinking through its consequences. Unfortunately, this is an all-to-typical modus operandi.

The Left's religion often comes dressed up as science. Marxism is one example. The eugenics movement of the early twentieth century is another. The Global Warming crusade is probably another.
I like this article by Arnold Kling ... it lays out some of the challenges libertarians face when trying to find common ground with liberals.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Global Warming causing record low temperatures!

Bitter cold grips northern states

From Minnesota to New York, some schoolchildren are getting an extra long weekend because of the bitter chill that has spread over the eastern half of the country.


Wind chills are minus 25 degrees or lower and some high temperatures today aren't expected to climb above zero.

Experts say exposed skin can get frostbite and school officials didn't want kids outside waiting for buses.

Maine is getting hammered with wind chills forecast as low as minus 45 by tonight in the western mountains.
Global Warming in action. oh yeah.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

WaPo: soldiers too dumb and naive to be anti-war

The Troops Also Need to Support the American People - Early Warning

I'll accept that the soldiers, in order to soldier on, have to believe that they are manning the parapet, and that's where their frustrations come in. I'll accept as well that they are young and naïve and are frustrated with their own lack of progress and the never changing situation in Iraq. Cut off from society and constantly told that everyone supports them, no wonder the debate back home confuses them.
Sorry, I just had to post another snippet from this asinine article penned by William Arkin. What a total ass.

WaPo: We indulge our raping murdering troops.

The Troops Also Need to Support the American People - Early Warning
Through every Abu Ghraib and Haditha, through every rape and murder, the American public has indulged those in uniform
I'd put this a little differently ... but then I'm not a commie pinko hippy lib journalist for the washington post.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Us and Them: Nanny state to the rescue

They Protect Me From Me, But Who Protects Me From Them? by Wilton D. Alston

As a matter of fact, if you want to sit by the dock of the bay stuffing your face with beef-tallow-soaked fast-food French fries, washing them down with a carbonated beverage just chock-full of HFCS while taking the edge off with an unfiltered cigarette delivered by an illegal alien after it was manufactured in a Cuban factory and subsequently soaked in crystal methamphetamine, I could not care less. I celebrate your decision to "do it your way." I might, in the words of Tony Soprano, suggest that you "consider salad" and I’d likely advise you of the dangers of "tweaking" but hey, it would still be your choice.
This is a must read, very funny.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

John Kerry: Ignoramus at large

Captain's Quarters

So not only is John Kerry a hypocrite, he's also an ignoramus. However, we have noticed that the Davos forum has become, over the years, a convention of sorts for both. Kerry should feel right at home.

Via Instapundit. the only time I felt comfortable with Kerry was before I got to know him and his Nanny-statist policies.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Italy: land of the free

File downloading, if not for profit, not illegal in Italy - franticindustries.
the high court of Italy ruled that downloading files - be it software, music, or movies - is not illegal if profit is not the motivation. The case in question was a lawsuit against two students who set up a p2p file-sharing network, and who were initially convinced to one year in prison. But the highest judicial institution in Italy overthrew the decision, and set the two students free. This is an important decision, because RIAA’s brainwash is lately succeeding in pushing the notion that p2p file sharing is a criminal activity per se.
Maybe I should go live in Italy, where they seem to take basic freedoms in the digital age more seriously.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Al-Jazeera: Where Press meets Propaganda

Another Perspective, or Jihad TV? - New York Times
In its “straight” news coverage on its Arabic TV broadcasts and Web sites, Al Jazeera’s reports consistently amplify radical Islamist sentiments (although without endorsing violence explicitly).

For example, the phrase “war on terror” is invariably preceded by the contemptuous prefix “so-called.” The words “terror” and “insurgency” are rarely uttered with a straight face, usually replaced with “resistance” or “struggle.” The phrase “war in Iraq” is often replaced by “war on Iraq” or “war against Iraq.” A suicide bombing is called a “commando attack” or, occasionally, a “paradise operation.”

Al Jazeera’s Web site can be less subtle. On Dec. 12, after religious leaders and heads of state all over the world condemned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran for staging a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran, the headline on the site read, “Ahmadinejad Praised by Participants of the Holocaust Conference in Tehran, but Condemned by Zionists in Europe.”

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dennis Miller: a funny funny man

I just caught 10 minutes of O'reilly tonight ... Dennis Miller was the guest and i found him to be very clever and laugh-out-loud witty. Anyway, I'm not familiar with his shows, so I looked him up on wikipedia and found that he's a (drum roll please) ... libertarian! I also read the following Piece on him, which includes some funny -insightful quotes:

It baffles me that the same people who blast away at President Bush's selection of a religious conservative for attorney general won't give George W. any kudos for his other cabinet choices, which include blacks, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, and women. Does a fundamentalist Christian not also represent a valued strand in our collective fabric?
Some anti-death penalty advocates say that McVeigh's execution didn't bring closure to the survivors of the bombing. Maybe not, but it did bring closure to McVeigh's eyes and, frankly, that's all I wanted.
…like an infestation of cockroaches, a drunken party guest, or a super-virulent strain of antibiotic-resistant clap, the Clintons are proving almost impossible to get rid of.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Liberal Hypocrisy vis-a-vis Walmart

The Skeptical Optimist
Wal-Mart and its effects save shoppers more than $200 billion a year, dwarfing such government programs as food stamps ($28.6 billion) and the earned-income tax credit ($34.6 billion) . . . But because unions are strong in many grocery stores trying to compete with Wal-Mart, unions are yanking on the Democratic Party's leash, demanding laws to force Wal-Mart to pay wages and benefits higher than those that already are high enough to attract 77 times as many applicants than there were jobs at this store . . . Liberals, aghast, see the choices Americans make with their dollars and their ballots and announce -- yes, announce -- that Americans are sorely in need of more supervision by . . . liberals.
I love walmart. There, I said it. So sue me; I like cheap groceries. I like cheap DVDs, games, clothes and toys. I like saving a little extra and putting the rest in an investment account that will bear me interest for the rest of my life. People that attack walmart bug me -- I mean, if you don't like it, don't shop there! But don't pass laws specifically aimed at penalizing a great American company that allows people like me to save billions of dollars every year.

Death of Music "Rights Mngmt"

The Inevitable Death of DRM

I agree that DRM is (or will be) on a decline. At the end of the day, you can’t prevent computers from doing what they’re good at: copying bits.

That makes the whole selling-lots-of-copies-of-copyable-data business model pretty lame.

The record industry only ever succeeded because their product was inseparable from the plastic discs they used for distribution.

It’s like we’re going back to the 19th century, when music was a SERVICE, not a PRODUCT. If you wanted to be a successful musician, you had to be hired to do useful work: writing a symphony, playing a gig in a king’s court, etc. Like it or not, that’s what we’re headed back to: services.

Commenter # 7 has hit the nail on the head -- the music biz has to adapt to the realities of the digital age. DRM is their quixotic effort to make reality conform to their outdated business models. Good luck with that guys.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Florida ROCKS THE HOUSE! Gators' romp reveals true genius
Ohio State and Michigan were the two best teams in a really bad league. Florida was the best team in a really good league.
And that's a fact.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Holiday 07 -- IPTV on Xbox360!

You heard it People! XBox360 IPTV:
"xbox lovers can enjoy episodes of their favorite television shows from the comfort of their wireless 360 controllers. They’ve added television into the menu in your dashboard."
Bring it on! The only downside is that it appears that a local ISP has to partner with microsoft to deliver this to the home ... so I'm hoping and praying that Cox steps up to the plate and offers this service.

Ricky’s Web Review » Blog Archive » Group Photo Fixer

Ricky’s Web Review » Blog Archive » Group Photo Fixer: "
you can take some pics and then “merge” them with an application like Photoshop, but you have also a quicker alternative: MSR Group Shot, from Microsoft.

This [small free piece of] software can import two or more pictures of a same subject, and then merge them using only the parts that the user prefers."

Friday, January 05, 2007

EFF-Founder on Copyright Law (dis)obedience

Link (Via Boing Boing):

In this Netzpolitik-Interview EFF-Founder John Perry Barlow talks about massive civil disobedience in the copyright debate. The Interview was done at the 23. Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin:

"If you wanna share something - share it. If you wanna use something - use it. Try to do so ethically in the sense of don´ t take things without attribution ... Pay no attention to these people when it comes to being creative. Go ahead and do the stuff that Larry showed in the beginning of his talks and do lot of it. And every time they put a lock on - break it. And every time they pass a new law - break that."

Massive civil disobedience -- oooh I like the sound of that. Burn baby burn.