Sunday, 27 September 2009


Sunday morning reading - September 27, 2009

“These fighters consider children either an integral part of the fight... or as completely irrelevant collateral damage...”

Bookworm has a little reminder about the kind of people we’re fighting in Afghanistan, and a contrast:

In case you were worried, a worry that distinguishes you from the Taliban killer aiming at one of his own countrymen (or country-children), the child survived the bombing, American medics treated him on site, and he ended up being airlifted to America for further treatment.

“Is it ‘bigotry’ not to want people who would destroy our freedom moving here?”

Meanwhile, Eric at Classical Values wonders about the wisdom of letting that mindset into America:
He was a senior instructor for new al-Shabab recruits, including a handful of young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis.
His name was Salah Ali Nabhan.  He’s the man American commandos killed in a daylight raid in southern Somalia on Monday.

The Minneapolis boys said they recognized him because he had been one of their trainers in the camps in Somalia -- on loan from al-Qaida to boost the training operations of a Somali militia called al-Shabab.
What on earth are these people doing here in the United States?
Does anyone remember the video showing Somali teenagers harassing a gay man for fun?

If their more radical brethren in Somalia want to impose Shariah law and amputate arms and legs, how long will they be content merely to harass Americans because of what they think they might be doing in bed?
Bookworm’s post • 200 words, 1 video
Eric’s • 1050 words, another video

“Now they don’t just have bad publicity, they have publicity as being perfectly fine with child sex slavery.”

LabRat presents a summary (cum schadenfreude) of the ACORN situation, along with a survey of some of the apologists’ “yeah-but” responses:
“ACORN only gets a little federal money anyway”.

I guess aiding and abetting slavery would be laudably entrepreneurial if they didn’t get any, then.

“Lots of groups/politicians the right likes have been caught out in corruption”

Is there a corruption exchange system?  Can you trade a tolerated and federally funded amount of sexually harassing young male interns for a tolerated and federally funded amount of slavery and then everything would be cool?
...but doesn’t fail to miss the serious part:
When you stop being able to politically object in the strongest possible terms to slavery, with no caveats or yeah-buts or but-theys, then you’re already heading down the road as being as soul-dead and corrupt as the ACORN officers.
Rated Heh!  (HT: Turk) • 1600 words

“‘We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.’”

An unbelievable blunder, incredible sloppiness, or burying the evidence?  You be the judge:
“We have 25 years or so invested in the work.  Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

Reread that statement, for it is breathtaking in its anti-scientific thrust. In fact, the entire purpose of replication is to “try and find something wrong.”  The ultimate objective of science is to do things so well that, indeed, nothing is wrong.
And the first rule of science is to record and preserve your original data.  It’s so fundamental that “no data” = “automatic F” in high school science courses, ferchrissakes.

We “deniers” have suspected all along that much of the “science” surrounding global warming climate change is made up.  It’ll be ironic if it turns out those suspicions were truer than we ever thought.  RTWT • 1000 words

UPDATE, related 09092817:05AGW “hockey stick”: A “thin subsample”?
...The key ingredient in a lot of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series... depends on the influence of a thin subsample of post-1990 chronologies and the exclusion of the (much larger) collection of readily-available Schweingruber data for the same area.
Wow.  (via: Ace) • 1250 words

“It is precisely because of stupid old farts like yourself that we find ourself with many of these structural problems.”

Insty linked “HughS’s” Friday Night Thoughts on the latest bank failure and the dramatically different responses of the political class and the average citizen.  Hey Washington, anybody listening?  Then, in the comments, a preview of the forthcoming generational war:
People warned you for years - sometimes few people, sometimes many, depending on the crisis - and people like YOU said, well, exactly what you've just said.  Not enough people listened, and they passed the bill down to my generation.

...Guess what; my generation gets to choose the previous generation's nursing home.  Or lack thereof.
Okay boomers, you’ve been warned! • 525 words (for the post) + 21 comments so far

“Middle America is an exotic place inhabited by aborigines who bowl, don’t eat arugula, and need to be reminded to inflate their tires.”

The Rest Of The Country, as viewed from the academy.  Mostly harmless, at least until the academy takes charge of the government.
It is the role of the university, from a proper distance, to help them, by making sophisticated, selfless decisions on health care and the environment that the unwashed cannot grasp are really in their own interest — deluded as they are by Wal-Mart consumerism, Elmer Gantry evangelicalism, and Sarah Palin momism.  The tragic burden of an academic is to help the oppressed, but blind, majority...

The “authentic” outbursts of Van Jones about white polluters and white mass-murderers are standard campus fare.  In universities, such over-the-top rhetoric and pseudo-Marxist histrionics are simply career moves, used to scare timid academics and win release time, faculty-adjudicated grants, or exemption from normal tenure scrutiny.  Skip Gates’s fussy little theatrical fit at a Middle American was not his first and will not be his last.
While the academy denigrates the rest of the country, the rest of the country has little tolerance for (or understanding of) customary academic posturing.  Victor Davis Hanson explores the cultural divide. • 1700 words

“The rumors are true, my dark master.  That scum Brietbart has turned his attention to the NEA.”

ACORN busted, the Blue Dogs hiding under the porch, dang!  Ever have one of those days when nothing goes right?:
Obama:  Biden, have Czar Van Jones deploy his storm troopers!  We'll shut down this Breitbart by force!

Biden:  Master, Czar Jones isn't here.  He was revealed as a truther, resigned in disgrace, and has joined a cult headed by Charlie Sheen splitting atoms with his mind.

Obama:  Oh.  Well, contact my allies in ACORN and tell them to turn out in full force and-

Biden:  Master, ACORN has been neutralized after getting caught in a child pornography sting in a few offices.

Obama:  How many offices?

Biden:  Six, in major cities on both coasts.
Guaranteed Gen-U-Wine Authentic! • 930 words

“Like most hunting breeds, with the instincts built into such bloodlines, he can also be self reliant and resourceful, a Knight with a tail.”

And for a no-politics finale, a Dog Story from Brigid.
Stealth: It’s not just for aircraft! • 1150 words, 4 pictures

Coffee done?

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Thursday, 24 September 2009


Marvelous marquees

Theater marquees at
My continued quest to uncover lamp layout and wiring information for a scintillator[1] led to yet another webcrawl yesterday.  Still didn’t find what I was looking for,[2] but did stumble across Cleveland’s Wagner Electric Sign Company, and their gallery of theater marquees.  Yep, somebody still (re)builds ’em like they used to!

The gallery includes 35 projects, two of them in Indiana: The Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne (bottom picture), which also includes a 3-story-high vertical/blade sign; and the Morris Performing Arts Center (2nd from bottom- both) in South Bend.  (Drill down and you’ll find a PDF about that project.)

The “copy panels” on the front and sides of the Morris marquee are actually tri-color LED displays.  Who says you can’t blend new technology into an old artform?

Previously:  Chaser play

[1]  That’s the controller and the associated lamps that produce the twinkling effect of neon-outlined incandescent letters.  Perhaps the circuiting of the lamps is a trade secret?

[2]  Anybody have any pointers?

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Sunday, 20 September 2009


Sunday morning reading - September 20, 2009

“The reason he could not get an answer to this very simple question is that it is stupid.”

In the WaPost, there was Ezra Klein trolling along with “What level of spending on health care was optimal for innovation?”  Then Warren pounced:

The very problem is that when government runs computers or health care, innovation is seen as a cost.  Klein, by asking the question in this way, is betraying exactly what is fundamentally wrong with a single-payer system.  The single-payer tends to think in terms of trying to deliver the current value proposition (i.e., the 2009 level of health care technology) as cheaply as possible.  The problem is that in 2039, it will still be focused on delivering the 2009-level of health care technology.  For the government — a new drug, a new procedure, a new test — these are all incremental costs, to be avoided.  Klein just wants a number he can plug into budget projections to say, “see, innovation is covered...”
Command-and-control “innovation” may work, but it is hostile to the unpredictable: The outliers that nurture the revolutionary. • 1800 words

“...from toothbrushes to eyeglasses to condoms to stethoscopes to syringes to blood pressure monitors to hospital beds to artificial heart valves to pacemakers to advanced diagnostic equipment.”

And it seems the Senate Democrats think that one way to encourage innovation is to impose what amounts to a gross revenue tax on the medical device industry:
In the case of my own mid-sized company, the tax would be the equivalent of a roughly 20% surcharge on our net income (in all likelihood raising our economic tax rate well above 50%) or 50% of our research and development budget, depending on how you want to look at it.
Who needs those eeevil profits?  Erm... you do. • 1250 words

“I think we would significantly advance the understanding of what happened and help policymakers address the root causes of the financial and economic crisis.”

Looking back:  Keith Hennessey has 20 Questions for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.  Lessons learned? (via: IP) • 20 Questions, 1200 words

“‘These methodologies do not help reduce risk in financial markets. What they do is provide investors and lenders with a rationale for taking on even more risk.’”

Looking ahead:  “Nemo Paradise” on the strange new actors in today’s markets (updated):
Where the market ecology once comprised a few instruments separated by wide gulfs of uncharted savanna, there is now a teeming megastructure with many highly complex organisms – all of which relate to each other in some way or another, either insignificantly or to a very high degree...

The beasts are about to start bumping into each other, and there’s no telling what the outcomes might be.
He says we’ll understand more- when it’s all over.  Gee, that’s comforting!. • 1000 words

“We now take up the long abdicated duty to rouse our fellow citizens and actively wrest [back] the power and the liberties that have been progressively talked, cajoled, threatened, wheedled, and extorted from us...”

The Reclamation of Independence:
We reclaim our independence from...
...the tyranny of ‘Political Correctness’.
...your victimhood.
...the myth of ...diversity at the cost of excellence.
...the contempt of our citizenship.
...and that’s just the first four articles.  Read the whole thing, and contrast with Ric’s 15 ideas (linked last week).  HT: Nathan • 7 articles, 2800 words

“Just a couple of days ago there was a lengthy piece in the Washington Post about how the White House was trying to come up with a coherent strategy for dealing with the opposition.  Fascinatingly, not a single one involved simply ‘responding to the arguments.’”

“Gagdad Bob” looks at why Obama’s opponents are racists. Or, more accurately, why the Obama-ites characterize their opponents as racists.
This was one of the things that most caught Tocqueville's attention, that is, the spontaneous emergence of civil society, of people taking care of one another.  When the state takes over this function, it not only diminishes the domain of the [collective-spiritual], but replaces it with... the fascist/socialist space of the magical collective, impervious to the light of reason.
Enlightening. • 1400 words

“No rational person, black or white or yellow, will, for the foreseeable future, allow themselves to be played that egregiously again.”

Meanwhile, “Velociman” sees dire implications for the future:
...The casual, insulting, provocative, hateful, dishonest, and desperate aspersions of racism cast by this fellow and his lot have left a significant portion of the populace feeling quite betrayed.  These quick, cheap potshots for short term gain will leave bruises upon the body politic for two generations...

The 55% of the populace who disagrees with his health care plan includes, obviously, a shitload of Obama voters.  For breaking ranks with Obama over a fucking policy difference this man is willing to slander and tar people who just voted for him with the ultimate insult...
I hope his predictions are wrong; I fear they may be right. • 547 words

So, are you a racist?  Find the answer, in the Obama Criticism Flow Chart. (HT: Dan Collins)

And finally, one-day-at-the-office from Crankylitprof.

See everyone at the BlogMeet.   There will be a quiz.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Hey kids, Shermlock is back!

(090918 19:42), elsewhere:

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Frank James: Suspicions confirmed

“Fraud One”:

You couldn’t find a bigger bunch of ‘posers’ if you had a combination Democratic party convention together with a Gay Rights Runway Fashion show in New York.

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009


The stuff of nightmares

“We've gone from Lyndon Baines Bush to Richard Milhous Obama...”

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Sunday, 13 September 2009


Sunday morning reading - September 13, 2009

’Round and ’round the money goes.

A computer analysis by the Center for Public Integrity has revealed that fully three-quarters of the [members of John Murtha’s House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee] have been involved in similar patterns of behavior — in circles of relationships fraught with potential conflicts of interest, involving former congressional staffers-turned lobbyists, earmarks, and campaign cash.  In these circles, former staffers became lobbyists for defense contractors; the contractors received earmarks from the representatives; and the representatives received campaign contributions from the lobbyists or the contractors.
Data mining in the public interest. RTWT, and Spot YOUR Earmarker!  (I see Indiana’s Pete Visclosky made the list.  Oh boy!)  Makes up for its length by raising your blood pressure.  4000 words (via: IP)

Drawing some boundaries.  Ric Locke has 15 ideas for restoring the intent of the Founders and reclaiming our liberty.  One favorite:
6.  Every declaration, order, rule, or proclamation, however styled or construed, for violation or nonperformance of which any Person may be deprived of life, liberty, or property in any degree, is a Law, and every Law of the United States shall be placed before, and debated and passed by, the Congress; Regulations drawn up by unelected functionaries, and having the force of Law upon their face, are null and void in every respect.
Good ideas, I think.  How about you?  1400 words (HT: CGH)

Magical thinking falling flat.
They’ll yammer on and on about how the right are delusional, but they’ve yet to come to grips with the fact that The One is full of fail, and that the blame lies with himself and his administration.  The Spendulus fiasco, TARP auto bailout, Cash for Clunkers’ unforeseen side effects—all of these were Obama initiatives that sank, because they were forged out of magical thinking. People who live in the world somewhat attached to material realities know that symbolism can be good, but that it hardly amounts in and of itself to policies that will operate in their interests.  Dialectical materialism is the opiate of the intelligentsia.
Dan Collins on the leftosphere in denial.  Lots of links/examples.  650 words

Cookery corner.  Rachel on doing Tex-Mex in England:
...We’ve learned the hard way that when the UK label says (as it does on this “Mexican” cheese at Tesco) that it is “HOT! SPICY! AUTHENTIC MEXICAN! BURNS YOUR FACE OFF!” – it is never anything even remotely at all in any way like those things.

It’s usually like the regular thing – for example, plain mild cheddar cheese – with a timid dash of…pepper.  The “super-hot ass-kickin’ salsa!” is essentially a liter of ketchup with a tablespoon of onion gently blended in.  Gently!  So as not to overwhelm you.

I may be from Texas but this should tell you how shocking the spiciness-calibration differences are between the US and the UK:  Stone cold truth, my face gets sweaty and I have to fan myself when I eat Taco Bell mild sauce at home.  That’s not a joke people.  When I say I want some spice, I mean just a little.  But I have tried jars of things over here that are labeled “Super Fire Hot!” – and they are about as super fire hot as a spoonful of honeydew melon.
Also, the difference between English and American “pie,” and the joy of chopping up fresh produce.  2500 words, 11 photos

Oh, and I’ve added a few links to the September 11 post.

Happy Sunday.

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Friday, 11 September 2009


Powerful waters has a portfolio of pictures taken following the August 17th accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant and dam in south central Russia which killed at least 74 workers (one remains missing). The exact sequence of events is still under investigation, but preliminary indications are that the plant’s #2 turbine failed, blocking its water flow. Safety systems which should have closed the corresponding upstream intake gate also failed. The water, under tremendous pressure (head is about 800 feet), flooded into the plant’s generator hall, ripping the front and roof off 1/3 of the building and destroying 3 of the plant’s 10 turbines.

Above, before and after images.

Americans shouldn’t start feeling too superior until after they check out what happened at Niagara Falls in 1956.


More “before” pictures and technical information at Andrew Korzun’s LiveJournal (in Russian)
Early report at Explosion at Russia’s Largest Electrical Plant Kills At Least 10
Interfax news agency:
MOSCOW. Sept 9 (Interfax) - Repair operations at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant (HPP) were suspended after a fire broke out at the facility's turbine hall, the RusHydro company (RTS:HYDR) said in a press release on Wednesday...
(The rebels are heard from.) A spring flood may finally destroy Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station
Wikipedia Articles:

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Thursday, 10 September 2009


The “Two Out Of Three” rule

Emperor Misha makes an important point about healthcare “reform.”

Via: Daily Pundit

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Tuesday, 08 September 2009


Solar Power: Reverse Robin Hood

Rob Peter to subsidize Paul  Dept

Warren runs the numbers on residential solar power in Phoenix:
It can in fact be a good investment — for you.  For the country, it is a terrible investment.  Your neighbors are contributing $57,930 in subsidies while you receive just $12,081 in benefits.  The remainder, just over $45,000, is a dead-weight loss to the economy.  It is money destroyed by the government.
As wealth transfers go, this is a particularly egregious one, as it tends to add costs to the electric bills of the poor and middle class so rich folks can build hobby solar systems so they can tell their friends at cocktail parties that they are “green.”
Gee, a program to subsidize the rich, paid for by the taxpayers. Given our current political class, why am I not surprised?

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