Assorted Links 9/8/09

Richard Feynman – Ode on a Flower

  • Capitol Hill Workshop, September 23-25, 2009
  • DC: Camera Ticket Overturned Over Accuracy Doubts – “Doubts over the accuracy of the speed camera equipment led to the dismissal of a Washington, DC photo radar ticket last month. The motorist, who requested anonymity, decided to fight the citation out of ‘spite.’ He arrived at the District’s Department of Motor Vehicles on August 17 unprepared with an argument that would beat the ticket. He fully expected to lose, but thought it was right to “cost the city more money” because he saw the photo radar program as little more than an illegitimate money grab. The motorist was surprised, however, when Adjudicator Stephen Reichert took one look at the ticket photo and noted that a second vehicle had been within the radar’s field of view. ”
  • Czars – “Others have pointed out that having offices called ‘czars’ is an odd naming choice for a democracy. But czars weren’t just authoritarians. They were ultimately authoritarians who left their country far poorer than their more democratic counterparts, lost a world war, and of course paved the way for an even worse system of government. The label ‘czar’ thus doesn’t historically connect to a model of strongman effectiveness — it connects to a model of strongman failure.”
  • Conflicts – “And in Wisconsin, a current legislator (one account says his license was once suspended) blows a red light, striking a cyclist.”
  • An Ill Wind is Breaking For Our President – “If I gather correctly from my correspondence secretary, a few Topsider subscribers have taken umbrage to my previous encomiums to Mr. Obama as the nation’s foremost voice of conservatism. Invariably, these missives will emphasize at great length the President’s trillion dollar shopping sprees, diplomatic apologies and bank nationalization schemes, between explicit invitations to fornicate myself. It is apparent these slow-witted correspondents are incapable of seeing the plain truth: that these are merely brilliant tactical policy feints designed by Mr. Obama to appeal to the wide swath of sensible American moderates who, I am assured, are quite keen on unlimited credit and state ownership of the means of production. Once the proletariat is on board, I have every confidence that our intrepid young captain will deftly steer conservatism back to safe harbor. In saner times it would have been a quick fortnight’s journey; instead he has been buffeted by the endless gales and squalls of self-styled ‘conservatives’ who have opposed him at every turn.”
  • Solution or Problem? – “What I’m getting at is structural: what does it mean that the supposedly left-of-center Democratic Party would be covertly working on behalf on entrenched business interests at what would appear to be the expense of the members of their own party? If you want an example from across the aisle, why would the Republicans be so eager to violate their oft-professed devotion to free markets in order to rescue the nation’s largest banks, already the recipients of so many decades of corporatist non-level-playing-field government support?”
  • Reclaiming The Power in the People – “Morley based his distinction between Society and State on the origins of the words. Society is derived from the Latin socius, a companion. Society and association are rooted in the voluntarism of companionship…Morley continues on to the word State, which is rooted in involuntary or forced association. He sees the absence of free choice and free contract as the basis of the word status, from which state is derived.”
  • Politicians Unclear on the Concept – “For anyone my age or older, with clear memories of the Soviet Union and ‘Communist’ China, did you ever imagine a day would come when the ‘Commies’ would (correctly) lecture us on the benefits of free trade and free capital flows?”
  • Fat reprograms genes linked to diabetes – “A gene that helps muscle cells burn fat can be radically altered and switched off if the cells carrying it are exposed to fat. The finding suggests that the same process may occur when people eat too much fat-rich junk food, resulting in drastic changes to this ‘fat burning’ gene.”
  • Fruit and Nut: 1920 – “‘Allen car, 1920.’ And your little dog, too, on G Street Northwest in Washington, D.C. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.” 1235 G Street NW, WDC
  • Lobster Shoot Out in Maine – “This year, the lobstermen are having a very bad year (I can’t recall prices being this low, inflation adjusted, ever) which will make any bad situation worse.”

Scan to Evernote: Fujitsu ScanSnap

  • Obama to kids: Go to private school – “President Barack Obama will use his Sept. 8 speech to urge kids to go to private school so they can ‘grow up to be like me,’ writes Scott Ott (aka Scrappleface) in an Examiner column.”
  • 5 Things We Learned From the Gmail Outage – “1. Get used to outages. … 4. Email is finally a utility.”
  • It’s Official: Chinese Farmers Can Build Anything, Rarely Farm – “The rig cost Tao 30,000 yuan ($4,385) and two years to build, and includes a periscope and depth control tank. No mention of a sonar system, but knowing the Chinese farmers these days that DIY achievement has to be just a matter of time.” From the comments: “Everyone knows that pot doesn’t lead to other drugs, it leads to carpentry.”
  • About Teddy’s letter to the pope – “Whether Teddy in fact repented is known to him and God alone (and, I repeat, the fact of repentance is not an issue in the decision to grant a manifest sinner an ecclesiastical funeral), but I wonder whether his letter might not, at the end of time, be seen rather like the arrogant but utterly lost driver who, after so many hours of driving the wrong way, finally pulls over and considers asking for directions.”
  • Massachusetts: Workers Exhausting Unemployment Benefits – “This is a story that will keep building as workers exhaust their extended unemployment benefits …”
  • The Flying Bug — Army Style – “Here’s another one for you, this time an exclusive video of the T-Hawk Class 1 UAV in flight and an interview with an Army UAV operator flying it.”
  • Unions in trouble on Labor Day – “The Gallup organization has been asking questions about unions since 1936, the year after the first Gallup poll was conducted. Over those 73 years the public’s response has been mostly positive. Now, with astonishing suddenness, it has turned mostly negative–in just eight months!
    . . .
    But it’s one thing to pass or support a bill when everyone knows it won’t become law and public opinion hasn’t given it a thought, and another thing when it’s entirely possible it will become law and people will have to live with it.
    . . .
    The lesson is that if you want to change the world in some major way, you need to muster support for that change from the general public. Just lining up a bunch of politicians’ endorsements may not be enough; politicians don’t always stay bought. They are entirely willing to welsh on their commitments if they think that’s necessary to save their political careers.”
  • Van Gone – “All of this reflects what Daniel Pipes calls the ‘paranoid style’ in American politics, and it is by no means limited to the black community. It can occur, in Pipes’ words, wherever one finds the ‘politically disaffected and the culturally suspicious’. The hard right has its black helicopters and Oklahoma office buildings. The left has their grassy knoll in Dallas, TWA Flight 800 and just about everything ever written by Noam Chomsky. In many African American communities there are pernicious conspiracy theories about the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X to go along with AIDS genocides and CIA sponsored cocaine habits. When it comes to the paranoid style, just about everyone has the Jews.”

People Lie About Alpha

  • How to Learn Mandarin Chinese Language – “Most recently I ran across the Rhythmic Mandarin series in iTunes. Most of what’s there is already part of my vocabulary, but I can’t help thinking this would be an ideal solution for anyone who wants to ramp up to learning to speak Mandarin quickly because it uses a fairly unique approach to language learning, based on The Third Ear by Chris Lonsdale.”
  • Surprisingly Skinny Mice Could Point the Way to Obesity and Diabetes Treatments – “Scientists who are studying mice with a mutation that makes them resistant to obesity even in the face of a high-fat diet may have identified a new way to treat both obesity and diabetes.”
  • Product Review: Turtle Wax Ice Clay Bar and Turtle Wax Black Box – “Aside from ICE wax’s impossible to open, heavy-gauge plastic packaging scratching my overly-anxious hands, Turtle Wax far exceeded my expectations. … And considering its $22 asking price, if the Black Box works this well on the Stinkin’ Lincoln, it will work magic on newer, less abused black paint jobs. ”
  • Lingerie Football Sizzles in Season Opener – “Miami Caliente and Chicago Bliss prove they are more than just scantily clad females”
  • Even More Research: Technology Is Making Kids Better Writers, Not Worse – “Every few months or so, we read about some freaked out reporter/columnist/pundit/politician complaining about how the internet and texting are destroying kids’ ability to write. Yet, pretty much every study on the subject has found the opposite to be true. Study after study after study after study after study have all found that kids today are better writers than in the past.”
  • The passionate reporter: how Castro got his job through the NY Times – “The title of my post, ‘Castro got his job through the NY Times,’ is a reference to a William Buckley column on the subject that was famous in its time:”

. . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . .