Friday, October 31, 2003

Waiting for Iraq Data

We're still waiting.... tap, tap, tap, tap, tap
"As a deadline imposed by Republicans and Democrats passed, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Friday that the Bush administration had yet to provide all of the information the panel was seeking for its review of intelligence before the war about Iraq's illicit weapons program."

Resistance is futile

Now you, too, can be part of the network . Literally. Human bodies can function as Ethernet cables.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Niger Documents

Josh Marshall is on to something, again. What can we learn by following the forged Niger documents back to their source? It may be quite interesting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Sex and audits

Why is this no surprise?
"'Our complaint is not with getting audited,' says Advocates' president James Wagoner. 'Our complaint is with the selective and political nature of these audits. Ideology is invading -- if not subverting -- science within the Department of Health and Human Services [which houses the CDC], and we ended up on the audit table because we are one of the organizations pointing that out.'"

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

From Baghdad to Manila

Kaplan notes:
"as has been true for most of this war, his administration's words, declarations, and rationales have done more harm than good. At the very least, can't the White House hire a good historian?"

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Keeping dissent invisible

When the white house resident visited my community this summer I was perturbed because you had to be a registered supporter to even have a chance of viewing the motorcade. It appears that this is SOP for the Secret Service these days. Carry a sign that supports Bush and you may see him. Carry one that doesn't and you get to wear handcuffs. This administration has a real problem with the Constitution. Let's see how long before the load of lawsuits makes a dent.

Filter Tips

Kinsley on a president who prefers to be clueless:

"Every president lives in a cocoon of advisers who filter reality for him, but it's stunning that this president actually seems to prefer getting his take on reality that way."

Monday, October 13, 2003

Lessons in Civility

"For there is no way to be both honest and polite about what has happened in these past three years.

On the fiscal front, this administration has used deceptive accounting to ram through repeated long-run tax cuts in the face of mounting deficits. And it continues to push for more tax cuts, when even the most sober observers now talk starkly about the risk to our solvency. It's impolite to say that George W. Bush is the most fiscally irresponsible president in American history, but it would be dishonest to pretend otherwise.

On the foreign policy front, this administration hyped the threat from Iraq, ignoring warnings from military professionals that a prolonged postwar occupation would tie down much of our Army and undermine our military readiness. (Joseph Galloway, co-author of 'We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young,' says that 'we have perhaps the finest Army in history,' but that 'Donald H. Rumsfeld and his civilian aides have done just about everything they could to destroy that Army.') It's impolite to say that Mr. Bush has damaged our national security with his military adventurism, but it would be dishonest to pretend otherwise.

Still, some would say that criticism should focus only on Mr. Bush's policies, not on his person. But no administration in memory has made paeans to the president's character "

Rumsfeld's $9 Billion Slush Fund

Fred Kaplan explains what's hidden in that $87 billion request.

Ancient Handedness

[Link] It seems the percentage of lefties in prehistoric peoples is about the same as it is today.

Universe Shifts Gears

[Link] It seems that the Big Bang expansion was not uniform. At one point gravity was overwhelmed and the expansion accelerated.

"So after the big bang, matter was still relatively dense in the Universe and therefore gravity braked expansion. But as galaxies moved farther apart, dark energy began to exert a more significant influence. For a brief period, two forces balanced and 'the expansion of the Universe coasted along at a steady rate, like a car in cruise control,' says Riess.

But then, five billion years ago, dark energy got the upper hand. No-one yet knows what dark energy is, but supernova observations provides some constraints. 'It gives a handle on how much there is,' says Saul Perlmutter of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California."

Friday, October 10, 2003

Hyperparsing Plame

"There's a lotta word parsing going on in Washington these days. And we all know that when words start getting hyper-parsed, it usually means something is going on...."

McClellan dodges THE question

TPM points out how McClellan dodge the direct question of whether Abrams, Libby, or Rove talked to a reporter about Plame. That tells us a bunch. Forget the document dump. The pool of potential offenders is quite small.

Copy Protection

This sounds like an excellent solution to the pirating problem. Intentional bit faults are built into the original version of a game. When it is copied the normal error-correction routines of the copy process removes the faults. The pirated game can detect that its intentional faults are gone so it degrades itself.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Reflexes Suggest Biological Basis for Sexual Preference

Pretty good evidence that there is a strong biological component to sexual preference. Portions of the brain operate differently.

Not just a predator

A demonstration of how a small change can have a large effect. The presence of wolves has resulted in an improvement of the whole ecosystem of the Yellowstone. Elk stay out of the streambeds, the willows are not overgrazed, and the beaver have returned.

Sleep and Memory

This may explain why a good night's sleep is essential to good performance on tests. It also explains why sufferers of apnea (such as myself) feel an intellectual improvement after they get treatment.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Male contraceptives

While the Australians get lots of press for a new male contraceptive that will make lots of money for some drug company, another male contraceptive originating in India gets hardly any coverage. RISUG is a cheap, effective, and reversible male contraceptive that uses an initial injection but doesn't require a drug protocol to maintain sterility. The guys with big PR departments aren't going to make any money on it so we don't hear about it.
Joshua Micah Marshall tells it the way it is. Don't be distracted by all the scurrying about. It's smoke.

"The president has said he wants to get to the bottom of this. Yet he has done nothing to get to the bottom of it. The only credible explanation is the obvious one: that he doesn't want to get to the bottom of it.

Whether the Justice Department can find the culprits on its own is an interesting legal chess game. But no more.

The president's lieutenants did this. Rather than trying to punish them, he's trying to protect them. The only thing the White House has been aggressive about is attacking the victims of its own bad-acts: Wilson and Plame.

These simple --- and I think indisputable --- facts tell you all you need to know about what's happening here.

In the end, I strongly suspect that Bush will rue the day he didn't do the right thing on day one."

Friday, October 03, 2003

People who get their news from NPR and PBS know what is really happening much more than people who get their news from Fox.

Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die
The cost of titanium is about to fall. LINK A new smelting method is about to go into commercial production. It replaces an expensive series of chemical steps with an electolysis method that converts the raw material directly into metal.

"'It was shocking to see the little pellet of white titanium dioxide, which looks like an aspirin pill, being transformed into a piece of titanium,' Fray recalls. 'We sat around asking, 'Why hasn't this been done before?''"

Actually titanium is a pretty abundant element. It's just been that the process of refining ores into metal is expensive, complex, dangerous, and inefficient. Now all that is going to change.

It's little things like this that can alter the entire fabric of how the future of technology progresses.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

In a piece dated January 2003 Ron Suskind talks about Rove.

"Sources close to the former president say Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after he planted a negative story with columnist Robert Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising chief and Bush loyalist Robert Mosbacher Jr. It was smoked out, and he was summarily ousted."

Seems old habits die hard.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Good Grief! It's got me quoting the Moonie Times:

"The president should personally make it known to the public that it is his highest priority to get to the bottom of the matter. There may be traitors in his midst— even if the actors may not have appreciated the nature of their conduct. At some point, presumably, the Justice Department will be needed for prosecution. But the president should be first on the job to cleanse his own house. "

But even this is a little light on action. I'm not interested in what the president tells the public since his talk is way too cheap. I'm interested in what he does.