Sunday, June 29, 2008

No Country for Young Men

No Country for Young Men: "Two years ago in Nanjing, Jiangsu's capital, businessman Wu Gang opened the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in a cheap hotel near the bank of the Yangtze River. The bar featured staples of Chinese entertainment like big-screen karaoke and plates of sunflower seeds but also a central catwalk where, for 100 yuan ($15) per minute, customers paid to assault the waiters, single young migrants from poorer cities to the north. If a customer preferred, his victim would dress in drag."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

McCain's $300M battery prize

Consolation prizes | Free exchange | "The question is, will the prize induce an increase in research activity? Where batteries are concerned, this seems highly unlikely. Prizes are better suited to areas where there is not yet a clear market application for a discovery, either because the field is too young (outer space) or because the clientele is too poor (malarial drugs).

Which isn't to say there's no reason to want to encourage cleaner technologies. Because there is no price associated with the negative carbon emissions externality, the market will overproduce carbon. This can be corrected by government policy, but the most efficient way to make that correction is not to immerse the government in the business of picking winners, through prize funds or research subsidies. Instead, we should begin by pricing carbon (either through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade) to create an incentive for researchers across a broad range of technologies."

The media goes overboard with "the Russert Miracles." - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

The media goes overboard with "the Russert Miracles." - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine: "In the words of NBC News executive Phil Griffin, 'After the magical experience of this service, to come out and see the rainbow and Luke at the bottom of it made the last dry eye weep.' It was further pointed out that the last song at the memorial service had been 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' Tim's son, Luke, was quoted as asking, 'Is anyone still an atheist now?'

Not pausing to answer that question, I think this media myth-making, however tongue-in-cheek some of it may be, helps our understanding of why people are theists. After all, just remember why we mourners of that day were gathered in the first place. One of our friends and colleagues had been struck stone dead by his coronary arteries, in the prime of life, at just the moment when he had been celebrating his son's graduation. He had had everything to look forward to. For my part, I was distressed by all this, and sorry about it, which is why I donned a tie and went along to bow my head. But now I read that, because of room-temperature political politeness and the vagaries of the weather, I was supposed to have been grateful for the bereavement? What if it hadn't been an election year? What if the network couldn't have contacted a rock star? What if the sky had been merely sunny or had filled with lightning? Surely our mass media would adopt a tone of polite condescension if it was reporting on such primitive attitudes in the backlands of Alaska or Peru or Congo."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Developments : Use a Machete and Shower Less: Five 'Manly' Ways to Go Green

Developments : Use a Machete and Shower Less: Five 'Manly' Ways to Go Green: "Q: What are five going green tips for life you’d give guys who think eco-stuff is for wimps?

A: First, make friends with a guy who tears down buildings. My Dad is friends with a guy who does that in Akron; he’ll be tearing down a school with gargoyles and stuff and thinks it’s all garbage. My Dad takes a gargoyle home and makes an incredibly gorgeous sculpture out of it.

Second, learn how to landscape with a machete. Instead of firing up the chainsaw and using gas to trim the branches, use the machete to hack a path. Plus, you’ll look so cool sharpening it with a stone. Sit on the front stoop with a toothpick and sharpen your machete and you’ll never be f—– with.

Three, shower less frequently. You can tell your wife that you’re saving the earth.

Four, ride a motorcycle. It saves gas. My wife has always been anti-motorcycle, but she brought it up recently. If you ever wanted a motorcycle, now you can do it with a moral imperative.

Five, conserve water by drinking your whiskey straight."

Bolling: Emerging Solutions for the Oil Crisis -

Bolling: Emerging Solutions for the Oil Crisis - "A Congressman followed my segment and suggested that drilling wouldn't help for 10 years or more. I know this is absolutely untrue, so I called Transocean (RIG - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr), the biggest driller in the world. An officer of the company told me that depending on the location of the drilling, oil could be realized in as little as a year.

Ultra-deepwater fields might produce in 3-5 years. For the most remote locations, without any prior infrastructure support, that barrel may require a 4-6 year window. I suggested 8 years and he said that he could not envision a situation where it would require more than 6 years to bring a barrel out of the ocean floor."

One Election Outcome Certain: A Lefty Will Win White House - June 23, 2008 - The New York Sun

One Election Outcome Certain: A Lefty Will Win White House - June 23, 2008 - The New York Sun: "Both major party candidates are southpaws, contributing to a largely unexplained phenomenon that has vexed researchers and historians — and drawn notice from a federal judge destined for the Supreme Court. Though left-handers comprise just 10% of the population, they are dominating presidential politics.

Their recent success transcends ideology. Since 1974, presidents Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton have all favored their left hands, while President Carter and the current President Bush are righties. The trait is also not exclusive to winning candidates: Vice President Gore is left-handed, as are past presidential contenders Robert Dole, John Edwards, Bill Bradley, and Ross Perot. A prominent New Yorker who flirted with a White House bid, Mayor Bloomberg, is a lefty."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Legal Drugs Kill Far More Than Illegal, Florida Says -

Legal Drugs Kill Far More Than Illegal, Florida Says - "The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths statewide. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, it found, while legal opioids — strong painkillers in brand-name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin — caused 2,328.

Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 — fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0)."

Gay Marriage Is Good for America -

Gay Marriage Is Good for America - "Gay couples – including gay parents – live openly and for the most part comfortably in mainstream life. This will not change, ever.

Because parents want happy children, communities want responsible neighbors, employers want productive workers, and governments want smaller welfare caseloads, society has a powerful interest in recognizing and supporting same-sex couples. It will either fold them into marriage or create alternatives to marriage, such as publicly recognized and subsidized cohabitation. Conservatives often say same-sex marriage should be prohibited because it does not exemplify the ideal form of family. They should consider how much less ideal an example gay couples will set by building families and raising children out of wedlock."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wonder Land -

Wonder Land - "At this point in time, is there another country on the face of the earth that would possess the oil and gas reserves held by the United States and refuse to exploit them? Only technical incompetence, as in Mexico, would hold anyone back.

But not us. We won't drill.

California won't drill for the estimated 1.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil off its coast because of bad memories of the Santa Barbara oil spill – in 1969.

We won't drill for the estimated 5.6 billion to 16 billion barrels of oil in the moonscape known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because of – the caribou.

In 1990, George H.W. Bush, calling himself 'the environmental president,' signed an order putting virtually all the U.S. outer continental shelf's oil and gas reserves in the deep freeze. Bill Clinton extended that lockup until 2013. A Clinton veto also threw away the key to ANWR's oil 13 years ago.

Our waters may hold 60 trillion untapped cubic feet of natural gas. As in Brazil, these are surely conservative estimates."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A PERFECT V.P. opportunity for Hillary

Zimbabwe | Mugabe cracks down | "It remains possible that Mr Mugabe’s determination to hang on to power at all costs will strengthen the resolve of voters to turf him out. But even if Mr Tsvangirai once again defeats his opponent, Mr Mugabe is not expected to bow out gracefully. His wife is reported to have said that her husband will only allow someone from the ruling party to succeed him. Security chiefs have vowed not to serve under a president from the opposition."

Peggy Noonan: Thatcher, Meir, Gandhi. . .Hillary?

Declarations - "Great women, all different, but great in terms of size, of impact on the world and of struggles overcome. Struggle was not something they read about in a book. They did not use guilt to win election -- it comes up zero if you Google 'Thatcher' and 'You're just picking on me because I'm a woman.' Instead they used the appeals men used: stronger leadership, better ideas, a superior philosophy."

George F. Will - The Gas Prices We Deserve -

George F. Will - The Gas Prices We Deserve - "One million barrels is what might today be flowing from ANWR if in 1995 President Bill Clinton had not vetoed legislation to permit drilling there. One million barrels produce 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel. Seventy-two of today's senators -- including Schumer, of course, and 38 other Democrats, including Barack Obama, and 33 Republicans, including John McCain -- have voted to keep ANWR's estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil off the market."

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Clinton sleaze

THE NEW REPUBLIC | Blogs: "So she's going to leave it to her voters to decide whether she should accept defeat after having, you know, lost? What if every losing candidate left it to their supporters to decide whether or not to accept the outcome of a race? Who would ever accept defeat?

What good could possibly come of this? With Hillary proclaiming herself the legitimate winner, they're clearly going to say 'keep going.' If she actually does keep going, that's a disaster for the Democratic Party. And if she doesn't, you've just drawn a ton of attention to the fact that a large chunk of the party doesn't accept Obama as the legimiate nominee. No, worse: you've encouraged them to think that, then drawn attention to it."

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Op-Ed Columnist - Cult of Deception - Op-Ed -

Op-Ed Columnist - Cult of Deception - Op-Ed - "He recalled the first time that he had begun to suspect that W. might be just another dissembling pol: when he overheard his boss, during his 2000 bid, ludicrously telling a supporter that he couldn’t remember, from his wild partying days, if he had tried cocaine.

“He isn’t the kind of person to flat-out lie,” McClellan said, but added, “I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true.” He’d see a lot more of it over the next six years before Bush tearfully booted him out."