I keep a weblog like it's still the 90s. For commentary and dissent please visit jontaylor.ca, or various other purveyors of thought online.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Long Goodbye: Chinese Paddlefish

Another Long Goodbye: Chinese Paddlefish - Dot Earth Blog - NYTimes.com: "To put it another way, we have an Endangered Species Act aimed at saving species on the brink, but not a Thriving Ecosystems Act aimed at monitoring and sustaining diverse communities of species before bad things happen. You can almost compare the situation to a flawed health-care system. If preventive care is not the focus, the lack of attention to people when they are well can lead to a pile of patients who, later in life, overburden a system with clogged arteries, diabetes and other debilitating, costly ailments."




The Black World and the Dual Brain Drain: A Focus on African Americans

SpringerLink - Journal Article: "This paper argues that just as Africans in Africa are experiencing what I call a “Dual Brain Drain” (Elite Migration to the West and massive deaths due to HIV/AIDS), so also are Haitians in the Caribbean and African Americans in the U.S. are experiencing a similar problem. Furthermore, in the case of the black population in the U.S., however, they are actually experiencing two sets of the dual brain drain (1) External or international and (2) Domestic."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can “Charter Cities” Change the World? A Q&A With Paul Romer

Can “Charter Cities” Change the World? A Q&A With Paul Romer - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com: "Right now, the United States and Cuba have a treaty that gives the United States administrative control in perpetuity over a piece of sovereign Cuban territory, Guantanamo Bay. I’ve suggested that Canada and Cuba sign a new treaty in which Canada would take over administration of this area, bring Canadian rule of law there, and let a city grow up that could bring to Cuba some of the advantages that Hong Kong brought to China."

Project BLT

Project BLT @ One Hungry Chef

Subway Yearbook Photos

YouTube - Subway Yearbook Photos

Smart materials will "revolutionise" architecture within years: expert

Smart materials will "revolutionise" architecture within years: expert: "The use of materials that change their properties in reaction to heat, moisture or light will “revolutionise” architecture, German architect Axel Ritter said."

Denis Coderre: Classy

Denis Coderre: Classy - Inkless Wells - Macleans.ca:
"“What I find disappointing is that we’re washing our dirty laundry in public”

— Denis Coderre, during a nationally televised news conference announcing his resignation as Michael Ignatieff’s Quebec lieutenant"

Windmills Are Killing Our Birds

Robert Bryce: Windmills Are Killing Our Birds - WSJ.com: "By 2030, environmental and lobby groups are pushing for the U.S. to be producing 20% of its electricity from wind. Meeting that goal, according to the Department of Energy, will require the U.S. to have about 300,000 megawatts of wind capacity, a 12-fold increase over 2008 levels. If that target is achieved, we can expect some 300,000 birds, at the least, to be killed by wind turbines each year."

Some Truths More Inconvenient than Others?

Some Truths More Inconvenient than Others?: "But why can’t nuclear be the main answer? After all - there isn’t any other answer! Conservation can be incentivized through higher prices, yes. Solar and wind can contribute in some specialized niches. But remember, half of America’s electricity is generated by burning coal. Only nuclear power is sufficiently cheap and scalable to replace so massive a power source. If your version of environmentalism cannot accept that truth, please kindly refrain from lecturing others about the blinding effects of ideology!"

Prince of Pot's sentence reeks of injustice and mocks our sovereignty

Prince of Pot's sentence reeks of injustice and mocks our sovereignty: "From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid provincial and federal taxes as a 'marijuana seed vendor' totalling nearly $600,000.
Emery challenged a law he disagrees with using exactly the non-violent, democratic processes we urge our children to embrace and of which we are so proud."

Yamal: A "Divergence" Problem

Yamal: A "Divergence" Problem � Climate Audit: "Here's a re-cap of this saga that should make clear the stunning importance of what Steve has found. One point of terminology: a tree ring record from a site is called a chronology, and is made up of tree ring records from individual trees at that site. Multiple tree ring series are combined using standard statistical algorithms that involve detrending and averaging (these methods are not at issue in this thread). A good chronology–good enough for research that is–should have at least 10 trees in it, and typically has much more."

Guantanamo Deadline May Be Missed

Guantanamo Deadline May Be Missed - NYTimes.com: "That leaves about 100 remaining detainees. The administration hopes to relocate some to countries abroad and put others on trial. But as many as several dozen may be held indefinitely without trial, as the authorities have deemed them too dangerous to transfer but unable to be prosecuted because of problems with evidence."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Exile for Non-Believers: Polar Bear Expert Told to Stay Home

Jennifer Marohasy - Exile for Non-Believers: Polar Bear Expert Told to Stay Home:
"Hi Mitch,

The world is a political place and for polar bears, more so now than ever before. I have no problem with dissenting views as long as they are supportable by logic, scientific reasoning, and the literature.

I do believe, as do many Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) members, that for the sake of polar bear conservation, views that run counter to human induced climate change are extremely unhelpful. In this vein, your positions and statements in the Manhattan Declaration, the Frontier Institute, and the Science and Public Policy Institute are inconsistent with positions taken by the PBSG.

I too was not surprised by the members not endorsing an invitation.

Nothing I heard had to do with your science on harvesting or your research on polar bears – it was the positions you’ve taken on global warming that brought opposition.

Time will tell who is correct but the scientific literature is not on the side of those arguing against human induced climate change.
I look forward to having someone else chair the PBSG.

Best regards,
Andy (Derocher) …"

Follow Up: More Female Economic Indicators…

Follow Up: More Female Economic Indicators…: "Experts make connections between the trend and the recession. A beauty specialist said people seek to escape reality in a recession, and dyed hair offers a kind of fantasy image. During the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, dyed hair was also fashionable."

Inducing Innovation with Prizes

Computing Community Consortium: "The awarding of the $1 million Netflix Prize this week reopens an interesting bigger question: Are prizes a viable mechanism for encouraging research in the computing fields? From Netflix’s perspective, the answer is almost certainly yes. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is quoted telling the New York Times (probably tongue-in-cheek) “You’re getting Ph.D.’s for a dollar an hour.”"

No, Copenhagen is not dead. Quite the reverse — prospects for a global deal have never been better.

No, Copenhagen is not dead. Quite the reverse — prospects for a global deal have never been better. � Climate Progress: "The fact is, the news from China, India, Japan, and this country is far more positive toward the possibility of agreement than it has been for a decade or longer. This is, finally, the one brief shining moment for action."

Is Copenhagen Dead?

Is Copenhagen Dead? | Mother Jones: "They conclude that the negotiations have reached an impasse, with the developing and developed countries disagreeing about how far each side should go to reduce emissions: 'While it is true that developed countries carry the burden of historical responsibility, and must prove to be the first movers in mitigation, developing countries will become bigger emitters in the future; this intractable dynamic is proving unconstructive.'"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cohen defies critics with Israeli gig

Cohen defies critics with Israeli gig - Middle East, World - The Independent: "He – literally – danced off the stage before each of three encores, one of which charmed the enraptured crowd to their feet in an excited singalong, thousands waving their green glow sticks in time to 'So Long Marianne'. He and his gravelly bass baritone voice were at peak form, from a gloriously funky 'I'm Your Man' to the dark and haunting 'Famous Blue Raincoat' and, of course, 'Hallelujah' (which served as a reminder that none of the many cover versions are as good).

But this is Israel, and the political context cannot be ignored."

Simulating and stimulating climate hope

World exclusive* video premier: Simulating and stimulating climate hope � Climate Progress

Every G20 nation wants to be Canada, Stephen Harper insists

Every G20 nation wants to be Canada, Stephen Harper insists: "'We are one of the most stable regimes in history. . . . We are unique in that regard,' he added, noting Canada had enjoyed more than 150 years of untroubled Parliamentary democracy.

Just in case that was not enough to persuade doubters, Harper threw in some more facts about the geographically second-largest nation in the world.

'We also have no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them,'"

The Serendipity of Genius

The Serendipity of Genius | Standpoint: "Even without much schooling, therefore, parents can provide their children with intellectual appetite and a motivation for achievement. Discussions at the dinner table, or other regular family gatherings, are extremely important — and it doesn't matter much how high-powered the arguments are. What is crucial is that the awareness is raised-awareness about the importance of certain topics relating to economics and economic policy, to anything that touches social questions and of course the appetite to learn more about them."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Don’t Read This Post

Don’t Read This Post - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com:
"1. Your cars’ fuel economy in miles per gallon or, even better, gallons per mile.
2. How much you drove in the last year.
3. The cost to fill your tank.
4. Your monthly and annual fuel expenditures.
5. How your cars’ fuel economy sits in relation to other cars in their classes.
6. What your fuel savings in gallons and dollars would be if you switched to a hybrid or other highly economical vehicle.

If a 2006 paper by Thomas S. Turrentine and Kenneth S. Kurani (of the University of California, Davis) is accurate, your score on this quiz may well be zero."

Michael Ignatieff’s weighty autumn - Paul Wells

Michael Ignatieff’s weighty autumn - Paul Wells - Macleans.ca: "The challenge for Ignatieff since he moved to Toronto from Massachussetts in 2004 has been how to position himself. Is he regular folks? When I interviewed him in 2006 he was busy droppin’ his g’s from every gerund and ever-lovin’ participle. He has since decided that won’t work. Small mercies."

The 19th c. world in living color

The 19th c. world in living color: "Henry Harrison was the paymaster-general of the British Royal Navy at the end of the 19th c. He traveled the world, taking copious pictures and biological specimens.

He was also an artist, so he adroitly colored all of his slides while he was still on the spot, coming amazingly close to photorealism for the era."

Climate change: Avoiding a crash at Copenhagen

Climate change: Avoiding a crash at Copenhagen | The Economist: "That so much energy is being focused on solving this most intractable of problems is a good thing. Unfortunately, much of it is misdirected."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why I loathe feminism ... and believe it will ultimately destroy the family | Mail Online

Why I loathe feminism ... and believe it will ultimately destroy the family: "I was only five years old, but I knew my mother didn't like me. And with no servants to restrain her now, she lashed out whenever she felt like it.

When we finally joined my father in a flat in Beirut, I soon realised that he was no saint either. He would constantly scream and rage at all of us."

Though I disagree, it's a pretty strong opinion by a pretty strong woman.

Is the Internet melting our brains?

Is the Internet melting our brains? | Salon Books: "Every communication advancement throughout human history, from the pencil to the typewriter to writing itself, has been met with fear, skepticism and a longing for the medium that's been displaced. Far from heralding in a '2001: Space Odyssey' dystopia, Baron believes that social networking sites, blogs and the Internet are actually making us better writers and improving our ability to reach out to our fellow man. 'A Better Pencil' is both a defense of the digital revolution and a keen examination of how technology both improves and complicates our lives."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Barbara Kay: Judy Rebick plays the "shmaltz card" and throws her grandmother under the bus

Barbara Kay: Judy Rebick plays the "shmaltz card" and throws her grandmother under the bus - Full Comment: "Anyone who knows anything about Jewish history would know that Rebick's grandmother's generation would have been staunch defenders of Israel's right to exist without fear of terrorism; would have recognized Arab Jew-hatred as the godchild of Nazi Germany it is; would have considered the left-Islamist alliance their granddaughter defends an abomination; and almost certainly, if they are the kind of Jews Rebick describes, they would have been shocked, shamed and disgusted by Naomi Klein, the poster child for betrayal of one's peoplehood, and they would be right to feel that way."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Melting Ice Caps Expose Hundreds Of Secret Arctic Lairs

Melting Ice Caps Expose Hundreds Of Secret Arctic Lairs | The Onion - America's Finest News Source: "ZACKENBERG RESEARCH STATION, GREENLAND—Claiming it to be one of the most dramatic and visible signs of climate change to date, researchers said Monday that receding polar ice caps have revealed nearly 200 clandestine lairs once buried deep beneath hundreds of feet of Arctic ice. We always assumed there would be some secret lairs here and there, but the sheer nue secret lairs here and there, but the sheer number now being exposed is indeed troubling"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Google signs deal to print 2m books on Espresso machines | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Google signs deal to print 2m books on Espresso machines | Technology | guardian.co.uk: "'We founded Google Books on the premise that anyone, anywhere, anytime should have the tools to explore the great works of history and culture,' Google Books Product Manager Brandon Badger said in a blog post. 'Reading digital books can be an enjoyable experience, but we realize that there are times when readers want a physical copy of a book.'"

Absurdist Literature Stimulates Our Brains

News Blog Articles | Absurdist Literature Stimulates Our Brains | Miller-McCune Online Magazine: "Absurdist literature, it appears, stimulates our brains.

That's the conclusion of a study recently published in the journal Psychological Science. Psychologists Travis Proulx of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Steven Heine of the University of British Columbia report our ability to find patterns is stimulated when we are faced with the task of making sense of an absurd tale. What's more, this heightened capability carries over to unrelated tasks."

Does it matter if Semenya had unfair advantage?

Does it matter if Semenya had unfair advantage?: "I know she is a freak because normal people don't usually succeed as elite athletes. And the tragedy in Semenya's case is that she is being publicly humiliated to ensure that she doesn't have an unfair advantage over women who wouldn't be where they are if they weren't born with an unfair advantage over everybody else."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ear to the Universe starts listening

Ear to the Universe starts listening: Scientific American: "A large array of radio telescopes has begun its first sustained search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) and at rates faster than ever before. Even so, the project has scrambled to find money to stay open and reach its planned size. 'We've had a chequered time here,' says Don Backer, director of the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) in Hat Creek, California. 'We're skating on thin ice.'

The ATA has 42 six-metre dishes swivelling in the high desert, far fewer than the 350 dishes planned. In May, the array began combing the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy for alien signals across a broad slice of the radio spectrum. The effort comes 50 years after the concept of SETI was invented."

New power line for northern B.C. promised

New power line for northern B.C. promised: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the new funding for the construction of the Northwest Transmission Line during his visit to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama, as part of the two leaders' 'clean energy dialogue.'

'The Northwest Transmission Line will facilitate the development of green energy and help provide British Columbia's northern and remote communities with more sustainable and affordable power,' Harper said in a release."

Joint Statement by President Barack Obama of the United States of America and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada on Accelerating Economic Recovery and Job Creation

Department of Energy - Joint Statement by President Barack Obama of the United States of America and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada on Accelerating Economic Recovery and Job Creation: "The Prime Minister and the President reviewed progress to date on the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue launched during President Obama's visit to Ottawa. They agreed that the report to leaders presented by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Canadian Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice represents an important path forward for pursuing our shared objectives of environmental protection and secure energy supply in a balanced and effective manner. The full report is available HERE."

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "'Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.' is a grammatically correct sentence used as an example of how homonyms and homophones can be used to create complicated constructs"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Run, Izzard, run and run again

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Run, Izzard, run and run again: "Running into London's Trafalgar Square on Tuesday, Eddie Izzard took the last of 1.6m steps, from the 43 marathons he has completed in 51 days.

He has run at least 27 miles a day, six days a week, over the past seven weeks, covering more than 1,110 miles of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland."

Monday, September 14, 2009

I will not sign this letter

Letters of Note: I will not sign this letter

Billions Served: Norman Borlaug interviewed by Ronald Bailey

Billions Served: Norman Borlaug interviewed by Ronald Bailey: - Reason Magazine: "Who has saved more human lives than anyone else in history? Who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970? Who still teaches at Texas A&M at the age of 86? The answer is Norman Borlaug."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Peter D. Kramer on putting lithium into drinking water.

Peter D. Kramer on putting lithium into drinking water.: "Again, communities with more lithium in the drinking water had lower levels of suicide. The results were striking enough that an editorialist in the British Journal of Psychiatry seriously suggested exploring the utility of adding lithium to drinking water, “as the eventual benefits for community mental health may be considerable.”"

The Next Osama

The Next Osama - By Jarret Brachman | Foreign Policy: "If you're asking whether the United States has defeated al Qaeda, you also have to ask: Which al Qaeda are we talking about? The senior leaders operating somewhere in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan? The al Qaeda franchises around the world, most notably in Iraq, Algeria, and Yemen? Or the global ideological following, sparked by al Qaeda, calling itself al Qaeda, but not technically affiliated with al Qaeda? If you ask about winning, you have to also ask whether winning means killing the organization or just handicapping it"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arming Somalia

Arming Somalia | Foreign Policy: "All told, a State Department official admitted at a June 26 news briefing that it shipped 'in the neighborhood of 40 tons worth of arms and munitions' to Somalia. 'We have also asked the two units that are there, particularly the Ugandans, to provide weapons to the TFG, and we have backfilled the Ugandans for what they have provided to the TFG government,' the official told journalists. The cost was 'under $10 million.' A different State Department official working on Somalia counterterrorism policy told Foreign Policy that of the total amount, the bulk was spent on ammunition, while the air freight bill was $900,000 and $1.25 million was 'cash in a brown paper bag.'"

True Tales of Conversational Vengeance

True Tales of Conversational Vengeance - Nerd World - TIME.com: "Okay, look, I'm fine with people never watching TV. They're lying, but I understand. I don't watch that much TV myself. But why do people at parties feel such smug delight at telling you (okay, me), without hesitation, that they don't watch TV? If you met a dentist at a party, would you announce that you don't brush your teeth? Would you tell a structural engineer that you don't ride in elevators?"

The Sayano-Shushenskaya dam accident

The Sayano-Shushenskaya dam accident - The Big Picture - Boston.com

How much did highways really matter for suburbanization?

Marginal Revolution: How much did highways really matter for suburbanization?: "The simple broad narrative is that, by and large, suburban living expanded throughout the twentieth century. Around the world, as incomes rise, people choose the mobility of the automobile; they overwhelmingly prefer the range and choice of personal transportation. As they choose automobility, origins and destinations disperse; and as these disperse, the attraction of the auto grows. It is a self-reinforcing cycle that is facilitated by better highways. But as with most public sector infrastructure developments, these usually follow rather than lead."

13 more things: The Bloop

13 more things: The Bloop - 02 September 2009 - New Scientist: "IN THE summer of 1997, an array of underwater microphones, or hydrophones, owned by the US government picked up a strange sound. For a minute, it rose rapidly in frequency; then it disappeared. The hydrophones, a relic of cold-war submarine tracking, picked up this signal again and again during those summer months, then it was never heard again. No one knows what made the sound, now known as 'The Bloop'"

The Interview: Douglas Coupland

The Interview: Douglas Coupland - Arts & Culture, Books - Macleans.ca: "Q: Generation A is set in a dystopian future, yet the title is very hopeful-sounding. Your characters talk about the importance of happy endings. Does this book have a happy ending?

A: I’m sitting here with a little exclamation mark in a balloon above my head going, ‘This is the first person who’s ever called it a happy ending.’ Usually people are like, ‘Oooh, bummer!’ At the ending, whether you see it as a plus or a minus, it should leave a reader meditating on the notion of, how important are books in establishing what you call ‘yourself,’ and are you moving away from that?"

Canada's wine industry: Outsourcing terroir | The Economist

Canada's wine industry: Outsourcing terroir | The Economist: "Smaller wineries in both British Columbia and Ontario, which produce better-quality wines, say the labelling is devaluing their image. They want the rule changed. They accuse the Liquor Control Board, an arm of Ontario’s government that holds a monopoly on off-sales in the province, of siding with the heavyweights. The board displays their blended wines on the shelves dedicated to promoting local products at the front of every store. It is bad enough for consumers to have to buy wine from the government. Why the government thinks consumers should be hoodwinked in the cause of trying to compete with Chile and Australia in wine production is even more baffling."

Thomas Friedman is a Liberal Fascist

Thomas Friedman is a Liberal Fascist - Jonah Goldberg - The Corner on National Review Online: "I have no idea why I still have the capacity to be shocked by such things. A few years ago, during the worst part of the Iraq war, I wrote a column saying that Iraq needed a Pinochet type to bring order to Iraq and help develop democratic and liberal institutions. To this day, I get vicious hate mail from liberal and leftist readers for my 'pro-dictator' stance. Meanwhile, Thomas Friedman, golden boy of the NYT op-ed page, is writing love-letters to dictatorships because they have the foresight to invest in electric batteries and waterless toilets or something"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You’re teaching our kids WHAT?

You’re teaching our kids WHAT? - Health - Macleans.ca: "Now say you’re the parent of a 14-year-old, and your kid comes home one day and tells you that the owner of a sex shop came into her classroom, dildo in hand, and talked to the kids about ways to make their love lives “hot and sexy.” Are you going to breathe a sigh of relief that someone else is telling your kid this stuff, or is your inner Bill O’Reilly going to surface? Maybe you’ll want to know what, pray tell, was wrong with the old euphemistic puberty puns and plastic pelvises?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Endangering Species: Listing Can Make Animals Valuable Black Market Commodities

Endangering Species: Listing Can Make Animals Valuable Black Market Commodities [Slide Show]: Scientific American: "To celebrate the raptor's official 'National Rare/Precious Animal' designation, the Indonesian government printed the Javan hawk eagle's likeness on postage stamps and phone books. Soon zookeepers and illegal pet collectors were clamoring for one of their own, and the birds began popping up for sale in markets around Indonesia."

Et tu, Sigg?

Et tu, Sigg? - The Boston Globe: "I tried to reduce my family’s use of food cans, which use BPA to prevent corrosion. I threw out the hand-me-down, scratched sippy cups my friends had bequeathed to me for my 3-year-old. And I bought an aluminum Sigg bottle for my daughter.

I should have known better."

Hey, I hired a security guard

Hey, I hired a security guard to make sure I don't steal from you (ColbyCosh.com): "Excuse me, Clark Hoyt, but are you literally, physically dickless? If reporters don't need close scrutiny to ensure their personal interests don't influence their 'expertise', then what the hell do we need a 'public editor' for at all? The premise of your job is that conflicts of interests cause harm and ought to be avoided! Readers don't need a 'public editor' to tell them they shouldn't question David Pogue's integrity because he's a nice, talented, funny guy! That's the side of the argument opposite the one you are supposed to be representing!"

Crying Racism

Crying�Racism - Real Clear Politics – TIME.com: "According to a certain portion of the left, there is no loyal opposition these days, just racism lurking behind each and every criticism of our new president.

And now we've come to Van Jones. This is a man whose public record, background and professed ideology makes Nancy Pelosi look like Barry Goldwater. He's also a man who escaped any public scrutiny whatsoever in becoming an adviser to the President of the United States.

Yet bringing to light some of the more remarkable and unsavory parts of his record is....."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Do Fire Stations Ever Catch Fire?

mental_floss Blog - Do Fire Stations Ever Catch Fire?: "Of course, the answer is of course. Life is just ironic that way. What’s surprising however is how many stations have gone up in smoke, and how often it happens. Just this year, for instance, a firefighter in Japan, in haste, left the stove on while cooking dinner in the firehouse on the way out to fight a blaze. Ten fire trucks from other, nearby stations, had to put out the firehouse fire. Perhaps the guilty fireman should consider ordering-in for dinner from now on?"

Don't blame--or subsidize--Greyhound

Don't blame--or subsidize--Greyhound: "Don't get me wrong. Political interference is no reason to give Greyhound huge sums of tax dollars to continue running buses to Nowheresville or Pumphandle and Cantgettherefromhere.

It's only a reason to argue for an end to political interference. Open up our highways to true competition and let passengers and the market decide what kind of bus should run from here to there, how often and at what time."

Too many votes for Karzai

Too many votes for Karzai: "In Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, the results from 66 polling sites have been released.

In nine of them, 100 per cent of the votes went to Karzai."

I'm not really surprised at this at all.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The First Five Steps Toward Believing 9/11 Was an Inside Job

The First Five Steps Toward Believing 9/11 Was an Inside Job: The Cartoon Lounge : The New Yorker: "I watched a program last night on the National Geographic Channel called “9/11: Science and Conspiracy.” I learned at least three things. One: people believe what they want to believe and it’s very hard to change their minds. Two: The National Geographic Channel’s definition of “science” is suspiciously loose and mostly involves blowing stuff up and filming it. And three: thirty-three per cent of Americans believe that the U.S. government carried out 9/11, or at least allowed it to happen."

A proud moment for the CBC

A proud moment for the CBC: "The CBC's choice won't sit well with separatists, who still feel the shame of New France's defeat 250 years ago, but such sentiment is nonsense. As producer Mark Starowicz explained, 'This is an act of history and journalism by a documentary unit and people should understand what happened. It's not a celebration of anything.' True, but the network's principled stance in defence of an accurate depiction of Canada's rich heritage is itself worth celebrating. Allowing any particular aggrieved group to begin defining the whole of Canadian history for us all would serve only to skew our nation's narrative, leaving us not only less united as citizens, but more ignorant, to boot."

Friday, September 4, 2009

50 things that are being killed by the internet

50 things that are being killed by the internet - Telegraph: "44) Trust in Nigerian businessmen and princes
Some gift horses should have their mouths very closely inspected."

Funding the Afghan Taliban

Funding the Afghan Taliban | GlobalPost: "It is the open secret no one wants to talk about, the unwelcome truth that most prefer to hide. In Afghanistan, one of the richest sources of Taliban funding is the foreign assistance coming into the country.

Virtually every major project includes a healthy cut for the insurgents. Call it protection money, call it extortion, or, as the Taliban themselves prefer to term it, “spoils of war,” the fact remains that international donors, primarily the United States, are to a large extent financing their own enemy.

“Everyone knows this is going on,” said one U.S. Embassy official, speaking privately."

IBM plunges into the 'smart grid for water'

IBM plunges into the 'smart grid for water' | Green Tech - CNET News: "The goal is to sketch out the technical architecture required to more efficiently use fresh water, only one percent of the available water on Earth.

Water systems even in developed countries like the U.S. are notoriously outdated, with faulty pipes--some of them still made of wood--result in 25 percent to 45 percent lost water. That means high-tech approaches, such as using sensors to gauge water quality, are a tough sell to cash-strapped municipalities, most of which are more concerned with maintaining the basic infrastructure."

Nixon's Plan For Health Reform, In His Own Words

Nixon's Plan For Health Reform, In His Own Words - Kaiser Health News: "Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.

Three years ago, I proposed a major health insurance program to the Congress, seeking to guarantee adequate financing of health care on a nationwide basis. That proposal generated widespread discussion and useful debate. But no legislation reached my desk."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The "New Normal" For the U.S. Economy: What Will It Be?

The "New Normal" For the U.S. Economy: What Will It Be? - Brookings Institution: "The conclusion seems inescapable: we need a new era of public restraint, not just private thrift. Not immediately, of course: given the extent of the economic contraction and job losses, fiscal policy should probably remain expansionary through the end of fiscal year 2011. In the meantime, we should do nothing to make the long-term fiscal situation worse. (In particular, health reform should be genuinely deficit-neutral, without commandeering the resources needed for other purposes, including deficit reduction.)"

Parody: Awesome People Film A Melodrama At IKEA

Parody: Awesome People Film A Melodrama At IKEA

The beginning of the end for Political Correctness: the counter-revolution has begun in Doncaster

The beginning of the end for Political Correctness: the counter-revolution has begun in Doncaster - Telegraph Blogs: "You may be feeling disorientated, overcome by a surreal sensation, on hearing such extraordinary, unprecedented views. They are the almost forgotten, forcibly extinguished voice of sanity which most people had thought forever excised from British politics. These policies are common sense, which is something we have not experienced in any council chamber, still less the House of Commons, in decades. The establishment is moving heaven and earth to discredit and obstruct Davies. He is that ultimate embarrassment: the boy who reveals that the Emperor has no clothes."

Group Polarization: The Trend to Extreme Decisions

Group Polarization: The Trend to Extreme Decisions | PsyBlog: "In fact group discussions tend to polarize groups so that, rather than people's views always being averaged, their initial preferences can become exaggerated and their final position is often more extreme than it was initially.

In an early set of studies all about risk, decision-making was shown to shift either towards the cautious or the risky depending on the type of problem (Stoner, 1968)."

Ducklings rescued from swimming pool

Nothing To Do With Arbroath: Ducklings rescued from swimming pool

Cute enough to make you puke.

Ten Ways to Make BC a Model for Urban Farming

The Tyee — Ten Ways to Make BC a Model for Urban Farming: "All the interest in these vertical farms is indicative of the lack of understanding of the ecological processes that support our food system today. The idea that you don't need soil and all these messy ecological things just demonstrates how far we've moved away conceptually from an understanding of where the nutrients that feed our food comes from and how they get recycled through an ecosystem."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A question of commitment

The Torch: A question of commitment: "We’ve tried ignoring Afghanistan, and it became a haven for our enemies. If protecting our most vital national interest – namely the physical security of the Canadian people – isn’t worth our investment, then what precisely is?"

Report: Geoengineering an option to limit climate change

Report: Geoengineering an option to limit climate change | Green Tech - CNET News: "Geoengineering is not a last resort, but the next necessary step to recalibrate the Earth's climate unless carbon emissions are significantly reduced in the near future, the Royal Society, the U.K.'s national academy of sciences, announced Tuesday."


TheMoneyIllusion � The best prediction of the past 20 years?

TheMoneyIllusion � The best prediction of the past 20 years?: "So the obvious choice for most successful prediction is Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 claim that “history was ending,” that the great ideological battle between democratic capitalism and other isms was essentially over, and that henceforth the world would become gradually more democratic, peaceful, and market-oriented.

So you would think that intellectuals would treat Fukuyama as a hero, that he would be figuratively hoisted on our shoulders and paraded around as the prophet of the new age. Just the reverse. I must have seen his name mentioned dozens of times in intellectual outlets like the New York Review of Books. And every single time, without exception, the reference has been derisive, mocking, a sort of rolling of the eyes in wonder than anyone could have believed anything so foolish. So what gives?"

Japan’s new first lady says she rode a UFO

Japan’s new first lady says she rode a UFO - Need to know - Macleans.ca: "Miyuki Hatoyama, the wife of Japan’s premier-elect Yukio Hatoyama claimed she once rode on an alien spacecraft."

I'm guessing this didn't come up in the campaign.

Making Music for Monkey Minds

Making Music for Monkey Minds: Scientific American Podcast: "With actual monkey calls in mind (MONKEY SOUNDS) Teie composed monkey music. (THREAT MUSIC) That tune was based on calls signifying anxiety. This one represents a happy, safe condition. (CALMING MUSIC) Snowdon played the compositions to tamarins. They became agitated hearing the threat song. And the more upbeat music put them in a mellow mood."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Record of the Paper

mediabistro.com: Articles: Excerpt: <I>The Record of the Paper</I>: "With respect to interrogations, and in a section titled 'Torture,' Ignatieff wrote (the words in parentheses are Ignatieff's): 'Permissible duress might include forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental health or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisoners in hoods) that would produce stress.' Ignatieff's article was written, printed, and put into the distribution pipeline for delivery to retail outlets and homes across the country too late for the Times to recall it following the CBS News broadcast on April 28, which showed for the first time photographs of tortured Iraqi detainees, including a hooded Iraqi standing on a box at Abu Ghraib prison."

Pundits' Guide

Pundits' Guide

Good Canadian Politics source.

All Dogs Don't Go to Heaven: Post-Rapture Pet Care

All Dogs Don't Go to Heaven: Post-Rapture Pet Care | Lifestyle | Mainstreet: "Here’s how it works:

Starting for a $110 fee, Eternal-Earthbound-Pets.com (EEP) promises that if and when the rapture occurs, they will care for any pets left behind."

Sixty Symbols - Physics and Astronomy videos

Sixty Symbols - Physics and Astronomy videos

The Periodic Table of Videos - University of Nottingham

The Periodic Table of Videos - University of Nottingham

Hamas leader denies Nazi genocide of Jews

Hamas leader denies Nazi genocide of Jews - Yahoo! News: "A Hamas spiritual leader on Monday called teaching Palestinian children about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews a 'war crime,' rejecting a suggestion that the U.N. might include the Holocaust in Gaza's school curriculum."

This is why I support Hamas' enemies.

Who won the recession?

Who won the recession?: "A similar list from Business Insider has a better name: The 25 Who Won the Recession. I thought this recession business was supposed to kill the influence of the financial sector...funny how that never happens."

Organizing Against WorldNetDaily

Organizing Against WorldNetDaily | The Next Right: "No respectable organization should support the kind of fringe idiocy that WND peddles. Those who do are not respectable."

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