The Post-Postmodernist

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bowie Does Comedy

Why are the English so much funnier than us?

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Man with the Golden Gun...

...could be you.

It's a replica created to the same specifications though, including the 24-carat gold plating. Better still, you can break it down into its various pieces – pen, cigarette case, lighter and cufflink. Plus you get a bullet with '007' inscribed on it, along with a swanky case, and an autographed photo of Christopher Lee in his role as Scaramanga, the baddie who the gun belonged to in the film. Now that's worth $1,000 of anyone's money.

More Lakes Found on Titan

I think they call this one, Lake Rorschach .

Cassini's radar team is now convinced that they are seeing lakes, says deputy radar team leader Stephen Wall of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US.

"I forced them to spend an hour coming up with other possibilities and no one came up with any that even passed the laugh test," Wall told New Scientist.

One alternative offered was that the dark patches are actually soot-like accumulations of organic molecules. But channels leading to the dark areas indicate that they are filled with liquid, not organic gunk, Wall says.

"Whatever that black stuff is has to be extremely mobile, which leads us to think that it's liquid," he says. The only substances that would be so fluid at Titan's surface temperature of about -180°C are liquid methane and ethane, he continues.

Disproportionate Response

Here's a thought experiment.

If the above had happened in America -- and surely something very similar has at some point -- to which political parties do you think the subjects in the video would belong, if they could vote at all?

I still can't understand why that mean man doing all the punching didn't try to reason with those other two gentlemen -- who no doubt have been forced into their actions by an oppressive society that gives them no recourse to making a living other than crime -- nor to understand them. He's a regular Hitler!

(Which reminds me... speaking of Hitler...)

After all, as one wise "progressive" once said, when discussing the Mike Wallace interview with Ahmadinjihad...

Look dude, here's my take:

I didn't watch the interview on 60 Minutes, didn't
watch the hourlong unedited interview on CSPAN (though
I heartily support that practice and think that it's
the future of journalism), and furthermore I don't
endorse interviewing the guy, in the same way I
wouldn't endorse devoting an hour to the Speaker of
the House of Chad (if there is such a thing). He's a
loudmouth who glories in making idle threats, when in
fact, as I've said over and over again to you, he is
not the first, second, third or even fourth in command
of the Iranian government. You've tried very hard to
make him the second coming of Idi Amin, Mobutu, Pol
Pot and Saddam all in one, but the fact is that the
mullahs control the government and the President
doesn't even control the armed forces. So I don't
agree with interviewing and giving a substantial
platform to a guy who wields imaginary power at best.
Furthermore, a polemicist is going to be a polemicist,
and so there's no reason whatsoever to listen to him,
but every reason to follow and guage the actions of
the country to determine how best to respond. Of
course, actually talking to them would enhance this
process, as we have talked to and negotiated with
enemies over the last 230 years of the republic in
order to solve foreign policy issues.

I suppose that means I'm making excuses for somebody.

So you wake up and pay attention to something that
matters rather than irrelevant interviews with
powerless blowhards.

Such a wise man. I myself had forgotten what a joyous, loving, understanding, and thoroughly peaceful experience it's been for our Republic for lo' the last 230 years. My bad!


Definitely click pictures to enlarge.
It looks like a speck of dust on the surface of the sun. But this spectacular picture shows the space shuttle Atlantis alongside the International Space Station (ISS) silhouetted as they orbit the earth.
The image was taken in Normandy by French astrophotographer Thierry Legault. He used a digital camera attached to a £5,000 specially kitted-out telescope.

A Bad Day at The New Republic

David Frum's post is so spot on, I can only reproduce it in its entirety:

Spencer Ackerman of the New Republic yesterday accused Condoleezza Rice of lying and our own Byron York of disregarding crucial evidence with regard to the Clinton anti-terrorism record.

His crucial point (delivered in the heavily sarcastic style that now unfortunately often pervades the mag's online edition):

"Did you read the 9/11 Commission report? You know, the one that cites Clarke's plan again and again? Start on page 196 and continue to page 214. It's helpful!"

So let's go to that report and see for ourselves.

NRO readers will want to start a little earlier than page 196. Maybe on p. 193, where the report describes the Clinton administration's efforts to respond to the attack on the USS Cole.

President Clinton told us [the authors of the report] that before he could launch further attacks on al Qaida in Afghanistan, or deliver an ultimatum to the Taliban ... the CIA or the FBI had to be sure enough that they would "be willing to stand up in public and say, we believe that he [bin Laden] did this." He said he was very frustrated that he could not get a definitive enough answer to do something about the Cole attack.

That complaint - Clinton wanted to do something, but other people would not let him - is repeated over the succeeding 3 pages. For example, in a Nov. 25, 2000, memo,

[National Security Adviser Sandy] Berger informed President Clinton about a closely held idea: a last-chance ultimatum for the Taliban. Clarke was developing the idea with specific demands: immeidate extradition of bin Laden and his lieutenants to a legitimate government for a trial, observable closure of all terrorist facilities in Afghanistan, and expulsion of all terrorists from Afghanistan within 90 days. No such ultimatum was issued.

On Dec. 21, 2000, the CIA presented a "preliminary judgment" that bin Laden had indeed ordered the attack on the Cole.

This, President Clinton and Berger told us, was not the conclusion they needed in order to go to war or deliver an ultimatum threatening war. The election and change of power was not the issue, President Clinton added. There was enough time. If the agencies had given him a definitive answer, he said, he would have sought a UN Security Council ultimatum and given the Taliban one, two, or three days before taking further action against both al Qaeda and the Taliban. But he did not think it was responsible for a president to launch an invasion of another country just based on a "preliminary judgment."

Richard Clarke's reaction?

Clarke recalled that while the Pentagon and State Department had reservations about retaliation, the issue never came to a head because the FBI and CIA never reached a firm conclusion. He thought they were "holding back." He said he did not know why, but his impression was that Tenet and Reno possibly thought the White House "didn't really want to know," since the principals' discussions by November suggested there was not much White House interest in conducting further military operations against Afghanistan in the administration's last weeks. He thought that instead, President Clinton, Berger, and Secretary Albright were concentrating on a last-minute push for a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis."

That Clinton needed more evidence before he could act came as news to George Tenet however.

Tenet told us he was surprised to hear that the White House was awaiting a conclusion from him on responsiblity for the Cole attack before taking action against al Qaeda. He did not recall Berger or anyone else telling him that they were waiting for the magic words from the CIA or the FBI. Nor did he remember having any discussions with Berger or Clinton about retaliation.

Onto the famous plan, issued on Dec. 29, 2000, and discussed on pp. 196-197. It originated inside the CIA and proposed the following:

* A major effort to support the Northern Alliance through intelligence sharing and increased funding so that it could stave off the Taliban army and tie down al Qaeda fighters. ...

* Increased support [to the government of Uzbekistan] ....

* Assistance to anti-Taliban groups and proxies ....

Clarke endorsed and amplified these ideas. He set an explicit goal of degrading and weakening al Qaeda over the next five years. He also advocated a resumption of Predator flights within Afghanistan in March 2001. Beyond that,

A sentence called for military action to destroy al Qaeda command-and-control targets and infrastructure and Taliban military and command assts. The paper also expressed concern about the presence of al Qaeda operatives in the United States.

These were the operatives who would strike on 9/11. Is "concern" a plan? You can understand why Rice might think not.

PP. 202-205 describe the new administration's determination to take a more aggressive approach - and how it too bogged down in practice. It's not a story that reflects well on anyone, and there is plenty of blame to go around.

But it is very seriously misleading to suggest that the Clinton administration left behind a plan that would have overthrown the Taliban, destroyed al Qaeda, or stopped or even interfered with the 9/11 attacks. And it is fair to note that the steps they did recommend to their successors were steps they had declined to take themselves, not just in 2000, but over the whole period 1998-2000.

Rice (and York) have the better of the argument.

To Frum's great piece -- an example of expert argument that the Left has seemingly forgotten how to do, since YELLING and SNEERING and STAMPING their feet feels so good, I can only add this coda:

The London Sunday Telegraph recently reported that, soon after the war began, Uday was deeply depressed. According to the former director of Iraqi television quoted in the Telegraph, the last words he heard Uday speak were these: "This time I think the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton. I think this is the end."

And for Uday, it was the end... the end of all of his fun. The bottom picture above is of some of the torture devices that he used on his Olympic soccer team, in those spare, precious moments when he was taking a little time off from kidnapping, raping, torturing, and feeding Iraqi women coated in honey to his Rottweilers.

(Please don't confuse Uday with Qusay -- Qusay never did such a thing... he was the one in charge of feeding his father's political opponents feetfirst into plastic shredders.)

Does a Bear Pollute in the Woods?

Environmental surrealism at The Washington Post:

Wildlife Waste Is Major Water Polluter, Studies Say

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 29, 2006; Page A01

Does a bear leave its waste in the woods?

Of course. So do geese, deer, muskrats, raccoons and other wild animals. And now, such states as Virginia and Maryland have determined that this plays a significant role in water pollution.

Geese, such as these at RFK Stadium in the District, are among the wildlife generating most of the bad bacteria in the region's rivers, scientists say.

Scientists have run high-tech tests on harmful bacteria in local rivers and streams and found that many of the germs -- and in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, a majority of them-- come from wildlife dung. The strange proposition that nature is apparently polluting itself has created a serious conundrum for government officials charged with cleaning up the rivers.

Part of the problem lies with the unnaturally high populations of deer, geese and raccoons living in modern suburbs and depositing their waste there. But officials say it would be nearly impossible, and wildly unpopular, to kill or relocate enough animals to make a dent in even that segment of the pollution.

That leaves scientists and environmentalists struggling with a more fundamental question: How clean should we expect nature to be? In certain cases, they say, the water standards themselves might be flawed, if they appear to forbid something as natural as wild animals leaving their dung in the woods.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

BBC News Reporter Surprised That Prisoners in China Do Not Have Freedom of Choice In Organ Donation

Attention, dumbass, this is why we fought the Cold War.

To Get to the Fifth State of Matter, Turn Left at 19th and Kelvin

When the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose wrote his article "Planck's Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta" in 1924, he was unable to get it published and ridiculed for what was simply considered an embarrassing statistical error. In desperation over the physics journals' continued rejections of his article, Bose sent it directly to the physicist he admired the most: none other than Albert Einstein. The german scientist immediately realized the importance of Bose's findings, translated the paper to german and got it published in "Zeitschrift für Physik." He even added the note: "An important forward step."

Einsteins contribution did not stop there. He also realized that the strange behavior Bose described for photons - the particles of light - would also apply to atoms. This lead to the prediction of a strange fifth state of matter: the Bose-Einstein condensate. A state of matter where the individual atoms would all be at the same energy level, and thus appear undistinguishable from each other. As if the lump of matter is made out of one huge super-particle.

It took 70 years from Einstein's prediction and until this strange fifth state of matter could be observed. But in 1995 two american researchers at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, Eric Allin Cornell and Carl E. Wieman, managed to cool down a vapour of Rubidium atoms to a temperature of Less than one millionth of a degree above Absolute Zero, and the predicted state of matter indeed appeared. They were later awarded a shared nobel price together with Wolfgang Ketterle for this accomplishment.

Poll Smoking

The Fountain of Youth?

Brooke looks like any other baby girl. But in fact, she's 12 years old
By Charles Laurence in New York
(Filed: 22/05/2005)

Brooke Greenberg has celebrated 12 birthdays according to the calendar and her family photo albums. In terms of growing up, however, she has yet to reach her first.

To the mystification of the medical world, Brooke is frozen in time, a real-life, female Peter Pan. She weighs 13lb and measures 27 inches, and looks and acts as if she were a six-month-old baby, not a girl about to become a teenager.

Brooke lives with her parents Howard and Melanie Greenberg and her three sisters in Reisterstown, a Baltimore suburb, and doctors credit her survival to their love and support.

"She hasn't changed in 12 years," Mr Greenberg, 48, told The Sunday Telegraph. He does not see his beloved daughter as an object of pity. "Why is it sad?" he asks. "We love her the way she is."

For 12 years the family has changed her nappies, rocked her to sleep and taken turns to give her cuddles. On school days, she is carried gently into a yellow bus and taken to a special school for handicapped children. Her condition has no name and doctors are unaware of any other child in her situation.

Brooke has learned to pull herself up in her cot, crawl across the floor and scoot along in a specially adapted baby-walker. She smiles at people she recognises, but has never been able to say a single word. She does finger paintings when presented with a pot of paint and sheet of paper.

She recognises her family, and giggles when tickled. She has no language skills but has a "sense of self" in that she suffers from healthy sibling rivalry. When her younger sister Carly, now nine, was born, Brooke would cry with jealousy until Mrs Greenberg, 44, picked her up along with the new baby.

That, however, is about as far as she has developed. She simply does not age.

The Right to Profit from Treason

From David Pryce-Jones at National Review

Paying for Treachery

Kim Philby is a household name as a traitor, while George Blake remains virtually unknown although he did more damage and was responsible for the arrest, torture and execution of an estimated 400 men and women working against Communism and the Soviet Union. His life-story is certainly strange. Half Dutch, half Egyptian, he joined MI 6, the British intelligence service during the world war. The North Koreans captured him in the course of the Korean war, and turned him. Back in Britain, he copied almost 5,000 pages of top-level secret information, so that his Soviet controllers knew pretty much everything that was to be known. Identified and arrested in 1960, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 42 years in prison, but then in an ingenious plot surely orchestrated by the KGB he was spirited away from his London prison to Moscow. There he lives to this day, untroubled and receiving a pension from Russia for services rendered.

There is worse. In 1990 he wrote his autobiography, for which his British publishers proposed to pay him £60,000, or about $120,000 in today’s values. Mrs Thatcher’s government took legal action to prevent him profiting from his treason. The British courts ruled that this was only right, and the publishers paid the money to charity. Now the European Court of Human Rights, a European body that sits in Strasbourg and makes up its law as it goes along, has ruled that the Thatcher government breached Blake’s human rights. Disgracefully, this court found no “causal link” between Blake’s treason and the government’s violation of his human rights. In the opinion of the judges, he had suffered “distress and frustration.” Blake is to receive compensation to the tune of £4,690, including costs. Monetarily, the sum may not be that much, but as the historian Andrew Roberts aptly puts it in the Daily Mail, “This decision means that taxpayers are subsidising treachery.”

And that is still not the worst of it. This whole travesty arises because the present Blair government incorporated lock, stock and barrel into British law the European Convention on Human Rights, a monument to political correctness at its zenith. The Strasbourg Court is thus in a position to go against British law, to trump it, dictating to British citizens who have no possible recourse or appeal in their own courts. Folly and injustice of the sort can only breed disrespect for the law, a sense that sane people must take the law into their own hands, and finally – if common-sense continues to be scorned in this way – a national uprising.

Americans, free people everywhere, be warned! Have nothing to do with international courts.

This should come as welcome news at The New York Times and Washington Post.

Meet Today's Lenticular Cloud o' the Day... Ken.

In Chinese, I think this photo's name would be, "Ken."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

al-Qaeda Has Lost the Battle for Iraq

To those who think the Iraq War is creating more terrorists in Iraq than it is killing --- and many of the same people seem to worship public opinion polls -- Read 'em and weep.

via Judith Klinghoffer

Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings. The Shias and Kurds show similarly intense levels of opposition, with 95 percent and 93 percent respectively saying they have very unfavorable views. The Sunnis are also quite negative, but with less intensity. Seventy-seven percent express an unfavorable view, but only 38 percent are very unfavorable. Twenty-three percent express a favorable view (5% very).
Views of Osama bin Laden are only slightly less negative. Overall 93 percent have an unfavorable view, with 77 percent very unfavorable. Very unfavorable views are expressed by 87 percent of Kurds and 94 percent of Shias. Here again, the Sunnis are negative, but less unequivocally—71 percent have an unfavorable view (23% very), and 29 percent a favorable view (3% very).

Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings. The Shias and Kurds show similarly intense levels of opposition, with 95 percent and 93 percent respectively saying they have very unfavorable views. The Sunnis are also quite negative, but with less intensity. Seventy-seven percent express an unfavorable view, but only 38 percent are very unfavorable. Twenty-three percent express a favorable view (5% very).

Views of Osama bin Laden are only slightly less negative. Overall 93 percent have an unfavorable view, with 77 percent very unfavorable. Very unfavorable views are expressed by 87 percent of Kurds and 94 percent of Shias. Here again, the Sunnis are negative, but less unequivocally—71 percent have an unfavorable view (23% very), and 29 percent a favorable view (3% very).

Iraqi confidence in Iraqi forces (as opposed to militias) is increasing while its confidence in US forces is decreasing. Given US policies there can be little doubt but that US forces have lost significant Shia support and gained some Sunni support. I suspect increasing number of Shia no longer believe that American forces are capable of protecting them and with increased confidence in their government's capabilities no longer fear the consequences of an American withdrawal.

It should be noted that Ayatolla Sistani retains his overwhelming popularity amongst the Shia. 95% approve of him. PM Maliki is running a strong second with 86% but al Sadr is trailing far behind with 51%. Nor are Iraqis interested in following Iran's lead.

Asked whether Iran is having a mostly positive or negative influence on the situation in Iraq, just 45 percent of Shias say it is having a positive influence (negative 28%, neutral 27%), while Iran’s influence is viewed a mostly negative by the Kurds (79%) and the Sunnis (94%).
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does a bit better among Shias, with 64 percent having a very (28%) or somewhat (36%) favorable view. But Kurds have a largely unfavorable view (very 43%, somewhat 34%) and the Sunnis an exceedingly unfavorable view (very 80%, somewhat 17%).

Syria is fairing even worse:

Most Shias (68%) think Syria is having a negative influence on Iraq’s situation, as do most Kurds (63%). Sunnis are only mildly positive, with 41 percent having a favorable view (17% negative, 43% neutral).
The most worrisome is the popularity of Hezbollah though luckily it is confined to the Shia.

Hezbollah elicits highly polarized views. An overwhelming 91 percent of Shias have a very (50%) or somewhat favorable (41%) view of Hezbollah, while an equally large 93 percent of Kurds have a very (64%) or somewhat (29%) unfavorable view. Sunnis are also fairly negative, with 59 percent having a very (10%) or somewhat (49%) unfavorable view.

This last part about the rising popularity of Hezb'allah is not exactly good news, but neither is it surprising. Olmert can shoulder much of the blame, for not beating them decisively. That would have meant "civilian" casualities -- in quotes because none of them wear uniforms -- and he just didn't have the stomach for it.

The postmodern west has lost its ability to be ruthless. But nature abhors a vacuum, and the jihadis are more than willing to fill this one with blood.


Speaking of Stringed Instrument Perfection...

Watch Hawaiian ukelele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro play, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

The crescendo is a real jaw-dropper.

She Laughs at You, Paganini!

Watch a 14-year old girl shred what is considered by some the single most difficult classical guitar piece to play, Paganini's 24th Caprice for violin.

A friend from college, Ted Hall, guitar virtuoso for L.A.'s best jazz-fusion band of the 80s, The Fents, performed this piece as part of his senior recital as a music major at my alma mater, Occidental College. I'd be lying if I said he performed it as perfectly as she does.

On Clinton, Narcissism, Finger-Pointing, and What They Call in Poker a "Tell"

The always interesting clinical psychologist Gaghdad Bob puts his PhD to devastating use in a psycho-vivisection of Clinton's unhinged finger-pointing episode with Chris Wallace. Here's a long excerpt, but read the whole thing.

Clinton, Shame and Narcissism: Destroying the Eyes of the World

Clinton’s pathetic performance with Chris Wallace this weekend was a wonderfully revealing moment. While the purpose of his humiliated fury was to try to destroy the eyes of the world, for those of us with eyes that survived the attack, it simply cemented the perception of him as a world class pathological narcissist. For those of you who don’t have the benefit of a Ph.D. in psychoanalysis, allow your old Gagdad to break it all down for you. I knew that piece of paper would come in handy some day.

The narcissistic personality has several core problems, all involving dysregulation of one sort or another. First, they are subject to wide mood swings, the reason being that their mood regulation is not internalized but is dependent upon external circumstances. Circumstances good, mood good. But if circumstances turn bad, than their mood will become poopy very quickly, as is true of my 17 month old. In his case, it is entirely developmentally appropriate. However, it’s a little frightening imagining him carrying around the nuclear football when he hasn't gotten his way.

The adult narcissist has a specific difficulty auto-regulating shame, the “keystone” affect of their disorder. It is unconscious and therefore unrecognized, or only dimly so. Narcissists are quite brittle, the reason being that they attempt to bypass their shame by erecting a facade of grandiosity. But when the grandiosity is poked or prodded, the narcissist will bristle. He might well accuse you of having a “little smirk” on your face or being part of a right-wing conspiracy after making some innocent comment that threatens their grandiosity, as Chris Wallace discovered on Sunday.

Narcissism is not a monolithic condition, but is actually situated along a spectrum from mild to severe. However, the most severe narcissists can often appear to be the most outwardly accomplished. One of the reasons for this is that the more severe the narcissism, the more driven they are to accomplish something in accordance with their grandiosity.

(As an aside, this is why it is generally a mistake to elect someone president who desperately wishes to be president, such as LBJ, Nixon, Al Gore, Clinton. Our better presidents could take it or leave it, because they already had satisfying lives and were capable of generating meaning from within--Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush.)

There are two main classes of narcissism, an egotistical, Clintonian type, and a dissociative type. See if this does not ring a bell: the egotistical (also described as the “oblivious”) type is self-absorbed, arrogant, unabashedly self-aggrandizing, attention demanding, and seemingly shameless.

But underneath the smooth and competent facade, these individuals show a preponderance of shame over guilt, the latter of which is much more healthy. For example, in response to Wallace’s question about Clinton's well known failures to take terrorism seriously, a non-narcissist would simply have said, “hey, my bad. I was like everybody else. Before 9-11, I didn’t take al Qaeda seriously, and I’m really sorry about that now. Let's just be thankful my successor is nothing like me.”

But for a narcissist, this kind of guilt instantly descends into shame, which cannot be tolerated. The EJECT SHAME NOW button has been pushed--therefore, the finger in the face and the shrill accusations of unfairness and right wing conspiracies. We saw the same desperate pattern a few weeks ago with the 9-11 movie. We will continue to see it as long as Clinton takes breath, or until he finally realizes that he doesn't have a legacy to stand on.

As another aside, does this not demonstrate the systematic bias of the left wing MSM Ministry of Truth? Bush and Rumsfeld and Rice have to deal with these kinds of questions from the press constantly, but when liberals interview Clinton, it’s like a warm bath. He relies upon the liberal media to mirror his grandiosity, and they do a fine job of it. He simply does not know how to deal with tough questioning, both because he’s never had to and because he falls apart unless he has a ready lie at his disposal to ward off both the questioner, and more importantly, his shame.

The narcissistic personality is known to experience rage in reaction to a narcissistic injury--or even the threat of an injury. Clinton, of course, is famous for his infantile “purple fits” of shame-rage, which are not to be confused with manly aggression or assertiveness. Rather, it is the weak man’s imitation of a strong man. It is the same weakness and vanity that caused Clinton to govern by poll rather than principle (and to govern his private life by pole rather than principle).

Speaking of which, awhile back, Ann Coulter took some heat for suggesting that Clinton was not our first black president but our first gay president. This comment is very easy to misunderstand, but there is no reason for homosexuals to be offended by it. Most insightful homosexuals are aware of the fact that there is a substantial segment of male homosexuals who unconsciously feel an absence of masculine power, so they engage in compulsive sexual activity in order to try to appropriate and internalize the masculinity of the anonymous partner.

Naturally the compulsion doesn’t work, which is why it must be acted out again and again. Clinton’s well-chronicled sexual compulsion and subsequent inability to separate crotch and state must be understood in this light, as a blind attempt to gain the spurious sense of masculinity that he lacks. Apparently it hasn't succeeded yet (hey, here's a free tip--next time don't marry a castrating phallic mother. That goes for all my readers).

Note that Clinton had a very similar episode when Peter Jennings asked a few questions that Clinton's usually adulating MSM questions seldom do. Or maybe that was a "conservative hit job" too. Jennings was a big Republican, right?

And the Texas Rainmaker chronicles the history of Clinton's finger-wagging.

In poker, they call this a "tell."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Clouds Over New York

Click photo to enlarge. Shot with an 11mm lens by flickr user, Automatt.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Overclocking Your Toothbrush

The Happy Weatherlady

The Angry Professor

OBL May Be Dead, But Bush Still Sucks

My favorite part of this version of the OBL is Dead story is the last line:

Senior U.S. intelligence figures have cautioned against assuming that bin Laden's death or capture would automatically have a substantial impact in the war on terrorism.

They note that the death in June of al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has failed to lead to any let-up in the violence there.

Any logicians out there care to weigh in?

Let's see, this latest version of argument-by-assertion in order to end the story on a "Bush still sucks" note, is brought to you by a few "anonymous sources" in either the State Department or CIA or both (partisan Democrats work in those places? Really?), who seem to possess perfect metaphysical certainty as to what the exact level of violence in Iraq would have been for the last four months had Zarqawi not been otherwise occupied by heavenly copulating with his beautiful 72 Virgins. Like the beauty, above, for example. Maybe the Z-Man will give Osama sloppy seconds on that one.

Thanks for passing along the omniscience, Mr. Journalist!

Friday, September 22, 2006

So Long, And Thanks for All the Oil

Our Wahhabi brethren who've been funding terrorism with petro-dollars may be disappointed to read this story, but if the death of the combustion engine is to come, it is the will of Allah.

Gentlemen, Stop Your Engines

By Erick Schonfeld and Jeanette Borzo, Business 2.0
September 20 2006: 2:16 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) --

The Disruptor: EEStor

The Innovation: A ceramic power source for electric cars that could blow away the combustion engine

Forget hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles. EEStor, a stealth company in Cedar Park, Texas, is working on an "energy storage" device that could finally give the internal combustion engine a run for its money -- and begin saving us from our oil addiction. "To call it a battery discredits it," says Ian Clifford, the CEO of Toronto-based electric car company Feel Good Cars, which plans to incorporate EEStor's technology in vehicles by 2008.

EEStor's device is not technically a battery because no chemicals are involved. In fact, it contains no hazardous materials whatsoever. Yet it acts like a battery in that it stores electricity. If it works as it's supposed to, it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity. At today's gas prices, covering that distance can cost $60 or more; the EEStor device would power a car for the equivalent of about 45 cents a gallon.

And we mean power a car. "A four-passenger sedan will drive like a Ferrari," Clifford predicts. In contrast, his first electric car, the Zenn, which debuted in August and is powered by a more conventional battery, can't go much faster than a moped and takes hours to charge.

The cost of the engine itself depends on how much energy it can store; an EEStor-powered engine with a range roughly equivalent to that of a gasoline-powered car would cost about $5,200. That's a slight premium over the cost of the gas engine and the other parts the device would replace -- the gas tank, exhaust system, and drivetrain. But getting rid of the need to buy gas should more than make up for the extra cost of an EEStor-powered car.

EEStor is tight-lipped about its device and how it manages to pack such a punch. According to a patent issued in April, the device is made of a ceramic powder coated with aluminum oxide and glass. A bank of these ceramic batteries could be used at "electrical energy stations" where people on the road could charge up.

EEStor is backed by VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the company's founders are engineers Richard Weir and Carl Nelson.

Kleiner Perkins is one of the top VCs going. If this technology is real and not vaporware, it will be the most disruptive technology since, well, the combustion engine.

KPCB's investments are closely watched because the firm has made some of the most successful bets in VC history (Google,, Netscape, AOL, etc.). Energy investments carry a little extra risk for the firm since it is relatively new to the sector. Speaking at Stanford University in February, KPCB general partner John Doerr said the firm had made four energy investments so far, including fuel-cell maker Ion America. It will be interesting to watch how these companies develop.

Here's the link to the actual patent, filed earlier this year.

United States Patent #7,033,406
Weir, et al. April 25, 2006

Electrical-energy-storage unit (EESU) utilizing ceramic and integrated-circuit technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries


An electrical-energy-storage unit (EESU) has as a basis material a high-permittivity composition-modified barium titanate ceramic powder. This powder is double coated with the first coating being aluminum oxide and the second coating calcium magnesium aluminosilicate glass. The components of the EESU are manufactured with the use of classical ceramic fabrication techniques which include screen printing alternating multilayers of nickel electrodes and high-permittivitiy composition-modified barium titanate powder, sintering to a closed-pore porous body, followed by hot-isostatic pressing to a void-free body. The components are configured into a multilayer array with the use of a solder-bump technique as the enabling technology so as to provide a parallel configuration of components that has the capability to store electrical energy in the range of 52 kWh. The total weight of an EESU with this range of electrical energy storage is about 336 pounds.

UPDATE: In the forums, reader madf does the math:

A real electric car? - madf

Fri 22 Sep 06 17:21
"If it works as it's supposed to, it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity. At today's gas prices, covering that distance can cost $60 or more; the EEStor device would power a car for the equivalent of about 45 cents a gallon."

Now lets suppose it needs 100hp and drives for say 10 hours at an average of 50mph. And assume it uses on average 50hp so it uses 500hp hours .
That is equivalent roughly to 280KWH by my calculations.

Assuming the power supply to charge the batteries is 110Volts (US) . To charge up in 5 minutes and get 280KWH means a chargeing rate of 30,000 amps..!!!

If I have done my sums correctly , I would say that is very unlikely.. (to put it mildly).

Can someone please confirm I'm wrong?



At The Energy Blog, they have this to say about EEStor:

The one hang up that many ... have on the technology is that it would require enormous bursts of power to charge the ultracapacitor in the short recharge times that are referred to when discussing this technology. 1) the short recharge time is essential to increasing the efficiency of energy recovery from braking that present batteries can't do. 2) most charging should be done overnight in the owners garage. 3) "filling stations" will need to charge some sort of energy storage system, such as more ultracapacitors or more likely flow batteries or other energy storage systems. (I'm not expert enough to know which technology is best) using off peak power if available, or during lulls in activity at the filling station, rather than imposing a extremely high demand on the grid for the short bursts of power that would be required for "refueling". Whatever method is used it will be quite a bit more expensive to buy electricity from filling stations rather than recharging overnight at home or in the parking lot at your workplace.

Meanwhile, back at, reader madf starts to get mad about the whole thing.

As my numbers are confirmed, it's a load of rubbish.. At least the 5 minute recharging bit is. And 30,000 amps is one HUGE current. You would need bus bars of solid copper around 3cms in carry the load and a HUGE transformer to handle the load and a HUGE substation..

In fact the thought of 30 cars all attempting to recharge at the same charging station at once would probably melt the substation.

So 110volts is out. Lets say it is a more feasible 11,000 volts bringing the current down to a more feasible - but still huge 300amps.
You don't plug in cars to 11,000 volts. One mistake and you and the car are fried. Voltages of that size can jump large distances.

My view is the website is a complete sham.

PS: and how many power stations will you need to build for the extra power rewquirements? Remember this proposal is in the US: a country with no National grid and whose power supply is so marginal it had rolling blackouts over 1,000s of miles in the last 3-4 years at peak demand periods..

Oh and the US most power stations are coal fired... so bang goes any thought of reducing pollution..

As for his economics..

Mickey mouse is not the phrase I would use.. it's far too kind.... there is a phrase that fits it perfectly "cow ordure baffles brains":-)

His points make sense. In order for something like this to work -- cars running on ultracapacitors and re-charging in short bursts at "gas" stations, you would need to basically have a nuclear reactor or two in every city to handle demand, and a whole new power grid to handle the massive new loads.


It's not as if America hasn't taken on big projects before.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Molly Marcy

Coming soon from the deeply disturbed mind of Ryan Sage, who last brought us As Seen on TV, is a new comedy called, Molly Marcy, featuring the comedic talents of Loy Edge and Nick Searcy, who is known in some circles as "the Greatest American Since John Wayne," due to an email exchange that we're not supposed to talk about. Ever. Cryptic enough?

Full disclosure: I make my acting debut in this, as a TV writer. Go figure.

Early Cartoon Surrealism

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Brady Stanton's Eulogy Page, Updated

I've added Sean Hogan's great eulogy to my post about Brady.

What a guy. And by that, I don't just mean Brady.

Why Paris Hilton is Famous

Great analysis, with the full title of Why Paris Hilton is Famous, Or Understanding Value in a Post-Madonna World. The whole thing is worth reading, but is best summed up in the following lines:

What makes Paris brilliant is that she used the attention she had and gave it to others thereby garning more attention for herself. And it’s been profitable.

Here’s what’s amusing to me though.

Whenever she tries to promote herself, it falls flat. Books, records, movies, etc. don’t work for Paris. Because she’s actually a platform. Like Digg and YouTube.

Author makes a ton of good points, but missed the fact that at her peak, Paris was making $11,000,000 per month in ringtone download royalties.

In Search of Camel Toads

Click to enlarge. Heh. I said enlarge.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bush: Evil, But Oh So Lucky

Over at Just One Minute, reader the Bumperstickerist recounts his explanation to a liberal friend as to why he voted for Bush. I can just add a couple things to his airtight logic.

I finally admitted to a liberal friend the obvious truth - I voted for Bush because he's both pure evil *and* the luckiest bastard on the face of the earth. I mean, seriously, look at just a couple key events:

Bush joins the Texas ANG - Kerry joins the Navy Reserves.

Bush completes TANG training for jets, flies jets, volunteers for Vietnam only to be told that the pilot skills he has aren't needed.
(Ed. also, Bush, despite being the biggest idiot on the planet, manages somehow to fly a jet airplane for 350 hours, making countless take-offs and landings, without somehow killing himself or crashing. Talk about LUCKY!!!)

Kerry joins the Swift Boats at time they were patrolling off coas - the duty changes to river patrolling, Kerry gets shot at by people intent on killing him and his crew. Kerry leaves by choice after three months.

Advantage: Bush

Bush skates through the last two years of his TANG duty, but does so with such foresight as to bury almost all traces of his duty record leaving only notes from a dental record exam

Kerry works as an admirals aide for the balance of his active duty stint - but manages to get caught on tape during a meeting where assassination is discussed, travels to Vietnam while on Reserve status to meet with the enemy, has his Silver Star citation ammended twice times, publishes an anti-war book that's later debunked.

Advantage: Bush

Bush: Sat for 6.5 minutes after hearing about the 9/11 attacks in a room with a bunch of kids, a teacher, and a camera crew.
(Ed. If you've seen the actual video -- not the Michael Moore "without-audio" version -- of Bush getting the news during the innovative reading lesson, you realize how lucky Bush was to realize the cameras were there and not do what he normally would do -- jump up and running screaming and crying from the room and thereby frightening the children and adding even more panic to the day -- and instead was forced to exhibit what some would even call poise while the teacher finished the short lesson and his secret service coordinated with Washington to implement an action plan. LUCKY!)

Kerry: Sat for an hour, stunned to the point of inaction, in a room full of adult elected officials with no camera present.

Advantage: Bush

Bush: Able to surround himself with a cadre of people able to engineer election fraud on a massive scale in Democratic-controlled precincts undetected, destroy two huge buildings in the middle of a major US city without any actual, you know, evidence left behind, destroy our basic Constitutional rights in pursuit of his neocon vision of a Unitary Executive and still have the energy to clear brush from his ranch while on vacation.

Kerry: Can't get the balloons to release on cue.

Advantage: Bush

There comes a point where you just marvel at the timing of events in favor of Bush and the way the Democrats clusterfcuk their way through life and decide 'fcuk it - Bush'

Seriously, if the Left can't defeat the Evil that is Bush, how the hell can they be trusted to defeat actual Evil?

Monday, September 18, 2006

10 Reasons We Won't Win the War on Terror

Great but depressing piece by David Selbourne at The London Times.

Read the whole thing, but pay close attention to this part:

2) The second reason why, as things stand, Islam will not be defeated is that the strengths of the world community of Muslims are being underestimated, and the nature of Islam misunderstood. It is neither a “religion of peace” nor a “religion hijacked” or “perverted” by “the few”. Instead, its moral intransigence and revived ardours, its jihadist ethic and the refusal of most diaspora Muslims to “share a common set of values” with non-Muslims are all one, and justified by the Koran itself.

Islam is not even a religion in the conventional sense of the term. It is a transnational political and ethical movement that believes that it holds the solution to mankind’s problems. It therefore holds that it is in mankind’s own interests to be subdued under Islam’s rule. Such belief therefore makes an absurdity of the project to “democratise” Muslim nations in the West’s interests, an inversion that Islam cannot accept and, in its own terms, rightly so. It renders naive, too, the distinction between the military and political wings of Islamic movements; and makes Donald Rumsfeld’s assertion in June 2005 that the insurgents in Iraq “don’t have vision, they’re losers” merely foolish. In this war, if there is a war, the boot is on the other foot.

A bit of reductio for the time impaired.

1. Division within the non-Muslim world.

2. Unification within the Muslim world that Islam is a transnational, sociopolitical ideology that, jeepers, is so great, everyone should be a slave of Allah too!

3. Postmodern reluctance to "lead the world," particularly by America.

4. Fractions within Western policy-making, e.g., Powell/Armitage vs. Bush/Rumsfeld

5. The Left's reflexive anti-Americanism and pro-underdog stance being coopted by the Islamists, who play their bleeding hearts like squishy bongo drums.

6. Joy at seeing America suffer by the usual playground losers in international politcs, who all hate the big, strong kid.

7. The moral poverty of market-capitalism and the coldness of reason vs. the marketable warm feeling from religion and the thrill of the kill.

8. Islam bamboozling the media to carry the water for their propaganda games.

9. Middle eastern oil.

10. Hubris that Western technology will triumph over a backward religion. The West, for example, has an Achilles heel -- integrated circuits, that are quite effectively sliced with one high-altitude EMP bomb. Welcome to 1881, kiddies.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Same Story, New Headline

...sometime between roughly 6:30 am and 10:26 am the Associated Press switched the header on the story about its own poll results from being pro-GOP to something decidedly more negative.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fire in the Sky

That, and more lenticular clouds here.

Taken 25 September 2002 from Masterton, New Zealand. 28mm lens, Konica Centuria 400 film.Copyright (c) 2002 Christopher J Picking


Friday, September 15, 2006

Starry Night

Eleven hour exposure. Definitely click to enlarge.

Urban Pathologies


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Name The Islamobile! Ford Reconquistador? The Insaniti J911? The Chrysler Doomina? The Audi C-4?

September 11, 2006

Concerned about Islam's image problem in much of the Western world, some Muslims in Germany have come up with a solution -- the Islamobile. But the mobile information station also raises new questions.

Let's take a timeout from this latest bit of Islamosurdity to note the date Der Spiegel chose to run this story. It's right there above the headline. You might recognize it, as it's been in the news recently.

The Islamobile stands next to the local Catholic church.

...with their blessing, of course, as they and the rest of Europe multiculturicide themselves so merrily and tolerantly into dhimmitude.

The stand is "a mobile multimedia information point in the form of a semi-trailer," according to the information leaflet. You could also say the Islamobile is a cross between a mosque and a motorhome -- perhaps a motormosque.

We completely interrupt this ridiculous story to list off some naming suggestions for other carmakers who want to exploit the thriving new jihadi market with Islamomakes and Islamomodels all their own!

The Ford Reconquistador

The Ford Exploder

The Ford Model O

The Insaniti J911

The Aston Martin DB711

The Staab Van Gogh

The Audi C-4

The Lincoln Lostcontinental (Europe only)

The Mahda Mehida

The Daejoo Aksa Brigade

The Daihatsoon AllahAkbar

The Guantanamo Captiva

The Guantanamo Escape (concept drawings only)

The Chrysler Caliphate

The Chrysler Seething Convertible

The Dodge Trepid

The Bommer (and the Bommer B-2 and now the B-3!)

The British Leydown MG-OBL

The Dodge MAXXmad

The Palestine Crossfire

The Mercury Pillager

The Mercury Plastique

The Buick Throatmaster

The Maynotmock

The Triumph Spitonjews

The Chrysler Doomina

The Dodge Mineret

The CAIR Isuyu

The Dhimmi 4x4

The Toyota Pious

The Chevrolet Impalya

The Chevy Toehold (assembled in Dearbornistan)

The Chevy al-Camino

The BMW 2973i (manufactured in Hamburg)

I could go on, but the last one is just too depressing... so, I will now return you to the rest of this ridiculous story.

It has two retractable minarets, complete with crescent moon, and a cupola. The Islamobile is 13.60 meters (45 feet) long and 8 meters (26 feet) wide with minarets extended. It's a specially designed vehicle, built to educate and clarify, to clear up misunderstandings and combat prejudice -- a kind of holy information point on wheels. The Islamobile is meant to spread the true image of Islam throughout Germany, according to its builders.

"With the help of Allah and thanks to the work of our volunteers, the Islamobile is an effective educational tool, whose purpose is to familiarize Western society with Islam," the information leaflet explains.

A final note: maybe they should pay a licensing fee to Lamborghini and call it, "The Diablo."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bring Back the Americans!'ve turned over the keys to Abu Ghraib, and the prisoners are longing for our return:
Tortured Screams Ring Out as Iraqis Take Over Abu Ghraib.

A Mencken quote springs to mind:

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."

-H. L. Mencken

The screams you hear are the sound of scores being settled throughout Iraq.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Brain/Computer Interface

Lenticular Cloud of the Day

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dunder-Mifflin Jingle

From the man, the myth, the magic of Dave Doré.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Color-Saturated Moon

Click to enlarge. All of those colors are there, just imperceptible without help from Photoshop.