DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for May, 2009

Rising sea levels: Survival tips from 5000 BC

26th May 2009

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I’m thinking that throwing AlGore into a volcano probably couldn’t hurt. It would certainly  reduce certain gas emissions.

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Divers discover wreck of ship sent to help Bonnie Prince Charlie

26th May 2009

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Guess it didn’t work.

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Scientists identify genes behind ageing process

26th May 2009

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Google Finally Recognizes Memorial Day With Holiday Logo

26th May 2009

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As with most nerdly people, those who work at Google (including those who run it) have never really left adolescence — they don’t have to, so why would they? — and their priorities are adolescent priorities.

The problem with being a grownup is that you sometimes have to sigh and do what needs to be done, even if it means giving the kids a free ride as well.

No one who works for Google has ever hand-washed dishes or scrubbed a toilet. I guarantee it.

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Millionaires Go Missing

26th May 2009

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Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.

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Dick Cheney’s Second Act

26th May 2009

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By goading a sitting president into responding to his arguments on his terms, Dick Cheney won the contest with Barack Obama last week before either said a word. And his re-emergence onto the public square seems to be driving everybody nuts.

Fun is where you find it.

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Why Christians Accepted Greek Natural Philosophy, But Muslims Did Not

25th May 2009

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Why Muslims Like Hitler, but Not Mozart

24th May 2009

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How Tech Changes Our Thinking About War

24th May 2009

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An interesting perspective. Everyone is familiar with the cliché that armies prepare to fight the last war, and history is full of examples of victory going to the side that broke free of that mindset first (WWI is the poster child here). What happens when someone manages to create a “theory of the next war” that looks at technological change and correctly extrapolates that change onto the battlefield? This may be a contribution in that direction.

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Justify Judeo-Christianity!

24th May 2009

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I’m going to crassly misappropriate Razib’s discussion here as further support for my theory that Islam is a Satanic parody of Judaism.

And Noah Millman walks right into it.

… Islam looks, from the outside, rather like an imitation of Judaism…

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LittleSis

24th May 2009

Check it out.

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Two Great Depressions

24th May 2009

David Friedman does an interesting historical comparison.

We can learn a little more by looking at a different Great Depression—the one that didn’t happen. From 1920 to 1921, the consumer price index fell by 10.8%, more than in any year of the Great Depression; it fell another 2.3% in the next year. Unemployment rose to about its 1931 level. Looking just at that data, it’s obviously the start of a depression.

Harding did what Hoover is supposed to have done, reducing taxes and government expenditure. By 1923 the recession was over. It was the Great Depression that didn’t happen.

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Gettin’ In Their Kitchen

24th May 2009

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Dick Cheney is in President Obama’s kitchen.

How do we know?  Because the White House scheduled a major foreign policy speech this past week for one major reason – to address the concerns about Obama’s recent decisions on GITMO and the release of interrogation memos, raised most prominently by none other than Darth Vader’s twin, Dick Cheney.

When did you ever hear of Bill Clinton feeling compelled to respond to Dan Quayle’s criticism?  Or Ronald Reagan feeling compelled to respond to Walter Mondale – before or during the 1984 campaign?

A pity that Dick Cheney will never run for President. It would be refreshing to have a grownup in charge of the government for a while.

Dick Cheney’s been playing in the major leagues for 35 years.  Try as it might, the White House can blame the Bush Administration until the cows come home, but it won’t change two central points about Cheney.  He will forget more about national security and foreign policy in an afternoon than our nascent president will come to know in 4 years.  Second, Cheney was part of a presidential administration that kept America safe for 7 plus years, without another terrorist attack – a fact not lost on the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and, increasingly, not lost on the public.

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Fathers of daughters become more left-wing, academics claim

24th May 2009

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Well, that would explain a lot.

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‘Stop eating lamb and drinking beer if you want to save the planet’

24th May 2009

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Well, you certainly can’t say that the British taxpayer is getting anything different for their money than the American taxpayer is.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | 1 Comment »

Change a-comin’

24th May 2009

Jeff Jarvis is just full of interesting ideas. Unfortunately his thinking on the subject of change seems to be curiously incomplete.

There are three responses to change: (1) Resist it, which is futile. (2) Complain about it, which is unproductive. (3) Find the opportunity in it.

Actually, I can think of two more just off the top of my head: (4) suppress it, and (5) control it. These don’t appear to have occurred to him, and absent dealing with them his discussion is fatally flawed.

One might argue that (4) is merely a species of (1), but it isn’t, really; “resist” is passive, whilst “suppress” is active. Anyone can resist, but only those with power can suppress, and that takes it in an entirely different direction. It is of the essence of the conservative personality type to resist change, and when conservative people hold the reins of power, that resistance is often expressed as attempted suppression. (And that has no connection with popular ideas of political ideology — what happened in Eastern Europe in 1989 was a conservative attempt at suppressing change, and was rightly so characterized by the dinosaur media, outraged howls from American “conservatives” notwithstanding.)

That suppression of change never works has embedded itself into popular myth, but it remains a myth nevertheless; the Chinese Emperors successfully suppressed change for centuries, until their society was broken by European technical superiority. That same technical superiority gives any modern state adopting it (North Korea, anybody?) the means to suppress change so long as outside forces refrain from rocking the boat.

Similarly, (5) might arguable be considered a species of (3), but I suggest not. Finding opportunity in change appears to be a “Find the silver lining in every cloud” approach — what the Army calls “embrace the suck”. I see this as qualitatively different from an attempt to control change. Both perspectives view change as inevitable, leaving the only question our response to it; but jumping on the boat is not quite the same thing as attempting to seize the tiller. Jarvis is one of the former, and looks at change in terms of economic opportunity. AlGore and his ilk number among the latter, and their response to change has both economic and political dimensions.

I look forward to Jarvis’s next book, chiefly because I want to see whether this incomplete approach leads him into a defective approach, which I suspect that it might.

Posted in Think about it. | 2 Comments »

Buckle up, but most likely you’ll be stopped anyway

24th May 2009

Lileks understands the dialectic.

Well. Years of watching “Cops” leads one to suspect that if they want to pull you over, they will. The fellow who has nine Hefty bags of weed in the trunk always has a burned-out license plate light, or something. Sir, did you know that your decal of Calvin relieving himself on a Ford emblem is not authorized by the cartoonist and is a violation of copyright laws? Step out of the car, please.

So much for the ACLU.

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Sharing as a civic duty

24th May 2009

Jeff Jarvis has an interesting view concerning information on social media.

The crowd owns the wisdom of the crowd and to withhold information from that collective knowledge—a link, a restaurant rating, a bit of advice—may be a new definition of antisocial or at least selfish behavior.

This strikes me as statism wearing a Clever Plastic Disguise, the sort of argument one would hear from a communist who had embraced the electronic age. I’m pretty sure Ayn Rand would recoil from it in horror.

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Mirror on America

24th May 2009

David Brooks demonstrates why, even though he’s a wussy RINO, he’s often worth reading.

Schama was born in Britain and makes documentaries for the BBC, but he has spent more time in the United States than most Brilliant authors, having taught at Harvard and now Columbia. But this is very much an outsider’s book, and if Schama doesn’t come from a strictly European perspective, let’s just say he comes from the realm of enlightened High Thinking that exists where The New York Review of Books reaches out and air-­kisses The London Review of Books.

His book is called “The American Future: A History” (which is a puerile paradox before you even open the cover), and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the American future.

Posted in Think about it. | 2 Comments »

Businessman hunts down thief in his helicopter

24th May 2009

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Hah.

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Al Qaeda recruits back in Europe, but why?

24th May 2009

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Perhaps they’re there to blow something up. That’s just a guess, you understand.

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Court Upholds Searches Of Muslim Groups in Va.

24th May 2009

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An appeals court yesterday upheld the legality of federal raids on a Herndon-based network of Muslim charities, businesses and think tanks, a case that caused a firestorm in the Muslim community.

I’d certainly like to cause a firestorm in the Muslim community. It is, after all, their turn.

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Army’s ‘Future Soldier 2030′ Equipped With Super-Human Technology

24th May 2009

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Assuming, of course, that there’s enough money to do so, which doesn’t look likely.

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“Why Are You So Mean?”

23rd May 2009

Holly Lisle, famous science fiction writer, says what I think, in much better words. (Hey, she’s a professional writer.)

I never claimed to be nice. I can be kind, but I detest niceness—it is pretending to be someone you aren’t in order to gain social approval. I’m not looking for anyone else’s approval. I already have my own.

Preach it, sister.

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The Intellectual Property Asshole Competition

23rd May 2009

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You can’t make this stuff up.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off on The Intellectual Property Asshole Competition

Tocqueville Surfs

23rd May 2009

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Last December’s floods washed out park roads, bridges, and facilities at Kauai’s Polihale State Park. Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) studied the damage and released a statement two months later, declaring, “We know that people are anxious to get to the beach. However, the preliminary cost estimate of repairs is $4 million.” The DLNR’s response to this natural disaster was to look for more state or federal funds. Its main objective was to grab a fee-generated windfall for the department, ironically entitled the “Recreational Renaissance” fund. DLNR’s chair, Laura Thielen, proclaimed: “We are asking for the public’s patience and cooperation to help protect the park’s resources during this closure, and for their support of the ‘Recreational Renaissance’ so we can better serve them and better care for these important places.” An original timeline for the work was set for late summer, but according to local resident and surfer Bruce Pleas, “It would not have been open this summer, and it probably wouldn’t be open next summer.”

From food donated by area restaurants to heavy machinery offered by local construction companies, a project originally forecast to cost millions and take months (if not years) to complete has been finished in a matter of weeks with donated funds, manpower, and equipment. As Troy Martin from Martin Steel, which provided machinery and five tons of steel at no charge, put it: “We shouldn’t have to do this, but when it gets to a state level, it just gets so bureaucratic, something that took us eight days would have taken them years. So we got together—the community—and we got it done.” Cleaning up the park was a major undertaking involving bridge-building, reconstructing bathroom facilities, and use of heavy equipment to clear miles of flood-damaged roadways.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

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Passer-By Pushes Man Contemplating Suicide Off Bridge in China

23rd May 2009

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Hey, just trying to help out.

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Offshore Oil Suffers From Obama Restrictions on New Drilling

23rd May 2009

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Of course. They don’t want independence from foreign oil — they want oil out entirely, if we all have to live in caves to do it.

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The Lure of the Czars

22nd May 2009

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It took the Romanovs almost 300 years to produce 18 czars. Obama did it in less than 100 days.

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Wallaby mother and baby spotted in Cornwall

22nd May 2009

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A male wallaby which escaped from a petting zoo two years ago found this female mate in the wild – which has now been spotted in a garden carrying their baby.

I wasn’t aware that there were so many wallabies wandering around in Cornwall. I suspect that Prince Charles has something to do with it.

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Food Web, Meet Interweb: The Networked Future of Farms

22nd May 2009

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Cruise passengers fought off pirates with deckchairs

22nd May 2009

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Scientists develop virus that wipes out cancer cells

22nd May 2009

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Mice get all the good stuff.

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Police cracked fraudsters codes ‘using scouts handbook’

22nd May 2009

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Scouting is good for you.

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Violent footballer guilty of beating lover to death under new double jeopardy laws

22nd May 2009

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Double jeopardy laws. In Britain. *sigh*

  1. Thank God you don’t live in Britain.
  2. Without eternal vigilance, it could happen here. Don’t think that it can’t, Constitution to the contrary notwithstanding; just ask the Second Amendment how much respect ideologue politicians and their narrow-minded supporters give the Constitution when it doesn’t suit them.

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How Joe Biden Wrecked the Judicial Confirmation Process

22nd May 2009

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Things That Could Have Killed Me

22nd May 2009

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It’s amazing any of us survived childhood.

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Wind turbines ‘killed goats’ by depriving them of sleep

22nd May 2009

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So much for sustainable energy.

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International Busy Body Laws Waning?

21st May 2009

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Are we beginning to see the first cracks in the idea of “universal jurisdiction,” the international busy body “law” that said that any nation can arrest the leaders of any other nation and try them for “war crimes”? Let us hope we are, at least.

Yeah, even the British (the most famous buttinskys in history) don’t do that any more.

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Aussie whiz-kids can cram 1.6TB on a DVD-sized disc, go Outback tonight

21st May 2009

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Gotta love Australians.

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How Down Syndrome Stops Cancer

21st May 2009

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How to decide where to live

21st May 2009

Penelope Trunk discovers that there’s a reason why people are moving from blue states to red states.

I had never been to Madison in my life, and you know what? It was a good decision. Except for one thing: I ignored the data about schools. I didn’t believe that a city known for progressive social programs and university filled with genius faculty could have poorly performing public schools. But it ended up being true, and all economic development research says do not move to a place with crap schools—it’s a sign that lots of things in the city are not right.

Unfortunately, Penelope doesn’t realize that “progressive social programs” and “crap schools” are part of the same NannyStater syndrome.

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Super-Recognizers Great At Facial Recognition

21st May 2009

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The Climate-Industrial Complex

21st May 2009

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AlGore isn’t the only guy getting rich off of climate-change hysteria.

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1 in 7 Freed Detainees Rejoins Fight, Report Finds

21st May 2009

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An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has returned to terrorism or militant activity, according to administration officials.

Gee, why is it “unreleased”?

Two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the report was being held up by Defense Department employees fearful of upsetting the White House, at a time when even Congressional Democrats have begun to show misgivings over Mr. Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo.

And that’s the way it is in the ObamaNation.

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Pournelle on Politics

21st May 2009

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It’s pretty clear that the man-made global warming hypothesis may have more economic influence than any theory in the history of mankind, including Marxism. It provides the justification for enormous government influence in every phase of economic life, and appears to herding the US economy into stalemate with bankruptcy for a great many people, and an over-all lower standard of living for everyone. That’s change you can believe in.

California emphatically rejected tax increases, but so far the message hasn’t sunk in. The purpose of the government of California is to pay enormous retirement benefits to teachers and state workers, then to pay large salaries and benefits to teachers and state employees not yet retired, and then to do everything else like put out fires and enforce laws and provide services. I see no discussion whatever of changing those goals and priorities, and until those priorities are changed, there is no “solution” to the “problem”.

Government tried running factories in the past. The US built steel mills to make armor plate, certain that proper management and engineering would let a government plant produce the stuff for about half what private industry was charging. Of course the result was somewhat different, with the output about twice the open market price, and the plants closed not long after their long delayed opening.  We all know how well the Post Office delivered mail when it had a monopoly. Apparently we have to run those experiments again, since no one studies history.

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Recession: When the money goes, so does the toxic wife

20th May 2009

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Every cloud has a silver lining.

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Five-Dimensional Data Storage

20th May 2009

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Reduces to three once the IRS takes its cut.

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Contessa Brewer: Republicans ‘Think Americans Are a Bunch of Idiots’

20th May 2009

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What she won’t admit is that, for the most part, they’re right.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | 1 Comment »

Louis XVI’s final testament discovered

20th May 2009

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What’s French for “Oh, shit!”

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