Sunday, February 29, 2004

Taunting PhDs

Invisible Adjutant on Bart Simpson's PhD taunting ways:
[Marge, Bart, and Lisa go to their local "Bookaccino" superbookstore.]
LISA: I'm going up to the fourth floor, where the books are!
BART: I'm going to taunt the Ph.Ds!

[Bart approaches the three workers at the espresso bar, all of whom wear glasses and bored expressions.]

BART: Hey guys! I heard a new assistant professorship just opened up!

[Ph.D'd baristas gasp and lean forward eagerly.]

BART: Yes, that's right. At the University of ... PSYCH!

-- from The Simpsons episode that aired Sunday, 25 January 2004; quoted by Amanda at Household Opera

I saw the episode. My reaction was much the same as that of Chris (recorded in the comments at Household Opera): "As we watched it, my friend and I laughed, and then ... we didn't ..."

Thursday, February 26, 2004


Lots of good stuff on software refactoring at www.refactoring.com. As Martin Fowler says on their home page:
What is Refactoring?
Refactoring is a disciplined technique for restructuring an existing body of code, altering its internal structure without changing its external behavior. Its heart is a series of small behavior preserving transformations. Each transformation (called a 'refactoring') does little, but a sequence of transformations can produce a significant restructuring. Since each refactoring is small, it's less likely to go wrong. The system is also kept fully working after each small refactoring, reducing the chances that a system can get seriously broken during the restructuring.

National Review

Once again, Brad Delong shows why I long ago stopped reading National Review for anything other than entertainment value. Yeah, it's the political writing equivalent to watching a car wreck.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Typographic Site of the Month


Another Stunner from the WSJ

The Wall Street Journal editorial page never ceases to amaze.

Daniel Henninger is claiming that:
Many Americans now believe, on the basis of repetition unto brainwashing, that President Bush more or less made up his reasons for going to war in Iraq, that his assertions about the Iraqi threat were fiction. This is why John Edwards, a U.S. senator, is willing to say the president's "integrity" as commander-in-chief is a legitimate election issue.

Uh-huh. I guess we were all brainwashed to believe that the WMDs weren't in Iraq. But wait, it gets better:
Simultaneously, A.Q. Khan, the "Father" of Pakistan's A-bomb, has become the world's most famous Asian. Khan stole the information needed to build a nuclear bomb for Pakistan. He entered the global marketplace, the "community of nations," and bought the highly engineered materials needed to manufacture the bomb: "They literally begged us to buy their equipment." He then went into business, until recently, selling atomic-bomb expertise to other nations. No one believes Khan is making any of this up.

The stories the past fortnight about Khan have revealed that the nations identified as having participated between about 1970 and a moment ago in the global Get-A-Bomb market include acquirers such as Pakistan, Iran, Libya and North Korea and a long list of witting or unwitting enablers, such as Russia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai), South Korea, the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands and Japan.

We have learned, for instance, that on a nondescript street in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, sits Scomi Precision Engineering, a mere dot in the high-tech ocean that happens to be capable of producing parts usable in centrifuges, which separate the heavier nuclear U-238 isotope from the lighter, bomb-required U-235 isotope. In August, crates of Scomi parts were seized enroute to Libya.

But what about Iraq? In this country's increasingly admit-nothing style of politics, one might conclude from listening to the Democratic presidential candidates that Iraq is on Mars, that its role in any of this obviously real global trade for weaponized nuclear technology was minimal or had become nothing, and so President Bush's reasons for replacing the Saddam Hussein regime were a "pretense," "made up," a "distortion," and a "lie."

So let me get this straight: because our allies, the Pakistanis, were selling weapons technology (which was no secret before the Iraq War), that means that it obvious that Iraq must also have been doing the same thing, even though there was no hard evidence that it was occurring and the 'evidence' that the administration presented to the American people of the Iraqi nuclear program was fabricated.

But hey, who are you gonna believe? George W. Bush, or your own lying eyes?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Still At It

Some people never learn. Lambert points out that it looks like John Lott's still up to his old tricks.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Cover Up?

As Brad DeLong points out, the president's story of how he spent his guard time doesn't seem to be holding up very well.

David Neiwert adds more important details describing how it just doesn't add up.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

How Sad

The used car hunt continues so I find myself paging through the Ebay listings. Now, I'm never a fan of keeping nice cars locked in the garage, but this poor thing only had 353 miles on the clock. *sigh*


David Isenberg and David Weinberger have a nice essay on The Paradox of the Best Network with lots of good, if not terribly novel observations about the internet. Even better are the links to other essays on the page.

RSS Not Ready for Prime Time?

Randomize has a nice pointer to Dylan Green's article on problems and issues with RSS.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Hackworth Weighs In

David H. Hackworth weighs in on the war and decides that:
Like it or not, Maj. Scott Ritter had it right all along.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

New Ads

Now this deserves to be on television.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Photo Finish

dailyKos points us to a new, non-imminent photo analysis.


It looks like Ron Suskind, author of Paul O'Neill bio The Price of Loyalty will be releasing some of the 19000 documents from Paul O'Neill's tenure at Treasury. This could be some interesting reading.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

HTML Renders for Java

Joshua Marinacci surveys HTML renderers for Java for those of you out there like me who find such things interesting.

I thought the Steady State CSS2 parser is especially interesting.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Pentagon and Global Warming

Some interesting coverage from DailyKos comparing the Pentagon's research into global warming with some fun stuff from the past:

I put myself firmly in the camp that insists on imposing (and enforcing) firm government regulations to smooth the jagged edges off our economic system, particularly in the areas of stock-trading, worker health and safety, and the environment. But I always get the shivers when federal bureaucrats start considering mega-matters. All the more so when the bureaucrats in question occupy consulting cubicles at the Pentagon.

I had a major encounter with just how wrong a federal agency can go in the early 1980s. At that time, with the Soviets pummeling Afghanistan and the Reagan Administration spending us into what were then the biggest deficits in history so as to juice up the Defense Department, there was a lot of scary talk about nuclear war. The answer - skewered so brilliantly in Robert Scheer’s 1983 book With Enough Shovels - was the Federal Emergency Management Agency-directed Crisis Relocation Program.

In short, if our intelligence agencies started getting hints that the USSR was going to launch its nukes in a few days, Americans in high-target areas would evacuate to lower-target areas, cover themselves with radiation-blocking dirt and survive the incoming holocaust while our missiles and bombs cooked the Soviet populace.

I do not exaggerate. Thomas K. Jones, who was then the U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces, said:"Dig a hole, cover it with a couple doors and then throw three feet of dirt on top. It's the dirt that does it. If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody's going to make it."

The detailed looniness of this plan included reminders to evacuees to leave forwarding addresses with the Postal Service before departing for their rural foxholes.

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