Friday, February 06, 2004


WaPo forgets to renew domain name, loses Email service.

Tons of good geeky fun

Check out There's just too much here for one post. Images, programs, games - just go there.

Did he just forget to mention drugs?

Somebody asked me what it's like to be called an "Internet rock star," too. It's just like being a real rock star, except for the absence of groupies, limousines, Gulfstream jets, and huge royalty checks. Otherwise, pretty much the same.

Debunk this, please

Yes, I realize that some people would like us to clean house in North Korea, and spreading nasty propaganda is par for the course. I've seen newspapers from the WWII era and the nasty caricatures they had of Germans and Japanese. And then we've all heard of and seen pictures of Auschwitz et al.

But this tops them all:
Pregnant women ? even those pregnant by North Korean men - are given drugs to induce labor, and when the baby is delivered, it is thrown into a box to die, often with several other recently delivered babies.
Just another day at the abortion clinic so far, except the babies are intact and occasionally alive. Keep reading:
Occasionally, another female inmate will be forced to strangle a box full of delivered babies, which can range in gestational age from around four months, to full term. Participating in these actions appears to damage the mental health of such inmates. They simply break, there is no other term for what seems to happen to them.
There are no words.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

What this Presidential election is about

Lileks nails it here:
I’m waiting for an ad that simply puts the matter plainly: who do you think Al Qaeda wants to win the election? Who do you think will make Syria relax? Who do you think Hezbollah worries about more? Who would Iran want to deal with when it comes to its nuclear program – Cowboy Bush or “Send in the bribed French inspectors” Kerry? Which candidate would our enemies prefer?

O the shrieking that would result should such an ad run. You can’t even ask those questions, even though they’re the most relevant questions of the election.
As noted by Eric the VikingPundit.

6th-century crop failures: comet collision?

Right here.

Of course there's nothing to prevent this from happening in the future.

Have a nice day.


You've probably already seen this via Instapundit. But this is Bash Kerry! week at NWA so I have to link it too:
During Kerry's 1972 bid for Congress, his younger brother, Cameron Kerry, was arrested for "breaking into . . . the headquarters of a Kerry opponent," the New York Times reported on Sept. 19 of that year. Kerry's headquarters were in the same building in Lowell, Mass.

Cameron Kerry and another campaign worker pleaded not guilty to charges of "breaking and entering with the intent to commit grand larceny."

I'm sure there's a perfectly innocent explanation. Certainly we know that it wasn't about money - he has heiresses for that.

John Kerry - man of the people...

Well, not exactly. Drudge points to this
ONE of the surest ways to get the phones ringing on any Massachusetts talk-radio show is to ask people to call in and tell their John Kerry stories. The phone lines are soon filled, and most of the stories have a common theme: our junior senator pulling rank on one of his constituents, breaking in line, demanding to pay less (or nothing) or ducking out before the bill arrives.

The tales often have one other common thread. Most end with Sen. Kerry inquiring of the lesser mortal: "Do you know who I am?"
Get thee behind me, Satan, and don't push.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Language oddities

Did you ever see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? A couple of the funniest scenes are where the groom-to-be says something in Greek. He thinks he's saying one thing, but in fact, thanks to obnoxious male inlaws-to-be, he's saying things like "Nice boobs" or "I have 3 testicles".

Often I work with people who speak different languages and I can't resist asking them about it or playing jokes. So often I wonder if I'm being set up like this.

For instance, I work with at least 4 Telugu speakers. I was going to needle one of them, so I asked one of the others for an expression like "Hurry up!" I wound up with something I'll transliterate as 'tonderaGAH!' Maybe it's right, but just to make sure I asked a woman for the expression to use on a man, figuring I had less potential trouble that way. Anyway, if anybody blushed I couldn't tell.

The more I learn about different languages the stranger it gets. For instance, I understand that Hindi (the official language of India) and Urdu (the official language of Pakistan) are the same spoken languages but different written languages - Urdu is even written from right to left like Arabic. This means that Indians and Pakistanis can talk but they can't read each others' newspapers.

And then there's China. The main dialects are Mandarin and Cantonese. Mandarin is much more common and is the official language, but there are many millions of Cantonese speakers in the south such as near Hong Kong. As it turns out, Mandarin and Cantonese have the same written language but are very different spoken languages. So they can read each others' newspapers, but can't talk about them.

You'd think that if there were anything all languages would agree on, it's the sounds common domestic animals make. You would be wrong. Cats, dogs, chickens, cows, pigs, ducks, geese - the sounds they make aren't pronounced the same. We demonstrated that at work this morning when I was with a Telugu speaker in a Mandarin speaker's cubicle and we were making animal noises in the respective languages. I suppose they all have different words for "onomatopoeia" too.

Of course English is a rich source of oddities all by itself, in part because we assimilate other languages' oddities. Hanah Metchis explores some of this here. My own favorites are cases where apparent opposites like "ravel" and "unravel" actually mean the same thing.

So you think you can create a better language? You certainly aren't the first. Thus we have artificial languages like Interlingua, Esperanto and a number of others.

If you're a bit less ambitious, maybe you can create a written language like Sequoyah did for Cherokee, after which Cherokee speakers supposedly could learn to read in 2 weeks.

If this topic interests you, let me send you to Marc Miyake. He knows more about this stuff than I'll ever suspect.

UPDATE: Whatever else I was wrong about, I was right about Mr. Miyake. From the comments:
A bit of clarifcation: Mandarin and Cantonese speakers have the same written language because both groups write in Mandarin. Many literate Cantonese cannot speak the language that they write (i.e., Mandarin), unless they have learned spoken Mandarin.

There is such a thing as written Cantonese, but this is not as widely used as written Mandarin, and it barely makes sense to people who only know Mandarin, partly due to the presence of Cantonese-only words and characters not found in any Mandarin dictionary. Even simple words like the equivalents for "they" can be different: e.g., Mandarin tamen vs. Cantonese keuidei.
Oh, and while I was revising anyway I made a couple of other nickel and dime changes.

Detecting harmful vapors at a distance

From Mechanical Engineering magazine.

The Rubber Bible

Right here.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Which came first - the chicken or the egg?

Eugene Volokh takes on this age-old mystery.

I don't see what's so hard about it. Obviously the chicken had to get laid before the egg could.

An accident?

From "WASHINGTON, D.C. Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell said today he is launching an investigation into the halftime show aired on CBS last night during the Super Bowl after singer Janet Jackson's right breast was exposed."

From here:
In a statement, MTV said: “The tearing of Janet Jackson’s costume was unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional and was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance.

“MTV regrets this incident occurred and we apologise to anyone who was offended by it.”

Timberlake also issued an apology for the “regrettable” incident, MTV News reported.

He said: “I am sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance at the Super Bowl.

“It was not intentional and is regrettable.”
According to Google, had an article entitled "Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Show Promises 'Shocking Moments'", but that link doesn't work. This is from Google's cache. It's not clear what they meant by 'shocking', and I suppose it's possible that this was an accident....

Cash and Kerry

From FrontPage:
Remember the controversy four years ago when it came to light that one of the flagship stations of the Public Broadcasting Service, WGBH in Boston, had been violating the privacy of its contributors and the taxpayer-supported impartiality of this PBS station by giving its confidential lists of contributor addresses, telephone numbers and other personal information to the Democratic National Committee? The partisan person who reportedly committed this outrage was WGBH Board Member and bigtime Democratic fundraiser Alan Solomont, now the Daddy Warbucks of the Kerry Campaign.

Another Kerry moneybags is former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes, who during the same period ponied up more than $450,000 for the Massachusetts senator. This fatcat lobbyist, called by Tom Daschle “the fifty-first Democratic senator,” was so adroit as a fixer that he once cut a deal so that, after Texas enacted a state lottery, he and a partner would personally be paid 3.5 cents for every ticket sold – which added up to more than $3 million for them each year. Bill Clinton, a master at backroom money-grubbing, once reportedly told a group of Methodist ministers: “If you all will take a sinner like [Ben] Barnes, you might take me.”

A third cash-and-Kerryer, who during this same period gave Kerry more than $180,000, is Hassan Nemazee. This Iranian-American investor raised a cool $250,000 for Al Gore in November 1995, and he and his family slushed another $150,000 to Democrats during the mid-1990s. Six Nemazee family members and friends (including the caretaker of his 12-acre Katonah, N.Y., estate) donated a total of $60,000 – the maximum legally allowed -- to Bill Clinton’s legal defense fund.

In the closing days of 1998 Clinton named Nemazee his Ambassador-designate to Argentina. Hillary Clinton embraced the Muslim moneyman at a January 1999 White House celebration of the Islamic holiday Eid. The Senate, however, refused to confirm the controversial nominee after a Forbes Magazine investigation exposed Nemazee’s questionable business dealings. “He was,” said a bitter former business partner, “the Iranian equivalent of J.R. Ewing.”

The Forbes magazine investigation also documented how, in order to get his hands on public-employee pension fund monies allocated for minority managers, the U.S.-born Nemazee had falsely claimed to be a Hispanic of Venezuelan background and, on another occasion, an Asian-Indian.

But Nemazee’s cynical lust for money can be frightening as well as laughable. He is a founding board member of the Iranian American Political Action Committee [IAPAC], which seeks to create friendly and lucrative business relationships with the medieval theocratic dictatorship now ruling Iran. Iran is, of course, an “Axis of Evil” nation that seeks to acquire nuclear weapons and is on our State Department’s official list of nations that support terrorism. Nemazee seeks to enrich himself by further enriching the power-mad Mullahs ruling Iran.

“The founding member of this group is Mr. Hassan Nemazee, an American of Iranian origin and one discredited, and well-known agent of the Islamic Republic, within the Iranian community in the United States,” wrote opponent of the Iran regime Aryo B. Pirouznia of the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran. “Their [IAPAC’s] agenda in their own words is: ‘…how relations between the Islamic Republic and the United States can be restored in support of the Islamic Republic and the revolution.’”

Pirouznia wrote this in an open letter to Senator Edward Kennedy urging the Massachusetts Democrat to dissociate himself from Nemazee. The more-leftward senator from the Bay State, John Kerry, continues to embrace Nemazee and the suitcases full of money that he donates.
You don't suppose that this Iranian friend of his has any influence on Kerry's Middle East policy, do you?

Another look at the Tuskegee syphilis study

Moira Breen points to it here.

John Kerry: friend of Vietnam veterans?

In case you haven't heard, John Kerry is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. Just listen to him for a couple of minutes and he'll tell you.

That's funny, he made a big show of tossing away some medals once when he thought it might advance his career. Is it possible that he really didn't mean it?

Now Kerry is angling for a vote from veterans. He is presenting himself as their friend. Is he?

That depends - can they be used to further his career? When it looked like he might do better to dump on them, he wrote a book called "The New Soldier" as noted here on Betsy's Page and The Patriette.

Then there's this:
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 23, 1971, Kerry claimed under oath that American soldiers had “raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.”

He dramatically told reporters that such atrocities were the norm, not rare exceptions, for U.S. soldier behavior. This Kerry false blood libel against honorable soldiers gave protestors a kind of license to protestors to attack, belittle and ridicule soldiers returning to America.
So beware, Vietnam vets. You might not want to follow John Kerry into battle this time.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

How to Destroy a Village: What the Clintons taught a 17 year old

It's a new book, reviewed here.

Lying, cheating, whoring around, blah blah - it's always been around, and you can't protect kids from all of it. But at least we had the hypocrites to say that you shouldn't do those things, even if they did them themselves. Then we found that there was something worse - the creeps who do all that stuff, then tell you it's OK.

Dance Dance Revolution

Maybe this is the answer for all of those fat kids out there.

From BoingBoing.

Confessions of a car salesmen

See this about a guy who became an undercover car salesman.

From Dave Does the Blog.

It's enough to make you sick

Cronaca exposes the bacteriological hazards of your own kitchen.

And then there's the bathroom, where most of you probably keep your toothbrush. Go all the way down to the bottom of the page or else you'll miss wisdom like this:
Close the toilet lid! It turns out that the germs that fly out of the bowl when you flush are worse than scientists suspected! Using a ?commodograph? to determine patterns of droplet emission from a toilet and a strobe light to shoot a time-lapse photograph of a flush, microbiologist Chuck Gerba, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona, discovered that one flush disperses a spray a whopping 10 feet from the toilet! What?s in that spray? ?Thousands of bacteria that cover and begin to grow on everything they touch,? he reveals. Indeed, a study shows that a full 10% of toothbrushes have E. coli on them from toilet water.
I read somewhere that we ought to soak our toothbrushes in mouthwash, but I'm not that paranoid yet.