Monday, July 31, 2006


I haven't read anything by J.K. Rowling yet. Maybe I should "guess the title of JK Rowling's 7th book of Harry Potter series."

Related: My post, HARRY POTTER.


Do you still have vacation? Here is a game you could spend some time on.

blufr - bruising your ego one bluf at a time

While Governor of Texas, George W. Bush declared an official "Jesus Day."

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[Editor's comment to the staff at Blufr is not "bruising my EGO one bluf at a time.";)]

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Here is the Morris way of warfare in old Persian territory:

First, turn your back and ignore the whole thing, wait for Israel to take care of the situation.

And then *bam*! Time to fresh up after the battle.

Back to a laid-back position, practicing gunboat diplomacy.

Do you care for a PERSIAN LIME MARTIN(I)?


In the news:

Here is a photo I took from a demonstration in Gothenburg. I saw plenty of yellow and green Hezbollah flags. The sign says: "The Zionists are the real terrorists." [Editor's comment: Please note the "$"...]

Hezbollah Gothenburg

Hassan Nasrallah


Friday, July 28, 2006


From Body in Mind:

We hope you got a good look at the smiling, cheerful, exuberantly beautiful Miss Indonesia during Sunday night's Miss Universe pageant - because if an Islamic group in her country gets their way, she'll be spending the next 2-6 years in jail just for being there. (, 07/25/06.)

In the news: Group files complaint against Miss Indonesia - Washington Post / Reuters. Go to Little Green Footballs for comments.


Iranian-born Miss Canada, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, has used her great beauty and influence as a talented singer/songwriter to save the life of another girl also named Nazanin, sentenced in Iran to hang for fatally stabbing a man who was attempting to rape her. (

In the news: Pageant winner promotes progressive revolution -



If you are interested in a new business opportunity including an unique consumable product (nutraceutical in gel form), check out my page on Global Agel Online. For more information, read my post, ASH CAPITAL AND AGEL.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

This morning, I find myself racing the clock to post as much accumulated good stuff as I can. Thirty open browser tabs. Forty-five minutes. No particular order but for the first and last items.

Video of the Week

In a comment to a post on Richard Feynman earlier this week, the Resident Egoist recommends a superb video: "Hey, Feynman fans, if you haven't already, you should really make the time to watch this video."

He is absolutely correct! If you make the time, you will be glad you did.

The Mohammed Birch Society

Yeah. Posting about the war has been thin here over the past couple of days, but I got sick and tired of it and gave myself a break. Not only for our physical safety should we wage this war in whatever way we must to end it quickly, but we should do so for sanity's sake. The constant assault against our lives and values, insofar as we permit it by pulling punches, is a form of dhimmitude. I hate these flea-bitten, death-worshipping savages, their constant fighting, and their constant pleas for my attention.

Having said that, there is a war on, and I'm back....

Daniel Pipes discusses the consolation of having conspiracy theory nuts as political opponents.
CAIR believes that U.S. policy is made in the dark, at the behest of a lobby, and thereby ignores the lopsided views of the American electorate, 57 percent of whom sympathizes with Israel and only 4 percent with Hizbullah (according to a July 19 poll conducted by CNN). So long as CAIR continues to bark up the wrong tree, it has little chance of effecting real change. [link dropped]
True, but it is not simply a matter of "barking up the wrong tree". The mere unpopularity of an opinion does not make its supporters powerless to effect change. CAIR's problem here is not that they're ignoring opinion polls, but that they are ignoring reality. That is the cardinal folly in America, and that is why Americans remain firmly on Israel's side. We know who started this.

UN Donates Human Shields

Via LGF, we learn the rest of the story behind the recent bombing, by Israel, of a United Nations outpost.
What makes Annan's allegation so unforgiveable is that his UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been warning for days about what almost certainly caused this tragedy. Hezbollah fighters, who have already been firing behind screens of women and children, have also been shooting from behind and next to the UN positions, presumably hoping Israel will not dare shoot back and risk exactly this kind of propaganda disaster. [bold added]
With Kofi Annan asking whether Israel deliberately targeted the post, it is only fair that we ask whether he deliberately left men in the line of fire in the hopes that he could grandstand after this very predictable outcome.

The Moslem love of "martyrdom" (i.e., murder-suicide excused by religious authority) is only the second most obscene thing about the war. First place goes to those who aid and abet this nonsense, by standing in the way of the total annihilation of these death-worshipping savages.

So take your prize and go home now, Kofi. Better yet, put your money where your mouth is, and become a U.N. observer.

"Where is the Israeli Sherman?"

Asks Isaac Schrodinger, as he quotes the following from a link.
We have terrorist groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, regularly advocating genocide against Israel and following up their words with bloody attacks, even though the Israelis are capable of bombing them both back to the stone age in a matter of months. Yet and still, sizable percentages of civilians in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories are so nonplussed by the prospect of a conflict with Israel, that they go to the polls and enthusiastically support terrorists who are sure to drag them into war. That would seem to be a strong indication that Israel isn't being sufficiently hard on her enemies. [bold added]

Moslems End Boycott of Danish (Tourism)

And speaking of Israel not being hard enough on her enemies, Amit Ghate is rendered almost speechless by the following example of Denmark actually aiding her enemies.
... Ahmed Akkari, the Danish imam who toured the Middle East inciting Muslims against Denmark, has just been evacuated from Lebanon -- by the same embassy he helped burn down. [links dropped]
Follow this link to see a picture of this. The many useful idiots in the West are giving Cox and Forkum a run for their money with the speed at which they are producing absurd images!

Coke Better than Pepsi

Mike, who has worked at a factory for flavorings, posted this awhile back, but it bears mentioning now anyway because he has solved an age-old riddle here.
While I'm at it, I'll explain why Pepsi sucks so bad, yet somehow manages to win taste tests. If you take Coke and Pepsi side by side in a blind test, Pepsi will win. This is because the bad taste of Pepsi cumulates from several sips (it is an aftertaste effect). So even though I hate Pepsi, I can take a sip or two and enjoy it. After half a can, I'm grossed out. Coke on the other hand tastes good no matter how much you drink, because its aftertaste is the same as its, uh ... during taste.
This cumulative nastiness of Pepsi is one of those things I have noticed myself, but was never quite able to put a finger on. I have always liked Coke better than Pepsi. Now I know why!

Edward Cline Interview

Martin Lindeskog will be interviewing Edward Cline soon!

Israel at War

Bruno has a nice roundup concerning the Battle of Lebanon over at The Simplest Thing. ARI has been putting out lots of good stuff, too.

Wanna Job?

The Software Nerd reports that Mark Cuban is informally offering a job to the right kind of person -- if he leaves the right kind of comment on his blog.

If you think outside the box, here is your chance to work for a man who does the same. Interesting!

Deaver's War

Via Mike's Eyes, I read (Hmmm. That sounds almost telepathic....) an excellent post by Jim Woods on the causes of the current fighting in Lebanon.
In his book A Different Drummer: My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan, Deaver recounts the role he played in reigning in Israel's attack on Beirut. On the television, the news displayed images of open warfare in what had been a vibrant city. In this case, the terrorists using Lebanese territory to wage war had been Arafat's PLO, and the Israelis were going to finish them off this time. By the point of Beirut, PLO military power had been rendered even more ineffective than usual and Israel was pounding their hiding places at will. However, this one-sided fight was too much for Deaver, who went all wobbly. He went to his employer and friend of many decades, President Reagan, and said he would resign if Reagan could not do something to stop the carnage. For his friend, Reagan made that call and Israel allowed the PLO to escape to exile in Tunisia.

But did that stop the carnage Mr. Deaver? NO! It might have stopped the images on the news that so disturbed him, but the killing continued. [link dropped]
Read the whole thing!

Happy July 25th!

The Gaijin Biker points to one of the funniest Onion articles I have seen in quite some time: "Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence Founding Fathers, Patriots, Mr. T. Honored".
Wikipedia, the online, reader-edited encyclopedia, honored the 750th anniversary of American independence on July 25 with a special featured section on its main page Tuesday.

"It would have been a major oversight to ignore this portentous anniversary," said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, whose site now boasts over 4,300,000 articles in multiple languages, over one-quarter of which are in English, including 11,000 concerning popular toys of the 1980s alone. "At 750 years, the U.S. is by far the world's oldest surviving democracy, and is certainly deserving of our recognition," Wales said. "According to our database, that's 212 years older than the Eiffel Tower, 347 years older than the earliest-known woolly-mammoth fossil, and a full 493 years older than the microwave oven."

"In fact," added Wales, "at three-quarters of a millennium, the USA has been around almost as long as technology."
It's all this good!

Well, that's it. Blogger's editor makes it necessary to stop before I'm really done so I can make what I have presentable. (Damn "smart quotes" and other HTML hiccoughs!) As always, if you're looking for more to read, visit the good folks on my blogroll.

-- CAV

Monday, July 24, 2006


Are you coming to Gothenburg in week 34 (Friday August 25 - Sunday 27)? Click here for the details, e.g., how and when to pay, accommodation, and links of interest, etc. Here is a description of the lectures on 8/26 by Lee Sandstead:

  • The Use Value of Art

Art Historian Lee Sandstead will discuss the importance of art under the concept of "use value." This lecture will view the history of art from the standpoint of what that art can do for us, living today, striving to be happy. Starting with the Ancient Greeks, we will focus on how the everyday man used art in his own daily life—and how we can use their art in our own daily lives. Significant discussion will be given to the idea that art can be used by an individual as a technological *tool*--then we will springboard through art history looking for the best *tools* and how to use them.

  • Lecture: Master Sculptor: Evelyn Beatrice Longman

If someone told you that there was a 6 ½ foot, bronze portrait bust of Thomas Edison—a masterpiece—would you believe him? If someone told you that there was a 15-foot, gilded bronze statue of a winged, nude male called the Genius of Electricity—again a masterpiece—would you believe him? Surely images such as these would be known by everyone, right? Wouldn't both of these images proliferate through prints and other media?

But yet these two pieces exist, right in front of our eyes, in everyday life. But, tragically, few people know of their existence. They are certainly not written about, not photographed and can only be found in obscure, dated art-historical texts. Why? After 100 years of modernism, these two masterpieces—and hundreds more—have been buried.

The 6 ½ foot bronze portrait bust of Thomas Edison (1952)—the only portrait that he ever sat for--is in Washington D.C. at the Naval Research Laboratory. The 15-foot Genius of Electricity (1915), while now at AT&T's world headquarters in Bedminster, NJ, once stood atop a skyscraper in NYC.

In both cases, the artist is Evelyn Beatrice Longman, one of America's greatest sculptors. Today, she is all but forgotten.

Over the past two years, art-historian Lee Sandstead has traveled through several states locating, documenting and photographing the many works of Evelyn Longman. What he has found, quite simply, is amazing. Come to this stirring illustrated lecture to learn more about Evelyn Longman and learn for yourself why she is a master sculptor—and guidepost.


In the news: Liberals condemn demo swastika.

Palestinian groups demonstrating in Malmö on Saturday against the war in Lebanon carried placards displaying swastikas. Now politicians in the city are calling for official funding of the Malmö Palestinian Association to be frozen. (, 07/24/06.)

Signs of the Times

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Stay tuned for a phone interview with Edward Cline. More information will be available at Egoist Solid Vox radio podcast homepage and Thinker To Thinker blog in the near future.

Ego sitting in the library at Blue Chip Café, reading Sparrowhawk Book 1: Jack Frake. [Editor's comment: Do you like the t-shirt?]


Thursday, July 20, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

Tons of good stuff today, and I had to stop looking before I wanted to due to a browser crash....

Get your intellectual ammunition right here.

Yesterday, I posted the following quick list of pro-war commentary at the end of a fisking of Professor Bainbridge.
Andy at the Charlotte Capitalist has posted another roundup, which is all good and does not overlap with the above list!

Andy also includes a link to Cox and Forkum, who have been superb since the fighting in Lebanon began. (And until this morning, I hadn't even seen this cartoon, which made me laugh out loud. How did I manage to miss that?)

In addition, we have the following:

Robert Tracy uses a painting of the stoning of St. Stephen as a lead-in to discuss the evils of pure democracy before linking to Peter Schwartz's excellent "Freedom vs. Unlimited Majority Rule".

Amit Ghate links to an excellent editorial in the New York Post on the prisoner situation.
Conferring unprecedented legal status upon these murderous transnational outlaws is unnecessary, unwise and ultimately suicidal. It exalts monsters. And it provides the anti-American pack with living vermin to anoint as victims, if not heroes.

Isn't it time we gave our critics what they're asking for? Let's solve the "unjust" imprisonment problem, once and for all. No more Guantanamos! Every terrorist mission should be a suicide mission. With our help.
My only criticism is that, unless I've missed something, Ralph Peters forgot to suggest that we dip our bullets in pig fat.

And finally, Debi Ghate offers the best summary of the entire situation in a letter to the editor. The letter reads in part:
The combined military strength of the freer countries is more than enough to eliminate decisively and definitively the assorted collection of murderous terrorists and the governments that support them financially or ideologically. There is no need for an endless global conflict. What there is a need for is a recognition that those of us living in freer countries have the right to take any necessary actions to defend ourselves -- and that our lives are at stake.
I thank everyone I mentioned here for doing their part to make this conflict as short as possible -- by arguing for a more decisive prosecution of the war.

Two on Writing

I stopped by James Lileks for the first time in eons and found his assessment of Mickey Spillane's writing style humorous: "[H]e wrote like someone ripping meat with a bent fork." The rest of the post is quite enjoyable, too.

And then, frequent Rule of Reason blogger and historical fiction writer, Edward Cline, whose stylistic toolkit is not merely far better maintained than Spillane's but better equipped, has been posting about how he writes his fiction. I enjoyed this post, in which he discusses his use of literary devices.

As an aside, I particularly liked the following quote from a scene in the second novel of his Sparrowhawk series, probably because I could identify so well with the character.
Jones glowered up at him, not only because he disliked the man, but because he had interrupted a thought. "Yes," he answered. "And, like Demosthenes, I shall spit stones." [my italics]
I am particularly irascible when I am interrupted while trying to concentrate. In fact, this explains the origin (item 3 in the list) of my blog's logo!

But then, far from being an aside, perhaps this serves to demonstrate that the man is good at making his characters real to the reader....

Save that title for later, Captain.

Captain Ed explains why I was mildly puzzled to see a certain episode on South Park last night.
Ten days ago, I wrote about the conundrum faced by Comedy Central. The Emmy nominations came out that week, and the South Park episode "Trapped In The Closet" got picked for Best Animated Show. Unfortunately, Comedy Central had pulled the episode from the rotation after Isaac Hayes quit the show, complaining about the insensitivity of SP creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker towards his Scientology faith.
I think my feeling came from the fact that I'd read about this episode being pulled, but only pulled this memory incompletely into my consciousness during the show. (As it turns out, I had in fact blogged the original capitulation by CC.)

But really, to say that "Comedy Central Grows A Pair" as he does in his title is a bit much. Comedy Central can earn that appraisal only by showing an image of Mohammed on the air.

You, too, LGF.

In a post titled, "Canadian PM Stands Up", Little Green Footballs praises the Canadian Prime Minister for standing up for Israel. His statements are a major improvement, but that evaluation reflects more on just how far gone many of the West's politicians are. These two parts of the quote show what I mean.
Making his strongest statement yet on the Middle East crisis, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday that more innocent people will die unless Israel and its terrorist enemies negotiate an end to the violence.


"Hezbollah's objective is violence. Hezbollah believes that through violence it can create, it can bring about the destruction of Israel. Violence will not bring about the destruction of Israel ... and inevitably the result of the violence will be the deaths primarily of innocent people." [bold added]
Yes, this is perhaps an improvement, but the time to get excited is when our leaders stop saying that Israel (or anybody else) should negotiate with terrorists.

The Chi-Comms' "Red Diaper Cloth"

The Gaijin Biker blogs an incident in which a Chinese reporter was jailed for writing such heresies against the Communist Party as:
When a Chinese used a hunting rifle to shoot at birds on a university campus, he shot a hole in the Communist's red diaper cloth [the Chinese flag] by accident. As a result, he was sentenced to 20 years in jail. In America, "publicly" burning the American flag on the street is regarded an expression of thought and an exercise of freedom of speech, and is constitutionally protected.

The day that I can burn the Chinese national flag at Tiananmen Square will be the day when mainland China becomes an "America" with democracy and economic wealth -- a beautiful, good and wealthy country.
I agree with GB when he says, "Li's words should be emailed to every US senator who recently voted in favor of adding a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution." [link dropped]

Mike's Eyes ...

..., like Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, is a title which can make you look like a bad writer if you fail to italicize it. Having said that, Mike's Eyes is full of good stuff. I'll quote from his post on the "Unity08" political movement.
I agree with Mr. Dzwonkowski that more unity would be a good thing, but only if that unity is around or about some good idea or ideal. Unity as such has no value apart from that which one seeks to unify. There is unity in a lynch mob. Is that a good thing? Of course not. In the 1930's, the German people were united behind the idea that Hitler and his Nazi party would be good for Germany. Look what that unity achieved.
But I could have just said to go over there and start scrolling

The Brick Testament

The folks over at Principles in Practice may be perfectionists, but they aren't stuffed shirts. This week, they linked to a site that had me laughing out loud. Alan Germani quotes Brendan Powell Smith of
There I was enjoying a leisurely lunch one evening at the local Taco Bell when suddenly my bean burrito burst into flames and I heard the unmistakable voice of God. "Brendan," it said, "from this day forth you will illustrate for me my most holy of books, The Bible, completely in LEGO®."

"Surely there is someone more qualified than I for this task," I humbly replied. "For I am but a simple man with no special talent for building with plastic bricks."

"Who are you to question the will of God?" the angered voice boomed back. "Was it not I who created the world from nothing and whose hands control the destiny of mankind?

"But I'm an atheist," I protested.

"Then you are especially unqualified to question me!" came the response. "Now get to work!"
This guy is even funnier in his chosen artistic medium.

-- CAV


Today: Fixed a typo.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Day By Day Cartoon by Chris Muir. 07/18/06

Related: My post, "GOOGLEFIGHT".


The latest Glenn and Helen Show is a cocktail of beer and fatty food. Could tea be the solution for obesity? Here is an excerpt from the article, America's baby-boomers are embracing tea for its health benefits:

Americans' growing enthusiasm for tea can be explained in large part by its health benefits. Tea contains less caffeine than coffee, and the industry touts studies that suggest it can help with heart problems, blood pressure and even cancer. This explains tea's particular appeal to the ageing baby-boom generation, suggests Brian Keating of Sage Group, a market-research firm, in a recent report on the industry. (, 07/06/06.)

Come to Blue Chip Café for an energy boost. If you want to a healty cookie f.o.c, go to our page at Free Diet Cookie.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


FYI: I am planning to interview Edward Cline on my podcast radio show later on this month. Read his post, Sparrowhawk: The Project.


Lee Sandstead will deliver his 50th and 51st lecture on August 26. You are welcome to visit Gothenburg ("Göteborg" in Swedish), Sweden, for an opportunity to learn more about art. Sign up by sending an email to: Payment in advance via PayPal or directly to my bank account.

Thanks to the Objectivism Metablog and the Charlotte Capitalist for mentioning the event. Please spread the good word! Anders Lundgren of Business Joy is helping me with the coordination of the activities.


I have asked if Morris could follow the Swedish elections for Politics Central. Here is his answer:

Morris the carpetbagger.

We await blogging instructions from Gerard Van der Leun of the American Digest. Do you think the non-socialist block, the Alliance, could get their act together and give a real alternative to the voters? The newspapers in Sweden "give mixed reaction to Alliance tax plan."

Friday, July 14, 2006


In the news:

At last! It will soon be time for a party in Beirut! The song, Dancing on the Berlin Wall, by Rational Youth should be played all night long. Tune in to Beirut Nights Radio and listen to the party music. After the Israeli army has taken care of the terrorist headquarters in Lebanon, it is time to move on to Syria and Iran...

Thursday, July 13, 2006


What's is going on in the United States of America? Christians who put a cross in the hand of the Statue of Liberty and conservatives who want to close the borders against immigrants. And now the next target is online gambling...

Red, White and Desecrated

Stars and Barred


UPDATE 07/14/06: Talking about politics and the forthcoming elections, check out Pajamas Media's Politics Central. [Editor's comment: Would you identify yourself as "X21"? I am a radical capitalist.]


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

The fun thing about getting tied up enough to lose track of the blogs that you follow is that there's more good stuff sitting around for you upon your return!


Cox and Forkum have posted a good cartoon and commentary on immigration.

Among the many excellent points in the commentary is one I can recall once being uncomfortable about, but not being able to figure out exactly why.
I also find suspicious the frequent invocation of "rule of law" by some opponents of illegal immigration. It's as if they think "rule of law" means to always obey the law no matter how unjust. From that perspective, blacks escaping Southern slavery and Jews fleeing Nazi Germany were all violators of the "rule of law."
On an unrelated point I have been meaning to mention here for awhile, I recall thinking, upon first seeing the photo of a recent desecration of the Statue of Liberty, that it looked like a Cox and Forkum cartoon. As it turns out, they'd bounced around an idea for just such a cartoon some time back!


Diana Hsieh discusses one of my pet peeves -- cell phone interruptions -- in a particularly annoying context: lectures in a conference for which she paid good money to attend.
While most of the lectures are OCON were excellent, that value was frustratingly diminished for me by the routine ringing of cellphones during lectures, both general sessions and optional courses. At the opening of the conference, Dr. Yaron Brook announced that each cellphone ring would warrant a donation to the Institute of $250. If people pay up -- and they ought to, since every ring caused serious interruption to speakers and listeners -- ARI should see at least a few thousand dollars.

Yes, it was that bad. ...
I agree that it would be the honorable thing to do on the part of these individuals. However, I do wonder whether the organizers of the conference did anything to remind people before lectures to turn off their phones. Furthermore, given the severeity of the problem, it would seem that more drastic measure might need to be taken before the next conference. Perhaps the conference could advise attendees that it reserves the right to remove from the premises anyone who distracts others from the lectures.


Andrew Dalton links to a story about a British sculptor -- who is a "shrugging" engineer in Britain.
Simon Willmott, 52, has ditched fixing radiators and boilers to turn his hand to making bronze or stone sculptures.

Mr Willmott, from Ruthin, Denbighshire, said red tape and rising taxation in his work as an engineer had led him to make the switch.
This reminds me of a story I read a long time back about a physician who quit his practice to avoid outlandish liability insurance rates. He became a dry cleaner and remarked that the worst he'd ever have to do is buy an unhappy customer a new shirt.


Gideon Reich points to a book review of Charles C. Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. A commenter notes the following passage from the review.
Mann is to be congratulated for giving us a picture of the Indian that respects his complicated humanity, but he still has no answer for the fundamental question raised by the collision of the Old World and the New: why were the Spaniards in Tenochtitlan, and not the Aztecs in Seville? [my bold]

Blair notes with dismay that the notion of reparations for slavery is picking up steam.


Sarah Beth alerts us to a good Alex Epstein piece on Enron and Ken Lay.
[Enron's] leaders were not honest with themselves about the nature of their success. They wanted to be "New Economy" geniuses who could successfully enter any market they wished. As a result, they entered into ventures far beyond their expertise, based on half-baked ideas thought to be profound market insights. For example, Enron poured billions into a broadband network featuring movies-on-demand--without bothering to check whether movie studios would provide major releases (they wouldn't). They spent $3 billion on a highly inefficient power plant in India--on ludicrous assurances by a transient Indian government that they would be paid indefinitely for vastly overpriced electricity.
Enron, far from being an example of the folly of greed, is in fact an example of the folly of whim-worship. Read the whole thing.


Vigilis blogs about a feasibility study of Archimedes' Death Ray by students at MIT. They disagree with the conclusion of a recent episode of the Discovery Channel's Myth Busters.
Intrigued by the idea and an intuitive belief that it could work, MIT's 2.009ers decided to apply the early product development 'sketch or soft modeling' process to the problem.

Our goal was not to make a decision on the myth -- we just wanted to assess if it was at least possible to achieve in a simple manner, and to have some fun in the process. Jumping ahead, you can see the result... but let's start at the beginning.
Whatever you think of their efforts, they are far more impressive than another modeling "effort" I recently came across!

Isaac Shrodinger points to a real gem by James Lileks on what Hollywood's new metrosexual (HT: Jennifer Snow) version of Superman might call "all that stuff".
"We were always hesitant to include the term 'American way' because the meaning of that today is somewhat uncertain," said co-writer Michael Dougherty. "I think when people say 'American way,' they're actually talking about what the 'American way' meant back in the '40s and '50s, which was something more noble and idealistic."

Ah. Well, in the '40s, the American Way included incinerating German cities, nuking Japan, installing occupying armies and imposing our form of government -- all the while referring to the enemy with hurtful ethnic slurs. All this plus forced relocation. If these actions are deemed noble and idealistic now, it'll be a handy sentiment the next time the United States gears up for total war.
Fuck yeah!


Hannes Hacker emails me news that Russia has launched an inflatable spacecraft that could pave the way for space hotels!
The basic concept calls for launching soft-sided spacecraft that could be inflated once they're in orbit. The walls are made from multiple layers of graphite-fiber composite materials, tough enough to stand up to micrometeoroids and orbital debris. Such modules would be cheaper to send into space, and allow for larger pressurized volumes once they were inflated.

Genesis 1 measures about 14 feet (4 meters) in length and 4 feet (1.2 meters) in diameter, and was designed to inflate in orbit to twice that diameter. The module is equipped with 13 cameras inside and out, and could transmit views of Earth as well as items floating inside the enclosed space for years to come.

[Las Vegas-based aeronautics company] Bigelow's time line calls for testing larger and larger prototypes, with roughly two launches per year, leading up to the launch of full-scale Nautilus-class modules each enclosing about 11,650 cubic feet (330 cubic meters), or roughly the volume of a three-bedroom home.

In comparison [to the $75 million spent so far by Bigelow], the international space station has cost on the order of $100 billion so far, and encloses about 15,000 cubic feet (425 cubic meters) of habitable space.

Not that I condone vandalism, but ...

... some grafitti artists in Houston have recently asked themselves WWJD -- "What would Jesus drink?"


Thursday, July 6, 2006


Lee Sandstead is planning to visit Gothenburg, Sweden, for two lectures on art. Here is the preliminary schedule:

  • Friday, August 25: Arrival to Gothenburg. Dinner with fellow Objectivists at a restaurant in the city of Gothenburg.

  • Saturday, August 26: In the morning, a lecture on the Use Value of Art. Then a break for lunch. In the afternoon a lecture on Evelyn Beatrice Longman. If the weather permits, we will do a short guided tour in the evening and maybe check out some interesting attractions, e.g., statues located in the center of Gothenburg, and then having dinner at restaurant.

  • Sunday, August 27: Brunch for individuals who want to stick around and discuss the event.

My company, Egoist International Business Coordinator, is organizing the activity in cooperation with the Association for Objectivism ("Föreningen För Objektivismen"). The lectures will take place at Blue Chip Café.

The total price for both the lectures will be around USD $70 (SEK 500, EUR 55, GBP £38). You could find pretty cheap hotel and youth hostel rooms in the area. Please send me an email with your pre-registration, or if you want to have more information.

Related: My post, MONUMENT LIGHT.


Today I received the second issue of The Objective Standard. I will conduct a podcast interview with Craig Biddle later on this month. In the meantime, please listen to my interview Allen Forkum, and the other interviews at Solidvox.


Cross-Posted from Gus Van Horn

As I slowly recover from a busy period and a short trip out of the country, I find many interesting things on the web....

What Makes America Great

My thanks go to Bruno for pointing to this Edwin Locke piece on what makes America great.
Despite its undeniable triumphs, America is by no means secure. Its core principles are under attack from every direction -- by religious zealots who want to undermine the separation of church and state, and by its own intellectuals, who are denouncing reason in the name of skepticism, rights in the name of special entitlements, and progress in the name of environmentalism. We are heading rapidly toward the destruction of our core values and the dead end of nihilism. The core values and achievements of the West and of America must be asserted proudly and defended to the death. Our lives depend on them.
What Threatens America

Robert Tracinski, in TIA Daily, points to the following story concerning the sacrilege of a great American symbol by a group of people who would do well to read the above essay, not to mention familiarize themselves with some of the writings of some of our founding fathers.
"I decree the spirit of conviction on this intersection," ["Apostle" Alton] Williams [pastor of Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church, which erected the statue pictured at right] boomed from a podium decorated with red, white and blue bunting. "This statue proves that Jesus Christ is Lord over America, he is Lord over Tennessee, he is Lord over Memphis."
I'll let three other Americans rebut Williams.
"It's a big issue," [Guardia] Nelson said. "Liberty's supposed to have a fire, not a cross."

Elena Martinez, a loan officer visiting Memphis from Houston, said her family was speechless at the sight.

"The Statue of Liberty has a different meaning for the country," Ms. Martinez said. "It doesn't need to be used in a religious sense."
And then, of course, Thomas Jefferson, has this to say about religion.
Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God.... Read the Bible, then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus.
It is no coincidence that this mysterious man, who was also the principle author of the Declaration of Independence, counted among his greatest achievements the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Our government is alone the only social institution that has the use of force at its legal disposal. This is precisely why it has no business promoting religion (or any other particular system of beliefs), and precisely what makes a Statue of "Liberty" which includes religious trappings of any sort an abomination.

Does Williams have the right to erect this monstrosity? Of course. But the only thing his statue proves is that he does not understand or care about the intellectual underpinnings of the United States of America. Nor does he appreciate the difference between freedom and the slavery that is self-sacrifice, and which is symbolized by the cross held aloft by his unholy statue.

Book Review: What Would the Founders Do?

And speaking of becoming more familiar with the Founding Fathers, I like this book review by Alexander Marriott on Richard Brookhiser's new book What Would the Founders Do?.
The real problem with the premise of Brookhiser's latest effort is that the founders were not infallible authorities to consult on political or ethical concerns. Their inability to deal with metaphysics, which Brookhiser points out, was a serious flaw, because they ended up stating their political breakthroughs as self-evident truths, when they were and are not. Though Brookhiser and the rest of us may want to go back to the founders and get the wisdom we seem to have lost, their advice is limited not only by time, but by their own deficiencies. In their age they could say radical liberty and individual rights were self-evident truths because few would dispute the point, but today's post-modern world where people dispute the existence of reality, objectivity, truth, reason, and knowledge (the beginnings of which had only begun when the founders were achieving their greatest triumphs) requires something more. In the context of their own time the founders were heroic visionaries, men of ideas and action. Whether they could fight the philosophical quagmire of the present which threatens all their efforts to secure freedom and liberty to their posterity is far from certain. That being said, Mr. Brookhiser's efforts to bring the founders intelligently and understandably to as many Americans as possible (not just scholars) are to be commended and encouraged. The seriousness and probity which the founders brought to all the issues they grappled with comes through clearly in this book and is something we should all strive to emulate.
Sounds like I'll add this one to the hopper!

Forced to Pledge?!?!?

And speaking of people who have lost sight of what makes our country great, Andy reports that North Carolina is getting ready to become the 34th state to force school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day.

A free people do not need to be told to support the nation that protects their freedom. An unfree people owe their nation no allegiance, as our Founding Fathers showed by their words and deeds. The North Carolina legislature plainly does not grasp this.

Mexican Standoff

The Mexican election presently appears too close to call. The rabble-rouser AMLO led the last time I checked, which is a bad thing. He keeps babbling about how Mexico's stability is in the balance from one side of his mouth and threatening to start riots if there is fraud -- meaning if he loses -- out of the other side. Mexico does not need a "leader" like that. The Belmont Club has links to some live-blogging of the election, and there are some thought-provoking comments there as well.

Environmentalism vs. American Self-Defense

Environmentalists continue to attempt to limit the ability of our Navy to train during a time of war. What's worse, our leaders are not standing up for the rights (and lives) of human beings (whom they are charged with protecting) over the lives of animals. Not only did our President recently establish a "national marine monument area" in waters near Hawaii recently, but naval officials continue accepting the premises of the environmentalists.
"We need to balance what we've got to do from the standpoint of military training and readiness and exercises with our commitment to environmental protections and safeguards," said Capt. Matt Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Either Brown said nothing about the dubiousness of claims that sonar has anything to do with whale strandings or the Washington Post chose to ignore it when making this report.

But as I said over a year ago, that really isn't even the most fundamental issue.
Our submarines very rarely use active sonar and when they do, lives are at stake[, w]hether such a capability is used for collision avoidance or to train personnel to function properly (via drills or other exercises) .... While it is true that the Navy takes care to avoid events like this, I'd like to see Naval officials and politicians alike stress the importance of protecting the lives of those serving on submarines {and therefore, of everyone else]. Not only should these officials do so because we are fighting a war, but the lives of those involved in that exercise far outweigh those of a bunch of [wild animals].
(HT: Nick Provenzo)

Paper Bullet

Once again, Cox and Forkum illustrate perfectly another American foreign policy blunder. Look for more countries to start acting like North Korea if we don't put a stop to this.

Quote of the Day Week Month Year Decade Century Millennium ... Oh, Never Mind!

Willy Shake, who is returning from a much longer and more stressful absence from blogging than I, passes on the following brilliant quote:
Civilization is face to face with militant [Islamism]...there need be no fear of the ultimate issue, but the longer the policy of half measures is adhered to the more distant the end of the struggle will be. [-- Winston Churchill, September 12, 1897!]
Thanks, Willy Shake, and welcome back!

More Bad News Concerning Internet Freedom

Paul Hsieh notes that now, Google is being threatened with the anti-trust cudgel!
[T]he judge presiding in the lawsuit against Google may allow the plaintiff KinderStart to include an anti-trust claim against Google. Normally, companies would have a hard time with a complaint against Google based purely on a low search engine ranking, since Google could claim protection under the First Amendment (much as a restaurant would have a hard time suing a newspaper for an unfavorable review). But since KinderStart is also a niche search website specializing in parenting-related sites, they can make [this] additional claim against Google[.]
Economic controls don't just breed more controls. They breed attacks on freedom from many other, unanticipated directions. This is precisely why any attack on freedom must be opposed.

Moslem Women Not Blameless

Amit Ghate weighs in.
Until recently I have felt very sorry for Muslim women in general -- considering them to be relatively innocent and helpless victims of their brutal and repressive societies. But the more I read, the more I see that many have bought into and actively advocate the ideology responsible for their situation, with quite a few even participating in the physical horrors and repression. For example, in the story below, an aunt was instrumental in trapping the murdered girl, just as women were the traps in the Halimi case.
There is much more. Umm Nidal is hardly an aberration. She is simply one of the ugliest examples of this. That we know about.

No Gooooaaaallll!

Reader Adrian Hester writes:
Tank McNamara has had a great series about soccer the past week. The real reason soccer has never caught on in the US? The CIA has been blocking it!
It starts here.

-- CAV

Sunday, July 2, 2006


I recently watched a fascinating documentary on Annette Kellerman.

Have you read The Original Million Dollar Mermaid: The Annette Kellerman Story by Emily Gibson?


Check out my chile pepper and paprika plants at my other blog.

Hungarian paprika.

Here is an excerpt from Caterwauling's post, Summer sizzle: Carnival of the Recipes, ‘Fireworks’ edition:

I’d like to pause for a station identification break to say that I used to work in a hot-sauce store. And I LOVED to give samples to folks who claimed they could “take the heat.” Yeah, I watched many of them scream for their mommies with just a drop of Dave’s Insanity on the tip of a toothpick. Be sure to have a trough of water or maybe even some milk handy if you want to experiment with upping the Scoville units in your dishes.

And on behalf of a LOT of customers, I feel compelled to share another public-service announcement: Remember that the fiery oils in hot sauce (taken from pepper seeds, which is where the heat resides. Anybody can eat a habanero pepper that’s been washed.) remain embedded in your fingertips and tongue for hours. Keep that in mind before any nighttime fireworks displays. … ;) (, 07/02/06.)

Related: My post, HOT AND SPICY TOPICS.


Time to feed the cat. Morris is eating dried cat food.


On Tuesday I will visit some friends in a town called Lysekil. [Editor's comment: Last year, I found a CAT IN THE AIR.] The archipelago is located on the west coast of Sweden. I will celebrate the Independence Day with individuals who are American in spirit.