Thursday, November 30, 2006

Stephen Hawking says get of here

"The long-term survival of the human race is at risk as long as it is confined to a single planet," Hawking said. "Sooner or later, disasters such as an asteroid collision or nuclear war could wipe us all out. But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe.

"There isn't anywhere like the Earth in the solar system, so we would have to go to another star.

"If we used chemical fuel rockets like the Apollo mission to the moon, the journey to the nearest star would take 50,000 years. This is obviously far too long to be practical, so science fiction has developed the idea of warp drive, which takes you instantly to your destination. Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light.

"However, we can still within the law, by using matter/antimatter annihilation, and reach speeds just below the speed of light. With that, it would be possible to reach the next star in about six years, though it wouldn't seem so long for those on board."

The science fiction series Star Trek has used matter/antimatter annihilation as an explanation for the warp drive. But, in reality, he said that scientists believe that the flash of radiation produced when matter and antimatter are brought together and destroy one another could in fact one day be used to drive craft to close to the speed of light.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Ankle-Biting Pundit has a good list of things which they consider "overrated" in our culture. Many of them are right on. Some additions I might suggest are Britney Spears, Michael Vick, Dick Vitale, and European golf "analysts". The latter are as worthless as the female sideline commentators which seem to be essential for every football broadcast. On the other hand, if it keeps females out of the booth itself, go for it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Everyone knew this was coming

A lesbian couple "married" in Massachusetts has filed for "divorce" in Rhode Island, setting up a legal conundrum for judges in a state where the laws are silent on the legality of same-sex "marriage."

Read the article here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Coburn and DeMint Spending Obstacle

This is a good description of how two of the finest politicians in the United States are saving you and me money. These Senators are going to need bodyguards if they keep standing in the way of needless pork spending.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good Times Here Again

From Instapundit:

For three years, pay increases haven't kept pace with the rising cost of living. Then came this year's housing slowdown, which has further squeezed family finances.

Those setbacks, however, are now being offset by rising income. Four percent may not sound like much, but you have to look back to 1997 to find a calendar year with a gain that big.

Equally significant, tamer energy prices mean that the "real" wage gains, after inflation, are above 3 percent for the past 12 months. That, too, hasn't happened since the 1990s, even though the economy has been expanding over the past five years.

"Less than 2 weeks after the Democrats gained control of Congress, wages are increasing. Imagine how much upward wage pressure there will be after the labor pool is cut by a million men due to Rangel's draft."


The loony left can't seem to stand the very existence of Wal*Mart. The complaint seems to be they don't pay enough to their workers and the benefits are not sufficient. This doesn't seem to bother the millions who willingly work there, but the liberals are really carrying water for the labor unions who have not managed to break into the workforce there and them like they did the steel industry, the auto industry, and so forth.
Since the company must be vilified, John Edwards must be part of the chorus, but he was embarrassed recently when one of his volunteers went to Wal*Mart management trying to break into the line and get Edwards a Playstation 3 when others were sleeping in lines outside the store. Of course, Edwards says his volunteer was doing this without authorization and was excercising excessive enthusiasm. Whatever. My question, however, is why a man who is so concerned with the poor worker's wages at Wal*Mart using volunteers instead of paying those who work for him?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I just ran across the term "ecosexual" and was thus interested to learn just what one is. Naturally, the best examples seem to come from California and the following is a description of one....probably not an extreme example.

San Francisco designer Rachel Pearson, 33, owns a successful line of children’s clothing made of organic cotton that also meets international fair-trade rules. For herself she favors clothing from thrift stores—“Not buying new,” she says, “eases the toll on the earth.” A vegetarian, she recycles religiously [ed: of course] and loves to pamper herself with yoga and meditation.

There’s another arena in which Pearson upholds green values, and it can create a bit of an etiquette problem. “I won’t date a guy who doesn’t recycle,” she says. “He doesn’t have to wear nonleather shoes, but he has to get it.” And woe betide the guy who doesn’t.

For a while she was happily dating a film producer from Los Angeles who, she thought, was definitely on her eco-wavelength. But one morning they went out for breakfast, and Mr. Right ordered an all-meat meal and doused his coffee with several packets of Equal. “I was dumbstruck,” says Pearson. “I think I ate my entire meal in silence. Pork plus NutraSweet? That was definitely our last date.”

Political Equality

It would be hard to make the case that either of our major political parties have the foggiest idea of how to govern. One would think they have made some sort of suicide pact to see which could self-destruct the fastest.

China has big problems

This is a most fascinating glimpse into the most basic of problems being faced by China. With billions of people and diminishing water and clean air, it is easy to predict a calamitous upheaval there in the fairly near future.

Ethics Legislation? Not so fast!

The new Congress controlled by Demos is having second thoughts on ethics reform. It must be so if you can read about it in the New York Times.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Here comes infiltration

From the Islamic Voice.

Muslim Brotherhood Office in US
Washington DC

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB), in alliance with the ex-vice- president of Syria, Abdul Halim Khaddam, a staunch Ba’athist, have opened an office in Washington DC. The aim of the office is to infiltrate the US government and influence its apathy towards political Islam. Ammar Abdul Hamid, a Syrian intellectual who works at Brookings Institute, will be running the office for the National Salvation Front. His duties are to sell political Islam and Ba’athism to reluctant US government officials and to give the Muslim Brotherhood a platform in the Think Tank community of Washington from which they can preach democracy.

Pelosi Intelligence

BestView can't wait to see if Nancy Pelosi succumbs to an inclination to play racial politics and puts a corrupt and impeached Alcee Hastings as the head of the Intelligence Committee. I doubt she is that stupid, but......

Republican Minority

The newly minted minority of Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to keep Boehner and Blunt as their leaders for the next session. Evidently they decided that rather than looking at fresh faces and new ideas, it would be smarter to keep those who helped create the minority in the first place. (James Taranto)

Monday, November 13, 2006


There aren't many movie reviews here since I only see about 2 movies a year, but I went to see "Borat" last evening. The main feeling I left with was one of mild depression. I must be getting old since the exception of a few chuckles scattered about, the thing was mainly just lame. Scatological humor is not my forte, I guess.

Things are tough at the top

Washington, DC – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) questioned soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) commitment to eradicating corruption with her endorsement of one of the most unethical members in Congress, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), to be Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

Rep. Murtha was listed in CREW’ report Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch). As reported in the study and by the news media, Rep, Murtha has been involved in a number of pay-to play schemes involving former staffers and his brother, Robert “Kit” Murtha.

Eight incumbents in CREW’s report lost their races to ethics issues.

CREW’s report can be found at

Minority Leader

The next big hill for the House Republicans to climb is the election between John Boehner and Mike Pence for Minority Leader. The choice will indicate whether or not the remaining Republicans understand how much trouble they are in. If they stand with the old team represented by Boehner, it will not be a good sign. Pence opposed the Bush prescription drug boondoggle during a one-on-one meeting with the President in the oval office by telling him he didn't come to Washington to add new entitlements. He also opposed the No Child Left Behind fiasco that Bush crafted with Ted Kennedy on the basis that we should not be federalizing education. With the prospect that Bush might be inclined to join with the dems to show how bipartisan he is, we need someone who can keep the Reaganesque principles in view when Bush leaves the reservation as he often does.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What we should do in Iraq

This is a very fine analysis of what we should do in Iraq. This is offered willingly since it follows almost exactly what I have been thinking.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

George Will Wisdom

At least Republicans now know where the "Bridge to Nowhere" leads: to the political wilderness.

Read the whole thing. Entertaining and astute.

A one sentence summary of the election

"The Republicans lost and the Democrats won for the same reason -- they distanced themselves from their base. "

Political Observations

It seems to me the Republicans lost their way when they lost such leaders as Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey. After that, the House of Representatives shifted from trying to enact legislation based on their core beliefs to stuff which they felt would keep them in power. Conservatives don't add entitlement programs like Part D of Medicare and then belly up to the pork trough to spend so much money that nobody could accuse them of not bringing home bacon. In other words, the Republicans started acting like Democrats in an effort to retain power. This week, they learned that the Democrats recruited candidates which campaigned on basic Republican principles in order to win. If this were a legal situation, George W. could be indicted as a co-conspirator since he permitted and even abetted this behavior.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Interesting Election Fact from Opinion Journal

It was not a referendum on Iraq. One of the most pro-Iraq lawmakers in Congress, Sen. Joe Lieberman, ran as an independent and trounced anti-Iraq Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. Meanwhile, of the five remaining Republican members of Congress who voted against Iraq's liberation, three lost: Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Rep. John Hostettler (Ind.) and Rep. Jim Leach (Iowa). Only two anti-Iraq Republicans will return to the 110th Congress: Reps. Jimmy Duncan (Tenn.) and Ron Paul (Texas).

Election Post-mortem

Random thoughts:

Larry Sabato and Bill Kristol were almost on the money with pre-election predictions and the polls did a pretty decent job of showing the situation in most races.

With few notable exceptions like J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, most of the House losers were replaced by someone at least as conservative. Even the loss of Santorem didn't seem tragic to me since he supported Specter in the last election instead of Toomer.

It is Wednesday morning after the election and I can't wait to hear Rush Limbaugh counter the allegation that he lost the Talent seat with his reaction to Michael Fox. Should be fun.

Hastert has to go. Good riddance to Frist. Both were terrible leaders.

The inside word I get on Pelosi is she will smile sweetly as she cuts your heart out.

Up until now the worst campaign in recent memory was run by John Kerry. This honor now belongs to George Allen of Virginia. He could have won if he had simply gone to a remote island for the duration of the campaign.

It will be interesting to see if the Republicans can work better with Democrats than they have with each other over the last 2 years. They might since much of their agenda seemed pretty liberal to me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mark Steyn on John Kerry

Sometimes life is not fair and when a political figure does something sufficiently stupid to warrent the attention of someone like Mark Steyn or Ann Coulter, the result is brutal. Here is a portion of Mark Steyn's take on the latest John Kerry episode. You need to read it all, however.

A vain thin-skinned condescending blueblood with no sense of his own ridiculousness, Senator Nuancy Boy is secure in little else except his belief in his indispensability.......Whatever he may or may not have intended (and "I was making a joke about how stupid Bush is but I'm the only condescending liberal in America too stupid to tell a Bush-is-stupid joke without blowing it" must rank as one of the all-time lame excuses), what he said fits what too many upscale Dems believe: that America's soldiers are only there because they're too poor and too ill-educated to know any better.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why polls are flawed

From Powerline.

The most difficult challenge for every pollster is figuring out which poll respondents will actually vote, i.e., are "likely voters." Pollsters try to get at this by first asking respondents whether they are registered voters. If the respondent claims to be registered, the pollster asks whether he intends to vote in the coming election, and whether he has voted in the past.

In this particular ABC/Washington Post poll, 80% claimed to be registered voters. (Question number 905.) But this undoubtedly exaggerated the number of registered voters in the pool, since as of 2002, only 66% of eligible voters were registered.

Next, take a look at question number three in the ABC/Post poll: no fewer than 70% of those who answered the telephone, and claimed to be registered voters, said they are "absolutely certain" to vote, while another 11% said they "probably" will vote and 5% said they already had voted. Those numbers add up to 86% of registered voters, and, if 80% of respondents really were registered, 69% of eligible voters.

That's not all: the 70% who said they were absolutely certain to vote were asked whether they always, usually or sometimes vote in off-year elections. The result? 95% said they either "always" (71%) or "nearly always" (17%) or "usually" vote in midterm elections.

Pity the poor pollster. An overwhelming majority of his respondents tell him they surely will vote tomorrow, and, indeed, always do. But the pollster knows that over the past twenty years, the percentage of eligible voters who actually voted in a midterm election has never topped forty percent, while the turnout among registered voters has never exceeded 72%.

Which means that in this particular poll, probably around a quarter to a third of the respondents who assured the pollster that they will vote, won't. (Here's where I need a mathematician like Dafydd ab Hugh to check my calculation.)

So how can the pollster know which of his respondents will in fact show up at the polls tomorrow? He can't know, actually. But one thing we do know from experience is that Republicans tend to turn out and vote more reliably than Democrats, no matter how much enthusiasm for the process Democrats express to pollsters. Based on experience, what a pollster really should do is weight his poll results in favor of Republicans. But I doubt whether any of them do that.

In short, we really don't know what will happen tomorrow. The election will be decided by those who show up, and somewhere up to a third of those who claim they are going to vote--and always do!--won't.

Power out in Germany

This was found on Instapundit and is pretty funny.

Remember when the lights went out in New York? The reaction at "Der Spiegel" was outrageous yet predictable. The outage was described as evidence that America was a faltering superpower with a third rate power grid.

The New York outage was simply further evidence for German media elites that America was in decline and Raubtier capitalism and privatization were all to blame. German media consumers were assured that such a massive failure could never happen in statist Europe.

In fact, the lights did go out just a few weeks later in Italy and Switzerland and Scandinavia, but the reaction in German media was neither sensationalist nor alarmist. There were no scandalous covers deriding the failures of the European economic model or way of life.

Now the lights have gone out again in Europe. This time Germany is in the midst of the outage. . . . But how could that be possible in the wonderful land of social-democratic Oz? How could a nation that has rejected brutal capitalism and amerikanische Verhaeltnisse suffer such an outage? Where are our beautiful windmills when we need them? It just isn't fair. Oh yeah, by the way: Could Bush be to blame? Maybe this is CIA sabotage...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Election

It is going to be interesting to see how the election results compare to the polls. If the polls are right, it will be a really big democratic swing in both the House and Senate. As a scientist, however, I am dubious. In order for a scientist to have any confidence in the results of an experiment, he must be comfortable with the methodology. I am not there yet on polls. At 3PM on election day in the most recent Presidential election, we were facing the certainty of a President Kerry. This remained a certainty until 9PM when it became obvious that all the polls at the exits were wrong and they were wrong in the same direction. Why was this? Here is one thought. If you call a conservative and a liberal on the phone, is one more likely than the other to take several minutes to answer questions? If you stop a liberal after he or she has voted, is that person more or less likely to take the time to participate in your exit poll than a conservative? I have no idea, but I do know that if you call me, I will hang up before the first question is asked. We do not have caller I.D. on our land-line phone, but many people do. If someone does have caller I.D. and pays extra for it, I have to conclude many of them do not even answer if they don't recognize the number. Does this situation apply more frequently to Democrats or Republicans?
Like most people, I am about sick of all the election blather and remain firm in my view that the Republicans deserve to lose but the Dems don't deserve to win. I will vote and in each case my choice is going to be a vote for the Republican and each of them will win. After that, I will sit back and see how well the results conform to the polls and the pre-election predictions of the liberal press that this will be a democratic victory.

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