An Inconvenient Truth
Feb 27th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Al Gore’s energy consumption hypocrisy. AN OSCAR FOR HYPOCRISY? So asked Simon Jester as he sent along this story about Al Gore’s home energy use. Of course it’s no surprise that Gore, that famous liar and scion of a political family, lives a “do as I say, don’t do as I do” lifestyle. But this is pretty funny, coming the day after his hot-air documentary won the Academy Award: The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359. Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006. [Wolfesblog]

And that’s not even mentioning how many times Gore travels by air in a given month. From a post on the Magnum Photos Blog:

Right now, by occupying this one coach class seat, I am personally accountable for the release of about eight metric tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. That is roughly the same amount as the total CO2 emissions if I drove a Hummer H2 SUV every day for an entire year, based on the American suburban annual average of 19,300km.

I’d be willing to bet that if you took into account their homes, air travel, and general lifestyle, you’d find that the Hollywood ecofreaks who voted for Gore’s propaganda film are responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than at least half of the population of the Earth–and even half of the US population.

Apple and DRM
Feb 27th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

How FairPlay Works: Apple’s iTunes DRM Dilemma. Understanding how Apple’s FairPlay DRM works helps to answer a lot of questions: why it hasn’t been replaced with an open, interoperable DRM that anyone can use, why Apple isn’t broadly licensing FairPlay, and why the company hasn’t jumped to add DRM-free content from indie artists to iTunes. [RoughlyDrafted Magazine]

A good article which addresses not only how FairPlay works, but also why Apple created it and why Apple would get rid of it if they could.

Usability continuing to decline?
Feb 26th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

News: Vista’s interface a ‘step back,’ analyst says. The interface of Microsoft’s Vista is a step back, especially when compared to OS X, user interface analyst Andreas Pfeiffer says.


That’s not good, considering that OS X’s interface was a step back compared to Windows XP (to say nothing of the Mac OS). I have noticed that software in general has a tendency to get worse with each new version.

Planet of the Apes
Feb 22nd, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Chimpanzees ‘hunt using spears’. Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other primates, according to a study in the journal Current Biology.

Researchers documented 22 cases of chimps fashioning tools to jab at smaller primates sheltering in cavities of hollow branches or tree trunks.

The report’s authors, Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani, said the finding could have implications for human evolution.

Chimps had not been previously observed hunting other animals with tools. [BBC News]

Very interesting! My first question (and I suspect the researches will be asking it too) is whether they chimps thought this up by themselves, or got the idea from watching human hunters.

An interesting article
Feb 21st, 2007 by Ken Hagler

The Scofflaw Demographic. What scofflaws need now, and what the majority of our population will wish for in the future, probably at the point where the government finally does try to seize every handgun or require every citizen be fingerprinted and have his or her DNA sequenced and recorded in a permanent database, or when every financial transaction, no matter how trivial, must by law be processed electronically, by a credit card company, or when traffic at lighted intersections is tracked by remote cameras, or when our employers begin forcing us to piss in cups as a condition for keeping our jobs (wait a minute…), is a refuge from the unrelenting psychological, political, legal, religious, economic and physical coercion we are daily subject to at the hands of our employers, our governments and everybody in-between, and from the over-politicization of every facet of our lives. And the only place to find this refuge will be far from our cities.

Scofflaws, like their predecessors during the previous prohibition, believe the drug war is a big mistake, as are the extreme measures law enforcement is taking to prosecute it. They would like to see the Park Service and Forest Service and BLM acknowledge that there is a segment of the population which cannot enjoy our public lands with a ranger looking over their shoulder. They would also like to see the RAT stomped dead, and legitimate roads left open.

So why should the great well-adjusted, sophisticated, domesticated, citified majority care what becomes of scofflaws, who are beyond the normal distribution curve for non-conformity? Because the scofflaws are the canaries in the coal mine. Every day there’s news about the police tangling with extremists of one kind or another—home-grown terrorists, religious fanatics, hardened criminals and racists. But scofflaws, for the most part, don’t have an economic or ideological agenda beyond just wanting to be left alone. And when the authorities start going after scofflaws with as much zeal as they do these other classes of criminals, the simple desire not to be molested by our own government will have become criminalized, for all of us. [New West Network]

Wouldn’t want the voters to get ideas
Feb 20th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Paul Purged from Pajamas Poll.

Commenter "jf" notes in the post below that Pajamas Media has eliminated Ron Paul from its weekly online straw poll. This is odd, considering that Paul had a 2-1 lead over his nearest competitor in last week's poll, and came in the second the week before.

Pajamas Media says it's implementing a new policy where only candidates who garner one percent or more of the vote in the previous month's Gallup poll are eligible for its online poll. But Paul wasn't listed as an option in Gallup's last poll. I don't know Gallup's reason for not including him. But even if Gallup's people don't find Paul credible, he obviously does have quite a bit of credibility with Pajamas Media's readership.

The only other candidate eliminated from the Republican field by the new policy is former senator Fred Thompson, who hasn't even announced.

Seems like a strange policy that eliminates the previous week's top vote-getter. It's even stranger when you consider the fact that the only real use of a straw poll from Pajamas Media would be to determine which candidates might be resonating with the blogosphere. On the right, the blogosphere skews libertarian. So Paul's ascendancy makes perfect sense. Hiding the fact that he's popular with the Internet right robs the poll of its only real utility.

Taking Paul off the list of options I guess makes the unscientific poll look more credible, in that its results are vaguely similar to those of national, more scientific polls. But you have to wonder why PM's editors would even bother with an online poll if they're just going to switch policies when they get results they don't like.

NOTE: Some commenters have noted that some Paul supporters had cheated the poll with bots and artificial voting. True. But according to the PM post on the "ballot stuffing," those votes were deducted from the candidate totals, and Paul still did very well. What's more, it isn't as if PM purged Paul from the poll to punish his supporters for their malfeasance. Supporters of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney did the same thing, and both of those names are still in the poll.

[Hit and Run]

The best comment on this comes from Jim Henley:

By utter and absolute coincidence the famously prowar PJM banned the only strongly antiwar Republican from their straw poll after he won it. Who knows how such a thing could happen.

Missing option
Feb 20th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

I received a letter today from some government agency called the “Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control” stating that a nearby business had applied for a permit to sell alcohol, and giving me an address where I could request more information or send a protest. However, the letter omitted any address I could write to protesting the existence of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Another mystery “crash”
Feb 18th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

Helicopter crashes in Afghanistan. The US-led coalition says one of its helicopters has crashed in south-east Afghanistan after reporting engine failure. [BBC News]

According to the article an Imperial Stormtrooper claimed that it was “not enemy fire related,” but given the frequency with which the Evil Empire has been lying about “crashes” recently I wonder if we’ll soon be discovering that the “engine failure” was induced by a heat-seeking missile.

That explains it
Feb 16th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

When I read about that shooting in the mall in Utah, I thought it was odd that there was no mention of any mall patrons shooting back, but at the time I figured some had and the mainstream media had ignored it (as has happened in other cases). Later, when it became clear that there really wasn’t anyone shooting back except two cops, I thought it was really weird that there could be a mall full of people in Utah and none of them was armed (I have a Utah concealed weapon permit myself).

Today I came across this photo of a sign at the entrance to the mall in question (no idea where the photo comes from)–note in particular the restriction that I’ve circled in red. Well, that explains it. I certainly hope that the relatives of the people who were killed sue the mall’s owners for everything they’ve got.

A clever diversion?
Feb 13th, 2007 by Ken Hagler

A Pooka Is a Sometimes Food. As you've probably heard by now, North Korea hopes to solve its little mass starvation problem by breeding enormous rabbits. Tom Palmer explains why it won't work:

they're not very economical as a food source. Huge rabbits require huge amounts of food to make them so big. The socialist planner wants a big rabbit. The entrepreneur asks whether there is a positive difference between the cost of feeding the rabbit and the value of the rabbit. For the giant ones, it seems that the difference is negative. But that wouldn't stop a good socialist. After all, if you have a giant hunger problem, the answer must be giant foods.

On a happier note, North Korea claims it's willing to kill its nuclear weapons program. In exchange it wants fuel aid — and perhaps, in a secret side agreement, some enormous pellets for the bunnies.


"He went missing on patrol near Youngdungpo in 1951. I fear the worst."

[Hit and Run]

Perhaps the story about food is actually a clever bit of misdirection. Embarrassed by the fizzle of his nuke test, Kim Jong-Il is now planning to raise giant carnivorous rabbits instead.

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