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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