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  • Archive for February, 2010

    The Rorschach Test for Evil

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th February 2010 (All posts by )

    [I did a post on this thread over at Reason and it went long so I decided to turn it into post here. I apologize for the sloppiness. I am pressed for time.]

    We have a modern ritual in which we try to see which political ideology is reflected in the murderous actions of people like Amy Bishop and Joseph Andrew Stack. This is especially true in the case of Stack who left a suicide blog post.

    The key to understanding this guy (and others like him) is to grasp the staggering depth of his narcissism and self-absorption.

    People who carry out these types of crimes have an incredibly invariant profile. It’s always the same in every single one of these crimes.

    (1) They have a seriously inflated sense of their own competence. They believe they are in the top 1% of their chosen field when they are usually merely average or sub par. Since they believe they deserve the top rewards but only get the average rewards, they constantly believe themselves cheated out of money, jobs and status.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Crime and Punishment, Media, Political Philosophy | 15 Comments »

    The Delocalization of Events

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th February 2010 (All posts by )

    A small, single-engine plane has crashed into a building here in Austin. It’s national news being covered on all the cable networks.

    The site of the event is about five miles to the South of my house. I’ve driven by that building literally thousands of times…

    … but for all that the crash directly affected me it might as well have been on the other side of the planet. Had my spouse not called, I wouldn’t have know about it until I did my lunch-break scan of Instapundit. I can’t even see the smoke. Everything I know about the event comes from the TV news.

    In short, I have as much information about this local event as does someone elsewhere in America or, indeed, even the world.

    Prior to the Internet, most news was local. An event such as this would have been known to the local population via the local media, and then only an abbreviated story would make it to the national news and no one outside the country would ever have heard of it.

    What are consequences of this delocalization of news? Any individual only has so much time to spend consuming news. If we spend time consuming reports from all over the world, that means we displace our consumption of local news. We end up in the perverse situation wherein we know more about a community on the other side of the world than we do our own.

    Will this further decouple us from our local communities? I know that in recent years I have paid less attention to the local news than I did pre-Internet. Will we grow more concerned about distant problems over which we have little to no input, and neglect local problems that we could actually fix?

    I don’t know what the future will bring but this event feels very surreal.

    Posted in Internet, Media | 15 Comments »

    The Makers vs the Talkers

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th February 2010 (All posts by )

    [Note :I wrote this as a comment to this Victor Davids Hanson post but it ran long enough that I think I will make it an actual post.]

    Way back in the ’80s the columnist William Raspberry wrote about a conversation he had at a Washington party.

    Looking around at the collection of lawyers, bureaucrats, journalists, academics, etc., he turned to a friend and asked:

    “Do you know anybody who makes anything?”

    It had suddenly occurred to Raspberry that his entire professional and social circle was comprised of people who more or less did nothing but talk for a living. He had no personal contact with anyone who participated in the creation of any material good. After asking around, he found that he didn’t know anyone who even made things as a hobby. He said, “I couldn’t even find anyone who had made so much as a bookcase.”

    That little newspaper column opened my eyes up to the most profound division in modern society. It is not rich vs. poor or ethnic-group/race A vs. ethnic-group/race B or male vs. female etc. It is the division between those who create the real physical wealth of our civilization and those who merely manipulate others by persuasive communication.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Environment, Leftism | 35 Comments »

    So, doesn’t change mean change?

    Posted by onparkstreet on 17th February 2010 (All posts by )

    “The small bill aims to make health insurance more accessible, affordable, and portable — without increasing government control, jeopardizing the quality of care, or breaking the bank” Small-Bill Proposal for Sensible Health-Care Reform

    “We have to learn to do health care in fundamentally new ways in the next twenty years. The changes needed are much more radical and sweeping than anything envisioned in the current legislation — and it will take a very different mindset to make them happen. The current bill is a classic example of steady state, blue social model thinking: it is more interested in keeping the status quo going by pumping more money into it than it is in the basic restructuring needed to build a system that will work in the future.” Walter Russell Mead

    The latter excerpt (thanks to LG for the link) highlights, in a way, the frustration I experience practicing in a teaching hospital. It’s all chasing zanaflexhome state and federal dollars and arguing reimbursement rates. Well, naturally. But the really innovative things that we could do? Who, exactly, is doing them stateside? The “cash-only” doc drop-outs? Walmart, Walgreens and CVS clinics? Concierge practices and out-sourced medical diagnostics? I suppose government regulation makes it impossible to be innovative in the most radical way.

    Seriously, I am so in the weeds with the day-to-day – just crushed by it – that I have no idea. We should be thinking innovation and nimbleness, and instead, our thinking is staid, staid, statist-ly staid. Because the Walter Russell Mead post makes the point that technology is going to throw the medical profession for a loop, and I think we are not ready to absorb those changes as a profession. Despite all the academic blather (because of ?), we are not ready.

    What do you think are the important health care trends the current national “discussion” is missing?

    Posted in Health Care | 9 Comments »

    Closing Time?

    Posted by David Foster on 16th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Here’s Citigroup, with 10 mega-themes that spell the end of Western dominance

    On the other hand, here’s Joel Kotkin: Complaints of China’s ascent and the U.S.’ collapse are overly pessimistic

    I’m reminded of a point that was made in a 1930s book on military strategy (edited by then-colonel George C Marshall: The enemy always has problems of his own of which you are unaware.

    Not that China–still less India–is the enemy. Surely the economic development of the Far East is a good thing…indeed, it is wonderful that so many hundreds of millions of people have been rescued from desperate poverty, and surely it is good for us to have millions of more creative contributors to global economy. I’m more concerned with our own level of economic growth, and whether it can be sustained at a level necessary to deal with our problems without declining living standards and permanant long-term unemployment than I am with scorekeeping vis-a-vis China and India. Economically-dynamic countries should indeed be viewed as competitors, but also as customers, suppliers, and sources of knowledge and ideas. (For military as well as competitive reasons, relative position cannot be totally ignored, given the nature of the Chinese regime.)

    So what say you? Who is more convincing, Citi or Kotkin?

    (Kotkin link via Newmark’s Door)

    Posted in China, Economics & Finance, USA | 32 Comments »

    New! – Investment Secrets of the Chicagoboyz

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th February 2010 (All posts by )

    too late

    Lesson 1: Know when to cover your shorts.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 5 Comments »

    Verde Canyon Railway

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 15th February 2010 (All posts by )

    A while back I was in Sedona and took the Verde Canyon Railroad. This railroad was for mining but now is a popular tourist attraction. Here is a link to their web site. From the site:

    The railroads of north central Arizona were all built to support Arizona’s richest copper mine located in Jerome, in the Mingus Mountains above Clarkdale. The Verde Canyon Railroad (formerly the Verde Valley Railroad, operated by the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railroad,) was financed by Senator William A. Clark for $1.3 million dollars in 1911. Built miraculously in only one year, the 38-mile, standard gauge line from Clarkdale to Drake, AZ was constructed by 250 men using 200 mules, picks and shovels and lots of DuPont black powder explosives. Today, the same railroad would cost in excess of $40 million to build.

    As always, I marvel at how fast these types of operations used to be built, in the days before government and lawyers strangled the life out of everything. I also doubt their “$40 million” figure, because you probably can’t build much of anything and get the permits to do so within our lifetime (the train line runs near a bald Eagle nest, which probably makes it impossible to construct anything).

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History | 4 Comments »

    There is no such thing as Europe

    Posted by Helen on 14th February 2010 (All posts by )

    How many times does one have to keep repeating that? All right, let me clarify that statement. Of course, there is a Europe as a geographical concept – it is a subcontinent of the huge Eurasian continent. There is also such a concept, though it is hard to define, as European culture, which melds into European history and European thought. One gets into serious difficulties with it as European culture and European thought are so varied in themselves.

    What there is not and never has been is a Europe as a political concept. There is no such thing as European politics, though there is, obviously EU politics, a completely different concept, often alien to European history and traditions. Therefore, there can be no such thing as a European Tea Party Movement. Not if ever so many people join the group on Facebook; not if Real Clear Politics or Glenn Reynolds write about it.

    It would be pointless to talk about tea parties as a political concept in Europe even if such a thing as Europe existed politically speaking. No-one would understand it. In Britain tea party (as in vicarage, for instance) means something quite different; on the Continent it means nothing at all. In fact, history tells us that on the Continent tax or bread riots tend to have further reaching consequences than the American tea parties have done so far.

    The biggest problem, however, more or less understood by David Ignatius on Real Clear Politics is that each country’s problems are separate and different, even though they all share the understanding that the government’s role is to spend, spend, spend, an understanding they share with most other countries in the world. One suspects that, like Henry Kissinger, David Ignatius would feel happier if there were one European fiscal authority – easier to draw parallels.

    What would a European tea party movement oppose? The European Union? Maybe, but it is hardly the biggest spender; its role in the destruction of the economies of European countries is a little more subtle: it used control and regulation to further integration.

    Individual governments? Why would a European movement care about individual European governments? I see no point in going on a demonstration that would demand fiscal conservatism from the French or Greek governments. Let the people of those countries worry about that, as long as we do not have to pay.

    All this talk of European this, that and the other or European elites, as Glenn Reynolds writes, comes to the same conclusion: we need some kind of a European political entity, a concept many of us radically disagree with. But the truth is that we cannot have a European tea party movement unless we have a European state, a European government and a European polity. People who support or call for a European tea party go along with the notion of a European state.

    Cross-posted from Your Freedom and Ours

    Posted in Britain, Europe | 13 Comments »

    Updates on Power and the Federal Government

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 14th February 2010 (All posts by )

    While there has been talk of a nuclear “renaissance” in the media for years, it is mostly hype. Existing nuclear plants in the US are running at a high capacity factor and making money for their owners, but there has been little tangible investment in new nuclear plants in the US.

    Loan Guarantees and Financing:

    One giant barrier to building new nuclear plants in the US is financing. We haven’t built a new nuclear plant in the US in decades so no one really knows what it will cost (and it depends on which design is chosen) but it is safe to assume that they will cost more than $8-10B each. Given that the entire market capitalization of most US electric utilities is smaller than this figure, as I discussed in this post in June of 2009, the idea that new nuclear plants would be built in large numbers was a pipe dream.

    The Federal government (Department of Energy) was trying to assist by providing loan guarantees for these projects. I started reading through the Federal web site about what this really means and found this document which describes the arguments about 1) whether or not nuclear plants really qualified under this program because they aren’t really new technologies 2) how much equity the companies should be required to contribute to the project 3) various other data points that summarize the state of nuclear energy in the US (as of 2007, but still mostly relevant because not much has happened since then). If you are interested in nuclear power I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to download and read this PDF because it is filled with facts and opinions from the various actors.

    The original proposed Federal loan guarantees were too small relative to the tiny equity capital available from possible players and the large, looming overruns likely to hit these projects. The Federal government seems to agree because they raised the amount of guarantees per this article:

    Budget for the coming year would add $36 billion in new federal loan guarantees on top of $18.5 billion already budgeted — but not spent — for a total of $54.5 billion. That’s enough to help build six or seven new nuclear plants, which can cost $8 billion to $10 billion each.

    When these items were discussed back in mid-2009 I noted that the only company listed as a potential candidate with financial strength to pull off one of these plants was Southern Company. Also as I noted, it was amazing to me that the “journalists” who wrote up that story couldn’t do the rudimentary financial research that would have told them that same thing. In any case, today they announced that Southern Company was going to be the first company to receive a Federal loan guarantee for $14.5B for 2 units to be built near their existing plants at Vogtle.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Energy & Power Generation | 23 Comments »

    I Don’t Mind This Type of Spin

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 14th February 2010 (All posts by )

    More revelations concerning the university professor who allegedly slaughtered some of her colleagues. (Hat tip to Ace.)

    Seems she killed her brother with a shotgun 24 years ago, fled the scene of the crime after the death, and tried to carjack a passing motorist. It is tough to say if this is a true account, since police reports of the incident have been missing since 1988.

    I worked for some years as a fingerprint technician for the local police force. Standard procedure was to keep all arrest records on hand until the person taken into custody died, and the death was verified via fingerprints taken from the corpse. Some of the cards were from before the First World War, and were the very first set of prints taken by the police.

    fbi sample fingerprint card

    Of course, I live in Columbus, Ohio. I have no idea what guidelines the cops in Alabama use. Something tells me that it is not all that different, though.

    I found the following passage from the news article I linked to above to be interesting…

    After she left the room, the police said, she dumped the gun — for which she did not have a permit — in a second-floor bathroom.”

    I’ve seen that mentioned in several news stories now. She did not have a permit! (“No permit! No permit!“) It seems the reporters writing these articles want to make sure that their readers know this.

    In Alabama you don’t need a permit to purchase a firearm, only to carry a concealed handgun.

    One of two things are happening here.

    It could be that the journalists working on this story want to include the fact that the crime was premeditated, as the suspect cannot claim that she just forgot to leave her gun in the car when she came onto the university campus that morning. Not only is it illegal for someone in Alabama to carry a firearm on to school grounds, CCW permit or not, but it was illegal for the suspect to even carry a concealed handgun at all. This strongly indicates that she was planning this attack in advance.

    The second possibility is that the reporters writing these news items hail from places with such draconian gun laws, that they simply cannot conceive of anywhere you can purchase and own a firearm without government permission. The fact that the suspect owned a gun at all when she didn’t have a license is a crime in their eyes.

    Considering how much anti-gun bias I’ve encountered in the news over the past two decades, I’d have to say that the latter explanation is more credible than the former.

    But, whatever their motivations, it turns out that they are actually doing a favor for those who advocate armed self defense. The suspect wasn’t one of us!

    (Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)

    Posted in Academia, Crime and Punishment, Law Enforcement, RKBA | 11 Comments »

    State Taxes and New Jersey

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 13th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Back when Dan and I were invited over to Chicago Boyz they mentioned my posts on taxation and the energy industry as particularly interesting. Over the last few years I have not written that much on tax policy, because the news has been so uniformly bad that it is quite depressing to contemplate.

    This article from the Wall Street Journal is titled “Escape from Taxation” and reviews the negative impact on the state of New Jersey caused by ever-increasing state income tax rates. As you can see in the table, the highest marginal tax rate on income in New Jersey has increased from 2.5% in 1976 to 10.75% in 2009. New Jersey’s growth used to be in part attributed to its lower tax burden when compared to New York state; today that gap has been (mostly) erased and with it has gone inbound migration of wealthy individuals and corresponding growth.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Taxes | 3 Comments »

    Olympic Luge Death, NBC’s Cold Heart, and Liability

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 13th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Yesterday I heard about the death of Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili. He was doing a training run on the luge when he lost control, went airborne, and slammed into a pole at a speed of approximately 90 mph. There is video, but I will not link to it. You can find it if you want. It is somewhat disturbing.

    And how would I know that the video is disturbing? Because NBC, while crying their crocodile tears, showed this guy dying over and over and over last night. I had my children in the living room to have a peaceful night of watching the Opening Ceremonies and had to scramble for the remote while NBC kept showing the replay of the unfortunate athlete’s death.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Law, Sports | 12 Comments »

    A Google Privacy Stumble

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th February 2010 (All posts by )

    If you use Gmail you may have noticed a new feature called “Buzz”, which is Google’s attempt to create something like Facebook.

    Email and Facebook-type social networking services are different in function and in their users’ privacy expectations. Google erred by 1) assuming that users of email, the less intrusive service, would want to be signed up by default for the more intrusive social networking service, and 2) configuring the privacy settings of the social networking service in a way that can casually expose a user’s private information before the user has a chance, or even knows, to change the relevant settings.

    Here is an example of the kinds of problems Google’s new scheme caused.

    Here are instructions for restoring the (relative) privacy of your Google account.

    Google will probably correct its blunder soon if it hasn’t already. But it’s interesting that they blundered in this way in the first place. They showed a Microsoftian level of cluelessness about privacy and security. It’s as if the Google offices were a monoculture of young computer geeks for whom clever new features are first and foremost cool toys with business upside and no downside, rather than complex systems that sometimes interact in unexpected ways and may have the potential to harm people who have something to lose. Oh, wait…

    Google’s “don’t be evil” motto, always a cynical joke, deserves at least as much ridicule as does the DHS terror-threat color code. People in China learned this some time ago.

    Don’t be stupid. Don’t trust Google or other free Web-service providers with information that you can’t afford to make public.

    UPDATE: An attorney offers scathing and insightful critique of Google here and here. The second linked post gives additional advice on deactivating your Buzz account, including a link to Google’s own instructions for doing this.

    Posted in Internet, Privacy, Tech | 8 Comments »

    Movie Review: “Dark Blue World”

    Posted by David Foster on 12th February 2010 (All posts by )

    I learned about this Czech film a couple of years ago via screenwriter/blogger Robert Avrech. It’s not very well known in the U.S. and wasn’t then available on Netflix (though it is now), so I bought it, and just re-watched it…definitely a film worth seeing more than once. Friendship, love, and war, and some aspects of history that are probably unfamiliar to most Americans.

    When Czechoslovakia was occupied by German troops in 1938, many Czech pilots made their way to the West and served with the Royal Air Force. After the war, surviving/returning pilots were imprisoned by Czechoslovakia’s new Communist government, which feared that they had been contaminated by Western ideas.

    Franta Slama is a Czech air force captain. His younger protege and friend, Karel Vojtisek, is an aspiring fighter pilot. After the humiliating surrender of the airfield to an ungracious German officer, Franta and Karel escape the country via motorcycle. Franta leaves behind his girlfriend, Hanicka, and his beloved dog Barcha. Karel is not in a relationship, but is girl-crazy to a degree even greater that typical for his age.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Britain, Europe, Film, History, War and Peace | 10 Comments »

    There’s a Grand Metaphor for Leftism in This

    Posted by Shannon Love on 11th February 2010 (All posts by )

    This is taken from which is a site that collects humorous Facebook posts.

    Funny Facebook Fails
    see more funny facebook stuff!

    Just substitute “Socially/Economically/Environmentally Conscientious Voting” for “texting Haiti to 90999” and “my taxes” for “my phone bill”.

    This line really sums up the leftist point of view:

    It’s not my money, Hah!

    But in the end, you’ve got to pay your bills, even when you’re being ostentatiously compassionate while you think you’re spending other people’s money.

    Posted in Leftism | 15 Comments »

    TEDx Chicago

    Posted by TM Lutas on 11th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Yesterday was Chicago’s inaugural TEDx meeting. It was thought provoking, a full house, and a very educational evening. The event lost one speaker due to snowstorm but he made it in via Skype. Like any inaugural event there were a few technical hiccups but mostly they added charm to the event. I expect them to only get better from here.

    The next one’s in October. I’ll be there. Fortunately, the room will be bigger so hopefully it will take a bit more than a week to sell out though I fully expect it to sell out again. Details to be released soon.

    Posted in Tech | Comments Off on TEDx Chicago

    “Pressure,” Company of Thieves

    Posted by onparkstreet on 11th February 2010 (All posts by )

    There are not enough words to describe my mad love for this Chicago band. And, her voice! A pure instrument. Wait for it, wait for the last ten seconds or so….

    Posted in Chicagoania, Music, Video | Comments Off on “Pressure,” Company of Thieves

    So Long, LORAN

    Posted by David Foster on 10th February 2010 (All posts by )

    On Monday at 2000 GMT, the U.S. Coast Guard terminated the transmission of the LORAN-C radionavigation signal, marking the end of a system which has been an important factor in maritime navigation (and, to a lesser extent, air navigation) for more than half a century. The termination of LORAN was based on budget considerations and on the conclusion that LORAN’s functions have been supplanted by GPS. I’m not totally sure that this was a good decision.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Aviation, Tech, Transportation | 35 Comments »


    Posted by David Foster on 10th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Being without electricity for almost 12 hours, and without Internet service for 4 days (both are back now) encourages contemplation of the multiple networks on which we are dependent for our well-being and even our survival, and of the interdependencies that exist across these networks…
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Energy & Power Generation, Tech | 16 Comments »

    More on Crappy Scientific Software

    Posted by Shannon Love on 9th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Via Slashdot comes this article in the Guardian that reinforces the points I made in my previous post: No One Peer-Reviews Scientific Software, Scientists are Not Software Engineers and Scientific Peer-Review is a Lightweight Process.

    The article makes that same points that (1) there is little to no professional quality-control in the creation and maintenance of scientific software and (2) scientific software should be as open and scrutinized as scientific hardware.

    This observation is especially important:

    Computer code is also at the heart of a scientific issue. One of the key features of science is deniability: if you erect a theory and someone produces evidence that it is wrong, then it falls. This is how science works: by openness, by publishing minute details of an experiment, some mathematical equations or a simulation; by doing this you embrace deniability. This does not seem to have happened in climate research. Many researchers have refused to release their computer programs — even though they are still in existence and not subject to commercial agreements.

    (Note: In this context, “deniability” means that the hypothesis or theory must be constructed so it can be proven wrong, i.e., that you can deny the truth of it.)

    Scientific hypotheses differ from hypotheses in other fields specifically because scientific hypotheses can be conclusively proven wrong by experiment.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Science | 13 Comments »

    Get Out Your Godwin’s Law-O-Meter

    Posted by Zenpundit on 7th February 2010 (All posts by )

    I originally posted this at but then I remembered that at Chicago Boyz there are likely many readers and bloggers who are fans of Jonah Goldberg and might enjoy reading him squaring off against leftist academic critics:

    HNN is running a symposium on Jonah Goldberg’s recent book, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning:

    While I know a great deal about the historical period in question, I have not read Goldberg’s book, so I am not going to comment on his core proposition except to say that IMHO, I tend to find arguments that the intellectual roots of Fascism and Nazism are located exclusively on one side of the political spectrum are flatly and demonstrably wrong. Goldberg’s polemical thesis though, yields a hysterical reaction because he is jubilantly shredding the hoary (and false) assertion of the academic Left, going back to the pre-Popular Front Communist Party line of the 1930s, that Fascism is a form of radicalized conservatism and a secret pawn of big-business capitalism.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, History, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Rhetoric, Society, USA | 17 Comments »

    Peer Review as Talisman

    Posted by Shannon Love on 7th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Mark Steyn says:

    Like all the poodles of the environmental beat, Margot O’Neill repeats those magic words “peer review” every couple of paragraphs like a talisman to ward off evil deniers.

    From my “Scientific Peer-Review is a Lightweight Process” :

    By the way that proponents of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) wave it about as a talisman to ward off criticism, a lay person could be excused for thinking that peer review is a rigorous process that is central to the functioning of science and that verifies the conclusions of a scientist’s research.
    Peer review is nothing like that.
    Peer review isn’t even central to science. Science functioned fine for centuries without peer review and scientists who work in secret or proprietary environments do not use it. Instead, peer review serves economic and social functions related to scientific publishing and does nothing else. Peer review somewhat protects the integrity of scientific media, not the quality of science itself.

    I would just like to point out that Mark Styen steals from the best. ;-)

    Posted in Media, Science | 8 Comments »

    Movie Review: “O”

    Posted by David Foster on 5th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Odin James–“O”–is a high-school basketball star. His friend Hugo also plays for the team, though not on O’s level. When O singles out another player–Michael–for special recognition, Hugo’s already-high jealously level reaches a fever pitch.

    Roger, a wealthy but awkward and widely-disliked student, is hopelessly in love with O’s girlfriend, Desi. Hugo enlists him in a plot which he sells to Roger as a way of luring Desi away from O…but his real intent is to destroy both O and Michael, with Desi as collateral damage.

    Does the plot sound a little bit familiar?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Film | 2 Comments »

    Would Someone Please Just Release a Mac OS X Virus Already?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 5th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Because, people, the suspense is killing me.

    If you went back in time to 2002, at the time of the initial release of Mac OS X, and told everyone that over the next eight years not a single Mac OS X virus or worm would be found in the wild, everyone, including me, would have called you barking mad.

    Ever since Apple began the transition to Mac OS X in 1999, computer security experts have every week of every month of every year confidently told us that Mac OS X is just as vulnerable on a technological level as Windows or any other operating system. By that they mean that it is just as technically easy for a malicious programmer to write a program to hijack the operating system of Mac as it is to write a program to hijack a Windows machine.

    Several times a year, they demonstrate flaws in Mac OS X that they claim could be used to spread viruses. They complain about Apple’s insular, arrogant and cavalier attitude toward finding and patching these security flaws. They tell us that all these factors make Mac OS X a ticking bomb and that “any day now” Mac users will face a sudden tsunami of self-propagating viruses and worms just like Windows users do.

    They tell us the exact same thing every week, month and year.

    They told us that in 1999 with the release of Mac OS X server.
    They told us that in 2000.
    They told us that in 2001.
    They really told us that in 2002 when Mac OS X shipped widely for desktops.
    They told us that in 2002.
    They told us that in 2003.
    They told us that in 2004.
    They told us that in 2005.
    They told us that in 2006.
    They told us that in 2007.
    They told us that in 2008.
    They told us that in 2009
    And they continue to tell us that in 2010.

    Yet, der Tag never comes and waiting for it is giving me ulcers.

    So, I have to ask: How many more years have to elapse before we begin to suspect the security experts (and everyone else, myself included) have misunderstood something critical about how the Mac OS X security model works out in the real world?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Tech | 33 Comments »

    Not Good

    Posted by David Foster on 5th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Financial Times, 2/4:

    Moody’s Investors Service fired off a warning yesterday that the triple A sovereign credit rating of the US would come under pressure unless economic growth was more robust than expected or tougher action was taken to tackle the country’s budget deficit.


    Crucially, projections of the overall debt-to-GDP ratio for the US are seen as rising from 53 per cent in 2009 to 73 per cent in 2015 and 77 per cent by 2020. Moody’s, shopantibioticsonline however, says this understates the US debt level.

    “Using the general government measure, including state and local governments as well as the federal government, which is used internationally, this ratio would be well over 100 percent in 2020.”

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Politics | 5 Comments »