Saturday, 23 December 2006

An end-of-year, Saturday, pre-Christmas ramble

This is my last ramble for the year -- my bags and books are almost packed, and sun rain-drenched beaches beckon, and for one last time for this year I'll ramble through my clippings file for the week, those items I've marked up to write about but just haven't had the time.
  • First on the list is LearnOutLoud's free -- free! -- audio collection of Great Speeches in History. Download to to whatever MP3 player you have, and you can have Pericles, Martin Luther King, Napoleon Bonaparte, Jesus H. Nazareth, Abraham Lincoln and others right there on the beach with you.
    Great Speeches in History - LearnOutLoud

  • Artist Michael Newberry shares with Amazon browsers his list of Desert Island recordings. Good stuff. Great presents.

  • Where did Angelina take Brad for his birthday? Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. How 'bout that!

  • Christmas for the Kelo family is a sad one this year. Susette Kelo it was whose home was taken by the US Supreme Court and given to a private developer to build condominiums. Susette is still exactly as pissed off as she should be, and she has sent to all concerned this lovely Christmas card: "Susette Kelo's holiday cards feature a snowy image of her pink house and a message that reads, in part, "Your houses, your homes, your family, your friends. May they live in misery that never ends. I curse you all. May you rot in hell. To each of you I send this spell." Rotting in hell is the least the thieving, constitutionally-challenged bastards deserve. [Hat tip Stephen Hicks]
    In Eminent Domain Case: Bah, Humbug: Xmas Jeers From Woman Who Lost - Hartford Courant

  • Idiot/Savant has a frankly shocking summary of just how many people have been, and still are, imprisoned without trial in these Shaky Isles. "If these people are still being detained - and we just don't know - then this would mean that as of today, all had been imprisoned for more than a year, two for more than two years, and the longest-serving detainee is now coming up for their third anniversary in prison. All of this, remember, without any charge or any trial." Ahmed Zaoui and Thomas Yadgery are just the very top of the iceberg, it seems.
    Not Just Thomas Yadgery - No Right Turn

  • Sprawl. Where some see sprawl, even if they're unable to clearly define what the hell they mean by it, William T. Bogart sees metropolitan regions as dynamic systems -- which is of course what they are. Reason magazine has a fascinating interview with Bogart. Sample:

    reason: If we shouldn't call it sprawl, what should we call it?

    Bogart: "Trading places." It's a more accurate description of how metropolitan areas are structured today: Parts interact with each other by trading goods and services, which includes people moving from place to place and consuming and producing goods and services.

    It's also an explicitly dynamic term. Over the course of a day the populations of different parts of metropolitan areas change, and over the course of time the populations of metropolitan areas change. Too much of the discussion about metropolitan structure has been too narrowly focused, in both space and time -- it looks at a very small part of a metropolitan area at only one point in time.
    Read it all here:
    Trading Places: William T. Bogart on Dynamic Cities and Unnacountable Planners
    - Reason.Com

  • Now, here's an article on 'the war that won't go away' that comes highly recommended by the folks at Jihad Watch: "A tremendous address by John Lewis, an assistant professor of history at Ashland University and contributing editor of The Objective Standard, where you can read that address now." A tiny sample:
    [American] military capacities are not in doubt today. It is [American] moral self-confidence that is in question. What was it that stopped us from confronting Iran in 1979, except a lack of confidence in our own rightness, and an unwillingness to defend ourselves for our own sakes? Had we removed the Iranian regime in 1979, thousands of Americans would have been saved, and children across the world would not have grown up with sword verses rising in their minds as they give their lives to jihad. Consider the Japanese—and ask whether it would have been in our interest to have left the regime of 1945 in power, to continue preaching religious militarism and training kamikaze. The best thing Americans did for themselves (and, incidentally, the kindest thing for the Japanese) was to burn that regime to the ground. So it is today. The Islamic State—Totalitarian Islam—must go. And it is the moral responsibility of every American to demand it.

    As Jihad Watch recommends, "Don't fail to read it all." (And maybe take a look too at Lewis's Open Letter to Republicans explaining in terms that even Republicans can understand just why exactly they lost the mid-term elections. John Key apologists might also benefit from reading it.)
    No Substitute for Victory: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitiarianism - John Lewis, The Objective Standard

  • An article that appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal on the Iraq War and the report of the Iraq Study Group has been creating quite a stir. Robert Tracinscki calls the report of the Iraq Study Group the work of Captain Obvious. That is not intended as a compliment. As he says, "There you have it: a series of recommendations based on conditions that 'very well might not' happen... The whole ISG report is a spectacular punt. It contains a few broad, vague goals for our policy--and a whole range of specific recommendations for actions that are not in the power of the American government to take."
    Captain Obvious to the Rescue: The Problem with the Iraq Study Group - Robert Tracinscki, Wall Street Journal

  • And here's a related article on the website of the George Mason University (and if I haven't noted the author's name it's because I confess I've forgotten it):
    The Very Messy Way In versus A Very Neat Way Out of Iraq - George Mason Uni

  • On to another war: Grant McCracken has an insightful look at the culture wars and the phenomenon of moral panic -- from both left and right.
    Ending the Culture Wars (or, Ecumenical Me) - This Blog
  • For all the talk about physics here recently, some of you may be in need of a brush-up in your own knowledge of all the complicated concepts and observations that physicists seek to explain. If you want it all de-mystified, then Carl Wiemann's Interactive Physics Simulations are just the thing. Superbly explanatory Java applets that you really do need to play with.
    Interactive Physics Simulations - Physics Education Technology
    Physics 2000, "an interactive journey through modern physics!" - Carl Wiemann, Colorado Uni.

  • Here's a request: I've just noticed that the Jul/August issue of Architecture New Zealand magazine had a fourteen-page special on Claude Megson, 'Degrees of Freedom,' written by one Giles Reid. I'd love to have a look at the article (and if I don't record it here I'll forget all about it by the New Year), and I'd love to know too just who Giles Reid is. Anyone have any info?
  • Item 1 – Plant a Tree and Save the Planet? As Owen McShane notes, "Not in New Zealand it now seems."
    Can planting trees stop the sea level from rising, the ice caps from melting and the whole planet being Gored to death? A new study says that it depends on where the trees are planted. In fact it cautions that new forests in mid-to high-latitude locations could actually create a net warming. New Zealand is a mid to high lattitude country.My wife and I have planted over 85,000 trees and plants on our property so are we doomed to global warming jail? Sadly, it seems our Government has got it wrong again. But that is what happens when you are convinced "The Science is Settled" when most of it is actually unexplored territory.
    Read the whole shocking story at:
    Plant a Tree and Save the Earth? - Earth Observatory.

  • The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. The volunteer vigilante for this Christmas break -- that time when governments are prone to drop their shittier news in the expectation that no-one will notice -- is once again the G-Man, and he's already found a shit drop from the Ministry of the Environment.
    The Great Christmas Shit Drop - G-Man Inc.

  • And Cactus, of course, has the perfect advice for all of you considering holiday presents for employees. Forget the alcohol, free hams or i-pods -- give 'em CASH!
    Corporate Wowsers - Cactus Kate

1 comment:

  1. I'll be making sure to download them and to somehow find the time to listen to them.


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