Sean King

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San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Europe's Future

Guardian: The survey predicts that Britain's population by 2060 will increase by 25% from the current figure of just over 61 million to almost 77 million.

Germany is the biggest country in the EU, with more than 82 million people, but it is likely to shed almost 12 million by 2060, says the report. The widely praised family policies and support of working women in France means that the French population will rise to almost 72 million by 2060.

With the British birth rate now at its highest in a generation - 1.91 children per woman according to the Office for National Statistics last week - the UK has less to fear about any "generation wars" brought on by the "demographic timebomb" of ageing and shrinking populations where those in work cannot support the pension needs of retired citizens.

Declining population is probably this biggest issue facing the West and Russia over the next century. Fortunately, the UK and that US are positioned for modest growth thanks to immigration and reasonable birth rates.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Frost? In August?!

Anthony Watts points out "another frost advisory before Labor Day."

It's been a cold summer across much of the US.

Financial Times:

A horrible truth is beginning to dawn on the Democrats. Barack Obama is not the “once in a generation” political genius they thought they had discovered. On the contrary, he is a weak candidate for the presidency.

With a feeble economy, an unpopular war and the Republicans in disarray, the Democrats should win the presidential election in a canter. But Mr Obama, the Democratic nominee, is neck and neck with John McCain, his Republican rival. For sure, Mr Obama has some real assets – intelligence, grace, good looks, star quality. But history suggests that he is a very risky candidate.

Since 1968, the Democrats have won just three out of 10 presidential races. Their two successful candidates – Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton – were both white, centrist governors from the southern US. Whenever the Democrats nominated a liberal from outside the South – George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, John Kerry – they lost.

Mr Obama is a northerner. He is a liberal.

Yep, the panic is setting in. Next comes the blame game, then the the excuses.

I seriously fear for what a few of the more radical Dems may do if they don't win this time around. They are truly getting desperate, and they had so much of themselves invested in this Obama character.

I expect we'll see the rebirth of the Weather Underground, or something worse. At least for a brief time.

Obama Attacks McCain on Economics

And, its a fair criticism.

Byron York notes...

...Michelle Obama's Two Americas.

I suppose that individuals so inclined can make a case for either, but no genuine person can possibly make a case for both.

Which begs the question: Was Michelle being a populist demagogue then, or now?

Expect Total Panic Any Day Now

McCain takes the lead in the latest Gallup poll.

Soon, the far left will insist that Obama go negative. Very negative. But, if he complies, he demonstrates that he's not a "new kind of politician" at all. And, because that is seemingly his only qualification for the Presidency, he undermines his own campaign.

Damed if he does and damned if he doesn't--I sure wouldn't want to be Obama right now.

UPDATE: As if on que, Paul Begala says, "Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack."

IRS Issues Latest Statistics on Income

Results are summarized at the New York Times.

UPDATE: Freakonomics has some additional statistics.

"The Truth About Russia in Georgia"

Chronicled at Instapundit.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What Happens When Government Provides for Everything

TIMESONLINE: Grossly overweight children may be taken from their families and put into care if Britain’s obesity epidemic continues to escalate, council chiefs said yesterday.
“The nation’s expanding waistline threatens to have a devastating impact on our public services. It’s a huge issue for public health, but it also risks placing an unprecedented amount of pressure on council services.”
— Councils are spending tens of thousands of pounds widening crematorium furnaces to deal with fatter corpses

— Standard coffins are between 16 and 20ins wide (40-50cm) but coffins twice that size are being ordered to fit larger bodies

— Lewisham Council has ordered a 44in cremator from America and is taking coffins from the Midlands. A furnace has just been installed at King’s Lynn, Norfolk, for coffins a metre wide and Blackburn is to buy a 42in cremator

— New ambulances have been introduced across Wales with special equipment for fat patients, including a winch and an extra wide strengthened stretcher

— Fire services are threatening to charge police or hospitals a fee if they are called in to move grossly overweight people out of dangerous buildings

— Many schools are having to adapt their furniture to cope with heavier, wider children. Each larger table and chair costs about £30

In fairness, the article offers other rationales for the proposed action, some of them quite sensible, but the fact that the author felt the need to point out and specify obesity's impact on the cost of "public services" is illustrative. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for people (be they obese or not) paying their "fair share" for whatever they get in life, but we must remember that when government provides everything from our healthcare to our coffin, it can justify even the most serious impositions on liberty based simply on the "cost to society."


Uninsured Get Less Health Care Than Insured

And since a large number of the uninsured are young and healthy, which is one reason why they don't opt for insurance to begin with, they no doubt need less care than the insured among us who, by and large, are older and sicker.

I know, I know, there are exceptions to be sure. I'm just stating the general rule, and the general rule refutes the above-linked study's conclusion.

The Impact of Ageing

Sarah Harper sums up the this century's greatest challenge in a single sentence: In 20 years' time half the population of Europe will be aged over 50.

And, the US won't be far behind.

Having said that, 50 ain't what it used to be. Fifty isn't the new forty, it's the new thirty. The sooner our state-funded pensions (like social security) figure this out and appropriately increase the retirement age, the better off we'll all be.

Exercise and Longevity

"We are learning that exercise actually reverses some basic aspects of aging at the molecular level," said Simon Melov, who directs genomics at the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, Calif. "Exercise doesn't just make muscles stronger, it makes muscles younger."

Full story here.

Yet Another Use for Google Earth:

MSNBC: A study of Google Earth satellite images has revealed that herds of cattle tend to face in the north-south direction of Earth's magnetic lines.

Who knew?

What is the most sung-about body part?

Researchers Fernanda ViƩgas and Martin Wattenberg break it down by musical genre. The overall winner? The eyes took the prize in eight of the eleven genres.

But predictably, another body part came out on top in the Hip Hop category.

"Sen. Barack Obama has a problem.

And it lives in a hut."

Something tells me that if this were McCain's brother, we'd have heard about it a long time ago.

(via Little Green Footballs)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bill Kristol on "The Democrats' Glass Ceiling"

After comparing the qualifications of Hillary and Biden and concluding that Hillary is at least as qualified, Kristol asks:

Will the Democratic party, which is committed (to say the least) to gender equity, and which in fact has a 50 percent quota for female delegates, accept Obama’s imposition of a glass ceiling at its convention?

A modest suggestion to my justifiably outraged Democratic friends: Hillary’s name should be placed in nomination not for the presidency (Obama won that more or less fair and square)--but for the vice presidency. It would be an interesting roll call vote.

Seems like the perfect strategy to me.

I previously pointed out the Dem's duplicitousnes on issues of race and gender here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On Longevity

John Llewellyn: First, longevity has been increasing astonishingly fast. In 1914, when my father was born, people were living, on average, to age 52. When I was born, in 1944, that figure was 63, already some 11 years longer.

Second, rising longevity is nothing new. But for the wars, it has been going on steadily since the Industrial Revolution - and at an astonishing three months per year since 1950. Government actuaries keep predicting that the rise will level off: company actuaries assume this even more strongly. And many doctors and scientists support this by arguing that we have made all the easy medical advances, so that the ones that remain are the really hard ones.

Maybe: although that which is known always seems easy, while that which is not always seems difficult. The fact is, however, that the rise in longevity has not slowed these past 160 years.

Third, these 'extra' years seem, by and large, to be healthy ones. The onset of chronic diseases and disability occurs, on average, at an ever-later age, so that healthy life expectancy is increasing at much the same pace as life expectancy itself.

Read the whole thing.

Taking Progress for Granted (cont.)

New York Times: From January through July, 131 measles cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 15 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen people, including four infants, were hospitalized. There were no deaths. Nearly all the cases resulted when people traveling abroad or visiting from a foreign country spread the illness to others. In Illinois, 30 people were sickened in one outbreak.

Most of those who were sickened were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status. Sixteen were younger than a year old, too young to have been vaccinated. But two-thirds of the rest — or 63 people — were unvaccinated because of their or their parents’ philosophical or religious beliefs.

As I have said previously, people who refuse vaccinations gamble with more than just their own lives.

Jacob Weisberg says that if Obama loses...'s not due to his inexperience, or his arrogance, or media overexposure, or because Bill and Hillary seek to undermine him, or because of his associations with Reverand Wright and Bill Ayers, or because he wants to raise taxes, or because he has gone back on most every promise made during the primary campaign (e.g., to exit Iraq pronto, to prevent drilling for oil in new places, to oppose the individual right to bear arms, and to accept public financing of his campaign, just to name a few among many).

No, Weisberg insists that, "racism is the only reason McCain might beat him."

Yep, if you don't vote for Obama, you're a racist at worst, and a "bitter clinger" at best. Remember that when it comes time to pull the lever.

The Feasibility of Face Transplants

Recent findings show that face transplants, which may still be considered medical oddities by some, are quite difficult to accomplish, but have really goods odds to be succesful.

The stained glass windows in medieval churches...

have long been a mystery. Scientists still aren't exactly sure how they were made. But scientists have recently learned this about them:

Gold nanoparticles purified air in old churches.

Way cool!

The Looming Singularity

Sci-Tech Today: Intel's chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, on Thursday led his keynote with the idea that advancements in technology have surpassed predictions and that in the not-so-distant future machines could surpass humans in intelligence.

Read the whole thing. Amazing.

UPDATE: Adam Bulger has much more on the singularity here:

But our capabilities are multiplying. Drawn from Moore's law, which maintains that computational processing power doubles every 18 months, singularitarianism posits that once artificial intelligence develops the processing power of the human brain (by one interpretation, in 2030), everything about human life will inexorably and fundamentally change. Our bodies will be able to interface with machines in ways that seem impossible today. With innovations in nano-manufacturing technology, artificial intelligence and other technologies, people will be able to live longer and dramatically different lives.

MORE: InformationWeek has much more on how Intel sees the near future. Fascinating.

Well, it's better than the alternative:

Longevity threatens pension pots.

"Why has longevity...

become a source of dismay?" Oh, perhaps because of how its financed.

(via Instapundit)

Buffet might sue John Edwards for misrepresentation...

...if he had donated to Edwards' campaign.

"Girls are Like a Bag of M&M's":

Uh, I never really thought of it that way.

Nothing to be Particularly Proud of

Fox News: But [Bush's] approval rating, which had been hovering in the mid-20s, is improving, according to new data from Quinnipiac University.

The data put Bush's approval rating around 30 percent — not a ringing endorsement, but it comes the same week as some more-favorable reports on the Bush record.

"Not a ringing endorsement", huh? That's an understatement.

Cell Phones as Tools for Political Reform?

Bernard Condon regarding Denis O'Brien: He sums up his strategy thusly: "Get big fast. [Damn] the cost. Be brave. Go over the cliff. [The competition] doesn't have the balls." O'Brien doesn't let government obstructionism or corruption deter him. He dots countries with cell towers, sometimes before rulers even grant a licence, then slashes the price of mobiles on opening day to get the masses using them fast.

It's a bet that poor people who have never had phone service before won't let the politicians take their phones away without a fight. Thus does O'Brien avoid the fate of many Western investors in corrupt, violent countries - being forced to sell out on the cheap.

Johnny Cash Live From San Quentin:

Johnny Cash...The original Eminem. My generation forgets just how controversial Cash was in his day.

Britain's Channel 4 on Obama and "The Chicago Way"

Tepid as its criticisms are, it's ironic that we have to look to British media for stories like this.

News of Knoxville's Central High School shooting breaks on Twitter

Per Michael Silence.

Progress on Skin Cancer

Fox News: Scientists are hoping that one day doctors can wave a scanner over the skin and the “profile” of chemical odors would detect the cancerous cells, researchers told the annual conference of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Does your printer lie?

Farhad Manjoo: Brother's toner cartridges have a sensor built into them; OppressedPrinterUser found that covering the sensor with a small piece of dark electrical tape tricked the printer into thinking he'd installed a new cartridge. I followed his instructions, and my printer began to work. At least eight months have passed. I've printed hundreds of pages since, and the text still hasn't begun to fade. On, many Brother owners have written in to thank OppressedPrinterUser for his hack. One guy says that after covering the sensor, he printed 1,800 more pages before his toner finally ran out.

Very interesting.

Is the Left Having Buyer's Remorse?

Margery Eagan: I can’t say I have Obama remorse. Yet. But I’m nervous. How did he get so annoying? I wish he’d save nuance and sanctimony for senior seminars; give America some straight answers; crack some jokes at his own high-horse expense; convince me he’s up to this and soothe my furrowed, fretful brow.

Because, you know, that's what presidents are for: to sooth our furrowed, fretful brows.

How does he keep a straight face?

David Leonhardt says: John McCain’s economic vision, as he has laid it out during the campaign, amounts to a slightly altered version of Republican orthodoxy, with tax cuts at the core. Obama, on the other hand, has more-detailed proposals but a less obvious ideology.

Less obvious? Really? Only the willingly blind can fail to detect Obama's economic ideology, David.

Sanitizing Documents...

...the Chicago Way.

"[I]t's one of the more mind-blowing things to appear since Google Earth"

What's that, you ask? Microsoft's Photosynth, says PC World's Danny Allen.

Way cool!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hacker Proves Chinese Olympic Fraud?

Story here.

I knew a couple of those gymnasts couldn't be 16 years old.

This Could be a Big Seller:

Addiction Drug Causes Rapid Weight Loss in Rats

Michael Graham with The Boston Herald rips Obama over "pay grade" remark:

There are certain sentences that should never appear on the lips of the Leader of the Free World. “That Vladimir Putin, what a great guy!” is one of them. “I did not have sex with that woman” is another.

But on the very top of the list of statements about our nation’s laws that should never be spoken by a guy whose job it is to sit next to the Big, Red Button is “That’s above my pay grade.”

With all due respect, Sen. Obama, being president is above your pay grade. And the voters are starting to figure that out.

Ouch! Read the whole thing here.

The Candidates on Abortion

Johathan Weisman considers their respective positions.

"The Process is the Punishment"

David Warren argues that the recent discretion exercised by Canada's "human rights courts" (an Orwellian name indeed) should not get them off the hook for prior abuses:

It should be mentioned that none of the defendants got off easily. Each was compelled to spend large amounts of money and time in the extremely aggravating process of dealing with large, faceless bureaucracies, staffed with their political enemies, functioning free of traditional legal restraints. By dismissing each case, after long drawn-out proceedings, the kangaroo courts were able to run up their chosen victims' costs, while finally denying them the possibility of an appeal against judgment to a legitimate court of law, in which they might conceivably have recovered their expenses. "The process is the punishment."

Read the whole thing.

Photo Fakery at the WSJ?

Is it just me, or does this photo of Obama with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley appear to be photoshopped?

Notice that Obama's shoulder is in front of Daley's chin, and yet Obama's nose is behind Daley's ear. So, either they were in a weirdly close embrace, or Obama's neck (or nose--LOL) is unusually long, or the photo has been manipulated.

Or, maybe it's just me.


UPDATE: Oh, and after you view the photo, read the article too. Very interesting.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Boy, it seems that the Nunez family is having a rough go of it lately.

How rough? Well, by the sound of this NPR segment, really rough:

The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries — $100 used to buy about 12 bags of groceries, but now it's more like seven or eight. So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they don't buy extras like ice cream anymore. Instead, they eat a lot of starches like potatoes and noodles.

Yes, lots and lots and lots of starches, apparently.

Video Killed the Radio Star...

and GPS kills the cowboy?

From the plains of southern New Mexico, we bring you a story of headset-wearing cows. The US Department of Agriculture and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are teaming up to remotely corral cattle using a wireless device that sends sound straight into the bovines' ears.

Richard Halloran asks:

When will North Korea collapse?

Well, tomorrow would not be soon enough.

Good News, Bad News

Bad News First: A new study by researchers from Rutgers University suggests that some moisturizing creams or moisturizers may significantly increase the risk of a type of skin cancer called Squamous cell carcinoma.

Now the Good News: Chemical Used in Plastic Bottles is Safe

Cabo San Lucas--July 2008:

Glenn Reynolds asks:

What hath Putin wrought?

It's Been Unseasonably Cold...

in Denver.

And in Australia and Canada.

And in lots of other places.

Google at 10 Years Old

David Smith: Ten years ago next month, in an innocuous suburban garage, Page and Brin, two geeky students at Stanford University, founded a company called Google. They would go on to create what is regularly voted the world's top brand, earn accolades as the world's best employers and become billionaires many times over. They would also, say their critics, cut a swathe through the laws of copyright, threaten to devour media like a 'digital Murdoch' and harvest more of our secrets than any totalitarian government - smashing the core certainties of advertising executives, book publishers, newspaper owners, television moguls and civil libertarians.

Brin and Page's mission is to 'organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful'. They are doing it every minute of every day in indexed web searches, in blogs, in books, in email, in maps, in news, in photos, in videos, in their own encyclopedia. They have built a giant electronic brain made up of farms of computer servers connected around the world, a brain that learns and gains intelligence every time someone uses Google.

It is the stuff of science fiction and it all happened so fast that no one could quite grasp it, still less try to stop it.

Read the whole thing. It's fascinating.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama's Position...

on gay marriage is almost indistinguishable from Bush's. But, of course, Bush was roundly criticized by the MSM for his stance.

Obama? Not so much.

The World's Booming Middle Class

Next Big Future: In 2000, developing countries were home to 56% of the global middle class, but by 2030 that figure is expected to reach 93%. China and India alone will account for two-thirds of the expansion, with China contributing 52% of the increase and India 12%. The expectation is of the nearly 700 million new middle class by 2030 that nearly 350 million will be from China.


Subatomic particles and free will.

The Hockey Stick's Tale

In this post, I made reference to the now-debunked "hockey stick" chart made famous by Al Gore in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth.

For those who care about issues of global warming but who are not familiar with the story of the hockey stick chart, how it was debunked, and the significance of its debunking on global warming science, this post by Bishop Hill is a must read.

(via Anthony Watts)

UPDATE: Much more on the history of the hockey stick debacle here. (via Bishop Hill)

Contradictory Data on Arctic Sea Ice

Anthony Watts: With a 30 percent difference, it would seem that the public would have difficulty determining which dataset is the truly representative one.

Yes...yes it would.

Scientist Bjorn Lomborg Takes Tickell to Task...

for his crazy talk:

Much of the global warming debate is perhaps best described as a constant outbidding by frantic campaigners, producing a barrage of ever-more scary scenarios in an attempt to get the public to accept their civilisation-changing proposals. Unfortunately, the general public – while concerned about the environment – is distinctly unwilling to support questionable solutions with costs running into tens of trillions of pounds. Predictably, this makes the campaigners reach for even more outlandish scares.

These alarmist predictions are becoming quite bizarre, and could be dismissed as sociological oddities, if it weren't for the fact that they get such big play in the media. Oliver Tickell, for instance, writes that a global warming causing a 4C temperature increase by the end of the century would be a "catastrophe" and the beginning of the "extinction" of the human race. This is simply silly.

Find out why here.


continues to play Bizarro Bush, this time on tax policy.

Jury Tampering?

By a Federal Judge?

Don't get me wrong, I think that drugs need to be regulated, and in many cases even outlawed, but there are legitimate questions about the extent of the FEDERAL government's (as opposed to the States') authority in this regard.

(via Instapundit)

Howard Dean:

"If you look at folks of color, even women, they're more successful in the Democratic party than they are in the white, uh, excuse me, in the [laughs] Republican party."

What an absurd, Orwellian statement. I'm trying to think of men and women of color who held senior positions in the last Democrat administration (Clinton), and honestly I'm struggling to name very many. In fact, I had to resort to this list to refresh my memory, which is evidence of just how uninfluential these people were in Clinton's administration.

By reference to the list, we learn that Clinton appointed the following African-Americans to Cabinet positions:

Ron Brown, Secretary of Commerce
Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation
Hazel O'Leary, Secretary of Energy
Jesee Brown, Secretary of Veteran's Affairs
Togo West, Secretary of Veteran's Affairs

Does anyone remember any of these people (other than perhaps Ron Brown)? I sure don't.

So, we have one black female appointed to Clinton's Cabinet, and she held the relatively low-profile position of Secretary of Energy. There were only 4 other appointments of African-Americans to Cabinet positions, all of whom played low-profile roles. The only other significant appointment of an Africa-American that I can recall was Joycelyn Elders as US Attorney General. Clinton had no black National Security Advisor, no black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and no black Supreme Court appointments.

By contrast, the two most recent Republican Presidents appointed blacks to the very highest profile and most important positions in our government. For instance, both of the last two Secretaries of State were black (Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice). Bush Sr. previously appointed Powell to the highest position in our military (Chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff), and Reagan had previously named Powell National Security Advisor. Rice also served as National Security Advisor under Bush Jr. prior to her appointment as Secretary of State. And, our only sitting black Supreme Court Justice was appointed by a Republican (Bush Sr.).

Bush Jr. appointed Roderick Paige as Secretary of Education, and at one point his most senior domestic policy advisor was African-American. In addition to placing an African-American over our military and appointing an African-American to the Supreme Court, Bush Sr. also appointed Louis Sullivan as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

So, does Howard Dean's assertion that "folks of color, even women..., are more successful in the Democratic party..." have any basis in reality? Well, it depends on how you define success, I guess.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin offers some related thoughts.

Google is catching much flack...

...because Gmail went down last week. But, I pretty much agree with these sentiments expressed by Carlos Leyva:

"No one's happy when there's downtime, but there's always downtime. I've seen Exchange go down often. Many times you're left to your own IT people to fix it. That can be good or bad. I'd rather it be Google's problem. They've got a world-class team. Their reputation is on the line. Over time, they're going to get better and better"....

You can see cool images...

of Phelp's photo finish last night here.

The Sahara Was Once Green

New York Times: Other scientists said the discovery appeared to provide spectacular evidence that nothing, not even the arid expanse of the Sahara, was changeless. About 100 million years ago, this land was forested and occupied by dinosaurs and enormous crocodiles. Around 50,000 years ago, people moved in and left stone tools and mounds of shells, fish bones and other refuse. The lakes dried up in the last Ice Age.

Then the rains and lakes of a fecund Sahara returned about 12,000 years ago, and remained, except for one 1,000-year interval, until about 4,500 years ago. Geologists have long known that the region’s basins retained mineral residue of former lakes, and other explorers have found scatterings of human artifacts from that time, as Dr. Sereno did at Gobero in 2000.

Humans were apparently producing sufficient CO2 way back when to turn the lush, green Sahara to a desert of sand? Who knew?!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bob Owens Tries to Put Certain Obama Rumors to Rest:

I’ve found myself in the rather unlikely role of defending Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama during the past few days.

I’ve done so not out of any sense of loyalty to Obama — as anyone familiar with my blog or my work at Pajamas Media or the New York Post will attest — but out of pure curiosity about the many rumors swirling around the man who would be president.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Glenn Reynolds asks:

If sticking a [GPS tracking] device on someone's car -- which is a trespass to chattels in tort -- is okay without a warrant, then is it okay if I stick a device on a police car so I can track where the cops are going, and index it against a list of known donut shops?


A Robot With a Biological Brain!

Breitbart: Because the brain is living tissue, it must be housed in a special temperature-controlled unit -- it communicates with its "body" via a Bluetooth radio link.

Read the whole thing. Wow!

Bush Calls Putin's Bluff?

TimesOnline: The US is in talks with allies about whether to suspend Russia’s membership of the G8 club of industrialised nations. There is a growing clamour to block Russia’s membership of the World Trade Organisation and to rescind an invitation for it to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Charles Murray argues...

...that "For Most People, College Is a Waste of Time".


Bush as Chamberlain

Jack Kelly: When he met Vladimir Putin in 2001, President Bush said: "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul."
When John McCain looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes, he saw "a K, a G, and a B." He is our Winston Churchill. We will need him soon.

As much as I disagree with McCain on many domestic issues, I have to say that he's been right on most every key foreign policy decision: He was right on the need for more troops in Iraq, he was right on supporting the surge, and he was right about Putin.

More Than a Little Concerning

Paul Kelly: The world of 1989 is not lost, but it is far distant. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the symbolic demise of communism. The collapse of the Soviet Union unleashed Western triumphalism and the idea of a new world order rising from Soviet ashes. In the East, 1989 saw China's leaders order the shooting of their own people in Tiananmen Square, surely proof that their regime was unsustainable.

Western afterglow reached its zenith with George W. Bush. The 2002 US National Security Strategy declared the century had ended with the West's victory and "a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy and free enterprise". It was a bipartisan given. But it was never accepted in Beijing or Moscow. Indeed, it is actively contested, and that contest is now on display. Slight problem for a universal conclusion.

Read the whole thing.

The Big Chill There have been only 162 days 90 degrees or warmer at Midway Airport over the period from 2000 to 2008. That's by far the fewest 90-degree temperatures in the opening nine years of any decade on record here since 1930.

Who Gets to Decide What's "Fair"...

...under the "Fairness Doctrine"?

An Interesting Perspective...

... on where this is all headed with Russia, Georgia, Iran, France, Israel, Syria, Obama and much, much more.

(via Instapundit)

Dana Blankenhorn:

We need new sources of Vitamin D

Yes, yes we do.

I Sure Hope So

Are "instant on" notebooks the future?

Just Wait Till Global Warming Alarmist Read This Headline:

Swimming sensation Michael Phelps has an Olympic recipe for success - and it involves eating a staggering 12,000 calories a day.

That's enough to feed SIX "ordinary" humans. Imagine all the CO2 created/emitted just to feed this one person! And for what? Just so that he can swim faster that any human being who has ever lived?

Such vanity and waste makes a mockery of the existential threat posed by global warming. At a time when we are entering the beginning of our extinction, such cavalier attitudes can no longer be tolerated.

If CO2 is really so dangerous, then the international community must come together to create a treaty that requires each signing nation to limit the caloric intake of its citizens to no more than 1,350 calories per day, and like China, limits each person to only a single child. 1,350 calories per day is generally enough to sustain the average person, and limiting people to this amount plus only one child would cut down on the amount of carbon emissions DRASTICALLY AND QUICKLY, as we would not need farm equipment in as many fields, nor would be have to produce fertilizer and other environmentally "unfriendly" agricultural products, nor destroy as many forests to make way for additional fields. In only one century's time, we could cut the human population, and therefore carbon emissions, by almost 50%. More than perhaps anything else, these two things would significantly improve the environment and reduce the effects of global warming.

Then, as populations decline, we could take the "excess" calorie production and redistribute it to the poor who can't feed themselves. Oh, wait a minute, on second thought redistributing food may not be such a good idea, after all, more people means more carbon, and carbon is the greatest threat of our age, so perhaps we should just let the poor die off, no? It sounds harsh, but sometimes you have to do harsh things for Gaia!

Even so, it seems unfair, and so unegalitarian, to single out one class, like the poor, for death. So, who will decide who dies and who gets food? Well, some benevolent, non-corrupt international governmental entity, perhaps like the UN (oh wait, bad example) will insure that food is fairly distributed to all chosen survivors.

But what about those people are manual laborers (Olympic athletes wouldn't count) and who therefore need more than 1,350 calories per day to survive? What to do? Well, we can no doubt rely on politicians to carve about appropriate, fair and unbiased exceptions to the calorie restriction laws--exceptions that will allow manual laborers, etc. to get more calories than the rest of us.

And I'm sure our political leaders will deem it necessary to carve out an exemption for themselves too. After all, we don't want our politicians to be making life and death decisions on an empty stomach, do we? No, the laws must ensure that the political class has all the additional nutritional and caloric inputs needed to properly govern.

I mean, I'm just sayin....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yao's Work is Done

Adrian Wojnarowski: To watch Yao limp and flail and double over to breathe was to understand the reasons with which his sense of obligation brought him back so soon from another broken foot, another surgery. For Yao, this is his life’s lot. For his own preservation, his own crack at a career undiminished, he needs to tell a most unrelenting Chinese sports machine that its days of running him into the ground are gone.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Not as True as it Used to Be [N]ews...apparently isn’t news until some jerk at the New York Times pretends he found it himself.

Indur Goklany and Jerry Taylor argue...

that gasoline is not as expensive as you think.

More Crazy Talk

The Guardian is really full of it today: Cracking down on oil speculation could prove tricky – a tax on the sale or purchase of commodity futures is the practical solution.

Crazy Talk

Oliver Tickell: We need to get prepared for four degrees of global warming, Bob Watson told the Guardian last week. At first sight this looks like wise counsel from the climate science adviser to Defra. But the idea that we could adapt to a 4C rise is absurd and dangerous. Global warming on this scale would be a catastrophe that would mean, in the immortal words that Chief Seattle probably never spoke, "the end of living and the beginning of survival" for humankind. Or perhaps the beginning of our extinction.

Oliver's doctor should treat his hysteria by requiring him to read every page of Anthony Watts' blog.

Big News on Aging

ScienceDaily: Now, for the first time, scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have prevented this age-related decline in an entire organ — the liver — and shown that, as a result, the livers of older animals functioned as well as they did when the animals were much younger.

It seems that we may indeed be approaching "escape velocity."

A Bionic Eye?

Not really, but it is progress.

Viable Cloaking Devices?

Slashdot: "Scientists Closer To Invisibility Cloak"

UPDATE:> Daniel Wilson thinks we have a way to go yet: Blending into the visible spectrum doesn't really make you invisible. You'd still be plain as day in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Specifically, infrared emissions would make you an easy find for anybody with an infrared camera, as well as for deadly, heat-sensing pit vipers (such a nuisance).

I Do Too!

Jason Perlow: Ok, I admit it. I love!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Questions, Questions and More Questions

TalkLeft: With each new detail, the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter saga continues to raise more questions than it answers. (via Instapundit) agrees and has "Five Questions About the Edwards Scandal." My favorite? This one:

Would the American press have been so reluctant to investigate John Edwards’ then-alleged infidelities if he suffered from male pattern baldness? Eliot Spitzer: balding. Larry Craig: Not a lot going on with the ol’ hairline. John McCain: pretty wispy up there. Maybe this isn’t so much a left/right thing as a yum/yuck thing?

Hmmm. I'll keeping taking my Propecia just in case.


Well, this is good news:

Scientists at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation are pairing continuous glucose monitors with insulin pumps to create an artificial pancreas for people with diabetes.

Provided that they get this little problem fixed, of course.

An Interesting Discussion of the Pros and Cons of Intellectual Property Laws...

...over at The New Yorker: "The Permission Problem"

Another Nail in the MSM's Coffin

Michael Silence says "Can't beat Twitter for latest breaking news."

I just signed up for Twitter a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say that I've not yet figured out what all the fuss is about. I have a feeling that will change though.

"Tenn. Defies Cliches on Race and Politics"

Darryl Fears: For Nikki Tinker, Tennessee's 9th Congressional District hung as sweetly as a plum in the state's Democratic primary. It has a black majority, is full of churchgoing African American women like herself, and includes the hallowed ground where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a white man.

But in an election season in which racial appeals may be losing their power, Tinker discovered that looks can be deceiving. On Election Day, she was crushed by her white opponent....

I have felt for some time that the MSM's stereotype of the modern South as racist is schockingly ignorant. It is true that there are racists in the South, but in my experience they are no more prevalent than in the North and West. And, unlike in the North and West, the few in the South who are racist are generallyl honest and open about it.

Controller Lands Plane by Texting FIVE PEOPLE on a flight from Kerry to Jersey received mobile phone text instructions from a quick-thinking air traffic controller when he guided them in to a safe landing at Cork.

In what air accident investigator John Hughes described in his report yesterday as a "serious incident", the twin-engined Piper plane lost all onboard electrical power, communications and weather radar soon after take-off from Kerry airport on November 7th last.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Roger Simon: [T]he absurd see-no-evil reaction to the Edwards Affair will be seen as a benchmark in know-nothing journalism by the MSM and one of the last nails in their coffin. Too bad most of their soon-to-be unemployed reporters are not good enough to get jobs at the National Enquirer.

(Via Instapundit)

A Damn Good Question (With a Rather Obvious Answer)

Richard Perez-Pena and Bill Carter: For almost 10 months, the story of John Edwards’s affair remained the nearly exclusive province of the National Enquirer — through reports, denials, news of a pregnancy, questions about paternity and, finally, a slapstick chase through a hotel in Beverly Hills.

Political blogs, some cable networks and a few newspapers reported on it — or, more accurately, reported on The Enquirer reporting on it. Jay Leno and David Letterman made Mr. Edwards the butt of jokes on their late-night shows, but their own networks declined to report on the rumors surrounding him on the evening news. Why?

(Via Instapundit)


Google News shows Russia invading Savannah, Georgia, USA.

Uh, shouldn't someone have thought of this?

boingboing: Kevin Fu (associate prof at the UMass Amherst/director of the Medical Device Security Center) gave a Black Hat presentation in Vegas yesterday in which he demonstrated a way of remotely disabling a pacemaker, using open radio technology. It sounds like other implantable devices, like those used for auto-administering drugs, would also be vulnerable to the attack. The attack relies on the fact that the control protocol for these devices does not use any cryptographic security....

"What's Hot Tomorrow"

Bill Tancer: Internet behavioral data provides unprecedented insights as to how current events such as rising gas prices affect our online comparison-shopping activities. The prospect of predicting future behaviors is even more exciting. In my upcoming book, Click, I discuss one of the most promising areas of predictability — understanding product adoption and more specifically the online behavior of the early adopter.

Well, I've Been Saying that the Internet is Subversive

The Economist on China: The internet’s spread has created an opportunity for vigorous public debate that hardly existed a decade ago. The authorities try to block sensitive discussions, using keyword filters and an army of “net nannies” employed by portals and internet service providers. But the impact of these efforts is limited, with savvy users quickly finding ways of circumventing government blocks. One clever technique has been to use online software to render Chinese-language script vertically instead of horizontally. This has baffled the keyword detectors, for now at least.

British Pub Life

The Pubs are Britain’s national pastime. Three-quarters of the population indulge and a third consider themselves regulars, far higher proportions than are claimed by any of the country’s religions—football included. And they are unique to the British Isles. The Germans have beer-halls, the French have cafes and most other societies have bars, but only in Britain and Ireland can you find pubs. There are procedural differences (there is no table service at pubs, something that causes endless confusion for tourists) as well as different pastimes once you arrive (it is hard to imagine sophisticates in a Parisian bar playing darts or Scrabble). But what really sets a public house apart from its foreign counterparts is the conceit that it is not a place of business, but a part of a person’s home that is open to anyone.

Ahhhh. Makes me thirsty. Read the whole thing (over a beer).

Backgound on the Climate Debate

For those who aren't familiar with the subject, here's a good (if somewhat biased) summary of the positions of both the advocates and deniers of human-caused global warming.

The Significance of Peer Review

Climate Skeptic: In "big boy sciences" like physics, study findings are not considered vetted simply because they are peer-reviewed. They are vetted only after numerous other scientists have been able to replicate the results, or have at least failed to tear the original results down. Often, this vetting process is undertaken by people who may even be openly hostile to the original study group. For some reason, climate scientists cry foul when this occurs in their profession, but mathematicians and physicists accept it, because they know that findings need to be able to survive the scrutiny of enemies, not just of friends. To this end, an important part of peer review is to make sure the publication of the study includes all the detail on methodology and data that others might need to replicate the results (which is something climate reviewers are particularly bad at).

Indeed. For instance, Jim Hansen at NASA has written a great many peer-reviewed articles, but he nonetheless refuses to disclose the algorithms and methodologies used to generate his GISS temperature data, data that is materially different than that produced by competing authorities like UAH, RSS and Hadley. In fact, when Steve McIntyre discovered a Y2K error in Hansen's data, an error that significantly overstated recent warming and one which NASA has now acknowleged, it was only by reverse engineering it.

And yet, it is Hansen's unaudited temperature data set that seems to get all the press and that is used in so many climate models, perhaps because it's the only one that shows any statistically meaningful global warming over the last 20 years.

More of the Same The Orlando Sentinel reports that in a dramatic reversal of policy, Obama on Saturday told supporters on Florida's Space Coast he no longer favors cuts to NASA's budget. "We cannot cede our leadership in space."
Curiously, Obama's previous position remained on his website until Saturday.

Obama's problem is that he won the primaries by offering himself up as a "new kind of politician". Indeed, the fact that he stood for "change" was really his sole qualification to be President. But his shameless "move to the center" since cinching the nomination has demonstrated to all but the most "faithful" that he's just as calculating and cynical as any other candidate.

And, if he no longer offers us a new kind of politics, what does he offer?

Google Offers Free Tranlator for iPhone

Garett Rogers: Mobile translation devices have the ability to change, and significantly improve the way we communicate with each other. Mind you, machine translation is far from perfect, but it’s getting better, and if anyone can create a way to make every language 100% understandable by everyone, it will be Google.

The day of instantaneous computer translation is far closer than most imagine.

A Work of Genius

So, I watched the Olympic opening ceremonies last night, and it was nothing short of spectacular: The vibarant colors, the fantastic lighting, the special effects, and the near-perfect coordination of some 15,000 performers all combined to create a spectacle like I've never seen before. And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so. Ron Judd with the Seattle Times writes:

The ceremony, in full-on HD and hi-fi sound, was a visual triumph on television. Having seen a lot of these, I can say that nothing has equalled it in presence, precision, and sheer force of humanity. Friends on the scene in the Birds Nest -- after rehydrating from the sweat bath that was the stadium -- agree with that assessment. It was stunning.

"When it comes to opening ceremonies," Bob Costas said, "retire the trophy." And he's right.

I must agree. Kudos to the hosts and organizers for a job very well done.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sun Continues Deep Slumber

Where have all the sunspots gone? And does this explain the abnormally cool winter and spring?

What Recently Rediscovered Ships Logs Can Tell Us About Climate Change

A preliminary study of 6,000 logbooks has produced results that raise questions about climate change theories. One paper, published by Dr Dennis Wheeler, a Sunderland University geographer, in the journal The Holocene, details a surge in the frequency of summer storms over Britain in the 1680s and 1690s. Many scientists believe storms are a consequence of global warming, but these were the coldest decades of the so-called Little Ice Age that hit Europe from about 1600 to 1850.

Chicago Crime Wave

The fatal stabbing of 9-year-old Mya Lyons on Chicago's South Side two weeks ago has galvanized an unprecedented political response. Scores of people marched through her father's neighborhood declaring, "We're not going to stand for this violence that's taking our young people," and bearing black-and-red placards reading "Stop. Killing. People." The city's murder rate has climbed 13% so far this year. As pressure mounted on city authorities, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich declared that crime in Chicago had gotten "out of control" — the city of 3 million has a gang population officially estimated at 70,000 — and offered to send state troopers into its most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

Plainly, Chicago is facing a major problem....

Ahhh, but it's one with an easy solution: Simply repeal the city's draconian gun control laws so that law-abiding citizens can arm and defend themselves, and so that criminals have something to fear.

Afterall, the police aren't getting the job done, and clearly the criminals don't fear them.

Obama as Bizarro Bush? (cont.)

I've discussed previously how Obama reminds me much of Bush. Here's another parallel.

Bill Gates on "Creative Capitalism"

I agree with him for the most part, though I'm sceptical of the significance of this phrase:

[N]o matter how hard businesses look or how creatively they think, there are some problems in the world that aren't amenable to solution by existing market incentives. Malaria is a great example: the people who most need new drugs or a vaccine are the least able to pay, so the drugs and vaccines never get made. In these cases, governments and nonprofits can create the incentives.

I have no problem with non-profits seeking to create incentives for business, but government action is inherently coercive, and therefore government "incentives" almost always involve forcibly taking something from one person or group to give to another.

That's not "creative", and it's not "capitalism."

I must confess...

...that I don't understand the significance of this, but is sounds exciting:

The Brightest, Sharpest, Fastest X-Ray Holograms Yet

A Fascinating Lecture on the "Evolution v. Intelligent Design" Debate

Skip the written introduction by Charles Johnson and go straight to the videos.

As these lectures point out, whatever insights Intelligent Design may offer, they are not scientific ones.

Though the general public often uses the term "science" quite loosely, it actually means something very specific. To be precise, natural science is the process of learning by employment of a certain methodology called the "scientific method." All knowledge and learning derived by employing this method is , by definition, properly called "science." All knowledge and learning derived by any other means is, also by definition, not science.

Unfortunately, even as its intellectual founder has acknowledged, Intelligent Design theory has not yet developed to a point where its insights can be tested via the scientific method. In fact, it might never develop to that point. And, unless and until it does so, it has no place in a science class.

Note that this is not a value judgement. It is simply a logical imperative of the definition of science.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Long Distance Remote Control Ultrasounds

In a demonstration, a doctor in France controlled a remote robot with an ultrasound probe to examine a patient on board a ship in the Mediterranean, using an Internet communication via satellite.


Manhattan Beach--April 2007

More on MIT's Solar/Hydrogen Breakthrough

Popular Mechanics: MIT announced on Thursday afternoon a new method of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, predicting that it will unleash a "solar revolution." And they're partly right.
The news is perfectly timed to catch a wave of enthusiasm for all things solar, as a number of different sun-powered technologies are finally approaching maturity as scalable and cost-effective options. Companies like First Solar have succeeded in bringing second-generation, silicon-free solar panels to the market at half the cost of traditional silicon panels, and the first in a wave of utility-scale plants for solar-thermal energy went online outside Las Vegas last year. MIT itself is so excited about solar power that it has announced no less than three solar revolutions in the last six weeks, starting with "the most cost-efficient solar-power system in the world" on June 18, and adding "a new approach to harnessing the sun's energy" on July 10.

Kurzweil's prediction that solar will be capable of providing 100% of the world's energy needs by 2028 is beginning to sound plausible.

Obama's Latest on Drilling

Instapundit: Obama shifts, says he may back offshore drilling. On closer reading it looks more like a waffle -- or maybe a straddle -- than a full-blown flipflop. But there's still hope.

What the Ancients Knew

An early analog computer?

Much More on the Exercise Pill

New York Times: The idea of a workout in a pill seems almost too good to be true, but Dr. Evans has impressive research credentials, including winning the Lasker Award, which often presages a Nobel Prize. He is an expert on how hormones work in cells and on a powerful gene-controlling protein called PPAR-delta, which instructs fat cells to burn off fat.

"Web speeds to increase 'ten fold'"

BBC: Currently most of the cables used for the net's fibre optic backbone carry 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) - the equivalent of about 400 HDTV streams.

But industry players like Cisco, Infusion, and Comtel say they can achieve 10 times that capacity using the same fibre optic cables.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Decentralizing Effect of Web 3.0

Marc Benioff: Web 3.0 changes all of this by completely disrupting the technology and economics of the traditional software industry. The new rallying cry of Web 3.0 is that anyone can innovate, anywhere. Code is written, collaborated on, debugged, tested, deployed, and run in the cloud. When innovation is untethered from the time and capital constraints of infrastructure, it can truly flourish.
For developers, Web 3.0 means that all they need to create their dream app is an idea, a browser, some Red Bull, and a few Hot Pockets. Because every developer around the world can access the same powerful cloud infrastructures, Web 3.0 is a force for global economic empowerment.

Yep, technology is subversive. And that's a good thing.

Obama's (Older) Women Problem

Dick Morris: If soccer moms determined the outcome of the 1996 presidential race and security moms tipped the balance in 2004, it is beginning to look as if older moms are the key to the 2008 contest. Obama has a problem among women over 40 and a big problem among women over 50. These groups, normally the staunchest of Democratic supporters, are showing a propensity to back McCain and a disinclination to support Obama.


Victor Davis Hanson Asks:

What if Iraq Works?

The Current State of China

Howard W. French: “Some people will tell you, look at the walls, and say they are still pretty high, while others will tell you that there is a lot of space between the walls,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a China specialist at Human Rights Watch. “Both things are true.”

Modern China is only nominally communist, and the Communist Party there seems to be running more of a mafia-style protection racket than a legitimate government. But, thanks to capitalism, things have improved dramatically on the economic front.

Obama on Technology

NPR: "Obama understands that the future of our economy depends to a large extent on how we can ensure that Americans have access to technology and we empower Americans to use it," he says.

I didn't realize that Americans were suffering from a technological deficit, or that we need the government to ensure access. Where have I been?

This Certainly Sounds Promising

InformationWeek: Storing solar energy in batteries remains costly and inefficient. But that may not be true for much longer.

MIT researchers have discovered a way to store solar energy that could make solar power in homes a mainstream energy option and might even make power companies obsolete, at least for residential needs.

Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry and energy at MIT, and post-doctoral fellow Matthew Kanan have figured out how to split water into hydrogen and oxygen cheaply and efficiently at room temperature. The process can later be reversed, allowing the recombination of hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell to create carbon-free electricity. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," Nocera told the MIT News Service.

Waive Goodbye to the Invisible Hand

Steven Pearlstein: Not so many years ago, respectable people seemed to agree where the world was headed. Communism had fallen to capitalism, and a particular strain of capitalism -- the entrepreneurial, market-driven capitalism found in the United States and Britain -- had proven itself superior to the more corporate and statist variety practiced in Japan and Western Europe. Free trade and the free flow of capital had lifted billions of people out of poverty, and further globalization seemed not only desirable but also inevitable. Here at home, there was talk of a permanent Republican majority dedicated to smaller government, lower taxes, freer trade and more deregulation.

It's always risky to call turns in history, but my guess is that this consensus is unraveling.

I sure hope not, and I really don't think so. There's no doubt that we are in for a period of comparatively minor increases in governmental regulation of markets, at least in name, but the idea that the consensus favoring entrepreneurial capitalism is unraveling, or even that "entrepreneurial capitalism" is the result of a political "consensus", seems like wishful thinking on Pearlstein's part.

Like most political pundits, Pearlstein makes the mistake of crediting governmental policy with too much of the good and the bad that any given society experiences. What he fails to grasp is that, over the long term, governments have very little impact on economic or cultural outcomes. The "entrepreneurial, market-driven capitalism found in the United States and Britain" is no longer found in just the United States and Britain, but is widely dispersed through the former Eastern Block countries, through Latin America, and through much of Asia, and it is undoubtedly on the march. But this has little to do with any government's policy.

Even the "statist" capitalist economies of Western Europe and Japan are are implementing entrepreneurial reforms as quickly as political will allows. But what Pearlstein and so many others fail to grasp is that these reforms FOLLOW societal change, they do NOT cause it. And societal change is driven these day, more than any other factor, by unstoppable advances in technology. In one way all governmental "reforms", whether they purport to result in more regulation or less, are just the politicians' way of seeking to appear continually relevant in a world where their relevance is constantly eroded by technology.

So, contrary to Pearlstein's prediction that the West is turning back toward a more controlled and regulated society, I predict that virtually all economies will be less well-regulated in 20 years than they are today, and the reason why has nothing (or little) to do with any consensus of politicians or voters and everything to do with the disorienting, subversive and decentralizing effect of the ever-accelerating technological revolution. Technology, by its very nature, subverts centralized authority, and that is why every totalitarian regime in history has sought, usually futiley, to keep technology from the masses.

To illustrate the point, consider that globalization (and all of its costs and benefits) is not the result of "capitalist" economic policies achieved by consensus(as much as right-wing Reaganites would like us to believe). Rather, entrepreneurial capitalism RESULTS FROM globalization, and globalization from technological advances that, as a practical matter, shrink the size of the world while expanding opportunities for cultural exchange--advances like email, fax machines, and the Worldwide Web. Without technology, globalization (which is just another word for decentralization) would be impossible, but with technology, it cannot be resisted. Try as it might, no government can indefinitely insulate it citizens from cell phones, wireless communications, cloud computing, GPS systems, the Internet, and many other technologies all of which, by their every nature, empower the masses and subvert the influence of any central authority.

No, in all but a very, very few places, the technology genie is out of the bag, and it is having, and will continue to have, a very predictable, decentralizing effect on every country's culture and economy. In an increasingly desperate attempt to stay relevant, some politicians may propose regulations intended to slow the growth of technology, and its resulting dislocation, but without the willingness and ability to adopt totalitarian methods reminiscent of the North Koreans, all such attempts will be both nominal and futile.

Pearlstein is right that we may have more regulations on the books in 20 years than today, but those regulations will be increasingly ineffective and irrelevant. Technology requires it.

Bionic Nose

CNN: Sniffer dogs have long been a useful tool in the search for hidden drugs and explosives, but the future looks bleak for man's best friend as scientists seek to develop a new ultra-sensitive electronic nose device.