26. March 2006 · Comments Off on Escalation In The Mutant Wars · Categories: Technology

For those of you who liked my earlier post, of hybrids between the Chevy El Camino and other GM A-Body cars, I’m sure you’ll really get a tickle out of the “Benz-El”.

Benz_El Rear Quarter

Benz_El Side

In case you didn’t notice the emblem on the right rear, it’s based upon the legendary 450SEL 6.9. 🙂

26. March 2006 · Comments Off on Drawing Power · Categories: General, History, Technology

1965 Chrysler 300

Virginia Postrel has this interesting post on the history of American automotive art, including lots of links, including this exibit at Detroit’s Skillman Branch Library, and this to the online collection, Plan59.

1956 Desoto

26. March 2006 · Comments Off on Easter Bunny Deemed Offensive… In St. Paul · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Stupidity

This from Different River:

Don’t they know that their city was named after one of the main founders of Christianity? And that by calling that person a “Saint” one makes a specific religious claim about that individual?


This is not “being sensitive” – this is implying that non-Christians are stupid and/or inconsistent and/or outright hypocrites, who are happy to live in a city named after a Christian saint, but offended by one little stuffed rabbit.

First it’s cartoon pigs, then fictitious rabbits. As Napoleon said, “from the sublime to the ridiculous, is but a step.”

Hat Tip: Clayton Cramer

25. March 2006 · Comments Off on More Annapolis Grads Choosing The Corps. · Categories: General

This from Bradley Olson at The Baltimore Sun:

Despite a war that has entered its fourth year with mounting casualties and waning public support, more and more midshipmen at the Annapolis military college are volunteering for the Marines when asked to choose how they will fulfill the five-year commitment required of all academy graduates.

When the assignments were made official last month for the 992 members of the class of 2006, 209 were placed as officers with the Corps – the most in the school’s 161-year history. And more would have done so if there were enough openings: an additional 45 who sought the Marines were assigned to other duty when the allotment was filled.


Most academy officials believe interest is high for patriotic reasons – the phenomenon began not long after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Others, including midshipmen, said the enthusiasm could be part of a common trend in wartime at the nation’s service academies, where young students have been eager to bolster their military credentials with combat experience.

Having a surplus of mids who want to be Marines has been a change from the Vietnam era. In 1968, the Marine Corps failed to meet its quota for the first time in academy history.

In the 2006 class, 349 mids were assigned to naval aviation as pilots or navigators; 270 chose to “go SWO,” academy parlance for working on surface warships; 88 went to subs; 21 will train for the SEALs – the Navy’s elite fighting force. Fifteen went to special operations such as explosives disposal, 10 will attend medical school and the rest will fill a variety of military billets, including intelligence, civil engineering and information warfare.

I can certainly understand the desire of warriors to actually see something of war. In today’s world, Navy people, who are not aviators, are unlikely to see much action. There may be another factor, for the young officer: IMHO the Marines are the most dynamically managed service, the Navy the most lethargic.

Hat Tip: InstaPundit, who spends a lot of time on the issue of “mounting casualties.”

25. March 2006 · Comments Off on New International Capital Market · Categories: General, Technology

A decade and a half ago, Richard B. McKenzie and Dwight R. Lee wrote Quicksilver Capital: How the Rapid Movement of Wealth Has Changed the World. This has proven to be one of the most prophetic tomes on contemporary economics written in my adult lifetime.

Yet, capital markets have lagged behind others in employing information age technologies. But, as Hillary Johnson writes here at Samizdata, that is changing:

Should money be as free as speech? After all, it is also a form of communication.

In the past year, the internet has spawned a few companies aimed at helping individuals borrow and lend without bothering to involve a bank or credit agency. Zopa, based in the UK, aggregates individuals into groups for the purpose of making small loans, with a socially conscious slant. In the US, Prosper just launched a sleek, well-designed person-to-person lending site. Borrowers can also form groups on Prosper, for the sake of leveraging better interest rates. I also know of at least one nascent project, Bruce Boston’s Quid St., which aims to aggregate individuals for the purpose of making capital investments (as opposed to loans). I met Bruce recently, and he mentioned what an influence gaming had on his view of how to build an online marketplace. Which put me in mind of the Park Paradigm, a blog about digital markets whose authors think future finical [sic] markets may evolve out of sports book and gambling sites. And not entirely unrelated note, Paypal made it possible just this week for people to send each other money anywhere, via cell phone.

What we are witnessing here, I think, is the creation of a new international capital market.

Many of my libertarian compatriots cling to the antiquated ideal of a commodity (principally, gold) based monetary system. The justification for this is that it prevents abuse by central banks. But the information age is increasingly making the old central bank model, and with it the gold standard, obsolete.

24. March 2006 · Comments Off on This Obit Worth Repeating · Categories: General, History, Military

A hat tip to James Taranto at OpinionJournal for pointing to this obituary:

Desmond T. Doss, Sr., the only conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II, has died. He was 87 years old.

Mr. Doss never liked being called a conscientious objector. He preferred the term conscientious cooperator. Raised a Seventh-day Adventist, Mr. Doss did not believe in using a gun or killing because of the sixth commandment which states, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Doss was a patriot, however, and believed in serving his country.

During World War II, instead of accepting a deferment, Mr. Doss voluntarily joined the Army as a conscientious objector. Assigned to the 307th Infantry Division as a company medic he was harassed and ridiculed for his beliefs, yet he served with distinction and ultimately received the Congressional Medal of Honor on Oct. 12, 1945 for his fearless acts of bravery.

According to his Medal of Honor citation, time after time, Mr. Doss’ fellow soldiers witnessed how unafraid he was for his own safety. He was always willing to go after a wounded fellow, no matter how great the danger. On one occasion in Okinawa, he refused to take cover from enemy fire as he rescued approximately 75 wounded soldiers, carrying them one-by-one and lowering them over the edge of the 400-foot Maeda Escarpment. He did not stop until he had brought everyone to safety nearly 12 hours later.

23. March 2006 · Comments Off on The Buick Lucerne Commercial · Categories: Ain't That America?

I’m sure you’ve heard it – as boring as the car itself:

“It’s always the same ones… the quiet ones… They sit in the back of the class – never ask any questions… And then the test comes…”

Alternate ending:

“And then they pull out an AK-47, and blow everyone in the school away.” Then we have a Lucerne spinning donuts around Lexus’ and Infinities. But, instead of Led Zeppelin “Cadillac’s theme music”, we have Def Leppard.

Yeah baby – that’ll build some brand excitement. 😉

23. March 2006 · Comments Off on Is The Alienware Buy Dell’s “Backdoor” To AMD? · Categories: Technology

I have been somewhat baffled by Dell’s purchase of gaming computer leader Alienware, which became official yesterday, particularly as Dell has been moving steadily upmarket with its own XPS line. Alienware intends to maintain it’s own sales organization, so there will be no savings there.

This doesn’t make sense, strictly from the standpoint of expanding the market base. Dell runs the risk of falling into the same trap as GM – with multiple divisions competing for the same customers. It might be that Dell (which has always used Intel) has plans on taping into Alienware’s considerable AMD experience:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — One of the worst kept secrets in the industry is Dell Computer Inc.’s reported move to develop PCs, based on microprocessors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

“We believe there will be an AMD/Dell deal announced very soon; more specifically, we believe it will come as early as March and involve Dell notebooks,” said analyst Doug Freedman of American Technology Research, in a report. “The deal will likely mature from there to include servers and desktops, in that order, in subsequent months.”

This makes sense; AMD has been eating Intel’s lunch for some time now.

23. March 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 03/22/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

Ok, I’m sort of dredging the bottom here. And, if you read the same car-zines I do, you will have the answer at your fingertips. But, after the last few day’s ordeal, I’m not up to any intellectual rigor, and I’m in the mood for bettin’ on the Longshot. So, here goes:

How many “Bond” DB5’s were there, what are their serial numbers, and what is the believed disposition of each?

Pretty good for coasting, ‘eh?

Oh, and use of search engines is totally OK here. But please give credit where credit is due. 🙂

Congratz! to reader Andrew V. (see comments)

22. March 2006 · Comments Off on Back From The Abyss: Just Had My SSI ALJ Hearing · Categories: General

As I told you before, I have spent much of the past few days preparing for an Administrative Law Judge hearing on my SSI disability claim, which just happened today.

Well, the good news is that the ALJ seemed very impressed with what I presented. And even the Medical Expert and Vocational Expert tempered their positions, after I presented my case. the VE even went so far as to say there was a “very small” spectrum of jobs I might qualify for.

None-the-less, the ALJ only saw fit to continue the case, and recommend I retain an attorney, That’s all well and good. It’s just that, this is the attorney’s wet dream – (on top of the government’s intrinsically weak case) all the foot work has been done by me. All the attorney has to do is come in, cross the “i’s” and dot the “t’s” – is that worth 25% – I don’t think so.

20. March 2006 · Comments Off on John Murtha: Traitor Or Madman? · Categories: GWOT, Iran, Politics

(Those returning to this post might note that I changed the title, to better reflect the theme of the post.)

Representative John Murtha (D – PA), an honored ex-Marine, and “Cold War Hawk“, made headlines a few months ago, with his call for an “immediate” “redeployment” of our troops in Iraq. With all due respect for the service he has done for this country, it seems he’s doing a slow-burn Cindy Sheehan – with his mutterings growing steadily more outrageous each time he is in front of the camera.

Today, on NBC’s Meet the Press, I lost track of all his self-contradictions when discussing Iraq. But this really stuck out in my mind: “[The] President has no military option in Iran.” E-phucking-gad!!! The Executive Branch has exclusive purview over foreign policy. But, whatever military action we are capable to, or might wish to, take against Iran, Murtha takes it upon himself to remove it as a negotiating tool.

By the paradigm of the GWOT, we are “at war” with Iran; our mutual adversary status has been proclaimed by the leaders of both nations. Today, John Murtha has “given aid and comfort” to the enemy. He should be prosecuted, or at least committed.

Update: Mark Kleiman’s reaction (via email) reflects that of some of my commenters:

Have you lost your mind? Taking a foreign policy position you disagree with ought to be prosecuted as treason?

I assure you all, I am in full possession of my faculties, and merely reflecting the rather conventional wisdom that, “American politics ends at the water’s edge.” None the less, had Murtha stated something like, “I don’t feel President Bush should take military action against Iran,” that would be another matter. However, stating as matter-of-fact that we don’t have the capability for military action might further embolden the Iranians to thumb their noses at us.

Perhaps it might be useful if you went to Meet the Press’s website, and watched the whole Murtha interview in context. He really does seem to be going over the edge.

20. March 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 03/17/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

Like a lot of people in Hollywood, this writer/producer/director owes his career to Steven Spielberg. But after this small-budget flop, and this big-budget flop, when he and his partner penned this necessarily big-budget film (although it only required two-thirds the budget of the second), he couldn’t go back to Spielberg looking for that kind of money. So they did this small-budget film, which turned out to be moderately successful (and considered one of the best of its rather low-brow genre). Then, that third film turned out to be one of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, grossing over $200M (almost $400M worldwide), and spawning two sequels.

BTW: That second film actually made a tidy profit worldwide. But, as I have explained before, a film is expected to at least cover its budget domestically.

Hint #1: (actually, more of a clarification) Spielberg is credited in all four movies. By my use of the term, “penned”, we know the anonymous partner is another writer. Not mentioned, but implied, is the fact that he/she is also credited in all four movies.

Congratz! to reader MakeMineRed, who had a couple of mis-ques, but stuck with it, and worked it out. (see comments)

Time Tag jiggered

18. March 2006 · Comments Off on Grim? I Don’t Think So! · Categories: Iraq, Media Matters Not, Stupidity

Jim Lingren at Volokh has acted on the barking moonbat’s lemming-like need to recite yet another phony “milestone” on the Iraq campaign’s death toll.

Comment threads at VC can get rather long. You’ll find mine here.

18. March 2006 · Comments Off on Would Someone Smarter Than Me Please Explain This · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Rant

As might be expected, from this post, I’ve been reading up on Social Security lately. Mostly it’s been focused on SSDI/SSI. But I believe that, in this case, similar rules exist for regular retirement.

Let’s say Joe Citizen gets out of high school, and starts earning wages – perhaps civilian, perhaps military, it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he’s earning wages, and paying FICA. Thirty years down the road (at the ripe old age of 48), Joe Citizen stops earning wages… perhaps he becomes a street bum, or perhaps he “retires”, and simply lives off pension and savings – whatever. (I would include going expat, but I believe the US is one of the few nations of the world which goes after its citizens for taxes when they are living, working, and paying their host nation’s taxes, in a foreign country.) What’s important is that Joe Citizen doesn’t pay FICA for twenty years…

As I understand it, when Joe Citizen turns 68, and goes to collect Social Security, it’s as if he had never paid FICA at all. Is this correct?

Trust Fund my ass!

18. March 2006 · Comments Off on And You Thought National ID Cards Were An Assult On Our Rights… · Categories: Domestic, General

…Just wait until you check your mailbox and find the Census Bureau’s new American Community Survey. Phyllis Schlafly is rightly appalled:

Our inquisitive federal government has been demanding that selected U.S. residents answer 73 nosy questions. They are threatened with a fine of $5,000 for failure to respond.


Beginning only in 1960, the ten-year census-taking significantly changed. The government began sending a long form with many questions to a limited number of persons, randomly selected, and a short form with only six questions to all other U.S. residents.

The government is now jumping the gun on the 2010 census, and without public announcement is already sending out an extremely long form, starting with a few thousand mailings each month to a handful of residents in widely scattered small towns that don’t generate national media. Recipients can’t find neighbors who received the same mailing, so it’s difficult to avoid the impression that the project was planned to avoid publicity and citizen opposition.


The survey asks how much you pay each month for electricity, gas, water, rent, real estate taxes, fire or flood insurance, plus six very specific questions about your first and second monthly mortgage payments. There are questions about your telephone and automobile, and about how many months of the year you and others occupy the residence.

The survey then gets really personal, demanding the answers to 42 questions about you and about every other person who resides in your household. Person 1 is used like a private investigator to extract the information from everybody else, and warned that if anyone doesn’t want to answer your nosy questions, you must provide the name and telephone number of such person so Big Brother can follow up.

The information demanded for you and every other person includes very specific questions about what kind of school you and each other one attended and to what grade level, what is each person’s “ancestry or ethnic origin” (no matter if your ancestors came here hundreds of years ago), what language you speak at home, how well you speak English, where you lived one year ago, what are specific physical, mental or emotional health conditions, and whether you have given birth during the past year.

More questions demand that you tell the government exactly where you are employed, what transportation you use to get to work, how many people ride in the vehicle with you, how many minutes it takes you to get to work, whether you have been laid off or absent from your job or business, how many weeks you worked during the last year, what kind of a job you have (for-profit company, not-for-profit company, government, self-employed), what kind of business it is, exactly what kind of work you did, what was your last year’s wage or salary, and what was your other income from any other source.

The Census Bureau warns: “We may combine your answers with information that you gave to other agencies.” (Does that mean IRS? Social Security? New Hires Directory? Child support enforcement? Criminal databases? Commercial databases?)

But this is not exactly news, the Census Bureau has been doing these things for years. As Schlafly said, it started as a very limited thing way back in 1960. Since then, it has been growing steadily more intrusive, more frequent, and imposing upon more of our population. This is another example of bureaucrats with way too much time on their hands. The Constitution calls for a census every ten years. Assuming the Census Bureau even has the authority to ask anything more than the number of people in a home, and their ages (and perhaps their sex, and their status as slaves or freemen 🙂 ), what gives them the right to go snooping around on this time frame?

They are discussing this right now on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. There aren’t quite as many idiots calling in as usual, but there are some. The moonbat barking most loudly proclaimed “the government needs this information to protect us.” Yeah, perhaps – in the same way a mother protects her infant child! Several others have said the government needs this information to better craft social programs – social programs it has no place engaging in in the first place.

The wisest caller said this: “When a questionnaire comes, throw it in the trash, and deny you ever received it.” I’ll go further than that: If they persist, and say, send someone to your home, you first stall and reschedule as many times as you can get away with – even to the point of, when a surveyor comes to your door, saying “oh, I’m sorry, something just came up…” Once you’ve reached the end of that line, use the “I can’t seem to recall” ploy; make it as difficult for them to gather their precious data as possible. For instance, I really “can’t seem to recall” what sort of fuel heats our home. I know it’s not coal or wood, because I just twist the thermostat, and it starts getting warm, so it must be either propane, butane, natural gas, electric or steam. Similarly, from their 2005 questionnaire instruction guide (15 page PDF), when my sister comes to visit, she sleeps on the patio. (Living in the Inland Empire, she likes the coastal night air.) And we don’t use it for much else, so it must be a bedroom. But a similar argument can be made for that big room between my bedroom and the front door, so this apartment must have four bedrooms. Ah, the opportunities for monkeywrenching both pique and delight the imagination! 🙂

17. March 2006 · Comments Off on Blogging May Be A Bit Light For The Next Few Days · Categories: General, Site News

At least my own blogging. But I’m sure the rest of the team has plenty to say.

I have an Administrative Law Judge hearing on my Social Security Disability claim Wednesday morning. This is the second rung up the appeal ladder. I am going pro per; and, while I know quite a lot about certain fields of the law – for a layman, this ain’t one of ’em. I really should have retained an attorney, but the information I received from the SSA really gave me a false impression about how complex preparing a proper and convincing case is.

Fortunately, the ALJ has agreed to look at what I have on Wednesday, and give me time to get an attorney, if he thinks I’m in over my head. This gives me lots of reason to be hopeful, as though he’s looked at what they have in their files already, and thinks my claim has absolutely no merit (HIGHLY unlikely), or it’s such a slam-dunk, an attorney would be a waste of money (they get 25% of your back payments, plus expenses). Even if it’s not a slam-dunk (and not without merit), I don’t see how he would deny my appeal at this point, without giving me a chance to get lawyer.

But, in any event, I intend to present the best case I can. Wish me luck.

Update: I’ve just returned from the library with Nolo’s Guide to Social Security Disability: Getting & Keeping Your Benefits by David A. Morton III, M.D. (ISBN: 0-87337-914-4). Nolo has a really good reputation for lay legal manuals. And this appears to be no exception. Still, if any of you out there are attorneys or doctors, with disability appeal experience, and care to render some advice, or if any of you can point me towards some more resources, it would be most welcome, thanks.

16. March 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 03/16/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

This war movie was the first “above the title” credit for this drama superstar, and the “introducing” credit for this comedy superstar, who has had these four television series’ named after him.

Congratz! to readers Doc and Andrew V., who share credit for this one. (See comments)

15. March 2006 · Comments Off on A Real Mormon On Big Love · Categories: That's Entertainment!

Over at Volokh, Randy Barnett’s comment thread concerning HBO’s new series Big Love, about a contemporary polygamist family from a Mormon splinter sect, seems to be about everything but (and no small part of the fault there lies with your’s truly 🙂 ). At BeliefNet, Linda Hoffman Kimball stays more focused:

The effect of “Big Love” on the Church’s image–especially for people unfamiliar with Mormon culture’s nuances–and the show’s graphic sexual content are serious problems. Those realities alone will and perhaps should keep Mormons away. In an odd way, the choice to watch this series may require the same kind of thought that went into deciding whether to see “The Passion of the Christ”: Do its problems outweigh its benefits?

But if you can get past those significant stumbling blocks, “Big Love” is an example of intricate, well-paced, finely acted storytelling. The three wives, in particular, are superb characters for the gifted actors who play them. Production values are high and the writing is clever, suspenseful, compelling, and at times profound. (And what a pleasure not to have to put up with swearing all the time!) With a delicate balance of wit and wisdom, “Big Love” wrestles with relationships and the deep human questions of commitment, unity, forgiveness, patience, and–of course–love, as well as the darker qualities of greed, jealousy, revenge, and manipulation. This is not a raunchy soap opera with a prurient twist. As Bill Henrickson would tell you, you have your agency. There is no coercion. You’ll have to choose for yourself.

There is a scene where Margene (Ginnefer Goodwin) says she’s a “fuck up” as a mother. But that’s in a private conversation with Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), so I don’t think that’s inconceivable for a devout Mormon.

15. March 2006 · Comments Off on This Short Is Funny As Hell · Categories: That's Entertainment!

ROTFLMAO. If you haven’t seen Billy’s Dad is a Fudge Packer!, you’ve got to check this out (WMV, about 7 minutes).

15. March 2006 · Comments Off on I Am So Envious Of Timmer · Categories: Technology

Some while back, our own dear Timmer posted that he was considering purchase of a (wife recommended) Bose home theater sound system. I suggested either the (a little more expensive) full-tilt option, or the (much cheaper) “3-2-1” option. In the end, he went with his wife (always a wise choice). But, in any event, he would have been a winner. Any Bose choice is a good choice

What is Bose’ slogan – “better sound through research,” or some such? This has been proven out again and again.

Let’s go back to the audiophile wars of the ’60s and ’70s… I was a Klipsch man.. If you are in a good room, on axis, with a pair of Klipschorns, you might as well be tenth row center at Fillmore East – that’s how perfect it was. And then there was Bose… Those wonderful 901s, and their “direct reflecting” technology:.. You could be almost anywhere in a room with a pair of those, and be moving about (as if you were in a great jazz club). And you didn’t have to stay “on axis” – and you still got a great stereo image.

Well, the eighties came. I got (not quite) rich. I rented my “acoustically perfect” pad, and placed my studio speakers (first a local brand, and then some Yamahas – I couldn’t afford ‘horns, or even La Scalas) right in the corners of that vaulted ceiling living room. And I told all my neighbors: “I come home between 4 and 7, and I blast my stereo for about an hour.” The only comments I ever got were complements on my musical taste.

And then the hammer blow came down – the revolutionary 1984 C4 Corvette. And lost (to all those but a few audiophiles) was its revolutionary optional Bose audio system – engineered for the car’s acoustics. No-one saw the writing on the wall.

But come down that hammer did. And now one cannot buy a midrange or luxury automobile, without at least the option of a “designer” audio system. And simple stereo has been supplanted by “surround sound” systems. And “Bose” is a household name – and making big money on their “Wave” music systems – a development on Klipsch technology.

And Klipsch – it’s still in business, selling to a small cadre of audiophiles, but not pushing it’s innovative folded horns like it used to.

And Timmer, he’s cuddling on his couch, with his lovely wife, and his Bose home theater system.

And me: I’m stuck here, on-axis, with my keyboard, monitor, and (rather excellent – for what it’s worth) desktop speakers. Excuse me if I just lose myself in a bit of Procol Harum.

14. March 2006 · Comments Off on And Tonight’s Emmy, For Best Supporting Actress In A Drama Series Goes To…… · Categories: That's Entertainment!

…CCH Pounder, for her work in The Shield.

For at least three decades now, she has been one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets. And, apart from her Emmy nominations for ER in 1994, and The Shield, in 2002, she has gotten little general recognition.

It’s about time she is given the chance to step up, and wear the laurels she most rightly deserves.

Update: Oh, and honorable mention to Michael Jace, for best cover of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. I can think of little more terrifying than someone reciting Biblical prophecy, while he’s got a gun to my head.

14. March 2006 · Comments Off on New Item Of Geek-Lust · Categories: Technology

Now you can have a 16-core coprocessing supercomputer under your desk, with the Tyan Typhoon PSC:

Tyan said that it is not aiming its clusters at gamers, as the graphics solution is an underpowered onboard 8 MB ATI Rage controller. Instead, the PSC is marketed towards science researchers. With upgraded power supplies and some more graphics horsepower, the system, however, could become a capable solution for 3D graphic artists as several modeling programs including 3d Studio Max and Maya excel at distributed rendering. Linux enthusiasts may also like the new machine as there are several clustering oriented distributions including a version of Knoppix, aptly named ClusterKnoppix.

Here’s the features, from Tyan’s website:

* Incredible small-sized supercomputing system (14″ x 12.6″ x 26.7″)
* Support for up to four (4) nodes with one or two processors (including Dual Core support)
* Low-noise operation… less than 47dB!
* Up to 64GB of DDR400/333 Registered memory (AMD Opteron-based system)
* Up to 32GB of DDR2-667/533 Unbuffered memory (Intel Pentium D-based system)
* Eight (8) Gigabit Ethernet ports integrated for network expansion options
* Up to four (4) Serial ATA HDD devices supported
* Four (4) built-in EPS12V 350W power supplies with PFC

12. March 2006 · Comments Off on Entertainment Trivia For 03/10/06 · Categories: Fun and Games, That's Entertainment!

Correlate these two people: Chet Atkins and Benny Hill.

Hint #1: I would have thought our own dear Timmer would have gotten this right out of the gate. Particularly as he has previously stated that Kneck and Kneck (sic) was one of his favorite albums.

Time stamp jiggered

Congratz to reader Doc! (see comments)

12. March 2006 · Comments Off on Will Saddam Die Before Verdict Is Rendered? · Categories: GWOT, Iraq, War

Glenn Reynolds reflects upon the drawn-out trial, and death (by natural causes) of Slobodan Milosevic:

So should we just hang ’em? Perhaps. These trials are pretty much a foregone conclusion, and their character is more political than judicial anyway. When critics call them “show trials” they have a point. Do they do more good than harm? That’s not at all clear. I’m not sure what I think, but it certainly seems that trials that last until the defendant dies of old age aren’t the solution. Nuremberg didn’t take as long as the Milosevic trial.

While I am contra-death penalty, in the case of regular criminal proceedings, matters of war and “crimes against humanity” are another matter. A declaration of war is a virtual death warrant against the principals of your enemy anyway. I mean, if you are willing to drop bombs on a neighborhood, based upon questionable intelligence that your enemy’s leader might be there, why not just summarily execute the person, once in custody?

12. March 2006 · Comments Off on CIA Agents Outed… By Internet Search Engine · Categories: General, GWOT, Technology

This is quite disturbing:

Although the Tribune’s initial search for “Central Intelligence Agency” employees turned up only work-related addresses and phone numbers, other Internet-based services provide, usually for a fee but sometimes for free, the home addresses and telephone numbers of U.S. residents, as well as satellite photographs of the locations where they live and work.

Asked how so many personal details of CIA employees had found their way into the public domain, the senior U.S. intelligence official replied that “I don’t have a great explanation, quite frankly.”

Tom Elia provides some extensive excerpts. But the original ChiTrib article is here. Read the whole thing.

Hat Tip: InstaPundit..

12. March 2006 · Comments Off on What Do MREs Have To Do With French Haute Cuisine? · Categories: Eat, Drink and be Merry, Technology

[Something to ponder when you are huddled inside your Humvee, on a cold, moonless night, in a G_d-knows-where stretch of Fort Irwin (or worse, Iraq), watching a bag in a cup of hot water.]

The answer is the sous vide process, wherein all the food and spices are packed in a vacuum bag. Originally developed in 1974, by Georges Pralus at Troigros in Briennon, France, this process affords rapid cooking and light, easily disposable packaging. Both are qualities the military finds most valuable. [However, I believe MREs are all fully-cooked, and (while sometimes gross) they can be eaten dead-cold]. Of greater interest to the world’s gourmands is that the sous vide process retains far more of the food’s original flavors and textures. So it is increasingly showing up in Las Vegas’ hotel/casinos, and Manhattan’s fanciest eatery’s:

Ponder this hypothetical: 2:30am. A guest exits a Las Vegas poker table. He’s hungry after a very profitable (unfortunately, not for him) losing streak. Refueled, he might net the casino an extra few chips. Does one really expect a chef, in his namesake restaurant cooking to order at such inhumane hours? Don’t bet on it. These fast-paced 24/7 cultures demand the very best food served ’round the clock. So we wondered how those special signature dishes are made available? How can our hungry poker player at 8am, 8pm or any time in between, dine on Alessandro Stratta’s Pork Belly with Marscapone Polenta from Renoir’s kitchen, or our famished New Yorker stroll into the W hotel and taste Paul Sale’s Saddlerock Oysters and Jelly Sampler at Blue Fin?

However, without tight process controls, there is a high possibility of the growth of botulinum spores. For large-scale food processing plants, the FDA requires a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plan, designed by a credentialed food scientist. But this isn’t so practical for New York’s elite restaurants, and the city’s health code has no equivalent. So, despite no poisonings reported to date, the city is pre-emptively cracking down:

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has quelled the sous vide revolution, for the moment. In the past few weeks inspectors have told some chefs to throw out shrink-wrapped food, forbidden them to use the equipment used to make it and told them to stop cooking and storing food sous vide until they have a government-approved plan for it.

In some cases, inspectors are handing out fines, which start at $300 per offense. The department’s actions seem to represent the first time a city agency has singled out the technique, and how chefs use it.

Virginia Postrel condemns this, saying “If it’s not regulated, it’s forbidden.” I wouldn’t go that far. There is plenty of evidence as to the hazards of this process to warrant a moratorium on its use, until the city has reasonable regulations in the books. But it’s not as though there hasn’t been plenty of time for NYC’s bureaucrats to get their act together already. And, as there have been no reported poisonings as of yet, this sudden crack-down is totally over-the-top.

Update: I forgot to mention that this process has long been of interest to me, because I have wanted to try it myself. I have a laboratory hot-plate, replete with precision thermostat and magnetic stirrer, which would seem to be perfect for this.

[Yes, troops: When doing time at Fort Irwin, just envision you are a few hundred miles north, sipping a vintage Cabernet Blanc, and waiting for your food at the French Laundry in Yountville.]

09. March 2006 · Comments Off on And Yet Another Must See · Categories: That's Entertainment!

I am currently watching Wonderfalls on LOGO. And I have to say, this is a “Fawlty Towers-esce” must see. No, scratch that… Fawlty Towers was a very well executed stock comedy. This is Fawlty Towers meets Twilight Zone.