Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oregon Dept. of Revenue Gender Audit

Gullyborg would have more money if he were gay:
We finally got our Oregon tax refund back. Problem is, it was less than half as much as we initially thought it would be. You see, when we filed our taxes, we thought we were eligible for an imputed income exclusion. But we weren't. Because we aren't gay.
Indulge him and read the whole thing.

This Is So Cool

I have got to have one.

The Retro Phone Handset is a new production replica of the Western Electric 500-series model, which was the classic phone handset for several decades.

Note to the geniuses at Nokia: Dump the cell, put the works inside the handset, and you've got instant platinum.

Jonah spotted it first.

Bizarre Case of Mistaken Identity

The News-Sentinel:
A family who sat by their comatose daughter's bedside for weeks after an April 26 crash killed four Taylor University students and an employee learned the woman was not their daughter, but instead another student who was in the van when it was struck by a semitrailer.

The family of student Laura VanRyn, 22, issued a statement on a Web log dedicated to updates on the young woman''s recovery....

VanRyn, of Caledonia, Mich., and Cerak, 18, of Gaylord, Mich., bore an "uncanny resemblance" to each other... [pictures here]

The family said that as the woman they believed to be Laura began regaining consciousness, she said things that made them question her identity....

Mad Scientist Or Balmy Baker

Left Rooting For Failure

Michelle Malkin with clear good sense.
I do not know the truth about Haditha. Neither do Murtha and the media outlets calling the alleged massacre a massacre before all the facts are in. It would be helpful if they could handle these grave charges without serving as al Jazeera satellite offices....

Finally, there is this incontrovertible fact: There are countless numbers of anti-war zealots on the American Left rooting for failure. They believe the worst about the troops. They've blindly embraced frauds who've lied about their military service and lied about wartime atrocities. They've allied themselves with socialist kooks and coddled murderous dictators. They are looking for any excuse to pull out, abandon military operations and reconstruction, and impeach the president.

They insist on giving suspected foreign terrorists more benefit of the doubt than our own men and women in uniform. And that, I know, I am not willing to do.

I will wait. I will pray. And I will remind you that while the murder of civilians is and remains an anomaly in American military history, it is the jihadists' way of life.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Miss Myra's Gun

Operators Were Standing By

The Record-Courier, Gardnerville, Nevada:
According to eyewitnesses the plane crashed about 8:30 a.m., shortly after takeoff. The plane, a two-seat experimental called a Comp Air 6, landed upside down just a few yards west of Bliss Road opposite the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center....

The plane appeared to be struggling as it took off northbound, according to eyewitness Gordon Campbell. He was working near the accident. "The plane was gaining a little altitude but it was barely moving," he said. "It banked to the left before it lost power."
Just south of Carson City at 4700 feet elevation, Minden-Tahoe has plenty of room. Don't turn around, dummy--land straight ahead.

Update: The Reno Gazette-Journal has picked up the story, and has a better picture.

Self-Mortifying Opus Dei Monks!

Over the weekend Lileks read da Vinci Code* so we don't have to, thank goodness.

*I know, it's The Da Vinci Code, but that sounds redundant. Dis Vinci Code, dat Vinci Code, who cares? It's da Vinci Code, man.

Hard Rock Hallelujah

According to The Economist 85% of Finns are registered with the Lutheran church. Probably these guys too: the winners of this year's Eurovision song contest.
""We are not Satanists,"? insists Lordi, leader of a heavy-metal group that scored a surprise victory in this year's competition. But nor, to judge by appearances, are they Sunday-school teachers. Lordi sports red-eyed skulls on his knees, with horns rising from his masked face. ""It's a big change from those catchy numbers for pretty girls in hopelessly untrendy outfits,"? sighs John Vickers, a veteran writer of Eurovision songs...
Andrew Ian Dodge has more at TCS.

King Croesus Treasures Stolen

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art returned them to Turkey in 1993. Now they've turned up missing again.

Cartwheeling Down McKinley

Anchorage Daily News May 27, 2006:
"Right below, at about 18,300 feet ... I went to make a turn and I hit a wind drift of snow," Maginn remembered. "It threw me off balance and I fell backwards."

Maginn frantically tried digging the special axe heads of his ski poles into the snow to stop his fall. But he was going too fast.

"I must have somersaulted 100 times," he said. "I was going head over heels. Maybe I hit no rock bands. It felt like I was hitting rocks. I was airborne several times and hit again, so I'm not sure."

"Halfway through the fall, after I initially tried to self-arrest, I was doing everything. There was a point where I thought I hit rocks -- two times I hit incredibly hard -- and I wanted the next one to be the death blow."

He flashed on other skiers' deaths. "In the back of my head, I thought, 'This is how it happens.'"
Amazingly, he walked away.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Aerodynamically Unique

The new Boeing 787 appears to have a little more dihedral than usual. The winglets seem to come and go, too. I wonder if they're hinged?


By way of David Handy a link to an Economist Intelligent Life article (I didn't even know The Economist published Intelligent Life) about a promising new drug (this is so 70's) that could remove once and for all the shackles of sleep that bind our restless minds.

It's CX717, developed by Cortex Pharmaceuticals of Irvine, California. A possible treatment for Alzheimer's, ADHD, narcolepsy, and that general and debilitating unconsciousness we all experience for approximately eight hours every day, the drug has an obvious potential for abuse (which is to say experimental use) by minds of varying strength the world over.

I hope it's easy to synthesize.

Memorial Day

Christopher Hitchens pays tribute.

Doesn't Look Like a House, Either

Via AVweb, the city of Scottsdale, Arizona wants to ban helicopter landing in residential areas. The owner of this house says it's a driveway, not a helipad.

Walled City

James Woolsey in Opinion Journal joins a growing number of editorialists opposing Israel's plans for the West Bank. Of the exact nature of those plans they can only speculate. The Economist says study the map.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Walk in the Woods

We had to get away, so Lizzy and I went for a hike in the Brown Mountain lava fields near Lake of the Woods. The trail had a couple inches of wet slushy snow on it and the sun broke through the clouds occasionally.

We stopped here when Mount McLoughlin appeared through the trees and clouds.

We saw only two other hikers, a young couple and their dog, on the last miles of a three day, thirty mile trek from Little Hyatt Lake. They told us of losing the trail in waist deep snow with nothing but a GPS to guide them.

Al Gore's Big, Fat Carbon Footprint

Web-only bonus from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

"Al Gore: An Inconvenient Story"
WMV: Hi - Low
Quicktime: Hi - Low
Lord, he was born a ramblin' man.

Give Me a Simple Phone

Via David Handy, an AP article in Wired News:
Nathan Bales represents a troubling trend for cellular phone carriers. The Kansas City-area countertop installer recently traded in a number of feature-laden phones for a stripped-down model. He said he didn't like using them to surf the internet, rarely took pictures with them and couldn't stand scrolling through seemingly endless menus to get the functions to work.

"I want a phone that is tough and easy to use," said Bales, 30. "I don't want to listen to music with it. I'm not a cyber-savvy guy."
My ideal phone has twelve buttons: 0-9, Hello, and Good-bye.

Pound sign? Are you trying to make me type?

The Radical Solution

A week before the June 6th election the Napa Valley Register compares Oregon's Measure 37 with Napa's Measure A.
The Napa County proposal is more limited in key respects: It would take hold only in one county, and does not allow private property owners to seek compensation for laws already on the books.

But both measures stem from concerns about government encroaching on property rights, and seek to swing the pendulum toward landowners.

George Bachich, president of the Napa Valley Land Stewards Alliance, said, "We're not facing the onerous regulations that they had to face (in Oregon), and we're not proposing the radical solution that they had to take. But it's motivated by the same spirit."
I predict passage.

Civil War Re-Enactment

At Fort Klamath? News to me:
Museum curator Kevin Fields said as many 2,000 soldiers were stationed at the 1,050-acre fort, situated in the lush hay field near Upper Klamath Lake. The Army's charge, according to re-enactor Sgt. Marv Collison, was to assure that Oregon, California and other nearby territories remained part of the Union during the "War of Rebellion." From time to time, Fort Klamath soldiers tangled with bands of Snake River, Paiute and Klamath tribes from 1863 to 1867. At other times, the soldiers kept miners and other settlers from messing with American Indians.
Tour site here. Cascade Civil War Society has more.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Carnahan Rejects Petition

The heiress to a political dynasty does not like Missourians in Charge:
A proposed constitutional amendment sharply curtailing eminent domain's use in Missouri is all but dead after Secretary of State Robin Carnahan on Thursday invalidated petitions seeking to place a referendum on the November ballot.
In two years they will be back, and Ms. Carnahan will be gone.

Merapi Shakes

Thousands dead in earthquake:
At least 2500 people were killed and thousands injured when a powerful earthquake rocked central Indonesia early today, according to the latest data from the social affairs ministry's disaster relief centre in Jakarta .

The 6.2-magnitude quake also triggered heightened activity in Central Java province's deadly Mount Merapi volcano, which has been spewing out clouds of hot ash, gas and lava for several weeks, a scientist said.

The quake struck at 5.54am (0954 AEST), 25 kilometres southwest of the city of Yogyakarta, home to the famed Borobudur temple complex, causing damage in at least three nearby towns, officials said.
We've been following Mount Merapi here, here, here, here, and here.

Update: Over 3500 killed. Slideshow here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Circus Up There

Juan Oiarzabal on Everest:
"That mountain turned into a circus years ago, and it's getting worse — I don't have the slightest interest in going back there, ever. Moreover, I actually try to avoid reading on what's going on there — I simply don't care anymore."...

"Too often people go to Everest without knowing what it is like above 8000m. They pay huge amounts of money — and they don't pay for a climb, but for a summit. Thus, reaching the summit becomes their first and only priority. In order to get the summit, they will use all the resources they can afford: Sherpas, bottled O2, camps and ropes previously fixed, etc"... Up there, everybody focus on their own progress only, selfishly pursuing their goal."

"They don't care for the rest."
Fourteen dead on Everest this season.

Quirky & Cranky: Just My Style

From Signet House, 49-51 Farringdon Road, London. I don't know why I hadn't noticed it before.

Spiked. Add it to The Daily Rounds.

Sgt. Hester's Silver Star

It was supposed to be another routine mission.
In the vehicle following right behind Nein, Cooper, and Morris was 23 year-old Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, team leader and vehicle commander from Bowling Green, Ky. Hester and her crew saw the RPG hit the lead vehicle. ...

"I saw Staff Sgt. Nein jump out of the truck. As soon as I saw him jump out, I was right there," Hester said. From there, Hester, Nein and company pressed their flanking advantage and engaged the enemy full force.

"On the right hand side was a berm. They were still shooting at us from there and from down in a trench line," said Hester . "So we returned fire. I think I shot off three M203 rounds, and I don't know how many M4 rounds I shot. I know I hit one of the RPK gunners," she said. ...

Hester, Nein and their comrades continued to press the advantage, completely disrupting any plans the insurgents had at a successful attack. After the approximately 45-minute firefight, only three Soldiers from the 617th were wounded. Conversely, 27 insurgents were dead. Six others were wounded; one was captured. None escaped.
On June 16, 2005, Sgt. Hester received the Silver Star--the first woman ever to receive one for close combat.

Improved Morality In Ten Years

Thanks to David Handy, a link to a cute little article about Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen banning 3G mobile phones after his wife complained about receiving pornography on them.
"I have written to the Minister of Telecommunications to delay the use of certain mobile phones," Hun Sen told an assembly of Buddhist monks in Phnom Penh Friday. "We can wait 10 more years until we have managed to improve morality in society."
It's cute because Communist dictators like Hun Sen, who came to power in a brutal, bloody coup in 1997, have such dainty notions of morality.

Hacked the Wrong Guys

In January of last year, the hacker group collectively known as the "Internet Liberation Front" gained illegal access to the ProtestWarrior server, stealing thousands of credit card numbers in order to commit massive credit card fraud. The following month, ProtestWarrior discovered the identity of the perpetrators: Jeremy Hammond and a ring of hackers recruited through his criminal front at

ProtestWarrior performed a forensic analysis of the intrusion and contacted the FBI, which immediately launched an investigation...

On May 23, 2006, a grand jury at the U.S. District Court in Illinois handed down an indictment... Fighting the left... doing it right

Starthistle and Rat Race

How far can you hang glide? Would you believe twenty-five miles? Peter Warren traces his flight from Woodrat to Hilt in this graphic (click to enlarge).

The Rogue Valley Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association will host the 30th annual Starthistle fly-in this Memorial Day weekend at Woodrat Mountain.

Following the weekend fly-in, 130 flyers will compete Tuesday through Saturday in the fourth annual Rat Race.

Greg adds:
I have to wonder about the advisability of flying a radar invisible (no transponder, no primary image) craft directly across the main southerly approach path to MFR. The MEA over Mt. Ashland is 9700, but beyond this the localizer backcourse bravo approach heads right into MFR, and if the big guys are cleared "visual approach", they're able to descend at their discretion well below MEA.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Messiah Bold

It's the Beer You've Been Waiting For!

Schmaltz Brewing Company.

It's real... I think. Lileks.

Cloaking Device

Maxwell's Equations...
The team—Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London with David Schurig and David Smith of Duke University in North Carolina—used the equations to devise a way to cloak an object with a material that would deflect the rays that would have struck it, guide them around it and return them to their original trajectory.
In this week's Economist (sorry, subscription only).

Laurie Bagley at 29, 035 Feet

Laurie Bagley of Mount Shasta has reached the summit of Mount Everest.
Bagley, 44, climbed to the top of the 29,035-foot Mount Everest with Chirri Sherpa, one of the guides in her expedition. She organized her climb as a fund-raising project for Privilege Sharing, a group that helps poor children in India.
--update in this evening's Mail Tribune.

Steyn's Weekly Worry

Steyn gives the Mexicans and the Islamists the week off, and worries instead about a yellow horde becoming "the first gay superpower since Sparta" if tough old Russian women don't take up the slack.

It's all very complicated.

Search for Flight 2501

The Chicago Tribune:
At 7:30 p.m. on June 23, 1950, 55 passengers and a crew of three took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport toward Seattle. The flight was uneventful as it made its way toward its first scheduled stopover in Minneapolis. But then, Capt. Robert Lind requested a lower altitude, from 3,500 feet to 2,500 feet when flying in the vicinity of Benton Harbor, Mich., presumably because of worsening area storms.

That request, which was denied because of other air traffic at that altitude, was the last communication from Flight 2501.
This weekend divers hope to find the wreckage.

Flying Without Airplanes

Thanks to AVweb, An Introduction to Cluster Ballooning:
You watch the balloons swell and sway and grow taut and huge in the darkness, then get attached to their strings and tied down to sandbags, like a field of giant flowers blossoming there in the dark. There's a lot for everyone to do. It's wonderful to have friends who will drive out into the countryside in the middle of the night, just to help you fly!

Anti-Establishment Rebel

Ann doesn't like those goody two-shoes apple-polishers.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spending Other People's Money

From the Coos Bay World:
The State Land Board ordered Tuesday that the sea-battered, 1,200-ton stern section of the New Carissa wreck, located several hundred yards off the North Spit, be unearthed and dismantled from its shallow watery grave.
$19 million to do a job that nature would do for free.

Cochise County, USA

A provocative film alienates both sides:
They didn't realize that a smuggling trail crosses the property, 100 feet from their door, or that the house is sandwiched between two roads used by human- and drug-traffickers. "When I realized we'd settled in a war zone, I was traumatized, unable to sleep for months," Ms. Maharis says. The film became part therapy, part warning call...

As she prepared to submit "Cries" for an Academy Award nomination, a viewer told her it was too political. Translation: the wrong politics for Hollywood. Especially to the open-borders lobby, the film is deeply subversive. Ms. Maharis knows that playing the politically correct game would've won bigger audiences and media acclaim, and it would've played nicely into the PR machine of street protesters demanding "rights" for illegals.

But she was committed to telling the whole truth. "This isn't a political film," she says.
Available from Amazon.

In Praise of Ordinary Choices

Washington (Reuters):
President George W. Bush hired think tank scholar Karl Zinsmeister as his new top domestic policy adviser, the latest in a series of changes to the White House staff.

Zinsmeister, whose new role was announced by the White House on Tuesday, is a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and is editor-in-chief of the American Enterprise magazine.

Ataturk International

Βυζάντιον, Constantinople, Istanbul, whatever. It's on fire.
The main cargo section of Istanbul's Ataturk Airport is ablaze after a massive blast occurred just moments ago.

Black clouds filled the sky after the blast that occurred in the C section of HAVAS cargo department at Istanbul's main airport. The cause of the blast is still unknown.
Actually the story's a few hours old by now. I just picked it for the picture.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rogue River Trailkeepers

The Herald and News profiles a couple I hope to meet sometime this summer:
Jim and Kay Heath will spend the next five months in a two-room cabin - no telephone, television, central heat or indoor toilet. The Klamath couple is sure they'll love every moment.

As trailkeepers on a 10-mile stretch of trail along the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River, they started their sixth season as forest stewards in mid-May, living in the Brushy Bar guard station.
Lizzy hiked this section a year ago, but I've never been there.

Don't Be Evil

I guess Old Scratch took that as a challenge.

Google's web crawlers prowl the Internet with saintly algorithmic disinterest, but their news crawlers, in the interest of efficiency, begin with a list. And someone, some person, some fallible human person, makes that list.

And now it seems that if you have the wrong news and views that someone at Google will take you off the list.

Al Gorzynski

Thanks to Taranto for a link to the Al Gore or the Unabomber quiz, which I flunked. There's really not a lot of difference between them.

Except that Al Gore doesn't make bombs.

How Can Boomers Retire?

William P. Kucewicz says we need to import as adults the children who were never born.
A 4:1 ratio of working age persons to persons 65 and older might in fact be optimal. Between now and 2025, the U.S. would need an additional 57.5 million adults to maintain a 4:1 ratio, averaging 3 million additional working-age persons per year over the next nineteen years....

The Right Way To Set It Down

Rockton, Wisconsin (not too far from Durand, Illinois):
Deputies observed the aircraft approached the field from the east and landed successfully, rolling west and going slightly uphill, at which point the plane slowed and hay began to tangle in the wheels. The plane came to a stop and ""nosed over onto its nose,"? causing minor damage, mostly to the propeller, according to the report.

The hayfield owner, Joe J. Strunz, 34, of the 2000 block of State Highway 312, Orfordville, said he learned of the incident when Frank knocked on his door, apologized for the damage and asked for a ride to Brodhead Airport, which Strunz provided, according to the report. Strunz told police he would work out the damage to the crop with the pilot later.
Harold L. Frank flies a 1949 Aeronca.

Monday, May 22, 2006

38 Years On The Lam

For stealing beer and cigarettes.
The case had long grown cold until December 2003, when Judy Foster, a special agent with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Office of Correctional Safety, reopened the investigation. Smith's family and friends all denied knowing where he had gone, but Foster eventually discovered that he was using the last name of Gallion and living outside Sapulpa, southwest of Tulsa.


Break out the breathalyzers:
Oregon legislators and staff members should not be drunk while performing their official duties, a citizen panel says.

The Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature adopted that recommendation Monday, although the panel decided to leave it to House and Senate leaders to draft rules against intoxication and possible penalties.
I suggest we all chip in and buy them a round. Every day. For breakfast.

Minister of the Environment

Rona Ambrose is catching a lot of flak for her recent remarks concerning the Kyoto Protocol.
My departmental officials and the department officials from natural resources have indicated that it is impossible, impossible for Canada to reach its Kyoto targets....

And let me be clear. I have been engaging with our international counterparts over the past month, and we are not the only country that is finding itself in this situation.
Ms. Ambrose, who appears capable of causing significant warming all on her own, is part of Stephen Harper's new conservative government.

Something For Nothing

The Patriot Post this morning opened with a quote from the late Lyn Nofziger:
The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country... If children were forced to learn about the Constitution, about how government works, about how this nation came into being, about taxes and about how government forever threatens the cause of liberty perhaps we wouldn't see so many foolish ideas coming out of the mouths of silly old men.
Something for nothing. Also the title of a book. And a song by Neil Peart, drummer for Rush:
You don't get something for nothing
You don't get freedom for free
You won't get wise
With the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dreams might be

Armed and Dangerous

Via Instapundit, a reminder that I should check Eric Raymond's blog now and then:
Well, this is novel. I've just received a terroristic death threat. From an idiot who failed to obscure his return path.
As one of the commenters said, there's a
horribly painful fate in store for anyone who's stupid enough to come to his house looking for trouble.
He's not just a legendary UNIX hacker, he's also a bit of a gun nut.

Student Pilot Solos At 91

Thanks to AVweb, this article in The Seattle Times:
When Cliff Garl, 91, told his doctor that he wanted to earn a pilot's certificate, the physician could only reply, "I'm not sure."

But last week Garl, of Shoreline, proved skeptics wrong and made his first solo flight as a student pilot. Garl flew a single-engine Cessna 172, at an altitude of 1,000 feet, twice around Arlington Municipal Airport — about 10 miles in the air in all. His flight instructor, Joe Bennett, who's 75, could only marvel at what Garl accomplished and shook the hand of the oldest student he's ever had. Garl was proud of his accomplishment but said other folks in their golden years shouldn't look to him for inspiration.

"I'm just doing my thing," he said.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Spirit of San Diego

Everyone knows that Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris on May 21, 1927. Not everyone knows the Ryan Airlines Corporation of San Diego built the plane.
One day a careless worker dropped a crescent wrench that broke off a thumbnail-size piece of the engine's number one cooling fin. Mechanic O. L. Gray said, "We could smooth that out with a file and paint it, and never know the difference." Lindbergh said, "I'll always know the difference." After a pause he added, 'We want another engine in there."

Gray thought he was kidding. Someone asked, "Why so much perfection in this?" Lindbergh had his reasons: "One is I'm a poor swimmer."

Non Sequitur

Holmes Mill, Kentucky:
The cause of the blast at the Darby Mine No. 1 in Harlan County was not immediately known. But Fletcher said preliminary evidence suggested methane may have leaked from a sealed-off portion of the mine, mixed with oxygen and then something caused it to ignite.

It was the deadliest mining incident in the state since 1989, when 10 miners died in a western Kentucky mine blast, state officials said. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said Saturday's deaths raised the national death toll from coal mining accidents to 31 this year, with 10 of them in Kentucky.
Longview, Washington:
One of Oregon's most recognizable and controversial landmarks will come down in a cloud of dust Sunday.

Suing Multnomah County

Ninety-three-year-old Dorothy English has filed a $1.15 million lawsuit against Multnomah County.
County officials have waived the land-use rule that directly bans English from dividing her 20 wooded acres in the hills overlooking the city.

But English says a web of legal issues and remaining regulations prevents her from building homes on the property. ...

"I think this is stalling," English said. "They don't want this developed."
Time is of the essence.

Napa Valley Land Stewards

Napa County voters will have an opportunity to slow the loss of their property rights with Measure A, the Fair Payment for Public Benefit Act:
The initiative, if enacted, would force the county to reimburse landowners every time the board of supervisors passes a new ordinance reducing private property values. Alternatively, the county could waive the regulation as it affects certain property owners. Supervisors could also opt to send a land use law to a vote of the people. If that passed, landowners would have no right to seek compensation....

"It used to be when you bought land you bought a bundle of rights," Levine said, echoing a phrase coined by George Henke, who bought his Dry Creek Road parcel in 1958. "What we want to do is preserve what few property options a person has left. They've already taken a lot of what we paid for away and we don't want to unravel it, but we don't need more rules."
Unlike Oregon's Measure 37, which applies to regulatory takings after the property was purchased, Measure A concerns only to future regulations.

D-Day is June 6th.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Summer Vacation

A haiku by Charlie Durand

Time never ending,
But not a moment to waste,
Fun and adventure.

Bad Day for Centurions

One long and fast, crash and burn; four gear up; one engine failure; and one flipped on its back while taxiing.

Thursday was just a bad day for Cessna 210s.

Hobbits 'Deformed'

The Australian:
THE tiny "hobbit" discovered in Indonesia three years ago has triggered a new round of scientific squabbling, with sceptics again questioning its status as a new-found species of ancient humans....

Writing today in the journal Science, a group led by Dr Martin claims a new analysis shows that the skull of the diminutive adult female specimen - identified as LB1 - came from a person suffering from microcephaly, a pathological condition that causes small brain size and, occasionally, short stature.
Frodo you pinhead.

Not Plain English

Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the provision, which is retroactive to the start of this year...
But wait! Article I, Section 9, Clause 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

Hol' on, lemme get my dictionary...

Five Best

Top books on the history and use of English.
  1. The Oxford English Dictionary (1884)
  2. "The Use of English" by Randolph Quirk (St. Martin's, 1963)
  3. "A History of the English Language" by Albert C. Baugh (Appleton-Century, 1935)
  4. Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases by Peter Mark Roget (1852)
  5. "Mother Tongue" by Bill Bryson (William Morrow, 1990)
David Crystal in Opinion Journal.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm Disable To Believe It

More Than 50 Million Americans Report Some Level of Disability.

In any normal distribution of ability about 68 percent of the people will find themselves within one standard deviation of the mean. That leaves roughly sixteen percent below and as many above. But does an I.Q. of 84 really qualify you for handicapped parking? 'Cause I can get there in just two beers.

Wrong Guy To Ask That

Some years ago William F. Buckley was a defendant in a lawsuit:
On the witness stand I argued that the word "jig" could be used other than as animadversion. The feverish lawyer grabbed a book from his table and slammed it down on the arm of my chair. "Have you ever heard of a dictionary?" he asked scornfully, as if he had put the smoking gun in my lap. I examined the American Heritage College Dictionary and said yes, I was familiar with it. "In fact," I was able to say, opening the book, "I wrote the introduction to this edition."

Over the Atlantic

Adventures on third-world airlines:
I remember once flying over Crimea in a twin-engine Aeroflot workhorse called the Antonov 24. When a fire ball emerged from one of its propellers, the impatient stewardess waved me off with a "normalno." I didn't ask again. Normal, too, were goats in the aisles above the Caucasus, drunk pilots who disembarked before their passengers and landings like the one a decade ago in Moscow, when our Tupolev 154 slammed down on the runway so hard that the seats detached themselves from the floor.

On a small Yakovlev 40 jet from Kiev to Odessa early in the post-Soviet era, a man in a captain's uniform plopped down next to me soon after takeoff and stayed there for the whole flight, right through the smooth touchdown. I shared a taxi into town with a young biznesman whom I hadn't noticed onboard. "I gave the captain $100 to let me fly the plane," he explained to me with a straight face. Just for the fun of it.
This time it was Air France.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

He Broke My Plane

Klamath Falls Herald and News:
The pilot, Joseph Longo, 33, of Medford walked away from the crash, suffering only scraped shins, according to the Klamath County Sheriff's Office. He was able to get out of the plane by the time authorities arrived at about 2:15 p.m. Longo's rented Cessna 152 single engine plane will be dismantled today before it is removed from the grassy field several yards behind Wal-Mart, said Sheriff Tim Evinger.
I used to fly that plane.

Love and the Enlightenment

The Economist, May 18th:
EVERYONE, just about, has heard something about Voltaire...

Almost nobody has heard of the woman with whom he shared most of his life, Emilie du Châ telet. But you can make a good case that she was a more rigorous thinker, a better writer, a more systematic scientist, a formidable mathematician, a wizard gambler, a more faithful lover and a much kinder and deeper person....

Her greatest work was to translate the ""Principia"?, the path-breaking work on physics by the secretive Cambridge brainbox, Isaac Newton, who died when Emilie was 20. She did not just translate his writing from Latin to French; she also expressed Newton's obscure geometric proofs using the more accessible language of calculus. And she teased out of his convoluted web of theorems the crucial implications for the study of gravity and energy.
Passionate Minds by David Bodanis

The Kidney Donation

Virgina Postrel tells her side of the story:
UNTIL LAST NOVEMBER, I'D NEVER THOUGHT about being a kidney donor. I hadn't known anyone with kidney disease, and like most people, I hadn't filled out an organ donation form when I'd gotten my driver's license. I'd never even donated blood. That all changed after I ran into a friend and asked, ""How's Sally?"? I got an unexpected answer: ""She's . . . all right,"? in a tone that made it clear she was most definitely not all right....
You can read the whole thing in Texas Monthly.


Lileks pokes holes in the bill
In any case, people could tunnel under a fence. Gigantic Tijuana rats, lashed together in bunches of six, could dig a tunnel wide enough for a man to slither through, if he laid off the carbs.
while Coulter suggests changes
Why not use immigration the way sports teams use the draft — to upgrade our roster? We could take our pick of the world's engineers, doctors, scientists, uh... smoking-hot Latin guys who stand around not wearing shirts between workouts. Or, you know, whatever....

Permission to Queue

Teens following in the quirky summer-job tradition of spending nights holding places in line at Britt concerts for adult ticket-holders will now need a permit, city officials say.

The City Council on Tuesday amended the public safety code's prohibition against overnight camping to legalize the Britt Festivals line-sitters, who often start their wait the night before on the Fir Street side of the venue, said City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen. The council also amended its midnight curfew law to excuse line-sitters provided they get the new $3 permit, he said.

"They can stick it on their sleeping bag," said Wyntergreen.
That which is not permitted is forbidden.

Selling Shovels to Prospectors

Startup Journal has an article on Steve Weber, who makes $35-40K a year selling used books out of his home. Now he's written a book telling us all how to do it.


The Mail Tribune:
Undeterred by the absence of a drama program at Crater High School, Alexandra Schireman sat down her freshman year to write a musical her friends could perform.

Four years later, with a flourishing drama department now in place, Crater High School actors will put on Schireman's play, "Junestruck," for the spring show....

She wrote the dialogue for the play and the lyrics for the music. She wrote the music with the help of local musicians Richard Williams and David McKenzie. It took her about three years to complete the musical.
The show runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Life of Unbelievable Freedom

I am a prisoner of routine. I built the cell. I have the keys. But I like the cell. The days when I grip the bars and wish for release, I can feel the door swing out, and have to pretend it's latched shut. It's all my fault, and of all the problems one can have, it reminds me of my excellent fortune.
Lileks. The Bleat.

Area Forecast Discussion

Most of us just want to know if it's going to rain and will it be cool or warm. But have you ever wondered what the weathermen say among themselves?
Increased instability compared with yesterday is indicated by earlier cumulus development this afternoon...including a weak thunderstorm near Chemult. Expect Klamath and Lake counties to be the focus for isolated late afternoon and evening thunderstorms with development also over the Cascades and Siskiyous and into Siskiyou and Modoc counties. After record or near record warmth this afternoon...a little cooler Thursday but continued unstable with slight chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms from the Cascades eastward.

The simple summer-like weather pattern of the past week is beginning to transition to a more complex spring-like pattern. This complexity is illustrated by the rather drastic run-to-run changes for Friday through the weekend indicated by the 12Z GFS. Confidence is not high in the details as other models do not support the extent of change for Friday of a much cooler...stronger/more moist result with faster movement of the offshore upper low. I have leaned toward the ECMWF which maintains a weaker/slower split flow. Broad brush has been utilized with a slight chance to chance of showers from Friday through Wednesday and temperatures near to slightly below normal.
The Area Forecast Discussion is available from the National Weather Service. And thanks to Greg for pointing this out.

Digging Flanders Fields

Thanks to Derb, a look at some of the 3,500 pieces of WWI ammunition the Belgian Army Ammunition Disposal Unit finds every year.

(It's in a foreign language. Dutch I think. Try sticking this fish in your ear.)

70-year-old Scales Everest

The Himalayan Times, Kathmandu, May 18:
A 70-year-old Japanese climber scaled Mount Everest on Wednesday, making him the oldest person in the world to achieve the feat, the organisers of the expedition told Japan's Kyodo news agency.

A five-member team including Takao Arayama, who is aged 70 years, 7 months and 13 days, reached the summit of the 8,848-meter (29,028-foot) mountain on Wednesday morning...
...the previous record was 70 years, 7 months and ten days.

Sea Scout Ship For Sale

The Orange County Register:
Officials at the Newport Sea Base today announced plans to sell the century-old tall ship Argus in an online auction.

In February, officials canceled the spring sailing season after a U.S. Coast Guard inspection found the boat had extensive wood rot and rusted iron fittings...
The Mercury News headline sniffs:
SoCal Boy Scouts Sell Rotting Ship

To Hell with All That

Mr. Reynolds contemplates the joys of parenting:
Parenting was always hard work, of course. But aside from the economic payoffs, parents used to get a lot of social benefits, too. But in recent decades, a collection of parenting "experts" and safety-fascist types have extinguished some of the benefits while raising the costs, to the point where what's amazing isn't that people are having fewer kids, but that people are having kids at all.

This occurred to me recently while reading Caitlin Flanagan's new book, To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife. Flanagan's book is mostly a comparison of her own housewifely and maternal life with that of her mother, and one thing that struck me is how much of what counted as acceptable -- or even exemplary -- parenting a generation ago would now be considered abuse and neglect.

Mount Merapi Finishes Nap

From a little photo essay that doesn't require plug-ins.

For Sale Or Trade

Partially assembled WMD project. Diplomatic relations OBO:
...Libya often imported shoddy merchandise at exorbitant prices: for instance, four different systems to fill white plastic bottles with mustard agent, none of which worked....

"They told us, 'Yeah, we know we've been had. But what were we going to do? Take them to small claims court for selling us junk?' " Mr. Ryan recalled. "They knew they had no recourse if they were sold a pig in a poke."
Part two in the Gadhafi series by Judith Miller.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Hammer

Buyer springs for pricey strings:
An anonymous buyer shelled out 3.54 million dollars for a Stradivarius violin known as the "Hammer", smashing the previous world record for a musical instrument sold at auction, Christie's said....

The violin was made by luthier Antonio Stradivari in 1707, during a period seen as the golden age for his "Strads", 1700-1720. Privately owned, it was used by the New York-based violinist Kyoko Takezawa.

Seven Freedoms

Michael Barone contrasts the list of 2006...
"The nonnegotiable demands of human liberty," Bush told Congress in January, are "the rule of law; limits on the power of the state; respect for women; private property; free speech; equal justice; and religious tolerance."
...with the list of 1941, which begain with freedom of speech and freedom of worship...
Then comes "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear," which Roosevelt translated as "economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants" and "a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor."

Note that Roosevelt was looking here toward something like an increase in the powers of the state and to international organizations. He was speaking in the backdrop of the 1930s...
Worth reading in its entirety.

The Mighty O

Marine Corps Times, Pensacola, Florida:
About 10 a.m. Wednesday, weather permitting, sailors from the Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6 Detachment-Panama City will detonate charges on pipes and valves in the bottom of the ship. The unit will use about 500 pounds of explosives to sink the ship, which is expected to come to rest under 212 feet of water.
More pictures here.

Spellings: Encourage Girls in Science

Low participation in math and science activities by girls is keeping them from achieving their full potential and weakening the nation's ability to compete, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Monday.
Sorry, but this picture is not going to encourage them.

Consider instead introducing them to the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™

How Gadhafi Lost His Groove

Under pressure from the wife and kids a middle-aged man reins in his ambitions.
Libyans close to the Gadhafi family told me that after Saddam Hussein's sons were killed in a shootout with U.S. soldiers in Mosul in July 2003, Safiya, Col. Gadhafi's wife, angrily demanded that he do more to ensure that Saif and her other sons would not share a similar fate.
First in a two-part series by Judith Miller.

Play Abandoned at Mount Merapi Golf Course

Whoa. This sounds serious.
The caddies have fled. A pair of cleaning ladies squat in the shade of a tree near the 18th hole. The club's manager sits and smokes, knowing he's in for a quiet couple of weeks.
Nice view, though.

Space Station from Above

After departing the ISS, the crew of Discovery captured this spectacular vista of the orbiting space city high above the Caspian Sea.
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hyperbolic Projection

Improbable Research likes the way The Economist marshals its facts and illustrates its points (or edges, in this case).

Guest Workers vs. Econ. 101

John Derbyshire:
I'm baffled as to why anyone would want to hire these temporary workers. The entire point of illegal immigrant labor is that it's cheap because it's illegal. If you legalize it, it ain't cheap any more. You've got minimum wage laws, workmen's comp, benefits regulations, etc., etc. to comply with, and all sorts of litigation possibilities (harassment, discrimination, etc.) to hedge against. You might as well hire Americans.

Plane Crazy

As a very young mouse I was inspired to learn how to fly.

The Shores of Tripoli

Secretary Condoleezza Rice:
I am pleased to announce that the United States is restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya. We will soon open an embassy in Tripoli. In addition, the United States intends to remove Libya from the list of designated state sponsors of terrorism. Libya will also be omitted from the annual certification of countries not cooperating fully with United States' anti-terrorism efforts.

We are taking these actions in recognition of Libya's continued commitment to its renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the United States and other members of the international community in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since September 11, 2001.

Today's announcements are tangible results that flow from the historic decisions taken by Libya's leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs. As a direct result of those decisions we have witnessed the beginning of that country's re-emergence into the mainstream of the international community....
VDH noticed the improvement.

Do It Yourself ATC

Kinetic Avionics has developed a radio receiver and software package which picks up Mode S and ADS-B signals from aircraft within 100 or so miles (depending on terrain and antenna). In the case of ADS-B-equipped planes, it displays them on the computer screen as a realistic portrayal of an air traffic control monitor. Monitoring Times, a magazine which caters to amateur radio buffs, recently reviewed [PDF] the gear and says it works as advertised, doesn't crash computers and can run on a modestly equipped PC.... It sells for about $750.

FAA Cuts GA Airport Funds

If there ever was an example of why AOPA and other alphabet groups want the FAA to continue to answer to Congress, the details of the latest FAA budget proposal offer illumination. In what FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has called "tough medicine for local programs," the agency has proposed cutting more than $750 million from airport improvement activities, including the $150,000 "entitlement grants" handed out unconditionally to more than 2,500 small GA airports.
One might ask how small airports came to depend on Washington in the first place.

Consider this article from yesterday's Albany Democrat-Herald:
Nearly $500,000 worth of improvement projects are underway at the Albany Municipal Airport, the oldest continuously operated municipal airport in Oregon....

"The Federal Aviation Administration is making about $150,000 per year available to us for three years," Ebbert said. "The money is designated for upgrading general aviation fields like ours. It's a 95 percent to 5 percent match. So, it's going to cost us about $35,000 in local money to get about $450,000 in matching funds for projects."
Free money, by golly. And the Feds have buckets of it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Heat Clouds

Yogyakarta, Indonesia:
Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano spewed hot clouds and ash rain early on Monday, a vulcanologist said, but there was no confirmation of reports of fresh lava flows.

Yogyakarta Administration Secretary Bambang Susanto had earlier told Elshinta news radio that, according to information he had received, the mountain "exploded" in the pre-dawn hours with lava and hot ash.
As I noted in an earlier post, those clouds can kill.

Gun Free Household

Now liberals have an alternative to those annoying "Protected by 2nd Amendment Security" stickers their redneck neighbors put near the front door. Be proud of your views--let the whole neighborhood know!

Available from the Patriot Shop.

Improvements Not Permitted

In the Mail Tribune:
If you've swapped your Formica counters for granite, or added a second bathroom, the county Assessor's Office might hand you a bill for additional property taxes.

The county will add 40 percent more appraisers this year to look for remodeling projects or additions that so far have escaped reappraisal — an undertaking that could generate an estimated $3 million in additional tax revenue in three years.
You're lying on the ground gasping for breath after paying your income taxes and they come along and kick you again. The message is clear: How dare you have an income. How dare you fix up your house. This is how we deal with your kind.

An Army of Goliaths

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Writing For Biblical Illiterates

Mark Steyn (who really has bigger fish to fry) took time this week to skewer and roast Dan Brown.
These Christianesque bestsellers surely testify to something, but God knows what (as it were). It's interesting that so many non-churchgoing readers are interested in Jesus, disheartening that they're so Biblically illiterate. Still, given the success he's had dismissing the premise of the New Testament as a fraud, perhaps Dan Brown could try writing a revisionist biography of acclaimed prophet Muhammad. Just a thought.
Yeah, real brave, slapping around the Catholics, knowing they're obliged to turn the other cheek.

But that doesn't mean surrender. Check out The Da Vinci Hoax.
A frequent question asked by readers of Dan Brown''s The Da Vinci Code is "How much of the novel''s depiction of historical events, people, artwork, and institutions is correct."" The short answer is ""Not much.""

In fact, the only thing more amazing than Brown''s consistent misrepresentation of facts is a widespread acceptance of his claims...
If point-by-point refutation doesn't suit you, try the more interactive site The Duh Vinci Code.
This website is intended to allow visitors to respond to various assertions which are made by The Da Vinci Code, to clarify factual issues that are clouded by the Da Vinci Code's fiction, and, in some cases, to respond to real world comments from the Da Vinci Code's author, Dan Brown, regarding his historical interpretation and ideas on religion.
I don't understand the attraction of historical novels. You never know where the facts leave off and the fiction begins. This book, from all I've heard, is worse. It's full of fictional facts. You could spend months sorting it out.

But why bother? Skip the movie. Skip the book. We've got better things to do.

Eruption Immanent

Jakarta, Indonesia:
Indonesian authorities on Saturday ordered the immediate evacuation of thousands of people who for weeks have refused to heed the ominous rumblings of Mount Merapi and the burning lava oozing from its mouth.

Hundreds of people began fleeing the 9,700-foot peak after authorities put the area on highest alert, having observed two days of steady lava flow....
More pictures here.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Rungwecebus Kipunji

New breed of monkey discovered in Africa
Scientists have announced that a camera-shy monkey discovered in Africa last year belongs to an entirely new primate family, the first such discovery in 83 years. Originally the creature, named Rungwecebus kipunji, was thought to be a type of mangabey from the genus Lophocebus. But more detailed observation and genetic analysis showed that it was more closely related to baboons.

Scientists have now assigned it to a genus of its own - Rungwecebus, after Mount Rungwe in Tanzania where the monkey was first spotted.

Great Wallpaper at EAA

When you get bored with your backdrop go to the EAA web site for some great wallpaper.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Beechcraft C-23, Two Serious

Bishop, Texas:
Constables rushed to rescue the pilot and passenger from the mangled mess Monday night, arriving in just three minutes, in what has turned out to be Bishop's first plane crash in over 25 years.

Both men at last check were still in intensive care, in fair condition at Christus Spohn Hospital-Memorial. Investigators believe the plane's engine had recently been worked on.

Lancair IV, Two Fatal

Somerset County, Pennsylvania:
Scott Zimmerman saw the plane rise, heard it sputter and apparently turn back around toward the airport.

""I saw the plane take off. It climbed 50 to 100 feet,"? Zimmerman, a 30-year pilot and owner of Piles Concrete along Route 281. ""The engine wasn't running right. They took a sharp turn to the left."?

After that, Zimmerman said the wings appeared to lose their lift and he watched the Lancair IV started spiraling.

Keith Richards' Brain Is OK

That fall must have done him good.

What Does a Girl Have To Do?

Ann says patriotic Americans don't have to become dangerous psychotics like liberals, but they could at least act like men.
Why hasn't the former spokesman for the Taliban matriculating at Yale been beaten even more senseless than he already is? According to Hollywood, this nation is a cauldron of ethnic hatreds positively brimming with violent skinheads. Where are the skinheads when you need them? What does a girl have to do to get an angry, club- and torch-wielding mob on its feet?
Coulter, of course.

Crueler In The Long Run

Victor Davis Hanson: Are remittances as bad as oil?
Millions of unemployed Mexicans are now dependent upon money wired from the United States, where low-skill wages are now nine times higher than in Mexico. On the national level, such subsidies, like oil windfall profits, allow just enough money to hide the government's failure to promote the proper economic conditions — through the protection of property rights, tax reform, transparent investment laws, modern infrastructure, etc. — that would eventually lead to decent housing and well-paying jobs.
Thought provoking, as usual.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My Amazon Order Has Shipped

“These matters are also connected to the question of whether Homer wrote. The architecture of the poems: how could you do that without writing? My intuition is that you can probably do it better without writing. I've performed Iliad 1 and Odyssey 5 from memory, so I know what it's like to have a book of Homer "'in mind,' because the symmetries are within books as well as in the whole. You experience the poetry in a different way. I think that's how Homer came to this level of composition — through performance.”

--Stanley Lombardo, interview with Michael Leddy

BATF, Defendant

Medford Tribune, Central Point:
Gun dealer Grant J. Bailey has resumed selling firearms after regaining access to police background checks.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, however, has served notice that it intends to revoke the 35-year-old Bailey's firearms dealer's license, pending a July hearing.
Good luck on that. Bailey has countered with a lawsuit charging the BATF with interfering with his business. With a bulldog like Jim Leuenberger on the case I bet they win.

The Medford Tribune first ran Jay Bailey's story back in March.

Local Blogs

Where's Your Brain? says
prepare to look happy and proud when your child tells you they got a job in the services industry...
NW Republican recommends a write in candidate for Labor Commissioner
I know where he stands on the important issues. Darth Vader also is a little less sinister than Dan Gardner, the true dark lord of the electrician's union.
And The Doc Is In has a joke about
A priest, a Pentecostal preacher and a Rabbi... decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.

Turn Your Radio On

Irish Catholic priests illegally broadcasting Mass over the radio to housebound parishioners are suspected of creating a safety hazard for transatlantic jets, officials said Tuesday....

"I knew it was sort of a gray area but I didn't know we were breaking the law," Father Brendan Quinlan, a Dublin parish priest, told the Irish Independent.
ComReg (page 25) is proposing to permit Wireless Public Address Systems in the band 27.6 — 27.99 MHz to meet the needs of religious and other community organizations.

Filter This

Canadian hack-tivists develop a way around Chinese censorship with a little piece of software they call Psiphon:
The program effectively turns anyone's personal computer into a proxy server. Once the software is installed on a computer in, say, Canada, that person creates a contact list of trusted friends or family members in censored countries and sends his or her IP address to them. No advertising needed.

The censored user then connects to the computer running Psiphon and accesses banned content from there, all unbeknownst to the censor....

But Psiphon doesn't stop there. Unlike most Internet traffic, Psiphon data is encrypted and shoots around the world on a network reserved for secure financial transactions, so a censor cannot see what the person is accessing. And a censor wouldn't be able to tell a Psiphon request from a MasterCard purchase.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sarun Sar, American Hero

Born in Cambodia in 1966, he had led an idyllic boyhood even as the clouds of war gathered over Southeast Asia. His father was a schoolteacher, and his mother looked after their home on a large rice farm with his brothers and sisters.

Then war blew his boyhood apart. The communist Khmer Rouge insurgency of the ruthless Pol Pot overthrew the Cambodian government and began the period of the "killing fields," an orgy of executions and enforced starvation that took the lives of more than a million Cambodians who refused to be "re-educated."

Sarun Sar's father was arrested and sent to a prison camp. He eventually died of ailments resulting from his imprisonment. One of Sarun's brothers was executed. His mother and two younger brothers, dispossessed of their farm and hiding in fear of the communists, eventually died a cruel death by starvation.

Sarun and his older sister ended up in a refugee camp along the Thailand-Cambodia border. Under the sponsorship of a church in Montgomery County, Md., Sarun and his sister received visas and came to the U.S. in 1981....
Master Sgt. Sarun Sar was awarded this year the Silver Star for valor in Afghanistan.

Sincerely and Death to America.

Lileks. I don't know how he did it but he managed to get hold of a copy of that letter. No, not that letter, the one from Mahmoud, the 18-pager:
Dear Infidel Crusader Zionist sock-puppet Saudi-lackey depoiler of Mesopotamia woman-touching pigdog fiendish (293 words excised) Shah-licking son of a toad's offal: I trust this finds you well....

The Blue Marble

Thanks to David Handy who spotted them first, these high-res images from NASA. Slice them up any way you like; I've got a nice wallpaper size (1280 x 1024) here.

Skull And Bones

The story making the rounds of a newly-discovered letter smells to me like another Dan Rather hoax. At least the letter appears not to have been written on a 1918 word processor, but it's just coincidence, I suppose, that the "finder" of the letter, Marc Wortman, has a new book out today.

Dim Dwarf Galaxies Found

Two dim dwarf galaxies are the Milky Way's newest-known galactic companions, astronomers studying a vast swath of the sky reported on Monday....

The little galaxy found in Canes Venatici is about 640,000 light-years from the Sun, a stone's throw in cosmic terms. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles, the distance light travels in a year. The dwarf found in Bootes is about the same distance from the Sun.

Even though they are close, these galaxies were hard to spot because they were so dim, a defining characteristic of dwarf galaxies.
They should have called them differently-abled and vertically-challenged galaxies. How insensitive.

Worse Than Just Talk

Amer Taheri reviews a little history from the Bay of Pigs to the present crisis. It's a series of low points but it seems to me that this the lowest:
In 1979, soon after the mullahs seized power, Mr. Carter sent Ayatollah Khomeini a warm congratulatory letter. Mr. Carter's man at the U.N., a certain Andrew Young, praised Khomeini as "a 20th-century saint." Mr. Carter also tapped his closest legal advisor, the late Lloyd Cutler, as U.S. ambassador to the mullarchy.

A more dramatic show of U.S. support for the mullahs came when Mr. Brzezinski flew to Algiers to meet Khomeini's prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan. This was love at first sight--to the point where Mr. Carter approved the resumption of military supplies to Iran, even as the mullahs were executing Iranians by the thousands...

Speaking of Enemies... seems to be failing this morning--another DDoS attack? Zeta Woof's hosted on another server so you can read this, but I can't post through Blogger. I only posted this by editing the HTML by hand, a tedious process.

Update: we're back.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dispatch from Enemy Central

Enemy of the Week has returned to The American Spectator.

Susan's Galapagos Pictures

While looking for wallpaper today I remembered Susan Heller's photos from the Galapagos Islands. Susan works as a nurse but she could, and should, work for National Geographic.

A Property Rights Storm

Blogger Dan Richardson at New West says that Measure 37 has jump-started a property rights storm in a number of states, including Washington (I-933), Montana (I-154), and Wisconsin.

Watch Out For Shaggy Goats

From Indonesia's simmering Mount Merapi:
The new dome has been forming on Merapi for more than a week, signalling that the eruption would involve an outflow of lava and deadly heat clouds rather than a massive explosion, scientists have said.

In its last large eruption in 1994, heat clouds known locally as "shaggy goats" careened down the volcano at more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) per hour, reaching temperatures of 600 degrees Celsius (1,100 degrees Fahrenheit).

The clouds killed 66 people.
Those goats are technically known as nuées ardentes.

Summer At Delphi

Thanks to Eugene Rant, a summer camp you might not want to send the kids to. Something about their academic philosophy.

You'll Never Feel Old

Gladys Burrill's in training for her third Honolulu Marathon.
"People can feel old at any age," she says. "But if you have the commitment to do what you dream, you'll never feel old. For me, I have to keep doing something and I'm gonna keep walking."
She's only 87.

Ahmadinejad Letter to Bush

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said last month his country has successfully produced nuclear fuel, has written a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush proposing new ways to ease tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

"In this letter, while analyzing the world situation and pinpointing sources of problems, he has introduced new ways for getting out of the current, fragile international situation" Gholam Hossein Elham, a government spokesman, said on state-run Fars News agency.
That's nice. Personal letters are important.

Update: Not this time.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice... told the AP the Ahmadinejad letter was 17 or 18 pages long and covered history, philosophy and religion, but was not a diplomatic opening or anything of the sort, and did not address the nuclear issue in a concrete way.
Eighteen pages. Guess he was pressed for time.

Badly Executed Go-Around

Arizona Daily Star, Tuscon:
When a single-engine Cessna 150 crashed west of Sahuarita on Sunday, causing non-life-threatening injuries to two people aboard, an expert witness was on hand.

Bruce Bessette, an investigator for the Federal Aviation Administration, happened to be flying behind the Cessna as it approached the runway at Ruby Star Airpark.

Bessette said he was returning from a birthday trip to Patagonia with his 9-year-old daughter and her classmate. He was following the Cessna toward the airpark when it pulled off its approach, appeared to stall and crashed.

Flight instructor Peter Miller, 28, and passenger Roger Tamietti, 47, were taken to University Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries...
The photo shows full flaps. Probably trimmed for sixty too. Hard to climb like that--I've been there.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oh, Sir Paul!

Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
But she doesn't have a lot to say
Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
But she changes from day to day

I want to tell her that I love her a lot
But I gotta get a bellyful of wine
Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
Someday I'm going to make her mine, oh yeah
Someday I'm going to make her mine

Can't Hear You, Teacher

The Argus Observer, Ontario, Oregon:
The city has been expecting a rezone proposal from the Ontario School District for its proposed school site near Oregon Highway 201 and Southwest Fourth Avenue with the completion of a siting study report from the FAA.

The FAA report, distributed in letter form to the school district and city officials, stated airport operations would not be affected by the siting of a high school at the location.

However, the FAA also stated the school site was not a compatible land use in relation to the airport.
That is a tad close.

Snowflakes In Superglue

Thanks to Improbable Research:
  1. Set microscope slides, coverslips and superglue outside when it's 20°F or colder to chill them. Catch flakes on the slides or pick them up with cold tweezers.
  2. Place a drop of superglue on the snowflake. Note: Gel glue doesn't work. Find a brand that's thin and runny.
  3. Drop a coverslip over the glue. Don't press down hard or the flake could tear or melt from the heat of your finger.
  4. Leave the slide in a freezer for one or two weeks and don't touch it with warm hands. The glue must completely harden before the snowflake warms up.
Details here.

Mud-Wrestling Judges

NW Republican blogged Saturday:
Be aware that the Sunday edition of the Statesman Journal is planning a major hit piece on Ross Day.
He was right:
Sleazy fliers distort Judge Lipscomb's record

Opponent Ross Day should denounce efforts on his behalf

Local judicial candidates tend to run low-key, high-minded campaigns. But fliers vilifying Presiding Judge Paul Lipscomb have pulled a Marion County race down to the level of a mud-wrestling match....
That's more like it!

Fighting Jihad With Subpoenas

Steyn agrees with Moussaoui. Not the most upbeat way to start your day.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Where He Will Rot

Ramzi Yousef, Theodore Kaczysnki, Terry Nichols, Richard Reid, Eric Rudolph... meet your new friend, Zacarias Moussaoui.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a lovely description of Moussaoui's new home, complete with pictures.

All The Humanity!

May 6, 1937: The Hindenburg explodes and burns while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. Film here.

Thirty years later...
Keith Moon: What are you going to call yourselves?
Robert Planet: We was thinking about "The New Yardbirds."
Keith Moon: That will sink like a lead Zeppelin.
Robert Planet: Wait. I have another idea...

Why Isn't Socialism Dead?

Lee Harris says we face a myth gap:
"Never fight against religion...this concept has too much empire over the minds of men." And to the extent that socialism is a religion, then those who wish to fight it with mere reason and argument may well be in for a losing battle.
Read the whole thing.

Zillow Your Neighbors

The Wall Street Journal's free this week:
Earlier this year, and started providing free access to historical purchase prices, estimates of current values, square-footage and aerial images of houses across the country.
I zillowed Gold Hill but it requires Flash. RealEstateABC doesn't and it has more data, better organized.

Five Best: Business Etiquette

Stanley Bing in Opinion Journal:
This little tale, which appears to be a book for children, is actually a clever evocation of what happens to a corporation when a management consultant is hired by absent, clueless senior management to evaluate its organizational structure and to effect change.
He's talking about the very first book I ever read.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Toketee Falls Trail Destroyed

Toketee Falls:
The Umpqua National Forest has closed the popular Toketee Falls hiking trail because a boulder crashed through a bridge that connects the trail with a viewing deck at the end.

The crash occurred Thursday about 200 feet before the viewing deck. It took out a 20-foot section of a bridge, leaving boards and railings scattered beneath it. A hiker reported the crash to Diamond Lake Ranger District officials at about 5 p.m. after hiking to the falls and coming upon the crash.
No pictures yet; the photo above (click to enlarge) shows the trail before the crash.

Now You Lose

Reporter Mark Freeman in the Mail Tribune:
Realtors working for the U.S. Treasury Department sold the home of former Ashland activist and international fugitive Pete Seda for $443,000. The house was owned by the Oregon Chapter of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc., which was designated a terrorist organization by the government in 2005.

The house, situated on about 4 acres on Highway 99 south of Ashland, was bought almost on impulse by two Ashland women who live nearby and said they loved the view....

"We got it for less than we were willing to bid," said Alderson, who said the pair planned to back out at $465,000. "We didn't expect to get it. We thought it would go way over our limit."

Internet Armageddon!

Russian arch-villain PharmaMaster aimed a searing DDoS blast at spam-fighter Blue Security, but Blue nimbly stepped aside and left the target pinned to innocent bystander Six Apart, a TypePad host.

That's not sporting, says Todd Underwood of Renesys, an Internet routing analysis firm, "That's unacceptable and unethical."

InformationWeek has the story.

New Growth in Mount St. Helens

A spectacular new structure has formed inside the crater at Mount St. Helens, just in time for this weekend's opening of the Spirit Lake Highway.

A slab of rock the size of a football field is standing on end inside the crater.
And growing four to five feet a day...

More pictures at the USGS web site.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Jack Burright Documents

Albany Democrat-Herald has the smoking gun:
This is a copy of Jack Burright' degree and transcript from Farington University, a place that does not exist. Burright acknowledged that the Farington degree he purchased in July 2003 is not valid. He said he was the victim of false advertising. He said he did not know it was against the law to use false academic credentials. Burright is a candidate for Benton County sheriff.
Next he'll have an imaginary warrant to search your imaginary apartment for imaginary drugs.

Wednesdays Of Our Lives

Jasper has a religious experience, James a weird dream.

Not Easy Being Mozart?

Opinion Journal this morning quotes Yoheved Kaplinsky, the head of Juilliard's piano department:
"I have three prodigies in my studio right now--they are 15, 13 and 11," she says. "And they are three of the happiest kids I know: motivated and disciplined, and well adjusted, with a good social life. I have learned that the outcome has more to do with family, self-image and energy level than it does with talent....

"One of my students, Joyce Yang, played the Prokofiev Third Piano Concerto with conductor Leonard Slatkin when she was only 12 and instantly got management," she reports, when asked for a success story. "Last year she won the Silver Medal at the Van Cliburn Competition. Now she is playing as much as she wants. She has a wonderful life."
Ms. Yang will play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Rogue Valley Symphony next April.

Everyone Wants to 'Own' Your PC

David Handy blogged this one by Bruce Schneier:
You might have expected your antivirus software to detect Sony's rootkit. After all, that's why you bought it. But initially, the security programs sold by Symantec and others did not detect it, because Sony had asked them not to. You might have thought that the software you bought was working for you, but you would have been wrong.
I dumped Symantec this year--enough was enough. Switched to BitDefender. So far it's working fine.

Cash Money, Friends!

Of course Lileks is better than Coulter. She has to make sense.

Keeper of the Flame, Part II

Thomas Sowell continues on his topic:
What Justice Thomas understood, that the media either didn't understand or didn't want to understand, was that everything that is wrong, or even illegal, is not automatically a violation of the constitution.

It is not unconstitutional to assassinate the President of the United States. For most of our history, it was not even a federal crime.

Stop Him at the 11th Hour

Victor Davis Hanson says we must wait:
In the brief present window between Iran's enrichment and its final step to weapons-grade production, we must keep calm and give Ahmadinejad even more rope to hang himself. As his present hysteria grows, exasperated Europeans or jittery neighbors in the region may even prod the U.S. to take action — indeed, to be a little more unilateral and preemptive in letting the Iranians know that their acquisition of a nuclear weapon will never happen.

Should Have Killed Him

Peggy Noonan:
This is what Moussaoui did: He was in jail on a visa violation in August 2001. He knew of the upcoming attacks. In fact, he had taken flight lessons to take part in them. He told no one what was coming. He lied to the FBI so the attacks could go forward. He pled guilty last year to conspiring with al Qaeda; at his trial he bragged to the court that he had intended to be on the fifth aircraft, which was supposed to destroy the White House.

He knew the trigger was about to be pulled. He knew innocent people had been targeted, and were about to meet gruesome, unjust deaths.

He could have stopped it. He did nothing. And so 2,700 people died.

Capstone Off The Glass

Aero-News Network:
Capstone -- or automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) -- transmits and receives a real-time signal giving an equipped aircraft's altitude, speed, direction, destination, size and type from airplane to airplane, and from airplane to traffic controllers....

The FAA's decision to shut down the Anchorage control center portion of the Capstone program prompted a letter of protest by Alaska aviation industry leaders to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. The letter has received no response.

"We no longer have confidence in the actions of the FAA, who has implemented technology and then taken it away," said Jim Cieplac, a former Capstone employee who now works for the Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation. Cieplac said that the Alaska Air Carriers Association, Alaska Airmen's Association, the Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation and the Aviation Industry Council all signed off on the letter that fell on deaf ears in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Loyalty Day Regatta

Rough weather for the Yaquina Bay Yacht Club:
When six of the eight Coronados entered in the race rolled, the event committee boat - the regatta base of operations - called off the race, pulled anchor, and immediately went into rescue procedures. The regatta chase boat, designated specifically as a rescue vessel, also maneuvered to assist the foundering vessels; and the nine larger boats competing in the race dropped from the course, with those that could heading toward the flipped boats to help bring the soaked sailors out of the cold waters of Yaquina Bay.

Pursuing the Pirates

From the Curry Coastal Pilot:
Hawaiian Chieftain, a 100-foot, 18th century replica tall ship, arrived with cannons ablaze at the Port of Brookings Harbor Tuesday...
Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority manages both the Chieftain and the Lady Washington, mentioned below.

Slipped His Hawsers

The local fishwrap has an article today about a guy who's growing a boat:
The live boat rooted near his garden comprises 38 growing Oregon ash trees planted four years ago that have been trained to form the ribs and keel of a boat. The two keel trees have been grafted to the 36 rib trees.

"It really is going into the water," he says, then adds, "No one has ever done this before — ever."
What the article doesn't mention is that Laird Funk also campaigns for medical marijuana.

Jay Leno

Arnold Schwarzenegger is blaming man for global warming. And today Al Gore agreed with him. That's so typical. Two cyborgs blaming the humans.

Greenpeace Wins: Bangladeshis Lose

Courts ban 'toxic' ship from Bangladesh waters
"Prior to commencing her final voyage, the Alfaship was made gas free and emptied of oil cargo residues," company spokesman Nicholas Brown said in a statement.

"Alfaship is no different from hundreds of tankers and other merchant vessels sold for demolition in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in recent years. "The fact that the ship appears on a list on the website of Greenpeace appears to be completely arbitrary," he added.
For more perspective on this matter I highly recommend The Outlaw Sea by William Langewiesche.

In His Own Words

In Perspective: 1944

Michael Barone calls attention to an opinion piece by Retired Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales in The Washington Times.

Louis Rukeyser

The Wall Street Journal:
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Louis Rukeyser, a best-selling author, columnist, lecturer and television host who delivered pun-filled, commonsense commentary on complicated business and economic news, died Tuesday. He was 73.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Canadian Moulting Season

Planes are shedding parts in Toronto:
Once is unusual.

Twice is a coincidence.

But what in the world can you say when there have been three incidents of debris falling from a plane in less than four days in the [Greater Toronto Area]?
Pictures here.

Pirates of Coos Bay

The Lady Washington will visit Coos Bay from Thursday, May 4th, through Monday, May 15th; schedule here. Then on to Portland.

Some of you may recognize her from the Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean.

Update: She'll be delayed until Friday. ""She's beating her way north... but she's facing 10-13 foot swells and a steady 25-knot head wind"? -- Manager Bob Kennedy.

Crunchy Libertarians

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, wants to re-brand the freedom movement.
I hope to do two things tonight. First, I will critique the freedom movement and highlight mistakes that have greatly lessened its impact and influence in the world. Second, I will challenge the movement to re-think its purpose and values. We need to evolve our paradigm along with the brand that we offer the world. As a businessman who knows something about marketing and branding, I can tell you the freedom movement is branding itself very poorly.
His idea?
FLOW is a trans-partisan movement combining idealistic initiative with free enterprise principles to systematically work towards a better world.
..   ... . .

I'm at a loss for words.

RIP Jean-Francois Revel

PARIS (AP) - Jean-Francois Revel, a philosopher, eclectic writer and a journalist whose commentaries on the state of France and the world were for years a mainstay of the French media, died Sunday, his wife said. He was 82.
Greg recommends The Monk and The Philosopher.

We're Number Nine!

Oh, well. It's better than last year.

Planners Ignore Jane Jacobs

Leonard Gilroy in Opinion Journal:
Given urban planners' almost universal reverence for Jacobs, it is ironic that many have largely ignored or misinterpreted the central lesson of "Death and Life"--that cities are vibrant living systems, not the product of grand, utopian schemes concocted by overzealous planners.

...The city's "smart growth" policies effectively created a land shortage, constricting the housing supply and artificially inflating prices. By 1999, Portland had become one of the 10 least affordable housing markets in the nation, and its homeownership rate lagged behind the national average. It has also seen one of the nation's largest increases in traffic congestion and boasts a costly, heavily subsidized light-rail system that accounts for just 1% of the city's total travel. Not exactly how they planned it.
Odd that the people who push organic farming oppose the organic growth of human environments.

Monday, May 01, 2006

14929 X 526 Pixels

Ms. Postrel's off to Paris.

Primer for the Rightosphere

The Only Republican in San Francisco has a libertarian take on the whole "Net Neutrality" kerfuffle.

Oh, and thanks to Mr. Reynolds who appears to be omniscient.

Cellphones and Avionics

Numerous ASRS reports of lost GPS signals while using cellphones in flight:
...NASA conducted laboratory tests and found that a specific model cellphone that was cited most often in the reports emitted signals in the middle of the GPS band.

When NASA researchers investigated further, they concluded that according to the FCC standards cellphones are designed to meet, there was no violation. The manufacturer of the phone in question did everything that was required to make sure the device was safe—and yet for whatever reason, this particular model cellphone caused GPS signal interference.

After its investigation, NASA noted that if this cellphone had been a piece of avionics equipment, it would not have been permitted on the airplane. But because it was a portable device brought on board by a passenger (or pilot), it was perfectly legal— and yet a potentially serious safety risk.

The Force of Reason

Steyn reviews Fallaci, during the course of which he explores Muslim sexual proclivities and utterly fails to celebrate diversity in a tolerant, non-judgemental manner. Warning: strong language. No, make that mild language conjuring up strong images.

Vickie, Howie, Pierce, and Ruth

When I want opinions, I normally go to the Legal Information Institute's web site, but today its server was unaccountably bogged down. Unable to ascertain the facts of the matter, I shall resort to that time-honored journalistic standby, fiction:

It seems that Vickie Lynn (Vickie) married J. Howard Marshall (Howie), a man of a certain age, who died a few months later, albeit with a smile on his face. Thereupon Vickie discovered that she had been excluded from Howie's will and sought legal recompense. Howie's son E. Pierce Marshall (Pierce) countered with a larger lawyer and the case wound its way through the courts. Ultimately Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Ruth), a former Playmate of Vickie's (I'm not entirely certain of this) expressed her opinion that Vickie was right. John Paul Stevens (John) concurred, and said she was darned cute, too.

Had Pierce only married Vickie's mother instead, he could have been his own grandpa.

A Capitalist Manifesto

A specter is haunting Washington—the specter of Capitalism. All the powers of the Welfare State have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter: President and Cabinet, bureaucrats and lobbyists, intellectuals and media.

Where is the champion of free markets who has not been decried as a right-wing extremist or worse by his opponents in power? Where are the defenders of the Welfare State who have not hurled the branding reproaches of being greedy, insensitive and uncompassionate against those of us who oppose ever-increasing taxes, transfers and government programs?

Two things result from this fact.
  1. Capitalism is already acknowledged by all socialist powers to be itself a power.
  2. It is high time that Capitalists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish our views, our aims, our tendencies, and meet this nursery tale about the specter of Capitalism with a Manifesto announcing its goals.
The theory of the Capitalist may be summed in a single sentence: Protection of private property.

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! The restoration of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at. By freedom is meant free trade, free selling and buying.

You reproach us with intending to reassert property rights. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. The bourgeois family will flourish as a matter of course when its complement flourishes.

And what of your education! Capitalists have not invented the intervention of government in education; but we do seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the bureaucratic ruling class.

To these ends, Capitalists of various persuasions have acted in concert to sketch the following Manifesto.
  1. Reaffirmation of the right of private property and contract, including the right to rent, sell or use the property however the owner peaceably chooses as long as such use does not impinge on the equal rights of others.
  2. A flat income tax set at the lowest rate compatible with fiscal restraint.
  3. Abolition of all inheritance taxes and restrictions.
  4. Guarantee of the property rights of all emigrants and dissidents.
  5. Decentralization of credit in the hands of the State by withdrawing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and abolition of all credit monopoly.
  6. Decentralization of the means of communication and transportation by eliminating funding for the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Transportation.
  7. Divestiture of State-owned factories or other instruments of production such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, Amtrak, U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal Aviation Administration; Abolition of the U.S. Department of Agriculture so that the soil may be improved in accord with decentralized, individual plans.
  8. Invigoration of all labor through repeal of subsidies rewarding unemployment, and abolition of obstacles to freely made labor contracts such as the minimum wage, that attempt to establish an egalitarian labor force.
  9. Freedom for the population to relocate throughout the country by repeal of all laws that restrict the mobility of capital and labor.
  10. Abolition of direct funding for school systems, and permitting competition between government schools and private schools for parents' education dollars, which may be in the form of tax-supported vouchers.
A Capitalist revolution that follows these principles would create the most radical rupture in government control; no wonder that its development involves a slap in the face to modern liberalism.

In short, the Capitalists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing collectivist order of things.

In all these movements we bring to the fore, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.

Finally, we labor everywhere for the cooperation and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.

The Capitalists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the peaceable overthrow of all existing principles of the Welfare State. Let the ruling elites tremble at a Capitalist revolution. The people who love free markets have nothing to lose but their chains. We have a world to win.

Capitalists and Workers of all Countries, Compete!
Originally written in 1998 by Merrill Matthews Jr. and Morgan O. Reynolds to mark the 150th anniversary of some piece of trash. Various copies are available; one here.

PowerChute X-C

A Pennsylvania man is planning an epic transcontinental journey by powered parachute that includes a carrier takeoff and landing. Baron Tayler plans to take off from the deck of the USS Midway in San Diego on May 10 for a two-month trip to Charleston Harbor, S.C., where he'll land on the deck of the USS Yorktown. He'll cover 3,600 miles and stop at least 53 times on the trip.
And you thought it was a long drive.

Mutant Maui Meow-Meows

Via Improbable Research, this new breed of cat--only 18 in existence--is completely hairless.

"Where a Sphynx feels like a warm peach, a Kohana feels more like a warm candle."