Tuesday, December 28, 2004


The scale of destruction by the recent earthquake/tsunami in southeast Asia is quite mindboggling. Death toll estimates continue to climb, now placed at over 25,000 people. The Wash. Post has a graphic that illustrates the path and the toll of the tsunami quite well. The question has of course arisen: was the death toll preventable? The Pacific Ocean countries have in place the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific, which is capable of delivering information regarding tsunami potential in as little as 20 minutes after an earthquake. Such a system obviously needs to be set up/extended in the Indian Ocean area and elsewhere.

Also, if anyone out there is interested in donating to relief agencies involved with this crisis, CSM has a nice listing here.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Larry Lessig posted a notice on his blog of a brand new blog that he helped set up, featuring weekly discussions between two University of Chicago professors: 7th Circuit judge Richard Posner, and Nobel prize-winning economist Gary Becker. This week's inaugural topic: preventive war.

Re: You Spent $10b for What?!

Yeah, and if that wasn't enough, the original projected cost for the satellite was $5 billion. What's another $5 billion among friends?

You Spent $10b for What?!

Apparently a full quarter of the proposed $40 billion intelligence budget is for a stealth spy satellite to be launched sometime in the "next five years". Did we need this? Did someone not get these guys the memo that we've got a half a trillion dollar budget deficit? Says the CIA (paraphrased): it's classified, we can't talk about it. If you want $10b for a fricken satellite, I think you'd be obligated to at least explain why you'd need such a thing. This isn't lunch money we're talking about here...

Monday, December 06, 2004

When the Truth Just Isn't Good Enough

The Washington Post has a great two-part account of the death of Pat Tillman (part I, part II). It was not quite the way the army told it back in April... What's sad is that Tillman's actions were no less courageous than previously made out, and the army lied about what happened, not in order to make Tillman look better, but to cover up their own failure. It's also sad that Tillman and Jessica Lynch were the two most widely told and celebrated individual stories of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and both were apparently fallacious propaganda tales.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Teaching Family Values

The Washington Post has an editorial on abstinence only sex ed programs, based mostly on data provided by Rep. Henry Waxman. The editorial criticizes these programs for presenting students with false and misleading information. I just had to post this particular example:

Another offers a fable of a pushy princess who's dumped for a village maiden: "Moral of the story: Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."

...now get back in that kitchen and bake me a pie!