politics, civil rights, intellectual property, science, capitalism, and foo
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January 26, 2003
Environmentalists: Starve Africans!
Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who deserves it, has an OpEd in the WSJ about how European countries pseudo-science rejection of genetically modified food is causing starvation in Africa.
I must say that I'm starting to see a theme of the unintended consequences of issues that the far reactionary left espouses is usually of the policies they espouse and not the actual issue they put forth...Posted by hoffmang at 11:02 AM
January 25, 2003
A CIO Needs to Loose a Job
You may or may not have noticed the Microsoft SQL Server worm that hit the internet around 11:00PM Pacific on Friday the 25th. It apparently exploits a weakness that was publicized in June of 2002 and for which MS published a fix for the vulnerability.
Well, now a whole bunch of companies got caught with their pants down more than 6 months later.
I had an appointment with SBC to have my business line repaired. For some reason I can't get dial-tone on it... They were supposed to come between 8am and Noon. Last night their IT department allowed something amazingly stupid to happen. They didn't patch their SQL Server installs and left them available to outside internet addresses and now the entire IT operations of SBC are inoperable. Lineman can't get their work assignments and even if they could, they can't access the line database to make changes or check routing.
I'm going to make them pay for my 4 hours at my regular hourly rate - not cheap... This happens after September 11, and in the face of heightened security and specific threats as well as pending ground war. I want to see Edward Glotzbach's resignation on Monday.
Its not just SBC. One of SBC's customer support folks told me that BofA is down too and I've confirmed that they are at least somewhat effected.Posted by hoffmang at 02:06 PM
January 21, 2003
I have two observations regarding the scorn being lumped upon these vehicles and a comment about the use of ours.
First, Arianna Huffington's ad campaign linking SUVs and terror is just a bit ironic once you factor in the TREMENDOUS amount of jet fuel she uses every trip on her private jet...
Now comes this article from Reason that points out something that is news to me. Namely, there is tremendous scientific proof that adding weight to passenger cars saves lives and not necessarily in direct proportion to the fact that others are driving smaller cars as skeptics might think. The number one way to comply with CAFE is to reduce the size and weight of the auto, so the drive for higher gas mileage is a direct trade off in more road deaths. No blood for oil indeed...
Finally, we have an SUV for two very simple reasons. It is the extremely rare car that can tow a 4 ton boat or 2.5 tons worth of your best friend's furniture. Further, my wife and I have survived a roll over crash, and now that we have a child we will accept no less than one of the safest cars on the road.Posted by hoffmang at 04:43 PM
January 15, 2003
Eldred Lost. Copyrights will now be permanent and perpetual in the US as nothing bars Disney or AOL/TW from lobbying and receiving another 20 year extension in 2018.
Copyfight has pledged to keep all the web commentary updated.Posted by hoffmang at 04:14 PM
January 12, 2003
Lott Fabricating Evidence?
John Lott may have fabricated a claim that he made both in More Guns, Less Crime and in the press. His claim is that in 98% of defensive gun uses, no shots are fired. Other pro gun control scholars are claiming that the rate in other studies is between 64% and 82%.
Interestingly, Lott claims that since he can't find proof of the prior telephone survey, he has done another one in the last couple of months that will be published upon the publication of his next book in the coming months. I'll be watching the outcome of this closely.
It would certainly not be nice to have a Bellisle-esque situation with gun rights defenders.Posted by hoffmang at 02:39 PM
January 11, 2003
Canada Immigration Prefers Terrorists
This article by Mark Styen from the National Post put my jaw on the floor:
"Immigration Canada was not persuaded by this: According to Ms. Shouldice, many asylum seekers try to pass themselves off as terrorists, the object being to 'exaggerate the persecution they fear in their homeland in order to impress Canadian immigration officials.' Read that again slowly: Your chances of being accepted as a refugee in Canada are likely to be improved if you've been convicted of terrorist offences."
PM Chr�tien apparently even intervened with Pakistani officials to get a known terrorist out of custody in Pakistan while at the same time his sons were killing US soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan with grenades!
All this time I thought the Canadians were mostly harmless...
January 08, 2003
Is Weight Loss Unhealthy?
While in process of trimming a few pounds off as well (I'm down 25 pounds since last July), I noticed Instapundit's link to this article from The New Republic. The gist of the article is that current research to date shows no real link between being overweight or mildly obese based on BMI calculations. In fact the real risks are sedentariness and dieting. Interestingly, it is takes a trivial amount of exercise per day to stay out of the at risk category.
Very interesting and goes to prove that the real reason Americans diet is psychological, not physiological. The only question I have is whether the results from a study that came out yesterday suffer from the same failings that this article describes.Posted by hoffmang at 12:19 PM
January 07, 2003
Johansen Not Guilty in DeCSS case
The MPAA gets another major set back. FoxNews reports:
Head judge Irene Sogn, in reading the verdict, said no one could be convicted of breaking into their own property, and that there was no proof that Johansen or others had used the program to access illegal pirate copies of films.
It found that consumers have rights to legally obtained DVD films "even if the films are played in a different way than the makers had foreseen."
I do find it interesting that courts seem to be ruling that criminal intent is necessary for copyright violation to occur. It will be interesting to see what our own Supremes have to say as the American DeCSS cases make it to that appellate level. Sadly, the 2600 case will not be one of them.
FoxNews coverage found courtesy of Den Beste.Posted by hoffmang at 10:55 AM
January 05, 2003
Banning Guns in Britain
Mark Styen has an excellent editorial in The Telegraph regarding the effect of a total gun ban in Britain and recent gang violence there. I think this goes to show the fallacy in the argument that banning guns would make America safer from violent crime.
Meanwhile, America's traditionally high and England and Wales's traditionally low murder rates are remorselessly converging. In 1981, the US rate was nine times higher than the English. By 1995, it was six times. Last year, it was down to 3.5. Given that US statistics, unlike the British ones, include manslaughter and other lesser charges, the real rate is much closer. New York has just recorded the lowest murder rate since the 19th century. I'll bet that in the next two years London's murder rate overtakes it.
Its awfully nice that Her Majesty's realm has to deal with this bad policy for us so that we rebels can watch and learn.Posted by hoffmang at 07:10 PM