My Archives: April 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005

At this moment, iCon Steve Jobs : The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business is up to #34 in Amazon's sales ranking. Not bad for a book that hasn't been released yet.

Smooth move, Mr. Jobs.     —brad

Posted by brad @ 02:05 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sometimes Steve Jobs is an idiot. This is one of those times. Confronted with an unauthorized biography of Jobs, Apple Computer has ordered all its stores to remove all books by the publisher, John Wiley & Sons. This, of course, merely inconveniences Apple customers, while generating oceans of free publicity for the book on CNN, ABC, Yahoo, and scads of other media outlets.

Ol' Steve must think -- or wish -- that he's running one of those African countries where criticizing the president is a criminal offense. Refuse to stock the book, I can understand. Retaliate against the publisher? Doesn't sit well with most Americans (or Canadians, or Europeans...) Looking over my shoulder, I'm glad to see some Wiley books on my shelf, including the Red Hat 8 Linux Bible and the PHP Bible. I like their "Bible" computer books. Maybe I'll go buy another...or maybe I'll buy the Jobs bio. —brad

Posted by brad @ 11:41 AM EST [Link]

A few weeks ago I mentioned a new blog, The Watchful Investor, in connection with the Peak Oil theory. So you can imagine my surprise when the blog's author, Jim Waddell, contacted me and sent me a copy of his January "Under the Radar" newsletter.

In this issue he offers what is perhaps the most lucid and balanced discussion I have yet seen on the subject of oil. For example, he mentions the oil sands of Alberta and oil shale in the U.S., previously uneconomic to extract, as possible new resources...while noting that their development has only just begun (and only in Canada). [more]

Posted by brad @ 05:24 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I've been deluged with work for the last two weeks, with little time for blogging...but this example of dunderheaded nitwittery simply demands comment.

The French government, it seems, is unhappy with the dominance of the English-language Google search engine on the Internet. So they want to launch a French-language search engine, which is an understandable desire, even if no business of government. But the bureaucrats particularly dislike Google's page ranking scheme, "in which the law of the market is king," according to Jean-Noël Jeanneney, head of the Bibliothèque Nationale. Apparently he feels that ranking pages by popularity gives short shrift to French culture. According to The Economist (31 Mar 2005),

The flaws in the French plan are obvious. If popularity cannot arbitrate, what will? Mr Jeanneney wants a "committee of experts."

Mr Jeanneney has spent too much time locked up in the Bibliothèque, and evidently none on the Internet. Today's count shows over 8 billion web pages indexed by Google. Millions more are added each day. He's going to vet them all by committee?? Perhaps this is secretly a plan for lifetime employment for French scholars... and, come to think of it, the entire French-speaking population of the world.     —brad

Posted by brad @ 12:38 PM EST [Link]

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What does your phone number spell?

Posted by mac @ 08:51 PM EST [Link]

I remind people of the riches to be found on my homepage...if they take the time to poke around. For example, about two years ago I transcribed a partial autobiography of/by Benjamin Tucker which I discovered in the archives of the New York Public Library. I encourage McBlog readers to expand their curiousity and let it spill over onto the homepage proper.

Posted by mac @ 02:39 PM EST [Link]

Cartoons: Ted Rall's "Press Conference"; Wayne Stayskal's "Network News is Dead" which refers to Sam Donaldson's recent statement about Network News -- "I think it's dead. Sorry"; Dan Wasserman's "Bankruptcy Bill" that springboards off the passage of a sweeping change in bankruptcy law for which banks and credit companies have been pushing for years; Mike Luckovich's "Identity Theft". And Mark Fiore's latest animation "The Reverse Revolution". Enjoy!

Posted by mac @ 11:49 AM EST [Link]

A McBlog reader just sent me the following notice from Publisher's Weekly: "Abstract: A biography of controversial novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand,the first in many years and claimed as the first to be truly impartial about her, was signed by Nan A. Talese for her Doubleday imprint. " Publication date: 2007. BTW, I am still awaiting receipt of "Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics" by James Valliant. Jim mailed a copy to me some while ago but mail moves slowly between Canada and the States, especially with all the "border craziness" of late. The countries are rumored to be contiguous land masses...but I don't believe it.

Posted by mac @ 10:52 AM EST [Link]

The terrible photograph that opens this news story is another indication that the U.S. has become a police state. The opening text reads, "A white plastic mask obscuring his severely bruised face, Esteban Carpio, the man accused of fatally shooting a Providence detective inside police headquarters early Sunday, was arraigned yesterday on murder charges and ordered held without bail." The police claim the injuries are a result of his jumping out a window. What are the odds?

Posted by mac @ 10:36 AM EST [Link]

Monday, April 18, 2005

Gordon P. brings the following hoot of an item to our attention, In an action reminiscent of the "Sokal Hoax," three MIT Grad-students hoaxed the organizers of a Computer Science conference -- notorious for sending out mass e-mails and for accepting virtually any paper -- by submitting a nonsense paper randomly generated by a computer program entitled "A Methodology for the Emulation of B-Trees:" (Click here and here. for news coverage.) The students claim their bogus submission was to counter "fake conferences...which exist only to make money," Their computer program is online here.

Posted by mac @ 01:33 PM EST [Link]

A correspondent writes, Just noticed something rather ironic. The arms of the throne Lincoln's figure sits on at the Lincoln Memorial are "fasces" --- the axes surrounded by a bundle of rods that were the symbol of Roman Authority, from which the word fascist is derived. How ironically fitting that the first Republican President, and the President who did more than any other except FDR to solidify "Omnipotent" Federal Authority, should be literally seated on the symbol of fascism.

Posted by mac @ 12:40 PM EST [Link]

Humor! Check out the Revised Devil's Dictionary that offers definitions such as...anarchist n. A person who believes that all government is dishonest, corrupt, and intrinsically unfair. In other times, this has been called wisdom. And then treat yourself to a news story from The Onion -- Heaven less opulent than Vatican, reports disappointed Pope -- topped off by a Chuck Asay cartoon, "Guarding the Net".

Posted by mac @ 04:49 AM EST [Link]

Gordon P writes, Interesting article on the FedGov's "creative accounting" practices, which the author notes would be considered FELONY FRAUD if used by any business in the "private sector". [more]

Posted by mac @ 04:25 AM EST [Link]

Friday, April 15, 2005

Steve from LiveJournal reports on the latest technological threat to privacy. He writes, If you go to CNN’s website tonight, you will see a story about google’s new map search service. Basically, the company has integrated satellite technology into their map-searching site, and now you can get ACTUAL photographs beamed directly from somewhere in space. This section of the page just launched a day or two ago, and already many people are upset because they feel, for some reason, having satellite mapping software on the web that gives basic users the ability to stare at the roof of someone else’s house is an invasions of privacy (Sheesh, what prudes.) Anyway, with my interest peaked, I decided to check out the controversial technology. Upon going to, I immediately COULD NOT find the link to this so-called satellite mapping. Little did I know, however, that google had cleverly hid it in plain view on the upper right hand side of the page. It had been disguised under the link name “satellite,” which I understand is actually a German word meaning “I want to look into your house now." For full article, click here.

Posted by mac @ 08:46 PM EST [Link]

Gordon P. offers a summary and commentary on "Misc items from the 2005-Apr-09 issue of The New Scientist",,,

Posted by mac @ 10:31 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Cartoons: Clay Bennett's "Safe and Secure"; Chad Lowe's "New Team Member"; Russmo's "Neighborhood Cop"; and, Mark Fiore's latest animation "Ethics Extermination". And, as a general humor site that has the added advantage of being administered by an anarchist/ifeminist woman and a personal pal, I recommend Kirsten's Crackers -- "Making fun of government, collectivism, and other hooey since 2004."

Posted by mac @ 04:02 PM EST [Link]

The Frugal Life -- a free e-newsletter to which I subscribe -- has a good overview on how to avoid identity theft. Given that governments around the world seem determined to increase your vulnerability to ID thieves (e.g. through RFID chipped passports, through massive and ill-protected databases), you will need to be more protective of your personal information than ever before.

Posted by mac @ 01:49 PM EST [Link]

Thanks to McBlog-affiliate Jeff B. for this vent against what passes for science in our culture, especially when tax funding is available... [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:36 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Humor: Ben Sargent's "French Twaddle"; Ted Rall's "News Talk; Stuart Carlson's FDA-approved; this news story just in "Cost of Living Now Outweighs Benefits"; and, for those grappling with what to think of the Schiavo debacle, here's a useful Guide -- "Preparing a Living Will." The Guide opens, "#1. It's important to have a lawyer present when you draft a living will, as it makes the desire to be dead that much more tangible. #2. Specify which flavor of feeding-tube nutrient you prefer. Otherwise, you may get stuck with cream of mushroom day in and day out."

Posted by mac @ 03:16 PM EST [Link]

Claire Wolfe's latest column, "Twelve tips for toppling tyrants," offers some practical suggestions on how to help topple the state without getting burned out or arrested. Well done, Claire.

Posted by mac @ 01:10 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Those who wish to follow the progress of Hans-Hermann Hoppe's conflict with the PC/repressive University of Las Vegas will want to check out his recent article on LewRockwell.Com. Also, I've had two pieces published on the Future of Freedom Foundation's website recently: a book review of Isabel Paterson and the Idea of America and a movie review of The Incredibles.

Posted by mac @ 12:13 PM EST [Link]

A surging multitude of small tax grabs are being conducted by local and state governments but it must never be forgotten: the feds are out to get you too and they are baring sharp teeth. The feds want to scrape away even more of the money you've slotted for retirement and your children's education, money for which you are already working overtime. Money that is steadily losing its value because of current economic policies; indeed, since Bush took office the US $ has fallen almost 40% in value against other currencies. Why are are the feds -- specificially the IRS -- "cracking down" as an MSNBC article warns? [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:22 AM EST [Link]

Two hilarious articles: Unitarian Jihad and Email to the cardinal. Enjoy!

Posted by mac @ 10:33 AM EST [Link]

Monday, April 11, 2005

Cartoons: Russmo's "TSA"; Henry Payne's "Obtrusive" and a semi-serious article on the Schiavo situation entitled "Living will is the best revenge."

Posted by mac @ 03:33 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, April 10, 2005

I have so much to say on economics -- and what I believe to be a fast-coming collapse -- that I find myself at a loss to know where to begin. As a substitute, I direct you to a disheartening but insightful article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch, which predicts an Economic Tsunami. Whitney writes, "It seems that there are a growing number of people who believe as I do, that the economic tsunami planned by the Bush administration is probably only months away. In just 5 short years the national debt has increased by nearly 3 trillion dollars while the dollar has continued its predictable decline. The dollar has fallen a whopping 38% since Bush took office....The administration is currently putting as much pressure as possible on OPEC to ratchet up the flow of oil another 1 million barrels per day (well over capacity) to settle down nervous markets and buy time for the planned bombing of Iran in June." I recommend you read the entire article. Also... [more]

Posted by mac @ 01:39 PM EST [Link]

Gordon P. comments on a story that caught Brad's interest a few days ago. In an earlier blog entry, Brad wrote of "four high-school students from Arizona -- undocumented Mexican immigrants -- who entered the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center's Remotely Operated Vehicle Competition. And won. At the college level. Against a team from MIT, among others." Gordon adds his own post-mortem analysis...


Posted by mac @ 12:43 PM EST [Link]

Saturday, April 9, 2005

The Wonkette's latest entry on Jeff Gannon is hilarious! And, as always, her analysis of Kathleen Parker's latest column had me rolling on the floor.

Posted by mac @ 01:38 PM EST [Link]

I've gotta second Claire Wolfe on this a matter of fact, I usually second her on every issue. Yes! The woman is that principles, that good. Besides which, she owns guns. Claire writes, THE ACLU (SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA LOVE 'EM) lambastes the State Department on its plan to force fatally insecure "security" passports on everyone. They also point out (in a white paper) how the gummint blatantly ignored known and well-expressed concerns from around the world.

Posted by mac @ 12:26 PM EST [Link]

Cartoons: Clay Bennett's "Patriot Act"; Ben Sargent's "Fairy Tales"; Tony Auth's "Congressional Delegation"; and, Doug Marlette's "Lady Liberty". Enjoy!

Posted by mac @ 12:20 PM EST [Link]

Tod comments on David M. Brown's article, posted below. He observes, The "slick" way to do what Mr. Brown suggests, having three computers with identical setups, is to buy three computers with the same hardware. One piece of that hardware should be a tape drive or a removable hard drive. Then use Ghost to copy the harddrive of the of the main machine to the duplicate machines. In this manner, you get a low-level copy of _everything_ and cannot forget anything, since your entire hard drive is copied. (The identical hardware is required because with the low-level copy, drivers and other "stuff" which are motherboard specific are part of the copy.) Most competent businesses with lots of computers use this method to do installs to avoid spending the 8+ hours needed to setup a new computer with that companies configurations and software.

Posted by mac @ 08:17 AM EST [Link]

David M. Brown has a charming and useful article entitled "I Can Save Us All: When Computers Do Bad Things to Good People." It opens, 1. Never Forget: The Computer Is Your Enemy. It is out to get you. Any way that the computer can find to destroy your life, the computer is going to do. That's why it always seems so "productive," so "easy to use," so "able to do many things simultaneously." The computer is luring you into a sense of complacency. Just when you're thinking, "Aha, I've finally mastered this computer thing, I have finally spent all the man-years I've going to spend learning how to protect it and myself from viruses, adware, spyware, data loss, theft, fire, little kids with yo-yos and water pistols, etc.," up will pop a chink in the armor that will be your downfall. To prevent this you must be vigilant, constantly monitoring your computer through narrowed Clint-Eastwood-like eyes, always on the lookout for that one little trick up its sleeve that until now you had not suspected and about which nobody ever bothered to tell you. Don't ever relax in front of your computer. Be tense. Be worried. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Posted by mac @ 07:26 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Joseph Stromberg has an excellent essay entitled "How Murray Rothbard Single-Handedly Brought Down the Saigon Government with Malice Aforethought" that provides invaluable perspective and context for Rothbard's notorious article in which he applauded the fall of the Saigon government in '75. That one article drew more critical backlash than anything else I can remember from his pen. I was a spectator at the time of its publication. By this I mean, I had no axe to grind nor any particular vested interest other than a warm friendship with Murray. I was amazed at the fury directed toward him. Much of it can be attributed to his ongoing and cumulative conflicts with various people who chose this article/issue to vent their spleens. If this essay is indicative of the quality of Stromberg's biography and bibliography of Rothbard, then I can't wait to hold the finished product in my itchy little hands.

Posted by mac @ 01:40 PM EST [Link]

Cartoon roundup: Mark Fiore's latest "Commissions We'd Like to See" (a bit lame but, what the heck!, it's still Fiore); Russmo's "Bumps"; Scott Stantis' "FDA Approved"; and, Ted Rall's "Zoroastrian America". Enjoy!

Posted by mac @ 03:22 AM EST [Link]

Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet, comments on Ayn Rand.

Posted by mac @ 02:44 AM EST [Link]

For those who wonder why privacy advocates remain adamantly opposed to data collecting, there's this story. It opens, "Orange County's sheriff may have broken the law when he used driver's license records to track down a woman who wrote a newspaper to criticize his staff's use of Taser stun guns and described him as too fat for basic police work, critics say. Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary had his aides use the records to get the address of Alice Gawronski so he could send her a scathing letter, which some say violated federal privacy law." The unblinking response of data advocates will be that the system has checks and balances as evidenced by the invocation of federal law...but that's not the real message and moral. It is: the ones collecting and 'guarding' the data are human beings who will commit the same errors, petty acts, cruel deeds, money-grabs, etc. as the rest of humanity. Probably more so because they are in positions of advantage and power and...what's that saying?...Power corrupts and absolute power makes you a sweet, decent person. Yeah, that's it.

Posted by mac @ 02:35 AM EST [Link]

Gordon P. writes, Jane Fonda will apparently be "admitting" that her trip to North Vietnam and the infamous "Hanoi Jane" photo-op was "the biggest mistake of her life" in an upcoming interview. (Pardon my cynicism, but I have to wonder whether her "admission" is largely being driven by a desire to improve the sales of her soon-to-be released autobiography to an America that has taken a sharp turn to the Hard Right... :-( You are hereby pardoned, Gordon. ;-)

Posted by mac @ 01:58 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Anarcho-capitalist news source competes with Drudge.

Posted by mac @ 03:47 PM EST [Link]

John Tabin's most recent article in "The American Spectator" opens with the words, "If you're a Canadian, be advised: Your government doesn't want you to know what lies herein. If you're a blogger in Canada, you may actually get in legal trouble for linking to this column." The caution is not hyperbolic. Canadian bloggers are actually being charged with contempt of court for linking to American blog sites that discuss the Adscam scandal. Accordingly, I have a request to make of all non-Canadian bloggers. Essentially it is the same request beamed out by Canadian blogger Colby Cosh who writes, "it would actively help free the hands of Canadian webloggers and reporters if our foreign cousins were to be aggressive about 'publishing' the substance of the Brault testimony outside the reach of Canadian law." Please spread the links that Canadian law prohibits me from providing.

Posted by mac @ 01:33 PM EST [Link]

Today, thanks to PJ at Groklaw (where I saw the links), a celebration of the underdog.

First, the story of David Zamos, a college student in Ohio, who was sued by Microsoft for selling his unused software on eBay. Rather than take the easy road and settle -- as have so many of Microsoft's, the RIAA's, and the MPAA's "easy targets" -- Zamos decided to fight back, in court and in the media.

And won.

Even more inspiring is this story of four high-school students from Arizona -- undocumented Mexican immigrants -- who entered the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center's Remotely Operated Vehicle Competition. And won. At the college level. Against a team from MIT, among others.

Think of these four when you hear someone grumbling about illegal immigrants. And consider a donation to their scholarship fund. These guys get no government aid at all....and talent and dedication like theirs deserves support.


Posted by brad @ 01:13 PM EST [Link]

The comic strip Helen, Sweetheart of the Internet recently started an interesting arc on the subject of Intellectual Property. Click here for the first comic in the series. She also started an arc on gender. Click here.

Posted by mac @ 12:54 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

A cute Beetle Bailey; Jeff Danziger's hard-hitting "Clean Hands"; Doug Marlette's "I'm not God"; Ted Rall's "We're Looking for a Few Good Torturers";
Wayne Stayskal's "Army Recruitment"; and, Don Wright's take on "Army Recruiting.

Posted by mac @ 01:53 PM EST [Link]

Monday, April 4, 2005

Some scientific perspective courtesy of Gordon P. who responds to my query on what he thought about a news item in which a scientist argues, "Black holes are staples of science fiction and many think astronomers have observed them indirectly. But according to a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, these awesome breaches in space-time do not and indeed cannot exist." Gordon responds... [more]

Posted by mac @ 07:24 PM EST [Link]

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