Monthly Archives: August 2010

World Still Stopped

We are still “off the grid” on the Outer Cape, paying the least possible attention to events in the news, and switching on our electronic gadgets as infrequently as possible. (If Hurricane Earl pays us a visit this weekend, we likely won’t be switching them on at all.) It all comes to an end sometime […]

About Time

I’ve been too busy relaxing to have any time for writing, so for tonight here’s another interesting item for you to watch: Philip Zimbardo on The Secret Powers of Time.

Watcha Watcha

For tonight, two videos. The first shows you the state of the art of autonomous walking robots; I think you’ll agree that they are coming along nicely. The second is a live-in-the-studio performance by the Fab Faux. If you haven’t heard of them, they are five of New York’s top session players (including the ubiquitous […]


We’re having quite a storm here on the Outer Cape tonight, with heavy rain, temperatures only in the upper 50’s, and 50-mph wind gusts. At dusk we went to Newcomb Hollow beach, where the Atlantic was foaming white halfway to the horizon, and the northeast wind was so fierce that I could hardly get the […]

Scheduled Maintenance

We’ll be on a reduced schedule here until a day or two after Labor Day. I’m sure the world will still be going to hell, but I’m not going to pay any attention for a couple of weeks, and will only be posting sporadically, if at all. As always, please feel free to browse our […]

ISI, Meet The IRI

Last January, we remarked on some odd doings in the sky over Norway. The Pakistan Times did too. Well, now the sky over Pakistan itself has been acting up a bit, and the PT sees a pattern emerging. Here.

America, America

Our cyber-pal Kevin Kim has gathered up a nosegay of posts spanning the gamut of opinions about the Ground Zero mosque. I haven’t written much about it myself — obviously I don’t want to see it built — but I will say that the proposal has done more to get people speaking frankly about Islam […]

Going, Going…

As Christopher Hitchens publicly stares death in the face, Bill Vallicella offers an excellent meditation on the man, on men such as he, and on mortality. Hitchens will live on, in some sense, in his writing, but as Bill points out, that is cold comfort. Woody Allen summed it up: “I don’t want to achieve […]

What Time Is It?

It’s Shameless Filler time! For tonight: The marvelous Curta calculator, creepiness from Japan, and a 2010 update for a classic computer game. Back again soon.

Astronomy Domine

We’re in Wellfleet for a few weeks. Yesterday was a beautiful day out here — not too hot, with low humidity and a cloudless sky, an indescribably welcome relief from the sweltering summer we’ve had in New York City. By ten or eleven in the evening the temperature was down in the lower sixties, and […]

The Other Side Of This Life

Here is the latest dispatch from Christopher Hitchens, who, as I’m sure you know by now, is up against metastatic esophageal cancer.

Service Notice

I’ve been awfully busy the past couple of days, and haven’t had much time for writing. (If all goes well, however, I won’t have to be a wage-slave much longer: I’m working on a brand-new idea that’s sure to be a gold mine. It’s a social-networking site for gay Christians; I’m going to call it […]

New Emperor, Still No Clothes

In an apt follow-on to yesterday’s post, computer scientist Jaron Lanier contributed an Op-Ed piece to today’s Times on what he sees as a budding secular religion — a kind of soteriology-by-Singularity that has taken root, he argues, amongst our technological elite. We are far too quick, Lanier writes, to see a kind of transcendence […]

Progress? What Progress?

I’ve previously mentioned the idea of the Technological Singularity, which I described as the belief that: the convergence of accelerating accomplishments in nanotechnology, medicine, genetic engineering, computer science, neurobiology, and artificial intelligence will soon result in a cascading series of mutually supportive breakthroughs that will amount to a discontinuous historical disruption, the anthropological equivalent of […]

Bloody But Unbowed

As I expect you already know, Christopher Hitchens is battling esophageal cancer — a fight that very few people win. He recently gave an interview to Anderson Cooper. Watch it here.

Derb Waxes Acerb

Elena Kagan lately having been confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, John Derbyshire gives us a preview on this week’s Radio Derb (transcript here) of what he thinks we’ll be getting: Look for lots of wonderful new rights to be discovered buried in the Constitution — things that mysteriously escaped the attention of […]

One From Column A, One From Column B

Ask anyone who doesn’t work at the White House, and they’ll tell you America is screwed, and that China will soon be running things. Well, not so fast: it’s not as easy as all that to grow a crowded, backward nation into a global economic colossus, and they may still have a few kinks to […]

It Was So Hot Today…

This has been a historically brutal summer here in New York; July was the second-hottest on record, missing top honors by a mere fraction of a degree. Stoical Scot that I am, I haven’t complained much in these pages, but I have lived at the edge of despair for weeks now, and several times recently […]

ICE Storm

Lawrence Auster brings to our attention a hot item: the rank and file of ICE (that’s the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Union) have issued an angry letter announcing a vote of no confidence in their director, John Morton, and assistant director, Phyllis Coven. The letter says that the enforcement agents were, in effect, intentionally prevented […]

First Impression

The other day I read an article about an extraordinarily gifted seven-year-old painter. Prodigies come and go, and often don’t live up to their early promise, but I have to say this young lad — Keiron Williamson, of Norfolk, England — is just astonishingly talented. See for yourself, below.

Sovereignty And Preemption

In a recent post, I linked to an essay by Heather Mac Donald in which she wondered whether the DOJ’s assumption of “preemption” might apply to Arizona’s enforcement of immigration law, and not just its creation of law (the law in question being, of course, the controversial S.B. 1070). In other words, Ms. Mac Donald […]

Veiled Threat

Yet another excellent item from today’s above-average miscellany at NRO: a balanced and thoughtful essay on the banning of the burqa, by independent journalist Claire Berlinsky. Ms. Berlinsky begins by acknowledging the many good arguments against such a ban — in particular the compelling point (previously emphasized here at waka waka waka by commenters Peter […]

Going Against The Grain

Yet another study confirms that low-carb diets, long ridiculed as an unhealthy fad, are effective for weight loss and an improved lipid profile. Here.

Does The Administration Have A Case Against Arizona?

Lots of good reading over at NRO today. Heather Mac Donald has contributed a thoughtful analysis of the legal tug-of-war between Arizona and the DOJ over S.B. 1070 and the question of “preemption”. What does the existing body of case law indicate: does “preemption doctrine” apply only to statutes, or can it be extended to […]

On Geese And Golden Eggs

In an essay that is sure to have critics across the aisle whetting their ad hominem knives, Arthur Laffer explains why soak-the-rich tax increases are a bad idea. Here.

Bottoms Up

We are drinking more lately, it seems. (I’ve been doing my part, but certainly can’t take all the credit.) It’s not hard to understand why, with the shape things are in (I will spare you an enumeration of all the things that are wrong with the US and the world just now; it’s late, and […]