Critical Section


Tuesday,  03/30/04  10:44 PM

I've kind of ignored Kofigate so far - as have many others - but this is really something.  As William Safire writes in the NYTimes:  "Never has there been a financial rip-off of the magnitude of the U.N. oil-for-food scandal."  Read the article - and then tell me you still think the U.N. is the answer to any problem.

Yesterday I wondered:  Wouldn't it be smarter for Bush just to have Condi Rice testify?  Apparently he reads my blog, because Rice to Testify in Public.  I predict this will be a non-thing; she'll be articulate and reasonable as usual, and the issue will fade away.

Hey, wouldn't it be cool if Cheney stepped aside, and Rice was Bush's VP?  No, really, why not?

Here's a funny amateur Bush ad.  Wouldn't it be great if candidates actually ran ads like this?  [ via Glenn Reynolds ]

Bush and Kerry are attacking each other over gas prices.  This is not an issue Bush can win, he should stay away from it, if he can.  And Kerry should work it for all he's worth.  (Despite his plan, ten years ago, to add a $.50/gallon gasoline tax.  A good plan, IMHO, BTW.)  This is an interesting way the Saudis can influence the election; a continuing increase in the price of gas will benefit Kerry.  Bet on it.

Hey, guess what?  Welfare reform is working.  Check out this article by the Brookings Institution, regarding the behavioral changes in never-married mothers during the past recession.  [ via Micky Kaus, who summarizes: "The [welfare] rolls didn't rise in the recession because single mothers kept on working." ]  There is hope yet; you can influence people's behavior with economic incentives.

NewsmapOkay, now this is cool!  I don't even know how to explain it - it is a spatial "newsmap" constructed from Google News.  Click on any article, and poof, you're there.  You can see which issues are getting the most press, in what general categories, and how "old" they are.  Really amazing.  Bookmarked!  This is the work of Marcus Weskamp.

Jeff Jarvis suggests "reality news".  "Take a bunch of citizen reporters -- moms, grandpas, students, poor people, immigrants, ugly people, webloggers... and send them out on the stories they want to cover to get the answers to the questions they want to ask."  I love it.  Today's media have entertainers, not reporters.

Ziv Navoth: the 5% shuffle.  Or how not to get funded.  "When I invest in companies I want to know that management can explain a day in the life of a customer."

Francis Joyon's trimaranNot just broken, but obliterated...  "Francis Joyon obliterated the monohull and multihull solo round-the-world records - a quiet man performing heroic deeds.  The Breton returned to his home port of Brest, completing his 27,150-mile voyage in his 90ft trimaran IDEC around the world in 72 days, 22 hours and 54 minutes.  This was one of the most significant circumnavigations of all time."  Wow.  Some Frenchman do deserve respect!

dancing Sony QRIO robotsCheck out these dancing Sony QRIO robotsThis is unbelievable.  We're really on a steep part of the curve with the technology in robot control.  Those robots dance better than I do.  (Admittedly, a low bar :)  Now, did the robots make up their own steps?  [ via Mark Frauenfelder ]

David Glauser points out the exchange I quoted the other day with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hilary Clinton actually took place between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor, the first woman to sit in Parliament.  Another good one:

Lady Astor: Why Winston, you are drunk!
Churchill: And you are ugly, but I shall be sober in the morning!

Another useful engineering conversion, courtesy of Chris Farmer:

  • 1 millihelen: amount of beauty required to launch one ship

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