• Bluegrass,  Climate Change,  Funny,  Music,  Photography

    Midweek rapid fire

    • Real life Pac Man – hysterical
    • One must not question the existence of Global Warming – This is in line with a trend I’ve been noticing in the media and it’s associated hacks, which is the annoying “No serious [insert either scientist, economist, expert, industry insider, analyst] disputes the existence of [insert theory that one is pushing]” mantra.
    • Proportionate responses – one of the more daft comments on the Israel -Hezbollah conflict was that Israel’s response was disproportionate. Intentionally proportionate responses went out with the Greeks, and it’s only by accident now when the response is proportionate. The whole notion of strategy is matching strength to weakness. That is most of Sun Tsu’s Art of war.
    • AcousticFriends.com – MySpace for the bluegrass/acoustic crowd. I’m listed on there as “Pale Rider”.
    • Townes van Zandt Lyrics – and some tab
    • A guide to black and white photography
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  • China,  Weirdness


    Via Marginal Revolution

    Chinese officials have decided to crack down on the practice at some rural villages of hiring strippers to perform at funerals. The practice is intended to attract more attendees to funerals because many people believe that a greater number of people improve the deceased’s chances for better afterlife.

  • Iraq

    Interesting article about service in Iraq

    From the Washington Post

    Between March 21, 2003, when the first military death was recorded in Iraq, and March 31, 2006, there were 2,321 deaths among American troops in Iraq. Seventy-nine percent were a result of action by hostile forces. Troops spent a total of 592,002 “person-years” in Iraq during this period. The ratio of deaths to person-years, .00392, or 3.92 deaths per 1,000 person-years, is the death rate of military personnel in Iraq.

    The death rate for U.S. men ages 18 to 39 in 2003 was 1.53 per 1,000 — 39 percent of that of troops in Iraq. But one can also find something equivalent to combat conditions on home soil. The death rate for African American men ages 20 to 34 in Philadelphia was 4.37 per 1,000 in 2002, 11 percent higher than among troops in Iraq. Slightly more than half the Philadelphia deaths were homicides.

    The death rate of American troops in Vietnam was 5.6 times that observed in Iraq. Part of the reduction in the death rate is attributable to improvements in military medicine and such things as the use of body armor. These have reduced the ratio of deaths to wounds from 24 percent in Vietnam to 13 percent in Iraq.

    The usual caveats apply of course, but it’s an interesting read.

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  • Drug War,  Media

    Why doesn’t the AJC have editors?

    This is easily the most poorly written article I’ve seen in a long time. Granted, its all filler, and contains no new data. And being, the AJC, it mentions diversity (for no obvious reason) at least twice. The bolding defies explanation as well. Some strange passages:

    It’s no secret in the world of big-time drug trafficking, federal agents say: If you want to be a major player in interstate drug peddling you have to have an operation in metro Atlanta.

    Recent multimillion-dollar drug busts suggest that Gwinnett County has become that place in metro Atlanta for these drug cartels.

    In 2005, Gwinnett’s local task force seized a total of $34 million in illegal drugs. Those figures dwarf the amount of drugs seized in surrounding counties. A Cobb County drug task force, for example, seized $9 million in illegal drugs last year.

    The words flow like a piano through a blender.

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  • Society

    A good move from the FDA for once

    They make the morning after pill available over the counter for consenting adults, but not for minors, which is exactly what I would have done. It’s rare when the government and I agree on something. Presumably it will still be legal for not to stock it if they have moral objections.

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  • Climate Change,  Links

    Quick round up

    • Criminal caught due to Skype trace
    • Al Gore in fact environmentally friendly, or at least environmentally correct.
    • Trees that grow 90 feet in six years sound really cool
    • This was the problem I had with my car
    • Annoying quote of the moment, from CNN.com which has been irritating me lately, after such good coverage of the Israel-Hez conflict (absent Anderson Cooper)

      In the immigration debate, I’ve tried to do three things:

      One is to deplore the degree to which the debate is driven by the dark impulse of racism. What concerns many Americans about illegal immigration is the sense that it speeds up the Latinization of the United States — where Anglo-Saxon culture is replaced by Latin culture, where English gives way to Spanish, and where we Americans become strangers in our own land.

      He “tries to deplore”? Even, or perhaps especially, in our secular public age need the trappings of religion and loud protestations of faith, but this is taking it to the riduculous. How is it racist to want to keep English as the dominant language, and to not want to become a “stanger in our own land”? That’s dumber than claiming Islam as a “race”.

    • Women and their brains