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This is the archive for October 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

I'm not much of a follower of the "guitar hero" thing, but I'll make an exception for this guy.

Pachelbel's Canon:


He's a college kid in Taiwan, and that's his own arrangment. More here, I believe his own compositions.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Seems that Daniel Drezner fancies himself the new Nostrodamus. He predicted that Mel Gibson would go to rehab. Check. He predicted that Gibson would issue multiple contrite apologies. Check. That he would cry on Diane Sawhorse's shoulder. Check.

Ah, but his whole reputation now rests on the prediction that Mel's upcoming movie Apocolypto will bomb. What a Piker! No real Nostradamus would make a prediction that was so easily testable, let alone one that would only have one opportunity to come true.

You have to hedge your bets if you want to be the next Nostro. What if the movie is a smash? What are the chances that 200 years from now, another Guy named Mel Gibson is going to get drunk, bash the Jews, and cry on something called TV while being interviewed by someone named Diane? Not likely, and by then he'd be out in the cold, just another Jeane Dixon, gone and forgotten after a brief moment in the sun.

No, a Nostrodamus with real staying power would phrase it more like this:
--The Warrior in a stupor on the Road
--As a child taught the ways of the world
--Healed by a dozen, and Saw the light
--Sorrow redeems, yet diminished in a box.

That's... um... let's see.... Century 6...no, wait, Century VI, Canto XIX of my upcoming book....

"Road Warrior" could mean Mel Gibson getting a DUI, the rest could mean that Mel blamed his father for what he said, it could mean that he went to a 12-step program and then cried for Saw(yer) in front of the hot TV lights, but that it wasn't enough to save his movie's box office take.

And if that doesn't happen? This quatrain gives our intrepid prognosticator several more grabs for the gold ring. Suppose the Republicans lose big in the elections (ballot box), because of born-again, son of a former President, war mongering George Bush and his DUI history, along with the Mark Foley scandal? Especially if Foley cries his regrets and is acquitted by a jury (of 12)?

Check! We're covered!

I bet we can make this apply to the war in Iraq, and maybe even Kimmie's Bomb. I leave that as an exercise for the reader. And who knows what will happen in the next few hundred years? Whatever happens, I bet this will have predicted at least some of it. And for bonus points, I think I'll write it in French, then have it translated to English via Latin and Swahili. That way, even the words themselves can mean anything I want them to.

See how easy it is? You too can be the next great seer for the ages, you just have to apply the right spin - proactively of course.

Hat Tip: the Insta-man
I work in the same building as Congresscritter Jim Kolbe. You may have been following the story that he knew something about Mark Foley verbally diddling House pages as early as 6 years ago.

You might have been following it, but I haven't. I was aware of it, but I give it just about zero importance.

Anyway, there was a camera crew out in the parking lot yesterday, and they asked me "What do you think of this?" Which is, first of all, a stupid and pointless question. But I guess when you're fishing for "Clinton did it too!", or "The Republicans are just covering up for each other!", you have to troll with the widest net you can find.

The story is here. My quote is:

Others like Kyle Bennett still have questions.

"I don't know what to think. I don't know what was going through his mind. I don't know what he knew at the time. Sounds like to him, it was a rumor."

That's about what I remember saying, so no problem there (though I think I said "I don't know what was in his mind - an important connotative distinction, at least). There's simply no way to draw any meaningful conclusions from the available information, and besides, it's just congressmen, not anybody important.

My only complaint is the "still have questions" line. I don't have any questions. Just because there's something I don't know doesn't imply that it's something worth having questions about. I don't care one way or the other.

The story aired, with my 8 seconds of fame, on the Six O'Clock news. Sorry, the video is not available.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

With apologies to Aerosmith

Ch' dum dum dum, Kimmie what have you done
ch' dum dum dum, it's the sound of my bomb
ch' dum dum dum, Kimmie what have you done
ch' dum dum dum, it's the sound, it's the sound

Kimmie's got a bomb
Kimmie's got a bomb
whole world's come undone
lookin' straight at the sun

what did Dear Leader do
now Nork's gone atomic too
they say that Kimmie is a genius
and his thinking is so very slick
but man he's just a munchkin
who built himself a big bomb
to make up for his tiny dick

Kimmie's got the bomb
Kimmie's got the bomb
dark ages just begun
now ElBaradei's on the run

tell me now it's untrue
what did Dear Leader do
he cracked a little bitty atom
the man has got to be insane
he wants to unify Korea
but his verbal diarrhea
is just cover for a damaged brain

run Europe, run away from the truth
run UN, run away from the truth
run away, run away
run, run away

E=mc squared
he thinks it's all got us scared
but we'll just take him down quickly
and put a bullet in his brain
he put his people under his yoke
the guy is such a joke
even his bomb is so very lame

Kimmie Kimmie, what's the problem
guess it wouldn't light
was it your imcompetent scientists
makes you cry at night

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A real hero left this world last week. The good news is she's been blogging about it, and now she's back home safely.

I've added Anousheh Ansari to my blogroll. She fled Iran in 1979 when the Ayatollahs turned it into a place explicitly and irredeemably hostile to people with her values, educated herself - in the best Western tradition - made a few billion dollars, and is now at the forefront of the exploding private space industry.

That she paid her way up to the ISS as the third civilian tourist is interesting. What makes her more than another rich tourist is her ambition to make what she did profitable to private entrepreneurs, and thus possible for the rest of us. She funded the X-Prize to the tune of $10 million (yes, that's her name on the "Ansari X-Prize" for spaceflight), and intends to start her own fleet of ships in the next few years.

It's been two years since the X-Prize was claimed, and the developments since have been mind-boggling. A commercial spaceport is already being built in New Mexico, a private spaceport is being planned by Jeff Bezos in Texas, and many companies are competing for business in the varous niches of this infant industry, most notably Virgin Galactic (watch the movie), who have just recently announced that their World Headquarters will be located at the New Mexico port.

This explosion began when, in an amazing and rare fit of common sense, the federal government passed a bill which, for the most part, says that they'll do the one thing anybody really ever needs from government, just get the hell out of the way! The bill does that, at least to the extent that such is possible from government; it still leaves plenty of hooks in the industry, sure to be firmly set once there is some booty to be extorted.

The NM port is built by the state, but it could have been built by any of the major players. Branson probably could have put up the entire $200 million from his petty cash - and kept all the potential profit such a thing will likely generate. But it at least provides the first physical nexus for much of this activity. (tip: buy real estate around Las Cruces, Truth or Consequences, and Hatch, NM, now), and it's effects in the long run will be little more than a footnote. Even the ISS will probably be obsolete before it is even finished, a dinosaur floating aimlessly above a world that has passed it by.

This is the biggest thing since fish grew legs. This is a civilization changing time. The first flights, trivial as they may be in their purpose, will provide experience to those participating, they'll provide markets for vendors and other secondary industries, they'll provide infrastructure both on the ground and in orbit to support more meaningful and more ambitious enterprise, and they'll provide a mindset in the average person that space is just another place to visit, work, and even live in.

As long as, that is, the feds and other governments do indeed stay the hell out of the way, at least until it's too late for them to stop it all. And, even more importantly, while there's people like Ansari, Branson, Rutan, Binnie, Melville, Diamandis, Bezos, Allen, and the thousands of others who have the vision, drive, skills, and resources to make it happen.