I Will Stop Using the Term “Freedom Fries” …
… after reading this.
Terrorism in the Megaton Range?
If the forest fires in California were set by terrorists, that would be terrorism in the megaton range. If 600,000 acreas were scorched and the fuel load is 20 tons/acre and the energy release from wood is 4 kCal/gram (typical of carbohydrates) and the energy in a megaton is 1012 kCal, then the total energy release is 48 megatons so far.
On the other hand, by 911 standards the effects of this are lame. We can barely tell the difference between this and a typical California fire season.
How to Defeat the US
According to The CounterRevolutionary:
So, when our enemies attack in Iraq, they do not do so in a vacuum. Their primary goals are not to destroy a police station or to assassinate a political figure or even to cause chaos. They have one goal - to break the will of the democracy. The attacks are meant as "proof" of failure to the American audience. If the enemy believed that we would be discouraged by an epidemic of capitalism in Baghdad, then that is what we would see.
Of course, we'll be discouraged by an epidemic of capitalism. Our goal in this war is to show up the enemy as a bunch of raving maniacs. If they would not only have an epidemic of capitalism but would even show the calm confidence that comes from being so sure they will win eventually that they don't have to blow up anybody, we would have to admit defeat.
The preceding paragraph was a public-service announcement.
The Angry Left and the Angry Muslims
According to Arnold Kling, there has been a marked upswing in intolerance on the left:
I did not feel this sort of discomfort in 2000, which was the one other year when I attended Pop!tech. Back then, a conservative or libertarian attending the conference felt like a Jew among a group of tolerant Christians. This year, a conservative or libertarian felt like a Jew among a group of Christians whose main topic of conversation was the despicable nature of Jews.
I think a better analogy would be that in 2000, the attitude was similar to the attitude of Muslims toward Jews before Zionism whereas this year the attitude is similar to the attitude of Muslims toward Jews today.
You can think of neo-conservatrism as analogous to Zionism:
The basis for Zionism is that the land at the southeast corner of the Mediterranean, which had been run by Muslims for centuries, should be taken over by an even older tradition that Muslims had previously treated in a semi-tolerantly patronizing manner. This caused the Muslims to become much less tolerant. They initially tried to deal with the problem by the traditional means of military action but have
recently turned to foaming at the mouth.
The basis for neo-conservatism is that the land at the U.S. government, which had been run by liberals for decades, should be taken over by an even older tradition that liberals had previously treated in a semi-tolerantly patronizing manner. This caused the liberals to become much less tolerant. They initially tried to deal with the problem by the traditional means of electoral action but have
recently turned to foaming at the mouth.
Is Asymmetric Warfare the Wave of the Future?
A few years ago, it looked like asymmetric warfare (aka terrorism) was an unstoppable tactic against industrial countries. Currently, we see several different dysfunctional regimes (North Korea, Iran, and Saudi Arabia) who are not using asymmetric warfare but are instead trying to resymmetrize war.
When Leftists Look at Typical Conservatives…
They almost always see people who are mindlessly following leaders—who are presumably chosen for either their sterling characters or insitutional positions. That explains two common leftist tactics:
Meanwhile, the left should learn that people didn't believe in conservative causes because they listened to Rush Limbaugh; they listened to Rush because they believed in conservative causes. They didn't oppose communism because the CIA said to do so; they trusted the CIA because they thought it was pro-American.
Explaining Greg Easterbrook's Firing
It's quite simple. An antisemitic mole in Disney headquarters came up the idea in order to make Easterbrook look like the victim of a Jewish conspiracy. (Actually, he was the victim of the Secret Nihilist Conspiracy. You can read all about them in The Protocols of the Elders of Nothing.)
Explaining Greg Easterbrook
It's quite simple. He was writing what should have been two essays. One of them would criticize Jewish movie producers on the grounds that Jewish history shows that we must never encourage leniency toward wanton violence. The other essay would criticize movie producers in general for greed. He made the mistake of combining the two.
How Libertarianism Can Go Wrong
Any ideologue with even a shred of fairness must try coming up with ways his cherished opinions can go wrong. Here is an attempt to come up with ways libertarian rhetoric can backfire:
- Exaggerate intellectual property rights. (We have a taste of that in Scientology.) Ideas can be patented forever. Words can have a copyright. Potentially embarrassing information counts as a trade secret. Most important of all, “look and feel” can be patented. Anyone who wants to complain can be arrested for the illegal use of other people's concepts. They can't even make up their own terminology since that would violate someone else's patent on the look and feel of liberty.
- Exaggerate parental rights. (You can think of the Elian Gonzalez case as a possible beginning.) Parents can sell their children into slavery. Any offspring of the slaves are considered offspring of the owners and thus can also be enslaved.
- Real overpopulation—not the thinly-scattered settlement we see in Manhattan. When the total biomass of the human race approaches the mass of the solar system, the owners of resources will be able to extract anything they want from the lower classes. Since the lower classes might object, it is necessary to have a secret police to prevent rebellions.
- Apply property rights with enclosure acts to government. (I was inspired by a discussion on Samizdata.) If property rights ensure that property is taken care of better, then clearly the government will be more competent if it is owned outright by an Emperor. The Empire must be hereditary to ensure that the Emperor wants to preserve the value of his property over the long term. If we do not currently live in an Empire, we must turn the government over to an Emperor as soon as possible.
Broccoli and Microwaves
Recent research appears to show that cooking broccoli in water in a microwave oven can remove 97% of the flavonoids (which have some health benefits). There's a simple solution. Don't microwave broccoli in water; microwave it in tea..
Logic and Harry Potter
- Everyone is afraid of Voldemort.
- Voldemort is only afraid of Dumbledore..
… then Voldemort is Dumbledore!
After all, Premise 1 implies Voldemort is afraid of Voldemort and Premise 2 implies anyone Voldemort is afraid of is Dumbledore.
According to Islamofascists, Jews are Turks, Palestinians are Canaanites…
… and Saudis are Jews.
I am not making this up.
Predictions on Anti-Smoking Laws
I don't recall anybody predicting this.
Another prediction, on the other hand, turned out to be prophetic.
The Best Part of Anti-Schwarzenegger Hysteria
For years, anti-semites have claimed that accusations of being a Nazi are impossible to deal with. The Schwarzenegger election is a clear disproof of that.
Of course, it's still nearly impossible to deal with if it's true.
Microsoft and Mandatory Digital Rights Management
Since the following comment has attracted favorable attention, I'll repeat it here.
Mandatory DRM is not to Microsoft's advantage. If there's a law mandating DRM, it will be based on a publicly-available standard that changes in government time. That means anybody will be able to write software dealing with it. If there is no mandatory DRM, but some media companies use the commonest proprietary standard, Microsoft stands to gain. It can change the standard every year or two as competitors start to accumulate.
In other words, we'll have to be allied with Satan.
I Wrote the Following Long before the Plame–Wilson Controversy
From a usenet post (it's not something I made up yesterday to defend Dubya):
I think it's an excellent idea for much of the American public to look for "suspicious activity."
OTOH, the most obvious organization for terrorists and fellow travelers to infiltrate is the Federal Government, so we Americans should be given immediate access to classified material. We should be wary of secrecy. It can enable enemies of freedom to flourish.
This even applies to the Current Unpleasantness. For example, many government agencies have reacted by taking any discussion of threats offline. Since The Enemy has been plotting for years, they probably already know about those threats and even if they didn't it would take them years to do anything. Taking any mention of the threats offline will hamper the ability of ordinary citizens (the people who prevented the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania from being used as a weapon and the people who stopped Maxwell Stupid, the shoebomber) to come up with countermeasures. Instead, we are supposed to let the goofballs in the FBI, CIA, etc. to defend us.
But wait, there's more. Ralph Nader, the Arab American most likely to be a real sleeper agent, went to great lengths to get Dubya elected. Is there another sleeper agent in Dubya's staff? Was the same person responsible for the criticisms of Israel, the word "crusade," the phrase "Infinite Justice," and dropping food packages the same color as bombs? Is the secrecy policy a matter of national security or is it to enable moles to work undetected by reporters?
Even if the Feds haven't been infiltrated, deputizing spies will merely provide them with more information than they can handle. A single organization can't monitor that much information. That's why everybody must have snooping devices. The CIA can't monitor wannabee terrorists, their neighbors will have to do the monitoring.
If we look at the Current Unpleasantness, the government had the data needed to catch the terrorists ahead of time but did not have the manpower to analyze it. Once we get close to 300 million people on the case...
Modern wars are fought with intelligence. Each of us is a member of the unorganized militia and now we should regard each of us as a member of the unorganized CIA.
This even applies to encryption. Supposedly, it is now a public menace. If that's the case, we should ensure that decryption is as widespread as possible. IOW, the DMCA must be repealed.
Come to think of it, Joseph Wilson looks like the sort of infiltrator I warned against above.
Update: I just read (via BrothersJudd) that my congressman Peter King has come out against the CIA.
Wesley Clark's Excellent Adventure
The recent TCS article on De Rebus Bellicis is obvious evidence of time travel. We have a fourth-century treatise with ideas on weapons and tactics that seem like ordinary common sense today (e.g., paddle-wheel ships) but don't fit in late antiquity at all. We also have a professional military officer who gives advice to the world's only superpower and who's also interested in time travel. Coincidence?
Weathering the Storm
The viral storm continues, albeit at a slower pace. I finally found that there's a way to deal with it. Now I have to start setting up a cron job.
Poll Results in California Recall Race
A recent poll of Arianna Huffington's brain cells indicated that 42% of them favor the recall, 28% oppose it, 17% don't know, and 13% were waiting for results from her crystal ball.