Congress Is Afraid to Do Anything About Petroleum Imports, But Happy to Issue Orders to God: Enjoy your trick-or-treating in the dark tonight, because starting next Halloween, Daylight Savings Time still will be in effect on Oct. 31. The recent energy bill enacted by Congress -- which contains hundreds of pages of special-interest favors but largely does nothing about energy supply or consumption rates -- had a title lengthening the part of the year when DST remains in effect. Beginning in 2007, Standard Time will be in effect only from Nov. 4 'til March 9 -- two-thirds of the year will be non-standard, only one-third Standard. (Unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii, which do not observe Daylight Savings Time.) Though I like an extra hour outdoors in the summer too, Daylight Savings Time seems to have gotten completely out of hand. The God-given cycles of sunrise and sunset aren't good enough for us?
Proponents of DST always say that it reduces electricity use, by postponing by one hour the time when all the interior lights of structures are turned on. See Michael Downing's "Spring Forward," an entire book devoted to attacking Daylight Savings Time! Downing acknowledges DST cuts electricity use but maintains it increases petroleum demand, which is more harmful than reducing electricity use is helpful -- especially considering Congress refuses to enact a meaningful energy policy. "Spring Forward" demonstrates that the primary energy impact of the extra hour of evening daylight is to cause people to drive places to do things; and while the United States has centuries' worth of coal and uranium to make electricity, we're already too dependent on imported petroleum from Persian Gulf dictatorships. What sinister conspiracy does Downing believe is behind the extension of Daylight Savings Time? The golf industry! Spring Forward asserts the extra month of DST added that Congress mandated in 1986 "represents $400 million in added annual sales and fees" to golf-course operators because more people play in the evening.
AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
We can tell you this is part of the Royal Observatory, but for PC reasons we cannot mention that it is in England.
The Obvious Solution Is to Rename It "Politically Correct Time": Speaking of Standard Time, since 1847 the world's time has been judged in relation to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, United Kingdom. In the days of sailing ships, Greenwich Mean Time was what British sailors set their timepieces to, in order to calculate longitude. Gradually, hours plus-or-minus GMT was accepted as the world standard for delineating time zones. Of course it's an arbitrary standard -- some place on Earth must be chosen, and whatever place is chosen would be arbitrary. In recent years a politically correct movement has demanded that Greenwich Mean Time not be spoken of, as it implies England is the center of world culture. Instead, Coordinated Universal Time is now the preferred term, since it makes no reference to the existence of English culture. But Coordinated Universal Time is still based on the time in Greenwich, England! Changing GMT to CUT changes nothing except to replace an exact physical description with a PC euphemism. And what about "Zulu time"? The clock reading in Greenwich is abbreviated Z, which is pronounced "Zulu" in radio argot (like "whiskey" for W, "November" for N and so on). This means United States military communications commonly refer to Greenwich Mean Time as "Zulu time." How long until saying "Zulu" is deemed politically incorrect?
This global time utility can be useful, though beware it is only "accurate to within 0.3 seconds." Think such tiny amounts of time can't matter? In calibrating the GPS guidance devices of the bombs dropped on Iraq in March 2003, Air Force planners took into account not only the lag between when a GPS signal was transmitted from a satellite and received by a smart bomb -- far less than a second at the speed of light -- they took into account the effects of relativity on the signals, since time passes ever-so-slightly differently when the bomb accelerates by falling.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
However, sad to say, I wasn't surprised that he thinks things like this. I went to the same boarding school that J(ust) K(idding) went to, and the in the atmosphere there, lots of people think similar things. For example, there was huge resistance against a group of my friends when they tried to organize a senior prom. The argument against them was, "we don't go to public school," as in, we're better than that.
I enjoyed my time at that school, and I learned a lot, despite being surrounded by people who felt this way. Most of them eventually grow up. JK evidently didn't...but who here is surprised about that?
Last thing: what better scandal than this to get people to give money to the Valour IT project? I mean, you don't want people to think you agree with JK, do you?
Click this link to give money to the Valour-IT project. They're raising money to buy laptops with voice recognition for wounded soldiers with injuries that would make typing difficult...
It's a great cause, and I'm honored to lend my support...
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
But being the cynic and amoral bastard that I am, I had a thought. They filmed this show in the north, the relatively safe Kurdistan. Obviously, this was for security reasons. However, my thought is, now that they're established, and people like this show (eveidently it was a major hit.) maybe it's time to try the Baghdad edition. If someone died, then there would be national outrage against the murder gangs and devisionism. If no one dies, then they get to celebrate the fact that Baghdad was slightly safer than they thought. I think there would actually be little risk, because the show's producers would obviously take every measure they could to ensure safety, even if they didn't show it on TV, and they could publicise the effort so much that even the militants would hear about it somewhere, and the smarter ones among them would realize how bad it would be if they actually killed one of the national TV stars...even in a mistake. They would probably quiet things down a bit near the show's location to make sure no mistakes happen. Of course, I could easily be totaly wrong. I am just making the argument and presenting possibilities, after all.
Bonus Note: The TV station putting this on, Al Sharqiya, has been doing a lot of national unity type shows. Which is awesome. I wish there was a way that I could think that we had something to do with their success, either by supporting them monetarily or with production and ideas assistance. However, it appears that this is an entirely iraqi led venture. Which is, in fact, even cooler...
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Check out the guardian for more info.
(hat tip: Althouse.)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
This is the article that the recently assassinated Russian journalist (a re-hash from Radio Free Europe, who does great work on Russia and Post-Soviet states, of course) was working on when she was killed. It's suspected that it's part of the reason she was killed, but who knows?
The report(that's an English link) describes incidents of police torturing suspects in Chechnya, and the official hullabaloo that went on around it. It would remind me of something similar in America, but this is real torture, you can see the pictures for yourself.
The whole situation is like a movie. A prominent critic of a dictatorialesque president is murdered by contract killers on said president's birthday. Meanwhile, she is working on exposing yet another incidence of torture. And a few days later (three or four actually, maybe five), said president comes out and condemns her death in relatively strong language. Yet, no senior government officials attended her funeral.
One more question...why is a medical journal publishing politically inspired articles like this? I mean, I can see publishing a reasonable study which takes account for uncertainties...but the way they are trumpeting this every time they put it out tells me there is more to it than just medicine.
I'd really like to hear the other side of this (at least in a coherant way), because there must be some facts that I'm missing. But I read a lot of news and I think I would have found at least some of them by now. Anyway, if you know the other side, please enlighten me. If you take the other side, even better.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
(This is actually a good song, as well. It's not so much the boring music/beats that i don't like, it's the lyrics. The boring beats are annoying sometimes, but there are some good beats, and then they get co-opted for techno songs, so it's fine for me.) Holy cow, it's obvious this song is about me.
And you know I'm talking about the part in (). BSG is a good show, but no where near firefly quality. The old one was fun, this one is good for sci-fi that's still on TV. But whatever.
Of course, Jonah is a pretty smart guy about most things, and I'll probably come around if I ever get a chance to watch more of the BSG's...anyway.
Update: Click the links in that column from Jonah, they're good reads.
Why oh, why do they give in and make the situation worse for the next time? These kids did something stupid, but not wrong, and we should explain that to the muslim world. The people in the muslim world should feel welcome to draw pictures of danes and bombs and whatnot, but not give truth to the pictures and give in to retaliating with violence. It just makes things worse for next time (both the criticism and the reaction)
They're jailing Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi, a cleric, for radicalism - he has committed the crime of believing the religion should stay out of politics. Crazy guy, huh?
So, maybe what the puppy blender says about Iran and NK (and Syria, though they go with Iran) has some truth behind it. Just when Iran was getting unpopular at the UN, and when they decided they needed to make a domestic move that no one outside the country would like, we suddenly hear about the Norks deciding to test a bomb. There is no real reason for them to be testing a bomb right now - things are quiet in their neck of the woods, and they don't stand to really gain anything from it. Also, it appears that they weren't really ready to do the test. It sounds like one crazy dictator was doing a favor for another crazy dictator, just like they had done in the past.
Update: Here's some more goodness.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I found it at op-for - it's a story about a connection made between a grieving marine parent and an Iraqi citizen. Sometimes we get caught up in how bad stuff is in Iraq, and we forget about good things that have happened there. I don't want to imply that I think it's all good...but you can read stories of Iraqis (like the guy I linked to) who are now free, realize that, and are grateful for the fact that we 'bit the bullet' so to speak, for them, and then you can remember the real reason we needed to go there - so relieve saddam hussein of the awfuly stressful tast of leading his people, which was a job that was so obviously stressful to him that he went crazy and tried to kill them all off. (That's sarcasm, by the way, not rationalization) That may not be the reason the press thinks we went over, but it is the real reason we needed to be there, none the less.
Of course, I was looking for a story like this one, but those only come along once in a very long news cycle...
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Evidently a couple of American soldiers in Afghanistan were restoring an old soviet airforce memorial, dedicated to five of their pilots who were shot down by (most likely American provided) Stinger missles.
According to Fedchenko, who completed two tours in Afghanistan from 1986 to 1989, construction of the monument was a team effort by members of his Air Force regiment stationed at Bagram. "We had a lot of creative people there: artists, writers, painters, woodworkers," Fedchenko said. "So anybody who had some free time would help out."
The airplane model atop the concrete wall was fashioned out of wood -- no other materials were available -- by a pilot still flying in the Stavropol region, while a self-taught artist stationed nearby used photographs scrounged up from military papers to paint the oil-on-wood portraits of the pilots, Fedchenko said.
It's a memorial created by soldiers in a combat zone, being restored by soldiers in a combat zone.
Evidently, however, the soldiers who were working on restoing the monument have been ordered to stop, while the Army considers how to handle the monument.
I think they should allow work to continue, because as the main restorer says ""No matter if history is good or bad, it must be preserved," Keeley said in a Sept. 15 post. "Ray, Tom and I are 'soldiers,' like the five pilots honored by the memorial. I would hope another soldier would honor us as we honor these five men.""
There are other benefits to allowing the work to continue (some russians who learned of the project had reactions like: ""I've changed my mind about Americans," one forum user identified only as Airwolf wrote. "Thank you, David."" "Another forum user wrote that his "eyes became wet" when he heard about "such good people. Even among Americans, most of whom I dislike," he wrote." "Fedchenko called Keeley and his fellow soldiers "great guys who are doing a good thing.""), like improving relationships between Russian and America, but this could also be something like a symbolic demonstration to the outside that we are here not only to free the country (by tearing it's little infrastructure apart) but also to preserve it and rebuild it. We should be looking for other (non-russian) monuments from around the country to restore at the same time, but this memorial can be protected first.
If I knew where to send money or support, I'd tell you. Since I don't, for now I'll just have to publicize it a bit more than it has been.
It's a noble cause, and it is just one more way our military shows it's quality.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Does anyone really believe that Chavez has supporters in the White House that talk to him before they talk to the Washington Post?