Second Modern Record

Second modern uptime recordpMac keeps chugging along. After four years, two operating system upgrades, one hard drive failure (and swap) and compiling about 10 gigabytes of software, it keeps going, better than ever it seems. This is the second uptime record that I have managed to record, and it was halted only because I misinterpreted a wrong password as a subsystem failure.

Oh, well. There’s always the coming year, I suppose.

Woe be the US Economy

Cisco CEO sees strong world economy, U.S. bumps –

There is ample political criticism in the commentary of CEOs like Cisco’s John Chambers. All CEOs of major American companies see opportunities for growth in every corner of the planet except in the United States. If this does not frighten people of the political establishment in the US, then it ought to give them pause, at the very least, when it is time to digest claims that slashing taxes and deregulating markets are beneficial. After all, according to CEOs, the net effect of reducing taxation and relaxing regulations in the US has been the creating of economic growth outside the US.

A Crime Spree in Berlin

At least the jail food will be free… | Oddly Enough |

Ah, to dream of the life of comfort, of the life of freedom and of a life of peace of mind. A life where this qualifies as a crime spree.

Preview to Petraeus?

NIE Cites ‘Uneven’ Security Gains, Faults Iraqi Leaders –

Another government report is released, and yet again, the picture it paints contradicts virtually every claim made by the prosecutors of the military operation in Iraq. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released August 24, 2007, contains many discouraging findings, of which the following is typical.

The IC [Intelligence Community] assesses that the Iraqi Government will become more precarious over the next six to 12 months because of criticism by other members of the major Shia coalition (the Unified Iraqi Alliance, UIA), Grand Ayatollah Sistani, and other Sunni and Kurdish
parties. Divisions between Maliki and the Sadrists have increased, and Shia factions have explored alternative coalitions aimed at constraining Maliki.

It will be shocking if the highly anticipated Petraeus report contradicts any of these findings. After all, the findings of the Director of National defense have been quite consistent over the past few years. So, how on earth could Petraeus produce a report that categorically contradicts every one of the DNI’s major findings and the findings of other government and military bodies for the past four years? How could one general produce an assessment of reality that differs dramatically from the assessments of all of his predecessors? Why do these senseless pleas for patience keep finding sympathetic ears? Isn’t anyone listening?

And, if Petreaus does contradict everybody, would that mean that Commander in Chief was stupid enough to appoint boneheads to lead the Iraqi operation for the past four years? Or would it mean that Petraeus is the bonehead? The American psyche is plagued with such a pernicious insolence when it comes to reasoning that is not surprising at all that the majority fail to reason that Petraeus’ report will be damning to the White House no matter what it says.

Extinction of a Rare Species of Dolphin

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Rare river dolphin now extinct

Man’s capacity to destroy the rarest creations that nature produced over the course of all of time remains undiminished. As unusual and unique as a freshwater dolphin was, it was not important enough to be preserved. It lost. It succumbed not to man’s cruelty in this case, but mankind’s voracious appetite for its food. As locusts periodically decimate crops in Africa and bring famine in their wake by decimating the food supply, people so thoroughly decimated this dolphin’s food supply that it vanished. Even swarms of locusts so large that they can be seen from satellite and so tenacious that they can devour everything from North Africa to West Asia cannot make mankind extinct, but mankind’s persistence through time is enough to vanquish any species. Balance is an afterthought for man, and the dolphin was cursed because it was not as adorable as the panda bear.

The Rewards for Military Service Increase

Going to war leaves US soldiers’ kids at risk – health – 31 July 2007 – New Scientist

It seems as if the entire American identity is wrapped in the admirable shroud of World War II. Every military involvement is compared with it, every aspect of American pride derives from it, and every criticism of American foreign policy is refuted with it. It is as if World War II alone was sufficient to place the United States in a state of permanent nobility and, thus, burden her with unspeakable noblesse oblige that began with the Cold War and is now ending with the New World Order.

But this is a grand delusion that is eroding every vital fiber of American society. To expose the delusion, one only needs to compare the horrible fate that meets current American soldiers with the fate of WW II veterans to realize how far the US worldview has deteriorated since World War II. WW II veterans returned to heroes’ welcome, received economic help upon their return, and prospered in the economic boom that resulted from Europe’s destruction.

Since WW II, however, soldiers return to pathetic economic conditions, receive little or no help from the government that conscripted them, and struggle in a competitive economy that is quickly losing ground to resurgent Europe and East Asia. From the dreadful conditions that visited Vietnam veterans (as documented by Oliver Stone and countless others) to the recent scandals at the Walter Reed hospital, the only conclusion supported by the evidence is that the American soldier is not the honorable person he (or she) used to be.

If that were not enough, the above article cites new evidence that the unusual suffering of the soldiers’ families is not relieved in any way by the military, either. The data are fresh, and the military may yet act, but given the military’s inaction in the face of grave problems in the past, the children of soldiers serving in Iraq may continue to suffer inordinately high rates of abuse and neglect until a crisis shames the miliatry into action.

WW II soldiers were heroes, and veterans of all the subsequent wars slaves, in comparison.

Palestinian Winners

Hamas says Abbas accidentally paid its fighters | International | Reuters

The phrase itself is an oxymoron, “Palestinian Winner”. Unlike any other political race in the world, Palestinian politics is a race composed entirely of losers. Whether it’s the Palestinians choosing Hamas, or the US and Israel choosing Abu Mazen’s Fattah party, nobody can find a winner. Or even a party that is not a horrible, wretched loser.

Regulation Spawns Competition, Part II

Dell Answers Customer Calls For Linux In Europe

Those who keep denigrating government regulation really must take note of this major announcement by Dell in Europe: Dell is now selling Linux PCs to consumers at large. Unlike Dell US, which sells Linux on some its top of the line servers only, Dell Europe now has the freedom to sell operating systems other than Windows to anyone.

Why is this important? Because it means that, at least in Europe, Dell has the freedom to sell the systems that it wants to customers. If Dell wants to bundle its own music service, or its own software with the systems, it can now do that, just as Apple has been doing all along. It has this freedom in Europe because the European Union has put Microsoft on a very short leash. Consequently, Dell can move away from Microsoft without any fear of retribution from Microsoft.

This is not the case in the United States, of course. The US government has relaxed its controls on Microsoft’s monopoly power. Consequently, Dell, HP, Gateway and other computer manufacturers have little freedom to promote or to include services that compete with the services that Microsoft promotes through its Windows operating system. This means that Dell, HP and Gateway cannot compete with Apple! They cannot promote or sell services (such as a music store) on computers that they sell! In effect, Microsoft has enslaved these large corporations, and has relegated them to purveyors of commodity computers that net little profit.

So, if you’re wondering why Dell and HP are not offering digital music stores even when Microsoft’s store is clearly failing, look no further than Microsoft and the ridiculous lack of regulations in the American marketplace. In this absurd environment, an inept competitor like Microsoft is suppressing all competition and allowing Apple to run away with the booty. As an Apple stockholder, I don’t mind, but perhaps Dell stockholders should.

Come, Swim in LA’s Cess Pools

Best (and worst) beaches in the U.S. – Today Show –

The primordial soup prides itself on being a heavenly place, a paradise of a big city by virtue of its location on the Pacific coast, its eternally sunny climate and its “casual” attitude.

Look closely, however, and you will see that the “casual” attitude is a ploy to hide the aggression that roils inside everyone, and that the city’s largest tourist attraction and crown jewel, Venice Beach, remains one of the nation’s filthiest. Considering the fact that, after 50 years of operation, the Hyperion Treatment Plant has not managed to remove this stigma from the promordial soup’s beaches, one begins to grasp neglect that the prevailing “casual” attitude has cultivated in this city.

And, just to think that it used to be worse.

Working too Hard? You Had Better not Be!

Interesting news about the office workaholics | Oddly Enough |

This fact alone can potentially explains so much about the primordial soup: the long work hours, the unnerving sexual frustration that everybody exudes, the practice of sexual predation that passes for “dating” in this city and the emergence of the largest pornography industry on the planet. Yes, people work very hard in the primordial soup because hardly anything else ever works here.