Random Links XXIII

Letting Go:


For the control freaks among us.

Virtual Telepathy:




Transparent Society:


Elizabethan Superguns:


Seditious Libel:


Supernovae & Ice Cores:


Foreclosure Basics:


Game Theory & Bizarre Ravens:


AGW Geopolitics:


Mathematics of Beer:



Liquid Wood:



South Africa Collapsinghttp://tinyurl.com/32nh2c

Wireless Deregulationhttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/opinion/30wu.html

Spanish Flu & Bacterial Pneumonia:


Antibiotic resistant superbugshttp://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/08/11/080811fa_fact_groopman

Obama Campaign Finance: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/obama-finance

Campaign-finance reform is credited, but that seems a mere impetus.  ISTM that Obama’s fundraising strategy could’ve been implemented years ago by anyone with sufficient vision & technical expertise.


One Response to “Random Links XXIII”

  1. 1. Interesting note WRT loosening one’s control: Taoist philosophy advocates just this sort of thing, albeit primarily where it relates to individual interactions with the wider world. Specifically, there are many aspects of our daily interactions with the world that are effectively outside of our direct control or influence (these are collectively termed as “tao”), and that the least painful way to confront such issues is to recognize that we do not and cannot control them. Basically, its a little bit like disciplined apathy.

    2. Regarding chickens and crossing roads, I prefer my thought on his motives: suicidal ideation. I mean, honestly, did the chicken really think he would survive such an ordeal?!?

    3. WRT Elizabethan superguns, an interesting parallel can be seen in the early 20C with the run-up to the creation of the HMS Dreadnought (again, a British innovation), which introduced the all-big gun battleship. On the plus side, we introduced the concept of all-or-nothing armor protection, and while the Brits led the way on the all-big gun armament, they also led the way in the (potentially) flawed battlecruiser developments. Meanwhile, we (eventually) invalidated the entire battlecruiser concept by making our true battleships faster (e.g. with the Iowa class, rather than compromise armor protection to make the ships faster, we made the ships more hydrodynamically efficient, but also gave her much more powerful engines that enabled her to keep pace with the CBGs).

    4. Regarding the Sedition Act, well, nobody’s perfect. I wonder how long it’ll be before Obama’s disciples start demanding such protection for their liege…

    5. Beer & mathematics: note that the physicist in question was German. Okay, Irish would also have been a reasonable possibility.

    6. WRT liquid wood, it is an interesting concept. Those of us in the building industry have known all about engineered woods for quite some time (see, for example, plywood, OSB, LVLs, particleboard, etc.) I wonder if this sort of material would be robust enough to replace vinyl in building products (suitably weatherproofed, of course – resins work wonders for porous materials); exterior vinyl products are one of the primary uses for plastics in building construction. PVC is also widely used for plumbing purposes, but compared to the overall material requirements of a given building project, the amount is relatively small. Non-trivial, of course, but small; I doubt there would be much need to replace PVC with something else, though. OTOH, since PVC mostly supplanted metal piping, it is theoretically plausible to revert to such systems, if PVC becomes cost-ineffective.

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