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JMB chief Abdur Rahman nabbed
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 3: Non-WoT
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Page 1: WoT Operations
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Page 2: WoT Background
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Page 4: Opinion
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
What I Have Learned In 15 Years
by Tom McMahon

It was 15 years ago today that our 8-year-old son Ryan suffered a severe brain injury that left him unable to walk or talk or feed himself. He was in the hospital (in two hospitals, actually) for over six months, and ever since has lived with us at home. I thought I would share some of the lessons I've learned in these past 15 years . . .

Not about the WoT, or politics, or any of that . . . but something deeply moving that everyone really ought to read.
Posted by: Mike || 03/02/2006 11:17 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [249 views] Top|| File under:

#1  WOW. I have nothing to say but Thank You.
Posted by: mag44_vaquero || 03/02/2006 12:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Make sure he gets the rehabilitation i.e. OT, PT that is needed to improve.

Andrea
Posted by: ANdrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 16:05 Comments || Top||


Bulge Rises Five Inches!
BILLINGS, Mont. - A newly discovered surface bulge in Yellowstone National Park may be responsible for some unexpected geothermal activity in recent years, according to a study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists.

The bulge, about 25 miles across, rose 5 inches from 1997 to 2003 and may have triggered some thermal unrest at Norris Geyser Basin, including a sudden rise in temperatures, new steam vents and the awakening of Steamboat geyser.

The findings are part of a paper set to be published Thursday in the journal Nature. Charles Wicks, one of the USGS scientists who worked on the study, said much of what happens beneath the park's surface remains a mystery, but more is being learned about the Yellowstone caldera, the huge bowl-shaped collapsed volcano in the middle of the park that last erupted 640,000 years ago.

Geologists discovered the dome on the northern rim of the caldera several years ago, and Wicks and others used satellite images and other tools to track its swelling. Scientists studying the shore of Yellowstone Lake found that the caldera has been rising and falling for at least 15,000 years, sometimes swinging more than 10 feet.

Henry Heasler, Yellowstone's lead geologist, said research about the heaving caldera could play a role in predicting volcanic activity and help ensure the public's safety. "We've known that the caldera breathes," Heasler said. "Now we're starting to get a much better idea of those respirations."
Posted by: Bobby || 03/02/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The eruption 640,000 years ago was huge - bigger than Krakatoa.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/02/2006 0:15 Comments || Top||

#2  Lets pop it like a pimple and see what happens - either a lot of -ick at one time, versus smaller
-ick(s) many times.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/02/2006 0:34 Comments || Top||

#3  Tis a super-volcano - I saw the documentary 'n everything.

We're all doomed.
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 2:40 Comments || Top||

#4  So be like the Pals and take the ROW down with us to.
Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 5:35 Comments || Top||

#5  "Bulge Rises Five Inches!"

I thought Pan was out of town?
Posted by: Skidmark || 03/02/2006 5:43 Comments || Top||

#6  This is obviously the work of Bush and Halliburton.
Posted by: no mo uro || 03/02/2006 6:31 Comments || Top||

#7  Time to put major geothermal power systems under Yellowstone and exploit it. All that heat going to waste is just asking for an explosion. Take some out and purchase less oil.
Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 8:22 Comments || Top||

#8  That's why I didn't weiogh myself this morning
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/02/2006 8:26 Comments || Top||

#9  "Bulge rises five inches"

He has seen an attractive she-volcano.
Posted by: JFM || 03/02/2006 8:39 Comments || Top||

#10  Is that a volcano in your pants or are you just happy to see me?
Posted by: ed || 03/02/2006 8:42 Comments || Top||

#11  Tis a super-volcano - I saw the documentary 'n everything.

Last Saturday night on Sci-Fi channel, right?

Should I list the ways that movie sucked?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/02/2006 8:43 Comments || Top||

#12  A little Yellowstone trivia: it has erupted about every 6-700,000 years (630K, 1.3M, 2.0M). The last eruption 630,000 years ago was small, but still 500 times Mount St. Helens.
Posted by: ed || 03/02/2006 8:51 Comments || Top||

#13  Hmmmmmmm...we might be ready for human testing.
Notify the Email Spam Division.
Posted by: Halliburton: Rising Bulge Divivsion || 03/02/2006 8:52 Comments || Top||

#14  Not sure where the link went, but here it is again: Yellowstone eruption map
Posted by: ed || 03/02/2006 8:53 Comments || Top||

#15  Please, dear USA, do us all a favor and wipe the smile off Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan,...'s face before being blown to oblivion by the supervolcano. Time is the essence, faster please. Thanks in advance.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/02/2006 11:33 Comments || Top||

#16  "Very funny, Herb, dropping your Viagra bottle down Old Faithful..."
Posted by: eLarson || 03/02/2006 14:20 Comments || Top||

#17  heaving caldera

Sounds like a girl I dated back in high school.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/02/2006 15:37 Comments || Top||

#18  I see a win-win situation. Bush: Suggest selling 100,000 acres of federal land around Yellowstone. All the moonbats in the nation: rush there to prevent the deal. Yellowstone: Blow your top.

Works for me. Of course, I wouldn't want to be in Grand Forks, Billings, or Jackson Hole when it happened...
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/02/2006 15:42 Comments || Top||

#19  The lagest eruption in modern times. 1815 Tambora
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/02/2006 16:18 Comments || Top||

#20  New Scientist: Pulse reveals beating heart of a supervolcano from March 1 only mentions fluctuations in elevation - up to 120 millimetres - over a seven-year period.
so this five inches is over 7 years and sort of goes up and down...
Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 18:28 Comments || Top||

#21  Lol, RC - that did suck something awful, lol.

I saw the doco on the Science Channel. It was very well done, overall, but had the same breathiness we hear on the Near Earth Objects stories and the Asteroid of Doom. That we can't do diddley-squat at present about either one, though there's lots of grant money riding on the AoD thingy, sorta makes me yawn. Yeah, we're doomed, alrighty... one at a time, anyway.
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 19:06 Comments || Top||

#22  Bulge rises five inches

Do we rename it in honor of John Holmes or Ron Jeremy?
Posted by: Raj || 03/02/2006 20:15 Comments || Top||


Caucasus/Russia/Central Asia
Italians say Evil Empire™ tried to off the pope
ROME (Reuters) - Leaders of the former Soviet Union were behind the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981, an Italian parliamentary investigative commission said in a report.

A final draft of the report, which is due to be presented to parliament later this month, was made available to Reuters on Thursday by the commission president, Senator Paolo Guzzanti.

"This commission believes, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the leadership of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate Pope John Paul," the report said.

"They relayed this decision to the military secret services for them to take on all necessary operations to commit a crime of unique gravity, without parallel in modern times," it said.
Posted by: Chinter Flarong9283 || 03/02/2006 12:15 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  lesee ... that was, ...uhhh... 25 years to figger that out?
Posted by: Bobby || 03/02/2006 12:50 Comments || Top||

#2  25 years 'suspected'; fourteen years to figure it's safe for dissemination.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/02/2006 13:13 Comments || Top||

#3  And someone gets paid for this??????????
Posted by: ARMYGUY || 03/02/2006 13:40 Comments || Top||

#4  Because it's only now that some documents have been made available that shed light on just how far communist tentacles reached into the Vatican. I don't think there's any doubt now that they had spies inside the Vatican, for example.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 14:08 Comments || Top||

#5  Rafael, are you saying it (shooting JP2) was an inside job?
Posted by: Grunter || 03/02/2006 15:08 Comments || Top||

#6  It depends how far you want to go with "inside job", and who you want to believe:

VATICAN CITY, April 29: The Polish priest accused of spying on the late Pope John Paul II says he may have been “an idiot or naive, but not a spy”, and that the accusations were part of a slander campaign to discredit the late pontiff. “I have never been a spy,” insisted Father Konrad Hejmo in an interview published by Italy’s La Repubblica Friday. “Call me an idiot, or naive, but not a spy.”

Father Hejmo said the accusations, which he expects will soon hit other Polish priests, “are an international operation aimed at smearing the memory of Pope Wojtyla,” John Paul II’s original name.

Poland’s centre investigating crimes committed by Nazi Germany and the country’s former communist regime said on Wednesday that father Hejmo was an informer for the Polish intelligence agency during the 1980s, after John Paul II was elected pope.

The Dominican priest said he knew that his reports on the papacy, written for the Polish bishops’ conference, were being used by his country’s secret services.

“I spoke about it to the Holy Father once,” Hejmo told Corriere della Sera newspaper. “We were having lunch with other priests and all of us said we had ‘guardian angels,’ meaning controllers working for the Polish government.

“Even the pope knew he was being spied on,” said the 69-year-old priest, who was in charge of bringing Polish pilgrims to the pope’s audiences.

Hejmo said his detractors had waited for John Paul II’s death on April 2 to make their accusations, because the pope would have “certainly” defended him.

The Vatican has so far kept silent about the accusations. But Rome’s Il Messaggero daily reported Friday that it was planning a statement underlining that Hejmo was not an employee of the Holy See and therefore did not have access to any confidential information.

Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, however, has asked the Polish bishops to make the statement, hoping to keep the scandal at arm’s length, Messaggero reported.

Hejmo acknowledged to La Repubblica having received money from a Polish man living in Germany, whom he suspects of forwarding his reports to the Polish intelligence agency.

“I came to Rome without money,” explained the priest. “There were good-hearted priests that gave me money.

“This agent also gave me money, but through the priests,” Hejmo was quoted as saying. —AFP


Source. (the link wasn't working when I tried it just now)
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 15:27 Comments || Top||

#7  This by itself might not be significant, if you take the priest at his word, except that there is a related story to this, about the Polish communists' attempt to infiltrate the Church in Poland. They knew very well that the Church was a threat, moreso after JP2's first visit to Poland.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 15:34 Comments || Top||

#8  No link, facts or coherent thinking to back this, I'm only blowing hot air as I do best, but my impression is the commies did all they could to infiltrate and manipulate the Church from the 30's and counting, even sending thousands of sleepers into seminaries all over the world IIRC, including the USA.
Infiltration into the Church is not new (Free-masons did this a lot), in order to warp it to one's aims; for a conservative catholic, the Vatican II council or the liberation theology certainly could be indicative of the influence of liberalism and communism on its doctrine.

Pure communist spies, moles and influence agents certainly aren't too far-fetched.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/02/2006 16:37 Comments || Top||

#9  sending thousands of sleepers into seminaries all over the world IIRC, including the USA.

I have no facts behind my assertion, but I would say that they did a good job of destroying the church to the point where I have a tough time finding one outside of military chapels worth attending. The worst ones are in DC, since you need to bow before the worldly pc masters if you want to get the job. They've destroyed it in much the same way that the destroyed the liberals of old - by changing the focus to blame instead of rolling up your sleeves and providing support. For example, the Methodist Church over by the American University - the preacher was good - he understood spirituality and gave a good sermon - but the underlying message of it all was blame. For example, they didn't support the Boyscouts because of the gay issue. They prayed for the Iraqis killed by Americans but not the American soldiers.

What is the underlying message there? Blame the Boyscouts. Blame the soldiers. Blame George Bush for the war. Why, I wondered, if you think homosexuals should be allowed to be involved in youth groups, they why not start your own group and leave the boyscouts alone to do whatever good they do? It's sort of the same argument as the soup kitchens in France. If your goal is to feed the hungry and you are serving pork (a very inexpensive food) - at least you are feeding some of the hungry - no? It's a good deed. If you set up a soup kitchen for the sole purpose of NOT feeding the Muslims pork - then that's another story, but never the less, some get fed, so it is still a good deed. Nothing stops those who criticize those not providing halal meals from providing them themselves - but they don't want to do that - that requires work - they just want to blame those who do not. Blame, such an easy way to make yourself feel better and more self-righteous without actually having to DO anything or be inconvenienced in any way.

All you need to do to be self-righteous is to claim that you hold to a higher ideal than others because you criticize the good works of those who do not achieve your ideal goal.

Anyway, I could go on, but I won't. Someone said in another post the other day that children are not born to hate - they have to be taught. But that is only partly true. It his human nature to hate those who do you wrong. It requires a higher level of learning to learn the benefits of forgiveness. Forgiveness needs to be TAUGHT. The basis for our western society is built on many of the lessons of forgiveness, charity, doing unto others, etc. which were initially taught by the Christian churches. It is so ingrained in western society that we think we are born with these values, but we are not. Most western societies learned the benefits of these higher values and they incorporated to the point where they continue even in the absence of the churches. Look at Israel. But we are not born with this knowledge, it is learned and one must strive towards those goals.

Enough. I'm tired and off topic. But I think it is sad that the Christian churches, the fountain of so much good, have been denigrated to the point where they are believed to be bad. Perhaps it was the infiltraion of those who no longer teach the true values that this is the case, perhaps it is the ease of our lives today that we feel we no longer need it. Either way, it's a loss to us all.
Posted by: 2b || 03/02/2006 17:40 Comments || Top||

#10 
Leaders of the former Soviet Union were behind the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981
Well, duh!
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/02/2006 20:05 Comments || Top||

#11  CLINTONISM > Cops/Judges = Mafia-Bad Guys, so why not GOD/POPE = DEVIL, as honest injun as Bill Clinton wants to give Americans the straight arrow, D *** THE TORPEDOES, gist of things by being on any and all sides of the Port-Gate issue.
Solely and Severally = Jointly and Severally = Its your fault and only your fault for trusting/voting for him.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/02/2006 21:22 Comments || Top||


Russian Satellite Launch Fizzles
Russia's space program suffered another embarrassing failure Wednesday, when a booster rocket failed to put an Arab commercial satellite to a designated orbit, officials said.

The Arabsat 4A telecommunications satellite owned by the Saudi ARABSAT company was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It was atop a rocket equipped with an additional booster stage, the Russian Federal Space Agency said in a statement.

The rocket successfully delivered the satellite to a preliminary orbit, but the booster failed to function properly and could not deliver the satellite to a designated orbit, the agency said.

An emergency panel of space officials was investigating the situation, it said. Federal Space Agency spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko told The Associated Press that experts from the European Astrium company that had built the satellite were trying to save it by guiding it to a proper orbit using the vehicle own orientation engines.

"Chances for success are slim," Davidenko said.

Davidenko said the satellite separated from the booster earlier than required and remained in an orbit much lower than the designated one.

The bungled launch was the latest in a series of mishaps that have recently plagued Russia's space program, jeopardizing its hopes to earn more revenue from commercial launches of foreign satellites.

In October, a high-profile European satellite was lost because of a Russian booster failure. The loss of the $142 million CryoSat satellite dealt a major blow to the European Space Agency, which had hoped to conduct a three-year mapping of polar ice caps and provide more reliable data for the study of global warming.

Also that month, space experts failed to recover an experimental space vehicle after its return, engineers lost contact with an earlier launched Russian Earth-monitoring satellite and a new optical research satellite was lost due to a booster failure.

Following the failed launches, Russia's President Vladimir Putin fired the chief of the Khrunichev company that built the Rokot booster. The rocket that failed Wednesday was also built by Khrunichev.
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 04:09 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [259 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ha-ha!
Posted by: bigjim-ky || 03/02/2006 5:29 Comments || Top||

#2  Was this the geosync TV broadcast bird intended to block exposing the basin to reality?
Posted by: Skidmark || 03/02/2006 5:36 Comments || Top||

#3  Why do I find this as good news?
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/02/2006 9:59 Comments || Top||

#4  Of course the ideal orbit for an Arab satellite is the launch point to Tel Aviv. From their view point anyway.
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 03/02/2006 10:18 Comments || Top||

#5  Here's another Halliburton division needs naming.
Posted by: Grunter || 03/02/2006 13:24 Comments || Top||

#6  Halliburton Orbital Lift Destabilization Division™?
Posted by: Chinter Flarong9283 || 03/02/2006 16:46 Comments || Top||

#7  HOLDD ... I like it. ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 16:47 Comments || Top||

#8  Is this what they call the blind leading the blind?
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/02/2006 16:51 Comments || Top||

#9  Insh'Allah!!!
Posted by: borgboy || 03/02/2006 17:51 Comments || Top||

#10  Close examination of the Soviet space program reveals a history of excellent designs discarded due to political or nepotistic preferences.

Sidebar: Poor Soviet vehicle reliability combined with low grade telemetry and video monitoring made it common practice to have all of the design crew and engineers present at liftoffs to observe post-launch behavior in case failure analysis proved necessary.

The crushing crowning moment happened in 1960. A massive military application solid-fuel booster had not ignited properly. Per SOP, all crews waited for nearly an hour in case the chemical engine suddenly sparked to life. (Much like a Roman candle that suddenly ignites due to a smouldering fuse.) With the waiting period over, primary designer Korolev and some 200 other design bureau members strode across the launch pad and approached the immobile rocket only to have it catastrophically detonate all at once.

Soviet Russia lost the cream of its aerospace engineering task force in a single incandescent second. This is probably why the Soviets were unable to detect subtle but critical parameters included as disinformation in the US space shuttle plans they stole during the early 1980s. All of this added up to a space program riddled by self-defeating special interests and interagency squabbling. It's hard to imagine that things have changed much today.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/02/2006 18:18 Comments || Top||

#11  Allan says images are forbidden, specially for muslims ;-b. Allan knows best.
Posted by: Hupomoger Clans9827 || 03/02/2006 19:17 Comments || Top||


Down Under
Fijians set to seethe vote in May
It's not a good idea to let the Fijians seethe -- those guys are as tough as the Samoans.
SUVA - The leader of the South Pacific nation of Fiji has called a general election for May, testing racial divisions, which have fuelled three coups and a military mutiny since 1987.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase announced the election on Wednesday, having previously vowed to stay in power until his five-year term ends in September. “My party is ready for the general elections,” Qarase told reporters in the capital, Suva. He said parliament would be dissolved on March 27 and elections held between May 6 and 13.

Voting in the South Pacific archipelago usually takes at least a week, given the logistical problems involved in collecting ballots from far-flung islands and villages. Fiji has 320 islands covering 18,376 sq km (7,100 sq miles) of ocean. Qarase was elected prime minister in 2001 after being initially installed as caretaker leader in 2000 when martial law was imposed following a nationalist-led coup.

Racial tensions have sparked three coups in Fiji since 1987, with indigenous Fijians resenting the economic, and at times political, strength of ethnic Indians whose ancestors were brought to Fiji to work on British sugar cane farms.

Qarase’s main challenge in the 2006 election is expected to come from Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry, an ethnic Indian overthrown as prime minister in the 2000 coup. Chaudhry said his Indo-Fijian party was also ready for the early poll, but questioned the accuracy of new electoral rolls. “We have been complaining about the registration of voters since last year,” said Chaudhry. “There are hundreds of voters assigned to wrong constituencies.”

Fiji’s 71 electorates are race-based, with 23 seats allocated to indigenous Fijians, 19 seats to Indo-Fijians and 25 open seats, which often heavily favour indigenous Fijians. Four seats are reserved for minor ethnic groups.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/02/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Another nation demanding to be invaded by Dubya - iff the West doesn't save Fiji the Chicoms will, as they want to be able to confront and defeat the USA in PACOA wid out having to say how their forces got there.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/02/2006 0:38 Comments || Top||

#2  Doesn't Fijian seething involve cooking up some missionaries? 3dc?
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 2:41 Comments || Top||

#3  At one time the Fijian Army consisted of 3 light Infantry battalions, two of which used to remain deployed on worldwide UN duty. Very good soldiers they are as I recall. Bula bula, more Kava please, I'm off to the Blue Lagoon to find Brooke!
Posted by: Visitor || 03/02/2006 14:10 Comments || Top||


Costello wants Australia to become worlds most female friendly country
Well, I'll volunteer to help with that!
Posted by: Oztralian || 03/02/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [253 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Great, start by dealing with this.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/02/2006 20:05 Comments || Top||


Europe
The Official Danish Apology
Posted by: BrerRabbit || 03/02/2006 12:13 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Hé hé!
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/02/2006 16:40 Comments || Top||


French cat lovers panic after bird flu death
Posted by: ryuge || 03/02/2006 06:37 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [245 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Well, if the flu does enter the pussy cat population as a whole, with cat-to-cat transmission, at least we can look forward to fewer "crazy old lady with 5 dozen cats in her house" stories for a while.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/02/2006 12:58 Comments || Top||

#2  No sweat - this is why there's outcall and delivery.
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 19:15 Comments || Top||

#3  ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 19:35 Comments || Top||

#4  First of all, French cat lovers brought to mind something completely different.

Secondly, WHO
Authorities in Germany have today announced detection of H5N1 avian influenza in a domestic cat. The cat was found dead over the weekend on the northern island of Ruegen. Since mid-February, more than 100 wild birds have died on the island, and tests have confirmed H5N1 infection in several.

There is no present evidence that domestic cats play a role in the transmission cycle of H5N1 viruses. To date, no human case has been linked to exposure to a diseased cat. No outbreaks in domestic cats have been reported.

Unlike the case in domestic and wild birds, there is no evidence that domestic cats are a reservoir of the virus. All available evidence indicates that cat infections occur in association with H5N1 outbreaks in domestic or wild birds.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 03/02/2006 20:27 Comments || Top||


German unemployment rises to 12.2 per cent
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [361 views] Top|| File under:

#1  But then...In seasonally adjusted terms, which economists consider to be a more important indicator of labour market trends, unemployment dropped by 5,000 this month to 4.695 million.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 1:23 Comments || Top||

#2  Wotta disingenuous comment, Raphael. The article is far from neutral or optimistic - it is a litany of worse than expected - and worsening - conditions. Sheesh. Foolish little parry there - did it make you puff up and feel good? -- if anyone bothers to read the thing you look like a pluperfect fool. Go figure, huh?
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 3:15 Comments || Top||

#3  To compound matters, the European Central Bank is to raise interest rates today.
Posted by: Jake-the-Peg || 03/02/2006 6:59 Comments || Top||

#4  Even if they don't read it...
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/02/2006 8:27 Comments || Top||

#5  In response to the high unemployment data Franz Muentefering said "there must be more jobs in Germany."
Whoaa..with insight like that they should make him Labour Minister or something...er nevermind.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/02/2006 8:47 Comments || Top||

#6  Wotta disingenuous comment, Raphael. The article is far from neutral or optimistic

I'm glad you commented because it shows perfectly just what a prick you really are.

I posted my comment to point out that the headline is not the entire story, and it's far from doom and gloom.
In fact, the whole point of the article was this and only this:
The latest data means that unemployment has remained above the politically sensitive five million mark for two consecutive months.

That's seasonally unadjusted. This may or may not be meaningful, depending on what happens in the following months when the labour market is expected to stabilise. It says so in the article.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 13:24 Comments || Top||

#7  The Weimer Republic had it worse. Just hope they don't follow a similar prescription.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 03/02/2006 13:55 Comments || Top||

#8  Up or down, it's still 12 percent. It sucks. Bad.
Posted by: Mark E. || 03/02/2006 16:24 Comments || Top||

#9  But it's a bit unfair to include eastern Germany in this rate. Even the article admits the western unemployment rate is at about 10%, which is about 3% higher than the pre-unification rate circa 1990.

I'm not sure exactly what lotp's point was in posting this article. And I'm asking sincerely. Is it to show that Germany is paying the price for its stubborn socialism? Because there's more to it than that.

Manufacturing plays a more significant role in Germany's economy than perhaps any other advanced economy. Industrial output itself accounts for about 23% of GDP. This doesn't bode well for a country that now sits next to a cheaper source of labour and production. What we are seeing here is the repercussion of admitting eastern Europe to the European Union. Combined with socialist policies makes this especially painful for Germany, and they have to learn to adjust.

But before I would say the sky is falling, I'd watch those GDP figures, and as of this moment they are stable.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 17:16 Comments || Top||

#10  "I'm glad you commented because it shows perfectly just what a prick you really are."

ROFL! Other than making no sense, that's brilliant! Perhaps, you're the one's who's a prickly little dick.

Um, please don't cry, K?

If I want to comment on an article, I will do so you fucking asstard. What IS your major malfunction, other than being a Tranzi Europhile with full-blown Power / Relevance Envy?

The article is, indeed, pretty gloomy. Typical of such limp-symp reporting, it has all the brave (read: weasel) words up front and all the bad news at the end.

But this really isn't about Germany. [historical references follow] Or perfidious Turkey. Or moronic dual passports. Or unarmed Border Receptionists. Nah. Everybody knows those things aren't "it". It's about a very very bad, probably terminal, case of purest 100% Grade A Power Envy.

You're a variant of Aris' gig - you don't claim to know everything, no - your shtick is to be the Master Sensitive and Defender of The Tranzis. You're the nittiest pickiest nuanciest hair-splitter of all time. No hair is too small or thin for you to go Ginsu on. You're capable, cuz you're so very uber-sensitive (and seem to have a Gov't job, so plenty of time to blog), to spend hours and hours typing airy silliness which you believe proves that gray isn't really gray, it's some white mixed with some black and, somehow, only you know the right proportions. Wotta fucking nitwit.

Yesterday you said "The reasons for this are documented on Rantburg, going back to well before .com's days here." in this thread in Comment #11.

Oooh, Rafael the wizened Old Hand, eh? Wow! But, y'know what?, I found that curious. The post content is what matters, but since you brought it up and seemed to attach some self-inflating significance to it, I thought I'd have a look.

Guess what? My first post on RB is on 04/06/2003, as PD. I started lurking around RB from Saudi in early March - cuz of the war - but just reading soon wasn't enough... I was in damned good company, too - LOTS of new RBers came out of the closet in April, 2003. War will do that, I guess. So I thought I'd start there and stroll backward through the archives to see what wisdom and original thought you had revealed to the world via RB... and I found lots of interesting stuff and posters*, but...

But no Rafael or Raphael. Hmmm. Were you posting as Hugh Jorgan? Dreaming out loud, again? Lol. Naw, you're a little Qanuck weenie. So, lessee...

No posts by you in April. None in March. Zero in February. Zip, zilch, nada in January. A full third of 2003 and no posts from you. A very eventful time period, too. Wotta loss! No Rafael Expositions of The Major Truths! Holy smokes! Can it be? Yeah, it can...

I call BULLSHIT. On that idiotic little bit of self-inflation and, well, most everything else you post. Gosh, I don't wanna give you hives or make you cry or anything, but it kinda looks like you're a fucking liar.

Typical puffery and insecurity, or relevance envy, perhaps. Who cares?

Everything else rather pales.

*I see, in no particular order, Ptah and tu3031 and Tresho and Penguin and seafarious and Steve White and Frank G and Paul/Alaska Paul and Dave and Dave D and and Steve and mojo and Chuck Simmins and Raj and john and Just John and John Anderson and Robert Crawford and Dar and Barbara Skolaut and Tony and liberalhawk and Tom Roberts and Anonymous (amazingly prolific!) and VAMark and Angie Shultz and Meryl Yourish and Dreadnought and Patrick Phillips and Rex Mundi and Yank and Tripartite and Brian and Peter and Scooter McGruder and Atomic Conspiracy and Yosemite Sam and R McLeod and Hiryu and JAB and JDB and paj, and Dan and Hugh Jorgan (lol) and raptor and flash91 and Spot and eLaron and rg117 and Doug De Bono and mhw and Old Patriot and Pete Stanley and someone and TJ Jackson and Kathy K and OldSpook and Bulldog and Hermetic and Caton and Capsu78 and Matt and matt and Parabellum and Zhang Fei and B-A-R and BarCodeKing and phil_b (Phil B back then) and Ernest Brown and Anonon and Deviant Saint and Kalle and anon1 and Frank Martin and Wills and becky and Tibor and Tokyo Taro and El Id and True German Ally and Former Russian Major and Dixie Normus and Bent Pyramid and growler and Bodyguard and white-collar redneck and Dishman and Denny and George and Rw / RW (RWV?) and Mike N and Old Grouch and Poitiers and sonnie and Down Under and Rifle308 and mjh and Hodenon and Michael and MommaBear and jrosevear and Rawsnacks and FOTSGreg and Mark IV and defscribe and dorf and Ben and Joe and Tom and Christopher Johnson and Mike and Bobbing4Kittens and Someone who did NOT vote for William Proxmire and Tadderly and Nik Karanikos and Murat and me and some guy named Fred... and many others, of course - even Jabba the Tutt and Pink & Fluffy, lol - no offense intended if I left anyone out. I even found the comments are broken back on 01/13/03 and 01/15/03, lol, including comments from other dates, lol. It was a lot of fun looking back, in fact.
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 18:27 Comments || Top||

#11  I'm not sure exactly what lotp's point was in posting this article

I posted it because Merkel has to deal with the public response to this sustained, psychologically frightening (and structurally damaging) unemployment in Germany. She promised economic reforms but had to back off immediately after being elected due to public outcry.

Merkel is a great improvement over Schroeder. But if the German economy is perceived by Germans to be tanking, there is the potential for a backlash that might make Germany far less helpful and stable than it is at the moment.

We've already seen German companies and citizens accused of selling nuclear arms-related stuff to Iran. The last thing we need is for that to accelerate while Germany implodes economically.

In other words, I posted it because economic issues can have political - and geopolitical - consequences.
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 18:32 Comments || Top||

#12  .com, ye'r lucky that I am getting new glasses tomorrow! ;-)
I squinted as hard as I could, but it still looks like a white noise graphic!
Posted by: twobyfour || 03/02/2006 23:25 Comments || Top||

#13  I call BULLSHIT. On that idiotic little bit of self-inflation and, well, most everything else you post. Gosh, I don't wanna give you hives or make you cry or anything, but it kinda looks like you're a fucking liar.

If I remember, my very first post was using "RW". Those are my initials. Fred can verify that because he knows my real name (but please Fred don't disclose it). If I recall even further, you posted your first comment after me, but I may be wrong. I even remember why you changed from "PD" to ".com", at TGA's behest I think it was. Anyway, no matter, you win. (Hey look, I'm even on that list of yours!)


lotp, just as a note, Merkel is enjoying an 80% approval rating thus far. So far, so good. Time will tell.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 23:39 Comments || Top||

#14  Yup, it's all doom and gloom:

The surprising 2.7 per cent rise in January’s retail sales is the latest evidence that the upswing in Europe’s largest economy is broadening beyond exports and investments.

The eurozone’s broadening economic recovery is expected to be cited by the ECB when it lifts its main interest rate this afternoon by a quarter percentage point to 2.5 per cent, following a similar rise in December.

Also underscoring Germany’s economic recovery were figures from the VDMA engineering association showing orders in January were 25 per cent higher than the same month a year before. Inland orders were up 27 per cent – another sign that the domestic economy is stirring.

Source

For every gloomy article there's one that suggests otherwise.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 23:51 Comments || Top||

#15  Fred can verify that because he knows my real name

And if that's not enough there's always the IP and domain thingie. What else...I think that's it.
Posted by: Rafael || 03/02/2006 23:55 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Cardinal Vows to Defy Anti-Immigrant Bill
Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said Wednesday he would instruct his priests to defy a proposed federal requirement that churches check the legal status of parishioners before helping them.

The U.S. House of Representatives included the requirement in an immigration bill that the Senate Judiciary Committee is to begin debating this week. The legislation also would penalize social organizations that refuse to meet its requirements.

When asked if he would be willing to go to jail for the stance, Mahony said "yes" because "helping people in need were actions that are part of God's mercy."

Mahony, a longtime advocate of immigrant rights who oversees a racially diverse archdiocese of more than 4 million people, used Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season to urge Catholics to "make room" for immigrants.

"Unless you are a Native American, everyone in here is the son or daughter of immigrants," said Mahony, speaking during Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Mahony told those attending Mass he was not in favor of "unfettered immigration," but that the current system was inhumane and inefficient. He said stringent laws and government bureaucracy meant immigrants were often separated up to 15 years from family members trying to immigrate.

"We need reform that looks to family unification," he said. "What we have now is broken and invites violation."

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops support a guest-worker program, legalizing undocumented immigrants and more visas for migrants' families.

Mahony has long advocated for immigrant rights and opposed the 1994 state proposition that tried to deny public benefits to illegal immigrants. The proposition was approved by voters but struck down by federal courts as unconstitutional.
It is not the business of churches to have to "check papers". It is also not the business of churches to facilitate additional lawbreaking. So it is acceptable for them to give to anyone who walks through their doors, but it is not acceptable for them to encourage the violation of US borders.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/02/2006 09:45 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [338 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Unless you are a Native American, everyone in here is the son or daughter of immigrants," said Mahony, speaking during Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Well actually they are too. It's just that their ancestors are so far back that one could never trace their family tree. I agree that it is not the business of churchs to have to check residency papers but neither should they encourage or facilitate breaking the law. With one proviso, laws that seek to deny the rights of citizens and can be fought with civil disobediance ala the civil rights fights of the past.
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 03/02/2006 10:15 Comments || Top||

#2  "Unless you are a Native American,..."
Perhaps at odds with Merriam-Webster, a Cherokee friend of mine insisted that he was an "American Indian". He further pointed out that anyone born in America is a native, thus a Native American. As further proof to his argument, he said look at the sign as you approach Cherokee, North Carolina. It reads "Indian Reservation" not "Native American Reservation".

I'm wondering if the Cardinal cannot render assistance to the governmaent without compromising his religious duties. As Jesus pointed out, “Give to worldly authorities the things that belong to them, and to God what belongs to God.”
Posted by: GK || 03/02/2006 11:33 Comments || Top||

#3  The catch here may be that the priests are helping parishioners with federal funds. If they won't enforce federal laws (which they ought not) then they shouldn't take federal funds (which they ought not). This has always been the downside of the faith based initiatives. He who pays the piper calls the tune. It's the Feds favorite way of taking over, offer cash then pull the strings.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/02/2006 11:52 Comments || Top||

#4  Mahoney is a jackoff. He's one of the absolutely WORST Bishops in the US Catholic Church.

Posted by: OldSpook || 03/02/2006 13:30 Comments || Top||

#5  GK: Was/is your friend a member of AIM?

Lots of injuns prefer to be called American Indians. Some get downright nasty about it when you call them "native Americans", insisting their occupancy of the continent predates America.

Go figure.
Posted by: mojo || 03/02/2006 13:43 Comments || Top||

#6  Its all PC in the name. NA came up because the Europeans had tagged the natives with a misapplied term thinking they [the Europeans] had made it to India. It had been used for hundreds of years, then the 60s and the victimization culture took hold and the PC police decided that it was an insult. Aboriginal-American wasn't classy enough I guess, but it does have that oh, so in ' - '.
Posted by: Chanter Cruger6161 || 03/02/2006 14:44 Comments || Top||

#7  "We need reform that looks to family unification"

No problemo there yer holiness. How bouts they do there unifying in their "legal" country of origin.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 03/02/2006 15:00 Comments || Top||

#8  #5. MOJO, I doubt that he's a member of AIM and he never ever gets nasty about anything. Just an all round good guy.
Posted by: GK || 03/02/2006 18:20 Comments || Top||

#9  Yer all squatters.
Posted by: .Alley Oop || 03/02/2006 19:20 Comments || Top||

#10  As a Catholic, I agree with OS - MAhoney's presided over the silencing and transferring of unknown numbers of pedophile priests to unsuspecting parishes, smashing the lives of untold children. He should be run out of the Church on a rail and sent to prison for conspiracy and abetting crimes. Mahoney should just STFU about legalities and morality.
Posted by: Frank G || 03/02/2006 20:31 Comments || Top||

#11  the church isn't a place for politics. If churches start/continue to push these views, they won't be non profit much longer.
Posted by: Jan || 03/02/2006 21:09 Comments || Top||

#12  The Dioceses of Los Angeles and San Bernardino are at the forefront of this 'social justice' issue. The good Cardinal and the bishops may be right in saying they are "not in favor of 'unfettered immigration'", but they're not far off from that stance.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/02/2006 21:45 Comments || Top||


Violence on border at record high
Violence on the U.S.-Mexico border is at an all-time high because illegal aliens are more willing to attack U.S. authorities, and an increasing number also are convicted criminals, border sheriffs said yesterday.

Whereas 10 years ago they would flee back to Mexico if anyone challenged them, now aliens make it clear they will fight, the sheriffs told a Senate Judiciary Committee panel. "They make it known to the deputies: 'We're going through, you're not going to stop us,'?" said Sheriff A. D'Wayne Jernigan of Val Verde County in Texas.

And Sheriff Larry A. Dever of Cochise County in Arizona said when smugglers are involved, law enforcement now expects the worst. "We anticipate that we will be in a fight, a very violent confrontation, in every interdiction effort, with running gunbattles down public roadways," he said.

The sheriffs described a border in chaos and a federal government that hasn't put the resources into its own efforts, nor been as receptive as possible to local law-enforcement efforts to help out. They said the trend toward violent confrontations has happened in the past decade as the trade in drugs and people has become a big business for smugglers and with the increase in OTMs, or "other than Mexican" aliens, attempting to cross.

"It sounds like, if nothing else, there's at least an attitude of entitlement," said Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican.

Border violence has become a hot topic in recent months, with drug cartels brazenly killing police chiefs on the Mexican side, the discovery of a tunnel under the border ending in a warehouse in San Diego, attacks on U.S. authorities increasing, and a videotaped encounter with what Texas sheriffs said was Mexican military on the U.S. side of the border.

Senators said one reason for the rise in violence on the U.S. side is that many illegal aliens are convicted criminals or persons wanted for crimes. More than 42,000 illegal aliens caught at the U.S. border in the past five months fell into that category, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "Because the goal of these criminals is to smuggle valuable drugs and humans across the border, the violence today has led to gunfire exchanges with our law-enforcement agents," said Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican. "These criminals also have no prejudice in their violence, as they also assault the very people they're smuggling illegally into our country."

Mr. Kyl said the Department of Homeland Security reported that 139,000 of the 1.1 million people apprehended along the border in 2005 were criminal aliens seeking to illegally re-enter the United States.

In addition to the sheriffs, federal immigration authorities also testified yesterday. Under questioning by Sen. Jeff Sessions, Marcy M. Forman, the director of the Office of Investigations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said her office doesn't have the money or staff to respond to all calls from local law enforcement to come pick up illegal aliens. "Basically the rule in Alabama was it was 15 or more, we might come and pick them up. Otherwise basically don't bother to call. Isn't that the real fact?" said Mr. Sessions, Alabama Republican.

Miss Forman said not all calls about illegal aliens are a priority for ICE. "With 5,500 special agents we have to prioritize. Our prioritization entails national security and public safety," she said, which means dangerous felons and those thought to be security risks. She said "funding is an issue" for why they don't have the ability to respond. President Bush called for modest increases in ICE agents in this year's budget.

Sheriff Dever said that although his border county gets a good response from ICE, that's not true for his colleagues in the interior.

Also yesterday, Mr. Kyl and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, joined by a bipartisan group of House members, announced a bill to close a loophole in the law regarding tunnels that run under the border. Although it is illegal to smuggle drugs or people through tunnels, it is not illegal to build a tunnel or own the property that the tunnel exits onto. Forty tunnels have been discovered, 39 or them on the southern border. The border sheriffs are making the rounds of Capitol Hill in their search for more aid.

A House bill passed last year would allow border sheriffs to aid in enforcing immigration laws, and some states have signed agreements allowing ICE to train local law enforcement on how to detain and process illegal aliens.

Members of the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition testified before a House Homeland Security Committee panel last month and some of their members, along with several Arizona sheriffs, will be before a House Judiciary Committee panel today.
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 04:46 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [419 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Basically the rule in Alabama was it was 15 or more, we might come and pick them up

Sigh.....

Just come to Denver General Hospital, or to any of the Denver schools, you'll have thousands of illegals to "pick them up". They don't even try to hide anymore. They are first in line for services.
Don't get me going on free health care if you're an illegal verses no health care for the average joe american citizen. The term "citizen" is being replaced with the term "resident" here to include the illegals in Colorado.
And don't allow citizenship to those already here. They have been here illegally and need to be taken back. I'm very tired of this politically correct atmosphere that has been dominating our actions. Wanting to do the right thing has been tromped on and taken advantage of to the max. We need to reclaim our borders.
Put the fence up! put the fence up! put the fence up!
Posted by: Jan || 03/02/2006 13:16 Comments || Top||

#2 
""

It's that way everywhere. Particularly in states bordering Mexico.
Posted by: Vinkat Bala Subrumanian || 03/02/2006 15:08 Comments || Top||

#3 
"Just come to Denver General Hospital, or to any of the Denver schools, you'll have thousands of illegals to "pick them up". They don't even try to hide anymore. They are first in line for services."

It's that way everywhere. Particularly in states bordering Mexico.

Sorry for the double post, I forgot to close the tag.
Posted by: Vinkat Bala Subrumanian || 03/02/2006 15:09 Comments || Top||

#4  We need to protect our borders. This includes having 'heavy artillary' (as in gunships / helos / aircraft / and even troops if needed) on call to local law enforcement when needed. They shouldn't have to face this invasion alone.

Cut *all* federal funds to so-called 'sanctuary cities' and governments. No you don't get to pick and choose which laws you will enforce.

Require proof positive of legal residence / citizenship for public school registration, non-critical medical treatment, and other 'benefits'. Let them go back and fix where they came from.

Enforce the existing laws against hiring illegal aliens and hand out fines to pay for it. Change them to make it stick personally (as in pierce the coroprate veil) to the CFO and CIO's (and boards) of corporations who hire illegals.

If we need/want 'Guest workers' thats fine. As long as the apply *there* and get the approprate background checks / approvals / etc.... like any other Visa applicant. And make them return - they cannot adjust status but must return.

Automatic 10 year ban for entering the US illegally. Lifetime on the second offense.

No automatic citizenship for newborns born from a illegal parent (of either gender). Or of non-immigrant visa holders or 'Guest Workers'.

And stop calling them 'illegal immigrants' - they have not been granted immigrant status by the BCIS/INS they are ILLEGAL ALIENS (as in in-violation-of-federal-law).

Do not give amnisty to illegals who are already here. Make them return to their country of origin, then wait out their 10 year ban, then apply and wait like every other law-abiding applicant.

--

BTW: is that guy in the pic (on the left) showing us how (ahem!) big he is or what?
Posted by: CrazyFool || 03/02/2006 15:39 Comments || Top||

#5  Crazyfool, while I was a nursing student long ago, a guy came in through the ER from an accident from a bar brawl, and as they cut off his clothes, it was discovered that he had the perverbial banana taped to his leg. As a very young woman at the time, this was very shocking. This story traveled like wild fire throughout the hospital at the time. I don't think I would have believed it had I not seen it. So this photo means nothing to me, except maybe he's trying to catch the banana shifting haha.
Posted by: Jan || 03/02/2006 16:00 Comments || Top||

#6  "It sounds like, if nothing else, there's at least an attitude of entitlement,"
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/02/2006 16:08 Comments || Top||

#7  We need to create that National Militia as soon as possible, arm it to the teeth (capable of facing anything the Mexican military has), and put it on the border. As bad as my physical health is, I will gladly spend a month or six down there helping out, but only if I'm allowed to shoot back. NO MORE VIETNAMS, especially on our own border. At the same time, let's do the Canadian border, too. We won't have to face many Canadians of British descendance, but the odd arab or two should be greeted with a 7.62mm round between the eyes.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/02/2006 16:21 Comments || Top||

#8  he had the perverbial banana taped to his leg

ROTFLO !!!
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 16:24 Comments || Top||

#9  Yeah, but was it a meat banana (attaboy!) or a banana banana (wannabe!)?
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 03/02/2006 16:38 Comments || Top||

#10  Sounded like a wannabe to me .... LOL
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 18:28 Comments || Top||

#11  Old Patriot, I only wish more of our young people felt as you do. Hopefully we can make a difference in this arena by opening up people's eyes to the tragedies occuring down there.
Posted by: Jan || 03/02/2006 18:53 Comments || Top||

#12  The Guard and local Police are concentrated in the SW border areas - meanwhile, the Spetzies are running around all over the place in Canada, aka "where American forces are not". Any 9-11(s) in Canada gives Putin the right to invoke the "Yeltsin, etal Doctrine" where Russia proclaims its right to use UNILATERAL mil force to "protect" Russian citizens anywhere in the world.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/02/2006 23:29 Comments || Top||


The End of Tolerance in Europe (via News Weak)
Posted by: Elmort Griper4485 || 03/02/2006 02:45 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [267 views] Top|| File under:

#1  As is always the case with pieces like this, the implication is that the West needs to do all the changing.

The bit about double standards on dress codes was unintentionally amusing.

When hijabs have no more association with bombs and terror than yarmulkes and nuns habits currently do, then they can be treated the same way.
Posted by: Spomong Chomoling1248 || 03/02/2006 11:51 Comments || Top||

#2  "All the burden of change is placed on the immigrant."

How 'bout we immigrate to your country and then YOU adapt to our standards?

Double standard, indeed!
Posted by: Bobby || 03/02/2006 12:49 Comments || Top||

#3  When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Posted by: Chanter Cruger6161 || 03/02/2006 14:51 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
Attack on Big Mac
By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 1, 2006; A04
It was billed as a personal conversation about his own health and fitness battles, but when former president Bill Clinton stood before a group of governors yesterday, he just couldn't help getting wonky.
His forum was the National Governors Association, the organization he chaired when he was governor of Arkansas and was rising to national prominence, and one with which he still has a special bond. He was greeted as family, introduced generously by the current governor of Arkansas, Republican Mike Huckabee, who serves this year as the NGA chairman. And when it was over, it was hard to get him to leave the room.
Clinton, who underwent heart bypass surgery in 2004, and Huckabee, who lost more than 100 pounds after a health scare, have teamed up to combat childhood obesity -- even though, as Huckabee noted, Clinton has campaigned and raised money for every one of his opponents in Arkansas and that he had done the same when Clinton was in office.
When Clinton took the stage, he responded. "I was backstage listening to Mike's introduction . . .," he said. "I thought, the reason we're both here is that we were total failures in those efforts."
Then he was off, imploring governors to join the crusade to change the culture of food consumption to reverse the epidemic of obesity, which has led to a startling increase in diabetes among children and which consumes an increasing share of the nation's health care budget.
More at the link


Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/02/2006 13:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Where's the BEEF?

Andrea Jackson
Posted by: ANdrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 15:18 Comments || Top||

#2  corn syrup in soda.
Nuff said...
bring back the real sugar
Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 18:07 Comments || Top||

#3  End the Cuban Embargo?
Posted by: 6 || 03/02/2006 18:15 Comments || Top||


DC Mayor Wants Title Changed To Gov
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 04:52 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

#1  poor mayor was not invited to the party, boo hoo. DC is not a state, and until someone decides to make it one he should know his place. He ran for the mayors office, next he will want to be king. What he needs to be doing is cleaning up the streets and raising the education levels in the poor areas.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/02/2006 5:15 Comments || Top||

#2  If AC/DC was made a state, then the sens and reps would be required to act within the laws of the nation. Never happen.
Posted by: Skidmark || 03/02/2006 5:20 Comments || Top||

#3  I preferred "King of the Crackheads"...
Posted by: Marion Barry || 03/02/2006 8:14 Comments || Top||

#4  LOL
Posted by: 6 || 03/02/2006 8:43 Comments || Top||

#5  In other news: Due to record Spring rainfall, The Potomac River is scheduled to crest 31 feet above flood stage this evening. D.C. Mayor Governor Anthony Williams blames the Bush Administration and has requested army field kitchens from Mexican President Fox, and inflatable, solar powered canoes from China.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/02/2006 8:50 Comments || Top||

#6  Do what they did on the Virginia side of the river. Keep all the federal land and revert the rest back to Maryland. They'll have their representatives and senators and Maryland taxes. Oh, and a drive up to Annapolis to bitch rather than take the subway.
Posted by: Grererong Thromoger7008 || 03/02/2006 9:03 Comments || Top||

#7  Virginia and Maryland can have a contest. Loser has to take DC.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/02/2006 19:54 Comments || Top||


Kennedy Tilts At Windmills
A fight to block alternative fuel development that could replace oil-burning power plants for communities along the Nantucket Sound has created an unusual alliance on Capitol Hill, with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy backing the fight against the green proposal.

Mr. Kennedy, a staunch environmentalist, opposes the Cape Wind project, which will place windmills in the sound's shallows to create electricity for customers in Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Critics say the Massachusetts Democrat doesn't want the Cape Wind project in his own back yard along with 130 windmills that might clutter the water view of the Kennedy clan's vacation home. Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts' junior senator and another key green ally, called attempts to derail the project an "insult."

Opponents of the project say it should not go forward until federal guidelines are established and it has undergone a competitive bidding process. "Senator Kennedy has real environmental and economic concerns, and the federal government continues to lack a national policy and process to guide offshore alternative energy development," said Melissa Wagoner, Mr. Kennedy's spokeswoman. Mr. Kennedy, who has a 95 percent vote rating from the League of Conservation Voters, has recruited the help of Rep. Don Young of Alaska -- a conservative Republican and foe of environmentalists who received a zero ranking from the league last year.

Mr. Young, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is lobbying members of a House-Senate conference on the Coast Guard supplemental appropriations bill. He wants them to add his proposal to require windmills to be set back 1.5 nautical miles from any shipping or ferry lanes. Such a buffer requirement would make the Cape Wind project impossible in such a narrow sound. "Given the potential dangers of siting one of these wind farms in a busy shipping area, [Mr. Kennedy] thinks it is worth the conferees' consideration," Miss Wagoner said.

However, developers of the Cape Wind project say the legislation is specifically directed at them, would cripple the project economically and is a classic case of the "not in my back yard" (NIMBY) attitude toward developments that serve the common good. "The NIMBY opponents have spent more than $1 million lobbying in D.C.," says Mark Rodgers, Cape Wind project spokesman. "The Young amendment will kill Cape Wind in one fell swoop, which appears to be the intention.

"It would also impose on the U.S. the most stringent laws in the world on offshore wind energy development," said Mr. Rodgers, who noted that oil drilling rigs are only required to be 500 feet from shipping lanes.

Mr. Young's spokesman declined to comment on the legislation. However, in a letter to the conferees, Mr. Young specifically refers to the Cape Wind project, which he says encompasses 24 square miles with windmills reaching 417 feet, and is "located in water deep enough that ships can enter into the area and do so regularly. I know others oppose the project entirely on a wide variety of economic, environmental, and tourism standards," Mr. Young's letter stated. "I am not necessarily opposed to the project, but I am convinced we need a set of objective navigational safety standards that will assure that wind energy projects are properly sited with regard to navigational safety and national security," Mr. Young wrote.

Massachusetts declared Nantucket Sound an ocean sanctuary in the 1970s, thus banning disturbance of nearly the entire seabed as well as the view.

Mark Forest, chief of staff for Rep. Bill Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat who represents the Nantucket area, called it "a very contentious battle." "We have a need for energy, but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it -- this is the wrong way," Mr. Forest said.

Mr. Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has issued a statement opposing Mr. Young's legislative move. "The Young amendment is an insult to Americans who care about good government. I oppose this backdoor amendment to the Coast Guard Authorization bill, which -- if passed -- will derail offshore wind projects across the nation," he said.

Mr. Rodgers said the use of wind power would reduce air pollution from the oil-fired Canal Power plant and ease the demand for electricity throughout New England, which faces the threat of rolling blackouts during cold winter days. Asked about Mr. Kennedy's opposition to the plan, Mr. Rodgers said, "To say you favor wind power, but not here, where you live in a very windy place, calls into question your real commitment to wind power."
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 04:36 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [253 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So impose eminent domain and take his property, build the power site, and be done with that wind bag. Rodgers is correct, if Kennedy buries this in Congress it will cost millions to lobby the project out of DC.
Posted by: 49 Pan || 03/02/2006 6:02 Comments || Top||

#2  for a brief second, I thought the title of this article was Kennedy, tits and windmills. Maybe I should go to bed?
Posted by: 2b || 03/02/2006 8:32 Comments || Top||

#3  I...ummmmmmmm...propose that this...ummmmmmm...money be...ummmmmmmm...instead be used to research...ummmmmmmmm...unsinkable cars, which is a...ummmmmm...huge...ummmmmmmm...issue in the Cape Cod...ummmmmm...area. Either that, or...ummmmmmmmm...research into low fat scotch.
Posted by: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy || 03/02/2006 9:06 Comments || Top||

#4  I never thought I would support Kerry on an issue...
Damm!
Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 11:00 Comments || Top||

#5  Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.
Posted by: Mike || 03/02/2006 11:17 Comments || Top||

#6  I think 49 Pan is onto something there. Take the Keenedy land for the betterment of the other citizens. If Ted (drunk-MA) was a true patriot and rpgoressive he would demand that they built it on his property. Hell the wind coming FROM the Kennedy compound could power the entire eastern seaboard! But I guess we can't disturb the imperial grounds.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 03/02/2006 12:09 Comments || Top||

#7  Well they could always replace those windmills with a coal or nuke plant on Cape Cod...
Posted by: danking_70 || 03/02/2006 12:41 Comments || Top||

#8  I wonder if there are things buried in the sound that Kennedy doesn't want uncovered during construction. He does have a history of leaving things in the water...
Posted by: Gir || 03/02/2006 13:19 Comments || Top||

#9  Stick him out in the water and let him blow hard.
I know he could do it! The wrong Kennedy landed in the water~~RIP JOHN JOHN.

Andrea
Posted by: Andrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 20:15 Comments || Top||


Bill Clinton helped Dubai with ports deal
Bill Clinton, former US president, advised top officials from Dubai two weeks ago on how to address growing US concerns over the acquisition of five US container terminals by DP World. It came even as his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, was leading efforts to derail the deal.

Mr Clinton, who this week called the United Arab Emirates a “good ally to America”, advised Dubai’s leaders to propose a 45-day delay to allow for an intensive investigation of the acquisition, according to his spokesman.

On Sunday, DP World agreed with the White House to undertake the lengthy review, a move which has assuaged some of the opposition from the US Congress.

However, Mrs Clinton remains a leading voice against the deal, and this week proposed legislation to block it, arguing that the US could not afford to “surrender our port operations to foreign governments”. Mr Clinton’s spokesman said: “President Clinton is the former president of the US and as such receives many calls from world leaders and leading figures every week. About two weeks ago, the Dubai leaders called him and he suggested that they submit to the full and regular scrutiny process and that they should put maximum safeguards and security into any port proposal.”

He added that Mr Clinton supported his wife’s position on the deal and that “ideally” state-owned companies would not own US port operations. Mr Clinton’s contact with Dubai on the issue underscores the relationship he has developed with the United Arab Emirates since leaving office. In 2002, he was paid $300,000 (€252,000) to address a summit in Dubai.

The backlash against Dubai’s takeover has seen some lawmakers in Washington highlight the UAE’s alleged role in helping to finance September 11.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 03/02/2006 04:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I am now very, very afraid. I just saw a vision of the world with Hildabeast as the U.S. President and Billy-Boy as head of the U.N. It was not a place worth living in.
Posted by: mag44_vaquero || 03/02/2006 12:49 Comments || Top||


Democrats vow not to give up hopelessness
Not Scrappleface.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/02/2006 00:24 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sneaky, Sea. Very sneaky, lol.
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 2:43 Comments || Top||

#2  Ahh, The Onion. Still "America's Finest News Source".
Posted by: Mullah Richard || 03/02/2006 10:58 Comments || Top||

#3  It's been some time since I laughed out loud like that. Thanks for posting! And thank you, Onion.

Still America's finest news source, indeed.
Posted by: eltoroverde || 03/02/2006 14:34 Comments || Top||


International-UN-NGOs
Bolton's UN punctuality drive comes to early end
I gotta get a job at the UN. It sounds better then Massport...
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - An unpopular punctuality drive launched in the U.N. Security Council last month by U.S. Ambassador John Bolton came to an abrupt end on Thursday when Argentina took over the council's rotating presidency.
And champagne glasses were raised all over the world...
Bolton had cracked the whip while presiding over the 15-nation U.N. body in February, starting meetings precisely on time, even with empty chairs in the room, as part of a plan to modernise council operations. He had also called in ambassadors almost every morning of the month for closed-door briefings by U.N. staff on overnight global political and peacekeeping developments.
C'mon, John, dammit! You act as if this is a real job!
But Argentine Ambassador Cesar Mayoral made clear it would be a different story in March. If ambassadors wanted to come on time, it would be up to them, he told reporters. As for the morning briefings, "this is impossible," he said. "We aren't having a daily briefing each day."
Why we haven't even put our hookers in cabs by that time of the morning...
If an ambassador asked for a briefing on a particular matter, he would try to accommodate the request. But absent that, the council work program was simply too heavy, he said.
So many restaurants, so little time...
Some ambassadors had grumbled in February that they already had too many commitments to attend the daily sessions.
Yeah...ummmmmmmmmm...commitments! That's it!
Bolton has described the U.S. campaign to reform the United Nations as an "irresistible force" pitted against an "immovable object." Bypassing the U.S. Senate, President George W. Bush sent Bolton to the United Nations last August with instructions to shake up the world body after findings of mismanagement and corruption in the $64 billion oil-for-food program for Iraq.
Here's a suggetstion. Torch it for the insurance...
Posted by: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy || 03/02/2006 16:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [252 views] Top|| File under:

#1  UN - We waste more money than Paris Hilton before 9am!
Posted by: mmurray821 || 03/02/2006 17:23 Comments || Top||

#2  "Torch it for the insurance..."

LOL! Best idea I've heard, yet - except for something about putting most of 'em against a wall or something. ;-)
Posted by: .Alley Oop || 03/02/2006 19:27 Comments || Top||

#3  Put 'em against the wall and THEN torch it? !
Posted by: anon || 03/02/2006 19:32 Comments || Top||

#4  Torch 'em against a wall and punt it.

Nice to see Bolton show these featherbedders up for the bunch of slackers they really are. I never thought bloodsucking could be raised to the level of high art until Koffi and his crew took the helm.
Posted by: Zenster || 03/02/2006 20:38 Comments || Top||

#5  cut our contribution by half and issue a stern warning, then cut the other half. They'll understand that
Posted by: Frank G || 03/02/2006 20:39 Comments || Top||

#6  That's the idea, Frank. Hit them in their pocketbook and they will react, one way or another. Better yet, collaborate with Japan on this.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 03/02/2006 21:40 Comments || Top||


Science & Technology
Whirlpool Baths: ENter At Your Own Risk
Reuters- By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Better think twice beofre soothing those aching muscles in a whirlpool bath or hot tub. A new study shows that whirlpool bathtubs can be a breeding ground for a host of disease causing bacteria.

Dr. Rita B. Moyes a microbiologist at Texas A & M University tested 43 water samples from both private and public whirlpool bathtubs. "Every tub tested had some kind of microbial growth," she told Reuters Health.

"And I was just getting the few organisms I was testing for, so
it is probably just the tip of the iceberg as fas as what is really present. Also, I did no viral testing", Moyes Emphasized.

In 95 percent of the tubs, bacteria derived from feces were present, while 81 percent had fungi and 34 percent contained potentially deadly staphylococcus bacteria.

The bacteria found in whirlpool baths can lead to a number of diseases, including infections, skin infections and pneumonia.

Who is most at risk? The young and old and the immunocompromised should not be exposed. "A chemically maintained hot tub should not be a problem to a healthy person but having recurring infections, consider the tub as a potential source," Much reseach is published in an online journal called PM Engineer.
Posted by: ANdrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 15:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [515 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If it's cleaned well after each use it shouldn't be a problem. I've had my whirlpool bath for years.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/02/2006 16:03 Comments || Top||

#2  The interior pipes of the whirlpool baths that are not filtered or chemically treated and poorly maintained hot tubs, are prime areas for potentially infectious microbes to congregate and grow, Moyes noted. The organisms often form biofilm, a community of organisms that work together and are more resistant to cleaners.

When jets are switched on, the bacteria -packed water gets blown into the tub with the movement of the water, an aerosol is created that carries these organisms down your lungs or other orifices-something that does not happen in a regular tub". Moyes states. And YES, A chemically maintainted tub should not be a problem!.
Posted by: Andrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 16:12 Comments || Top||

#3  Deacon Blue: Don't clean your hot tub with the proper cleaner and you will have more than aching muscle's!##!!!

Andrea
Posted by: Andrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 16:17 Comments || Top||

#4  I always clean it with the proper cleaner. It's the people who are too lazy that get in to trouble.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/02/2006 16:21 Comments || Top||

#5  this psicose with germs...sooner or later we will die if we go out of home. Too much clean will kill us.
Posted by: Clavising Snort8113 || 03/02/2006 16:24 Comments || Top||

#6  Some bacteria is good and too much is dangerous.
Homeostasis is the KEY**

Andrea
Posted by: Andrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 16:26 Comments || Top||

#7  In Tempe AZ they city fathers installed an obscentity called "the town lake", in utter defiance of reality.

To start with, they put it in a dry river bed, that floods periodically. The company that did it used inflatable rubber dams on either side to hold the water in.

To fill the damned thing, they used ONE BILLION GALLONS of fresh water, though the good people of the city have to drink recycled effluent in their city water. This is in a damn desert.

Upstream of the lake, rainwater turns into a mosquito-breeding swamp, which has now introduced two varieties of encephalitis and west nile fever to the area, and promises in the future to even host mosquitos carrying dengue fever.

In summer, despite costing huge amounts of money to replace water lost by evaporation in 115 degree heat and less than 5 percent humidity, the lake also is a perfect habitat for algae and duckweed.

The algae, in particular, gives off an immense cloud of spores for the whole area, so that unless swimming pools are kept so chlorinated as to be irritating to the skin, the water will turn some combination of dark green, dark brown and dark yellow.

To top it all off, the lake provides some form of recreation and/or entertainment to about 100 people a day, out of a city of 175,000. Many of these 100 people are visitors, not residents.

In all fairness, the city does plan to "improve" the riverbanks around the town lake by building highrises and condos on sand in the flood plain. This means that, once completed, the people of city of Tempe will get all of its entertainment value at once, watching them collapse into the river.

By then of course, the developers will be long gone, and no one will have been stupid enough to provide the owners with flood insurance.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 03/02/2006 16:32 Comments || Top||

#8  Very typical SWIM,EAT AND BREATH AT YOUR OWN RISK**

Andrea
Posted by: Andrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 16:41 Comments || Top||

#9  I remember year's ago an article in the Boston, MA paper that a couple had gone into the hot tub together to get "HOT" and the man was on top of the woman and he threw his back out and was yelling "Help I've fallen and I can't get it up".

Andrea
Posted by: Andrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 16:44 Comments || Top||

#10  You should consider going into the spawning tank business Andrea.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/02/2006 21:23 Comments || Top||

#11  LOL Andrea, please tell us more jokes whenever you're in the mood! :-)
Posted by: RD || 03/02/2006 22:02 Comments || Top||


Systems Software Research is Irrelevant
Rob Pike, Bell Labs
Feb 21, 2000

1 A Polemic
This talk is a polemic that distills the pessimistic side of my feelings about systems research these days. I won’t talk much about the optimistic side, since lots of others can do that for me; everyone’s excited about the computer industry. I may therefore present a picture somewhat darker than reality. However, I think the situation is genuinely bad and requires action.

2 Thesis
Systems software research has become a sideline to the excitement in the computing industry. When did you last see an exciting noncommercial demo? Ironically, at a time when computing is almost the definition of innovation, research in both software and hardware at universities and much of industry is becoming insular, ossified, and irrelevant. There are many reasons, some avoidable, some endemic. There may be ways to improve the situation, but they will require a communitywide effort.

3 Definitions...

4 A Field in Decline
"Who needs new operating systems, anyway?" you ask. Maybe no one, but then that supports my thesis.

"But now there are lots of papers in file systems, performance, security, web caching, etc.," you say. Yes, but is anyone outside the research field paying attention?
This is the central part of his thesis: that there are really only two operating system choices in the world, *nix and Windows. But he's ignoring the Jurassic period of computing, when the "home" or business machine was young: CP/M, various menu-driven systems, the venerable TRS-80, Geos, the Amiga, the Atari ST... That was a pretty Darwinian period, where an OS could pop up on Monday and be gone by Tuesday afternoon, as I'll discuss below...
5 Systems Research’s Contribution to the Boom...
Hardware has changed dramatically; software is stagnant.
>
199020002006
Hardware
33 MHz Mips R3000
32 megabytes of RAM
10 Mbs Ethernet

600 MHz Alpha or Pentium III
512 megabytes of RAM
100 Mbs Ethernet

3.2 GHz AMD 64
1-2 GB of RAM
55 Mbs Wireless Ethernet
Software
Unix
X Windows
Emacs
TCP/IP

Unix
X Windows
Emacs
TCP/IP
Netscape


Unix/Linux
Windows
X Windows
Emacs + Others
TCP/IP
Opera
USB
Good progression, though there are a few things missing, like IPX/SPX...
6 Where is the Innovation?
Microsoft, mostly. Exercise: Compare 1990 Microsoft software with 2000.
That'd be Windows 3.0, or maybe even 2.0, compared to Windows 2000.
If you claim that’s not innovation, but copying, I reply that Java is to C++ as Windows is to the Macintosh: an industrial response to an interesting but technically flawed piece of systems software.
Both are evolutions from base systems that won their particular competitions.
If systems research was relevant, we’d see new operating systems and new languages making inroads into the industry, the way we did in the ’70s and ’80s. Instead, we see a thriving software industry that largely ignores research, and a research community that writes papers rather than software.
And here's the basic flaw in his reasoning: he's looking at the past and expecting the future to be a continuation of it. Looking at it from a different standpoint, the base form of Unix won its competition early on: a tiny kernel and the basic file system layout. Everything after that is elaboration. It was a thing of beauty, simple and intuitive. It's just like Bridge 1.0, invented by Og and Zug in 9276 B.C. Everything since has been refinement, and the competing approaches are best forgotten.
7 Linux
Innovation? New? No, it’s just another copy of the same old stuff. OLD stuff. Compare program development on Linux with Microsoft Visual Studio or one of the IBM Java/web toolkits.
In 2000, Linux was still in its infancy. The early efforts were geared much more toward the academics and the hacker community. In 2006 we're looking at products that are approaching full maturity, ready for prime time.
Linux’s success may indeed be the single strongest argument for my thesis: The excitement generated by a clone of a decadesold operating system demonstrates the void that the systems software research community has failed to fill. Besides, Linux’s cleverness is not in the software, but in the development model, hardly a triumph of academic CS (especially software engineering) by any measure.
If you regard the basic Unix approach as a building block, Linux is a good development, more than just "clever." I can remember using SCO Xenix and QNX on early PC boxes, and they were actually more mature (for the time) that Linux was the first time I looked at it. Both were proprietary, and both fell by the wayside because the Linux development model beat them out. MS DOS beat out its competition in a similar manner, running not just on IBM PCs, but also on 8086 clones. The Mac was pretty, in many ways more technologically sophisticated, but it didn't compete — PCs were cheaper, the software was cheaper, and users weren't restricted to the Apple brand. Both the development and marketing models are tied to the system.
8 What is Systems Research these days?
Web caches, web servers, file systems, network packet delays, all that stuff. Performance, peripherals, and applications, but not kernels or even userlevel applications.
Once the Wright brothers figured out how to make airplanes, there wasn't a need for Boeing to reinvent them. The same applies to software. Despite the bells and whistles that are hung on new versions of "Office" products, they remain basically the same, with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and perhaps database components. The spreadsheet, the original "killer app," didn't exist before Visicalc, and hasn't changed a whole lot since Excel 3.0. "Killer apps" are pretty few and far between.
Mostly, though, it’s just a lot of measurement; a misinterpretation and misapplication of the scientific method. Too much phenomenology: invention has been replaced by observation. Today we see papers comparing interrupt latency on Linux vs. Windows. They may be interesting, they may even be relevant, but they aren’t research.
80 percent of Academe is like 80 percent of everything else, made up of hacks and place holders. Another 10 percent is actually destructive, which leaves 10 percent to do the actual thinking.
In a misguided attempt to seem scientific, there’s too much measurement: performance minutiae and bad charts. By contrast, a new language or OS can make the machine feel different, give excitement, novelty. But today that’s done by a cool web site or a higher CPU clock rate or some cute little device that should be a computer but isn’t. The art is gone. But art is not science, and that’s part of the point. Systems research cannot be just science; there must be engineering, design, and art.

9 What Happened?
A lot of things:...

10 PC
Hardware became cheap, and cheap hardware became good. Eventually, if it didn’t run on a PC, it didn’t matter because the average, mean, median, and mode computer was a PC. Even into the 1980s, much systems work revolved around new architectures (RISC, iAPX/432, Lisp Machines). No more. A major source of interesting problems and, perhaps, interesting solutions is gone.
They went prior to the development of the graphical browser, which would have allowed them to coexist, though in niche markets, kind of like where Solaris is now. The PC's advantage, like that of Linux, by the way, was its open architecture. All advantages bring with them disadvantages, but the architecture's been changing with new developments — albeit at a fairly stately rate due to the necessity of having (most) everyone agree on standards.
Much systems work also revolved around making stuff work across architectures: portability. But when hardware’s all the same, it’s a nonissue... And that’s just the PC as hardware; as software, it’s the same sort of story.

11 Microsoft
Enough has been said about this topic. (Although people will continue to say lots more.) Microsoft is an easy target, but it’s a scapegoat, not the real source of difficulty. Details to follow.
Microsoft makes an easy target for many because it tries to take a lowest common denominator approach, while gouging as much cash from its adoring public as the traffic will bear. It beat out its competition by not being proprietary: recall using Samna Write/Ami Pro and Word Perfect on Windows 3.0/3.1, and Lotus 1-2-3, and Netscape, and any number of other products. Because of its corporate strategy, Microsoft either incorporated the best of the best into Windows (remember when Netscape used to cost money?) or tried to do a better job with its own product at the same price (Microsoft Office).
12 Web
The web happened in the early 1990s and it surprised the computer science community as much as the commercial one. It then came to dominate much of the discussion, but not to much effect. Business controls it. (The web came from physicists and prospered in industry.)
There's a Year 2000 statement. Six years later, with the development of dynamic web content, business is still on the web, with advertising and order entry systems and such, but so is everyone else, to include millions of bloggers using pretty easy-to-use but very sophisticated software.
Bruce Lindsay of IBM: HDLC C HTTP/HTML; 3270s have been replaced by web browsers. (Compare with Visicalc and PC.)
Heh heh. I haven't seen a 3270 emulator in years.
Research has contributed little, despite a huge flow of papers on caches, proxies, server architectures, etc.
But there are lots of refinements on the basic model. The refinements make the software more usable, reaching a bigger audience, which provides its own level of feedback to make the software still more usable... From the management standpoint, we've gone from the base development cycle to the cash cow period, and I'm pretty sure we're still at an early stage in that.
13 Standards
To be a viable computer system, one must honor a huge list of
large, and often changing, standards: TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML, XML, CORBA, Unicode, POSIX, NFS, SMB, MIME, POP, IMAP, X, ... A huge amount of work, but if you don’t honor the standards you’re marginalized. Estimate that 90-95% of the work in Plan X was directly or indirectly to honor externally imposed standards. At another level, instruction architectures, buses, etc. have the same influence. With so much externally imposed structure, there’s little slop left for novelty.
All those standards are building blocks, and each and every one of them could be superceded by a better approach. If you can come up with a better approach, by all means do so; until you do, these work, and they've been refined to the point where they work very well.
Plus, commercial companies that ‘own’ standards, e.g. Microsoft, Cisco, deliberately make standards hard to comply with, to frustrate competition. Academia is a casualty.
That's maybe a legitimate gripe, though my heart doesn't bleed for academia. There's a balance between standards and confinement. And note that six years after the presentation was written Cisco actually has competition in its arena, despite being guardian of the standards.
14 Orthodoxy
Today’s graduating PhDs use Unix, X, Emacs, and Tex.
Users, I'd point out, don't...
That’s their world. It’s often the only computing world they’ve ever used for technical work.
This has slowly changed over the past six years, though I'm not sure academia realizes yet that it's behind the times compared to the world at large, a situation reversed from the way things were 20 years ago...
Twenty years ago, a student would have been exposed to a wide variety of operating systems, all with good and bad points. New employees in our lab now bring their world with them, or expect it to be there when they arrive. That’s reasonable, but there was a time when joining a new lab was a chance to explore new ways of working.
Now you're likely to find a slightly different set of building blocks. I read somewhere that systems that belong to suit-and-tie guys are almost always Windows/IIS, and systems that belong to the sweatshirt and jeans set are almost always Linux/Apache. But if you're going to be in the wonderful world of IT, you've got to get used to the idea of going with what the customer uses. Sometimes you can show him/her/it a better way, and sometimes you make a lot of money fixing mistakes made 10 years ago. That's actually the fun of it, for some of us.
Narrowness of experience leads to narrowness of imagination. The situation with languages is a little better—many curricula include exposure to functional languages, etc. —but there is also a language orthodoxy: C++ and Java.
They're pretty common in the want ads, too, so don't discount them, even though on the job you'll likely end up using Visual Basic or PHP or C.
In science, we reserve our highest honors for those who prove we were wrong. But in computer science...

15 Change of scale
With so many external constraints, and so many things already done, much of the interesting work requires effort on a large scale. Many person-years are required to write a modern, realistic system. That is beyond the scope of most university departments. Also, the time scale is long: from design to final version can be five years. Again, that’s beyond the scope of most grad students. This means that industry tends to do the big, defining projects—operating systems, infrastructure, etc.— and small research groups must find smaller things to work on.

Three trends result:
1. Don’t build, measure. (Phenomenology, not new
things.)
2. Don’t go for breadth, go for depth. (Microspecialization, not systems work.)
3. Take an existing thing and tweak it.
I believe this is the main explanation of the SOSP curve.

16 Unix
New operating systems today tend to be just ways of reimplementing Unix. If they have a novel architecture—and some do—the first thing to build is the Unix emulation layer. How can operating systems research be relevant when the resulting operating systems are all indistinguishable? There was a claim in the late 1970s and early 1980s that Unix had killed operating systems research because no one would try anything else. At the time, I didn’t believe it. Today, I grudgingly accept that the claim may be true (Microsoft notwithstanding).

A victim of its own success: portability led to ubiquity. That meant architecture didn’t matter, so now there’s only one. Linux is the hot new thing... but it’s just another Unix.
I go back to my comments on competition. Unix was the best system at the time, and its base system probably still is, not due to its features but due to its simplicity. Likewise the C language displaced, for all practical purposes, Pascal and ALGOL and ADA and a host of other languages, not because of its "rich programming environment" but because of its simplicity. You can take a core C implementation, without any libraries (to include the very basics like stdio.h) and build an entire new implementation. Or you can use that core if you're a glutton for punishment to do the very same things you could do with the libraries, only with more typing.
17 Linux—the Academic Microsoft Windows
The holy trinity: Linux, gcc, and Netscape. Of course, it’s just another orthodoxy.
In six years Netscape has dropped off the list, partially eaten by its competitors.
These have become icons not because of what they are, but because of what they are not: Microsoft. But technically, they’re not that hot.
See my previous comment about simplicity. They're icons because they're simple. If they get to elaborate, like Netscape did, they'll be displaced. Netscape is now mostly Mozilla, but it's still piggishly slow compared to Opera — and compared to IE.
And Microsoft has been working hard, and I claim that on many (not all) dimensions, their corresponding products are superior technically. And they continue to improve. Linux may fall into the Macintosh trap: smug isolation leading to (near) obsolescence. Besides, systems research is doing little to advance the trinity.
In the early days, Linux tried that trap, with the "if it's not easy to write software, why should it be easy to use it?" syndrome. But I just set up a Linux partition on my laptop, and Ubuntu went on just as smoothly as Windows did.
18 Startups
Startups are the dominant competition for academia for ideas, funds, personnel, and students. (Others are Microsoft, big corporations, legions of free hackers, and the IETF.) In response, government-funded and especially corporate research is directed at very fast ‘return on investment’. This distorts the priorities: Research is bent towards what can make big money (IPO) in a year.
That paragraph was fizzling out even as he spoke.
Horizon is too short for longterm work. (There go infrastructure and the problems of scale.)

Funding sources (government, industry) perceive the same pressures, so there is a vicious circle.

The metric of merit is wrong.

Stanford now encourages students to go to startups because successful CEOs give money to the campus. The new president of Stanford is a successful computer entrepreneur.
I'm not familiar with who he's talking about. I wonder if he's still a successful computer entrepreneur?
19 Grandma
Grandma’s on line. This means that the industry is designing systems and services for ordinary people.
That's actually a pretty brilliant idea, come to think of it...
The focus is on applications and devices, not on infrastructure and architecture, the domain of systems research. The cause is largely marketing, the result a proliferation of incompatible devices. You can’t make money on software, only hardware, so design a niche gimmick, not a Big New Idea.

Programmability—once the Big Idea in computing—has fallen by the wayside. Again, systems research loses out.
Grandma brings other things to the table, though. We now have a huge user base, with most users no more familiar with the innards of their computers than they are with the innards of their toaster ovens. What we've done is build a tool, a completed product. The dangers now include falling into the Microsoft trap — making the tool longer, lower, leaner, wider, with more road-hugging weight and 40 percent more cheese in the interests of of bringing out new models every two years; and of becoming elitists with overly complicated systems that let us sneer at the unenlightened who aren't bright like we are, so they can't make the systems work.
20 Things to Do
Startups are too focused on short time scale and practical results to try new things. Big corporations are too focused on existing priorities to try new things. Startups suck energy from research. But gold rushes leave ghost towns; be prepared to move in.
I think we've pretty much moved on from the dot Com "revolution."
Go back to thinking about and building systems. Narrowness is irrelevant; breadth is relevant: it’s the essence of system. Work on how systems behave and work, not just how they compare. Concentrate on interfaces and architecture, not just engineering. Be courageous. Try different things; experiment. Try to give a cool demo.
It's a tool. Concentrate on making the tool work better, in more environments.
Funding bodies: fund more courageously, particularly longterm projects. Universities, in turn, should explore ways to let students contribute to longterm projects.

Measure success by ideas, not just papers and money. Make the industry want your work.

21 Things to Build
There are lots of valid, useful, interesting things to do. I offer a small sample as evidence. If the field is moribund, it’s not from a lack of possibilities.

Only one GUI has ever been seriously tried, and its best ideas date from the 1970s. (In some ways, it’s been getting worse; today the screen is covered with confusing little pictures.) Surely there are other possibilities. (Linux’s interface isn’t even as good as Windows!)
He said that six years ago, recall. My Gnome desktop is prettier and more usable in most respects than Window...
There has been much talk about component architectures but only one true success: Unix pipes. It should be possible to build interactive and distributed applications from piece parts.
2000 talking again. Since then, XML, RSS, WiFi, Bluetooth, thin clients, and about a dozen other neato things...
The future is distributed computation, but the language community has done very little to address that possibility. The Web has dominated how systems present and use information: the model is forced interaction; the user must go get it. Let’s go back to having the data come to the user instead.
You mean like web services?
System administration remains a deeply difficult problem. Unglamorous, sure, but there’s plenty of room to make a huge, even commercial, contribution.
That'd be more GUI, with the added benefit that most "GUI" functions can be delivered over a browser and the added disadvantage that when your GUI breaks you'd better have a command-line backup option, or you've just changed your machine into a doorstop...
22 Conclusions
The world has decided how it wants computers to be. The systems software research community influenced that decision somewhat, but very little, and now it is shut out of the discussion. It has reached the point where I doubt that a brilliant systems project would even be funded, and if funded, wouldn’t find the bodies to do the work. The odds of success were always low; now they’re essentially zero.

The community—universities, students, industry, funding bodies—must change its priorities.

The community must accept and explore unorthodox ideas.

The community must separate research from market capitalization.
Posted by: Fred || 03/02/2006 13:33 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [443 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Good arguments Fred.
Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 15:01 Comments || Top||

#2  3. Take an existing thing and tweak it.

This is how new discovery happens. Weed cutting with nylon string would have been laughed at in 1960.....
Posted by: Visitor || 03/02/2006 15:30 Comments || Top||

#3  Good Comment Fred.

As the not so typical end user I have my .02¢

Most people expect devices that have processors to function like a toaster. They just have to work. .


As someone who starterd out with CPM on the "personal computer" and Using termials on mainframes we have come a heck of a long way.

He is wrong about Linux, it is not a clone. It has glue that lets it act like UNIX but it leaves UNIX in the dust. It's kernel is changing on a daily basis. UNIX is ossified.

Microsoft isn't a "problem". End user expectations are the problem. Mircosoft has a monopoly in peoples minds to some extent. My wife uses OS X at work and Mandriva 2006 Linux on her computer at home. It took almost zero time for her to adapt to not having a Microsoft operating system when her Windows computer died. All the Applications she used on her Windows computer are on her Linux computer. In some respects her computing experince has improved by the switch to a Linux computing system. But it really doesn't matter. It's just a tool. You use the system that works for you. If it wasn't working for her I would know it. I would go get a HP or Dell PC buy and load the apps she wanted and that would be that.

Microsoft is just to expensive for me to run. Free Software suits my needs better. I don't have thousands of dollars invested in applications. But if I need a Microsoft operating system and application I will buy it. It's been a long time since I needed one. The days of me having a dual booting system are just about over. I have an empty 300 gig drive here waiting for an LINUX OS upgrade when I get in the mood I will not be buy a copy of XP and making a MS file system partition on it. I just don't need a Microsoft OS any more.

My word for him, AT&T Labs are history, get over it.
Posted by: SPoD || 03/02/2006 15:42 Comments || Top||

#4  The issue is that the OS has become almost irrelevant and will be completely irrelevent in another generation or so. It is just not where the action is anymore because the OS has solved the problems that it was created for. Time to move on, until a major paradigm shift occurs. Paradigm shifts can not be predicted nor engineered, they just happen, Usually by accident. I don't think people are doing major research on how to make a better paper clip anymore either.
Posted by: Dave || 03/02/2006 15:43 Comments || Top||

#5  Fred's and my in-line comments stepped on each other, but here's my take in summary. My perspective? I'm a researcher in Artificial Intelligence now, but was a practitioner for 25 years before coming over to the academic side.

DOD paid for the development of TCP/IP and part of the MULTICS project from which UNIX spun off. For over a decade they remained mostly research environments, as academics played with them and DOD used them, learning how to exploit them well. When telecomms and chip technology were ready, they exploded and spawned 15 years of applications technologies including the Web.

Even when this was written, in 2000, there was lots of long-term research in progress on most of the areas Pike mentions.

Operating environments? Consider functional languages like Haskell, which Nokia has been using in its cell and smart phones for several years now. As we learn more about scalability, expect functional environments to replace standard operating systems in more and more places.

Component software? Pike missed the fact that those standards he bemoans have resulted in enterprise application integration. An insurance company client of mine in 1999-2000, the time of this talk, had already put their entire corporation on an integrated system in which whole application programs and databases were replaceable components. Not only the technologies, but even business processes have been changed out seamlessly since then.

GUIs? Check out the research in 2000 on adaptive user interfaces at this DOD project site. Here's another site, a bit heavy on the comp sci and decision theory and AI jargon, but the screen shots give you an idea of the kinds of things that are already working in research environments. He's right about Microsoft, tho, since they've been publishing about their work in adaptive interfaces since 1999, if not earlier.

Can't make money on software? Tell that to the guys in Richmond. Or talk to me - I've taken successful hardware and software products into niche markets quite profitably.

Bottom line: this talk reads like the lament of a guy who no longer gets to have plush 5 year budgets and who is out of touch with a technical and business environment in which his company no longer gets to set the technical terms of play. That's why Nokia is out there with Haskell-based devices and both Lucent and Bell Labs are struggling.
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 16:00 Comments || Top||

#6  What SPoD said.
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 16:05 Comments || Top||

#7  Hardware has changed dramatically; software is stagnant.

What freakin' planet is he living on?

If you spend your life inside the theory of operating systems, OK, things probably look stagnant. Out here in the Real World, where we're solving Real Problems for Real People, new techniques and new ideas are coming faster than we can absorb them.

This'll probably sound odd, but the dotcom bust forced things to mature, and that opened up a hell of a lot of opportunities. What this guy's doing is the software equivalent of claiming architecture ended when the arch came along.

Besides, Linux’s cleverness is not in the software, but in the development model, hardly a triumph of academic CS (especially software engineering) by any measure.

The process of creating software is as critical as the design of the software. Maybe moreso. This sounds like a snob sniffing that that kind of work isn't done by proper gentlemen!

8 What is Systems Research these days?
Web caches, web servers, file systems, network packet delays, all that stuff. Performance, peripherals, and applications, but not kernels or even userlevel applications.


Ya know why? Because that's where the problems are today.

You have an intra-network serving 5,000+ locations. Each location needs access to applications that are run in central locations, and any downtime stops money coming into your company; a project that's coming soon will have servers at each store communicating with the other sites as well.

How do you make that work well? What's the best architecture for serving the applications? For the network?

What are the implications of allowing the public some limited access to resources on those networks?

This guy just doesn't like that his chosen specialization has reached a plateau. His name's familiar, though I can't remember where from.

(Oh, and he's wrong about big changes in hardware. The essential architecture is largely the same, what has changed is the process of manufacturing the hardware, which allowed for higher speeds. Heck, outside the CPU, bus speeds are still below 100MHz.)

To be a viable computer system, one must honor a huge list of
large, and often changing, standards: TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML, XML, CORBA, Unicode, POSIX, NFS, SMB, MIME, POP, IMAP, X, ... A huge amount of work, but if you don’t honor the standards you’re marginalized. Estimate that 90-95% of the work in Plan X was directly or indirectly to honor externally imposed standards.


Only two of those -- POSIX and TCP/IP -- are operating-system issues. The rest are applications. He's talking out of his ass, here.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/02/2006 16:08 Comments || Top||

#8  (Linux’s interface isn’t even as good as Windows!)

Pure BS. I'd rather use vi than 90% of the editors on Windows.

Heck, I often use vi on Windows.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 03/02/2006 16:10 Comments || Top||

#9  Working in a mature technology isn't much fun. This guy should think about a career change. English? They're into deconstruction.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble || 03/02/2006 16:15 Comments || Top||

#10  Only two of those -- POSIX and TCP/IP -- are operating-system issues. The rest are applications. He's talking out of his ass, here.

I'd disagree a little on that point, RC. What he's bemoaning is that the infrastructure for large-scale systems consists of these technologies being glued together, rather than engineered-from-the-ground-up systems software.

Much as I'm critical of him in my comment above, he's not entirely wrong. DOD and others are having to invest huge sums of money and manpower to figure out how to secure this mess of stuff, what requirements to set for procuring new (secure) systems etc. Corporations are spending huge amounts of money on the data and apps side too. If there were breakthroughs in systems software designs, it conceivably could make a huge difference.

I just think he was out of touch with what WAS going on in the research at the very time he was speaking. They haven't gelled together like the technologies that really launched the Web yet, tho, so he doesn't see them.
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 16:17 Comments || Top||

#11  With the multi-cpu cores, cell processors single computers will be turned into clusters that are part of networked clusters and aspects of his orginal Plan-9 operating system will start migrating into the real world. Perhaps his research was ahead of the hardware?
BTW... the Plan 9 GUI is really sad.

Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 16:38 Comments || Top||

#12  Even into the 1980s, much systems work revolved around new architectures (RISC, iAPX/432, Lisp Machines).

In the 1986-1988 timeframe DOD put together a panel of academics and industry people and asked them to recommend the level at which they should set standards for computing. Should they pick a CPU architecture? A language and CPU? or ???

DARPA was pushing the MIPS, Inc. RISC chip, which they had funded heavily, and envisioned virtual machines on top of the chip for various applications. Fairchild was pushing a CISC chip, but they had just got themselves sold to Japan.

The eventual recommendation was to standardize on the high level language (Ada) and let the rest all change underneath it, since so many advances were occuring in chip technologies. DARPA was pretty disappointed that a RISC chip with a virtual machine on top wasn't the choice, but those of us who were doing things in avionics, space based systems etc. breathed a sigh of relief....

And meanwhile, digital signal processors were making incredible strides and many systems now have both standard CPUs and DSPs as needed.
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 16:40 Comments || Top||

#13  This is a funny discussion. I've been in IT for 3 decades and have been around the barn a few times. This sounds like the typical bit-head that can't quite make the connection between real people doing real work, and all the pretty technical bells and whistles that float his boat. (how's that for mixing a metaphor?)

I've worked on PCs where it was 24k of memory and the big thing (literally) in floppies was 8" and 1 mb. I worked on a PC that could hot swap between the two competing OSs DOS and CP/M; and on and on.

You know what? Not one user gave a damn. They wanted a computer to be like a fork. You picked up it does its job....end of discussion.

Ivory tower types have their place, just not in public. ;^)
Posted by: AlanC || 03/02/2006 16:44 Comments || Top||

#14  Well said Alan.
Posted by: Visitor || 03/02/2006 16:50 Comments || Top||

#15  I worked for LSI Logic (formerly Symbios, Symbios Logic, NCR Microelectronics) as a software test engineering technician, running a software test team. Our basic function was to test software compatibility between a dozen or so different software manufacturers and our own in-house SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) hardware and software. Basically, we tested our interface hardware and supporting software with Microsoft (Windows 3.X/95/98/2000/ME/NT), OS/2, Unix, SCO, Linux, and a half-dozen other minor operating systems, network software and hardware, peripheral devices, and applications software packages. We also used as wide a variety of hardware as possible - different processors, different chipsets, different manufacturer labels, etc. There are hundreds of ways to increase performance, both internally and externally, that the computer industry can make, if it's willing. One of the first things the entire industry needs to learn is that "one size fits all" doesn't satisfy anybody. I use three different spreadsheets because there are things I can do with one that the other two won't do - mostly things the spreadsheet designer never considered. I use two different word processors and FOUR internet browsers, all for the same reason.

The biggest problem "software researchers" have is their own narrow-mindedness. They never expect people to use their product except in the way they designed them to work, while the user-public wants things that make THEIR life easier. Business users want one thing, home users want something else, and professionals want still something different. Even in these rather loose divisions, there are layers - experienced users, semi-experienced, and total novices. Yet software is designed to meet a "general" user's needs. It doesn't work. Until the "software industry" learns that it needs to create products that address the different needs of each subset of its clients, it will continue to meet very few of the needs of anyone.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 03/02/2006 16:51 Comments || Top||

#16  My 2c worth and in my time, I've worked on OSes, compilers and distributed systems.

The problem in a nutshell is 'system research' is an oxymoron. Or put another way, he is trying to apply the scientific method as practiced by academics to the development of complex systems and it doesn't apply.

The scientific method drives broad theoretical understanding through investigation and identification of facts (in the context of those theories). Whilst there are theoretical constructs that need to be elaborated concerning complex systems, they have no (or almost no) impact of the actual development of complex software systems, which is developed through an almost completely heuristic process.

It may sound counter-intuitive to some people, but as systems get more complex, they necessarily become more heuristic, becuase fewer and fewer people understand the system in its entireity. In fact, most modern software systems have already passed the point where any one person can understand them.

lotp is right in that engineered systems built on solid systems theories could exist (assuming the theories existed). However, in practice they don't exist.
Posted by: phil_b || 03/02/2006 17:00 Comments || Top||

#17  Phil_b & Lotp have it just about right...but there's one thing that is very hard for the academic community to grasp.

Software AND THE USE THEREOF have a large subjective / artistic / creative component.

When teaching RDB to students I like to start with a simple physical exercize. I break students into groups and then give each group a set of blocks. There are 3 large square blocks, one red, one blue and one green; then there are 3 medium sized square blocks and then 3 small; there are also round and triangle blocks the same way.

I ask the groups of students to sort the blocks into some rational order. The catch is that there is no correct answer and virtually every group comes up with different answers.

Then I ask them how the user wants them?

The point of the ramble is that there is no way to scientifially solve the "problem".
Posted by: AlanC || 03/02/2006 17:12 Comments || Top||

#18  Yesterday having done both taxes and FAFSA (kids student loan) is a perfect example of what can go wrong with software.

The FASFA site refuses to work with anything but IE or Netscape. (not even Mozilla) On top of that they don't do paper anymore so if the kid wants a student loan... ITS THEIR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.

The IRS site is a tad better but will not allow you to efile for free unless your gross is < 50K. If its greater you have to pay to use TurboTax or the like. TurboTax implies windows - a M$S requirement to e-file.

So the Web experience on these government sites can make one curse the software. (rightly or wrongly the web presence becomes software in the users eyes.)

On another point... I have XEN 3.0 running on some old hardware downstairs. This recent operating enviroment with true virtualization solves DARPAs ADA vs MIPS complaint Ltop was complaining about... oh the currently running vitrual OSs on that basement junk box? Centos and Debian...
Posted by: 3dc || 03/02/2006 17:48 Comments || Top||

#19  Lots of expertise and experience here at the Burg!

A couple of points.

3dc, when I ran a group that produced language tools (compilers, link editors, symbolic debuggers with embedded chip simulators) for the military real-time world (avionics, flight control systems, space-based systems) along with a hard real-time OS for embedded systems there was no way on God's green earth those apps could execute successfully in a virtual, emulated environment.

We're talking microseconds for very complex calculations that do things like shoot down missiles or keep fly-by-wire fighters in the air. So unfortunately your box in the basement wouldn't have solved DOD's problem (then or now), although it suits nicely for some other application domains. Which makes the point that there is no such thing as a single solution ....

Alan, I put out a bunch of words, so you might not have noticed that I spent 25 years in the "real world" doing software and managing software engineering (and some hardware design) before I went academic.

I didn't miss the fact that "THE USE (of software has) a large subjective / artistic / creative component." And neither has the academic comp sci world. That's exactly what adaptive user interfaces are all about. When these move into general use, the users will focus on how they want to work and what they want the software to look like.

That said, a good portion of my practitioner career involved "hard" real-time applications, or at least softer real-time process control and/or communications systems. I've written or managed projects ranging from a couple hundred lines of elegant code to a system that had about 4 million lines of high level source code. In some of those systems, 'creativity' was not what we wanted, needed or could tolerate.

Elegant design? Absolutely. Tight code and innovative algorithms? You bet - if they were designed and written so as to make it possible to verify their behavior and validate that they met the requirement spec.

The pilots of planes whose avionics and flight control systems were built with our code were glad we weren't 'creative'. ;-)
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 18:15 Comments || Top||

#20  I ask the groups of students to sort the blocks into some rational order. The catch is that there is no correct answer and virtually every group comes up with different answers.

Then I ask them how the user wants them?

The point of the ramble is that there is no way to scientifially solve the "problem".


Sure - that's pretty obvious WRT user interfaces.

When you talk about the architecture underneath them, however, there ARE scientific ways to characterize better or poorer approaches. Mai-Hwa Chen's complexity metric for distributed enterprise systems is one.
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 18:17 Comments || Top||

#21  Never meant to denigrate your experience, lotp. While I never did anything military I have worked with some real time control software for things like cutters and slitters for roll goods. The last few years I've been doing a lot more managing like the current migration of 2 dozen systems with ~50 Tb of data from Solaris to AIX.

The point I was trying to make was that there is almost always more than one way to skin the software cat and the choices can rarely if ever be truly said to be scientific beyond a certain point. Elegant is a word more frequently used aesthetically than scientifically ( I had one boss who name me Elegant Alan for my propensity to turn out tight code ).

As far as those pilots of your go, I bet they were quite appreciative of your creativity whether you were or not. ;^)

But, again, the main point is that Mr. Pike doesn't seem to know that the $$$$ are with the users for whom there is such a thing as good enough.

Posted by: AlanC || 03/02/2006 18:41 Comments || Top||

#22  Yup. When real $$ are at stake, users want good enough and not any fancier. Dead right, Alan!
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 19:31 Comments || Top||

#23  One of the real big revolutions in software is the work on component architectures, the most visible being the Eclipse development environment.
Posted by: Ptah || 03/02/2006 20:45 Comments || Top||

#24  My word for him, AT&T Labs are history, get over it.

Heh. Rob Pike now works for Google. As does Guido v. Rossum.

Rob's a great man; he's one of the original developers of Unix. You should read his book, "Practical Programming". It's a marvel of clarity.
Posted by: KBK || 03/02/2006 23:54 Comments || Top||


Russia Plans Moronic Stunt From Intl Space Station For Money
Russia plans to hit a golf ball into Earth orbit from the International Space Station. If NASA approves the plan, the ball would set records for the longest drive ever made – but some experts warn that a mishap could cause "catastrophic" damage to the station.

The plan is part of a commercial deal between the Russian space agency and Element 21 Golf Company, based in Toronto, Canada. In the plan, the station's next crew members, due to launch to the station on 29 March, will try for the record-breaking swing during one of three planned spacewalks by September 2006.

A gold-plated, six-iron golf club will be used to hit the ball, which is made out of the same scandium alloy used to build the station. After being hit from a special platform alongside the station, the ball is expected to orbit Earth for about four years, beaming its location to Earth-bound computers using global positioning transmitters. Eventually, the ball will lose altitude through atmospheric drag and burn up in the atmosphere.

But that scenario depends on the ball being hit out of the station's orbital plane. If it somehow stayed in the same plane as the station, it might actually fall back onto the station or collide with it during a subsequent orbit. The damage caused by such a collision would depend on factors such as the impact angle, the speed of collision and the mass of the ball.

Fore!
In a worst-case scenario, the ball would remain at the same altitude long enough that its orbital plane shifted until it could hit the station side-on, says J C Liou, an orbital debris expert at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, US. "Then you could potentially have something similar to a head-on collision with an impact speed of about 9.4 kilometres per second," Liou told New Scientist.

The force of such a collision would be equivalent to that of a 6.5-tonne truck moving at nearly 100 kilometres per hour. "So the outcome of the worst-case scenario could be quite catastrophic," he says. But he adds that such a dire scenario is "highly unlikely" to occur.

Bill Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, US, says that if the ball simply falls back onto the station without first going into orbit, it should not be moving so quickly, relatively speaking, and would pose little threat.

He estimates that, if the ball should strike the station in that manner, it would be at the same relative speed at which the astro-golfer initially hit it – at most 30 metres per second. "I would doubt the astronaut will be able to hit it very hard at all," Ailor told New Scientist, as heavy spacesuits will hinder a zippy swing.

Atmospheric clean-up
Ailor says there are about 300 operational satellites now orbiting at low-Earth altitudes near the space station, which flies about 400 kilometres above Earth. The golf ball could potentially strike one of those satellites as it spirals towards Earth, he says. "But the chance of something like that happening is probably very low."

He points out that other objects – such as SuitSat, a space suit fitted with a radio transmitter, have been thrown off the station without damaging orbiting satellites. "Low-Earth orbit has some nice features – the atmosphere actually cleans things out of orbit after a relatively short time," he says.

"We're trying to minimise the amount of debris created," he says. "So not opening a space-borne golf course is probably a good idea. But once in a while, it won't affect the problem too much."

NASA is currently studying the safety implications of the proposal, which is just one of many commercial deals brokered by Russia, says NASA spokesman Allard Beutel. If the swing is approved, Element 21 plans to return the gold-plated golf club to Earth and contribute it to a charitable cause.

The shot would not be the first extra-terrestrial golf. On 6 February 1971, NASA astronaut Alan Shephard ended a Moon walk by hitting two balls for "miles and miles and miles".
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 04:22 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [277 views] Top|| File under:

#1  This "if" orbital planes stuff is silly. Fact is if you are in orbit and fire off a golf ball there are three things that can happen (a) it comes right back to where it started after orbiting. The station will most likely have moved on but there is a chance each orbit of a collision until the golf ball eventually deorbits from friction. (b) the ball gets enough friction from the first orbit to shift into ever increasing lower orbits until it burns up. This is probably the plan. (c) The ball doesn't achieve orbit and just sort of takes up a position somewhere in orbit becoming another piece of troublesome junk.

This is a stupid stunt with no scientific application. If we are going to jettison the science lets turn the damn thing into a gas station and use it for orbital vehicular assembly for going to the moon (where golfing is better).
Posted by: rjschwarz || 03/02/2006 11:18 Comments || Top||

#2  And if anyone gets to hit a golf ball into space, it should be a Scot.
Posted by: Seafarious || 03/02/2006 11:40 Comments || Top||

#3  Seeing that they are the only ones who can get to it now - let them at it. I've always thought it was a money sink. All it seems they do up there are stupid experiments for elementary school kids on ants or bean sprouts.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 03/02/2006 11:41 Comments || Top||

#4  And if anyone gets to hit a golf ball into space, it should be a Scot.
No! It should be Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Posted by: Me || 03/02/2006 18:26 Comments || Top||

#5  "It should be a Scot" - reminds me of that great BUGS BUNNY episode. Let the Russkis do it as long as Bugs will catch it.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/02/2006 21:15 Comments || Top||


New paint blocks out cell phone signals
Posted by: .com || 03/02/2006 03:46 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [253 views] Top|| File under:

#1  So does my house. Metal walls and roof=no cell phone service in the house. Tv reception is for shit, too.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/02/2006 8:54 Comments || Top||

#2  If you get caught driving and talking you should get your car painted IMO
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 03/02/2006 10:19 Comments || Top||

#3  "What about the young parents whose baby-sitter is trying to call them, or the brain surgeon who needs notification of emergency surgery? These calls need to get through."
Sheesh, its always the brain surgery emergency excuse.
Posted by: Doc Fein || 03/02/2006 11:03 Comments || Top||

#4  "So does my house. Metal walls and roof=no cell phone service in the house. Tv reception is for shit, too."

Deacon, you're gonna hafta move out of that shipping container sometime! ;-)
Posted by: DanNY || 03/02/2006 14:14 Comments || Top||

#5  DanNY, LOLOL, but it's so easy to move around! No packing and un-packing.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 03/02/2006 14:49 Comments || Top||

#6  DanNY, LOLOL, but it's so easy to move around! No packing and un-packing.

So, what are your picks for favorite rail and shipping lines come vacation time?
Posted by: Zenster || 03/02/2006 16:07 Comments || Top||

#7  What a selling tool for the decorating industry!

Shermin Williams should make their first million in a week. Think of all the restaurnat's that would prefer you not talk while patrons are eating!

Andrea
Posted by: Andrea Jackson || 03/02/2006 16:24 Comments || Top||

#8  "What about the young parents whose baby-sitter is trying to call them, or the brain surgeon who needs notification of emergency surgery? These calls need to get through."

A valid issue, if people were considerate and set their phones to vibrate only when in places like restaurants and concerts.
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 16:26 Comments || Top||


Syria-Lebanon-Iran
US Navy rescues six Iranian seamen
MANAMA - Six Iranian seamen who had been adrift in the waters of the Gulf for 10 days have been rescued by a US warship, the US 5th Fleet Command said in Bahrain on Wednesday. Tuesday’s rescue was carried out by the guided missile destroyer USS Gonzalez during a security patrol in the central Gulf, the statement said.

The Iranians said their vessel’s engine and rudder failed on February 18. A Gonzalez boarding party gave the crew food and water as they had exhausted their supplies, the statement said. US Sailors determined that the dhow’s engine was beyond repair. Gonzalez then coordinated the seamen’s repatriation with other coalition forces in the area.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/02/2006 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [248 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Awefully civil of them. I wouldn't expect the same treatment if I were adrift in Iranian waters.
Posted by: Shomock Hupunter6844 || 03/02/2006 11:16 Comments || Top||

#2  True. but look at it this way.

There are now six more Iranians walking around thinking that those damned yanques may not be so bad after all.

Every little bit helps.
Posted by: kelly || 03/02/2006 12:10 Comments || Top||

#3  I can't believe it took the Navy 10 days before anyone noticed they were afloat! I thought we had extra assets in the area, especially with the escalating nuclear saber rattling going on. This net has massive holes in it.
Posted by: Danielle || 03/02/2006 13:04 Comments || Top||

#4  I can't believe it took the Navy 10 days before anyone noticed they were afloat!

Lots of dhows in the Gulf. Lots of dhows in the Gulf doing nothing but drifting, especially during the daytime (nightime is another matter).

The only way to find out one is disabled is if the crew asks for help or indicates it's disabled. That's standard procedure with any vessel.

I thought we had extra assets in the area, especially with the escalating nuclear saber rattling going on. This net has massive holes in it.

Get real. One, there is no mandate to stop and check every frigging dhow in the Gulf. Two, it's a waste of assets unless there's a damn good reason. We knew the dhows shadowing us in the Gulf were monitoring us (the cammie trousers under the robes were a good indicator) but unless they are a threat, there's no valid reason to stop and board them. Third, stopping and checking every frigging dhow without a mandate is not only a waste of assets, but it tends to piss off governments that are otherwise relatively friendly.
Posted by: Pappy || 03/02/2006 13:27 Comments || Top||

#5  I thought we had extra assets in the area, especially with the escalating nuclear saber rattling going on. This net has massive holes in it.

What Pappy said.

Yes, it's a scary time out in the Gulf area. And yes, we have a powerful military. That doesn't mean that we can keep track of everything that happens or control every detail - quite the contrary. Contested theaters of conflict are chaotic and can change rapidly.

OTOH we have the most professional and best equipped and best trained military there is -- or has ever been. Trust these men and women to do their jobs well, okay?
Posted by: lotp || 03/02/2006 14:08 Comments || Top||

#6  Pappy cranky.
Posted by: 6 || 03/02/2006 18:17 Comments || Top||



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Two weeks of WOT
Thu 2006-03-02
  JMB chief Abdur Rahman nabbed
Wed 2006-03-01
  US journo trapped in Afghan prison riot
Tue 2006-02-28
  Yemen Executes American Missionaries’ Murderer
Mon 2006-02-27
  Saudi forces clash with suspected militants
Sun 2006-02-26
  Jihad Jack Guilty
Sat 2006-02-25
  11 killed, nine churches torched in Nigeria
Fri 2006-02-24
  Saudi forces thwart attack on oil facility
Thu 2006-02-23
  Yemen Charges Five Saudis With Plotting Attacks
Wed 2006-02-22
  Shi'ite shrine destroyed in Samarra
Tue 2006-02-21
  10 killed in religious clashes in Nigeria
Mon 2006-02-20
  Uttar Pradesh minister issues bounty for beheading cartoonists
Sun 2006-02-19
  Muslims Attack U.S. Embassy in Indonesia
Sat 2006-02-18
  Nigeria hard boyz threaten total war
Fri 2006-02-17
  Pak cleric rushdies cartoonist
Thu 2006-02-16
  Outbreaks along Tumen River between Nork guards and armed N Korean groups

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