Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Keep laptops out of the hands of poor people

Who would buy a $398 laptop? People that can't afford to buy a $1,000 laptop. In other words, poor people. So why does the state of Wisconsin forbid Wal-Mart from selling a laptop for $398? Good question...seems pretty insensitive toward the "have-nots," to borrow a term from so-called progressives. I guess Wisconsin thinks only rich people should have laptops.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Beating the terrorists at their own game

Looks like Miami police have found a way to stop the terrorists...terrorize the citizens first and steal the terrorists' thunder. I read about this story here.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

New type of wind turbine

Well, new to me, at least. TMA's vertical wind turbine sounds neat.

I heard about this company from this post at The Energy Blog.

Have all of our problems been solved?

If this is true, our energy problems may be solved, but the physicists' problems are just beginning.
Randell Mills, a Harvard University medic who also studied electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims to have built a prototype power source that generates up to 1,000 times more heat than conventional fuel. Independent scientists claim to have verified the experiments and Dr Mills says that his company, Blacklight Power, has tens of millions of dollars in investment lined up to bring the idea to market. And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation.
I heard about this story from this Slashdot post.

Update: Here's Blacklight's website.

Thursday, November 3, 2005


I don't live in California. Maybe some day I will...who knows. But I had to say something about this. Regarding California's upcoming special election, a group called "Speak Out California!" has produced a voting guide to tell people how to vote (and do all that annoying thinking for them). Anyway, on this page about how they think California should work, they ignorantly bash the "free market":
Republicans and their free market fundamentalist attack groups claim that they stand for economic growth, but the stock market on average performs 12% better under Democrats. Why? In short, because tax cuts don't create jobs: people do. We believe in producing robust and sustainable growth in this state by:

* Investing in education and infrastructure
* Encouraging public-private partnerships
* Making California the home for the green economy
* Protecting working families
* Supporting responsible corporate stewardship
There are soooo many things wrong with this statement. First, the assumption that Republicans are somehow allied with "free market" thinking and, even worse, that "free market" is necessarily associated with "fundamentalist attack groups," whatever those are. Republicans pay lip service to free market ideals when it suits their purpose, then spend taxpayer money like there's no tomorrow when their power is unchecked. I don't know what a fundamentalist attack group is--Swiftboat Veterans, maybe? Some pro-life group? I can't think of a fundamentalist attack group that actively supports free market ideals.

Next, the claim that the stock market performs "better under Democrats." Huh? Under which Democrats. Sure, the stock market did well during the 1990s, while a Democrat was president, but during most of that time Republicans controlled at least one house of Congress. More importantly, however, is that neither of those things are directly responsible for the better-than-average stock market performance of the 1990s. What about the boom in technology centered around the internet? This is a once-in-a-lifetime development that completely transformed the way the world works during the 1990s (and still continues today). Imagine if there was a stock market around before and after the invention of the wheel. Would not that fictitious stock market experience tremendous growth, regardless of who was in power (provided they weren't an out-and-out Communist), simply because of all the new stuff that the new technology allowed?

This is getting long, but I think our country functions best (given the current two-party duopoly) when a Democrat is president and Republicans control Congress. This leads to gridlock (which slows down regulation-passing) and animosity between the two branches of government, just as our Constitution intended.

Anyway, back to the critique. "Tax cuts don't create jobs, people do." Well, "guns don't kill people, I do." Seriously, though, what kind of empty statement is that. Obviously, people create jobs (who/what else could?). Tax cuts are a reduction in that which inhibits job creation--government interference in the economy. With our ridiculously-complicated tax code, I don't want to argue about whether one type of tax cut is more effective than another, but I think it's easy to see that, regardless of their impact on jobs, tax cuts improve the economy. Just ask Europe why the U.S. is the only G-8 country to experience consistent GDP growth at over 3% during the last few years.

Now for a point-by-point critique:

Investing in education and infrastructure - Good enough, I guess. If the government is already involved in these things, they should be improved upon. "Invest" is an ambiguous term, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, here.

Encouraging public-private partnerships - What, like taxpayer-funded stadiums? Subsidies for Big Farm?

Making California the home for the green economy - By regulating the state to death so that no one can afford a car?

Protecting working families - From whom? Working families should be worried about government taking away their hard-earned money to "encourage public-private partnerships."

Supporting responsible corporate stewardship - Fine. But don't use the word "stewardship." It's annoying.

UPDATE: For comments, see the original blog post here.