Archive for January, 2005

An excellent quote to keep in mind as Iraq moves toward it’s future as a democracy:

[T]he final and permanent fruits of liberty are wisdom, moderation, and
mercy. Its immediate effects are often atrocious crimes, conflicting
errors, scepticism on points the most clear, dogmatism on points the
most mysterious. It is just at this crisis that its enemies love to
exhibit it. They pull down the scaffolding from the half- finished
edifice. they point to the flying dust, the falling bricks, the
comfortless rooms, the frightful irregularity of the whole appearance;
and then ask in scorn where the promised splendour and comfort is to be
found. If such miserable sophisms were to prevail, there would never be
a good house or a good government in the world….

There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom
produces – and that cure is freedom. When a prisoner leaves his cell,
he cannot bear the light of day; – he is unable to discriminate colors,
or recognize faces. But the remedy is not to remand him into his
dungeon, but to accustom him to the rays of the sun. The blaze of truth
and liberty may at first dazzle and bewilder nations which have become
half blind in the house of bondage. But let them gaze on, and they will
soon be able to bear it. In a few years men learn to reason. The
extreme violence of opinion subsides. Hostile theories correct each
other. The scattered elements of truth cease to conflict, and begin to
coalesce. And at length a system of justice and order is educed out of
the chaos. Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it
down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free
till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool
in the old story who resolved not to go into the water till he had
learnt to swim! If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise
and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.

  -Thomas Babington Macaulay

via Brian, a well-read commenter on Roger L. Simon’s blog

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God Bless Iraq

Congratulations to the brave Iraqi people. The absolutely amazing voter turnouts tell the tale. The blogs are brimming with photos and statements of proud Iraqi voters undeterred by the threats of violence. This isn’t the end of their struggle to change their country, but after enduring decades of brutal dictatorship it is a remarkable demonstration of how determined they are to make the most of their new future. Sissy Willis is right: "This is the best thing ever for freedom and human happiness since the fall of the Berlin Wall."

In addition to the links above, Instapundit.com and Friends of Democracy have excellent roundups of links. Just keep scrolling (and clicking).

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Link: The Diplomad: More UNhonesty.

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Link: Michael J. Totten: “We Can’t Get Bogged Down in Analysis”.

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Hey Hey 16k!

A groovy little flash animation celebrating the many joys of 80’s microcomputing, British style:
Hey Hey 16k

(includes closed-captioning for the accent-impaired. MP3’s and lyrics here!)

UPDATE: Having no inclination to go do something useful, I now present the Annotated Edition of this post:

Computers mentioned in this song:

  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum – Color sucessor to the ZX-81 and tremendously popular. Most of the screenshots in the music video are from the Spectrum, complete with the distinctive blocks-o-color effect. Many popular Spectrum games were adapted for the C64. The floating face that pops up near the end of the video is Sir Clive Sinclair, the genius behind these computers.
  • Sinclair ZX 81 – Together with it’s predecessor it was inexpensive enough to make computing affordable for a whole new group of curious Brits. Also sold as the first sub-$100 computer in the US.
  • Dragon – The British cousins of Radio Shack’s TRS-80 Color Computer series.
  • VIC – Color sucessor to the Commodore PET series, and later the little brother to the C64. (The VIC-20 was my own first computer.)
  • Oric 1 – Competitor to the Spectrum. Oric was never a factor in the US.
  • Commodore 64 – One of the most popular computers ever, on either side of the Atlantic.
  • Amstrad – Never a competitor in the US, but very popular in the UK
  • Acorn Electron, cheaper BBC Micro – The BBC Micro and a cheaper mass-market spinoff. The BBC Micro was created as a standard machine to accompany the BBC’s educational TV shows. There was nothing quite like it over here. This site has tons of information.

And the games:

(links found via the awesome World of Spectrum)

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Some of you may have heard the story about the scandalous prom dress For Which The World Is Not Yet Prepared. Wizbang notes that the catalog picture is somewhat different and wonders whether the NY Post deliberately exaggerated the scantyness of the dress. In short order, the actual NY Post model adds her own comments. The blogosphere gets results.

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But Saddam had a mandate

The elections in Iraq are only days away. Now that it’s the Iraqi people have made it quite clear that they’re unintimidated by terroristic threats against them, there’s a new spin developing in the Old Media: Regardless of what the turnout it, it won’t be a "legitimate" vote. Don’t fall for it.

This was Plan-B all along for the terrorists, who having failed to stop the elections are now desperate to do anything they can to poison the results. They, like President Bush, recognize that they have no future in a democracy. And they know from experience that the media will happily treat terrorists as a legitimate news sources (even employing them to file news stories and take photos) and thereby help spread as much disinformation as they can come up with.

When listening to the network news from Iraq on Monday, let’s remember exactly how professional these same networks were when the beloved Saddam Hussein won 100% of the vote in 2002. The wouldn’t call it fraud then. Why? Because it would’ve made Saddam angry with them. They knew exactly what he was up to and decided that ratings were more important than accurate reporting. Or Iraqi lives.

This time around, when they rush toward accusations of fraud or compromised results, remember 2002. And then turn down the volume and listen to what the Iraqi people, risking their lives to vote, have to say for themselves. And respect the result.

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Google Video Search

The latest beta from Google labs: Google Video Search.

According to the About page it works by indexing the closed captioning text that’s broadcast with the shows. You can’t actually see the video though, just an accompanying still image.

C-SPAN is a partner in this; it’s a good fit. I can see this being very useful for researching public affairs information.

via PVRBlog

UPDATE: This NY Times article (via Instapundit) has more information. It also notes that Yahoo will soon be doing something similar (in addition to their existing web-video-clip search.) Good. It’s nice to see a little real competition again among search engines.

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Recent reading

Topic Drift is a very strange blog. Beware.

mad anthony blogs from Baltimore, practically a neighbor.

iowahawk is hilarious, as always.

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I’m watching an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica. They had great special effects for a TV series of the time, but unfortunately they could only afford to do each effect once. This meant that when the Cylon ships attacked, they always came from the exact same place in exactly the same formation. Yet each time was as much a surprise as the first. Hmm. You’d think that even the 500-yaron-old targeting computers in the Galactica could’ve worked that out eventually.

But where effects are concerned, one thing 80’s science fiction series did really, really well were blinking lights. Starbuck and Apollo just snuck into a Cylon Base Star (not a Death Star, completely different universe) and the central core is filled with all sorts of impressive control consoles and wall to wall blinking lights. Excellent.

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