The Echo Chamber
Friday, January 23, 2004
  12:20 PM

[Joseph Horan]

Another Instance of Racial Discrimination by the Educational Establishment...

Here's another story over at ChronWatch and the Volohk Conspiracy has a nice post about it.

I find this unbelievable. The student in question is FAR more AFRICAN than most black people I know. The issue here is that to the "african-american" establishment in this country you must have their sanction in order to be black or "african-american". This is of course absurd, but yet common if one recalls the statements made about Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice over the past three years by real "blacks"(sic). We can never hope to get over the issue of racism in this nation unless the same people who punished these students at Westside are dealt with. They are the real racists.  


  10:58 AM

Water on Mars!

[Stephen Gordon]

The picture shows a channel (Reull Vallis) once formed by flowing water. (ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

The European Space Agency announced today that it has found frozen water on the surface of Mars.

This is a really big deal for those interested in going to Mars (here's a good argument for going).

The existence of water on Mars makes it feasible for permanent colonies to one day be established. Obviously water is important for drinking, sanitation, and agriculture; but water will also provide oxygen to breathe and hydrogen for fuel.

This discovery was made from Martian orbit.

European scientists said their discovery was based on analysis of vapors of water molecules detected by the infrared camera aboard the Mars Express spacecraft that is circling the Red Planet's south pole.

It's nice to get some good news from Mars after Spirit's apparent failure. Spirit started sending gibberish on Wednesday, fell silent, and recently gave indication that it's in a safe mode.

Possible sources [of Spirit's problem] now being investigated are corruption of its software or computer memory.

Software can be fixed from Earth by beaming patches across space, or rebooting the rover's computer.

With no repairman close by, the safe mode will do little to help the mission if the problem is hardware related. And this stripped down rover has few nonessential systems. While NASA is far from giving up on it, Spirit might be done.

Spirit is part of NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" approach. The problem: "cheaper" and "faster" can go to war against "better." NASA has had suffered many failures with this approach.

Spirit's identical twin Opportunity is scheduled to land tomorrow morning. Let's hope the problem with Spirit is not the design. 


Tuesday, January 20, 2004
  10:42 AM

Mixed Nuts

[Stephen Gordon]

Drudge had it right this morning. Dean did go nuts (audio link).

That was one of the weirdest concession speeches ever (right up there with Nixon's "you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore" speech). If you can even call it a concession speech.

Remarkably Dean is not even the craziest guy running for the nomination. In the strange-duck sweepstakes one is tempted to call it a four-way tie between Howard "YAAAAAARRHHH" Dean, Dennis "Mind Control Space Weapons" Kucinich, Al "race-bait'in" Sharpton, and Wes Clark. But I have to give the edge to Clark.

Clark asserted that "(I)f I'm President of the United States, I'm going to take care of the American people. We are not going to have one of these (terrorist) incidents." This is just deeply creepy. Is this guy running for President or Dark Overlord?

In a contest like this one would think that the nuts would get shaken out first. It does take money to run a campaign so somebody has to be supporting these people. Dean's got the angry left. And, considering that speech last night he might just run a spoiler 3rd party race rather than give up after somebody else gets the nomination. Either that or he'll blow his carotid artery on national T.V.

Sharpton is waiting for the black vote in the south and so will be in the race for awhile. Sharpton has little party allegiance; he might run a spoiler campaign himself.

Clark will also be in it for awhile because of his foreign policy/military background. But Kerry has an honorable military record (you may have heard him mention it) and has the virtue of not being crazy. Kerry might want to nix the "F" word for the rest of the campaign though.

I think Kucinich will be the first of the four nuts to give it up. Its not that Kucinich will come to grips with the reality that he will never be President or even the Democratic nominee. No, the money will run out first. Kucinich's accountant should probably arrange to point one of those mind control satellites at the candidate before she breaks the news.

The eventual Democratic ticket will be some combination of Kerry, Lieberman, and Edwards. If Lieberman is part of the ticket he'll be running for Vice President again.

Of course this is pure speculation. This race has already been surprising and entertaining. There's certain to be a few more surprises before the Democratic nominee goes down in flames come November.

UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh is saying that Edwards will be the nominee and that Hillary might be his V.P.! 


Monday, January 19, 2004
  1:16 PM

Brain Food

[Stephen Gordon]

Glenn over at Instapundit pointed this morning to this article on the problem of Europe's brain drain.

A survey released in November by the European Commission found that only 13% of European science professionals working abroad currently intend to return home. . . .

I see this as a real problem and not just as a net gain for the United States. The world would benefit from an intellectually vibrant Europe.

One symptom of this problem is Europe's illogical resistance to genetically modified (GM) foods. While Europe might be able to afford this position in the short term, Africa cannot.

Millions of people in the world eat genetically modified (GM) foods every day. But recently, seized by fears over possible economic repercussions and potential health risks, famine-ridden nations in southern Africa have chosen to reject offers of GM food aid from the United States.

Why?

Roughly half the region's agricultural exports are sold to the European Union, where there is loud opposition to GM foods, and where they must be labeled as such. African farmers fear that if they are no longer able to certify that their foods are GM-free, they will lose their share in the European market.

"Our decision to reject some of these foods is out of fear.... We have been told that we will lose our European market if we start growing GM foods, Zambian Vice President Enoch Kavindele explained to U.N. aid workers. Hungry we may be, but GM foods pose a serious threat to our agriculture sector... and [could] grind it to a halt."

That was 2002. Since then genetically modified food have made inroads:

The leading growers of biotech crops are the United States, Argentina, Canada, China, Brazil, and South Africa. These countries account for 99% of the global biotech crop area. The greatest increases in 2003 were in China and South Africa, which both planted 33% more biotech hectares than in 2002.

Farmers have made up their minds, said ISAAA Chairman and Founder Clive James, speaking at the release of the report. Farmers continue to rapidly adopt biotech crops because of significant agronomic, economic, environmental, and social advantages.

Africa, China, and India are now planting GM foods in spite of Europe. Even Spain is planting GM maize. The battle is over, but no one has told the bureaucrats in Brussels. The European Union ban on GM foods remains as Europe loses a generation of scientists to the U.S. 


  10:19 AM

It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day...

[Stephen Gordon]

Read Paul Greenberg's thoughts: "The Radical As Conservative." 


  9:48 AM

[Stephen Gordon]

Joseph Horan recently wrote about the New York Times interview of actor Wallace Shawn of Princess Bride fame.

Here's some more quotes from that interview that I'm compelled to comment on:

Q:So you take some pride in American culture.

A:To be honest, I see myself as a citizen of the planet. Even as a child, I always found it mindless to root for your own team. I was puzzled by the fact that people said their own team was better than other teams simply because it was theirs.

It's mindless to not take sides during a war. Individuals are not little countries that can choose to be neutral like Switzerland. We are citizens ofa country that has been attacked.

Q:Are you a pacifist? Do you oppose all war?

A:Not exactly, but I think that Jonathan Schell's book The Unconquerable World expresses brilliantly the dangers inherent in taking any position today that is not that of the extreme pacifist.

Inconceivable! (ah...sorry) Schell's book is the worst sort of dictator appeasing moral equivalence you'd ever want to read. Here's an example from the book:

Does the American leadership today imagine that the people of the world, having overthrown the great territorial empires of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, are ready to bend the knee to an American overlord in the twenty-first?

Only an extreme pacifist (Shawn's description) would believe that September 11 was a defensive attack.

Let's assume (and I'm not sure that this is always true) that pacifists really desire world peace and not the fall of Western Civilization. How would Shawn and Schell explain Bin Laden's perception of the Clinton years - that we would always back down from a fight, that our response would always be to lob some cruise missles into an abandoned camp? Do pacifists deny that our own impotence during those years emboldened the terrorists to go ahead with 9/11? I guess they have to, but they're denying logic and Bin Laden's own admission. The September 11th attack was not in response to American belligerence, but was invited by a perception of weakness.

I also wonder how Shawn and Schell interpret Libya's coming clean recently, Iran's agreeing to nuclear inspections, Saudi's new seriousness in fighting terror, and Syria agreeing to do more to close their border to fighters? Do they think that pacifism would have accomplished as much - or do they even see these developments as positive?

I do not think peace activism means what Shawn thinks it means. 


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