Jeff Wolfe's Weblog

Friday, May 31, 2002

EVOLUTION OR INTELLIGENT DESIGN - Rand Simberg has some insightful observations about the debate over Evolution and Intelligent Design. Evolution requires faith in the scientific method, but it can be reinforced or disproven by additional experimentation. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, can't be proven or disproven, so it falls outside the realm of science. So the best argument against teaching Intelligent Design in a science class is not whether it's true or false (which can't be determined), but whether or not it's science.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

ALWAYS A CLASSIC - Brink Lindsey posts the text of Patrick Henry's Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech, and says that it's just what we need in these post-9/11 times. I agree completely.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

WHICH ADMINISTRATION BLEW IT? - is reporting that the FBI knew in 1996 of "a specific threat that terrorists in bin Laden's network might use a plane in a suicide attack...." As Glenn Reynolds points out, the story incorrectly refers to "a top-secret briefing memo presented to President Bush in 1998." Bush, of course, did not take office until January, 2001.

So who should shoulder the largest portion of the blame here, if there is blame to be assigned? Is it the president who knew about it for five years and did nothing except take a pot shot to get his personal scandal off the front pages? Or a president whose administration was less than eight months old, with many senior positions still unfilled because of foot dragging by the opposition party in an evenly divided Senate?

Perhaps, in an effort to smear Bush, the major news media are finally beginning to unwittingly reveal the true Clinton legacy.

UPDATE: 5/19/2002 1:10 AM - The story has been updated. It's now a story speculating about a possible future attack. The references noted above are still there, but they have been pushed to the bottom of the story. And the 1998 reference to "President Bush" was changed to "the president." The story also now includes a statement from former President Clinton defending the actions taken (or not) during that time period.

AND YOU THOUGHT IT WAS BAD WHEN YOUR MOM THREW OUT YOUR BASEBALL CARDS - is running a story about a woman who was arrested after apparently destroying artwork her son had stolen. The son was already in custody, and they arrested the mom after finding paintings "cut to shreds" in his bedroom. They are still looking for all the works, but more than 172 pieces were stolen over a five year period. The total estimated value: $1.4 billion.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

A MAZE OF TWISTING PASSAGES, ALL ALIKE - Juan Gato points out the similarities of several editorials opposing Attorney General John Ashcroft's interpretation of the Second Amendment. My own local paper, the Columbus Dispatch can be added to the list.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention it when I first posted this, but the Columbus Dispatch requires free registration. I wish I could assure you that it's worth the bother, but unless you live in Columbus, it's not. Even then, it's a close call. It's rather bizarre that they think people would jump at the chance to give them personal information for the privilege of reading day-old news.

Friday, May 10, 2002

ARTIST 1, CALTRANS 0 - An artist in Los Angeles was tired of getting lost on the freeway. So he decided to improve one of the freeway signs. Caltrans officials didn't notice for nine months, until they read about it in the paper after a friend of his leaked it to the media. He did such a good job that they're not pressing charges and they're leaving the sign in place, at least for now. (via Slashdot).

Thursday, May 09, 2002

CATO INSTITUTE, AFTER 25 YEARS - Brink Lindsey tells us what he likes about working at the Cato Institute, and why they've been successful.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

DOWNTOWN FIXATION - In the latest issue of Dallas's D Magazine, Virginia Postrel examines why political leaders are fixated on downtown and why they're wrong. Her article could very well apply to Columbus or, I suspect, most any other moderately sized city in the country. Change the word "Dallas" to "Columbus" and the article still makes sense, even the part about parking lots and revitalization.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

WHAT'S YOUR POINT? - is running a poll on their front page, "Would you be willing to pay more for crustless bread?" Currently, 91% say "No." I suppose some people would think that means Sara Lee shouldn't be making crustless bread. Setting aside for the moment the total unreliability of Internet polls, I'd say 9% would make a pretty nice niche market for them. That's the great thing about decentralized control. Choices. Even loony choices. Especially loony choices.

CLONING BAN CONSEQUENCES - My paper ran this political cartoon by Tom Toles in today's issue. It looks to be a couple of weeks old, but it's still a good commentary on the therapeutic cloning debate. If you haven't signed the Franklin Society petition yet, you should go do so now.

UPDATE: Virginia Postrel apparently linked to this cartoon on April 22. I must not have been paying attention that day. I say "apparently" because her link doesn't still point to a cloning cartoon.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

GIVING IT AWAY HELPS YOU SELL IT, PART II - A story tells of a study that claims that people who swap music files on the Internet are spending more than they did before. One study is not conclusive, of course (and the music industry has its own study showing the opposite), but when you add it all up, it's not nearly so clear cut as the music (and book) industry would have us believe. Maybe sales are down because people don't like to do business with short sighted, money grubbing idiots.

ANTI-FIREBALLS - A guy in Thailand has invented a new way to extinguish fires. It's a ball of fire-extinguishing materials which you can roll or throw into a fire. The heat of the fire explodes the balls, which then extinguish the fire (up to four square meters per anti-fireball).

The article says they "could lead to a day when firemen carry catapults in their trucks as well as ladders." That brought to mind the medieval image of castle sieges. Only now, when we arrive with our catapults and ladders, we won't be there to burn down the buildings, we'll be there to keep them from burning down.

(article via Slashdot)

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

COLONIZING SPACE - Here's a good article by John Weidner on why we should colonize space. He's describing dynamism as applied to exploring space. One thing is certain: when that (first) revolutionary discovery is made, we'll all wonder how we lived without it.