Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm on a bit of a hiatus from blogging at the moment. A crackhead decided to burglarize my house every day for a week, so I've been using my martial arts skills of running and hiding.
He got the computer, and I'm going to find a new place to live, which will involve a delay in getting cable and a computer, so things here will be sporadic for a bit. I'm fine, and it was more motivation to get out of the neighborhood I was in, which has been a goal for a while.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Freezing Point enjoyed a renaissance in the months that followed. Li Erliang appeared chastened, unwilling to risk another fight he might lose, reporters said.

But in January, propaganda officials finally shut down the section. Before doing so, they called executives from all the major Web sites to a special meeting and warned them not to allow any discussion of the action.

The news spread quickly anyway.

Word for the day: adiabatic. Not sure yet what it means, found in Jimmy Buffet's A Pirate Looks at 50.

Rising air experiences a drop in temperature, even though no heat is lost to the outside. The drop in temperature is a result of the decrease in atmospheric pressure at higher altitudes. If the pressure of the surrounding air is reduced, then the rising air parcel will expand. The molecules of air are doing work as they expand. This will affect the parcel's temperature (which is the average kinetic energy of the molecules in the air parcel). One of the results of the Laws of Thermodynamics is that there is an inverse relationship between the volume of an air parcel and its temperature. During either expansion or compression, the total amount of energy in the parcel remains the same (none is added or lost). link.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Word for the day: quacktastic. Used to describe oddball medical item at boing-boing.
I ran into a better word earlier, but I've forgotten it.
It's a word for things that oxidize more rapidly than burning, but less rapidly than an explosion. It came up when the feds were deciding not to call model rocket engines explosive devices.
catchphrase of the day: silicon implants - sploid's buzzword for human-embedded rfid chips.

I read today that boing-boing is the most linked-to site - about 20,000 links versus 7000 for instapundit. It has more readers than Wired, and a staff of 5 part-timers.
This was in an article about the few who make money at blogging. Speaking of money, here's some folks who are transitioning to the new post-scarcity economy.

The Compact: group vows not to buy anything new but food, underwear, and medicine in 2006 They've taken it farther than I have.
I don't buy much food. Underwear and socks about once a year. Medicine, well, does gin and tonic count? Otherwise, about once a year. But I buy some other stuff now and then - gas for example. I bought some more of the plastic chinese dishes I like around xmas time. Now and then I go to Walmart, or get a cup of coffee while downtown. But for the most part, I get by without feeling the need to buy stuff, or to have a job to make money to buy stuff in an endless circle. I do without, I get stuff used or recycled, I enjoy the vast riches of the internet commons. It's partly a matter of lifetime habits developed as a kid with a 50 cents a week allowance.
I still manage to spend money, mostly on utilities I think. I do not yet have my own windmill or suchlike. It's partly deep ecology, partly hippieness, partly I'm influenced by colonial era/depression era yankee/scots miserliness.
I know sometimes I take it to extremes, but I'm surrounded by people at the other extreme, spending all their money on stuff I don't value highly.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Is the leonard law unconstitutional?
I haven't brushed up on Pruneyard v Robbins lately, but it seems like a private school should have the right to edit speech.

USC is also over 10 years behind the times when it comes to the broader question of whether it may suppress offensive student speech. As a private university, USC is not bound by the First Amendment — but the Leonard Law, enacted by the California Legislatures in 1992, obligates private colleges in California to generally tolerate student speech under the same standards imposed by the First Amendment on the government:

(a) No private postsecondary educational institution shall make or enforce any rule subjecting any student to disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in outside the campus or facility of a private postsecondary institution, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 2 of Article 1 of the California Constitution. . . .

I'm not wild about this restriction on private universities' freedom of action; while I think that private universities generally ought not suppress student speech, I think they should have the legal right to do so. But the Leonard Law is the law in California, and it seems to me that USC ought to comply with it. And the Leonard Law quite clearly bars USC from suppressing student speech simply because it's offensive or because includes profanities
. from Volokh.

A couple of posts at crescat may be related -
The Catholic University and the Kalven Report
Company Towns and Constitutional Rules

Friday, February 10, 2006

Science: 20th Century Warmest In 1200 Years
Posted by Zonk on Friday February 10, @03:17PM
from the spicy-meatball dept.
gcranston writes "Research from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K. shows that the 20th century was the warmest for the northern hemisphere since approximately 800AD. Historical climate data were calculated from weather 'proxies' such as tree rings, ice cores, and seashells from Europe, Asia, and North America, and attempted to address the shortcomings of earlier studies. The findings support the argument for global warming as a result of human interference rather than natural climate change."
Slashdot reports that if this keeps up, it may become possible for humans to live in Canada. I write this from Milwaukee.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

When I was a young child growing up in Arizona, my family had a cabin in idyllic Iron Springs Arizona, a place that at the time had no phone service, minimal electricity, and where television was unheard of. Every summer we would go as often as we could, and the highlight of the place was the fact that Sandra Day O'Connor (this was not long after she was confirmed to the Court) would read the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July at the annual picnic at the pavillion. I have not been to Iron Springs for over ten years (our family sold our cabin), and don't know if she and John plan to spend any time there, but whenever I think of the place, I remember it as somewhere where a
Supreme Court Justice would stand before a group of children and read us Jefferson, just after we had the roast corn and before we retired to ping-pong.
- Wonkette.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

An army of Daves:
Mayola Williams, who filed the suit on behalf of her deceased husband, Jesse, praised the ruling. [upheld 80 million punitives on remand.]
"I put Jesse in the place of David against the great giant, and he came out pretty good so far," she said. "The justice system has done us fairly."
Philip Morris officials said the decision violated U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

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