Monday, November 26, 2007

Word of the day: Taximeter.
A taximeter is a gadget that counts up how much your cab fare is, but it is also the cab itself, later shortened to 'taxi'.
The device goes back as far as ancient Rome, says wikipedia. I ran across it in Wodehouse, circa 1915. Can't tell if that was just the usage of the day, or if he's being quaint.
Now that Indianapolis has once again a Republican mayor and council, perhaps I should get in touch with the Institute for Justice (www.ij.org) about re-deregulating taxis in Indy. The process for getting licensed to drive a taxi is slightly less of a
burden than getting admitted to the bar, which in turn is a little easier than getting licensed to cut hair.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Some thoughts on the DC gun case, as expressed in comments at Volokh Conspiracy,
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Brett Bellmore: A label that has been used for a stricter than strict scrutiny standard of review is the "absolute bar rule", which says that if the (Maryland) constitution says you can't do x, then you can't do x. It's bveen awhile since I reviewed the case law, but I think it came up in the context of equal protection on the basis of sex.
This thread has me thinking about Roe, Griswald, Lawrence, and a woman's right to make a healthcare decision to keep a gun in her home, as a birth control device. What are the penumbras and emanations of the second amendment, that might impact future privacy cases?
It looks in Heller like there are 4 opposed, the 'liberal' wing of the court, and five "we don't know what they are really thinking" votes, so we shouldn't count this as a win yet. It would be enough to get a strong dissent, as in McConnell v FEC, which set up the later WiRtl v FEC.
Scalia's vote is especially unpredictable. In cases like McIntyre, he, like Rhenquist elsewhere, argued for an evolving and living constitution, in which rights expire if they aren't used for 50 or a 100 years.
Elsewhere, though, he's suggested that "of the people" means "of the people".
Perhaps there are five (or 3, or 4) votes for something like this:
The people of DC are people and the 2nd applies to them, so you can't ban handguns. "Shall not be infringed" triggers something like strict scrutiny, but only of whatever it is that the founders meant by "the right" to bear arms,
so that we need to look to anglo-american law, circa 1679-1792, to understand what degree of regulation was historically allowed, in order to resolve questions such as whether trigger locks can be required for shotguns.
Just as libel and obscenity are (somewhat) outside the "freedom of speech", there are probably categories of gun-having that are not within the historicaal right.
And at that point, my knowledge is limited, and I need to defer to some of you historical scholar types. In, say, Massachutsetts in 1750, could trigger locks have been required?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Broiled tomatoes Provencal (tomato, garlic, onion, crutons, optional parsley)
Roasted sweet potato
Green beans
tossed salad, red wine vinagrette
apple pie
coffee, decaf.
Thanks Mom!

What I'm reading: Book 40 (approximately) PG Wodehouse, Mike at Wrykyn, 41 The Adventures of Sally, 42 Pigs have Wings, 43 Psmith, Journalist, 44 Mike and Psmith, 45 Psmith in the City 46 A Gentleman of Leisure. So it looks like I'll have read 50 books this year after all, assuming I read anything next month.
"Mike" is a book about cricket. When I started the book yesterday, I didn't know much about cricket - something about a bowler who bounces a ball toward a batter and tries to knock down a wicket. Now that I've read a book about it, I know a good bit less.
Other stuff: caught up at questionable content.
A Gentleman of Leisure, like Sally, is a screwball comedy in which the young lady gets engaged to wrong man, people are not who they seem to be, fortunes are won and lost, and it all works out in the end. Douglas Fairbanks played our hero - off to google for a link, would be a fun movie to see, or maybe it was just on stage. Ah, Wodehouse apparently refers to Douglas Fairbanks senior, the one who married Mary Pickford, rather than Junior, who married Joan Crawford. I've probably never sorted out which is which.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Euro around $1.50, oil $98/br, $100 laptops $400.

Court takes 2nd Amendment case. http://www.stripcreator.com/comics/arbi/413297/

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to
the following question: Whether the following provisions, D.C.
Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the
Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated
with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns
and other firearms for private use in their homes?

Monday, November 19, 2007

pravda reports weird creatures found.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nacargot video nsfw. related comic.

Insomnia all this week. http://www.comedity.com
So I read webcomics. Oh, sure, actually doing some work would probably put me right to sleep, but the sunrises are so pretty.
To do: add http://questionablecontent.net/ to blogroll. done.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Boston police plan house to house unwarranted search for guns.

Things that are not in the constitution, that people think are.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Note to self:
Shoga no tempura - ginger tempura
4 fresh ginger roots (as non-lumpy as possible)
Salted water
3 table spoons of wheat flour
1 table spoon of potato flour
4 table spoons of water
½ teaspoon of salt

Peel the ginger roots and cut them in thin strips. Put the strips in a bowl of salted water and let it rest in the fridge for an hour. Then pour off the water and use a paper towel or something to dry the ginger as much as possible.
Mix the flour, water and salt for the tempura batter and dip a few of the strips of ginger in it and fry in oil at 170 degrees C until the batter starts to get slightly brown. Then take them out and put them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess fat.
You can make a dipping sauce of the following ingredients (probably not you, Curly, since it contains sake), but you don't have to - just make up your own favorite dip.
1 dl of kombu dashi
½ dl of soy sauce
3 table spoons of mirin
½ grated black radish
The tempura batter of course works with other vegetables as well.

ok that didn't work, i guess i can't deeplink to that site for sushi pix.

FBi raids Ron Paul dollar shop. A Ron Paul dollar is an ounce of copper with Ron Paul's picture on it.

Finally, cheap flexible solar power cells - maybe. Nanosolar Inc. can make solar panels for 1/10th today's price, starting next year, but what price will they sell them for?
I'd like to see more numbers. What does this do to feasibility studies for nukes?
Also covered at PopSci are a French space telescope to look for earthlike planets,

Based on a hint from Wil, I went looking for an online copy of a radio show based on Heinlein's "the green hills of earth". Didn't find it for free; I could buy it here for $60 as part of a package. A different version has Leonard Nimoy reading the story.

origami memetics
my myspace crush aaron asked for cute ways to fold a note.
that led me here:
I must, however, qualify my statement that "modern" origami started solely with Akira Yoshizawa. He did, in fact have a predecessor in Spain in the early years of the 20th Century. This was the famous Spanish Philosopher, Miguel Unamuno, the Rector of Salamanca University, who died at the very beginning of the Spanish Civil War, on 31st, December, 1936. Unamuno had a philosophic interest in paperfolding, and in 1902 he wrote a humorous treatise on the Spanish paper bird known as the pajarita (known as a dog in Japan). Later, however, he discovered the bird base, and like Yoshizawa after him, he discovered the "sideways turn" and using it developed a series of somewhat angular birds and animals. Unamuno's folds were angular and lacked the grace and liveliness of Yoshizawa's creations. Unamuno had followers in Spain and also in Argentina and there was quite a large paperfolding movement in both countries. However, it did not extend beyond the Spanish speaking countries and the modern paperfolding movement did not derive from it. Only later was the Hispanic movement absorbed into the general Western movement. - Two Miscellaneous Collections of Jottings
on the History of Origami: Part One by David Lister
And here is a book on origami by Harry Houdini.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

jd writes at shashdot firehose:"In a major breakthrough, neurologists are reporting that they can decypher neurological impulses into speech with an 80% accuracy. A paralyzed man who is incapable of speech has electrodes implanted in his brain which detect the electrical pulses in the brain relating to speech. These signals are then fed into computers which covert these pulses into signals suitable for speech synthesis. As a biotech marvel, this is astonishing. Depending on the rate of development it is possible to imagine Professor Hawking migrating to this, as it would be immune to any further loss of body movement and would vastly accelerate his ability to talk. On the flip-side, direct brain I/O is also a major step towards William Gibson's Neuromancer and other cyberpunk dark futures."

Mechanical telepathy, computer-augmented thought, nsa mind probes, possible good and bad practical applications.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Falling dollar raises costs of Canada's cash crop. usatoday.
Both the USAtoday and WashPo today have editorials lying about what US v Miller held.
Maybe it's the kind of distinction only a lawyer notices, but to say "we have no evidence of x" does not mean "x is false."

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm not sure about this comic yet. Surreal, cute, smart, but I'm not sure.

better mousetrap department:
supermice dont get cancer.
update: supermice not afraid of cats.

New York Times' Linda Greenhouse on gun control:
Dear Ms. Stewart - There are probably as many ways to read US v. Miller as
there are opinions on gun control. I've read the opinion several times and
I'll stick to my interpretation, based on this sentence in the opinion: "In
the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a
'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this
time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of
a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment
guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument." Best wishes, LG

At 11:11 AM 11/12/2007, you wrote:
>Dear Ms. Greenhouse, You wrote, in the IHT, "A decision in 1939, United
>States v. Miller, held that a sawed-off shotgun was not one of the "arms"
>to which the Second Amendment referred...." That's not actually quite
>accurate. Miller held that no evidentiary hearing had yet been held in the
>case, to establish whether a sawed off shotgun was a militia weapon, and
>that therefore the dismissal was premature.

Supreme Court May Take Gun Case
Published: November 12, 2007
Justices will be asked to interpret the right to “keep and bear arms” if the court weighs in on Washington’s strict gun-control law.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wil Wheaton pointed out this story about Steve Ditko, who invented Spiderman and Mr.A.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Today the Supreme Court considers whether to take the DC 2nd Amendment case about whether DC can ban handguns, but we won't hear anything till Tuesday at the earliest.
I've been on the phone today with some privacy lawyers from Boston, and might be participating as an amicus in the voter ID case.
Tom Palmer, one of six plaintiffs named in the original lawsuit challenging the Washington, DC ban, considers the case a matter of life and death. An openly gay scholar in international relations at the rightwing Cato Institute, he thinks that a handgun saved him years ago in San Jose, California, when a gang threatened him.

"A group of young men started yelling at us, 'faggot', 'homo', 'queer', 'we're going to kill you' and 'they'll never find your bodies'," Mr Palmer said in a March 2003 declaration.

"Fortunately, I was able to pull my handgun out of my backpack, and our assailants backed off."
briefs and filings. aba article:
“They recognized this was a good case and D.C. was the perfect place,” says plaintiffs lawyer Robert A. Levy, a senior fellow at Washington’s libertarian Cato Institute. “That’s what concerned them.”

Levy, who is bankrolling and pushing Heller to the Supreme Court out of his own pocket and on his own time, says the NRA first sent two lawyers to try to dissuade him from filing the case. After that failed, Levy says the NRA tried to hijack the case by filing a competing case, then trying to consolidate the two.

To boot, Levy says, the NRA supports congressional legislation to repeal the gun ban, which could render Heller moot. He also wonders why the NRA waited more than 25 years to challenge the 1976 D.C. ordinance.

Palmer. Palmer at wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

(Proper) word for the day: Phelpsian.

The end of freedom
I am shackled hand and foot spread eagle on the floor of my cell. I ask my jailer everyday to set me free. Finally he compassionately sets me free.
For days I am exhilarated with the ability to freely pace about my cell. After a few weeks I begin to beg my jailer to set me free. After weeks he, being a compassionate man, sets me free from my cell.
For days I am exhilarated at the freedom to wonder about and speak with other inmates. After several weeks I begin to beg my jailer to free me and finally he relents and releases me from jail. I am overwhelmed with the sense of freedom until I, overcome with hunger and basic needs, seek some work so as to feed myself.
I find a job working on an assembly line and am exhilarated at the new found freedom. After a year I begin to seek other less strenuous and repetitive assembly line work. I wish to free myself from this robotic work I do everyday.
What is the ‘telos’ (ultimate end) of this series of ever persistent desire for freedom? Is hunger for freedom similar to hunger for food, never satiated? I don’t think so. I think the search for freedom can culminate in an ultimate and satisfying end.
Freedom, I suspect, is a search for self-determination. When we feel that we are master of our domain, when we are free to determine who we are and what we need to be our self we will have reached that ‘telos’ of freedom. I suspect this end is as unique as a finger print, it is an act of creation and can be made conscious to me only by me.
I think each of us must learn for our self what we need to secure freedom’s ‘telos’. Probably most of us find only a degree of freedom, but if we never stop looking we may continue finding more of it.

Found this at the xkcd forum, author coberst. Your thoughts?

Once upon a time, a guy wrote a comic book about chessboxing. Now it's a real sport.

Euro = $1.45 today.
At least 852 American military personnel have died in Iraq so far this year - the highest annual in 200toll since the war began in March 2003. Not counting blackwater-type contractors.
Foreclosure wave sweeps america. Oil headed over $100/barrel.
Gold in 2000 when Bush took office: around $300. Gold today: around 800. So a Bush dollar is worth 38 cents in clinton dollars, when denominated in gold. Silver today: $15/oz. Copper today: $3/lb. So copper pennies are worth around 3 cents. Platinum is around $1500/oz. Point is that GWB has devalued the currency. In 1997 I was making around $20,000 a year, in 2007 I'm making around $20,000, the difference is the dollar is worth less than it was.

Balloon-based space program. http://www.jpaerospace.com/

That's my myspace friend Randy Shelly at the Beowulf premier.
More photos here if you have a yahoo account.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Today it's my birthday and my grandson, who is very stingy, gave me a blog." Spanish Granny's blog is a hit.
Teach-a-man-to-fish department.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lilly anticlotting drug works, but a little too well. This is a drug that I screened for a study for at Lilly. Didn't get in when I mentioned I had some nosebleeds as a child.

Radcliffe wins NYC marathon.

Meanwhile, Koran seller arrested in Afganistan.

OMG, my roommate's a furry. Says he just does it for the money.

(I don't know yet if these pics show up for non-myspace users.)

Stupid.com Flying cows, flamingo hats, that sort of thing.

rocket surgery

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Comment, cited with approval, by the 'God Hates Fags" church's lawyer re the recent 9 million dollar invasion of privacy judgment.

Word for the day: cocktailing.
1. cocktail [v] - See also: cocktail
Does not appear in most online dictionaries.
1. cocktailing
When you say you're going out to have some cocktails... but you really plan to get some tail.
(In Laymans terms, you say you're just going to have some drinks at the bar/club/party, but really you intend to hook up.)
Or, if your [sic]single, then you say it when you're planning to go to a bar/club/party, drink alcoholic beverages, and get laid.

See also cocktail lesbian.
Verdict: yes, it's a word. Verbing weirds language - Calvin.

A story about a 3-legged armadillo named Otis, that I heard on the radio on the way here to Waukegan.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I watched Casablanca night before last. (Yesterday, West Side Story and Private Parts.) I'd never seen the first few minutes. The following text was a comment left at volokh in a thread about cryptonomicon.
[Note to self: add stephenson to blogroll]
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
I couldn't respond to the poll because I refuse to touch the book. It's been so overhyped by so many people that I just won't touch it. I'm probably alone in this, but maybe not.

(link)The Cabbage:
John Armstrong,

That means the book is Casablancaed. Something is Casablancaed when it is hyped beyond belief. Everyone you know and every opinion you trust is raving about the book/movie/album/play and how wonderful it is. You know there is no way it can possibly live up to the hype, so you never seek it out.

Then you've got nothing better to do one day and you spot it laying on a shelf/on AMC/in the ipod playlist/before a date when your desperate to look cultured, so you say 'why not? it probably won't suck.'

When your done reading/watching/listening/watching, you sit and think, "Wow. They were all right, and no one embellished. That was awesome."

Realizing that something was Casablancaed is an interesting moment. You're not angry, because you just experienced something quite excellent. But there is the tiniest bit of regret that you didn't trust everyone. Of course, the regret leaves the moment your idiot friend convinces you to spend nine of your hard earned dollars to go see "Syriana".
11.1.2007 11:23pm

I forgot to buy a copy of system of the world before I came to work - I'm spending three weeks at Abbott right now, and the Jordan Wheel of Time book I brought is unreadable at first try, so I'm reading a bio of Nelson Rockefeller and Emmett Tyrell's Boy Clinton, after finishing Man/Kzin Wars III. (Niven/Pournelle/Poul Anderson.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Better mousetrap department.

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