Archive for May 30th, 2007
Fully electric car, 0-60 in 4 seconds. Read and envy.
The search for the Senator placing the secret hold is making progress, but a few Senators still are not covered. More detail here.
The only states we still need people in are Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico and South Dakota. If you know someone in one of these states who may be willing to make the calls, please send them here.
I have mentioned how much I like rational solutions, even if they prove not to be widely adopted: Esperanto, the Shaw Alphabet, the Dvorak keyboard, and others.
I forgot to include the Heckler und Koch G11 Assault Rifle. It’s a fascinating and, in my opinion, well-designed weapon. It uses caseless ammo (no brass, just bullet and propellant) so nothing is ejected from the weapon—thus it is suitable for both left- and right-handed soldiers. Also, no brass left lying on the ground to provide information to the enemy.
It is designed to be easily learned by novice soldiers, and tests showed that it was successful in that regard. The rifle barrel is quite long, concealed within the housing. Because the caseless ammo is lighter, round for round, than traditional ammo, a soldier can carry many more rounds. Three-round bursts fire at the spectacular rate of 2000 rps, with the recoil occurring after the burst has been fired. (Three-round bursts greatly increase the hit probability.)
At any rate, I think it’s a great weapon, but (so far as I know) it has yet to be adopted.
Some other observations. From here:
The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.
The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. A beef producer in the western state of Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.
Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.
The Agriculture Department regulates the test and argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.
A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government relies on and said the government didn’t have the authority to restrict it. – A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was scheduled to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal, effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge has played out.
Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is linked to more than 150 human deaths worldwide, mostly in Britain.
Three cases of mad cow disease have been found in the United States. The first, in December 2003 in Washington state, was in a cow that had been imported from Canada. The second, in 2005, was in a cow born in Texas. The third was confirmed last year in an Alabama cow.
The position of the Bush Administration is so wrong-headed that one doesn’t know where to begin. I suppose one starting point would be the GOP’s (obviously hollow) praise for private enterprise, competition, and freedom from government regulation…
From Glenn Greenwald today, as an update to his column tracking how the right-wing noise machine continually stated that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent, and how it’s now definitely established that she was.
Very quickly — very quickly, you got this Valerie Plame case. Now, it turns out that [special counsel] Peter (sic: Patrick) Fitzgerald doesn’t — can’t even identify any harm. She wasn’t a covert agent. She wasn’t compromised. . . She wasn’t covert anymore.
Are there any consequences at all for the White House Press Secretary to tell outright lies like that? Does that prompt any media scandals? Why can Tony Snow say with impunity that Plame “wasn’t a covert agent” when their own CIA confirms that she was? Really, how can that be allowed?
Again via Froomkin:
Over the weekend, Andrew J. Bacevich, a prominent anti-war historian, wrote in the wake of the death of his son in Iraq: “The people have spoken, and nothing of substance has changed. The November 2006 midterm elections signified an unambiguous repudiation of the policies that landed us in our present predicament. But half a year later, the war continues, with no end in sight. Indeed, by sending more troops to Iraq (and by extending the tours of those, like my son, who were already there), Bush has signaled his complete disregard for what was once quaintly referred to as ‘the will of the people.’”
Politicians, he wrote, listen only to money.
“Money buys access and influence. Money greases the process that will yield us a new president in 2008. When it comes to Iraq, money ensures that the concerns of big business, big oil, bellicose evangelicals and Middle East allies gain a hearing. By comparison, the lives of U.S. soldiers figure as an afterthought.”
Via Dan Froomkin:
Andrew Sullivan blogs for the Atlantic that “the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn’t-somehow-torture — ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ — is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.”