Miscellany

The end of radical environmentalism?

Crichton’s State of Fear, with a reported first print run of 1.7 million copies, is an action thriller that doubles as a scientific primer on global warming and other environmental topics. Crichton’s protagonists — a scientist, a lawyer, a philanthropist and two remarkably athletic women — race around the world foiling the plots of environmental extremists who seek to frighten the world into embracing their radical agenda. Along the way, they take time to explain to their adversaries, often in surprising detail, the flawed science behind global warming and other imagined environmental crises.

The end of radical environmentalism?

Miscellany

Gay penguins won’t go straight

A German zoo’s plans to tempt its gay penguins to go straight by importing more females has been declared a failure. The female penguins were flown in especially from Sweden in an effort to encourage the Humboldt penguins at the Bremerhaven Zoo to reproduce. But the six homosexual penguins showed no interest in their new female companions and remained faithful to each other.

Gay penguins won’t go straight

Miscellany

Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates

Last week Bill Gates got the interoperability religion. Allegedly – given Microsoft’s long and sometimes less than constructive history in the field of interoperability, a certain amount of scepticism is perhaps appropriate. Hakon Lie, Chief Technology Officer of long-standing Microsoft competitor Opera Software, welcomes Gates’ new-found enthusiasm for interoperability, but in the following response to Gates, has just a few suggestions about what Microsoft might do to actually achieve it.

Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates

Miscellany

Bush signs bill to curb class-action suits

Congress is only days away from handing President Bush and business groups a big victory by curbing multimillion-dollar class action lawsuits. Despite complaints the legislation could hurt consumers, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill 72-26 on Thursday. The House will take it up next week and send it to the president to sign into law. “Our country depends on a fair legal system that protects people who have been harmed without encouraging junk lawsuits that undermine confidence in our courts while hurting our economy,” Bush said in a statement.
Wouldn’t Loser Pays achieve the same effect while also eliminating lots of OTHER problems with our current legal system?

Bush signs bill to curb class-action suits

Miscellany

Democracy Has to Start Somewhere

It’s now a week since Iraqis flooded the streets for their first free election in decades, and America, midwife to the birth of Arab democracy, is still in relieved thrall. Sunni clerics urged boycotts; the French dripped ridicule; terrorists promised to wash the streets with the blood of anyone foolish enough to cast a ballot. And 6 in 10 eligible Iraqis – roughly equal to the turnout in President Bush’s own victory last November – voted anyway.

Honestly, has there ever been an election so inspiring?

Unfortunately, yes. Ponder the first sentences of one dispatch from this newspaper’s archives: “United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam’s presidential election,” it reads, “despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.”

Democracy Has to Start Somewhere

Miscellany

Staff lose jobs over smoke ban

Four workers in the United States have lost their jobs after refusing to take a test to see if they were smokers. They were employees of Michigan-based healthcare firm Weyco, which introduced a policy banning its staff from smoking – even away from the workplace.
I’m all for getting people to stop smoking when they’re in public and are affecting the health of others, but I think this is going a bit too far. They could have just charged smokers a larger premium than non-smokers to encourage them to stop smoking…

Staff lose jobs over smoke ban

Miscellany

Mac Mini: The Emperor’s New Computer

If you believe Apple’s marketing department, the new Mini is “smaller than most packs of gum” and weighs “less than four quarters”. Well, we received our test unit from Apple yesterday, and let me say right off the bat that those claims are a wee bit of an exaggeration…or I could grab an equally stylish, full-featured eMachine at the gas station with a bag of chips for less than half the Mini’s price, with the added benefit of being able to run Windows XP.
Well, besides the fact that he’s confusing the Mac Mini with the iPod Shuffle, this is the funniest, most clueless review I’ve read in a long time! Also, I really want to know which gas station sells “full-featured” eMachines for less than $249…

Mac Mini: The Emperor’s New Computer