Miscellany

Bounty Hunted

House Republicans finally found a solution to America’s illegal immigrant problem: bounty hunters. As part of a bill to ban states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, Rep. Pete Sessions inserted an amendment less than 24 hours before the vote establishing ten state-sponsored bounty hunter centers. Though bounty hunters are currently legal–more than 3,900 operate in Sessions’ home state of Texas–the new plan allows bail bondsmen to nab suspected illegals even before a final deportation order has been issued.

The plan also evokes a number of uncomfortable precedents, including the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Part of the Compromise of 1850, the law allowed authorities to track down runaway slaves in any region of the country, including free states.

Bounty Hunted

Miscellany

Wind Power Is Becoming a Better Bargain

With every turn of the giant blades of the 136 windmills here on the edge of a mesa, the stiff desert breeze is replacing expensive natural gas or other fuel that would have been burned in a power plant somewhere else.

Wind energy makes up a small fraction of electric generation in this country, but the rising price of natural gas has made wind look like a bargain; in some cases, it is cheaper to build a wind turbine and let existing natural gas generators stand idle. Giant, modern wind farms like the New Mexico Wind Energy Center here may become more common if prices continue to rise.

Wind Power Is Becoming a Better Bargain

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