June 30, 2009

Uranium on the Moon

Found by a Japanese probe.

This could be a meaningless incident, or it could change the course of history.

The obvious use is a self-sustaining lunar settlement (once you've made the start-up investment). Safety issues aside, I'm skeptical about the economics of shipping uranium to earth, but what about the very rare elements?

June 23, 2009

Unintended Consequences of Al Capone's Conviction

The Feds couldn't prove Capone was guilty of his real crimes (who would testify against him?), so they nailed him on tax evasion. A reasonable recourse under the circumstances.

But now you get stuff like this:
Indicted billionaire headed to Texas
All seven are charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Stanford also is charged with conspiring to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission proceeding.
Conspiring to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission proceeding. What does that even mean? What does obstructing an SEC proceeding mean, let alone conspiring to obstruct the proceeding?

My take is that the government is criminalizing things that are inconvenient to it. Just like this:
...Stewart was found guilty in March 2004 of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators and sentenced in July 2004 to serve a five month term in a federal correctional facility and a two year period of supervised release (to include five months of home confinement).
Notwithstanding how I despise Martha Stewart, notwithstanding the likelihood that Stanford defrauded his investors, something is very wrong here.

It's not just that the book gets thrown at people who run afoul of federal prosecutors. It's that the book has metastasized by orders of magnitude.

June 11, 2009

Not Ready Unfit for Prime Time

Palin just doesn't have what it takes.

Too bad, but that's the way the wind has been blowing for a long time.

Colin Powell was right about her. Camille Paglia was wrong.

June 7, 2009

Some States Cut Back on Prison Food

When the economy was nominally good, state governments were spending like drunken sailors: well past the rate of economic growth.

Now that things are bad, they're cutting back--on prison food. (HT: Dr. Helen)

Make no mistake, readers in the private sector. They'd treat you the same way if they could get away with it.

And they're working toward being able to get away with it. (Not necessarily deliberately. Government tends to grow unless explicitly checked.)

June 5, 2009

Good Jobs at Good Wages

Reuters headline: The Average Green Employee Makes $76,000. To whom is the money going?
Analysis 18 $64,000 $11,000
Broking 2 $86,000 $32,000
Consulting 31 $66,000 $10,000
Engineering 5 $62,000 $6,500
Legal Services 1 $135,000 $36,500
Management 20 $97,500 $27,000
Marketing/Sales 8 $78,500 $25,000
Media/PR 1 $63,500 $11,500
Trading 6 $93,500 $120,000
Other 8 $74,500 $26,500
Engineers receive the lowest salaries and lowest bonuses. Lawyers and bean counters are paid the most.

My goodness, what a surprise that the people working with the technology are at the bottom of the totem pole.

The green economy: what a sham, what a scam.