February 16, 2012

Angry opponents are not a bad sign. Laughing opponents are.

The Left, initially incredulous at the Santorum surge, is reacting. (HT: National Review.)

February 8, 2012

How About Killing Predators Before They Attack Humans?

Re this. (HT: Instapundit.) Hunters would be happy to keep down the populations of deer and the like.

Silly me: a large predator is endangered. Its life is more important than a human's, of whom there are too many anyway. Unfortunately, there are nature- and animal-"loving" urbanites to whom this is not sarcasm.

sigh Even in Alaska...

A New Big Lie: File Sharing is Terrorism


See this too.

And look for Roman Polanski's Hollywood to become terribly concerned about the urgent need to stop pedophilia.

February 5, 2012

The Unemployment Numbers

The unemployment report for January was better than expected and the stock market went up sharply.

A number of conservative pundits claimed that the data does not reflect that discouraged people dropped out of the work force and/or stopped looking for work.

After going through various less-than-pellucid Bureau of Labor Statistics Web pages, I am skeptical about the claimed refutations: see here, and I stand by this:
If over the weekend Wall Street decides that something fishy is going on with the numbers, look for the market to give back its gains, and maybe then some, on Monday.
This guy seems to have his head screwed on right, as does Andy McCarthy. In contrast, the usually sober Legal Insurrection has gone off the deep end. (Instapundit links to a different reason for skepticism. Certainly, one can legitimately caution against reading too much into a single report.)

Among serious professionals, the post at Zero Hedge that triggered the brouhaha would be career-destroying if, as seems likely, it is an over-reactive gross error.

February 3, 2012

The Strange Case of Richard O'Dwyer

Apparently--I'll tentatively take the report at face value--, he may be extradited from the UK to the US for an online offense which is not illegal in the UK. I guess the extradition treaty governs, but this is bizarre. Maybe this situation was not contemplated when the extradition treaty was negotiated; maybe the UK authorities would like to jail O'Dwyer and are letting him be shipped to a country which will do it.

This strikes me as bad policy by the UK--and it strikes me as overreaching which the US could come to regret. (Not surprisingly, the negative consequences will not fall on those who are benefiting from the overreaching.)

For the time being, various despotic and soft-authoritarian governments may be entirely willing to watch the US putting in place the machinery to control online behavior. However, a case is emerging that America is not behaving as an honest broker on the Internet. When calls come for the US's role to be reduced--and they will--, we will no longer have the moral high ground.

February 2, 2012

The Singularity: Up or Down?

I'm not a singularitarian but the concept seems plausible. However:

Would the housing and financial crashes have been possible without high-performance computing? All those tranches on mortgage-backed securities were valued by heavy-duty number crunching on models which turned out to be grotesquely unrealistic.

The contention that even more powerful computers, possibly artificially intelligent ones, would have avoided the problem is not convincing.

It may also be true that today's sheer volume of government regulations would not be possible without computers.

Afterthought 20120310. Maybe the internally driven, i.e. suicidal, collapse of a civilization can also be viewed as a singularity.