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Atomized junior- The Radio Weblog

Friday, 29 August, 2003
No more rock and roll McDonalds from Wesley Willis

NPR Morning Edition did a story this morning on the passing of Amateur Rock and Roller Wesley Willis - made me wonder what ever became of Butch Willis or Jandek. The piece featured commentary by Jello Biafra, Who was a friend of his. Been a while since I've heard his voice over the radio. Somewhere - at work I think I have a CD of Outsider Music and Wesley is on it.
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NYT's wind-power technical

I have no deliberate intention to keep posting stories about windpower; it just works out that way. A stray quixotic tendency I imagine. This story from the NYT is the missing manual to the posts I put up last week and in June. A run-down of the technical state of the art. Wind Turbines are getting much more efficient, they are also getting much larger. I thought I had seen an article like this in Science News but I couldn't find it last week.
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Wind Power's New Current. A high-tech update makes windmills more efficient, changing the energy equation. But inconspicuous they're not. By Scott Kirsner. [New York Times: Technology]
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Wednesday, 27 August, 2003
the Very hungry caterpillar.

Q: What does a six inch long, inch in diameter caterpillar A picture named HickhornD.jpegwith a double row of black spikes along its back and several nearly inch long bright orange black-tipped horns eat? A: Anything it wants.

I encountered this little dragon walking along the path in front of me on my way to work this morning. Came up on it just after passing by the Adelphi Mill. It definitely is the sort of thing that will bring you up short. A picture named Hickhorn_cmp.jpgI stopped and sat down in front of it and watched it. I believe I've had nightmares that involved friendlier looking creatures than this. Later in the day at work - I work in a library - with the help of my friend Robert I set about answering some immediate questions I had. What the heck was that? How poisonous is it? A picture named Hickhorn_cmp2.jpegDo things like that really live around here or did it escape from some secret lab? It turns out that it is native to the region although it is not a common animal. It is a Hickory Horned Devil [Citheronia regalis (F.)]. Its supposed to be quite harmless, and lives by streams and eats Sumac, Sycamore, Willow, and Cottonwood leaves like that - not people. Eventually it turns into the Regal moth, possibly going by the name Indrid Cold
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Tuesday, 26 August, 2003
Safety is next

Article here from ther NYT on Japan's adoption of a National Computer Identification System (I wonder how you say that in Japanese? The article uses the name Juki net) Offhand I don't know if Japan has anything like a Social Security number, or a system of prefecture controlled photo id driver's licenses, so its hard to tell how different this is. I have a notion that this may be viewed as a beta for something we may see rolled out it the U S before long. In the past few days I have seen an article describing a Barcode/db system intended to cover all merchant marine sailors across the world. And another to cover resident aliens and visa holders crossing US borders.

In the words of Home Affairs Minister Katayama: It's questionable to me whether detractors of the system really understand the point,'' Katayama said in a weekend television appearance. ``It means more convenience for citizens and a more efficient bureaucracy. Sign me up.
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Japan Launches National ID System. A national computerized ID system that was criticized for its big-brother overtones became fully operational today, assigning Japan's 126 million citizens with an 11-digit number. By The Associated Press. [New York Times: Technology]
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Saturday, 23 August, 2003
Archive of sorts

A while back I pushed the switch on this contraption which was supposed to enable monthly archive pages. I couldn't determine at the time whether or not it did anything so I forgot about It. Remarkably uncurious of me. Now, after poking around in the innards I see it has been dutifully creating index pages of all the posts for a given month for the last few months, and stuffing them upstream. Not knowing what I ought to be doing with them I have created some links for them in the right hand empty space. Cadenhead's book comes out next week I believe, and I for one will be slapping down a sawbuck for a copy. Maybe I can figure out what this outliner thing is all about.

The pixel drawing of the carrack, which is mine, is an easter egg. I had to supply my own image because the site linked to was quite adamant you couldn't use any of theirs. It is the ship of St. Renuyt.
1:11:53 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Friday, 22 August, 2003
Does the wind blow?

Here is another story on antagonism to wind farms from what appears to grass roots opposition. I commented on a similar story back in June, that time it was a windfarm on Vineyard, or Nantucket Sound. Part of the whole attraction to commenting on that, was teasing up the hypocriscy of the guppies (Gilded urban patrician professionals...) of the islands. One could image the thoughts behind the simple but strong featured grey topped visages, as they gaze out of their beach front picture windows and watch those towers rising with such aggressive needy intention from the sea against the redoubt of their contemplation. Busy windmill blades pushing aside profit from their petrochemical energy portfolios. "I'll sign that petition down at the wine store tomorrow", they think, "we'll put an end to this."

I was linking to a article that was in the NYT Magazine and even there the author cautioned the reader on how much genuine grass roots feeling was present. Note that in England the Local Nimby opposition group is being organized by and Umbrella group County Guardian which the Author Polly Toynbee states has a strong denial of global warming theme, and ties to the British Nuclear energy industry. If you're in the mood (it's a ZNet sort of thing) also read Greg Palast's commentary on last weeks North East Black out
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Polly Toynbee: Nuclear reaction. Comment: Wind farms supply clean, green energy but opponents are whipping up local protests to block expansion, writes Polly Toynbee. [Guardian Unlimited]
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Tuesday, 19 August, 2003
b minus team

Digging down through the layers of open browser windows (I use iCab, for that sort of thing no tabbed browsing, but as many separate open pages as you like) looking through the folder that I habitutualy save html clutter into, under the deluded notion that I might want to pause before the onrushing tidal bore of new information and re-read something. I assembled this small stack of links for the story they may tell.

First. An paper that was kicked around on Metafilter two weeks ago, Team B wins again. The author Gordon Mitchell examines an issue Fareed Zakaria covered briefly in an article in Newsweek earlier this summer (I had a link to this in an earlier post). What Mitchell is attempting to get at is why the b team idea did not achieve its stated objective: to gain by counterpoise examination and critical dialogue a strengthed and vetted intelligence product during the latter years of the cold war. You would assume it would. The dialogue/debating procedure is the foundation of our legislative and judicial process. Mitchell shows that it isn't hard to see what went wrong here. It starts with the fact that the blue ribbon B teams were top flight intellects and idealogues highly committed to the need for an overt victory in the cold war. They faced a team made up of professional GS scale analysts, whose assessment already contained the nuance and reduction of a final report. It was bambi vs. godzilla. The analysts were never going to adopt, even for the sake of debate, a home position capable of delivering the same idealogical zeal and fire nor were they of the same intellectual temperment. For the same consideration, few on the B-teams would make useful career intelligence analysts, as their actual track record indicates. Further the B-team's penchant for leaking and they do seem to leak; they leak front to back, side to side, from up to down , early and often, this belays any real attempt to get at an objective truth. Rather it speaks to the process being a machination to make a certain view prevail. A view, a belief, prior to and independent of facts. These tendencies they have brought over to the current administration.

Mr. Robert Novak has stated in a recent column Discovering WMD that he is informed that in September the Bush Administration will reveal successful results for their long months searching. I'd like to believe this will settle things, because we've gone and invaded the country, overthrown a government illegitimate as it was, and many people on both sides have died as a result. I would like there to be a reason. I fear that this new evidence will again seem strained and re-treaded. Not going beyond what the Iranians and Kurds who have died under Iraqi chemical weapons could already tell us. Not going beyond what the UN sanctions and inspections regime were already documenting and seeking to control and suppress. In short nothing that propels us from a possible potential for future danger, to a clear and present danger Nothing that says Iraq equals Al Qaeda or even Hezbullah. Mr. Novak is also the man the Bush administration ran to when they desired to reveal that the wife of the ambassador, Joseph Wilson, whose fact-finding trip to Nigeria discounted uranium sales to Iraq, was a non-disclosed CIA operative. She was outed. This was apparently done in retaliation for the ambassador making public statements on his findings (Washington Post 25Jul03 A20, Pincus) .

Fredrick Kagan (brother of AEI's Robert Kagan, sons of the Yale historian Donald) has an article verging on thoughtful in the August Policy Review War and Aftermath. First he admits the reality that we are in danger of "losing the peace' in our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and that it may take a significant outlay of resources to reverse this, and a different conceptual approach.

The current force planning and structure crowd at the department of defense: people like former and current Secretarys of Defense Cheney and Rumsfeld have mistaken, he believes, combat for war. This has allowed them to reduce the use of military force to a series of tidy technical targeting problems. It has made war seem like an attractive and useful policy tool. The current US military does not know what to do with itself when pulled back from full attack mode, It can only fight one way: with everything turned on. Its defense is its style of offense, once large scale combat is finished the army can't even protect itself or anything else from the least small arms fire. Yet the current state of events in Iraq and Afghanistan is as much a part of the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz Pan-Arabic war as the events of March/April. The ability to lose the war- lose it completely is as present now as its ever been. Clauswitz, the critic of the Napoleonic wars said that war was "the pursuit of diplomacy by other means." War is really the failure of diplomacy, it is a marker for the lack of real policy. As positive action it engenders only destruction not construction. A flight of bombers cannot build a hospital or a courthouse in the center of a town, they can only rip an existing one apart. If I truly desired to lay a building flat I could lay it much flatter and do it for one ten-thousandth the cost of the air-force, simply by hiring a professional demolition company. War does nothing well. Frederick Kagan has sensed the inter-relatedness of this regime change/nation building equation, and the real expenditure of resources it will require to be successful and accomplish positive results.

His brother Robert writing in the current issue of Foreign Policy Looking for legitmacy... still seems inclined to try to fit the whole affair within the normative framework the neoconservatives have used to rationalize warring and facile outcome as US Foreign Policy. All three Kagans from the writings I have seen accept the imperial nature of the United States today varying only in the pragmatic details of dilligence affecting the efficiency of the enterprise, seeking something akin to wisdom to guide them.1

Former CIA director ret. Admiral John Woolsey is a much different sort. Consider two recent articles he's written: one for the Observer/Guardian At war for freedom, and one for the Opinion Journal (Wall Street J. ed pg) the Next Korean War. His opening paragraph from the first sets the tone:

America and the western world are at war with 'fascist' Middle East governments and totalitarian Islamists. The freedoms we stand for are loathed and our vulnerable systems under attack. Liberty and security will be in conflict as we line up behind the new march of democracy.
The new march of democracy stepped naturally by a New Model Army. middle east governments like Libya, Syria, Pakistan, and Iraq are more of a studied blend of classic Stalinism and Facisism which they learnt at the feet of the western nations. Islamist states following the Shari'a- such as Iran are less monolithic in their interpretations than one might suppose. I might almost class them as authoritarian, if that word were not already in common use by conservatives to describe despotic regimes they like and admire. The next article is a particular thing of beauty. A sketch of a easy and near effortless subjugation of North Korea. There is scarcely an assertion in this column that could withstand even momentary inquiry. It assumes a verision of events in the middle east that is - to put it charitably - de-linked to reality. One notable feature of a potential Korean conflict is the number of artillery barrels and missles the North has targeted on Seoul. Were they to start a bombardment without warning they could conceivably kill 50 to 100 thousand people in the first hour. A conventional response to this, unlikely to be allowed to form completely unhinderd would likley take that long if not much longer to put together. As well where in Iraqi there had been a 12 year war of attrition to Saddam Hussain's air defenses heating up to a full campaign six months prior to the US led invasion, North Korea's air defenses will be intact. I feel that Adm Woolsey is assuming one or both of two things here. First that the U S will respond to a bombardment of Seoul with theater nuclear weapons. Second that the U S would initiate hostilities with a preemptive first strike on this massed artillery.

You can never tell for whose eyes or what purpose things like this make their way into print. You can only presume that you are allowed to take them at face value. Neoconservatives like Woolsey will not convince many that they represent a higher purpose so long as they stick to lines of argument like that.

1.Though when British Historian Niall Ferguson said as much at a recent AEI affair Robert Kagan reportedly got indignant.
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Friday, 15 August, 2003
Bird is the word

As the rest of the east coast plunged into early twilight, and remains there yet. I remained completely unaware of it all. Didn't know a bit about the power grid failure until I got back and saw the news. It didn't affect Baltimore, or DC n' environs apparently.

Despite the best efforts of this frenzied flannel flogger, here to the right A picture named bird_the word.jpeg(who moments later developed an appreciation for the chicken dance with a young women he invited up on the dugout roof ). The home team seemed to lose interest in the proceedings around the sixth inning. At one point they seemed to be holding open walk-on pitching tryouts to any one willing to pull on a glove and finger the rosin. No matter, the real entertainment of the evening was being stuck in a parking garage for an hour after the game behind a car which for no obvious reason burst into flames A picture named fire_gargage.jpeg in front of us, Inspiring the local police to stop all traffic exiting the parking garage until the fire department were rolling up their hoses and heading home. But then I'm a Red Sox fan and am used to meltdowns of all kinds.
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Tuesday, 12 August, 2003
Set the controls for the heart of the sun

I haven't written anything for over a week. This is what getting a second degree sunburn will do for you. I now know that it is possible to get a sunburn so bad, that your legs swell up and you can no longer stand, and you feel like you have the flu. All this as well as the usual inflamed raw skin. It ain't no day at the beach, I'll tell you. No wait - that is just what it was. Assateague! Thy sand and sun- nemisis! I did do a little bit of writing , but it always seemed less taxing to lie down and read, rather than try to sit and type. I read John Osbourne's the Entertainer which he wrote right after Look Back in Anger which I've been meaning to read for years. I'd like to see a production of that. I also read the first couple of chapters of Bachelard's the Poetics of Space. The problem with being too sick to go to work is that generally you are too sick to enjoy the time around the house.

I note that while Adm. Poindexter and the Office of Omnipotent Awareness are on consignment; somebody in Florida - Florida's Law Matrix has reinvented it, and Florida is buying.
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Friday, 1 August, 2003
Bash Street Rules, ok

This one is for my niece and nephew solid fans of the Beano. The Guardian has an interview with Leo Baxendale who was the creator of minnie the minx and the Bash Street Kids. They have a companian article that examines Beano's impact on western culture. I can only add if you ever get a hold of a particular John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers album - the one with a photograph of the band standing around on a sidewalk. If you notice the man sitting on the curb (the guitarist, of course, a young man named eric clapton) is reading Beano.
1:32:25 AM    comment [];trackback [];

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Last update: 8/29/03; 10:33:56.