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Wednesday, July 02, 2003

THIS SITE HAS MOVED!

Ok, the new site is up and running, so point your browsers to www.flameturnsblue.net and bookmark it. The new site has lots of cool features not found here. Make sure you leave a comment or two if you see an entry worth talking about.

Thanks,

Todd

P.S. - Thanks to Dean Esmay at Dean's World for all of his time and help in getting the new site set up. Pay him a visit.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

NEW MUSIC

Looking to spice up your collection w/ music from bands you've probably never heard of? Check out KEXP's new music reviews. They have a nice archive of older reviews as well. Or browse the "dj's cd picks" list.
OLYMPICS, EH?

The site of the 2010 Winter Olympics will be chosen tomorrow, and Vancouver, BC is the odds-on favorite. That would be very cool. We would get the best of both worlds: the Olympics in our backyard w/o the hassles of the inevitable, massive infrastructure projects necessary to host such an event.

"Going anywhere but Vancouver would 'make a mockery of moving the games around,' senior Canadian IOC member Dick Pound said."

Mind if we call you Richard instead?

UPDATE: Vancouver got it!
COLUMBIA EMAILS RELEASED

Apparently 250 emails sent between NASA and the Space Shuttle Columbia have been released to the public. This note sent from NASA was particularly chilling:

"There is one item that I would like to make you aware of for the upcoming (public affairs) event. This item is not even worth mentioning other than wanting to make sure that you are not surprised by it in a question from a reporter.

"During ascent at approximately 80 seconds, photo analysis shows that some debris from the area of the -Y ET Bipod Attach Point (on the external fuel tank) came loose and subsequently impacted the orbiter left wing. Experts have reviewed the high-speed photography and there is no concern for (wing panel) or tile damage. We have seen this same phenomenon on several other flights and there is absolutely no concern for entry
."

OREOS & VELVEETA ANYONE?

Kraft is taking the bold step of reformulating products to combat obesity in children. It says it will stop marketing in schools too. Critics argue the moves, which will begin next year and take up to three years to implement fully, are an effort to avoid lawsuits. Who cares?
PREEMPTION DOCTRINE AT RISK?

I think we will find the evidence of WMD in Iraq that will support the Bush administration's decision to fight a preemtive war (I think we may have already, but let's assume we haven't). However, the failure to find conclusive, irrefutable evidence to date may spell trouble for Bush's doctrine of preemption in the future.

According to columnist George Will, "To govern is to choose, almost always on the basis of very imperfect information. But preemption presupposes the ability to know things -- to know about threats with a degree of certainty not requisite for decisions less momentous than those for waging war." (via OxBlog) I don't know what the tipping point is for "certainty", but the implication is that the intelligence must support an airtight case.

Robert Kaplan, in his article "Supremacy By Stealth" in the most recent edition of The Atlantic, argues the point differently. "Because the consequences of attack by weapons of mass destruction are so catastrophic, the United States will periodically have no choice but to act pre-emptively on limited evidence..." I tend to agree with Kaplan, but Wills' point is still crucial.

Because of the atrocities committed by Saddam's regime that have been uncovered since the end of the war, the public seems to be giving Bush a free-pass on this one. "Hey, he may have stretched the truth a bit, but Iraq (and by extenson, the US) is better off without him". The potential difficulty for Bush will come if he argues for another preemptive strike. Any such decision will be based on intelligence, but will the public trust him?

Which leads me to this article in the NYT this morning outlining recent intelligence by the C.I.A., which suggests that North Korea's nuclear weapons program is more advanced than we previously suspected. I fear that the current WMD debate will cause us to underestimate real threats identified by the intelligence community in the future.

Monday, June 30, 2003

TRUE GRIT

They should name streets after guys like this. An Australian miner was forced to amputate his own arm Saturday night after his tractor flipped. I like this quote.

"Police said a state of delirium might have caused Mr Jones to amputate his arm." News Flash!

The article mentions American climber, Aron Ralston, who was forced to do the same thing this spring after his arm became trapped by a boulder.
IRAQI GUERILLAS

David Adesnik at OxBlog has a good analysis of the recent guerilla activity in Iraq. He concludes that it's not as bad as the media makes it sound.
TOUR DE FORCE

Lance Armstrong is a badass. He starts his bid for a fifth straight Tour de France victory this Saturday. There's something fun about watching a brash Texan take on the sport's European establishment. Sounds familiar?

Biking is not the most electrifying sport to watch on television, but if you want to catch him in action, I'm pretty sure Fox Sports will be covering the event again this year.

Did you know that the Tour de France is the most-watched sporting event in the world? An estimated 15 million people will watch the wheels go 'round.

Here's a great profile of Mr. Armstrong from Outside magazine.

UPDATE: Here's another article about Lance from the NYT (registration required).

Sunday, June 29, 2003

SOCCER TRIVIA!

It was on this date in 1950 that a ragtag U.S. team defeated England by a score of 1-0 in the World Cup. "Britain's loss to the US was so shocking, that a some British newspapers gave a score of 10:1 thinking there was a mistake."

Which nation ended up winning the World Cup that year? The answer can be found here.

COLDPLAY PROFILE

The LA Times also has a long profile of the band Coldplay. Say what you will about their hit song "Yellow", but their most recent CD, A Rush of Blood to the Head, has been firmly entrenched in our CD player for some time. It's been sharing space with a couple Joseph Arthur CDs, Redemption's Son and Come to Where I'm From.

The best line of the piece comes from one of the band's critics, however. "Alan McGee, the maverick record executive who signed such rebellious bands as Oasis and Jesus and Mary Chain, wisecracked that Coldplay's tender strains appealed only to 'bedwetters.'" Ouch!
"LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN"

The LA Times has a review of a new biography of Benjamin Franklin (registration required). The article has a good summary of Franklin's fundamental beliefs, which still resonate today. Here are a few excerpts:

"For Franklin, the American Revolution was chiefly about civic virtue. And in this regard, the Revolution was an extension of what Franklin had been attempting all his life. Walter Isaacson, in this solid new biography, aptly quotes Franklin to summarize his guiding principle as 'a dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people.'"

"Franklin articulated what became a credo for journalists: 'Printers are educated in the belief that when men differ in opinion, both sides ought equally to have the advantage of being heard by the public, and that when Truth and Error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.' What is less remembered in newsrooms, or at least less revered, is Franklin's corollary: a reminder that printers must make ends meet. 'Hence they cheerfully service all contending writers that pay them well.'"

"At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he argued for measures to keep money out of politics. 'There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men,' he declared. 'These are ambition and avarice: the love of power, and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects.'"

UPDATE: Howard Kurtz has an interesting column today about the role of money/lobbyists in politics today. The GOP is winning the game right now.

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