Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pearl Harbor

Today is the 64th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Indeed it is true that this day has lived in infamy, but I also feel that the importance of it is lost on many younger people. Those who suggest that war is always unavoidable must remember that they are talking about an ideal, not reality. Peace is what we strive for. It is also has to be earned and protected. Without military might, we can have no peace for there would be no strength to protect it. Without the proven willingness to use military force, we will always be under attack from those who wish take our peace.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Biofuels Sustainable?

"A major criticism often levelled against biomass, particularly against large-scale fuel production, is that it could divert agricultural production away from food crops, especially in developing countries." Apparently this isn't so according to this article at the Journey to Forever website. Actually, it seems that any problems with farming outputs now and throughout history have more to do with bad government policies and greed than anything else. This article links to several others, all of which are good reads.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Battle for Control

AT&T is back and they, along with other companies concerned about their power rather than your rights, are working to come up with creative new ways to charge you for things. One of the keys in this looming future is manipulating Congress and redifining some of our basic rights (fair use and access) as crimes. Doc Searles of Linux Journal has an excellent article entitled Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes. It is a long but worthy read.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Movie Studios Don't Know Anything

In this story, NPR correspondent Kim Masters talks about the long road to bringing Narnia to the movie theatre. Apparently one of the obstacles was that studios thought that American children would have no interest in a story about British children. It took the Harry Potter movies to disabuse them of that notion. Their small thinking must be caused by the same thing that makes movie studios always feel the need to make pointless changes in books they adapt to the screen. I wish the studios wouldn't think they were so smart because they seldom make a story better for their changes. It's pretty evident that they are generally wrong with what they think when they start trying to second guess what people will like and not like. True, they know how to make a lot of dreck that will sell, but they are unable to imagine that anyone wants anything different.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans' Day

Armistice Day. World War I is not a war that is very much in the American public conscious, but it should be. It is the first modern war from the point of view that it included most of the modern weapons that we now associate with warfare. Tanks, airplanes, submarines and chemicals came into destructive maturity during WWI. It was also the war in which civilians began to be targeted indiscriminately as part of warfare. It is also the war that shaped pretty much the rest of the 20th century. It created many of the circumstances from which came World War II, as well as modern problems in the Balkans and the Middle East. It was the catalyst of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which led to the rise of communism and the Cold War.

War and suffering isn't what Veterans' Day is about, though. This is the day where we remember the people who gave so much to fight for their country. During the past century, millions of men and women have gone off to war, often to places they had never heard of. They fought, suffered and often died to protect Freedom. Regardless of the politics of the wars they fought in, their sacrifice remains important and should be remembered and appreciated.

After World War II and Korea, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans' Day to remember all American veterans of wars and peacetime.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quality Legal MP3s with No DRM

eClassical will sell you quality classical music MP3s at a resonable price without treating you like a criminal.

Ethanol Isn't the Answer

The San Diego Union-Tribute has an article explaining why ethanol isn't an answer to our fuel problems.

Iraq is Not Another Vietnam

The November/December 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs has an interesting article by Nixon's Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird detailing why Iraq is not "another Vietnam" along with warnings about how it could degenerate into such. He makes some policy recommendations that make good sense. I found his descriptions of what went wrong in Vietnam to be as interesting as his comments regarding Iraq. I do not completely agree with every point in his analysis of Vietnam, but for the most part I do agree. Regardless, his comments are some of the most lucid ones I have read on the subject.

When Struggle Becomes a Crime

Regarding the bombing attack on the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman, Jordan which occured during his wedding and killed his father, his bride's father and many of his other relatives, Ashraf al-Akhras said, "This is not Islam. Muslims don't kill each other or any other person, what can I say? This is crime, not a fight against oppression in the world. It's a crime."

I hope this sentiment becomes shared by more.