Playing With Energy

George F. Will: “Although there is drilling for oil and gas in 29 wildlife refuges, the most fiercely contested question about the energy bill was about drilling on one-hundredth of 1 percent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is described, by people more passionately devoted to preserving it than visiting it, as "pristine." Yes, and the moon's surface is pristine. Except ANWR is less so, because the moon does not have -- as ANWR's coastal plain, where the drilling would have occurred, does -- roads, military installations, an airstrip, a school, houses, stores.”

“"ANWR could produce at least 1.3 million barrels a day for 25 years, almost what we import from Saudi Arabia. The House of Representatives voted for drilling, but it lost in the Senate, which is the habitat of Democratic presidential candidates who burnish their environmental credentials by jumping through the hoop of opposition to ANWR drilling."”

A counterpoint to "Victory for the Arctic" by Genevieve Roja (link courtesy Tina).

Y'know, to be honest, I don't think I've heard anybody pronounce the acronym ANWR. I pronounce it "anwar", as in Anwar Sadat.

Wrong Again and Again and Again

Ben Fritz: “Regrettably, Moore gets his facts wrong again and again and again, and a simple check of the sources he cites shows that lazy research is often to blame.”

I like Michael Moore, but he's much more effective as a filmmaker than as a book-writer. This review points out the flaws (and they're big flaws) in his current best-seller. He's a necessary counterpoint to biases in the media, but sometimes he comes across (at least in his writing) as a little too shrill.

The Medals of His Defeats

Christopher Hitchens: “A close reading of the increasingly voluminous revisionist literature discloses many further examples of events that one thinks cannot really be true, or cannot be true if the quasi-official or consecrated narrative is to remain regnant. Against which nation was the first British naval attack directed? (Against a non-mobilized French fleet, moored in the ports of North Africa, with the loss of hundreds of French lives.) Which air force was the first to bomb civilians, and in whose capital city? (The RAF, striking the suburbs of Berlin.) Which belligerent nation was the first to violate the neutrality of Europe's noncombatant nations? (The British, by a military occupation of Norway.) But these details, not unlike the navels and genitalia in devotional painting, are figleafed in denial.”

Will 'Great Leap Forward' Work For The NHS

Stephen King: “The Chinese Great Leap Forward ultimately was not successful. An increase in inputs – trees being chopped down to fuel the blast furnaces – certainly resulted in an increase in output. But, in the absence of proper incentives and adequate measures of consumer and producer preferences, the ultimate result was a chronic waste of national resources, the destruction of trees in exchange for steel that no one really wanted or knew what to do with.”

That's an understatement! If you don't believe me, look at a quote from The Search for Modern China by Jonathan Spence, p. 553: “The average amount of grain available to each person in China's countryside, which had been 205 kilos in 1957 and 201 kilos in 1958, dropped to a disastrous 183 kilos in 1959, and a catastrophic 156 kilos in 1960. In 1961 it fell again– to 154 kilos. The result was famine on a gigantic scale, a famine that claimed 20 milliions lives or more between 1959 and 1962. Many others died shortly thereafter from the effects of the Great Leap– especially children, weakened by years of progressive malnutrition. [...] The Great Leap Forward, launched in the name of strengthening the nation by summoning all of the people's energies, had turned back on itself and ended by devouring its young.”

Beijing, We Have Liftoff

Ted Rose: “The longstanding but chronically underfunded program is finally pressing ahead, fueled by revenue from trade zones like Shanghai and Hong Kong. China's motives are unclear - outside of bragging rights over galactic wannabes like India and North Korea.”

Well, the United States Air Force's expressed desire to control and dominate space might have something to do it.

Longing to be taller

"Longing to be taller" [no author?]

Anybody who's seen Gattaca (my favourite SF movie, because it dispenses with the special effects and tells a great story) knows what this is about. Surgery to make one taller is increasinly popular in China. Not as reprehensible as eye surgery to make Asian women's eyes less "Asian" (but definitely more painful!), it's still an example of the lengths Asian women feel they need to go to to be 'acceptable'. Memo to Asian women: you're beautiful just the way you are!

How Hamas controls Israel

William Saletan: “Sharon says Palestinian terrorists have been attacking Israel in order to bully him into offering concessions at the bargaining table. Accordingly, he has made the cessation of violence a prerequisite to political talks. By laying down that condition, Sharon thinks he's reasserting Israeli control of the chain of consequences. But the consequence to which he has committed himself—refusing to negotiate—helps the terrorists more than it hurts them. Sharon isn't controlling the terrorists. They're controlling him.”

Jam On It

"Jam On It" by Will Hermes

Easily my favourite rock journalist, Will Hermes does tend to ride DJ Shadow's jock. This is the third time he's made reference to Shadow in an article not about Shadow: the first in a review of Hive's Devious Minds (calling Hive the "DJ Shadow of drum'n'bass") and State of Bengal's Visual Audio, calling it their "Endtroducing....". Yeesh.

High IQ Gals

Maureen Dowd: “Kevin Johnson from Chicago: "A woman who has qualities that put me in awe is far more likely to make me think she is worth falling for."”

I know a woman like that.