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Happy Fourth!



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It’s too hot for the Goldberg family to march in the MacArthur Boulevard Parade, so we’re going to deck out Lucy’s rig and patritize Cosmo’s exterior and find a shady spot to watch the festivities. The MacArthur Blv. Parade is the only time of year or event in Washington where this really feels like Anytown USA. If you live in DC I heartily reccomend checking it out.

Troops to Liberia



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I don’t have a strong view about whether we should send U.S. troops to Liberia, though it now seems some kind of “peacekeeping” force is likely. I suppose I lean against. The rationale for going in has little to do with national security and everything to do with sentiment, because Liberia was founded in 1822 by former American slaves and the U.S. relationship with it is therefore “special.” As Americans form opinions on this matter, I’d like us to hear from all the liberals who opposed military action in Iraq on the grounds that it would prove to be a distraction to operations in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism in general. Granted, 2,000 Marines in Liberia isn’t the same thing as a full-fledged war, but now that the postwar operation in Iraq is under significant stress, doesn’t that make the argument against Liberian intervention even more compelling?

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Days Off



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Here’s a Washington Post story about a government employee with nothing to do: “Every weekday at 6.30 a.m., Edward McSweegan climbs into his Volkswagen Passat for the hour-long commute to the National Institutes of Health. He has an office in Bethesda, a job title — health scientist administrator — and an annual salary of about $100,000. What McSweegan says he does not have — and has not had for the last seven years — is any real work.” It’s sort of amusing. But doesn’t McSweegan have an obligation to his fellow taxpayers to do the decent thing: quit and find a real job?

Web Briefing: September 17, 2014

Brookhiser in The Journal



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O Brave New World



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This is really creepy: “An experiment in the United States has created a mixed-sex human embryo. The team involved insists that the creation of an hermaphrodite human embryo was designed to cure illness…” Here’s the full report, from the BBC.

For All I Know He’s Making This Up



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From a reader, subject header: “Solar Sailer Rebuttal”:

In case you cared…

Carnot law does not say that the temperature must go down…it says that the entropy of the universe must go up. For thermal systems, there is a temperature driven maximum efficiency. For non thermal systems, there is no such limitation, hence fuel cells, which use gibbs free energy to calculate efficiency versus carnot efficiency, have very high efficiency rates. Photons reflected from a solar cell (due to compton scattering) are at a lower energy … Energy of photons e=hv (where h is planks constant and v is frequency) and E=mc2 (where E is energy, c is speed of light and m is mass, photons have relativistic mass = hv/c2 since momentum p is = mass x speed , thus hv=pc..h and c are constants, so if p goes down (loss of momentum, and momentum is always conserved) v (frequency) must go down, and energy was hv, thus energy went down. Since energy was transfered, the future usefulness of the reflectant photons goes down, and thus entropy of the universe goes up. The photons cannot possibly transfer more momentum than the difference between current momentum (which was reduced by the solar cell) and the momentum due to brownian motion of the interstellar hydrogen (about 3K)with which they must be discharged. The crookes radiometer is consistent, since the mirrored surface encounters much less compton scattering it reflects most photons at a higher energy (thus on that side less momentum is transfered) than the black side which absorbs the high energy photons (visible light) and emmits lower energy photons at near infrared (it will heat up more). Thus the black side is absorbing more energy, and hence transfering more momentum, so the net moment arm pushes forward on the black side.

Poll Positions



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A new poll by CNN/USA Today has 63 percent of the public disapproving of the Supreme Court’s decisions in the University of Michigan’s racial preferences cases. Only 24 percent approved. So there’s not much “diversity” of opinion on that one, though I suppose one could argue that some of the 63 percent include people who thought the undergraduate admissions system should have been upheld. Views were more split on the Texas sodomy case, with 40 percent approving of the decision and 44 percent opposed.

Dudes! Cnn, Now!



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Rick B. will be on this half hour, talking about his rake. (What a great belated 4th gift to send people…)

Berlusconi



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As far as I can tell, what Berlusconi said was stupid. But as several readers have commented, it’s pretty hard not to notice the contrast in outrage when you compare this episode to when the German Cabinet minister compared Bush to Hitler. Back then most of “enlightened” Europe thought Americans overreacted when Bush was compared to a genocidal murderer. What was the big deal? they kept asking.

An Antidote For Cluelessness On Campus



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The Young America’s Foundation. I’m told they can still squeeze people into their summer conference. Here’s the info.

They Do Too!



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Dissident Frogman Recants



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Good for him and good news really.

Clueless Kids



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You might want to take the holiday to teach a few history lessons.

Honor Lost



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My review of Norma Khouri’s heartbreaking–and maddeningHonor Lost about an “honor crime” in Jordan.

“Don’t Mention The War”



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A British minister’s advice to Silvio Berlusconi.

Leaving The Building



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Jonah, I think it was because he was dead at the time.

Us Announces $25 Million Reward For Saddam



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Can someone explain to me why we didn’t do this
three months ago?

Solar Sailing Won’t Fly



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Since yesterday’s quark post revealed a surprisingly high quotient of physics-type-science-people (sorry to get all jargony) I thought you might find this interesting

Rick On Booktv



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The Diversity Monster



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Corporate bean counters now can use Monster.com to help them fill their quotas. “Monster understands that race, gender and ethnicity do not define us — they are only part of who we are as workers,” says a statement on the company website. Of course, anybody who really believes this probably won’t use Monster.com’s new “diversity and inclusion job search.” Just another example of the fundamental dishonesty about the way people talk about race in this country.

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