David Kirkpatrick

May 31, 2008

Democratic chaos

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:54 pm

Wow. Just wow.

Overall what a black eye for the Democratic Party today. It seems Clinton has truly lost it (“it” being her mind, the race has been over for quite a long time) at this point, and her most ardent supporters are right there with her.

From the link:

Clinton nets 24 delegates out of the day.

A Democratic official close to Sen. Carl Levin says: “He is pleased they have made progress over where they were this morning. He is confident that the full delegation will be seated with full voting rights at the convention.”

7:16: Some Clinton supporters begin to shout: “McCain, McCain, McCain.”


7:15: Michigan compromise motion passes; 19 to 8.

7:05: A senior Michigan Democrat: “We will continue to work until the full delegation is seated but have reason to believe the candidate will restore 100% when picked.”

7:04: A spokesperson for Sen. Levin says that he’s “going to keep working until Michigan is fully seated with full voting rights at the convention.”

7:03: Ickes: “Mrs. Clinton has reserved her right to take this to the credentials committee.”

7:02: Ickes: “Hijacking four delegates is not a good way to start down the path toward unity.”

7:00 pm: Mr. Ickes continues. “Not only will this motion hijack four delegates from Mrs. Clinton, it will take 55 delegates from uncommitted status, which is a recognized presidential status under our constitution and convert them to Barack Obama.”

6:58: A senior DNC official says that Sen. Carl Levin is not likely to challenge the Michigan seating.

6:57: Don Fowler, former DNC chairman, and a Clinton supporter, announces his support for the motion. Ickes: “I rise in opposition. I find it inexplicable that this body that is supposedly devoted to rules is going to fly in the face of other than for our affirmative action rules the single most fundamental rule in the delegate selection process, that is, fair reflection.”

6:54: On To Michigan: Mame Reiley moves that all pledged delegate positions in Michigan be restored with one half vote; Clinton 69 delegates casting 34.5 votes, Obama’s 59 delegates casting 29.5 votes; a net of five.

Absolute hot

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:43 pm

Is there an opposite to absolute zero?

From the link:

Seems like an innocent enough question, right? Absolute zero is 0 on the Kelvin scale, or about minus 460 F. You can’t get colder than that; it would be like trying to go south from the South Pole. Is there a corresponding maximum possible temperature?

Well, the answer, depending on which theoretical physicist you ask, is yes, no, or maybe. Huh? you ask. Yeah, that’s how I felt. And the question doesn’t just mess with the minds of physics dummies like me. Several physicists begged off of trying to answer it, referring me to colleagues. Even ones who did talk about it said things like “It’s a little bit out of my comfort zone” and “I think I’d like to ruminate over it.” After I posed it to one cosmologist, there was dead silence on the other end of the line for long enough that I wondered if we had a dropped call.


May 30, 2008

Gold nanoparticles safely penetrate cells

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:19 pm

From KurzweilAI.net:

Nanoparticles of a Different Stripe
Technology Review, May 30, 2008

Gold nanoparticles coated with alternating stripes of hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules can penetrate cells without killing them, MIT researchers have found.

Such materials could offer a more effective way to deliver drugs or imaging agents to the interior of a cell.

Read Original Article>>

Ron Paul looks for speaking slot at GOP convention

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:47 pm

I blogged about this eventuality way back in early February. Now it looks like Paul is pushing for a slot.

From the second link:

And he’ll probably get one. But here’s betting it won’t be in prime-time, early prime, or even afternoon drive…

Poblano unmasked

Filed under: Politics, Sports — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:28 pm

The FiveThirtyEight blogger who’s applied a successful statistics-based approach to predicting the races so far has revealed himself to be an actual statistician — for Baseball Prospectus. Poblano=Nate Silver.

I’ll have to say I enjoy football stats, and the guys over at Football Outsiders who do the Football Prospectus, more than baseball stats, but I’m not surprised at all a baseball statistician can take the enormous amount of polling data out there and make more (and more correct) sense out of it all than the pollsters themselves and certainly more sense than math and stats challenged journalists and pundits.

May 28, 2008

I’m going to guess this result ..

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:51 pm

… was not part of Scott McClellan’s memoir calculus. The one-time press secretary has raised some pretty serious charges. If the Bush 43 administration used any measure of the ridiculous political calculation that only war-time presidents can be considered “great, impeachment is the only real option. The cost in lives — both US and Iraqi — and in national treasure is never worth a project in vanity. Sounds like something Iraq’s previous leader, or maybe North Korea’s “dear leader” would gin up.
From the link:

“The admissions made by Scott McClellan in his new book are earth-shattering and allege facts to establish that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby – and possibly Vice President Cheney –  conspired to obstruct justice by lying about their role in the Plame Wilson matter and that the Bush Administration deliberately lied to the American people in order to take us to war in Iraq. Scott McClellan must now appear before the House Judiciary Committee under oath to tell Congress and the American people how President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and White House officials deliberately orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people.”  

May 25, 2008

Dick Martin, RIP

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:54 pm

Dick Martin, co-host of the awesome goodness that was “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In,” has died at 86.

During Trio’s all-too-brief stint on DirecTV I had the joy to watch “Laugh In.” Brilliant comedy and satire. The flying fickle finger of fate has come to rest on Martin, but I’m guessing the laughs go on.

Memorial Day weekend video fun — La Di Da Di

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:28 pm

Someone found this blog searching for “Slick Rick.” I have no idea which post ranked that high in search results, but in honor of that random webizen, and to make the holiday weekend a little bit slicker, here’s the original …

(And yes, I know Rick D isn’t Slick Rick, but if Rick D isn’t slick himself, the definition of “slick” needs an amendment.)

And for a holiday bonus, here’s Snoop Dogg with a somewhat portly Doug E. Fresh …


May 23, 2008

Is Barack Obama Muslim?

Filed under: Politics — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:52 pm


(Hat tip: Matt Yglesias)

Clinton …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:09 pm

… is turning herself into electoral poison. First Mike Huckabee cracks an unfortunate joke, now Hillary goes there, too.

Makes one wonder if Obama is in danger of being “Vince Fostered?”

From the second link:

Hillary Clinton today brought up the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama.

“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it,” she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

McCain’s medical records

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:29 am

I sense this becoming a real problem as the real campaign ramps up.

Putting bad news out on Friday afternoon is an old dodge that really no longer works for a major story in the now internet political universe. Putting it out on a holiday weekend is a more damning dodge, and not allowing a full vetting of the documents will only invite more scrutiny and questions.

A similar issue is brewing with McCain’s wife not releasing her separately-filed tax reports. I don’t think it’s pertinent to the presidential race, but it’s going to be an issue and will become a real sore spot as the race develops. (Hate to bag on McCain’s age, but I can’t resist the joke that both issues may become bed sores if left  ignored and “untreated” …)

From the link:

As Americans kick off the first holiday weekend of the summer Friday, Sen. John McCain will release 400 pages of his medical records to a handpicked group of reporters who can neither photocopy nor keep the documents, illustrating the sensitivity the campaign places on the 71-year-old candidate’s age and health.

May 22, 2008

Peter Thiel invests in libertarian micronations

From KurzweilAI.net — I’ve recently blogged about PayPal founder, Peter Thiel. He’s making news again by investing in offshore communities destined to become libertarian strongholds. Pretty cool idea if you ask me …

Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies
Wired, May 19, 2008

With a $500,000 donation from PayPal founder Peter Thiel, a Google engineer and a former Sun Microsystems programmer have launched The Seasteading Institute, an organization dedicated to creating experimental ocean communities “with diverse social, political, and legal systems.”

Artist’s conception of a large seastead based on the spur design (Valdemar Duran)

The seasteaders want to build their first prototype for a few million dollars, by scaling down and modifying an existing off-shore oil rig design known as a “spar platform.”

Read Original Article>>

Veepstakes Obama

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:56 pm

No names are officially leaking out, but now that the Demo nomination is all but wrapped up, Obama is starting a quiet search for a running mate.

No names are offically leaking, but one candidate seems to be campaigning pretty hard and generating a lot of buzz — Virginia senator, Jim Webb.

Update — It looks like Clinton is out of the running for the position if this report is true.

From the link:

Time magazine’s Karen Tumulty reports:

What will Clinton’s terms of surrender turn out to be? Her husband, for one, seems to have a pretty clear idea what he thinks she should get as a consolation prize. In Bill Clinton’s view, she has earned nothing short of an offer to be Obama’s running mate, according to some who are close to the former President. Bill “is pushing real hard for this to happen,” says a friend.

The Field can now confirm, based on multiple sources, something that both campaigns publicly deny: that Senator Clinton has directly told Senator Obama that she wants to be his vice presidential nominee, and that Senator Obama politely but straightforwardly and irrevocably said “no.” Obama is going to pick his own running mate based on his own criteria and vetting process.

May 21, 2008

Veepstakes McCain

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:41 pm

McCain has begun the public process of vetting potential vice president options. First up to bat: Florida governor, Charlie Crist; Lousiana governor, Bobby Jindal; and former nomination advesary, Mitt Romney. 


May 20, 2008

Kentucky and Oregon vote

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:44 pm

Actually if I understand things correctly, Oregon is just announcing the result of a mail-in vote. At any rate, Kentucky — being in the East — will announce first. The most compelling question of the night is whether Obama will gain a permanent majority of pledge delegates from his Kentucky result (it’ll be a loss, but by how much is the question) or will he have to wait until Oregon announces to reach that milestone.

In early returns from Kentucky, Clinton has already been declared the winner. 34% reporting, Clinton stands at 55 and Obama at 41.

Update 7:40 pm — In Kentucky, with 86% reporting: Clinton 65, Obama 31. Falling out about what was expected. It’ll be interesting to see how the Oregon vote turns out.

Update 8:55 —  99% reporting in Kentucky: Clinton 65, Obama 30. Obama’s projected to get 14 delegates in the state. I believe that is one short of securing the pledged majority.

Update 10:05 — Oregon reporting with 11% in, Obama 63, Clinton 37

Update 11:00 — Oregeon 51% reporting, Obama 58, Clinton 42

Update 12:30 am — Last update. Oregon 68% reporting, Obama 58, Clinton 42

Obama takes an unassailable lead in pledged delegates tonight. Clinton made some headway in the non-counting total popular vote. It’s been over for a long time now, but at this point it’s official — Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for president this year. Time to focus on the general election from here on out.

Self repairing planes

This is a damn cool technology

From the link:

The technique works like this. If a tiny hole/crack appears in the aircraft (e.g. due to wear and tear, fatigue, a stone striking the plane etc), epoxy resin would ‘bleed’ from embedded vessels near the hole/crack and quickly seal it up, restoring structural integrity. By mixing dye into the resin, any ‘self-mends’ could be made to show as coloured patches that could easily be pinpointed during subsequent ground inspections, and a full repair carried out if necessary.

This simple but ingenious technique, similar to the bruising and bleeding/healing processes we see after we cut ourselves, has been developed by aerospace engineers at Bristol University, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It has potential to be applied wherever fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are used. These lightweight, high-performance materials are proving increasingly popular not only in aircraft but also in car, wind turbine and even spacecraft manufacture. The new self-repair system could therefore have an impact in all these fields.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

Nanoscale cell spying and bacterial computing

Two Kurzweil AI.net bit with a biological bent today — a 3D light microscope that resolves to 40 nanometers and E. coli engineered to compute a math puzzle.

Looking into Live Cells at Nanoscale Resolution
Technology Review, May 20, 2008

A super-high-resolution 3-D light microscope developed at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry will allow biologists to watch the workings of the tiniest organelles and even individual clusters of proteins in living cells at a resolution of 40 nanometers.

Mitochondrion images (Nature Methods/Stefan Hell)

The Max Planck group developed a way to get around light‘s fundamental wavelength limitations by using two beams instead of one. The first light beam plays the same role–and is the same spot size–as light in a conventional microscope. It moves through the cell under study, exciting fluorescently labeled molecules inside the cell to fluoresce. The second beam “sculpts” the first, says Hell, inhibiting fluorescence created by the edges of the first beam. That reduces the effective spot size to 40 to 45 nanometers in diameter.
Molecular-resolution microscopy is expected to improve patient care and play an important role in advancing personalized medicine in the future.

Read Original Article>>


Engineered bacteria become the first living computer
Science News, May 19, 2008

Davidson College researchers genetically engineered the bacterium E. coli to coax its DNA into computing a classic mathematical puzzle known as the burned pancake problem.

The problem: start with a stack of pancakes of varying sizes burned on one side, and try to get the pancakes into order from largest to smallest — all burned side down — through a series of flips. The figurative spatula can flip at any point in the stack, but has to include all the pancakes above.

The researchers inserted the Hin recombinase enzyme into E. coli. The enzyme could then flip segments of E. coli’s DNA that are marked by genetic flags. The researchers designed these segments so that, when lined up in the correct order like pancakes stacked from biggest to smallest (burned side down, of course), the DNA spells out the code for a gene that gives the bacterium resistance to an antibiotic.

That way, applying the antibiotic to the colony of engineered bacteria killed all of the bacteria that had not yet solved the puzzle. Only those that had “stacked their pancakes” would survive. Measuring how long it took the bacteria to reach the solution indicated how many flips were required.

Read Original Article>>

May 19, 2008

Aging 2008 dates announced

From KurzweilAI.net:

Methuselah Foundation Announces Aging 2008 at UCLA
KurzweilAI.net, May 19, 2008

On Friday June 27th, leading scientists and thinkers in stem cell research and regenerative medicine will gather in Los Angeles at UCLA for Aging 2008 to explain how their work can combat human aging, and the sociological implications of developing rejuvenation therapies.

Aging 2008 is free, with advance registration required.

Dr. Aubrey de Grey, chairman and chief science officer of the Methuselah Foundation, said “Our organization has raised over $10 million to crack open the logjams in longevity science. With the two-armed strategy of direct investments into key research projects, and a competitive prize to spur on scientists racing to break rejuvenation and longevity records in lab mice, the Foundation is actively accelerating the drive toward a future free of age-related degeneration.”

The speakers at Aging 2008 will argue that the near-term consequences of intense research into regenerative medicine could be the development of therapies that extend healthy human life by decades, even if the therapies are applied in middle age. Peter Thiel, president of Clarium Capital, initial investor in Facebook, and lead sponsor of Aging 2008, said, “The time has come to challenge the inevitability of aging. This forum will provide an excellent opportunity to look at the scientific barriers that must be overcome to substantially extend healthy human life, as well as the ethical implications of doing so.”

Aging 2008 also serves as the free opening session for the technically focused Understanding Aging Conference, which will run at UCLA on June 28th and 29th.

What: Aging: The Disease, The Cure, The Implications, hosted by Methuselah Foundation

When: Friday, June 27, 2008, Drinks 4pm, Presentations 5pm, Dinner 8pm
Where: Royce Hall, 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

* Dr. Bruce Ames, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Berkeley
* G. Steven Burrill, Chairman of Pharmasset and Chairman of Campaign for Medical Research
* Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Chairman and CSO of Methuselah Foundation and author of Ending Aging
* Dr. William Haseltine, Chairman of Haseltine Global Health
* Daniel Perry, Executive Director of Alliance for Aging Research
* Bernard Siegel, Executive Director of Genetics Policy Institute
* Dr. Gregory Stock, Director of Program on Medicine, Technology & Society at UCLA School of Medicine
* Dr. Michael West, CEO of BioTime and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley

About Methuselah Foundation

The Methuselah Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to extending the healthy human lifespan. Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur David Gobel and gerontologist Dr. Aubrey de Grey, the Methuselah Foundation funds two major projects: The Mprize, a multimillion dollar research prize, and SENS, a detailed engineering plan to repair aging-related damage. Learn more at http://mfoundation.org.

Deconstructing …

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:26 pm

… one of the more pernicious anti-Obama emails making the rounds. Anyone who’s received the “Celeste & Loren Davis” anti-Obama email and doesn’t realize it’s utter bullshit needs to head to the Snopes page and do a bit of catching up. (In fact, if you regularly receive crazy emailed claims, bookmark the snopes.com home page and check in often for the latest hoaxes making the rounds. It’ll do both you and your email circle a world of good.)

Now for the good stuff on this mail — over at the New Republic, Douglas Wolk put together a hilarious deconstruction of that bit of lunatic hate prose cast over the land by Celeste and Loren.

From the TNR (second) link:

Keep that in mind, and the message’s apparent errors and inconsistencies start to fall into place. In the seemingly counterfactual, hateful sentence “Obama IS a muslim and he IS a racist and this is a fulfillment of the 911 threat that was just the beginning,” the slashless “911” isn’t a reference to September 11, 2001; it isn’t even slang for “emergency.” It’s a reference to the total number of parallel dimensions. The “Obama” they’re talking about here isn’t, of course, the Christian politician from our world who gave the “A More Perfect Union” speech in March; it’s the alternate-universe version, who is naturally our Obama’s opposite in every way–sort of like Ultraman, the evil Clark Kent of Earth-3. He also comes from a universe in which “Muslims” are some sort of bloodthirsty invaders who support the dimension-resequencing scheme, a bit of meaning-reassigning linguistic play along the lines of Tom Stoppard’s Dogg’s Hamlet.


May 18, 2008

The GOP convention …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:28 pm

… in September should be a more interesting affair than I realized. There’ll be plenty of sideshow at this circus.

From the link:

And then, on Sept. 1, comes the virtually all-white G.O.P. vaudeville in Minneapolis-St. Paul. You’ll be pleased to know the show will go on despite the fact that the convention manager, chosen by the McCain campaign, had to resign last weekend after being exposed as the chief executive of a lobbying and consulting firm hired by the military junta in Myanmar.

The conventioneers will arrive via the airport whose men’s room was immortalized by a Republican senator still serving the good people of Idaho. This will be a most picturesque backdrop to the party’s eternal platform battles over family values, from same-sex marriage to abortion.

For good measure, antiwar demonstrators from within the G.O.P. — Ron Paul devotees — could provide at least a smidgen of the 1968-style disruptions the Democrats may avoid. In April, the Nevada Republican state convention abruptly adjourned in midsession after the Paul forces won rule changes. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that other Paul cadres, operating below the national press’s radar, have also been fighting guerrilla battles “at county and state conventions from Washington and Missouri to Maine and Mississippi.”

Q&A with George Soros

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:37 pm

The May 15, 2008, New York Review of Books had an interesting interview with financier George Soros. They covered financial regulation, currency, the housing crisis and the global economy. The interview even touches briefly on politics.

This interview is a great read to hear a highly educated opinion on all those subjects. For those who see the name “George Soros” and only think of the man who pumped tens of millions into the 2004 election to attempt and unseat Bush 43, this interview might open your eyes a bit.

He’s not Democratic ideologue. Maybe for a bit more market regulation than I prefer, but after these last few years beginning with the Enron debacle it’s hard to argue for a completely free market. And he’s certainly made a whole lot more money out of all the markets he discusses than I have — and most other people for that matter.

Here’s two samples from the interview.

… on the 2004 election:

Woodruff: A larger question on the campaign—you gave, I believe, something like $23 million in 2004 to various Democratic efforts: MoveOn.org and candidates. Far less than that so far this year—why the change?

Soros: Well, because I think that was a unique time when not having President Bush reelected would have made the situation of this country and of the world much better. I think now it’s less important. And, in any case, I don’t feel terribly comfortable being a partisan person because I look forward to being critical of the next Democratic administration.

… on his philosophy of market regulation:

Woodruff: What of your book and the philosophy that comes of it?

Soros: In human affairs, as distinguished from natural science, I argue that our understanding is imperfect. And our imperfect understanding introduces an element of uncertainty that’s not there in natural phenomena. So therefore you can’t predict human affairs in the same way as you can natural phenomena. And we have to come to terms with the implication of our own misunderstandings, that it’s very hard to make decisions when you know you may be wrong. You have to learn to recognize that we in fact may be wrong. And, even worse than that, it’s almost inevitable that all of our constructs will have some kind of a flaw in them. So when it comes to currencies, no currency system is perfect.

So you have to recognize that all of our constructions are imperfect. We have to improve them. But just because something is imperfect, the opposite is not perfect. So because of the failures of socialism, communism, we have come to believe in market fundamentalism, that markets are perfect; everything will be taken care of by markets. And markets are not perfect. And this time we have to recognize that, because we are facing a very serious economic disruption.

Now, we should not go back to a very highly regulated economy because the regulators are imperfect. They’re only human and what is worse, they are bureaucratic. So you have to find the right kind of balance between allowing the markets to do their work, while recognizing that they are imperfect. You need authorities that keep the market under scrutiny and some degree of control. That’s the message that I’m trying to get across.

May 16, 2008

50 years of DARPA

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:37 pm

Here’s a cool NewScientist article on 50 years of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Just in case you didn’t know, you owe DARPA for the ability to read this blog. The earliest version of what has become the World Wide Web was a DARPA project, ARPANET.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

Peggy Noonan still spot on

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:31 pm

The one-time Reagan speechwriter, longtime GOP supporter and Wall Street Journal columnist has over the years been many things for the Republican Party — apparatchik, cheerleader, gently guiding hand — and now, over a series of columns, she’s been forced to speak truth to power on how the GOP is no longer a “conservative” party. It serves some new god, but certainly it is no longer the party of Lincoln or Reagan. Or Nixon for that matter.

She keeps the pressure on the party she loves with today’s column.

Some excerpts:

The Democrats aren’t the ones falling apart, the Republicans are. The Democrats can see daylight ahead. For all their fractious fighting, they’re finally resolving their central drama. Hillary Clinton will leave, and Barack Obama will deliver a stirring acceptance speech. Then hand-to-hand in the general, where they see their guy triumphing. You see it when you talk to them: They’re busy being born.

The Republicans? Busy dying. The brightest of them see no immediate light. They’re frozen, not like a deer in the headlights but a deer in the darkness, his ears stiff at the sound. Crunch. Twig. Hunting party.


“This was a real wakeup call for us,” someone named Robert M. Duncan, who is chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the New York Times. This was after Mississippi. “We can’t let the Democrats take our issues.” And those issues would be? “We can’t let them pretend to be conservatives,” he continued. Why not? Republicans pretend to be conservative every day.

And so it begins …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:51 pm

… from a GOP reeling and gearing up for the final act in a historic fall from grace.

From the link:

During a speech before the National Rifle Association convention Friday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee — who has endorsed presumptive GOP nominee John McCain — joked that an unexpected offstage noise was Democrat Barack Obama looking to avoid a gunman.

“That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he’s getting ready to speak,” said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”


May 15, 2008

Nanowire solar cells and black holes

From KurzweilAI.net, nanotech that may boost solar efficiency and black holes may have an escape hatch of sorts

Nanowires may boost solar cell efficiency, engineers say
PhysOrg.com, May 14, 2008

University of California, San Diego electrical engineers have created experimental solar cells spiked with nanowires that could lead to highly efficient thin-film solar cells of the future.

Read Original Article>>

Physicists Demonstrate How Information Can Escape From Black Holes
PhysOrg.com, May 14, 2008

Physicists at Penn State and the Raman Research Institute in India have discovered such a mechanism by which information can be recovered from black holes.

They suggest that singularities do not exist in the real world. “Information only appears to be lost because we have been looking at a restricted part of the true quantum-mechanical space-time,” said Madhavan Varadarajan, a professor at the Raman Research Institute. “Once you consider quantum gravity, then space-time becomes much larger and there is room for information to reappear in the distant future on the other side of what was first thought to be the end of space-time.”

Read Original Article>>

May 14, 2008

More science fiction turning into science fact

From KurzweilAI.net, taking steps toward an invisibility cloak

New material may be step towards 3D invisibility cloak
New Scientist, May 13, 2008

A researcher at the University of California at Berkeley claims to have made a 3D metamaterial with a negative refractive index, the first 3D material of this kind.

Physicists have in recent years made it possible to bend, or refract, light in the opposite direction to any natural materials. These metamaterials make it possible to create invisibility cloaks that hide an object by steering light around it. The materials and “invisibility cloaks” built so far have all been flat, working only in two dimensions.

The negative refraction index will have to be confirmed by measuring the speed of light in the material.

See Also Physicists draw up plans for real ‘cloaking device’

Read Original Article>>

John Edwards endorses Obama

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:19 pm

Some might say it’s a little late in the game, but John Edwards officially endorsed Obama today.

From the link:

He didn’t give the Clinton campaign a heads up — correction, yes he did), and most of his senior campaign staff were caught unawares.

May 13, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg, RIP

Filed under: Arts, Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:33 pm

One the titans of the art world, American Robert Raushenberg, has died at 82.

From the link:

A painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage performer, set designer and, in later years, even a composer, Mr. Rauschenberg defied the traditional idea that an artist stick to one medium or style. He pushed, prodded and sometimes reconceived all the mediums in which he worked.

Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art — not to mention between art and life.

Mr. Rauschenberg was also instrumental in pushing American art onward from Abstract Expressionism, the dominant movement when he emerged during the early 1950s. He became a transformative link between artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and those who came next, artists identified with Pop, Conceptualism, Happenings, Process Art and other new kinds of art in which he played a signal role.

No American artist, Jasper Johns once said, invented more than Mr. Rauschenberg. Mr. Johns, John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Mr. Rauschenberg, without sharing exactly the same point of view, collectively defined this new era of experimentation in American culture. Apropos of Mr. Rauschenberg, Cage once said, “Beauty is now underfoot wherever we take the trouble to look.”

West Virginia votes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:22 pm

Only one update for this story. Already called for Clinton, and she might win this state by 50 points or more. This result has been expected for some time.

In the meantime, Obama is picking supers, and even some of Clinton’s pledged delegates. Depending on your source, he needs somewhere in the range of 150 or so to clinch.

I don’t have a link handy, but there’s some chatter that Clinton will ride out tonight and win handily in the upcoming Kentucky vote then drop out of the race. It’s expected Obama will pass the magic number based on superdelegates by that time. She goes out on a strong note, he doesn’t have to campaign too hard in states he was always going to lose — good for all involved.

May 10, 2008

Tell me …

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:57 pm

we’re not in a recession.

Yeah, I went to b-school and learned all the signifiers and markers, and if you knocked me down I might remember some of them. And, yes, I know we don’t meet the classic standard for a “recession.”

I argue that facts override academic models any day.

From the link:

The foreclosure crisis is hitting yet another American locale: the self-storage center.

As they lose their homes, people are turning to these humble cinderblock and sheet-metal boxes to store their stuff. But some people cannot keep up with their storage bills any better than they could handle their mortgage payments, and storage companies are auctioning off their property for a pittance.

Older Posts »