I ate my wafer...


Mexican AM radio, Child Porn, Goat testicles, and Blogging.

I don't feel strongly about the Small case recently decided by the Supreme Court, but I think some of the commentary about it illustrates an interesting trend of confusion and hypocrisy in international legal issues.

If someone set up shop outside U.S. territory with a website, ala thesmokinggun, but containing large amounts of sealed U.S. court documents, I doubt that the U.S. government would merely write it off since it wasn't illegal in the originating country. The CaptainEd saga was too minor and short to actually see the international legal issues play out, but I get the impression that while vigorously defending CaptainEd, many of the same bloggers would have no issues with the U.S. attempting to extradite or otherwise punish/muzzle the operators of my hypothetical website. A nice historical example would be the U.S. government's eventually success in pressuring the Mexican government to shut down cross border radio stations. (The first cross border cases involve Dr. Brinkley's goat testicle transplants, country music, and fascism broadcasts.)

We usually expect other countries to consider our laws to have some weight, such as helping to extradite child porn publishers that have never set foot in the U.S., and violated no laws in their home countries. Notice that in the regpay case, France and Spain were disinterested third parties that allowed abduction or arrest/ extradition of the defendants. International law is a matter of negotiated give and take, if we expect to be able to go after the regpay people, or whine about bobby fischer escaping to Iceland, we need to remember that the extradition treaties work both ways. (Tangent: the recent extradition treaty does NOT have dual illegality, which should have scared the living crap out of conservatives, but most were too enamored with extraditing terrorists to guantanamo bay.)


*I probably missed the point entirely on the ceasar's bath thing because I followed Sarah and Jake's examples rather than reading about it...possible revisions to come.

In other news, there is yet another round of Intellegent Design stuff in the Collegian, including what I assume is a response to my letter by a Benjamin Stafford. I don't know him, but he smells very much like a young-earth creationist working from a focused and narrow version of Genesis. That's pretty much a pointless argument for me to enter, since anything I come up with as an example of reconciling some or all of natural selection with chrisitianity (Howard Van Till, Roman Catholic postions, etc) will likely not satisfy Mr. Stafford theologically.

If anyone wants to discuss the letter though, let me know.

Jake Allen has passed this onto me.

Behold, the Caesar?s Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can?t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), ?Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.?

1. Children as Pets. Seriously, I have several acquaintances that have recently had children "because the house seemed empty". What the @#$%? Are you afraid to say the real reason, or are you so utterly incapable of buying pets, planst, art, furniture, and other house filling items that you resorted to procreating.

2. People who take too many items into the express lane. An item or two over, not a big deal. But double or triple the limit; you're being a completely inconsiderate ass. I've started politely mentioning this to people who are clearly over the limit, with interesting results: most people are embarrassed, apologized briefly and leave, but one lady with over 50 items in a 12 item Meijer lane snapped and told me that "I'd understand when I have kids". Anyone care to guess what I told her?

3. MP3 ringtones. I completely don't get it. What's the point of playing half of some pop song whenever your phone rings. I know that some people see it as an opportunity to tell that its their phone...but if its in your pocket, vibrate or haptics should take care of that anyway. Not to mention that playing half of Hey Baby every time doesn't sound like your phone, it sounds like an ipod that's gone insane.

4. Adults over the age of 25 that blame their current life difficulties on their parents. I'm sorry, but unless you were severely abused, its about time to start taking some responsibility. The fact that you didn't get a NES for Christmas in 1987 is no longer relevant to your current career/personal life situations.

5. Spinning Wheels. One would think that no law students would have fallen victim to such stupidity, espicially on a daily driven car in MI, but no, there are several. Unless my math is completely out of whack, putting 4x$375 wheels + 4x$100 tires is more than some of the cars are worth. If you have to do something this silly to your car, at least try to keep prospective employers from seeing it until AFTER they hire you.

I pass this on to Peter Krupa.


So since the Silly What Kind of American English do you speak test correctly identified Lee Nunn as a redneck, err, Kentucky dweller, I thought I'd try it too:

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

20% Upper Midwestern

10% Yankee

5% Midwestern

0% Dixie


Things that may require me to perfect the norplant launcher:

1. People that use the speakerphone function on their cell phones while walking. Come on folks, is it that hard to walk with the phone actually against your ear rather than 6" away? Not only is it annoying to receive such a phone call, complete with background and wind noise; it is annoying to have to listen to as a bystander.

2. College students riding the "chopper" styled bicycles. Who the hell pays $250 for a one speed bike that is hard to pedal (wide tyre=rolling resistance) and painful to ride? You people look absolutely moronic.

3. Segway users. As if America needed a new way to avoid exercise and make sidewalks dangerous for pedestrians. On the upside the technology is sort of vaguely interesting for 5 minutes, and they are pretty fun to watch on ice.

I can't write decent short stories, but Krupa and Luke can.


Hmm, so the collegian ran my letter, (at least in the online version, slightly modified, it should have read: "false dichotomy between materialism (or darwin) and religion") . An interesting snippet of letters were published, oddly my reply was definitely the most caustic. Jim Stephens has a VERY good reading list in his, I second most of his reccomendations enthusiastically.

Now, on to what passes for support for Bailey's original piece, the collegian ran a fun letter by Aaron Hummel. I don't know him, but I feel that science 101 has horribly failed him, because he trots out the long dead, and completely logically incoherent argument that the second law of thermodynamics prohibits increased order in biological systems. There are lots of nice rebuttals to this ancient. hoary, and silly argument on the internet, read the links, but just for grins, here's a summary:

Hummel writes:

"Evolutionary theory as an attempt to explain the diversity of life on earth has so many flaws that it even violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that all systems have a tendency toward increasing disorder.

While some may argue by saying that the earth receives energy from the sun, since when does increasing the thermal energy of any system by heating it with a massive fireball result in increased order? No, the entropy on earth is continuously increasing, just as it is in the whole universe. This includes the disorder within biological systems as well."

My from the hip response:

Good, at least you seem dimly aware that the second law only applies to closed systems. That will make this faster: massive amounts of freely availible energy will not resualt in increased entropy, that's in the of definition of entropy (maybe a cup of coffee before science 101 would be a good idea). Sunlight is relatively low entropy, its not just simple waste heat. Oh, the sun isn't actually fire per say either, and the non-heat radiation plays an important role in natural selection. (UV rays causing DNA changes). Finally, there are all sort so examples, even in non-living things, without a method of converting sunlight into chemical energy, where massive amounts of energy creates order from randomness. Snowflakes and sanddunes come quickly to mind as ones specifically caused by the sun's infrared energy. I know some creation science folks love the idea that there is an exception to their silly intrepretation of the 2nd law only for living things with devinely created mechanisms like photosynthesis, but no repectble physicist would argue that.

Thermodynamics even allows pockets of decreased entropy to resualt in closed systems IF they are off set with increased entropy elsewhere, so even assuming the entire universe is a closed system under the the laws of thermodynamics, there is NO problem with decreased entropy here on earth.


So, in one of my classes, I was introduced to the anti-boycott laws a couple weeks ago, and I think its a very interesting topic. I had thought about mentioning it here, but since the law is over 20 years old, I assumed that probably it was widely know, and I had been living in a cave. Anyway, I just mentioned in conversation with a friend that has a broad backround in international business, and he was completely shocked too. The law is entirely too broadly written, and extremely scary stuff. So, not only are U.S. businesses restricted from any involvement, no matter how tangental in a boycott, they can be punished just for failing to report an inappropriate question or form, even if no actual business deal is closed. Not to sound like chicken little, but this is "madness". I would bet that virtually every U.S. business that conducts ANY international trade violates the letter of the law occasionally.


Most people are familar with the JFK invented, or at least borrowed "chinese" curse, "may you live in interesting times." The modern equivalent should be, "may your elders tell you that you have lots of potential, and you'll be good at whatever you do." I've been hearing that for at least 15 years now, and it increasingly turns into a curse in my mind. (The majority of my friends are twixters, so they should understand that having lots of potential seems empty and hollow at times.)

In anycase, after not pursuing a career as a tool & die maker, a high school science instuctor, a physicist, an engineer, a forensic scientist, car mechanic, etc, etc, I'm finally lining up the patent bar for early this summer. And I'm setting up interviews for...the first real job for a year from now. Following the cardinal rule of blogging, which I learned at a significant career cost, I won't mention ANY details, but I have an interesting summer job lined up in IP.

In the "your federal tax dollars at work" catagory, trained police monkeys.


A quick update on the Intellegent Design business:

I emailed Elliot Wild a longer and more detailed version of the letter below which includes my standard "teaching ID in bio 102 is equivalent to teaching superstring theory in science 101" argument. I doubt that they'll run it, since a number of other letters and articles are probably floating around the collegian office on the topic.


Edited *AGAIN* to include links to the HBC ID discussion from this fall

-Since this post is apparently drawing a bit more new traffic than most; for backround, here is what I think about ID (from our discussion this fall.)

So, this week's collegian has an "interesting" op-ed piece on the relationship between science and Christianity. Even in corners of the Hillsdale blogging community that are relatively ID friendly, I would think there would be some pretty harsh words for Ms. Grandy (whoever the hell she is). Not only does she imply that there is a simple dichotomy between Darwin and Christianity, with an absolute church-science conflict model, she implies that rejecting evolution automatically makes a simple genesis based creationism THE logical choice. (That would really make some Buddhists and Moonies, including strong ID advocates I know pissed off.)

I have substantial issues with her attempt to cast ID theory as an issue of academic freedom...is not academic freedom the freedom of PROFESSORS to teach what they chose with some justification? (Along with an institution's right to select classes, and for a student to pick a course schedule...). So, if Hillsdale professors want to teach the generally accepted theory, how is that an issue of academic freedom?

Anyway, I'm toying with a letter to the editor, knowing the ~200 word limit, this is what I have so far: (Note, I want suggestions, and frankly would consider some sort of joint piece especially if it was along the lines of “look both ID people and evolution people think you’re a moron”. )

Dear Editor,

I read Ms. Grandy’s April 14, 2005 op-ed piece, Evolutionary Indoctrination, with great disappointment. Not only does Ms. Grandy seem quite ignorant of the modern evolutionary biology, her views on academic freedom and the inter-relationship between religion and science are at best amusing ignorance. To briefly address a handful of the issues she raised:

Modern evolutionary biology is a very big tent that has moved a beyond Darwin’s original work, and covers a vast amount of ground from DNA genetics to modeling endangered specie populations. A good place to start researching what evolution actually includes is http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html .

I disagree very strongly that there is an inherent, inevitable conflict between evolutionary theory and Christianity. I resent the implication that scientists such as myself cannot practice a functional Methodological Naturalism just like any good doctor or CAR mechanic does. (I'd love to give them a link to our ID discussion here, or something?)

On the academic freedom issue, it would grossly violate the real academic freedom of the biology department to require them to teach a theory that is not accepted in the scientific community. (It would also have the side effect of reducing Hillsdale’s status in the hard sciences to that of pitiful institutions such as Bob Jones University.)


(Currently IN trademark law, discussing how Mattel tries not to let anyone make fun of Barbie. )

So, I'm a regular reader of The Onion, and for that matter Landover Baptist, and Modern Drunkard Magazine, all fine internet publications that make heavy use of satire and parody. Out of curiousity, I just fired up google to see if any of those publications had been hit with a trademark lawsuit...which lead me to jesussaves.us. Originally I thought that jesussaves must be a parody site themselves...but they appear to be serious excepting their online store? With all due apologies to Jake and my other baptist friends, even though it maybe a serious site, it is HILLARIOUS. I espicially liked the creation science fair, with projects such as ""Using Prayer To Microevolve Latent Antibiotic Resistance In Bacteria".


So, since I'm already involved in a discussion of the merits of different pull-through cleaning kits at Hell In A Handbasket, I thought I'd throw in a couple pictures of my mine:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The blue tin on the right was a birthday gift from my dad, containing a nicely made pull through with threaded attachments out of beryllium copper, and a fitted wooden block machined so the attachments screw into it. Nifty isn't it. With the various attachments, it should work in anything .22 and larger.

The black tin thing is an East German "Tobbacco Tin" cleaning kit. I think I paid about $5 for it, complete with a little nebulously synthetic pouch and a rag. Anyway, the contents of the tin:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The various tools and gadgets are mostly intended for cleaning and maintaining 7.62x39mm AK rifles and RPK machine guns, but the screwdriver, punch, and brushes would work on other firearms as well. Not to mention since its a pull through, it will work on any gun you can drop it through, which will be anything about 6mm and up. For $5 it was well worth it. The little tin oil can is particularly cool.

Overall, firearm cleaning and maintenance is probably one of the most over-analysed and discussed topics on the planet. Lots of different methods work. Some general thoughts though:

1. Basically any decent solvent will work as a bore cleaner, from carb cleaner, to Hoppes's #9, etc. The more harsh the solvent, the more you have to worry about it stripping wood finishes and melting plastic. 0w20 Mobil 1 engine oil or Mercon V transmission fluid is chemically superior to most gun specificl oils (hoppe's, rem-oil, etc). The military LSA (Break-Free CLP) is pretty good stuff too. Most people err on the side of using too much lubricant; in cold weather or sandy/dusty areas it is better to use none.

2. If you aren't shooting ancient corrosive primer surplus ammo, bore cleaning is probably not that critical. That is, unless you notice an accuracy drop off from leading/copper fouling, there is little point in cleaning a target rifle or pistol's bore. Espicially in the smaller calibers, many barrels are worn out by careless and unnecessary cleaning. Break-In of new highpower rifle barrels is about the only time frequent bore cleaning is called for with non-corrosive ammunition.

3. The best of all worlds it to clean from the breech end of a barrel with a one piece hardened steel rod, like Dewey makes. If you have to clean from the muzzle, use a guide.

4. Every military rifle that has a place for a buttstock cleaning kit might as well have one. However, using a jointed rod of the M1/M14/M16 type routinely is NOT good for accuracy life..

5. If you ARE shooting corrosive ammo, clean with water as soon as possible. Yes, you could use "GI bore cleaner" instead, but why mess with nitrobenzene when regular water works fine. Or use Windex/Simple Green cut with water.

6. I grease the heck out of AR-15 buffer springs and even smear a film inside the upper receiver for good measure on target rifles. It doesn't seem to matter much what grease is used though I tend to use high dollar automotive grease like Mobil 1 Synthetic. In any case, it eliminates the screen door closer "boink...boink" as the action cycles. On an AR-15 or M16 carried for serious work I probably would go easier on the grease or just use a light oil film (or dry in cold/desert weather).

7. There are lots of possible alternatives, but I tend to use Hoppe’s #9 for most cleaning because I like the smell and its mild enough not to strip finishes instantly. I use Wal-Mart brand carb cleaner at $.88/can, brake cleaner or acetone for serious carbon deposits. For seriously copper fouled bores, I used Sweet’s 7.62, and a bore brush. For heavy lead or anything I can't get out of a bore with Sweet's, I tend to use JB bore paste. I like a very, very thin film of RIG to prevent rust on blued steel (applied with a piece of sheepskin). I like old toothbrushes, pipe cleaner, q-tips, wads of paper towels, and the pointy toothbrush m16 brush for cleaning actions.


So, I'm deep in a legal discussion of the international law and U.S. first amendment issues about some sealed canadian documents published on a U.S. blog. (Its a bit technical and boring, be warned, its only interesting to legal and internet nerds.)


Islamo-Fascism. Islamofascism. Islamofascist:

*edited to fix the fact that blogger spell check can't spell faScist.

This is probably a pet peeve of mine because of a single 50 minute high school history lecture on the etymology of fascism, but is it really fair to lump fascism into radical islam? It isn't exactly a topic I usually sit around thinking about much, but I've been operating under the assumption that "fascism",should only be applied to governments that:

A. Emphasize strong national pride, typically racially focused, and with derogatory commentary towards other nationalities or races.

B. Subordinate religous institutions to the state. Not the other way around, which is theocracy. (Somewhere beyond subjectating relgion is abolishing it completely as in most communist nations.)

C. Effect a police state, complete with heavy propaganda and civil rights violations. Almost invaribly there will be a particular closeness between a handful of large corporations and the police state: "corporism. (This was described as the a simple way to differentiate between facism and communism.)

The point of the lecture was, I think, that the radical left in America call all sorts of things fascist that aren't (like, oh, Nixon, and most 1960's college provosts), and the Stalinist USSR was close to facist, yet we don't run around calling it Communo-Fascist or similar. As I recall there was also some discussion of how "fascism" as a general purpose insult was invented by Trotsky to denounce Stalin. So what the hell is up with using "islamo-fascist"? Maybe its just me, but Iran cannot really show the type of nationalism found in the facist states of old? And of all the possible canidates in the islamic world, only Iraq under Sadaam showed much in the way of signs of fascism, and they sure as heck weren't very islamic. When talking about the Taliban, wouldn't it be better to call them a theocracy, akin to Oliver Cromwell or James I's England?

To be very cynical, hooking fascism onto islam merely makes it easier to make comparisons to World War II, and sets up comparisons to "peace in our time" appeasement. When I get to be dicator of Eurasia, I think I'll call Castro "Communo-homo-islamo-fascist-liberal" and invade to restore democracy and improve cigar quality. Labels are really powerful propaganda, lets be precise with them!


I'm slowly updating and reworking my links section, including adding a couple of new ones, such as "hell in a handbasket". James Rummel's friend of a friend status is only improved by the quality of his blogging. (I did meet him in person once for 15 minutes or so, but that evening was sort of dominated by intervening in an ugly domestic disturbance after he left....but that story isn't blog safe.)

Has anyone come up with a coherent policy of linking to xanga and livejournal blogs? Everytime I do, (*cough* Dave Frank) the author grows up to a blogger or typepad site.

#!$%@# Blogger just ate a much longer version of this post...

Yet another items wanted list:

1. 4" mill vise, note I said FOUR not the usual SIX.

2. 50 BMG barrel(s), preferable very cheap and shot out M2 machine gun barrels or similar.

3. A set of .50 BMG chamber reamers to borrow. (Yes, I can just break down and make a set...but I really don't like making reamers that much, my feel for the angles, even cheating with a certain high quality piece of optics is merely adequate.)

4. Engineering information on high-low pressure internal balistics. I'm talking about the German developements used in the PAW 600 and eventually "borrowed" for the US m79/m203 launcers. I need to know how to pick propellants, orrifice sizes, chamber volume ratios the whole works.

5. Information on driving Luxeon 5 watt LED's. Yes I should remember how to design efficent DC-DC constant amperage solid state circuits, but I'm afraid of toasting a $30 LED in a rather spectular way in the process of building a...

6. A motorcycle. Interested in >600cc Japanese "bare" bikes like a Honda Magna or a Suzuki GS 850 G. Even more interested in an "air head" BMW, even to the point of of a basketcase one. Even MORE interested in a Henderson if you happen to have one sitting around rusting away.

7. Information about the relative merits of "fair trade" coffee (and other ag products from the 3rd world). I'm suspicious of the concept, but have no real rational oppinion yet, but probably should research the matter.

8. Any thoughts about the Daimler Common Rail Diesel engine, I'm debating a CRD Jeep...compared to a hybrid escape.

9. Reccomendations on a good cigar cutter.


Hmm...random links I've promised people:

1.Tree planting in Israel...suffice it to say that my mom probably shouldn't give them money, the rest of the story is probably not blog safe.

2. What your "Check Engine"/"Service Engine Soon" light means, at no cost, on most pre-1996 cars:

GM: Get a paperclip. Here's the possible codes. There are other codes too and they very a little year to year...use google. For extra credit, you can use the paperclip to check your air/fuel mixture with field service mode.

Chrysler: All you need is the key!

Ford: You need a jumper wire. You can use almost anything for it, maybe even a paperclip if it will reach between the "Signal Return" and "Self Test Input" connectors. and you can keep it from grounding against the car body.

I'm way too lazy to type up all of the myriad japanese and european code retrival methods, but I'll gladly answer specifc questions...or you can use google.

3. Christian Analysis of American Culture Ministry: movie reviews. Either you see the humor in them...or you don't (try beer). I happen to find some of the reviews extremely amusing, usually in the "WISDOM" analysis. (Hint, look at the Impudence/Hate and Offenses to God sections).