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Lord of the Rings

Submission + - SF Writer Sees The Hobbit Dressed as Galadriel for Charity (

Nova Express writes: "Science fiction writer John Kessel declared that "nobody could pay me enough money to go see The Hobbit. Well, maybe someone could, but nobody is going to.” The Internet being what it is, different levels of challenges were quickly instituted to raise funds for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's of America's Emergency Medical Fund. $2,500 later, Kessel saw the movie. Dressed as Galadriel. And yes, there are pics."

Comment SharePoint is like a Swiss Army Gun (Score 4, Informative) 571

It does a number of things, some of them vaguely useful, but none as well as other stand-alone tools, it's awkward as hell, and people hate using it.

Raise the price on it and even some of the most MS-centric IT shops will go "Fine, we'll just set up an internal Apache server and Confluence instead."

Comment Dear Black Parrot: Obfuscant Just Pwned You (Score 2, Interesting) 401

Lesson: Facts do not cease to be facts just because they were reported on Fox News.

Different members of the Obama Administration have said different things about Benghazi at different times.

American forces in a position to help were evidently told repeatedly to stand down.

Charles Woods, the father of the slain Tyrone Woods, thinks Obama is lying. And the mother of slain State Department employee Sean Patrick Smith just came out and said "I believe that Obama murdered my son” though his negligence. Compare the amount of press given to them compared to Cindy Sheehan.

Now two chain-of-command figures central to the Benghazi controversy, CIA Director David Petraeus and General Carter Ham, commander of AFRICOM, have resigned, while a third, Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette, has been reassigned.

None of this necessarily means that Obama issued the stand-down order, or validates the speculation in some quarters that Ambassador Stevens may have been involved in arms transfers. But how blind do you have to be to think that the fact that no additional forces were sent to protect Americans during a seven hour battle with jihadests is unworthy of being investigated?

Comment Dawkins: Islam "1 of the great evils of the world" (Score 5, Informative) 1152

From an interview:

RD: "I'm pessimistic about the Islamic world. I regard Islam as one of the great evils in the world, and I fear that we have a very difficult struggle there."

Narrator: "Why is it more problematic than Christianity, for instance?"

RD: "There is a belief that every word of the Koran is literally true, and there's a kind of closemindedness which is, I think, less present in the former Christendom, perhaps because we've had long - I don't know quite why - but there's more of a historical tradition of questioning. There are people in the Islamic world who simply say, 'Islam is right, and we are going to impose our will.' There's an asymmetry. I think in a way we are being too nice. I think that it's possible to be naively overoptimistic, and if you reach out to people who have absolutely no intention of reaching back to you, then you may be disillusioned."

Comment The Entire Chinese Economy is a Mirage (Score 1) 230

Command economies result is massive misallocations of capital compared to market economies, and this is also true of China. The "Ghost Cities" are the biggest manifestation of economic distortion, but hardly the only one.

On the plus side, communist China is only killing thousands of its own people every year, a vast improvement on the millions (or tens of millions) killed in the past. Progress!

Comment Federal spending doesn't get cost-benefit analysis (Score 1) 244

"Federal highway spending doesn't get subjected to strict cost-benefit analysis"

You can take out the word "highway" and the statement remains true. Or rather, no cost-benefit analysis exists for the taxpayer. But every dollar spent benefits the permanent Washington insider class that rakes its profits off of an ever-expanding government.

  Another true statement:

"Federal regulation doesn't get subjected to strict cost-benefit analysis."

And for the same reason.

Comment Fake Austerity (Score 2, Interesting) 139

So, France is going to cut (or at least pretend to cut) deficits from 4.5% of GDP to 3% of GDP, while hiking taxes.

That is not real austerity. You know what real austerity is? Cutting spending until it matches the amount of revenue actually coming in. This is the hard discipline that the vast majority of private enterprises have to adhere to, but which no government with a European welfare state seems capable of.

No Eurozone country (with the possible exception of Estonia) has actually practiced real austerity. You know that "Greek Austerity" measure, the one that had Greeks rioting in the streets? That reduced deficit spending from 9.0% of GDP to 7.5% of GDP. And even that amount was probably a lie.

Politicians need deficit spending the way a junkie needs heroin because the cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable, and no one is willing to face up to that fact. And the price of that delusion will be the destruction of our economy.

Comment We should stop appeasing Muslim rage (Score 0) 747

Instead of looking civilized, we look weak, as athiest commentator Pat Condell makes clear:

"There was a time when Islam was given the benefit the doubt by many people in the west. Now we think it’s poison and we wish we’d never heard of it, because 20 years of baseless grievance mongering and knee-jerk offense have shown us this religion for what it really is. Now we don’t like it, we don’t trust it, and we are never going to respect it. And we don’t care how Muslims feel about that."


Submission + - Milky Way is Surrounded by Halo of Hot Gas (

littlesparkvt writes: Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was used to estimate that the mass of the halo is comparable to the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. If the size and mass of this gas halo is confirmed, it could be the solution to the ”missing-baryon” problem for the Galaxy.

Comment Too Many Hephaestus/Content Scrapped Listings (Score 4, Interesting) 242

Good! Amazon has recently suffered from a severe problem in that companies like Hephaestus Press and Webster’s Digital Services have created "books" out of scraping public domain content like Wikipedia and slapping them between two covers (or digital equivalent thereof) and putting deceptive titles on them. For example, Hephaestus published the book Novels By Jerry Pournelle, including: The Legacy Of Heorot, The Mote In God’s Eye, The Gripping Hand, Footfall, Inferno (novel), Fallen Angels Starswarm, which looks like an omnibus edition, but which is actually scrapped Wikipedia content.

Sounds like they're finally cracking down on this practice, which is a good thing.

Comment Mainstream Democrats won't use it? Right! (Score 1) 836

The main stream democrats will not use this information because it is not from legal means

Oh, you mean the same way no one used Joe the Plumber's tax returns in 2008? And remember, this was just some guy who dared to as Obama a question, not the Republican Presidential nominee. They'll use them in a Chicago minute.

Or like how no one in the media would use Jack Ryan's sealed divorce records when the Ombama for Senate campaign illegally leaked them in 2004?

Comment I watched selected clips (Score 2, Interesting) 342

And followed the news, posting some commentary and clips on my political blog. I also followed along on Twitter.

However, at the same time, I was attending the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, which I covered on my other blog. And I took a lot of pictures I posted to my Facebook page.

It was a busy week.

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