The runway — the system — must have some “give” to it. It must have some unused capacity in order to ensure safety. In reality it does. That unused capacity is after midnight. That is the reason you see flights arriving at 1 or 2 AM after a day of bad weather. There is no “give” — during normal hours — in the system when there is adverse weather. This leads to the massive flight delays Americans suffered through this summer.
The reason is as old as it is simple — greed. Airlines can make more money selling 70 airplanes worth of tickets per hour than they could if they limited themselves to the 60 airplanes per hour that the runway can handle. In fairness to the airlines, it’s not in their interest to limit themselves. It is easier to sell the tickets and blame the delays on the weather or the “antiquated” air traffic control system. Especially if the flying public doesn’t understand runway capacity limits and therefore fails to notice that the “antiquated” air traffic control system is delivering more airplanes to the runways than the runways can handle.
Here’s how Microsoft says, “SQL Server 2008 will be late:”
“We want to provide clarification on the roadmap for SQL Server 2008. Over the coming months, customers and partners can look forward to significant product milestones for SQL Server. Microsoft is excited to deliver a feature complete CTP during the Heroes Happen Here launch wave and a release candidate (RC) in Q2 calendar year 2008, with final Release to manufacturing (RTM) of SQL Server 2008 expected in Q3. Our goal is to deliver the highest quality product possible and we simply want to use the time to meet the high bar that you, our customers, expect.”
What? Can you understand that? “A feature complete CTP during the Heroes Happen Here launch wave?” What on earth does that mean?
The guy who wrote this, Francois Ajenstat, ought to be ashamed of himself. Have some guts. Just say it’s late. We really don’t care that much. SQL Server 2005 is fine. As Judge Judy says, “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”
Scene: The History lesson in school. The teacher wearily calls Microsoft Boy to his desk to try to discover where his homework is.
“Well, young William, (looks over his glasses severely) where is your homework? It should have been handed in today, I’m afraid.”
(with a smug ingratiating smile redolent of sincerity) “The past week has been an amazing time for the me as I geared up to announce the delivery of my essay. The response to my announcement from friends and parents has been overwhelmingly positive – in fact, even my aunt Edith wants to read it. What is catching users’ eyes? Legibility, correctness, conciseness….the list goes on and on. Simply put, this history essay is a significant release for me – one that builds on all of the great things that I was able to deliver last year in the Lower fifth. I see it as a critical step forward for my academic life here, and the foundation of the broader vision for my school career. Based on what we are hearing from people who have seen the current version of my essay, it seems that everyone agrees.”
(impatiently) “Well, that may be the case, but you haven’t actually handed your work in. Where is it for heavens sake? The others have managed to hand their work in!”
(earnestly) Not surprisingly, one of the top areas of focus for me is always to deliver high quality homework, and in a very predictable manner. This is vital for my dazzling school career – which is why I’ve frequently discussed my goal of releasing my history essay within three months of the last one. I am on track to reach this goal. (folds his arms with a smile of achievement)
Teacher: (whilst rustling about, searching on his desk)
“I don’t see it, I really can’t find your essay on my desk. It was supposed to have been handed in today.”
Microsoft Boy: (sensing something not quite right in his relationship)
“To continue in this spirit of open communication between us, I want to provide clarification on the roadmap for my essay. Over the coming months, you, and the other teaching staff here can look forward to significant milestones in the delivery of my homework. I am excited to deliver a release candidate of the essay in a month’s time, at Scout Camp, with final Release of the entire homework expected in another couple of months. My goal is to deliver the highest quality History essay possible and I simply want to use the time to reach the high bar that you, my teacher, has set.”
Teacher: (Head in hands, dispairingly)
“I really don’t understand. Have you handed in your homework or not?”
“I have not, in any way, changed my plans for launching the essay today. What I have done today is to announce to you the delivery of my essay, and I’m proud to have met this target. Please keep the great feedback coming and thank you again for your ongoing support of my ‘best-in-class’ academic work!” (Proudly walks out of the classroom)
CNN is hosting a GOP presidential debate tonight in California and Democratic one in the state tomorrow. Both are sponsored by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC), a coal industry front group. In its past three ABEC-sponsored debates, there have been no questions asked on global warming. Watch an ad highlighting ABEC’s sponsorship
Not content with the current (and already massive) statutory damages allowed under copyright law, the RIAA is pushing to expand the provision. The issue is compilations, which now are treated as a single work. In the RIAA’s perfect world, each copied track would count as a separate act of infringement, meaning that a copying a ten-song CD even one time could end up costing a defendant $1.5 million if done willfully. Sound fair? Proportional? Necessary? Not really, but that doesn’t mean it won’t become law.
An above-average wrongful death compensation award for a healthy working parent would be in the $1-3 million dollar range. You could go murder somebody. It’d be cheaper than pirating a few CDs. And if the CDs had DRM, the jail sentence would be shorter for the murder too! The US military pays out $600 for wrongful deaths in Iraq. A pirated CD copy is worth more than 2500 Iraqis!
An Iraqi MP preferred to remain anonymous told the newspaper that highly confidential negotiations took place by representatives from American oil companies, offering $5 million to each MP who votes in favor of the Oil and Gas law.
In his State of the Union, the President asked Congress for $300 million for poor kids in the inner city. As there are, officially, 15 million children in America living in poverty, how much is that per child? Correct! $20.
Here’s your second question. The President also demanded that Congress extend his tax cuts. The cost: $4.3 trillion over ten years. The big recipients are millionaires. And the number of millionaires happens, not coincidentally, to equal the number of poor kids, roughly 15 million of them. OK class: what is the cost of the tax cut per millionaire? That’s right, Richie, $287,000 apiece.
A pair of sociologists have produced a piece of research in which they claim that graduate engineers are statistically over-represented among jihadi terrorists. They go on to suggest that engineers have a “terrorist mindset” making them likelier to turn jihadi than other kinds of people.
What does the phased British withdrawal from Basra, begun in the fall, say about the viability of a broader withdrawal of forces from Iraq?
In part, the question is hard to answer: I have had difficulty locating reliable news stories written after December. If any readers care to pass on links, that would help a great deal. Of course, the lack of news in itself may be a good sign: if full-scale genocide or civil war had broken out in Basra, we would likely be hearing about it. On the other hand, one hopes that we would hear about astonishing success as well. The reality may be that the outcome is still mixed.
In November, the International Herald Tribune announced that violence had fallen to one tenth of its pre-withdrawal levels. As British forces prepared for their final pullout in December, however, fears of militia turf wars surfaced again, as well as reports that conditions for women were becoming more difficult in the city.
And then, I have to say again, the story drops off. Juan Cole covers some of the day to day news coming out of Basra, such as the recent killing of a tribal sheikh, but broader analysis of the present situation seems to be largely unavailable. Based on that, I would reiterate my initial speculation: that the situation is not a perfect success, but neither is it an unmitigated disaster. In fact, it may even be going well on the whole. At any rate, it seems that Basra has gone at least as well – if not better – than areas where US forces have “surged.”
“He who can lead you to believe an absurdity, can lead you to commit an atrocity.”
DENVER (AP) – Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters’ sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.
Audio gold: David Lee Roth’s vocal track from Runnin’ With the Devil, without benefit of, you know, music.
In an ideal world, this kind of thing would happen every day…
In a dramatic move earlier this evening, Terry Davis, the boss of Coca Cola’s Australian division, announced that the frequently maligned multinational would throw financial weight behind the battle for whale protection in the Australian seas off Antarctica.
Tasmanian brewer Bluetongue Beer was recently purchased by Coca Cola Amatil. During last year’s whaling season, the company donated $250,000 to Sea Shepherd, enabling the group to acquire and operate remote communications equipment, as well as airing the following commercial in Japan:
Richardson’s torn. He served in the Clinton White House, first as ambassador to the United Nations, then as Clinton’s Secretary of Energy. “I have a history with the Clintons,” Richardson said. “And I’ve always liked her. She always seems very genuine.” But Richardson considers Kennedy, who’s long been respected by Hispanics, as “a mentor.” In 1982, when Richardson ran for Congress for the second time — he lost two years before — Kennedy flew to Santa Fe and campaigned for him. “That might have been the reason I was elected,” Richardson said. And he said he likes Obama, telling a story about how Obama saved him during one of last year’s Democratic debates:
“I had just been asked a question — I don’t remember which one — and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn’t going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, ‘So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?’ But I wasn’t paying any attention! I was about to say, ‘Could you repeat the question? I wasn’t listening.’ But I wasn’t about to say I wasn’t listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, ‘Katrina. Katrina.’ The question was on Katrina! So I said, ‘On Katrina, my policy . . .’ Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, ‘Obama, that was good of you to do that.’”
Indeed. This says something about his character…
According to the latest biweekly numbers released last Thursday by the Federal Reserve, for the two weeks that ended January 16th American banks had negative $1.3 billion in non-borrowed reserves. This is, historically, extremely unusual; just two months ago they had $30 billion (positive, of course) in non-borrowed reserves. The only reason some banks haven’t been shut due to insufficient — negative! — reserve requirements is that the Federal Reserve is currently loaning them enough money through the brand new TAF (Term Auction Facility) program (also running in Canada and Europe) to make up their shortfalls. Today’s TAF press release says that 52 American banks or institutions are currently receiving loans totaling ~$40 billion — but the Fed refuses to name who they are. The banks’ collateral for these TAF loans are those same yucky hard-to-price CDO’s that caused the banks’ liquidity problems in the first place — and the Fed is purposely using outdated prices for the collateral to prevent their being marked-to-market and thus collapsing CDO prices and freezing matters even further. Not surprisingly, some economists see the creation of the TAF as a backdoor bailout of banks in trouble. But how much longer can this go on? [via]
Most Canadians are aware that the Internet and mobile phone networks have become major sources of music. What they may not know is that songwriters and performers typically receive no compensation of any kind when their music is shared or illegally downloaded.
We believe the time has come to put in place a reasonable and unobtrusive system of compensation for creators of music in regard to this popular and growing use of their work.
The plan we propose would not change or interfere with the way Canadians receive their music. No one would be sued for the online sharing of songs. On the contrary, the sharing of music on Peer-to-Peer networks and similar technologies would become perfectly legal. In addition, Music Publishers and Record Labels would be fairly compensated for the crucial role they play in supporting Canadian music creators.
Except downloading is legal in Canada. Fuckers. Anyway…
They propose a $5 levy per internet subscription per month. 2003 records show 6.7 million Canadian households with internet connections. That’s $400M per year, not even counting business and institutional net connections. Now apart from the fact that I’m not capable to name even ten canadian artists to divvy up that money, the total sales of the music industry were only $767M in 2005, compared to $942M in 2000(data also shows a slight decline from 1998 to 2000). And that’s gross sales, so it’s pretty safe to assume the levy would get them far, far more money than actually selling records would. Bastards.
Second: The syntax for Microsoft’s plans for yet another quirks mode switch in IE8 were announced. Basically they are offering authors the option to pick a specific set of bugs, defaulting to IE7′s. The idea is that with each new major IE version, they can decide to simply freeze their last set of bugs forever.
If Web authors actually use this feature, and if IE doesn’t keep losing market share, then eventually this will cause serious problems for IE’s competitors — instead of just having to contend with reverse-engineering IE’s quirks mode and making the specs compatible with IE’s standards mode, the other browser vendors are going to have to reverse engineer every major IE browser version, and end up implementing these same bug modes themselves. It might actually be quite an effective way of dramatically increasing the costs of entering or competing in the browser market. (This is what we call “anti-competitive”, or “evil”.)
This is an unbelievable statement from one of our top medical advisors. Heroin overdoses kill many people; there is a cheap rescue option, though, kits called Narcan that cost a mere $9.50 and allow people to save lives. The Bush administration opposes their distribution.
Dr. Bertha Madras, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, opposes the use of Narcan in overdose-rescue programs.
“First of all, I don’t agree with giving an opioid antidote to non-medical professionals. That’s No. 1,” she says. “I just don’t think that’s good public health policy.”
Madras says drug users aren’t likely to be competent to deal with an overdose emergency. More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn’t as likely.
Madras says the rescue programs might take away the drug user’s motivation to get into detoxification and drug treatment.
Hang on there…Bertha doesn’t like non-medical professionals having access to an antidote? Does she also tut-tut the availability of defibrillators in places where someone without a medical degree might use them to save a life?
And it just gets worse. She opposes saving lives because watching a friend go into delirium, spasm, turn blue, and die in front of you is a pretty good deterrent to drug use. Even better, if you turn blue and die you won’t be repeating your filthy drug habits ever again — the War on Drugs chalks up a win! We have a public health official advocating more deaths among victims of drug abuse as part of their compassionate approach to improving the health of our citizens.
The debate isn’t security versus privacy. It’s liberty versus control.
You can see it in comments by government officials: “Privacy no longer can mean anonymity,” says Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence. “Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information.” Did you catch that? You’re expected to give up control of your privacy to others, who — presumably — get to decide how much of it you deserve. That’s what loss of liberty looks like.
It should be no surprise that people choose security over privacy: 51 to 29 percent in a recent poll. Even if you don’t subscribe to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s obvious that security is more important. Security is vital to survival, not just of people but of every living thing. Privacy is unique to humans, but it’s a social need. It’s vital to personal dignity, to family life, to society — to what makes us uniquely human — but not to survival.
If you set up the false dichotomy, of course people will choose security over privacy — especially if you scare them first. But it’s still a false dichotomy. There is no security without privacy. And liberty requires both security and privacy. The famous quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin reads: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” It’s also true that those who would give up privacy for security are likely to end up with neither.
Last night, an anonymous tipster pointed us to this Austin Heap webpage that purportedly reveals the iPhone’s secret Application SDK key. Another tipster, also anonymous, then tipped me to iPhone “Elite” developer Zibri’s blog, that shows the same key. So what does this mean? Since all iPhone applications must be properly signed for iTunes to process them and for the iPhone to load them, this key suggests that hackers are closer to creating compliant IPA application bundles for home-brew iTunes distribution. With the proper key, developers can create and distribute applications that load through iTunes without Apple’s blessing.
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And it’ll probably change soon.