iPad vs. Nokia n800

I have a solution for all the hipsters who want to buy an iPad (I was going to try and screw with that name to make it sound bad.. but then Apple had already done my work for me).

Buy a Nokia n800. On eBay. For about $100.

Nokia n800



400mhz processor, decent graphics

1ghz Tegra 2 from Nvidia. Good graphics and speed


256mb, with 2 SD card slots up to a 64gb total

16gb up to 64gb


resistive touch-screen LCD 4.1 inches 800×480 at 225 dpi

capacitive touch-screen LCD 9.7 inches 1024 x 768 at 132 dpi


0.5lbs in a form factor slightly larger than an iPhone etc. Also comes with large ugly bezel.

1.5 lbs, big square ugly thing with a huge bezel and no damn hope of going in any pocket


Maemo 2008, which means you have complete Linux style control over the device, everything on it, everything it is doing and there are no limits to the power you can wield.

iPhone OS 3.2, which means it looks great, feels great, and does nothing. No multitasking (one app at a time), no control over the OS, no control even over the files you save on your computer..


Tons of good apps for free developed by linux geeks. Including lots of great stuff like Skype for free calling. Plus, see below (psst – it has flash).

160,000 apps designed for the iPhone, plus iBooks – which lets you pay $15 for a eBook.. woo.. did I mention they are all controlled by Apple? No VOIP to be found here..

Browsing the intertubes

Mozilla (firefox) based browser which, OMG, handles flash. Real, full flash. You know, the one that runs facebook, your stock trading site, youtube, hulu, and every online game ever made, all gajillion of them – take that app store.

Really fast processor coupled with a really nice screen = good browsing. Until you run into something with flash. Or until you want to open an app. Which means you have to close the browser. Then when you want to look at that website which was loading over that crappy ATT 3g network you pay $30 a month for, it’s not there anymore. You closed it. Repeat cycle until iPad becomes iHurlThroughTheWindow


Wifi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0 high-speed (for things that don’t require USB power – it can’t handle those, so a powered hub is needed.)

Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, USB with special adapters (really? Why apple, why). Also 3G for $130 more up front and $30 a month on ATT.

Battery Life

Infinite. I kid, but a) it lasts for a long time (if my almost identical 770 is anything to go on) and it is user replaceable. I have two.

10 hrs, which is pretty good, but classic apple you cant get at the battery


640x480 VGA with video. Which is kind of dated these days.

None. Which is… stupid. Honestly, how much does camera hardware cost? $5? $10?

As an eBook

Mediocre. Can read any pdf etc, and if you set the screen right, not too bad. And, it travels well.

Mediocre. Nice bundled software, but books cost too much and it will be hard to take this anywhere.

Music and Movies

Decent. Media player could use some work, supports a bunch of formats, and simple load stuff up on SD cards and plug it in, whatever you want. Screen set up for widescreen, but is kinda small for movies (not bad though)

Very good, except the closed ecosystem thing. Still, this should be a very nice media player. Major gripe is the fact that it is 4:3. Remember what 4:3 was? It was your TV before you got that new widescreen. So yeah… Apple wants to party like is 1999


Resistive screen = mostly stylus, though I like the touchscreen keyboard. Because of the form factor, easy to hold and use as a thumbboard

Capacitive multitouch screen, should be decent to type on… but not a damn clue how you are meant to hold it and type on it at the same time… one handed I guess? Apple knows this and released a keyboard which attaches to the iPad and holds it up… so it becomes a laptop… which you can’t move around with… Navigation in classic Apple style should be a breeze, and very nice


Nokia n800

Maxi pad. I mean iPad..


$180 on Amazon, $100 used on eBay. Maybe throw in $20 for a couple 4gb sd cards..

$500 for wifi only 16gb, up to $830+$30/mo for 64gb 3G… in other words.. WTF




I dont really recommend that everyone goes out an buys a Nokia n800. My point is the iPad is overpriced for what it does, as it really does not do much and costs a lot. As for media players, I have 4 or 5, so music is taken care of. Movies I dont find myself watching on the go very often, though I could on my nokia, Palm Pre, iPod Video, or - wait for it - laptop. Because the only time I do is when I am on a plane, and on a plane a laptop is far better than a slab of Apple.

Long story short, this is not a revolutionary device. It is not an impressive device. In my opinion, it is not even a good device. Much as Apple claims it is, it is not an e-reader such as the Kindle, it has the wrong screen. It is a big iPod touch, or iPhone you cant call from.

In other words, all you really need to do to get an "iPad" on the cheap is this:

iPad = iJunk

The iPad was just released. Its costs a ton of money ($500-$830) and is just a big iPod Touch - or put another way, a big iPhone without the phone.

It will be a complete failure, except for the apple faithful no one will bother with this.

Reasons it pisses me off:

It runs one app at a time. This is barely acceptable in the iPhone and a big reason I love my Pre so much. On a "laptop replacement" this is just idiotic. When Microsoft announced that Windows 7 Starter for Netbooks would only run three apps at a time, there was an uproar and the limit was removed. Now, Apple says one app at a time for a similar product, and everyone thinks it will be revolutionary. One analyst in the NYT article actually said: "Microsoft tried this and failed, it took Apple to get it right." Get it right? It has not even been launched to customers yet, and I see this thing as a big heap o fail.

It is 4:3, not widescreen.
It is ugly looking and awkward.
It is called the iPad. Seriously, iPad. Not iSlate, iTablet, but iPad.
It runs just iPhone OS 3.2, nothing new here, just a big phone
It runs just one app at a time
It is nowhere near as good as a Kindle for reading books (LCD vs. e-ink, there is no comparison)
It cant run flash. No flash = no real modern internet. In about a month, my phone will run full flash, and this thing never will. The real reason why? Flash would break the monopoly of the app store and iTunes - you could just play games and listen to music like you would online with your laptop (...or Pre... =P)

And finally, and this where Apple has really lost touch with reality, it costs $500-$830!!! And, along with that, you are charged $30 a month if you get a data plan.

The perfect husband


Sketchy Ebay listing....

A bit of a dubious listing...

" There are some scratches and dings. Vehicle was purchased with no keys. It comes with new ignition switch with key, central bezel (the original is broken). It will need battery charged or jumped to be driven."

eBay Motors

Listed in category:

Item number:220543715426

1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2
1991 Nissan 300zx N/A non turbo cheap t-topResearch 1991 Nissan 300ZX

Time left:20h 9m 9s (Jan 27, 201008:14:12 PST)

Bid history:3 bids

Current bid:US $1,725.00

Now watching in My eBay (49 items)

Deposit of US $250.00 within 24 hours of auction close. Full payment required within 7 days of auction close.

Shipping:Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping.

Item Location:BRYN MAWR, PA, United States

For sale 1991 Nissan 300zx 2+2 non turbo N/A. It has 115999miles. It has T-TOPS, CD player. Vehicle runs and drives, shift and the clutch seems to be good. Vehicle is not inspected it needs exhaust from cat back. Originaly this car came from Florida so there is no rust. The paint is not original but looks ok. There are some scratches and dings. Vehicle was purchased with no keys. It comes with new ignition switch with key, central bezel (the original is broken). It will need battery charged or jumped to be driven. There are no aftermarket parts installed, great vehicle for parts, restoration, or just daily driver with a little bit of TLC.

I have the title signed over in my name, not transferred yet. Add 160$ to final price to get it transferred or buy for parts with no title.

It is for sale as it is with no warranty. Customer must pick up vehicle or arange shipping. Deposit is due within 24 hours after the end of auction.

If you have any questions or would like to see this car email me. Will respond promptly.

Stig Caught on Street View - at Loch Ness

No idea if this was set up between the BBC and Google, but it is friggin hilarious. The Stig has been captured on street view standing next to Loch Ness. Rarer than Nessie? Quite possibly.


Stig on Street View

Stig on Street View
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1245885/Never-mind-Nessie-Mysterious-Stig-captured-rare-sighting-banks-famous-loch.html#ixzz0djZ0XD8y

Fuel Efficiency

A train can move a ton of freight 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel. For your average large car/small SUV that means about 218mpg.


And compared to trucks? Dont even want to go there.

Want to save the environment (and costs, and lives), break the teamsters union and reorganize the way shipping is handled in this country.

GM's new Chief Employment Officer

Ed Whitacre has been named the new permanent CEO of GM, having served as temp CEO for a few months. I have it on good authority that he is a doofus.

This is not good.

A lot of GM top brass are heading for the exit signs. Heading for the exits is not a sign of success.

The main theme of the press conference? Full steam ahead.


How to effectively reduce carbon - courtesy of BP

Want to really reduce carbon emissions and help the environment? Listen
to BP:

In what was billed by the company as an important speech in Brussels,
Iain Conn, chief executive, Refining and Marketing, said that rather
than focusing on the long-term objective of halving carbon usage by
2050--an effort he called "polishing the diamond"--the EU should take
early material steps toward increasing energy efficiency and cutting
carbon usage.

In an interview beforehand, he said Europeans "should stop wringing our
hands" over what many in Europe saw as a disappointing outcome from the
Copenhagen talks in December. "We know so much about practical things we
can do today but we are not doing them. All this talk about polishing
the 2050 diamond is getting in the way of what we need to do today."

These practical policies would include emphasizing the importance of
natural gas in electricity generation, boosting nuclear-power generation
and reconsidering policies in the EU encouraging the use of diesel in
passenger cars.

Natural gas is about four times as efficient as coal, and plenty of
natural gas is available in the world because of new technologies that
allow it to be extracted from shale. Because of this, he said, the U.S.
has overtaken Russia as the world's largest natural gas producer.
Capital costs associated with building gas-fired power stations were
also lower than coal.

In the interview, he said European governments would have a "make or
buy" decision about nuclear power. Even if countries such as Germany
decided not to produce electricity from nuclear power stations they
would be buying it from countries that had them, such as France, the UK
and the Czech Republic.

The European bias to diesel in personal transport should be
reconsidered, he said. There were major gains to be had from advanced
gasoline engine technology. Combing this with hybrid technology,
starting with the recovery of braking energy, there was the potential
for nearly halving CO2 emissions per kilometer. "Importantly, this can
be delivered at a much lower incremental cost than a full battery
electric vehicle," he said.

"In the shorter term, it seems clear from our work that by far the most
effective pathway to lower carbon transport is through making existing
vehicle engines more efficient," he said.

The focus on diesel for cars in Europe also makes it harder to increase
the proportion of biofuels in the mix. Unlike gasoline that can be mixed
with ethanol, which he said could be relatively easily produced without
hurting food supplies, diesel would require blending with
"environmentally more problematic vegetable oils."

In the interview, he said Europe exports about a million barrels per day
of gasoline to the U.S. and imports the same amount of diesel, mostly
from Russia. Gearing up European refineries to produce more of the high
quality diesel required by engine manufacturers would, he said, be very

Conn called proposals for a border carbon tax that would impose tariffs
on imports from countries with a lower cost of carbon than Europe, "a
considerable mistake" that would lead to negative results such as trade
retaliation. Among the proponents of this is the French president,
Nicolas Sarkozy.

He also said the U.S. and EU should closely align energy
policies--without signing treaties--to keep the price of carbon broadly
in line, in part to avoid trade and other frictions arising from big
differences in the price of carbon. This would also provide an important
example to the rest of the world, he said.

- Now, in my opinion, the best thing that we could do is switch over to
a whole ton of nuclear and go from there. Our collective decision to not
use nuclear is on the same scale as the Roman's decision that the steam
engine is best used to freak people out opening temple doors. Anyway,
the point is that if you are really all about a "low-carbon" future you
are probably focusing on the wrong things. As usual there is a lot of
enthusiasm, a lot of idealism, and not so much thinking.

The Day ObamaCare Dies - Hilarious

Forwarded to the BoN from my little brother, this is fantastic:

Only in Russia: Stray dogs evolve, ride the subway

Dogs are damn smart.

This is the short version of the article, from Pop Sci. The long version, found here at the FT, is also worth the read.

A conclusion of the scientist, and one that I agree with, is this:
“I am not at all convinced that Moscow should be left without dogs. Given a correct relationship to dogs, they definitely do clean the city. They keep the population of rats down. Why should the city be a concrete desert? Why should we do away with strays who have always lived next to us?”

Long live the strays. Perhaps we should import some.

Moscow's Stray Dogs Evolving Greater Intelligence, Including a Mastery of the Subway

Waiting for the 8:10 To Tverskaya Maxim Marmur, via The Financial Times

For every 300 Muscovites, there's a stray dog wandering the streets of Russia's capital. And according to Andrei Poyarkov, a researcher at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the fierce pressure of urban living has driven the dogs to evolve wolf-like traits, increased intelligence, and even the ability to navigate the subway.

Poyarkov has studied the dogs, which number about 35,000, for the last 30 years. Over that time, he observed the stray dog population lose the spotted coats, wagging tails, and friendliness that separate dogs from wolves, while at the same time evolving social structures and behaviors optimized to four ecological niches occupied by what Poyarkov calls guard dogs, scavengers, wild dogs, and beggars.

The guard dogs follow around, and receive food from, the security personnel at Moscow's many fenced in sites. They think the guards are their masters, and serve as semi-feral assistants. The scavengers roam the city eating garbage. The wild dogs are the most wolf-like, hunting mice, rats, and cats under the cover of night.

But beggar dogs have evolved the most specialized behavior. Relying on scraps of food from commuters, the beggar dogs can not only recognize which humans are most likely to give them something to eat, but have evolved to ride the subway. Using scents, and the ability to recognize the train conductor's names for different stops, they incorporate many stations into their territories.

Additionally, Poyarkov says the pack structure of the beggars reflects a reliance on brain over brawn for survival. In the beggar packs, the smartest dog, not the most physically dominant, occupies the alpha male position.

The evolution of Moscow's stray dogs has been going on since at least the mid-1800s, when Russian writers first mentioned the stray dog problem in the city. And that evolution has been propelled by deadly selective pressure. Most of the strays arrive on the streets as rejected house pets. Of those dogs kicked out of their homes, Poyarkov estimates fewer than 3 percent live long enough to breed. To survive those odds, a dog really does have to be the fittest.

The Manchurian Candidate

What if companies could influence national policy?

Wait a sec. They already do.

What if said companies were big evil corporations set on bending the political system in order to achieve their own aims: in other words, in the eyes of many Americans, they are companies.

We would have a disaster. US policy would be influenced by the largest, most effective, most efficient organizations in the world. Horror of horrors, this could lead to increased US productivity, decreased regulatory burden, and a more competitive US economy leading to much better lives for the people of the US.

And yet, on its face so many American's on both sides are against the Supreme Court ruling which allows companies to speak publicly on in defense of their first amendment rights. Companies that create jobs and drive the economy. I read an article about how some people are getting by with new innovative ideas like funky ice cream trucks or 5cent architecture, and thats all well and good, but does not account for the tens to hundreds of thousands of jobs a successful big company creates.

So fergodssake, let the companies have their say. They are at least operating with some sort of logic--capitalism--rather than the short-term narrow-minded garbage we usually see.

Norm's Morning Rant

Fuck you Lady Pelosi Macbeth:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the message from Massachusetts voters isn't to drop health care, but to move forward with their considerations in mind."

Luckily, even her own party is realizing she is a twisted manipulating lying out-of-touch liberal elitist scheming crown-desiring flesh-eating staff infection.

Well perhaps they dont see the full picture, but they are getting there.

Even His Lord Highness Obama figured out that they might be on the wrong tack, and started to talk about a second option and a massively scaled back bill "focused on cost containment." Now, there is no such thing as a layer of regulation which reduces costs, but perhaps by "containment" he means it will all be billed to the government, which can then use Enron accounting to hide it? Not sure.

Regardless, it is time for the Democrats, if they know what is best, to throw Pelosi and her lackey Reid to the wolves. Of course, this is would be too bad for Republicans, because Pelosi is about as in touch with the American electorate as the Olsen twins are with a double glazed chocolate doughnut.

On a final note: everyone is always making fun of Palin. As they should. She is as bright as she is blond. She is also a disaster for the Republican party just at a time when it needs to move to the middle (hence Brown getting elected in MA) and needs to move away from what got Bush into office (Rove tactics of setting up abortion referendums etc). But why is no one making fun of Howard Dean? He is on TV almost as much as Palin, and he says some really freaking stupid things:
"I'm a metrosexual."

"I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called." --urging President Bush to make public Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers's White House records

"The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong."

"This president is not interested in being a good president. He's interested in some complicated psychological situation that he has with his father."

"Now that we're on dog pee, we can have an interesting conversation about that. I do not recommend drinking urine…but if you drink water straight from the river, you have a greater chance of getting an infection than you do if you drink urine." —teaching an eight-grade science class in La Crosse, Wisconsin

And my personal favorite:
"You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever and get home and still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well Republicans, I guess can do that. Because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives."

Decent car quiz


Obama's Plan: Fail

Obama's plan to deal with the utter failure of his socialist/populist agenda? More socialism, more populism.

Due to the failure in Ma, the plan now is to go after Wall Street with socialist bazooka loaded up with bullshit. Yes, big banks had something to do with the recession - but where did it start? The government entitlement programs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Today, for the first time in a year in a half, I no longer feel like I screaming into a void. Dealing with certain individuals who are now coming to see the disaster that is the Obama administration I feel like Morpheus trying to show people the real world.

Thomas Jefferson

'It is to me a new and consolatory proof that wherever the people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights."

—Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, January 8, 1789.

Massachusetts Blocks Socialist Agenda

I just wanted to write that headline. I want to write it over and over again. A few key observations:

1) Mass still loves Ted Kennedy, but they feel Obama is going the wrong direction - this much is obvious

2) Mass is the only state to have universal healthcare. And it just voted against a similar national bill. It has been a disaster here, it will be a disaster nationally.

3) It looks like cooler heads might prevail with Dem moderates calling this a referendum on the administration - which it was - rather than the party line that it has nothing to do with national politics (which is plain idiotic).

4) Dems will try and get Snowe from Maine to vote for healthcare - maybe another cornhusker buyout?

5) Today is the 1st anniversary of Obama's inauguration. HHAHAHHAHAH WOOOT WOOOT HELLLLL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some well written tidbits:

"Mr. Obama won the White House in part on his personal style and cool confidence amid a recession and an unpopular war. Yet liberals in Congress interpreted their victory as a mandate to repeal more or less the entire post-1980 policy era and to fulfill, at last, their dream of turning the U.S. into a cradle-to-grave entitlement state."

"Twelve months later, Mr. Obama's approval rating has fallen further and faster than any recent President's, Congress is despised, the public mood has shifted sharply to the right on the role of government, and a Republican picked up a Senate seat in a state with no GOP Members of Congress and that Mr. Obama carried by 26 points"


A Biologist's Take on Avatar

Worth a quick read, but this is the gist of it:

"What is sort of funny for me is that I spent much of the last six years working on a book about exactly this, about how inside of all humans there is a deep desire and ability to really see life, to see order among living things, and about the joy that comes with it. So at the end of “Naming Nature” (W. W. Norton, 2009), I make a plea to readers to go out into the world and see the life and find the order in the living world around them. I may have to amend the paperback to suggest, or you may want to begin by, heading into a darkened room to see “Avatar” and have your mind blown."


How much football is played in a football game?

Turns out to be 11 minutes or so. In other words, very little. This is one of my biggest problems with american football (and baseball) - there is not a lot of game going on.

full article here:

To me, the next step is simple: someone needs to record the broadcast, edit it down to the actual game, and put it up on bittorrent. How amazing would that be? An entire and completely badass football game that takes only 11 minutes. I could watch it in the morning, while I brushed my teeth and ate my honey nut cheerios. It would be the best thing for football since they decided to make the ball pointy.

Short on time, but this is a must read:

The Wall Street Journal

Don't Like the Numbers? Change 'Em

If a CEO issued the kind of distorted figures put out by politicians and scientists, he'd wind up in prison.

Politicians and scientists who don't like what their data show lately have simply taken to changing the numbers. They believe that their end—socialism, global climate regulation, health-care legislation, repudiating debt commitments, la gloire française—justifies throwing out even minimum standards of accuracy. It appears that no numbers are immune: not GDP, not inflation, not budget, not job or cost estimates, and certainly not temperature. A CEO or CFO issuing such massaged numbers would land in jail.

The late economist Paul Samuelson called the national income accounts that measure real GDP and inflation "one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century." Yet politicians from Europe to South America are now clamoring for alternatives that make them look better.

A commission appointed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggests heavily weighting "stability" indicators such as "security" and "equality" when calculating GDP. And voilà!—France outperforms the U.S., despite the fact that its per capita income is 30% lower. Nobel laureate Ed Prescott called this disparity the difference between "prosperity and depression" in a 2002 paper—and attributed it entirely to France's higher taxes.

With Venezuela in recession by conventional GDP measures, President Hugo Chávez declared the GDP to be a capitalist plot. He wants a new, socialist-friendly way to measure the economy. Maybe East Germans were better off than their cousins in the West when the Berlin Wall fell; starving North Koreans are really better off than their relatives in South Korea; the 300 million Chinese lifted out of abject poverty in the last three decades were better off under Mao; and all those Cubans risking their lives fleeing to Florida on dinky boats are loco.

Chad Crowe

There is historical precedent for a "socialist GDP." When President George H.W. Bush sent me to help Mikhail Gorbachev with economic reform, I found out that the Soviet statistics office kept two sets of books: those they published, and those they actually believed (plus another for Stalin when he was alive).

In Argentina, President Néstor Kirchner didn't like the political and budget hits from high inflation. After a politicized personnel purge in 2002, he changed the inflation measures. Conveniently, the new numbers showed lower inflation and therefore lower interest payments on the government's inflation-linked bonds. Investor and public confidence in the objectivity of the inflation statistics evaporated. His wife and successor Cristina Kirchner is now trying to grab the central bank's reserves to pay for the country's debt.

America has not been immune from this dangerous numbers game. Every president is guilty of spinning unpleasant statistics. President Richard Nixon even thought there was a conspiracy against him at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But President Barack Obama has taken it to a new level. His laudable attempt at transparency in counting the number of jobs "created or saved" by the stimulus bill has degenerated into farce and was just junked this week.

The administration has introduced the new notion of "jobs saved" to take credit where none was ever taken before. It seems continually to confuse gross and net numbers. For example, it misses the jobs lost or diverted by the fiscal stimulus. And along with the congressional leadership it hypes the number of "green jobs" likely to be created from the explosion of spending, subsidies, loans and mandates, while ignoring the job losses caused by its taxes, debt, regulations and diktats.

The president and his advisers—their credibility already reeling from exaggeration (the stimulus bill will limit unemployment to 8%) and reneged campaign promises (we'll go through the budget "line-by-line")—consistently imply that their new proposed regulation is a free lunch. When the radical attempt to regulate energy and the environment with the deeply flawed cap-and-trade bill is confronted with economic reality, instead of honestly debating the trade-offs they confidently pronounce that it boosts the economy. They refuse to admit that it simply boosts favored sectors and firms at the expense of everyone else.

Rabid environmentalists have descended into a separate reality where only green counts. It's gotten so bad that the head of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, announced this past fall that costly new carbon regulations would boost the economy shortly after she was told by eight of the state's most respected economists that they were certain these new rules would damage the economy. The next day, her own economic consultant, Harvard's Robert Stavis, denounced her statement as a blatant distortion.

Scientists are expected to make sure their findings are replicable, to make the data available, and to encourage the search for new theories and data that may overturn the current consensus. This is what Galileo, Darwin and Einstein—among the most celebrated scientists of all time—did. But some climate researchers, most notably at the University of East Anglia, attempted to hide or delete temperature data when that data didn't show recent rapid warming. They quietly suppressed and replaced the numbers, and then attempted to squelch publication of studies coming to different conclusions.

The Obama administration claims a dubious "Keynesian" multiplier of 1.5 to feed the Democrats' thirst for big spending. The administration's idea is that virtually all their spending creates jobs for unemployed people and that additional rounds of spending create still more—raising income by $1.50 for each dollar of government spending. Economists differ on such multipliers, with many leading figures pegging them at well under 1.0 as the government spending in part replaces private spending and jobs. But all agree that every dollar of spending requires a present value of a dollar of future taxes, which distorts decisions to work, save, and invest and raises the cost of the dollar of spending to well over a dollar. Thus, only spending with large societal benefits is justified, a criterion unlikely to be met by much current spending (perusing the projects on recovery.gov doesn't inspire confidence).

Even more blatant is the numbers game being used to justify health-insurance reform legislation, which claims to greatly expand coverage, decrease health-insurance costs, and reduce the deficit. That magic flows easily from counting 10 years of dubious Medicare "savings" and tax hikes, but only six years of spending; assuming large cuts in doctor reimbursements that later will be cancelled; and making the states (other than Sen. Ben Nelson's Nebraska) pay a big share of the cost by expanding Medicaid eligibility. The Medicare "savings" and payroll tax hikes are counted twice—first to help pay for expanded coverage, and then to claim to extend the life of Medicare.

One piece of good news: The public isn't believing much of this out-of-control spin. Large majorities believe the health-care legislation will raise their insurance costs and increase the budget deficit. Most Americans are highly skeptical of the claims of climate extremists. And they have a more realistic reaction to the extraordinary deterioration in our public finances than do the president and Congress.

As a society and as individuals, we need to make difficult, even wrenching choices, often with grave consequences. To base those decisions on highly misleading, biased, and even manufactured numbers is not just wrong, but dangerous.

Squandering their credibility with these numbers games will only make it more difficult for our elected leaders to enlist support for difficult decisions from a public increasingly inclined to disbelieve them.

Mr. Boskin is a professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush.

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Giant Space Gun. Not kidding.

This is something that has intrigued me for a while. The gradual acceleration of rockets is necessary so that soft bodied humans can make it into space - but why is it needed for hunks of metal and tanks of gas? Space elevators make some sense, but in terms of actually getting things up there on the cheap, I am a firm believer in the following or related projects: shoot them up there with a gun.

Its basic technology scaled up to size James Cameron. And I think it has very strong potential to eventually offer cheap and reliable payload access to space.

Think about it this way: in combat you use cruise missiles to take out the most critical, sensitive, and difficult targets. But for general fire suppression, weakening enemy positions and protracted engagements, you used dumb old artillery. Our approach to space right now is all cruise missiles, no arty. And its damned expensive and that is holding us back from taking over space. Bring on the big guns.

A Cannon for Shooting Supplies into Space

A giant cannon designed to blast supplies into space on the cheap

How the Space Cannon Works John MacNeill

John Hunter wants to shoot stuff into space with a 3,600-foot gun. And he’s dead serious—he’s done the math. Making deliveries to an orbital outpost on a rocket costs $5,000 per pound, but using a space gun would cost just $250 per pound.

Building colossal guns has been Hunter’s pet project since 1992, when, while a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he first fired a 425-foot gun he built to test-launch hypersonic engines. Its methane-driven piston compressed hydrogen gas, which then expanded up the barrel to shoot a projectile. Mechanical firing can fail, however, so when Hunter’s company, Quicklaunch, released its plans last fall, it swapped the piston for a combustor that burns natural gas. Heat the hydrogen in a confined space and it should build up enough pressure to send a half-ton payload into the sky at 13,000 mph.

Hunter wants to operate the gun, the “Quicklauncher,” in the ocean near the equator, where the Earth’s fast rotation will help slingshot objects into space. A floating cannon—dipping 1,600 feet below sea level and steadied by a ballast system—would let operators swivel it for different orbits. Next month, Hunter will test a functional, 10-foot prototype in a water tank. He says a full-size launcher could be ready in seven years, provided the company can round up the $500 million. Despite the upfront cost, Hunter says he has drawn interest from investors because his reusable gun saves so much cash in the long haul. Just don’t ever expect a ride in the thing: The gun produces 5,000 Gs, so it’s only for fuel tanks and ruggedized satellites. “A person shot out of it would probably get compressed to half their size,” Hunter says. “It’d be over real quick.”

How to Shoot Stuff into Space

The gun combusts natural gas in a heat exchanger within a
chamber of hydrogen gas, heating the hydrogen to 2,600˚F and causing a 500 percent increase in pressure.

Operators open the valve, and the hot, pressurized hydrogen quickly expands down the tube, pushing the payload forward.

After speeding down the 3,300-foot-long barrel, the projectile shoots out of the gun at 13,000 mph. An iris at the end of the gun closes, capturing the hydrogen gas to use again.

Why Google is really pulling out of China

Because their servers are getting attacked by the Chinese government - not exactly something I would be happy about either:

VeriSign's iDefense security lab has published a report with technical details about the recent cyberattack that hit Google and over 30 other companies. The iDefense researchers traced the attack back to its origin and also identified the command-and-control servers that were used to manage the malware.

The cyber-assault came to light on Tuesday when Google disclosed to the public that the GMail Web service was targeted in a highly-organized attack in late December. Google said that the intrusion attempt originated from China and was executed with the goal of obtaining information about political dissidents, but the company declined to speculate about the identity of the perpetrator.

Citing sources in the defense contracting and intelligence consulting community, the iDefense report unambiguously declares that the Chinese government was, in fact, behind the effort. The report also says that the malicious code was deployed in PDF files that were crafted to exploit a vulnerability in Adobe's software.

"The source IPs and drop server of the attack correspond to a single foreign entity consisting either of agents of the Chinese state or proxies thereof," the report says.

The researchers have determined that there are significant similarities between the recent attack and a seemingly related one that was carried out in July against a large number of US companies. Both attacks were apparently managed through the same command-and-control servers.

"The servers used in both attacks employ the HomeLinux DynamicDNS provider, and both are currently pointing to IP addresses owned by Linode, a US-based company that offers Virtual Private Server hosting. The IP addresses in question are within the same subnet, and they are six IP addresses apart from each other," the report says. "Considering this proximity, it is possible that the two attacks are one and the same, and that the organizations targeted in the Silicon Valley attacks have been compromised since July."

If the report's findings are correct, it suggest that the government of China has been engaged for months in a massive campaign of industrial espionage against US companies.