53 Brentwood Blog

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What has happened?

What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists -- their threats more than their sensibilities. One did not see Catholics claiming the right to mayhem in the wake of the republished depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in cow dung, any more than one saw a rejuvenated Jewish Defense League take to the street or blow up an office when Ariel Sharon was depicted as Hitler or when the Israeli army was depicted as murdering the baby Jesus.

So far as we can tell, a new, twin policy from the mainstream media has been promulgated: (a) If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a story or caricature, the press will refrain from printing that story or caricature, and (b) if the group is pandered to by the mainstream media, the media then will go through elaborate contortions and defenses to justify its abdication of duty. At bottom, this is an unacceptable form of not-so-benign bigotry, representing a higher expectation from Christians and Jews than from Muslims.

When we were attacked on Sept. 11, we knew the main reason for the attack was that Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, our freedoms. What we never imagined was that the free press -- an institution at the heart of those virtues and freedoms -- would be among the first to surrender.

By William J. Bennett and Alan M. Dershowitz
Thursday, February 23, 2006;
© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Everyone is making jokes about the Dick 'Head' Cheney accident. (David Letterman's Top 10 list was devoted to "Dick Cheney's excuses," which included that he "thought the guy was trying to go gay cowboy on me." )

On the other hand, what Cheney said about the accident doesn't make sense to me.

"The image of him falling is something I will never be able to get out of my mind," Cheney said. "I fired, and there's Harry falling. And it was, I'd have to say, one of the worst days of my life, at that moment."

I mean, you look at the spot you're shooting, so if you see the guy falling, you must have seen also the guy standing up, no? Unless you are shooting to a tree and the guy was hiding on the tree...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

This is science too....

High-quality male field crickets invest heavily in sexual display but die young.

Only high-quality males can bear the costs of an extreme sexual display. As a consequence, such males are not only more attractive, but they often live longer than average. Recent theory predicts, however, that high-quality males should sometimes invest so heavily in sexual displays that they die sooner than lower quality males. We manipulated the phenotypic quality of field crickets, Teleogryllus commodus, by altering the protein content of their diet. Here we show that nymphs and adult females reared on a high-protein diet lived longer than those on a low-protein diet. In contrast, adult males reared on a high-protein diet died sooner than those on low-protein diets because they invested more energy in calling during early adulthood. Our findings uphold the theoretical prediction that the relationship between longevity and sexual advertisement may be dynamic (that is, either positive or negative), depending on local conditions such as resource availability. Moreover, they caution the use of longevity as a proxy for fitness in sexual selection studies, and suggest avenues for future research on the relationship between sexual attractiveness and ageing.

Nature. 2004 Dec 23;432(7020):1024-7.
Hunt J, Brooks R, Jennions MD, Smith MJ, Bentsen CL, Bussiere LF.
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, 2052, Australia.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Interesting; I think more scientists should steal ideas from comics, we could all have much more fun!

Yesterday, I read this in a cafe':

In walking, just walk.
In sitting, just sit.
Above all, don't wobble.

It is, of course, from some Chinese Zen master.