25 January 2010

Sounds Teleological To Me

Aliens are likely to look and behave like us. (Richard Alleyne, Telegraph.co.uk, 1/25/10)
Prof Conway Morris believes that extraterrestrial life is most likely to occur on a planet similar to our own, with organisms made from the same biochemicals. The process of evolution will even shape alien life in a similar way, he added.
“It is difficult to imagine evolution in alien planets operating in any manner other than Darwinian," he said.

"In the end the number of options is remarkably restrictive. I don't think an alien will be a blob. If aliens are out there they should have evolved just like us. They should have eyes and be walking on two legs.

"In short if there is any life out there then it is likely to be very similar to us."
Note that "Darwinian" here seems to mean "destined to produce symmetrical bipeds with heads."

24 January 2010


If you use Gmail, check your Spam folder. Gmail apparently changed its Spam filter a week or two ago and it's been catching more real emails than it used to.

23 January 2010

Epigramatically Yours

From a comment at BrothersJudd:

"Capitalism is simply what the left calls freedom, when it wants to curtail it."

13 January 2010


I was minding my own business last night, watching Fringe, when I noticed Charley in the background. That seemed somewhat odd, since Charlie had been killed last fall at the beginning of the season. I checked my cable listing, but it said that the episode was new in 2010.

Hmmm, something was up. An alt-universe story? Some sort of shape-changer Charlie (which would actually be the second shape-changer Charlie) coupled with a memory ray? Neither the characters nor the show seemed to be paying any attention to the dead walking -- although the story for the episode was about a girl who came back to life after being dead. Subtle, show, subtle.

I started to notice a nice shading to the characterizations. Walter seemed to have a harder edge and fewer tics than usual. He was more decisive and more confrontational. Olivia, on the other hand, seemed softer, more empathetic. Charley was more in the background than usual and his interactions with Olivia seemed cooler. Was that really Astrid's regular hair style, or was it bushier than it had been?

What could this all mean?

It didn't seem to be an alt-universe story, since Peter was there and Charley had no scar. The mind ray was still possible, but why wasn't the show suggesting any solution? I began to spin out ever more fantastic possibilities.

But when I looked on the internet, it turned out that Fox was just burning off an unaired episode from the first season.

12 January 2010

11 January 2010

The Environment Is Just Grist For Our Mill

There's not much I enjoy about the humorless earnestness of green culture, but one thing that I find quite entertaining is how it is being coopted by businesses in order to push costs onto consumers.

A few examples:

Hotels now try to guilt guests into reusing their towels, relieving the hotel of the cost of doing its laundry.

Supermarkets now sell reusable grocery bags, relieving them of the need to provide bags, paper or plastic, and making the shopper do the work of schlepping their bags to the store.

It's nice to see that, to a capitalist, Environmentalism is just another way of making money.

Do you have any other examples? I would think that employment would be a fertile ground for this sort of thing, but perhaps we're all too suspicious of our employers.

03 January 2010

Time To Start Watching Treasuries

10 year Treasuries seem to be heading towards 4% faster than expected (they touched 3.91% late last week). The yield curve is no longer inverted, for those who are about that, and, so far, interest costs for all that deficit spending we're doing are fairly cheap.

More Proof That Fascism Is Of The Left

If you can stomach it, you should go and read this Pat Buchanan column. Go ahead, I'll wait.

What I find really striking is not how silly it is (in 2000 the economy was booming, in 2010 we're just coming out of a recession: OH, WOE IS ME), but how, except for one paragraph and a hand-full of words, it could have just as easily be written by someone on the supposed left as by Buchanan, who has so long straddled the line between right and far-right.

Buchanan's is a sad story, though his functional anti-semitism prevents me from feeling too sorry for him. Working for Ronald Reagan, he was a force for good -- and for free trade. But he soon lost his soul in Washington, suffering the fate of those who take politics too seriously. He lost focus on where his path was taking him and lost sight of common sense some time ago.