Monthly Archives: May 2004

RSS Newsreader

After years of browsing dozens of blogs daily, I finally got an RSS newsreader – RSS Bandit. It’s a free C# project, so I can hack (and perhaps contribute to) the code. It has a nice tabbed reading pane, auto-locates feeds from a website’s URL, allows me to comment right from the reader, and will upload my subscriptions to my website so that I can sync between different computers.

With the newsreader, I can rapidly skim 400+ news sources daily, from the New York Times, to the Drudge Report, to the ObjectivismOnline forum. I’ve added an OPML export of my subscriptions to my site, along with the 12 other feeds on my syndication page . Isn’t technology great?

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New Objectivism Wiki

I have created an Objectivism Wiki at http://wiki.objectivismonline.com

The Wiki will be a “hierarchical, user-contributed reference on the philosophy of Objectivism.” My goal is to make it the #1 reference on Objectivism on the Net. I am inviting everyone to contribute content. Anyone can add any content you want, edit any page, and instantly see the updated, “live” results.
More info at the forum.

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One Islamist dictatorship tests nuke missile – who’s next?

Pakistan has tested a nuclear-capable missile with a 1500 mile range. I wonder where it will “accidentally” export the technology next – Libya, Iran, North Korea, or all of the above? Hint: “Some experts say the Ghauri missile was developed with North Korean help in return for nuclear know-how.”

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While some protest “over-priced” gas, Minnesota is cracking down on stations that sell “underpriced” gas. When will people learn that prices cannot be set by decree, public opinion and not even chain letter?
(Hat tip: Tim)

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CA's war on Gmail

California’s Senate voted 24-8 today to pass a bill restricting how Google’s ad-based Gmail service can serve up ads. The commie bastards responsible for this atrocity have a taxpayer-funded staff to take care of their taxpayer-funded email accounts, while Google works hard to allow millions of people to get access to a free and technologically innovative email account. Well, I am going to make Senator Figueroa’s attack on America a bit harder by emailing the CA senators from my Gmail account. (Assembly emails are here.) Feel free to send the letter below…or anything else that will help them appreciate the value of email.
Continue reading “CA's war on Gmail” »

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An experiment in capitalism in North Korea? Or a desperate attempt by the regime to retain power? More likely the former, but it’s also evidence of the global recognition of the wealth-creating power of markets.

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The Sword of Spitzer

Nicholas Thompson of the New York Sun describes the powers granted the New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer by the 1921-era Martin Act:

The purpose of the 1921 Martin Act is to arm the New York attorney general to combat financial fraud. It empowers him to subpoena any document he wants from anyone doing business in the state; to keep an investigation totally secret or to make it totally public; and to choose between filing civil or criminal charges whenever he wants.
People called in for questioning during Martin Act investigations do not have a right to counsel or a right against self-incrimination. Combined, the act’s powers exceed those given any regulator in any other state.
Now for the scary part: To win a case, the AG doesn’t have to prove that the defendant intended to defraud anyone, that a transaction took place, or that anyone actually was defrauded. Plus, when the prosecution is over, trial lawyers can gain access to the hordes of documents that the act has churned up and use them as the basis for civil suits.
“It’s the legal equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction,” said a lawyer at a major New York firm who represents defendants in Martin Act cases (and who didn’t want his name used because he feared retribution from Mr. Spitzer). “The damage that can be done under the statute is unlimited.”
Mr. Spitzer and his allies, of course, see the law the opposite way, lauding its unlimited capacity for good.

The purpose of government is not to “do good” of course, but to prevent (and punish) evil. The problem with unlimited power to “do good” is that it always leads to tyranny, no matter how noble the motives.
More commentary at the Agitator. Hat tip: CapMag.

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New Website Design

What do you think of the new design? I’m still getting the bugs out, so I’ve left the previous version up. Many thanks to Alex King for all the great plugins and the new theme! The pure-CSS tabs come from Kalsey Consulting.

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Holy Bazookas!

When I logged on to my Gmail account today, I saw this: “You are currently using 0 MB (0%) of your 1000000 MB.” That’s ONE TERABYTE of space! Apparently, I’m not the only one in for a shocker.

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Books in print double in a decade

According to USA Today, the number of books in print more than doubled from 1993 to 2003. While part of the trend is due to economic growth, I think a major part of the trend is due to the Internet and the ease with which new authors can promote and research their ideas. The music industry would do well to take note of the Internet’s potential as a promotion and distribution medium rather than a threat.

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