Archive for April, 2004

100,000 servers

Some technical details of Google’s infrastructure that made me drool all over the keyboard: The Secret Source of Google’s Power. Also see this PDF on the Google File System.

Bush: Moral Retard

A controversial college professor who thinks parents should be able to kill disabled children says though President Bush makes himself out to be a good Christian leader, he has the moral development of a 13-year-old boy.

A truly Christian leader, he said, would have “turned the other cheek” when the United States was attacked by terrorists Sept. 11, 2001, because the response led to the loss of innocent life.

I presume no explanation is needed for my readers to see the irony of his argument…

Church of Fools

Slashdot: Starting on May 11, and for a duration of three months, you’ll be able to go to a virtual church…This experiment is launched by a Christian website, Ship of Fools, and will be named Church of Fools. Even with such a foolish name, the virtual church project has been approved by the church hierarchy.

Appropriate, eh? I wonder: does showing pop-up ads during services defile it?

no smoking in norway

The Agitator:

Norway is the latest European police state country to go fjord-to-fjord smoke free, though with an interesting twist. Apparently, bar and restaurant owners are subject to fines if their patrons are caught smoking, but same owners do not have the authority to eject patrons for lighting up. And patrons themselves can’t be punished for smoking in public.

Another arch-terrorist – dead.

A great day for freedom: Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the new leader of Hamas was taken out yesterday by the IDF. Just a few weeks ago, he proclaimed his love for death and said that “If by Apache or by cardiac arrest, I prefer Apache.” Looks like he got his wish! Rantisi is estimated to have personally planned terrorist attacks that killed upwards of 400 and is “one of the most hard-line members of the militant movement who rejects all compromise with Israel and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.” The “international community” has been quick to condemn the killing, and the terrorists are urging bloody vengeance on Israel – and America. Meanwhile, as death-happy as they claim to be, Hamas has not announced a new leader or retaliated for the assassination of their last two – demonstrating once again that the only thing these sick bastards understand is ruthless, uncompromising, and unrelenting force.

‘New reality’ for Palestinians


Palestinian refugees can go to Palestine when the new state is created, he said; Israel is a Jewish state. The major Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are facts on the ground and cannot be wished away. The separation barrier Israel is building between its population centers and those of the Palestinians is OK, as long as it’s not forever.

And by the way, Bush added, Sharon — the Israeli whom Palestinians love to hate more than any other — is a bold and capable leader, one whose courage they should emulate.

If it wasn’t the Palestinian leadership’s worst nightmare, it was pretty close.

It is great to see such a firm statement of support by Bush, whose administration has a tendency of expressing their “disapproval” whenever Israel takes out terrorists. (Other than the fact that Israel should not be a secular, not a religious or ethnic state.) The PLO, meanwhile demonstrates its dependence on threatened and actual terrorism for its very existence:

After a morning meeting in Ramallah, they condemned Sharon’s proposal to withdraw all Jewish settlements and some military installations from the Gaza Strip as an attempt to turn Gaza into “a big prison.”

They also threatened to cancel all their “commitments in the signed accords,” an apparent reference to Bush’s internationally-endorsed “road map” to Mideast peace, in which they committed to repress terrorist organizations and stop incitement against Israel.

While “a big prison” may be just what is needed, Israel’s current move is an attempt de-engage the Palestinians. Since the PLO’s political and economic power is firmly tied to inciting terrorism against Israel, a successful isolation would spell the end of their dictatorship. Fortunately for them, a wall is not sufficient to stop terrorists – and fortunately for Israel, Sharon is well aware of that.

Objectivist Academic Center Accepting Applications – Deadline April 26


The Ayn Rand Institute’s Objectivist Academic Center (OAC) is now accepting applications to its undergraduate program for the fall. The April 26 deadline is quickly approaching. So, if you are interested in applying go to and complete the online application form.

The OAC’s program is a systematic course of study designed to give aspiring intellectuals a thorough grounding in the essentials of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. It is meant to supplement a standard college education. OAC students are enrolled in only one or two courses per semester. Each course includes graded assignments and exams, and some include one-on-one tutorials with the professor. Classes are Web-based. Therefore, it is possible to attend from anywhere in the world.

For more information, visit the Web site or send questions to: [email protected] .

Cuba’s Forgotten Prisoners

The New York Sun:

The 41-year-old man sits in a filthy 18-by-24-foot cell that he shares with 10 other prisoners. He knows he is fortunate because up to 18 men are routinely squeezed in cells of that size…. The water is rationed and the little that is available is contaminated. His food rations are meager and substandard. He suffers from chronic gastrointestinal conditions, which have worsened since his imprisonment. He now suffers from parasites, high cholesterol, hypertension, and has lost 20 pounds.

Jorge Olivera Castillo is one of the 300 political prisoners inside Cuba’s jails, yet the world seems blind to their plight.

There is no international outcry about his living conditions.

No visits from the International Red Cross since 1989.

No congressional delegations or pop-ins from Greek Orthodox patriarchs or Robert Redford, Sean Penn,
Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, or Harry Belafonte.

Nor–even though he is black–any support from the NAACP, whose leader Kweise Mfume visited Cuba in 2002 on a “goodwill mission.”

There is no outcry from the National Writer’s Union, whose pet prisoner is Mumia Abul Jamal.

Mr. Olivera was arrested on March 18, 2003, during Cuba’s greatest crackdown on independent journalists and dissidents, when 75 persons were arrested. This occurred the day after the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights convened in Geneva….

Cuba denies that it holds any prisoners of conscience and says that all inmates described as political prisoners are merely common criminals.

(From Dollar$ and Crosses)

“brink of nuclear war”

North Korea claims that it’s at the “brink of nuclear war” with the U.S. All I have to say is.. I wish!
(From Cox & Forkum)


If you live anywhere near Bryan/College Station (East Texas), you may be interested in coming to this talk next Wednesday: