Patterico's Pontifications

1/29/2011

An Army of Davids Reports for Duty in Egypt

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:34 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

I don’t think I will follow, blow for blow, what is happening in Egypt. Let’s hope that when the dust settles, we will see freedom reign.  And this is certainly a hopeful sign.  As fires and rioting spread, it was sadly predictable that there would be a concern that their national treasure of ancient Egyptian artifacts would be endangered.  Which is why I like this story so much:

EGYPT’S MILITARY SECURES FAMED ANTIQUITIES MUSEUM

To prevent looters from getting inside, citizens form a human chain around the home of King Tut’s gold mask

The Egyptian army secured Cairo’s famed antiquities museum early Saturday, protecting treasures including the famed gold mask of King Tutankhamun from looters.

The greatest threat to the Egyptian Museum first appeared to come from the fire enguling the ruling party headquarters next door on Friday night as anti-government protests roiled the country.

Then dozens of would-be thieves started entering the grounds surrounding the museum.

Suddenly other young men — some armed with truncheons taken from the police — formed a human chain outside the main gates on Tahrir Square in an attempt to protect the collection inside.

“I’m standing here to defend and to protect our national treasure,” said one of the men, Farid Saad, a 40-year-old engineer.

Another man, 26-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim, said it was important to guard the museum because it “has 5,000 years of our history. If they steal it, we’ll never find it again.”

Good for them.  And read the whole thing, if you are so inclined.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

1/28/2011

Open Source: Egyptian Riots

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:09 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: Mubarak asks his cabinet to resign. Yeah, that will solve it.

I am going to be honest, I have no idea what to make of what is happening in Egypt.  Of course as a general principle I am opposed to all dictators.  But are the rebels seeking freedom?  Will they follow the Iraq model when the dust settles, or the Iran model?

Only time can tell.  I guess I have to support the protesters.  Sic semper tyrannis and all that (it is the state motto, after all).  [UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I guess we have a difference of opinion on that, as the protestors are Islamists. As I understand it, they would end the quasi-peace with Israel and allow weapons to be smuggled into Gaza. So I have to disagree with Aaron here.] Still here are a ton of links on what is going on.  I am sure there are much, much more.  And please, post any links you like in the comments.

With Muslim Brotherhood Set to Join Egypt Protests, Religion’s Role May Grow.

Egypt sicks the military on its citizens. Rueters covers.  So does the AP/Al JazeeraPeople cheer… the armyAl Arabiya says some police removed uniforms and joined protesters.

Video of violence in Egypt.

Cell phone service cut off.  (Would be terrorists are safe from splodyspam, I guess.)

Internet cut off.  (Mmm, you would tend to think they would at least give them access to porn and gaming sites, to keep them, ahem, occupied.)

Via Hot Air: Gibbs struggles to say nothing.  And big announcement coming?  Also generalized thread on the events.

Like I said, I have no clear idea what the heck is happening.  We might be about to see a revolution and in a good way, hopefully as bloodless a revolution as possible.

And exit question.  This seems to have spread from Tunisia.  Is there any chance of it spreading further?

Anyway, in a real open-source sort of way, sound off in the comments and let’s see if we can sort this thing out.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Illinois Supreme Court Got It Right on Rahm

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:57 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Yesterday, I ran a short post informing you that Rahm Emanuel had won in the Illinois Supreme Court, where they declared that he satisfied the state’s residency requirements and was therefore eligible to run for mayor.  Still, due to tons of snow and illness in my wife’s family, I couldn’t post any analysis.  Indeed, I hadn’t even read the opinion.  Previously I had said that I wasn’t convinced by the appellate court opinion.  Having read the state supreme court’s opinion, I am now convinced that the appellate court was wrong.  Rahm should be on the ballot.

Now let me start by saying that this has nothing to do with whether I want him to be Mayor of Chicago.  I do generally dislike this man for his never-waste-a-crisis schtick and his general association with Obama.  But that mild dislike for him is overwhelmed by my more significant sentiment that I just don’t care.  I don’t live there, after all.

What did hold me back from condemning the appellate court’s ruling was two things.  First, while I am a lawyer, I am not an Illinois lawyer, and I didn’t feel comfortable with the state of my knowledge on the subject.  Second, there was a more basic element.  Rahm’s theory of the law made it a pointless thing.  According to him, you could remain out of state for decades, and as long as you intended to return and live there permanently, you could say you were a “resident” of Chicago.  And if that was the case, why bother with a residency requirement at all?

This is not to say that the courts should be in the business of correcting the mistakes of the legislature.  If they write a stupid law, we have to live with it, until it is repealed (unless it is stupid in a way that also renders it unconstitutional).  But I do think it is reasonable in statutory construction to say that we should not render a law a nullity, or a virtual nullity, unless we are sure this is the right reading of the statute.

There are people complaining that it is ridiculous to read the term “resident” this way.  But in fact a large body of law says that this is the case.  As I wrote before:

(more…)

Sockpuppet Friday: The Steampunk Palin Edition!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:52 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sock puppetry in this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads. I have made that mistake myself, a lot.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.

—————————–

Also, for some random fun on a Friday, its about a week old, but the heck with it.  It’s Steampunk Palin.

And next to her is Robama (that is not a typo), and John McCain, who somehow has robot parts, too.  There’s also this:

Creepy? You betcha!

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

In Praise of Spam…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:58 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Oh, sure, we hate spam.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been told I have won millions of dollars in a sweepstakes I never entered, or how there is this guy in Nigeria who really needs my help laundering his money.  As Kevin Butler tells you, don’t believe everything you read on the internet.  That’s how World War I got started.

But sometimes spam can save lives:

Black Widow attempted New Year Moscow attack but blew herself up by mistake

A “Black Widow” suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year’s Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt on a busy square near Red Square on New Year’s Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a spam message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her but nobody else.

She was at her Moscow safe house at the time getting ready with two accomplices, both of whom survived and were seen fleeing the scene.

Islamist terrorists in Russia often use cheap unused mobile phones as detonators. The bomber’s handler, who is usually watching their charge, sends the bomber a text message in order to set off his or her explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.

So come on folks, let’s all get together and sing… “spam, spam, spam…”

I plan to have a breakfast of Spam and pancakes in honor of everyone who died stupidly for terrorism.

H/t: William Jacobson, who imagines that Skynet Stuxnet is behind it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

1/27/2011

Breaking: Rahm’s Good to Go For Mayor

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 3:27 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Breaking news. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that Rahm Emanuel can indeed be on the ballot.  I haven’t read the decision yet, but you can, here.

And you can see my previous analysis of the middle court’s decision, here.  I wasn’t convinced last time that the middle court was right, so I am not, initially convinced that the Supreme Court is wrong.  But maybe I will feel differently after reading it.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

On Why I Haven’t Been Posting Today…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:29 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

My experience in the Nor’easter hasn’t been this bad, but still, here’s an account:

About 6:15 p.m., Steve Roberts, 42, began to merge his Dodge Ram pickup onto the George Washington Parkway en route to Sterling. Two hours later, he was still waiting to merge.

“I hear there’s an accident up by the parkway and 495, and that’s blocking everything up,” said Roberts, who began his commute at the Pentagon. “I’ve got a long way before I get home.”

Denise Borders spent nearly 13 grueling hours on the Parkway – “just sitting for hours. Literally. Sitting, not moving” – without food, without a bathroom, without sleep. There were trees down and people whose cars got stuck trying to turn around and get off the parkway, Borders said. But for most of the drivers on the road, the snow was less of a problem than the complete gridlock that enveloped them.

“You saw people get out and have to relieve themselves out in the street. It was horrible,” [A.W.: Well, at least it melted some of it.]  Borders said after finally arriving at her home in Reston, close to 5:30 a.m.

Power lines were down, systems were down.  Oh, and I had a sh-tload of work to do, mainly on the internet.  Oh, and as if all of that wasn’t bad enough, my father-in-law is in the hospital for heart issues.  And I am sick.  And morons were needlessly trying to go out.

Anyway, for now the storm has passed, both metaphorically and literally.  I am probably not going to be able to do a lot tonight, but I will see what I can do.  And Friday should be a lot better.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Sarah Palin: Obama’s SOTU Had Moments of WTF

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

In fact, as she notes, that was the theme:

Well, speaking of last night, that was a tough speech to sit through and try to stomach because the president is so off base in his ideas in how it is he believes government is going to create jobs. Obviously, government growth won’t create any jobs. It’s the private sector that can create the jobs. His theme last night in the State of the Union was the WTF, you know, “Winning the Future,” and I thought OK, that acronym, spot on. There were a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech.

Leave your submissions for the theme of Obama’s next speech in the comments.

1/26/2011

Charles Johnson’s Stat Counter Inflates His Numbers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:40 pm

Hand it to the boys at Diary of Daedalus. They busted him yet again. They noticed Charles’s boast that his “Patterico is an idiot” post had supposedly received 21,600 page views — which he dishonestly characterized as “21,600 people” laughing at me. Put aside for the moment Charles’s obviously false claim that every page view represents a separate person (as well as the deluded claim that every person who viewed his post agreed with him about me.) The DoD boys decided to research whether the stat counter was at least properly recording the correct number of page views. The answer was no.

First, they found a comment from Charles showing that he registers a separate “page view” for every post on the front page, every time you access his front page. So, you hit his main page once, he gives himself 10 page views (because he keeps 10 posts on the main page). If you click on the post itself, to read comments, that’s another view for the page. Back to the main page again? Another ten page views. You actually viewed three pages, but Charles credits himself with 21. (That’s 21 people laughing at you, Patterico!! Bwa-ha!!)

It gets weirder. To see why, you’ll have to go to the DoD entry to see the experiment they did, which appears to show jumps in the counter even beyond the artificial numbers obtained by giving 10 page views for every 1. Here is a video that shows it graphically, although I admit I was unable to replicate the results shown in the video:

This doesn’t surprise me much. Dishonesty now pervades everything this guy does. Why should his reporting of his traffic be any different?

UPDATE: 21, not 23. Duh. Thanks to Newtons.Bit.

UPDATE x2: Diary of Daedalus dude ChenZhen informs me that the jumping effect demonstrated in the video happens using IE but not Firefox. I tried it in Firefox and could not replicate their results. Tell me if you try it in IE.

Snow Day Palate-Cleanser: Proof That Sexy Women Make Men Dumb

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:57 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Wait, why is that picture there?

Well, anyway, there is a study that purports to show that when men retain less information when it comes from woman dressed in a “sexy” fashion.  The study has all kinds of problems, not the least of which is low sample size.  But I think what is interesting is that they say that the problem is that when you are paying attention to the visual, you get less of the verbal.

Which begs a question for me.  What if you are not a very “verbal” thinker?  What if you are mainly a visual thinker?  What effect would it have?

Anyway, read the whole thing.  I think the data qualifies as interesting, but contrary to what anyone says, it’s bad science to call it proof of anything.

H/t: Hot Air.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

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