Links for the week of November 6th, 2009

If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.

  • Martian landscapes – Awesome highlights from MRO and HiRISE
  • Christianity vs. Scientific Naturalism – Veritas Forum talk. Not sure of the content. Possibly interesting to watch later.
  • Boulder's Naked Halloween Streak May Be Coming to an End – Somebody should fire Boulder's chief of police. He called 40 officers and two SWAT teams out to the Pearl St. Mall on Halloween and threatened to arrest the pumpkin runners and make them register as sex offenders. Sounds a little bit too much like living in Saudi Arabia to me.
  • The 2nd Circut Court of Appeals ruling on Arar v. Ashcroft – A Canadian/Syrian dual citizen detained in NYC, rendered to Syria without being able to consult a lawyer, to be tortured, and eventually found to have nothing to do with terrorism whatsoever does not have the right to seek redress for his mistreatment under US law. Great country. Canada on the other hand issued a detailed report on what had happened, apologized for its role, and paid him $9 million in compensation.
  • Judge Busch Could Block New Bike Lanes Through March 2010 – Good god. If SF is having this much trouble implementing a decent bike plan, can you even imagine the kind of legal apocalypse that would ensue in LA if we actually tried to do anything meaningful for cyclists on the road? No wonder the city is terrified of triggering an actual EIR. And why is it that every freeway project get canned by EIRs again?
  • Dr. Thompson is found guilty of all counts in LA road rage trial. – The former ER doctor who slammed on his brakes in front of two cyclists riding down Mandeville Canyon Road at 30 mph in order to "teach them a lesson" has been found guilty on all 7 counts. Six felonies, and one misdemeanor. He is being held without bail pending sentencing, and faces up to 5 years in prison. Hallelujah.
  • Scientists quit government drugs body over David Nutt sacking – The entire UK "Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs" is threatening to resign, after the chair of the council was sacked for expressing the opinion that LSD and Ecstasy were less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes. Not unlike the endless parade of independent scientific advisory boards in the US who have recommended that cannabis be legalized, only to be disbanded and have their findings relegated to obscurity. If you want a political answer, and not a science answer, don't ask a scientist.
  • Line sharing best solution for slow, expensive US broadband – The FCC commissioned a study by Harvard's Berkman center, looking at how government policies affect broadband price and performance worldwide. The US (and Canada) have the developed world's slowest, most expensive internet connections. Enforcing open access (i.e. ensuring anybody can lease the use of the copper or fiber in the ground from its owner), which is what just about every other developed country does, results in (shocker) fast, cheap access, but is universally resisted by incumbent telecoms. No kidding. Why would they want to actually compete, when they can get paid big bucks for providing crappy service instead? No US city made it into the list of the top 20 cities by speed of broadband access.
  • More Schools, Not Troops – Sending ever more ordinance and boots-on-the-ground to Afghanistan hasn't worked for any foreign power in living memory… or even recorded history. If only we were willing to spend the same astronomical sums on basic education that we're apparently willing to spend on blowing things up, over decades instead of years, maybe the country would change. Focus on the communities that *want* the schools, make them buy in with sweat equity, provide security if you have to (another girls school, near the Khyber pass, was just bombed… more than 200 in the last year in NW Pakistan alone), and see if, in 20 years, the neighboring communities still don't want their girls literate.

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Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

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