Sunday, March 02, 2008

China's new intelligentsia.

Paradoxically, the power of the Chinese intellectual is amplified by China's repressive political system, where there are no opposition parties, no independent trade unions, no public disagreements between politicians and a media that exists to underpin social control rather than promote political accountability. Intellectual debate in this world can become a surrogate for politics—if only because it is more personal, aggressive and emotive than anything that formal politics can muster. While it is true there is no free discussion about ending the Communist party's rule, independence for Tibet or the events of Tiananmen Square, there is a relatively open debate in leading newspapers and academic journals about China's economic model, how to clean up corruption or deal with foreign policy issues like Japan or North Korea.

HIV-blocking Gene Found.

A team of researchers at the University of Alberta has discovered a gene that is able to block HIV, and in turn prevent the onset of AIDS.

Procrastination Flow Chart


Click for larger image.

Ornamental Typography.

An artifact of a more elegant age.

Changes

One of my favorite blogs has passed away. For Serenity's Sake was good for a regular dose of humor, wisdom and occasionally, righteous outrage. Fortunately, For Serenity's Sake's author Indy Jane has decided to join us here at Diminished Expectations. I think I speak for all of us when I say we're glad to add her to our growing staff of talented, thoughtful writers (OK ...counting Jane we're now up to three... conquest of the interweb takes time). Hopefully she'll grace us with a posting soon.

Iraqis are happier with the M-16.

This is more good news that you won't easily find in the MSM. Yes, its been reported as cronyism and pork between Colt, that EX-Marine Murtha, (see comments there) and other assorted lobbyists/politicians. Yes, it probably is exactly that. BUT, there are MANY reasons why this is a necessary improvement.

For one thing, the weapons currently being used by Iraqi soldiers and militia are not standardized. Saddam's military had been supplied with weapons by numerous foreign and domestic sources And face it, those AK's are old, worn out, and need to be replaced. Why would we replace them with a weapon not made in the USA?

The AK-47, while a fine weapon in its own right, does not lend itself to precision shooting. A break with the weapon of the past will necessitate the Iraqi soldier in learning new and improved warfare habits. "Spray and Pray" will no longer be an option. Fire discipline teaches small unit discipline. And, after awhile, with training, the good habits compound themselves into professionalism.

Bad news for Obama.

With the corruption trial of one of Sen. Barack Obama's longtime friends and supporters set to begin Monday in Chicago, Ill., reform watchdogs say it will reveal the "cesspool" of Illinois politics in which Obama came of age and has said little about in his campaign for president.
"We have a sick political culture," said Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, "and that's the environment that Barack Obama came from."