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July 2006 Archives

We're healthier and living longer than our ancestors

New research from around the world has begun to reveal a picture of humans today that is so different from what it was in the past that scientists say they are startled. Over the past 100 years, says one researcher, Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago, humans in the industrialized world have undergone “a form of evolution that is unique not only to humankind, but unique among the 7,000 or so generations of humans who have ever inhabited the earth.”

The difference does not involve changes in genes, as far as is known, but changes in the human form. It shows up in several ways, from those that are well known and almost taken for granted, like greater heights and longer lives, to ones that are emerging only from comparisons of health records.

The biggest surprise emerging from the new studies is that many chronic ailments like heart disease, lung disease and arthritis are occurring an average of 10 to 25 years later than they used to. There is also less disability among older people today, according to a federal study that directly measures it. And that is not just because medical treatments like cataract surgery keep people functioning. Human bodies are simply not breaking down the way they did before.

Even the human mind seems improved. The average I.Q. has been increasing for decades, and at least one study found that a person’s chances of having dementia in old age appeared to have fallen in recent years.

"So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn’t Even Know You," by Gina Kolata, The New York Times, July 30, 2006


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July 30, 2006 02:57 PM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

Doha collapses - did you notice?

You probably missed it, but this very story was in the news this week. The Washington Post had a report about it, and judged it unworthy of the front page. It ran on page one of the business section, where it was given less prominence than a profile of a well-known expert on conserving energy. (He owns an interesting fuel-efficient house in Colorado.)

How could this happen? How could it come about that anybody who blinked would have missed the news that the Doha Round of trade talks had collapsed -- and that even the people who noticed it mostly just shrugged and moved on? One reason is that the talks have indeed dragged on and on, and tracking the deviations of this epic of bureaucratic procedure would test the zeal of the most monomaniacal trade-policy wonk. But another reason, you might think, is that I am grossly exaggerating the whole thing, that the tale is not a clear-cut case of outrageous government incompetence, verging on criminality, as I am suggesting. But this would be incorrect. I am not hyping the evil and the idiocy of what has just happened. If anything, I am playing it down.

Liberal trade works exactly like a resource-saving technology. So, it makes exactly as much sense for a country to deny itself the advantages of open borders to trade as it would to deny itself the use of personal computers -- another disruptive technology that shares its gains unequally within and among nations. Where my analogy goes wrong is that each government has its own liberal-trade machine, which it can switch on independently if it chooses. No international agreement is needed for a country to unilaterally lower its tariffs or cut its farm subsidies. If it does this, most of the gains (lower prices, lower taxes) flow to its own citizens -- but there are benefits for foreigners, too. For the past five years, each government has been refusing to switch on its own machine unless other governments switch on theirs first. Why should the United States help Europe and Asia, if Europe and Asia won't help the United States? And vice versa. In the end, this week, the governments agreed that the easiest thing was to forget the whole idea. When you put it like that, it just sounds crazy. It is crazy. Nonetheless, this is precisely what happened.

"A Clear-Cut Case Of Incompetence," by Clive Crook, National Journal, July 28, 2006


July 29, 2006 09:37 AM   Link    Economics ~   Foreign Affairs    Comments (0)

Peggy Garvin Blogger of the Month at Free Government Information

Peggy Garvin, author of the soon-to-be-released "Real World Research Skills," is Blogger of the Month at Free Government Information (FGI).

July 29, 2006 09:07 AM   Link    Faculty and Authors    Comments (0)


"Wikipedia is to Britannica as 'American Idol' is to the Juilliard School."
-- Jorge Cauz, President of Encyclopedia Britannica

“Wikipedia is to Britannica as rock and roll is to easy listening."
-- Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia


Is Wikipedia accurate? Last year, Nature published a survey comparing forty-two entries on scientific topics on Wikipedia with their counterparts in Encyclopædia Britannica. According to the survey, Wikipedia had four errors for every three of Britannica’s, a result that, oddly, was hailed as a triumph for the upstart. Such exercises in nitpicking are relatively meaningless, as no reference work is infallible. Britannica issued a public statement refuting the survey’s findings, and took out a half-page advertisement in the Times, which said, in part, “Britannica has never claimed to be error-free. We have a reputation not for unattainable perfection but for strong scholarship, sound judgment, and disciplined editorial review.” Later, Jorge Cauz, Britannica’s president, told me in an e-mail that if Wikipedia continued without some kind of editorial oversight it would “decline into a hulking mediocre mass of uneven, unreliable, and, many times, unreadable articles.” Wales has said that he would consider Britannica a competitor, “except that I think they will be crushed out of existence within five years.”

Larry Sanger proposes a fine distinction between knowledge that is useful and knowledge that is reliable, and there is no question that Wikipedia beats every other source when it comes to breadth, efficiency, and accessibility. Yet the site’s virtues are also liabilities. Cauz scoffed at the notion of “good enough knowledge.” “I hate that,” he said, pointing out that there is no way to know which facts in an entry to trust. Or, as Robert McHenry, a veteran editor at Britannica, put it, “We can get the wrong answer to a question quicker than our fathers and mothers could find a pencil.”

"Know It All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?" by Stacy Schiff, The New Yorker, July 31, 2006

"Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence: Founding Fathers, Patriots, Mr. T. Honored," The Onion, July 26, 2006

July 27, 2006 10:17 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

Good teachers

I had good teachers, and remember two [of] the best: Mr. Olson, who gave me a love of history, and the inestimable Rhoda Hansen, who coached speech and debate. To the callow student who drew her for English, she must have seemed like a bemused bird of prey; to those of us who had her for a coach, she was the ultimate authority on the superficial aspects of our craft. How to stand. How to walk. How to gesture. She was also the one who tore apart our arguments and built them back up, taught us to construct a thesis, rebut on the fly and think on our feet, act like junior Barrymores, deliver a humorous speech or a tearjerking monologue, then head over to the Extemporaneous Speaking round and whip a defense of Israel or the 55-MPH speed limit out of our own heads in 15 minutes. She had a sense of sarcasm sharp enough to shave granite in micrometer-thin slices. When you got one of her exfoliating critiques you felt it down to the bone, and when she reacted to your humorous speech with her dry smoker’s cackle – the tenth time she’d heard it! – you were on top of the world. She treated us all like grown-ups who’d unaccountably ended up in high school, but she wasn't our peer and she wasn't our pal; if we doubted her authority, it took one arched eyebrow to bat us back into place. She expected victory and she got it. She loved us and we loved her. She was the most important teacher of my life.

I sat at my desk in the motel; I cracked the window. I made a pot of coffee. I got out the phone book. I had a cup, collected my thoughts, dialed the number, and wondered why I felt so oddly nervous. Well, because it was Mrs. Hansen, that’s why.

She was pleased I’d called. She read the column; she’d kept up. She was happy I’d done well. I told her what I wrote above, more or less. I felt 15 again. I felt like I should be standing in front of her desk, hands clasped behind my back (the reverse fig-leaf position, she’d called it) while she gave me a critique of my career since leaving her charge. She was dismissive of her impact – why, I had so much energy and so many ideas, I was easy to teach – but I had to set her straight on that. She gave me confidence and craft, without which energy and ideas just fizz away. I will always owe you everything.

We said goodbye. I closed the phone and put it on the desk and looked at it. Damn.

What took me so long to do that.

"The Trip Home, Con't." by James Lileks, The Bleat, July 26, 2006

July 26, 2006 06:57 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

"Hollywood is a Washington for the Simpleminded"

The Hill's 2006 list of the "50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill" has only two journalists on it:

"Washington is a Hollywood for ugly people. Hollywood is a Washington for the simpleminded." -- John McCain (2003)

"Washington, D.C. is, indeed, Hollywood for ugly people (even if their cartoon liknesses are beautiful)." -- Boi from Troy

"One thing we can all agree on? Washingtonians are ugly." -- Wonkette

"In Washington, 'an ounce of perception is worth a pound of performance,' while in Hollywood, performance counts." -- Ronald Bailey

"If Hollywood is high school with money, and Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, what can viewers expect when Sarah Jessica Parker comes to D.C.?" by Jason Anthony, Hollywood Reader, Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2005

"DC is like 'high school with twice the stress and all of the infighting'," Hobnob Blog, October 23, 2005

"Politics is Hollywood for Ugly People? KSGers Dispel Myth," by Mark Canavera, The Citizen, May 18, 2006

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July 25, 2006 08:27 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

Capitol Hill Workshop

Our next Capitol Hill Workshop, scheduled for September 13-15, 2006, is for anyone whose work requires that they have a broad understanding of Congress and Capitol Hill.

In 3 days, this seminar covers

Capitol Hill Workshop materials include the Congressional Directory and the award-winning Congressional Deskbook.

Clicking the CQ logo will open up the CQ home page in a new browser window. TheCapitol.Net is the exclusive provider of Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences This CQ Executive Conference is approved for 1.6 CEU credits from George Mason University.

For more information, or to register, see

July 24, 2006 07:27 AM   Link    Capitol Hill Workshop ~   Congress ~   Congressional Operations ~   House ~   Legislative Process ~   Senate ~   Training    Comments (0)

Disease, drugs, doctors, and Las Vegas

Disease, drugs, doctors

Prescription drugs currently account for well under 20 percent of the health-care budget. Within a generation or two, they will undoubtedly account for most of it--which will be another good thing. Pharma’s biochemical cures always end up far cheaper than the people-centered services they ultimately displace. Moreover, while much hands-on care only drags things out or soothes, the best medicines really cure. It is true that, early on in the pharmacological assault on a grave disease, drugs also stretch things out and can fail to beat the disease, so we often end up buying more drug and more doctor, too. But eventually drugs improve to the point where they beat the disease and thus lay off both doctor and hospital.

"Of Pills and Profits: In Defense of Big Pharma," by Peter W. Huber, Commentary, July-August 2006

Hat tp: Marginal Revolution

Las Vegas

When people say America's future will look like Las Vegas, they usually mean there will be fewer jobs in manufacturing and more in services. But the city also provides an example of how (and how not) to cope with the boomers surging past 60.

The casinos are scrambling to compete for the boomers' money: hence the parade of crooners of a certain age and a show called “Menopause—the Musical” at the Hilton. Many boomers retire to Las Vegas because they so enjoyed holidaying there. When they first arrive, they are typically “young-old”, healthy and relatively wealthy. Their spending boosts the local economy, especially if they can afford spa treatments and dog-washing services. But as they age they will start, as a group, to demand more public services.

“Right now they are not costing us much,” says Mary Liveratti, deputy director of Nevada's Department of Health and Human Services. “But look at Arizona [a long-time magnet for the retired]. Twenty years ago it was great. But now they need lots of hospitals.”

"Of gambling, grannies and good sense: Nevada is the new hot spot for retirees. America should watch how it copes with the influx, and learn," The Economist, July 20, 2006

July 23, 2006 08:37 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

Legislative Drafter's Deskbook - Review

Toby Dorsey's book, Legislative Drafter's Deskbook, to be published next month (it's making its way - finally - next week from the printing plant in Michigan to the bookbinder in Massachusetts), is getting more positive reviews.

We thank NCSL's blog, The Thicket, for the pointer to a recent review in the American Political Science Association's Legislative Studies Section Newsletter:

Overall the author produces an informative and effective work that provides readers with a detailed introduction to the thoughtfulness and importance of drafting legislative statutes. This work is so highly informative to someone foreign to the drafting process, that it must also stand a useful daily guide and reminder to actual drafters. The Legislative Drafter's Deskbook clearly has a place on the bookshelves of practitioners and scholars alike.

Review by Curtis Ellis, Carl Albert Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. student of Political Science, University of Oklahoma

For a page of resources for legislative drafters, see Legislative Drafting Reference and Research Tools.

For more information about the Legislative Drafter's Deskbook, see its web page at

Legislative Drafter's Deskbook

July 23, 2006 12:07 AM   Link    Legislative Drafter    Comments (0)

Are you happy?

Most people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
-- Abraham Lincoln

"[I]f you want to know the absolutely most miserable Zip Code—and this is based on a very large number of people—it seems to start with 101.”

That’s the prefix assigned to many of the office buildings in midtown Manhattan. “Staten Island is also miserable,” he [Chris Peterson, of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania] adds.

So what does this say about New York? I ask.

“I don’t know,” he says. “Maybe that if you make it there, you can make it anywhere, but you won’t be happy doing it.”
. . .
Smarter people aren’t any happier, but those who drink in moderation are. Attractive people are slightly happier than unattractive people. Men aren’t happier than women, though women have more highs and more lows. Surprisingly, the young are not happier than the elderly; in fact, it’s the other way round, with older people reporting slightly higher levels of life satisfaction and fewer dark days.

Money doesn’t buy happiness--or even upgrade despair, as the playwright Richard Greenberg once wrote--once our basic needs are met. In one well-known survey, Ed Diener of the University of Illinois determined that those on the Forbes 100 list in 1995 were only slightly happier than the American public as a whole; in an even more famous study, in 1978, a group of researchers determined that 22 lottery winners were no happier than a control group (leading one of the authors, Philip Brickman, to coin the scarily precise phrase “hedonic treadmill,” the unending hunger for the next acquisition).

"Some Dark Thoughts on Happiness: More and more psychologists and researchers believe they know what makes people happy. But the question is, does a New Yorker want to be happy?" by Jennifer Senior, New York Magazine, July 17, 2006


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July 22, 2006 11:17 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

This Week in DC Reviews - July 21, 2006

This Week in DC Reviews is a roundup of reviews of DC-area restaurants, with quick links to DC-area restaurants that sound interesting to us.

To see a list of upcoming food events in the DC area, see "Washington, D.C. Wine Tasting, Dinners, Food/Drink Events."

For a Guide to restaurants in the DC area, see Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide. For a roundup of "good value" New York City restaurant reviews, see This Week in NYC Reviews at A Guy In New York.

Did we miss your favorite DC restaurant review?

Let us know: hobnobblog -at- ... we're especially interested in hearing from DC bloggers ...

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July 21, 2006 07:57 AM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)


What disappoints me as I slip the bounds of the coveted 18 to 34-year old demographic is that advertising is not treating the newest batch of consumers as intelligent peers. Advertising has forgotten how to be subtle. Worst of all, it requires no cultural competencies to decode.

"The death of the double entendre: Ads are killing our 'cultural competencies'," by Ryan Bigge, The Tornoto Star, July 16, 2006

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July 19, 2006 08:27 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

Who is responsible for fat kids?

If the only publicly admissible or mentionable locus of responsibility for the diet of children is the government, we have accepted the premise of totalitarianism.

"PC Among the Docs," by Theodore Dalrymple, New English Review, July, 2006

July 17, 2006 10:17 PM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The more expensive the restaurant the better the food?

According to Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University who also has a popular dining guide for the DC area (Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide),

Receiving a Michelin star increases prices in a Parisian restaurant by 20 percent, controlling for measures of quality, décor and location. Michelin-starred restaurants in fancy hotels, or in areas with other Michelin-starred restaurants, also have higher prices, again adjusting for quality. Diners are paying more to eat in fine or prestigious surroundings, whether or not the food is better. One gastronomy expert, speaking in Le Nouvel Observateur, noted, “Gaining a Michelin star ensures that your banker will be kind to you.”
. . .
It remains easier to get good cheap food in the United States, if only by looking to the growing number of ethnic restaurants, most of which stand outside formal ranking systems. Labor laws that are more flexible than those in France also support more dining options in the United States. Most Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris are closed on Sundays, and many are closed on Saturdays as well. Labor costs are the major culprit.

"In the Language of Gastronomy, Those Michelin Stars Translate as Dollar Signs," by Tyler Cowen, The New York Times, July 13, 2006

We know that great dining can be had at many restaurants across the pricing spectrum here in Washington ... from inexpensive places such as Bob's Noodle 66 ... to the more expensive such as Oceanaire ... and with Summer 2006 Restaurant Week coming (August 14 -20, 2006), there are even more affordable places to explore ... Bon appétit!

July 13, 2006 07:37 AM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)

Top Stories ... of 2003

According to The Onion, some of the top stories of 2003 were

July 12, 2006 07:17 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

Nobody will remember Materazzi - Hate cell phones? - Thunder storms this week - Nostalgia

Materazzi who?

Most people don't even know who Marco Materazzi is ("one of the dirtiest players in the game" - see comments), and in a few years no one will remember him, while many WILL remember Zinedine Zidane, one of the world's great football players. However, Zidane should have waited until after the game to smack Marco....

Hate cell phones?

Hate cell phones? You should move to Vermont. As of June 2005, the most recent data available, the Green Mountain state had the fewest cell phones per capita in the country at just over 300 per 1,000 people.
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[A]s more and more people switch to cell phones, local governments are losing revenue from the franchise fees they have traditionally charged to landline subscribers.

"Cell Outs," by Josh Goodman, 13th Floor, July 10, 2006

Thunder storms this week

Shut the windows and crank up the A/C, and keep an umbrella nearby. Characteristic (but not extreme) DC summer heat and humidity, and the threat of late afternoon/evening thunderstorms, kick in today and should persist through much of the week.

"The week ahead: Steamy and slightly stormy...," CapitalWeather, July 10, 2006


Play Guitar Like the Cowboys Do

Play Guitar Like the Cowboys Do…Only 8-1/3 Cents a Lesson

from boingboing

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July 10, 2006 06:47 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

This Week in DC Reviews - July 7, 2006

This Week in DC Reviews is a roundup of reviews of DC-area restaurants, with quick links to DC-area restaurant reviews and mentions from the previous seven days in blogs, magazines, and newspapers.

To see a list of upcoming food events in the DC area, see "Washington, D.C. Wine Tasting, Dinners, Food/Drink Events."

For a Guide to restaurants in the DC area, see Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide. For a roundup of New York City restaurant reviews from NYC food bloggers and media, see This Week in NYC Reviews at A Guy In New York.

Did we miss your favorite DC restaurant review?

Let us know: hobnobblog -at- ... we're especially interested in hearing from DC bloggers ...

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July 7, 2006 09:07 AM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)

Women are from Sea World, men are from the ocean

For a book I was writing about a school for exotic animal trainers, I started commuting from Maine to California, where I spent my days watching students do the seemingly impossible: teaching hyenas to pirouette on command, cougars to offer their paws for a nail clipping, and baboons to skateboard.

I listened, rapt, as professional trainers explained how they taught dolphins to flip and elephants to paint. Eventually it hit me that the same techniques might work on that stubborn but lovable species, the American husband.

The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband.
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... throw him a mackerel.

"What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage," by Amy Sutherland, The New York Times, June 25, 2006

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July 6, 2006 10:27 AM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)

The Declaration of Independence

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton
   John Hancock
   Samuel Chase
   William Paca
   Thomas Stone
   Charles Carroll of Carrollton
   George Wythe
   Richard Henry Lee
   Thomas Jefferson
   Benjamin Harrison
   Thomas Nelson, Jr.
   Francis Lightfoot Lee
   Carter Braxton
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton


July 4, 2006 10:17 AM   Link    Holidays and Celebrations    Comments (0)

"Your Own Personal Internet"

"Your Own Personal Internet"

The Senate Commerce Committee deadlocked 11 to 11 on an amendment inserting some very basic net neutrality provisions into a moving telecommunications bill. The provisions didn't prohibit an ISP from handling VOIP faster than emails, but would have made it illegal to handle its own VOIP packets faster than a competitor's.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) explained why he voted against the amendment and gave an amazing primer on how the internet works.

There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

But this service isn't going to go through the interent and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

"Your Own Personal Internet," by Ryan Singel and Kevin Poulsen, 27B Stroke 6, June 29, 2006

I got a copy of the internet that Senator Ted Stevens's staff sent to him, and which, as he told the full Commerce Committee as proof that net neutrality was bad, took almost five days to get to him because the internet's pipes were so full of traffic.

I admit to a little skepticism, so I asked the Senator's office to send me a copy of the internet via Fed-Ex (to avoid internet rush hour). After signing for it this morning, I unwrapped it and set out to test it forensically to make sure the senator was telling the truth (turns out it was just an internet letter, not an entire internet).

(For you eggheads out there, I used a command line tool called Bioforensic Unfragmenting Logistical Level Systemic Hopping Information Tracerouter, which is open-source.)

Turns out he was right.

After his staffers sent the internet letter and the letter shattered into pieces by the internal sledgehammer encased in the congressional mail server, the pieces were slingshotted into the internet's pipe (to visual this, think of how a potato gun works and then simply reverse the process in your head).

Ryan Singel discovered that one packet of Senator Stevens' Internet got wayalid "after bumping into 419 packets which all claimed to belonging to a family member of a recently deceased Nigerian finance minister and over a period of three days, the packet gave away all of its contents to a fake bank in Nigeria in hopes of striking it rich. One other packet got sandwiched in Norfolk, VA between a YouTube video of a cat adoption video gone bad and a Google Video of a carbon fiber mountain bike disintegrating under its rider. After splitting itself in two from laughter, the packet was sued by the recording industry since one of the maker's of the videos once downloaded a Britney Spears song as a joke."

"Senator Stevens Internet Forensics," by Ryan Singel, 27B Stroke 6, June 29, 2006

Not to mention bumping into all all those peskey packets at ScamORama, The Lads from Lagos.

July 3, 2006 08:17 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)