May 30, 2008

Upgrade your low-priced router

A few years ago, I bought a router on sale for around $40: the Linksys WRT54G v6. It worked fine until recently when I built a computer for my kids. The router is in one corner of the house upstairs. The new computer was downstairs in the opposite corner, essentially diagonally across the the 3-D rectangular cube that is my house. Consequently, the wireless signal kept dropping on me, which was quite frustrating to my children and me. So I started looking for ways to make the signal stronger. I stumbled across WW-DRT:

DD-WRT is a third party developed firmware released under the terms of the GPL for many ieee802.11a/b/g/h/n wireless routers based on a Broadcom or Atheros chip reference design.

What happens is that you replace the firmware that came with your router and upgrade it to a Linux control platform. Sounded good to me so I check to see if my device was supported. It was, with some caveats:

In all later references we'll call these models "neutered". Why? Because they've had some crucial functionality removed by their reduced RAM and reduced flash memory. [edit] Linksys WRT54G Neutered Models

Version 5.0 Serial number begins with: CDFB
Version 5.1 Serial number begins with: CDFC
Version 6.0 Serial number begins wtih: CDFD
[edit] Linksys WRT54GS Neutered Models

Version 5.0 Serial number begins with: CGN7
Version 5.1 Serial number begins with: CGN8
Version 6.0 Serial number begins with: CGN9

For more complete information on hardware revisions, visit Wikipedia:

On the neutered models listed above, Linksys reduced the flash memory and the RAM compared to previous versions of these models, thus the term "neutered". DD-WRT Micro is one of the only 3rd party firmwares available for these models. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FLASH ONE OF THESE WITH DD-WRT mini. Having said that, if you have one of these neutered models, you'd still be much better off selling it and getting something else that is a supported device.

Looked like selling it was out of the question, so I said what the heck and proceeded with the specific installation instructions found here.

The instructions are pretty simple and worked well, but I have a couple of comments to make so I'll reprint them here:

If you have a WRT54G Version 5 or 6...
1. Download linux_prep_wrt54g.bin
2. Go into, click "Administration". Go to "Firmware Upgrade", and select the linux_prep_wrt54g.bin file. (see here for help) Click Apply and wait a few minutes. After you're screen turns white, power cycle the router.
3. Download linux_upgrade_wrt54g.bin
4. Go back to You are now in Management Mode. Select the linux_upgrade_wrt54g.bin file and upgrade.
5. Again, power cycle the router. When restarted, the Power LED should be flashing.
6. Download tftp.exe
7. Download dd-wrt.v23_micro_generic.bin
8. Open the TFTP client (Enter IP: or and upload "dd-wrt.v23.micro_generic.bin"


9. The router should restart. Wait a moment and than go to If all went well, you should be running DD-WRT Micro.
10. Enjoy your new Linux router and have a Cold Beverage!

Be sure to check out the FAQ as your browser will likely lose its built in IP address. Follow the steps in the FAQ and you'll be fine, with one exception:

I Can't Connect to the Router! You've simply lost your IP address. You need to manually set these values. Windows XP: Control Panel> Network Connections> Right Click > Local Area Connection> Scroll > Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)> Properties> Select > Use the following IP Address:> IP: Subnet Mask: Gateway:

I recommend using IP instead. I had problems with the "99" at the end; I don't know why. Anyway, some additions to the 10 steps above:

2) ...After you're screen turns white, power cycle the router

What happens using IE [***warning: do not use Firefox to do this upgrade***] is that the upgrade progresses and then the browser moves to a "page not found" sort of page, which is a white page with text. "Power cycling" means unplugging the router and then plugging it back in a few seconds later. CLOSE THE BROWSER, reopen and go to to see the Management Mode screen.

8) 8. Open the TFTP client (Enter IP: or and upload "dd-wrt.v23.micro_generic.bin"

If the micro_generic.bin fails to load on 3 tries, be sure to follow the steps listed in the FAQ to reset the IP address of your router.

9. The router should restart.

The router didn't restart for me and I waited a few minutes for it to happen. Eventually, I power cycled it and reopened IE, typed in and lo and behold I saw the DD-WRT router configuration screen. YAY!

Final steps:

1) You will have to rename your router's SSID as it's been returned to default values.

2) Re-enable your WEP or WPA keys that wireless computers in your household are using so that nothing will have to be changed on their ends.

3) Go to Wireless--> Advanced settings and look for the Xmit power. The factory default is 28 mW. In theory, you can go over 250 mW, but it's like overclocking your PC's CPU: you'll fry it pretty quickly. I boosted the output signal to 70 then 90 mW to get the output I needed for the computer downstairs. My work was done.

For those of you hardcore gamers or downloading demons, you can also set up priorities for actions, software and computers (I'm not certain about the last one) to make your wireless network work how you want it to. As for me, I simply got more and better use out of my crappy little RAM-challenged router, which saves me the money for a new, more powerful one. If my tweak ends up shortening the life a little, so be it. I've gotten 2-3 years out of it already so I'll come out ahead.

WARNING!!! The actions you take might brick your router. There are numerous methods listed to unbrick them, but it's possible that you might have to run down to the computer store to buy a new one. Just an FYI, so don't blame me if it fails.
My update worked fine, but YMMV.

Good luck and happy routing.

Posted by Physics Geek at 09:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2008

A different sort of church

Gerard Van Der Leun types a post - and a recipe-that brings back memories for me. Memories of pies cooling on the windowsill, or licking the bowl after the dough/batter had been used to make its special creation. Ahh. In fact, eating those tasty treats is what encouraged me to learn how to cook. After all, my mother typically worked 2-3 jobs to keep a roof over our heads; someone had to bake the sweets because it sure as shootin' wasn't going to be her.

Anyway. My mother is still thankfully alive and well and living in Paris with Jaques Brel nearby. However, I surpassed her baking skills years ago, so I'm the one who typically makes the cookies. But I invite my mother over to share one or three with me. It seems like the right thing to do. If you'd like to share such a moment with your mother, father, or someone else close to you, and you've never tried to make cookies before, give Gerard's mother's recipe a try. I'm sure that that special someone will appreciate it. So will you.

Posted by Physics Geek at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We have the body

Make that bodies. Bikini clad, scifi starlets showing off their figures. Me likey. A lot.

I'll preempt Harvey here. ::hands Tricia a sandwich::

One final thought: over at Rachel Lucas' site, the lovely and talented blogmistress said this:

...and I had a serious problem with the idea that Apollo would ever find Starbuck sexually appealing.

Really? Ever? I present to you the following photographic evidence of why I, a person who dislikes coffee intensely, lust after Starbuck. In my heart, of course, much like our former bunny-chased president, only without all the anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.


Posted by Physics Geek at 08:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Burn, burn, burn. The planet burns (part II)

Or maybe not

Looks like the Goreacle and his disciples are ready to punish the apostates who refuse to worship at their church. Maybe punish isn't the right word, though. Perhaps I should have said run around shrieking like whiny children who aren't getting their way. From Joe's Blog:

The global warmers are becoming increasingly desperate to prop up their failing prophesy in every way possible. Behaving just as Leon Festinger predicted in When Prophecies Fail. As the earth shows no net warming in a decade and cooling into its 7th year, as new models suggest cooling may continue because of natural ocean cycles, as the sun stays quiet now 12 years since the last solar minimum, usually a signal of cooling, as more and more peer review calls into question the importance of CO2 and of the the accuracy of the models and the entire greenhouse theory because of the failure of fingerprinting, the alarmists begin a frantic effort to save their failing theory. You see so many have won the lottery and want to ensure the annuity checks keep coming.

As we indicated in an earlier blog, they are now busy reinventing old data. NASA and NOAA continually revises old data and makes gross assumptions that always result in more warming. The old reliable radiosonde weather balloon data gets challenged because it (and the satellite derived data) do not show the warming the models and theory predict for the high tropical atmophere. A legitimate scientist would trust the data and assume the models are in error (as models so often are) but to these agenda driven alarmists, the models must be right and the data wrong.

This is science? My degrees must be worthless because this in no way resembles what I was taught.

Posted by Physics Geek at 07:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Movin' on up...

Congratulations to Cassy Fiano, as she will join the Stop the ACLU blogging team.

Posted by Physics Geek at 06:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 28, 2008

A reason to celebrate

Okay, everyone, get ready for Carbon Belch Day.

June 12 looks like a good day for a cookout. For the entire neighborhood.

Update: I see that Ace has some of the same reading habits that I do.

Posted by Physics Geek at 02:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gaming while Linux

Assuming you've moved onto Linux, you're probably complaining a bit about the dearth of games to play. Oh sure, you've waded into Wine territory to discover the 57 convoluted steps that, if taken properly while holding your breath and rubbing your stomach, will allow you to play a Windows game from within Linux. However, assuming that you'd like to play some native to Linux games, here's a list of 42 such games for your consideration:

To demonstrate the level of sophistication available, we have put together a list of 42 high quality Linux games that all have the virtue of being free to play. To ensure that there is something of interest here for every type of gamer, we have covered a wide variety of computer game genres, including the ever popular First Person Shooters (FPS), Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), as well as arcade games, board/puzzle games and more.

To be eligible for inclusion in this list each game needed to meet the following requirements:

  • Free to play (no download charge, no monthly charge)
  • Does not require Wine to run. Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows software.
  • Not in the early stages of development

The only sort of exception we made was to include the game OpenTTD, a personal favorite which we could not see miss the list. OpenTTD needs the MS Windows or DOS version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. But assuming you already have the game, OpenTTD lets you play it for free natively under Linux.

Our three requirements automatically excluded a whole raft of high quality games that run under Linux. There are a collection of titles where a no-charge client is available for download, but where the game requires a small monthly subscription to play online. Notables examples of games which fall into this category include EVE (a massive multiplayer online game set in a science-fiction based world), Vendetta (a massively multiplayer online role-playing game), and Savage 2 (a fantasy and science-fiction themed game that combines elements of the first-person shooter, real-time strategy, and action role-playing game genres). Subscription based Linux games will be covered in a future article.

Wine has reached a level of maturity that it lets you play a wide range of commercial Windows games. This enables gamers to enjoy classics such as World of Warcraft, the king of the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (which has over 11 million subscribers), Half-Life 2, Silkroad Online, Planescape, Day of Defeat: Source Steam, Call of Duty 2 etc etc. We'll also cover the world that Wine opens up in a separate article together with commercial native Linux games too.

Anyway, I'll let you check out the list for yourself. If by chance you don't play computer games because they're silly and juvenile, let me state for the record that I pity you. Sure, I didn't know the touch of a woman growing up, but I did figure out to get by the damned Green Dragon in Adventure:

Kill dragon.

With what? You bare hands?


Congratulations. You've just killed a fierce green dragon with your bare hands. Amazing, isn't it?

Posted by Physics Geek at 12:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 27, 2008

That brown sudsy stuff? I've heard good things about it.

If you're interested in such things, you might want to check out the website Beer Suggest. From their "About" page:

Beer Suggest is a niche community for beer lovers. The goal of Beer Suggest is to provide the most informative beer site on the net. This is a quite a hefty task, which is why we look to you, the user to help build this website.

Beer Suggest compiles beer reviews, brewery info and a list of beer related events. You might want to check it out. Register for free and start rating/reviewing your favorite brews.

Posted by Physics Geek at 02:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2008

Not so tasty. I give it an F-

I see that Jonathan Hawkins has finally decided that, tartar sauce or no tartar sauce, he won't be voting for the shit sandwich Republicans this year, embodied, of course, by the one and only John McCain.

I think it's sweet that he believed McCain on the comprehensive piece of shit "secure the borders first" promise, but I'm glad that he woke up before the election.

Posted by Physics Geek at 05:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 21, 2008

In a nutshell

From Linux Opinion comes this little Point-Counterpoint (Jane, you ignorant slut!):

There are two opposing ways to see Linux, and both are true.

The Negative View:

  • Linux has lots of geeky technical issues.
  • Linux geeks are having fun. They don't care about us.
  • Freedom is next to Godliness - let chaos reign!
  • Documentation is boring and only for wimps.
  • Linux is for the high priests and Windows is for the masses.
  • Linux has thousands of great projects - and no management.
  • Linux market share is 1%.

The Positive View:

  • Linux is a fine operating system with a rich set of capable applications.
  • All this is completely free and can be modified as you please.
  • The geek community understands the problems and is rapidly improving.
  • Ubuntu is the new 600 pound gorilla and is setting standards.
  • Major PC vendors are starting to offer pre-installed Linux (Dell, WallMart).
  • Microsoft: quality, security and ethics issues are sending users to Linux (and Mac).
  • Linux market share has doubled in the last year.

I think that the Negative list is missing an item:

  • Linux geeks may never know the touch of a woman

Then again, that might just be me.

Update: Yep, it's just me.

Posted by Physics Geek at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The end is near

Via Hot Air comes this court ruling: "U.S. currency is discriminatory towards the blind."

Wow. No one saw that coming.

I can't say that I'm surprised. Ever since I saw Braille drive-up ATMs, I've known that common sense and reason had decided to take a permanent vacation. Also, since websites have been sued under this stupid fucking vague-ass on purpose law for not being blind accessible, I've merely been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Update: Via Gabriel Major comes this link to Hans Bader. Money quote:

The appeals court wrongly gave short shrift to the burden imposed on third parties, suggesting that it did not even need to be considered, even though other federal court rulings recognize that an institution is not required to accommodate a disability or religious practice if doing so would unduly burden third parties. ...As Judge Randolph noted in dissent, “There are approximately 7,000,000 food and beverage vending machines in the United States; by one estimate, it would cost $3.5 billion to retool or replace these machines.”

I'm gonna sue the estate of Gary Gygax for making me like Kryptonite to women. D&D is discriminatory against social misfits and losers because, well, I'll simply ask the clowns in the 9th Circuit to make up some shit for me. It's what they do and they're good at it.

Posted by Physics Geek at 07:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 20, 2008

The wasteland that my life was

Via Ken and CalTech Girl comes a quiz on which, pathetically, I scored 100%. I'll admit that there were two skin diseases I wasn't sure about, but I knew for a fact that they weren't D&D monsters. Anyway, here is the result in all of its pathetic glory:

Skin Disease or Dungeons and Dragons Character?

Score: 100% (16 out of 16)

Cal Tech Girl has nothing to be ashamed of because gaming girls, while rare, were a much sought commodity among us basement dwellers. For the record though, I don't quite believe Ken when he says that he knows "doodly" about D&D.

Posted by Physics Geek at 11:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Hardware issues

So I finally got all of the components for the computer that I'm building for my children. I cheated a little and cannibalized CD-ROM drives and floppy drives (shut up) from some old systems that I'm certain my wife would like to chuck out the window. Anyway, I thought that I'd be clever and pull off the old direct cooling fan as well and simply use that on the new motherboard/CPU combo. Funny thing, though: I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to attach the fan to the new motherboard. I finally gave up and ordered a new one. When it arrived, I discovered why the old fan wouldn't fit. The new fans are freaking ginormous. Two huge levels of radiating fins and a fan that, frankly, I could use as a small ceiling fan, at least in our dog house.

Anyway, I plan to take pictures of my latest PC project and post them here. The first photo will be of the two cooling fans sitting side by side just to give you an idea of how much things have changed in just a couple of years. The rest will be of the entire project, from empty mini-tower to booting the OS.

When will all of this happen? Beats me. Family obligations keep intruding. But my kids are getting antsy and my wife is tired of getting kicked off of her machine. My guess is that it will be sooner, rather than later. Stay tuned.

Posted by Physics Geek at 08:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bloggers on the move

So Cassy Fiano has moved into fresh, new, non-Blogsplat digs. Cool. Please update your links accordingly.

Posted by Physics Geek at 08:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 19, 2008

For your viewing pleasure

Because I've got nothing -although I'll have a couple of lengthy tech posts up in the near future- today, I'm going to go with what I like, and what I like is beautiful women. Let's find out who the boss is today:

Superbabes - Alyssa Milano - 34.JPG

Superbabes - Alyssa Milano - 51.JPG

Posted by Physics Geek at 07:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The sport of kings

So Big Brown is now one victory away from winning the Triple Crown. I hope that he gets it. I remember watching Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed (poor Alydar- would have been a great horse in any other year) all winning the Triple Crown in the 1970s. I got so used to seeing a winner that I forgot how difficult such a feat is. The current period between champions is the longest in history.

Anyway. Everyone raved about Big Brown's huge victory on Saturday. While it was impressive, every race that I've seen since 1973 has been colored by what Secretariat accomplished on June 9 of that year at the Belmont Stakes. I've embedded a video below the fold. For the record, Secretariat won the Belmont by a mind-boggling 31 lengths. Other notable records:

  • Secretariat's Kentucky Derby record of (1:59 2/5) still stands. Also, Big Red ran each quarter-mile segment faster than the one before it.
  • At the Belmont, Secretariat ran the first 1 1/4 mile faster than any horse had run the entire race before
  • Secretariat's record at the Belmont of 2:24 is still the world record for the distance; no other horse has every broken 2:25 at that distance

Posted by Physics Geek at 07:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 14, 2008

Burn, burn, burn. The planet burns

Or maybe not. Excerpt:

The global warming gurus assure us that a decade without, you know, global warming, has a perfectly rational explanation, and that humanity's wasteful standard of living is still a sure bet to replace Canadian winters with Las Vegas summers by the end of the century. The Pacific Ocean's La Nina current, a cooler-than-normal expanse of water, is responsible for milder temperatures in the normally balmy equatorial region. China and West Asia have cooled off as well, the WMO reported.

The La Nina current is expected to hang around the rest of the year. After that, we're back on the express elevator to Hades.

"For detecting climate change you should not look at any particular year, but instead examine the trends over a sufficiently long period of time," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. "And the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming."

The La Nina current is "part of what we call 'variability,' " he said.

But as Investor's Business Daily wrote in a Friday editorial: "Why can't the Pacific's El Nino current, which played a large part in the warm reading for 1998, simply be seen as a 'variability' and not part of a greater warming trend?" Variability is code for "data that don't support our cause."

Read the rest.

Posted by Physics Geek at 07:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2008

All aboard the no Gates express

Next stop: Linuxville

Check out this article at Tech Radar on one guy's move from Windows to Ubuntu. Except:

One of the main problems with Microsoft's Windows OS is that virtually everything on your motherboard, and anything you want to install, requires an appropriate driver. This used to be the case with Linux, but like Apple’s OS X, a large number of drivers are now built into the Linux kernel.

For instance, once you install Windows, you normally need to install all the motherboard drivers. When I installed Ubuntu, this wasn’t necessary.

Even more impressively, Ubuntu detected my wireless USB stick. All it required was the WPA password and it connected straight to the Internet. In Windows, a specific driver is needed.
So far I’m impressed. Setting up Ubuntu has been easier than Windows XP or Vista, and I’ve had to install far fewer drivers. Over the next four days, I’ll find out how Ubuntu copes with a range of everyday tasks, from Internet shopping to productivity and playing games.

Stay tuned for future installments in this series.

Posted by Physics Geek at 03:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 12, 2008

Reality check

So some borderline retarded douchbags think that Cassy Fiano is fat? Really? I mean, WTFing really?! I guess that if your ideal woman is one that you can hold up to a light buld to see if she's pregnant, then sure, Cassy might appear chunky. Here on planet Earth, she's actually a lovely, sexy woman, with appealing curves. She doesn't even fall into the Rubinesque category of curvaceous. Anyway, I'll give Cassy the last word:

Um, yeah. Compared to that, I guess I am a whale. Heaven forbid I eat three meals a day, get moderate exercize, and wear a size 8. And I can't help the fact that God gave me really, really big breasts. They started growing when I hit puberty and kind of never stopped -- and they don't get smaller, no matter how much I work out (believe me, I've tried). So, it's a little bit beyond my control.

I lied: I've got some final thoughts on this subject. If your ideal woman is the Skeletor-looking cadavers so prevalent among today's fashion models, who look like they survive on a diet of heroin, coffee and cigarettes, then sure, a real woman will look like someone eating food for an entire Third World nation. The rest of us will continue to enjoy women who actually look like women.

Posted by Physics Geek at 08:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

It's going to get worse

And by worse, I mean colder. Globally. Read the PDF at this link, courtesy -again- of Jerry Pournelle. I've excerpted some of the salient points, but it's worth reading. Anyway:

Do we live in a special time in which the laws of physics and nature are suspended? No, we do not. Can we expect relationships between the Sun’s activity and climate, that we can see in data going back several hundred years, to continue for at least another 20 years? With absolute certainty.

In this presentation, I will demonstrate that the Sun drives climate, and use that demonstrated relationship to predict the Earth’s climate to 2030. It is a prediction that differs from most in the public domain. It is a prediction of imminent cooling.

To put the solar – climate relationship in context, we will begin by looking at the recent temperature record, and then go further back in time.

Then we will examine the role of the Sun in changing climate, and following that the contribution of anthropogenic warming from carbon dioxide. I will show that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is not even a little bit bad. It is wholly beneficial. The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better the planet will be – for humans, and all other living things.
When I asked at the beginning of this presentation if we lived in a special time, well that is true in relation to the last three million years. The special time we live in is called an interglacial. Normally, and that is 90% of the time, the spot I am standing on is covered by several thousand feet of ice. Relative to the last four interglacials, we may be somewhere near the end of the current interglacial. The end of the Holocene will be a brutal time for humanity.
2008 is the tenth anniversary of the recent peak on global temperature in 1998. The world has been cooling at 0.06 degrees per annum since then. My prediction is that this rate of cooling will accelerate to 0.2 degrees per annum following the month of solar minimum sometime in 2009.
We have to be thankful to the anthropogenic global warming proponents for one thing. If it weren’t for them and their voodoo science, climate science wouldn’t have attracted the attention of non-climate scientists, and we would be sleepwalking into the rather disruptive cooling that is coming next decade. We have a few years to prepare for that in terms of agricultural production.

We won't prepare, of course, because it isn't politically expedient. I look forward to President Obamamessiah's State of the Union addresses being given from South Florida during his second term.

Posted by Physics Geek at 08:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2008


That time of the year is once again upon us. I will participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as a way to raise money to help eliminate the scourge of breast cancer. If you're participating in the race, or have already donated, thanks. If not, and you would consider sponsoring me, please drop me an email and I'll send you the link to my personal page. As someone whose life has been touched by breast cancer, I hope for the day when this disease has been eradicated.

For the record, I receive no benefit from donations in my name. My picture won't appear in the paper, my ugly mug won't be on TV and I don't get a paid vacation or any such thing if I receive a certain amount of donations. Sponsoring me only gets your money routed to the right people.

Thanks for your attention. This post will remain at the top of this blog until race day, which is May 10 here in Richmond.

Update: People are very generous. I've reached my, admittedly modest, fund raising goal. However, there's nothing to stop you from giving more. Really, it's a great cause.

Update: Thanks, Bill. It's much appreciated.

Posted by Physics Geek at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 06, 2008

We're all going to burn freeze to death!

Found this link via Jerry Pournelle and couldn't resist sharing some excerpts:

The UK Telegraph reports on April 30: “Global warming will stop until at least 2015 because of natural variations in the climate, scientists have said. Researchers studying long-term changes in sea temperatures said they now expect a "lull" for up to a decade while natural variations in climate cancel out the increases caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The average temperature of the sea around Europe and North America is expected to cool slightly over the decade while the tropical Pacific remains unchanged. This would mean that the 0.3°C global average temperature rise which has been predicted for the next decade by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may not happen, according to the paper published in the scientific journal Nature.”
This whole climate change issue is rapidly disintegrating. From now onwards climate alarmists will be on the retreat. […] All indications are that we are now on the threshold of global cooling associated with the second and less active solar cycle.” – May 2, 2008 - By Professor Dr. Will J.R. Alexander, Emeritus of the Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and a former member of the United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters
Their entire global warming scare was based on around two decades of warming in the late 20th century so if that is followed by 20 years of stasis and cooling, which one of those two episodes represents the trend? How can we be sure that there is ANY trend?” - Australian John Ray, Ph.D., who publishes the website Greenie Watch said on May 2
3) UK Astronomer Dr. David Whitehouse, who authored the 2004 book The Sun: A Biography, said on May 1, 2008: “Isn't it curious that over the next decade man-made global warming will be cancelled out by natural cycles. It's nice that Mother Nature (not the journal) is helping us this way but it does beg the question as to whether the man-made effect was all that significant if it can be nullified this way.”
4) Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn, founder of the UK based long-term solar forecast group Weather Action, said on April 30: “It is noteworthy that this 'prediction' in the journal Nature coincides pretty well with various solar-based predictions including the solar-magnetic based prediction we issued from WeatherAction in Jan this year - i.e. cooling till 2013 at least. It seems like the 'Anything But the Sun' faction of UN IPCC works by copying what has already been predicted by a number of solar-based forecasting techniques and then attributing the cause to something earth-based. That way they hope to save the lie that man's irrelevant earth-based efforts could cause climate change. Of course the long term cooling change expected in sea temperatures referred to in this paper in Nature as 'cause' is nothing of the sort it is a consequence of the changes in sun-earth magnetic and particle links. The Nature article is in effect saying that 'Climate Change causes climate change'. Give us a break! Why is there a 22 year cycle in the solar magnetic links and also the same cycle in world temperatures? The reason is that the earth-sun magnetic links drive world temperatures (and this understanding enables successful long-range weather forecasts to be made). The pillars of pseudo-science writing in nature believe their 'sea cycle' is the driver of what happens so they will have to tell us that that the sun's magnetic field is driven by the Earth's oceans. Does anyone buy this? Application of the scientific method to science would be a good idea!”

There's a lot more there which you might want to look at, unless your brain is so calcified with the answer you know to be correct that you can't be bothered to look at any actual data.

Posted by Physics Geek at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

My prediction

I predict that Hillary will win Indiana by 10 tonight. Also, I predict that Obama will survive in NC, despite the water that his campaign has been taking on. So call it Obama by 2 tonight.

If my predictions are off, well, what did you expect for nothing? Anyway, feel free to weigh in with your predictions in the comments.

Posted by Physics Geek at 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Freedom from tyranny

From LC Brendan at the Emperor's site comes this missive which simply must be read if you believe that you have the right to protect yourself. If you don't believe that, well, I hope that all is well in the land of pixies and fairies which you currently inhabit. Just hope that the goblins don't come out after dark.

Entire article is included below the fold, owing to its length.

Nation of cowards

Author:Jeffrey R. Snyder

OUR SOCIETY has reached a pinnacle of self-expression and respect for individuality rare or unmatched in history. Our entire popular culture — from fashion magazines to the cinema — positively screams the matchless worth of the individual, and glories in eccentricity, nonconformity, independent judgment, and self-determination. This enthusiasm is reflected in the prevalent notion that helping someone entails increasing that person’s “self-esteem”; that if a person properly values himself, he will naturally be a happy, productive, and, in some inexplicable fashion, responsible member of society.

And yet, while people are encouraged to revel in their individuality and incalculable self-worth, the media and the law enforcement establishment continually advise us that, when confronted with the threat of lethal violence, we should not resist, but simply give the attacker what he wants. If the crime under consideration is rape, there is some notable waffling on this point, and the discussion quickly moves to how the woman can change her behavior to minimize the risk of rape, and the various ridiculous, non-lethal weapons she may acceptably carry, such as whistles, keys, mace or, that weapon which really sends shivers down a rapist’s spine, the portable cellular phone.

Now how can this be? How can a person who values himself so highly calmly accept the indignity of a criminal assault? How can one who believes that the essence of his dignity lies in his self-determination passively accept the forcible deprivation of that self-determination? How can he, quietly, with great dignity and poise, simply hand over the goods?

The assumption, of course, is that there is no inconsistency. The advice not to resist a criminal assault and simply hand over the goods is founded on the notion that one’s life is of incalculable value, and that no amount of property is worth it. Put aside, for a moment, the outrageousness of the suggestion that a criminal who proffers lethal violence should be treated as if he has instituted a new social contract: “I will not hurt or kill you if you give me what I want.” For years, feminists have labored to educate people that rape is not about sex, but about domination, degradation, and control. Evidently, someone needs to inform the law enforcement establishment and the media that kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, and assault are not about property.

Crime is not only a complete disavowal of the social contract, but also a commandeering of the victim’s person and liberty. If the individual’s dignity lies in the fact that he is a moral agent engaging in actions of his own will, in free exchange with others, then crime always violates the victim’s dignity. It is, in fact, an act of enslavement. Your wallet, your purse, or your car may not be worth your life, but your dignity is; and if it is not worth fighting for, it can hardly be said to exist.

The Gift of Life

Although difficult for modern man to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold God’s gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach one’s duty to one’s community. A sermon given in Philadelphia in 1747 unequivocally equated the failure to defend oneself with suicide:

He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense, incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature to defend itself.

“Cowardice” and “self-respect” have largely disappeared from public discourse. In their place we are offered “self-esteem” as the bellwether of success and a proxy for dignity. “Self-respect” implies that one recognizes standards, and judges oneself worthy by the degree to which one lives up to them. “Self-esteem” simply means that one feels good about oneself. “Dignity” used to refer to the self-mastery and fortitude with which a person conducted himself in the face of life’s vicissitudes and the boorish behavior of others. Now, judging by campus speech codes, dignity requires that we never encounter a discouraging word and that others be coerced into acting respectfully, evidently on the assumption that we are powerless to prevent our degradation if exposed to the demeaning behavior of others. These are signposts proclaiming the insubstantiality of our character, the hollowness of our souls.

It is impossible to address the problem of rampant crime without talking about the moral responsibility of the intended victim. Crime is rampant because the law-abiding, each of us, condone it, excuse it, permit it, submit to it. We permit and encourage it because we do not fight back, immediately, then and there, where it happens. Crime is not rampant because we do not have enough prisons, because judges and prosecutors are too soft, because the police are hamstrung with absurd technicalities. The defect is there, in our character. We are a nation of cowards and shirkers.

Do You Feel Lucky?

In 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh released the FBI’s annual crime statistics, he noted that it is now more likely that a person will be the victim of a violent crime than that he will be in an auto accident. Despite this, most people readily believe that the existence of the police relieves them of the responsibility to take full measures to protect themselves. The police, however, are not personal bodyguards. Rather, they act as a general deterrent to crime, both by their presence and by apprehending criminals after the fact. As numerous courts have held, they have no legal obligation to protect anyone in particular. You cannot sue them for failing to prevent you from being the victim of a crime.

Insofar as the police deter by their presence, they are very, very good. Criminals take great pains not to commit a crime in front of them. Unfortunately, the corollary is that you can pretty much bet your life (and you are) that they won’t be there at the moment you actually need them.

Should you ever be the victim of an assault, a robbery, or a rape, you will find it very difficult to call the police while the act is in progress, even if you are carrying a portable cellular phone. Nevertheless, you might be interested to know how long it takes them to show up. Department of Justice statistics for 1991 show that, for all crimes of violence, only 28 percent of calls are responded to within five minutes. The idea that protection is a service people can call to have delivered and expect to receive in a timely fashion is often mocked by gun owners, who love to recite the challenge, “Call for a cop, call for an ambulance, and call for a pizza. See who shows up first.”

Many people deal with the problem of crime by convincing themselves that they live, work, and travel only in special “crime-free” zones. Invariably, they react with shock and hurt surprise when they discover that criminals do not play by the rules and do not respect these imaginary boundaries. If, however, you understand that crime can occur anywhere at anytime, and if you understand that you can be maimed or mortally wounded in mere seconds, you may wish to consider whether you are willing to place the responsibility for safeguarding your life in the hands of others.

Power And Responsibility

Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to protect it? If you believe that it is the police’s, not only are you wrong — since the courts universally rule that they have no legal obligation to do so — but you face some difficult moral quandaries. How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?

Do you believe that you are forbidden to protect yourself because the police are better qualified to protect you, because they know what they are doing but you’re a rank amateur? Put aside that this is equivalent to believing that only concert pianists may play the piano and only professional athletes may play sports. What exactly are these special qualities possessed only by the police and beyond the rest of us mere mortals?

One who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or grievous injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to rely solely on others for his safety, or to think he has done all that is possible by being aware of his surroundings and taking measures of avoidance. Let’s not mince words: He will be armed, will be trained in the use of his weapon, and will defend himself when faced with lethal violence.

Fortunately, there is a weapon for preserving life and liberty that can be wielded effectively by almost anyone — the handgun. Small and light enough to be carried habitually, lethal, but unlike the knife or sword, not demanding great skill or strength, it truly is the “great equalizer.” Requiring only hand-eye coordination and a modicum of ability to remain cool under pressure, it can be used effectively by the old and the weak against the young and the strong, by the one against the many.

The handgun is the only weapon that would give a lone female jogger a chance of prevailing against a gang of thugs intent on rape, a teacher a chance of protecting children at recess from a madman intent on massacring them, a family of tourists waiting at a mid-town subway station the means to protect themselves from a gang of teens armed with razors and knives.

But since we live in a society that by and large outlaws the carrying of arms, we are brought into the fray of the Great American Gun War. Gun control is one of the most prominent battlegrounds in our current culture wars. Yet it is unique in the half-heartedness with which our conservative leaders and pundits — our “conservative elite” — do battle, and have conceded the moral high ground to liberal gun control proponents. It is not a topic often written about, or written about with any great fervor, by William F. Buckley or Patrick Buchanan. As drug czar, William Bennett advised President Bush to ban “assault weapons.” George Will is on record as recommending the repeal of the Second Amendment, and Jack Kemp is on record as favoring a ban on the possession of semiautomatic “assault weapons.” The battle for gun rights is one fought predominantly by the common man. The beliefs of both our liberal and conservative elites are in fact abetting the criminal rampage through our society.

Selling Crime Prevention

By any rational measure, nearly all gun control proposals are hokum. The Brady Bill, for example, would not have prevented John Hinckley from obtaining a gun to shoot President Reagan; Hinckley purchased his weapon five months before the attack, and his medical records could not have served as a basis to deny his purchase of a gun, since medical records are not public documents filed with the police. Similarly, California’s waiting period and background check did not stop Patrick Purdy from purchasing the “assault rifle” and handguns he used to massacre children during recess in a Stockton schoolyard; the felony conviction that would have provided the basis for stopping the sales did not exist, because Mr. Purdy’s previous weapons violations were plea-bargained down from felonies to misdemeanors.

In the mid-sixties there was a public service advertising campaign targeted at car owners about the prevention of car theft. The purpose of the ad was to urge car owners not to leave their keys in their cars. The message was, “Don’t help a good boy go bad.” The implication was that, by leaving his keys in his car, the normal, law-abiding car owner was contributing to the delinquency of minors who, if they just weren’t tempted beyond their limits, would be “good.” Now, in those days people still had a fair sense of just who was responsible for whose behavior. The ad succeeded in enraging a goodly portion of the populace, and was soon dropped.

Nearly all of the gun control measures offered by Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI) and its ilk embody the same philosophy. They are founded on the belief that America’s law-abiding gun owners are the source of the problem. With their unholy desire for firearms, they are creating a society awash in a sea of guns, thereby helping good boys go bad, and helping bad boys be badder. This laying of moral blame for violent crime at the feet of the law-abiding, and the implicit absolution of violent criminals for their misdeeds, naturally infuriates honest gun owners.

The files of HCI and other gun control organizations are filled with proposals to limit the availability of semiautomatic and other firearms to law-abiding citizens, and barren of proposals for apprehending and punishing violent criminals. It is ludicrous to expect that the proposals of HCI, or any gun control laws, will significantly curb crime. According to Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) statistics, fully 90 percent of violent crimes are committed without a handgun, and 93 percent of the guns obtained by violent criminals are not obtained through the lawful purchase and sale transactions that are the object of most gun control legislation. Furthermore, the number of violent criminals is minute in comparison to the number of firearms in America — estimated by the ATF at about 200 million, approximately one-third of which are handguns. With so abundant a supply, there will always be enough guns available for those who wish to use them for nefarious ends, no matter how complete the legal prohibitions against them, or how draconian the punishment for their acquisition or use. No, the gun control proposals of HCI and other organizations are not seriously intended as crime control. Something else is at work here.

The Tyranny of the Elite

Gun control is a moral crusade against a benighted, barbaric citizenry. This is demonstrated not only by the ineffectualness of gun control in preventing crime, and by the fact that it focuses on restricting the behavior of the law-abiding rather than apprehending and punishing the guilty, but also by the execration that gun control proponents heap on gun owners and their evil instrumentality, the NRA. Gun owners are routinely portrayed as uneducated, paranoid rednecks fascinated by and prone to violence, i.e., exactly the type of person who opposes the liberal agenda and whose moral and social “re-education” is the object of liberal social policies. Typical of such bigotry is New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s famous characterization of gun-owners as “hunters who drink beer, don’t vote, and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend.” Similar vituperation is rained upon the NRA, characterized by Sen. Edward Kennedy as the “pusher’s best friend,” lampooned in political cartoons as standing for the right of children to carry firearms to school and, in general, portrayed as standing for an individual’s God-given right to blow people away at will.

The stereotype is, of course, false. As criminologist and constitutional lawyer Don B. Kates, Jr. and former HCI contributor Dr. Patricia Harris have pointed out, “[s]tudies consistently show that, on the average, gun owners are better educated and have more prestigious jobs than non-owners…. Later studies show that gun owners are less likely than non-owners to approve of police brutality, violence against dissenters, etc.”

Conservatives must understand that the antipathy many liberals have for gun owners arises in good measure from their statist utopianism. This habit of mind has nowhere been better explored than in The Republic. There, Plato argues that the perfectly just society is one in which an unarmed people exhibit virtue by minding their own business in the performance of their assigned functions, while the government of philosopher-kings, above the law and protected by armed guardians unquestioning in their loyalty to the state, engineers, implements, and fine-tunes the creation of that society, aided and abetted by myths that both hide and justify their totalitarian manipulation.

The Unarmed Life

When columnist Carl Rowan preaches gun control and uses a gun to defend his home, when Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer seeks legislation year after year to ban semiautomatic “assault weapons” whose only purpose, we are told, is to kill people, while he is at the same time escorted by state police armed with large-capacity 9mm semiautomatic pistols, it is not simple hypocrisy. It is the workings of that habit of mind possessed by all superior beings who have taken upon themselves the terrible burden of civilizing the masses and who understand, like our Congress, that laws are for other people.

The liberal elite know that they are philosopher-kings. They know that the people simply cannot be trusted; that they are incapable of just and fair self-government; that left to their own devices, their society will be racist, sexist, homophobic, and inequitable — and the liberal elite know how to fix things. They are going to help us live the good and just life, even if they have to lie to us and force us to do it. And they detest those who stand in their way.

The private ownership of firearms is a rebuke to this utopian zeal. To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the state is encroaching on freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend that freedom with more than mere words, and to stand outside the state’s totalitarian reach.

The Florida Experience

The elitist distrust of the people underlying the gun control movement is illustrated beautifully in HCI’s campaign against a new concealed-carry law in Florida. Prior to 1987, the Florida law permitting the issuance of concealed-carry permits was administered at the county level. The law was vague, and, as a result, was subject to conflicting interpretation and political manipulation. Permits were issued principally to security personnel and the privileged few with political connections. Permits were valid only within the county of issuance.

In 1987, however, Florida enacted a uniform concealed-carry law which mandates that county authorities issue a permit to anyone who satisfies certain objective criteria. The law requires that a permit be issued to any applicant who is a resident, at least twenty-one years of age, has no criminal record, no record of alcohol or drug abuse, no history of mental illness, and provides evidence of having satisfactorily completed a firearms safety course offered by the NRA or other competent instructor. The applicant must provide a set of fingerprints, after which the authorities make a background check. The permit must be issued or denied within ninety days, is valid throughout the state, and must be renewed every three years, which provides authorities a regular means of reevaluating whether the permit holder still qualifies.

Passage of this legislation was vehemently opposed by HCI and the media. The law, they said, would lead to citizens shooting each other over everyday disputes involving fender benders, impolite behavior, and other slights to their dignity. Terms like “Florida, the Gunshine State” and “Dodge City East” were coined to suggest that the state, and those seeking passage of the law, were encouraging individuals to act as judge, jury, and executioner in a “Death Wish” society.

No HCI campaign more clearly demonstrates the elitist beliefs underlying the campaign to eradicate gun ownership. Given the qualifications required of permit holders, HCI and the media can only believe that common, law-abiding citizens are seething cauldrons of homicidal rage, ready to kill to avenge any slight to their dignity, eager to seek out and summarily execute the lawless. Only lack of immediate access to a gun restrains them and prevents the blood from flowing in the streets. They are so mentally and morally deficient that they would mistake a permit to carry a weapon in self-defense as a state-sanctioned license to kill at will.

Did the dire predictions come true? Despite the fact that Miami and Dade County have severe problems with the drug trade, the homicide rate fell in Florida following enactment of this law, as it did in Oregon following enactment of similar legislation there. There are, in addition, several documented cases of new permit holders successfully using their weapons to defend themselves. Information from the Florida Department of State shows that, from the beginning of the program in 1987 through June 1993, 160,823 permits have been issued, and only 530, or about 0.33 percent of the applicants, have been denied a permit for failure to satisfy the criteria, indicating that the law is benefitting those whom it was intended to benefit — the law-abiding. Only 16 permits, less than 1/100th of 1 percent, have been revoked due to the post-issuance commission of a crime involving a firearm.

The Florida legislation has been used as a model for legislation adopted by Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Mississippi. There are, in addition, seven other states (Maine, North and South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and, with the exception of cities with a population in excess of 1 million, Pennsylvania) which provide that concealed-carry permits must be issued to law-abiding citizens who satisfy various objective criteria. Finally, no permit is required at all in Vermont. Altogether, then, there are thirteen states in which law-abiding citizens who wish to carry arms to defend themselves may do so. While no one appears to have compiled the statistics from all of these jurisdictions, there is certainly an ample data base for those seeking the truth about the trustworthiness of law-abiding citizens who carry firearms.

Other evidence also suggests that armed citizens are very responsible in using guns to defend themselves. Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, using surveys and other data, has determined that armed citizens defend their lives or property with firearms against criminals approximately 1 million times a year. In 98 percent of these instances, the citizen merely brandishes the weapon or fires a warning shot. Only in 2 percent of the cases do citizens actually shoot their assailants. In defending themselves with their firearms, armed citizens kill 2,000 to 3,000 criminals each year, three times the number killed by the police. A nationwide study by Kates, the constitutional lawyer and criminologist, found that only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The “error rate” for the police, however, was 11 percent, over five times as high.

It is simply not possible to square the numbers above and the experience of Florida with the notions that honest, law-abiding gun owners are borderline psychopaths itching for an excuse to shoot someone, vigilantes eager to seek out and summarily execute the lawless, or incompetent fools incapable of determining when it is proper to use lethal force in defense of their lives. Nor upon reflection should these results seem surprising. Rape, robbery, and attempted murder are not typically actions rife with ambiguity or subtlety, requiring special powers of observation and great book-learning to discern. When a man pulls a knife on a woman and says, “You’re coming with me,” her judgment that a crime is being committed is not likely to be in error. There is little chance that she is going to shoot the wrong person. It is the police, because they are rarely at the scene of the crime when it occurs, who are more likely to find themselves in circumstances where guilt and innocence are not so clear-cut, and in which the probability for mistakes is higher.

Arms and Liberty

Classical republican philosophy has long recognized the critical relationship between personal liberty and the possession of arms by a people ready and willing to use them. Political theorists as dissimilar as Niccolo Machiavelli, Sir Thomas More, James Harrington, Algernon Sidney, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all shared the view that the possession of arms is vital for resisting tyranny, and that to be disarmed by one’s government is tantamount to being enslaved by it. The possession of arms by the people is the ultimate warrant that government governs only with the consent of the governed. As Kates has shown, the Second Amendment is as much a product of this political philosophy as it is of the American experience in the Revolutionary War. Yet our conservative elite has abandoned this aspect of republican theory. Although our conservative pundits recognize and embrace gun owners as allies in other arenas, their battle for gun rights is desultory. The problem here is not a statist utopianism, although goodness knows that liberals are not alone in the confidence they have in the state’s ability to solve society’s problems. Rather, the problem seems to lie in certain cultural traits shared by our conservative and liberal elites.

One such trait is an abounding faith in the power of the word. The failure of our conservative elite to defend the Second Amendment stems in great measure from an overestimation of the power of the rights set forth in the First Amendment, and a general undervaluation of action. Implicit in calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment is the assumption that our First Amendment rights are sufficient to preserve our liberty. The belief is that liberty can be preserved as long as men freely speak their minds; that there is no tyranny or abuse that can survive being exposed in the press; and that the truth need only be disclosed for the culprits to be shamed. The people will act, and the truth shall set us, and keep us, free.

History is not kind to this belief, tending rather to support the view of Hobbes, Machiavelli, and other republican theorists that only people willing and able to defend themselves can preserve their liberties. While it may be tempting and comforting to believe that the existence of mass electronic communication has forever altered the balance of power between the state and its subjects, the belief has certainly not been tested by time, and what little history there is in the age of mass communication is not especially encouraging. The camera, radio, and press are mere tools and, like guns, can be used for good or ill. Hitler, after all, was a masterful orator, used radio to very good effect, and is well known to have pioneered and exploited the propaganda opportunities afforded by film. And then, of course, there were the Brownshirts, who knew very well how to quell dissent among intellectuals.

Polite Society

In addition to being enamored of the power of words, our conservative elite shares with liberals the notion that an armed society is just not civilized or progressive, that massive gun ownership is a blot on our civilization. This association of personal disarmament with civilized behavior is one of the great unexamined beliefs of our time.

Should you read English literature from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, you will discover numerous references to the fact that a gentleman, especially when out at night or traveling, armed himself with a sword or a pistol against the chance of encountering a highwayman or other such predator. This does not appear to have shocked the ladies accompanying him. True, for the most part there were no police in those days, but we have already addressed the notion that the presence of the police absolves people of the responsibility to look after their safety, and in any event the existence of the police cannot be said to have reduced crime to negligible levels.

It is by no means obvious why it is “civilized” to permit oneself to fall easy prey to criminal violence, and to permit criminals to continue unobstructed in their evil ways. While it may be that a society in which crime is so rare that no one ever needs to carry a weapon is “civilized,” a society that stigmatizes the carrying of weapons by the law-abiding — because it distrusts its citizens more than it fears rapists, robbers, and murderers — certainly cannot claim this distinction. Perhaps the notion that defending oneself with lethal force is not “civilized” arises from the view that violence is always wrong, or the view that each human being is of such intrinsic worth that it is wrong to kill anyone under any circumstances. The necessary implication of these propositions, however, is that life is not worth defending. Far from being “civilized,” the beliefs that counterviolence and killing are always wrong are an invitation to the spread of barbarism. Such beliefs announce loudly and clearly that those who do not respect the lives and property of others will rule over those who do.

In truth, one who believes it wrong to arm himself against criminal violence shows contempt of God’s gift of life (or, in modern parlance, does not properly value himself), does not live up to his responsibilities to his family and community, and proclaims himself mentally and morally deficient, because he does not trust himself to behave responsibly. In truth, a state that deprives its law-abiding citizens of the means to effectively defend themselves is not civilized but barbarous, becoming an accomplice of murderers, rapists, and thugs and revealing its totalitarian nature by its tacit admission that the disorganized, random havoc created by criminals is far less a threat than are men and women who believe themselves free and independent, and act accordingly.

While gun control proponents and other advocates of a kinder, gentler society incessantly decry our “armed society,” in truth we do not live in an armed society. We live in a society in which violent criminals and agents of the state habitually carry weapons, and in which many law-abiding citizens own firearms but do not go about armed. Department of Justice statistics indicate that 87 percent of all violent crimes occur outside the home. Essentially, although tens of millions own firearms, we are an unarmed society.

Take Back the Night

Clearly the police and the courts are not providing a significant brake on criminal activity. While liberals call for more poverty, education, and drug treatment programs, conservatives take a more direct tack. George Will advocates a massive increase in the number of police and a shift toward “community-based policing.” Meanwhile, the NRA and many conservative leaders call for laws that would require violent criminals serve at least 85 percent of their sentences and would place repeat offenders permanently behind bars.

Our society suffers greatly from the beliefs that only official action is legitimate and that the state is the source of our earthly salvation. Both liberal and conservative prescriptions for violent crime suffer from the “not in my job description” school of thought regarding the responsibilities of the law-abiding citizen, and from an overestimation of the ability of the state to provide society’s moral moorings. As long as law-abiding citizens assume no personal responsibility for combatting crime, liberal and conservative programs will fail to contain it.

Judging by the numerous articles about concealed-carry in gun magazines, the growing number of products advertised for such purpose, and the increase in the number of concealed-carry applications in states with mandatory-issuance laws, more and more people, including growing numbers of women, are carrying firearms for self-defense. Since there are still many states in which the issuance of permits is discretionary and in which law enforcement officials routinely deny applications, many people have been put to the hard choice between protecting their lives or respecting the law. Some of these people have learned the hard way, by being the victim of a crime, or by seeing a friend or loved one raped, robbed, or murdered, that violent crime can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime, and that crime is not about sex or property but life, liberty, and dignity.

The laws proscribing concealed-carry of firearms by honest, law-abiding citizens breed nothing but disrespect for the law. As the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people. A federal law along the lines of the Florida statute — overriding all contradictory state and local laws and acknowledging that the carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens is a privilege and immunity of citizenship — is needed to correct the outrageous conduct of state and local officials operating under discretionary licensing systems.

What we certainly do not need is more gun control. Those who call for the repeal of the Second Amendment so that we can really begin controlling firearms betray a serious misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights does not grant rights to the people, such that its repeal would legitimately confer upon government the powers otherwise proscribed. The Bill of Rights is the list of the fundamental, inalienable rights, endowed in man by his Creator, that define what it means to be a free and independent people, the rights which must exist to ensure that government governs only with the consent of the people.

At one time this was even understood by the Supreme Court. In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the first case in which the Court had an opportunity to interpret the Second Amendment, it stated that the right confirmed by the Second Amendment “is not a right granted by the constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.” The repeal of the Second Amendment would no more render the outlawing of firearms legitimate than the repeal of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment would authorize the government to imprison and kill people at will. A government that abrogates any of the Bill of Rights, with or without majoritarian approval, forever acts illegitimately, becomes tyrannical, and loses the moral right to govern.

This is the uncompromising understanding reflected in the warning that America’s gun owners will not go gently into that good, utopian night: “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.” While liberals take this statement as evidence of the retrograde, violent nature of gun owners, we gun owners hope that liberals hold equally strong sentiments about their printing presses, word processors, and television cameras. The republic depends upon fervent devotion to all our fundamental rights.

Copyright notice:

A Nation of Cowards was published in the Fall, ‘93 issue of The Public Interest, a quarterly journal of opinion published by National Affairs, Inc. It may be reproduced freely, including forwarding copies to politicians, provided that it is not distributed for profit and subscription information is included.

Single copies of The Public Interest are available for $6. Annual subscription rate is $21 ($24 US, for Canadian and foreign subscriptions). Single copies of this or other issues, and subscriptions, can be obtained from:

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© 1993 by The Public Interest

Posted by Physics Geek at 07:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I see dead people

Or maybe it's dead trees. Yes, definitely dead trees.

An idea whose time has come: increasing your carbon footprint. Excerpt:

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Included is the image of your carbon footprint certificate, which I've placed below the fold.


Thanks go to A Little More To The Right for finding this link.

Posted by Physics Geek at 06:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 05, 2008

Good news for Tolkeinphiles

Looks like Gandalf the Grey will return. Excerpt:

McKellen Reprising Gandalf In Hobbit

British actor Ian McKellen told Empire magazine that he will reprise the role of the wizard Gandalf in Guillermo del Toro's upcoming movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, the Reuters news service reported.

The 68-year-old star played the part in the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. Mexican filmmaker del Toro has been named to direct two films based on The Hobbit, which Jackson will produce and co-write.

"Yes, it's true," McKellen told Empire. "I spoke to Guillermo in the very room that Peter Jackson offered me the part, and he confirmed that I would be reprising the role. Obviously, it's not a part that you turn down; I loved playing Gandalf."

Del Toro, whose credits include Pan's Labyrinth, will move to New Zealand for the next four years to work on both Hobbit films with executive producer Jackson, according to New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

The studios have said that filming will begin in 2009, with tentative release dates set in 2010 for the first film and 2011 for the sequel.

Hmm. By 2010, my son will be 8 years old. Considering that I read The Hobbit for the first time at that ripe age, I think that I forsee a father/son outing. After, of course, he's finished reading the book. Lucky for him, I have a copy lying around the house.

Posted by Physics Geek at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

once more into the breach

So Jeff Goldstein is going behind enemy lines at the Democratic National Convention. No word yet on whether Ann Coulter will show up as his room with a 6-pack of Mickey's Big Mouth again. Stay tuned.

Posted by Physics Geek at 08:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack