December 13, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 10:00 PM


Fantastic ISI Holiday Book Sale! Books for Imaginative Conservatives (Winston Elliott III, 12/13/12, Imaginative Conservative)

Our friends at ISI have made all of their books available at a 40% discount for this holiday season. All TIC readers should got to their online bookstore and add these books to your library. Introduce your family and friends to the ideas of Russell Kirk and other conservative thinkers by purchasing extra books to give away as gifts.

Here is a list of books that The Imaginative Conservative recommends with short descriptions from the ISI store...

Posted by orrinj at 6:06 PM


Why Obama Betrayed Susan Rice (Peter Beinart, 12/13/12, Daily Beast)

In a sense, the Rice saga exemplifies everything we have come to admire and distrust about our president. He's calculating, strategic and totally unsentimental. What you did for him yesterday always pales in comparison with what you can do for him tomorrow. 

...was that her only qualification was that she's an Obama insider, so she had nothing to fall back on.  And he cares more about Republicans than about her.

Posted by orrinj at 4:39 PM

A Choral Christmas With Stile Antico (TOM HUIZENGA, December 05, 2012, fromWGBH)

Stile Antico is a 13-member a cappella choir based in London. Most of these fresh-faced singers are still in their 20s, but they've already racked up some impressive awards for their recordings -- mainly of intricately woven music from the Renaissance.

And that's just what the group has in store for us in this concert at St. Paul's Church in Cambridge, Mass. -- hand-picked sacred music for the Christmas season from the English Tudor era, by such 16th century composers as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.
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Posted by orrinj at 4:30 PM


Indianapolis to replace fleet with electric, hybrid vehicles (Associated Press, December 12, 2012)

Indianapolis wants to become the first major city to replace its entire fleet with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Mayor Greg Ballard signed an executive order Wednesday mandating that the city replace its current sedans with electric vehicles. The city will also work with the private sector to phase in snow plows, fire trucks and other heavy vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, and it will ask automakers to develop a plug-in hybrid police car because one doesn't yet exist.

Posted by orrinj at 4:16 PM


Catalonia joins Scotland in push for 2014 independence vote (Giles Tremlett, 12/13/12, The Guardian)

Europe faces an unprecedented attempt by two regions to form new states in 2014 after politicians in Catalonia reached an agreement to call a referendum in the same year that Scots will be asked whether they want independence.
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Posted by orrinj at 3:44 PM

N. Joseph Woodland, Inventor of the Bar Code, Dies at 91 (MARGALIT FOX, 12/13/12, NY Times)

Had Mr. Woodland not been a Boy Scout, had he not logged hours on the beach and had his father not been quite so afraid of organized crime, the code would very likely not have been invented in the form it was, if at all. [...]

He holed up at his grandparents' home in Miami Beach, where he spent the winter of 1948-49 in a chair in the sand, thinking.

To represent information visually, he realized, he would need a code. The only code he knew was the one he had learned in the Boy Scouts.

What would happen, Mr. Woodland wondered one day, if Morse code, with its elegant simplicity and limitless combinatorial potential, were adapted graphically? He began trailing his fingers idly through the sand.

"What I'm going to tell you sounds like a fairy tale," Mr. Woodland told Smithsonian magazine in 1999. "I poked my four fingers into the sand and for whatever reason -- I didn't know -- I pulled my hand toward me and drew four lines. I said: 'Golly! Now I have four lines, and they could be wide lines and narrow lines instead of dots and dashes.' "

That transformative sweep was merely the beginning. "Only seconds later," Mr. Woodland continued, "I took my four fingers -- they were still in the sand -- and I swept them around into a full circle."

Mr. Woodland favored the circular pattern for its omnidirectionality: a checkout clerk, he reasoned, could scan a product without regard for its orientation.

On Oct. 7, 1952, Mr. Woodland and Mr. Silver were awarded United States patent 2,612,994 for their invention -- a variegated bull's-eye of wide and narrow bands -- on which they had bestowed the unromantic name "Classifying Apparatus and Method."

But that method, which depended on an immense scanner equipped with a 500-watt light, was expensive and unwieldy, and it languished for years.

The two men eventually sold their patent to Philco for $15,000 -- all they ever made from their invention.

By the time the patent expired at the end of the 1960s, Mr. Woodland was on the staff of I.B.M., where he worked from 1951 until his retirement in 1987.

Over time, laser scanning technology and the advent of the microprocessor made the bar code viable. In the early 1970s, an I.B.M. colleague, George J. Laurer, designed the familiar black-and-white rectangle, based on the Woodland-Silver model and drawing on Mr. Woodland's considerable input.

Thanks largely to the work of Alan Haberman, a supermarket executive who helped select and popularize the rectangular bar code and who died in 2011, it was adopted as the industry standard in 1973.

Posted by orrinj at 3:39 PM


U.N. summit implodes as U.S., others spurn Internet treaty (Declan McCullagh  December 13, 2012, CNet)

"This conference was never meant to focus on Internet issues," said ambassador Terry Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation to the Dubai summit. "The Internet has given the world unimaginable economic and social benefit during these past 24 years -- all without U.N. regulation."

The UR is the most annoying sort of socialist, the kind that exists only in the fever dreams of the Right.