Forbes has an excellent year-end round-up listing the top ideas of the last 85 years and related articles. In one of these Ben Stein describes how American society discourages innovation.

Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson discusses The Origin of Religions, From a Distinctly Darwinian View.

Cyberpunk becomes reality #147: Pay at Kroger with your fingerprint.


Electronic Arts aims to be the next Disney. They continue to have top games including my favorite - NCAA Football, and C's - The Sims. Now with The Sims Online they could be holding the keys to the non-fantasy-game Everquest addiction.

Alan Heeger won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing plastic that conducts electricity. Eventually - spray-on plastic conductive layers, foldable video display, disposable electronics.

Finally, a missle defense system. When will critics figure out that Mutally Assured Destruction is long gone & ballistic missle defense is not a first-strike technology? It may have been optimistic to expect to shoot down thousands of Soviet warheads (though, just the thought of it sure put them out of business), but we must be able to defend ourselves from a handful of terrorist missle attacks, or we're simply wearing the emperor's new clothes.

Lott's Life: Turns into pillar of salt yes or no?
US News Whispers: Lott will go.
Washington Post: Lott will fight.


Some older links as I clean out the favorites file:
A Business 2.0 article about the development of the Counter-Strike mod for Half-Life. Cool.


Trent Lott, whether he actually thinks that integration is the cause of "our problems" or not, will be an albatross around the neck of the Republican Party: Peggy Noonan, Thomas Sowell, Andrew Sullivan, David Frum, Mickey Kaus.


A reasonable explanation of why it's not so bad to be addicted to online video games (from an Atlanta entertainment mag - Jive Magazine).


There have been few posts because I have been a little out of sorts since we (The University of Alabama) lost to Auburn. I really want Coach Fran to stay, but I want him to end the speculation that he may go to Texas A&M - now. In a particularly vicious column, Paul Finebaum lets Coach Fran have it.

Radio Shack just figured out that it's annoying to have to give your address just to buy an adapter or something.

I like my Amazon.com personalized recommendations, but TiVo sounds a little creepy.

Reason magazine interviewed Dave Barry. Both are entertaining libertarians.

Review of the latest H. L. Mencken biography.

Swiss audio lab agrees - Bin-Laden did not make recent tape.


He was one of the pantheon of my childhood. I grew up playing chess and Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess was the book we learned from. Plus he was a Cold War hero. I've always wondered exactly what happened to him. An article in the Atlantic shows how his life has become A Beautiful Mind without the happy ending. It's sad.


Alabama finally has a new governor - Republican Congressman Bob Riley. It means no lottery, but...the lesser of two evils and all that.

The Segway Human Transporter is now available on Amazon.


Bill Safire sounds the alarm about Homeland Security/Big Brother.


Changes in NASA'a budget at SpaceRef.com.


Kicking a liar while he's down. Evan Stephenson at HNN says Emory didn't hit Bellesiles hard enough.

Andrew Sullivan on why Bush continues to outsmart the opposition.


US Army uses laser weapon to shoot down artillery shells. Sweet.


I'm glad we're not the only one's who think that The Sopranos & South Park are libertarian-themed shows. Radley Balko, The Agitator, makes the case for The Sopranos at Fox News: Views.


Another proud day for Alabama - the gubernatorial election is disputed.

We love learning about scientists around here. In Jenny Uglow's new book, Lunar Men, she tells us about a group of late 17th-century English scientists who changed the world. (review)


The New British Invasion by Andrew Sullivan in The New Republic.


Anti-gun liar resigns from Emory.


Why has the British Empire been quickly erased from memory? No matter how many reasons there are to dislike the British, the empire did bring the world into the 20th century. A new museum of the empire.


I remember reading several years ago in the National Review the argument that the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, was actually "William Shakespeare". In a recent book Paul Streitz, of the Oxford Institute, argues that de Vere was Shakespeare AND the son of Elizabeth I. The book is a direct challenge to two traditions of English history: The Virgin Queen and the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon.


Mossad says Bin-Laden is dead.


Dave Egger's is trying hard not to be a sell-out.


I've been teaching a lot about Columbus lately (tons of notes & the A&E biography, and excerpts from his diary). Of course, his (generally unobserved) holiday is here. I enjoyed this review in the New Yorker.

It appears that Henrietta Lacks' cells may live forever (or at least for a really long time).


Arts & Letters Daily, R.I.P. (archive). Long Live Philosophy and Literature.


Finally, a NYT Op/Ed piece I can agree with. Don't write that book inside you.


Jersey Democrats scramble as it becomes likely that Toricelli's scandal may hand Senate back to GOP.


Michael Bellesiles is a liar. His research for his award-winning anti-gun book Arming America has turned out to be mostly fabricated. According to the History News Network, it appears that Emory University is actually going to have to do something about him.

I am a southerner. I am a historian. Therefore, I study the War Between the States/American Civil War. I have no cornbread-fed illusions that slavery was not the heart of the matter. There's no doubt that it was evil and had to go. Nonetheless, I am not excited about government-employed historians providing "context" and de-emphasizing the actual battles at our National Park Battlefields. The usually-acceptable U.S. News & World Report provides an insightful article on the matter, but unfortunately favors the socialists.


P.J. O'Rourke has been the ultimate smart-ass libertarian/Republican for the last 15 years. His 'travel' articles are some of his best work, and he's got a new one - Letter from Egypt - in the Atlantic.

Those wacky Wright Brothers - Supersonic test plane uses 'wing warping' .

Nicholas Negroponte explains why Wi-Fi "lily pads and frogs" will transform the future of telecom. I don't always agree with him, but he is is the founder of the MIT Media Lab.

Isidore's remnant headed for us by Friday AM. I'm usually "happy when it rains", but another rainy football game would be annoying.

I like Stephen Pinker. His books aggravate the pseudo-intellectuals, and that's really all you can ask from an scientist/author.


Virginia Postrel writes about using a mathmatical model to decide whether or not to go for it on fourth down. I can't ask for much more in a NYT article.


Bernard Lewis wrote an excellent and extensive article that clearly answers one of today's most pertinent questions, "Why do Islamic terrorists (and people) hate the United States?".

From Jan. 02, "What Went Wrong" with the islamic world.

A recent interview with Lewis - The Patriarch of the Islamicists.


Theodore Dalrymple in the City Journal, "Havana stands as a dreadful warning to the world against the dangers of monomaniacs who believe themselves to be in possession of a theory that explains everything, including the future".


My brother-in-law Patrick Link finished second in the National Security Decision Making Game at DragonCon 2002.

U.S. war plans vs. Iraq at Strategy Page.

Cyberpunk continues to sneak up on us - the invisibility cloak. Take a photo image of what's behind & display it on the front - simple (and incredibly complex).

We've been saying it for years, the right is just more fun than the left. The LA Weekly compares The Weekly Standard with The Nation and agrees.


An exhaustive timeline of virtual worlds - very geeky, very cool.

Eliot Cohen argues that politicians, not generals, should direct wartime policy.

The destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime will be televised - Man, I miss Fox News (we've been without it since moving to Priceville, AL (near Decatur & Huntsville) in July - Charter Cable says we'll get it "before the end of the year, we hope"). Even-tu-a-lee.

Now this is an organized religion I can get behind - 'Jedi' becoming a recognized religion (sort of).


I'm gonna encourage our best students to check out Olin College.

Camille Paglia tells it like it is - The Left has lost its way and lost its voice.

I've always been suspect of stealth border state (Union slave state) - Delaware. My suspicions appear justified.

Today was the first day of school. I'm teaching US & World History & coaching football at Austin High School. It looks like it will be an excellent place to teach.


Corante's Premium Blend is a great place for tech business news and a serious column of top-notch links.

Milton Friedman just turned 90. Greatest living economist. Period.

Virginia Postrel's latest columns: NYT - Microsoft, Chicken Delight and Antitrust Policy on modern antitrust thinking.
D Magazine - on Architecture of Megachurches.


god, I love The Onion.


As a history nut, I've enjoyed playing Europa Universalis 2. It covers history from 1420-1819 and you try to rule the world. It is your traditional addictive, time-consuming strategy game with an overdose of western civ. It's top-notch.

One of my favorite authors, P.J. O'Rourke, gives us the Upside of a Down Market.

A massive collection of science fiction and pulp magazines spanning the last century has been donated to the University of Calgary (story). William Gibson (not the author) seems to have spent much of his 92 years collecting, cataloging, storing, & apparently poorly labeling science fiction that covers the genre from the late 1800's all the way to cyberpunk.


Games: EA Sports NCAA Football 2003 is out. The only console game that really matters. Start practicing now.


Books/Food: Alton Brown rules. He's written a great book - I'm Just Here for the Food. Read it, now.

Easing my way into the Creative Class (at Amazon).
(Arts & Letters Daily)

Terrorism: Gilles Kepel at Open Democracy argues that Islamic terror is a sign of the failure of extremists to mobilize the Islamic World. (I know, he's French).
(Arts & Letters Daily)



Jeff Sharlett, editor of the website Killing the Buddha, explains what the author of the Lone Patriot missed about militiamen.

The Office of Naval Research is coordinating efforts to develop a system of autonomous fighting machines - the "Multimedia Intelligent Network of Unattended Mobile Agents, or Minutemen", reports The New York Times.

First synthetic virus created. - Isn't science wonderful?

Posting has been particularly slow because I've been gradually moving for the past month. I've been spending most of my time with U-Haul.

How to deal with space debris?


Warchalking and WiFi in Business Week Online.

We have got to get to Mars (here, here, and here). Even if we have to go with the Russians.


Just so the Arabs know, the Israelis have 400 nukes. Consider yourselves warned.


Anne Coulter's new book - Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right - is Number 1 on Amazon.com and the Wall Street Journal and will be at the New York Times. She pulls no punches.


I always love reading about The Death of Socialism.

Smokin' the doob is linked to schizophrenia. No!?! They must be kidding. Wonder if there's a study that shows it's linked to lying on the couch & ordering pizza?


The darkside of hackers/snake oil salesmen taking advantage of holes in internet technology & customers' ignorance (here and here).


I've often said that to see where technology is going "follow the porn".
Then, to find the holes in the new technologies, count on 'hackers' of various stripes to take advantage of the clueless.
Wireless internet access has resulted in "warchalking" of access points.
I think this is cool as hell, in a geeky sort of way.

Dynamist author Virginia Postrel returned from vacation with a vengeance on her blog.


Found the government site that traces wildfires - GeoMac - Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination. It has maps of all U.S. wildfires and up-to-date reports on them.


Discovered a great baseball stats site - Baseball-Reference.com.

A new favorite show - Screensavers - on a new favorite channel - Tech TV.


The NY Times discovers the Skeptical Inquirer.

I may need to take out a loan. Captain Kirk's chair is is on e-bay.

A 'thinking robot' in an English lab makes a break for it.


Circuit City is dropping VHS. We did about 4 years ago.

The incomparable Brink Lindsey takes on Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner in economics who does not get what 'free market' means, at CATO.

Some idiot Brits still worshiping Stalin.
(aldaily - New Statesman)


Neverwinternights goes gold.

Cyberpunk Trains are here.

The contract for the Joint Strike Fighter & how it got done - The Atlantic Online.


The posting has been slow - I've been incommunicado. We are moving from a new house in sunny Gulf Shores, AL to a sagging older house in semi-rural Priceville, AL. Why? Gulf Shores is vastly overrated, my job has not worked out, & the house in Priceville is paid for. We've been driving the length of the state for the last two weeks, making preparations. Right now we only have Earthlink dial-up in Priceville & I left the laptop in Gulf Shores this past week. With no cable ('til Tuesday), we had to get our news from Sprint PCS and we even bought a couple of newspapers (Decatur Daily, Huntsville Times).


These are the books I've been reading this spring.

My desire to get out of teaching is increased by idiotic things like changing authors' works on the N.Y. State graduation exam, so that no one is made to feel uncomfortable. Censorship, violation of copyright, and offensive political correctness - just what I expext from educators.
(Arts & Letters Daily-N.Y. Times)


Cringely on the future of monitors.


When I make the time to read Russ Smith, who edits the alternative New York Press, I always enjoy his work. His latest column questions Bill Kristol's paranoia about President Bush's commitment to fighting terrorism.


Southerners have generally put aside our dislike for all things New York and have expressed admiration for the everyday heroism displayed by the NYPD & FDNY. John Shelton Reed accurately describes this in Our Kind of Yankee.
(Blogistan-MCJ-Opinion Journal)


Libertarians for slavery by Charles Paul Freund for ReasonOnline is excellent - "People did not use emerging concepts of liberty to claim greater personal rights at the expense of others; they used such ideas to expand the rights of ever-greater numbers of their fellow citizens as they were presented with their demands."


I'll have a leg.


Excellent piece from Foreign Policy - Business versus Terror by David J. Rothkopf.


Tunku Varadarajan is exactly right concerning divas and the 'new' Star-Spangled Banner.

It seems to me that it's just hard to have fun anymore without people complaining. But sometimes a teacher can go a little too far.


Okay, George Lucas, all is forgiven. Clones ruled. I'll be going back when I recover from going to the midnight show. Instead of sleeping like on old man, I'm reverting to child hood - I need my 8 & I'm not getting it.


We're going to see Attack of the Clones at midnight. I'll let you know.


Is it any surprise that Jimmy Carter is lying for Castro?


A Man Who Would Shake Up Science.

Larry Miller, contributing humorist to The Daily Standard (and comedian), provides a great take on the Middle East.

As a cryptogeek and historian, I need to see this movie - Enigma.


Mitochondrial DNA - Bryan Sykes explains it all in
The Seven Daughters of Eve - (Salon review).


I saw this guy on Fox News, Shannon Reeves, a black Republican from Oakland, who was just tremendous.

Excellent - Jonah Goldberg, NRO Editor, on censorship.

As a southerner I was brought up with a latent emnity for General Ulysses S. Grant. For the last two years I've been teaching "U.S. History until 1900" and I've shown Ken Burn's Civil War as the penultimate event in the class. I've learned to see Grant as the general the Union needed to win the war. He achieved all three land-war objectives for the Union (Central Tennessee, Vicksburg, & Richmond) and knew it must be a war of attrition. His leadership skills have become the subject of a book & recently in Slate, Chris Suellentrop reconsiders Grant's Presidency as well.

Helpful art/prank as form follows function on the L.A. Freeway.

What more could you ask for - Hubble Wallpapers.


We're getting closer to the future Oscar Goldman promised us - Bionic eyes.


Apparently Jesse Jackson's Shakedown has reached Microsoft.

Mark Steyn describes how the "Ugly European" has replaced the "Ugly American" in The Spectator.


The "Magic Box" may be THE scam of the Information Revolution.


Interesting article describing Japan's emergence as a cultural superpower.
(Arts & Letters Daily)


I love window shopping at this place - ThinkGeek.



I'm usually against telling people how to raise their kids, but since they're vegetarians: Vegetarians Face Child Abuse Charge. It makes me want to smoke some ribs.


I am encouraged by this interview with the designers of Neverwinter Nights.

I'll be looking for a new job in about a month...maybe I'll become a news consultant.


Maybe George Lucas can redeem himself if Harry Knowles review of Episode II is any indication.


Where I'm looking for more computers/gadgets - uBid.

A preview of one of the most anticipated computer games of all time - Neverwinter Nights.


An intellectual Bill of Rights from ifeminists.com.

"Environmentalism, not modern civilization, is tottering. As more critics -- demographers, epidemiologists, toxicologists, climatologists, economists, and, yes, statisticians -- point ever more insistently at the yawning gap between the doomsayers’ claims and scientific and economic reality, the ideologues are becoming ever more frantic to deny the growing contradictions."
(Reason Online)


The Turk - an 18th-century chess-playing automaton/hoax that inspired Charles Babbage.

Bill Gates testified today at the Microsoft anti-trust trial.


This column by David Brooks helps explain the people I call "HAMs" - Hate America Marxists - Among the Bourgeoisophobes.

These are the three shows we try to watch: Trading Spaces, The Osbournes, Insomniac.

I check on Victoria Postrel's Dynamist weblog & generally agree with her (her book), but I'm always pleased to see a feminist like Tammy Bruce who sees the light (her book).


I have always hated Steve "Superior", because he was at Florida. Now that he's gone, I can admit that he's a great coach.

Draft Day: I camp out on the couch and watch the NFL Draft with Chris Berman and Mel Kiper, Jr. I long ago lost my love for the Dallas Cowboys, so now I don't care who wins, but I'll watch the Rams play any time.


Mike Ray's Website