Monthly Archives: November 2011

Internet-ready contact lenses

Imagine being able to access the Internet through the contact lenses on your eyeballs. Blink, and you’d be online. Meet someone, and you’d have the ability to immediately search their identity. And if your friend happens to be speaking a different language, an instantaneous translation could appear directly in front of you.

That might sound farfetched, but it’s something that might very well exist in 30 years or less, says theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.

“The first people to buy these contact lenses will be college students studying for final exams,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “They’ll see the exam answers right in their contact lenses. … In a cocktail party, you will know exactly who to suck up to, because you’ll have a complete read out of who they are. President Barack Obama will buy these contact lenses, so he’ll never need a teleprompter again. … These already exist in some form [in the military]. You place [a lens] on your helmet, you flip it down, and immediately you see the Internet of the battlefield … all of it, right on your eyeball.”

Read more of the Physics of the Future here.

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Filed under Technology

Please drop out.

The Washington Post is now reporting that Herman Cain will reassess his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, with a decision made by late in the week. Battered by sexual harassment allegations, and now a new allegation of a 13-year-long extra-marital affair, the businessman has reason to doubt his chances. Intrade lists his chances at 1%.

If Herman Cain is truly a businessman who, as his deputy campaign manager explains, “looks at the entire landscape before making decisions,” then he will exit the race. He will come to the same conclusion if truly wants to “make this nation stronger.” If his goal is to promote the issues and solutions to strengthen the nation, he can do so as a radio host and spokesman for conservative causes.

More important, Republicans should encourage him to leave the race. Cain has few qualifications for office, other than corporate executive experience. That experience is not to be mocked, but neither is a lack of experience in Washington something to be desired. Republicans argued (correctly) that Obama had no executive experience prior to running for the presidency. Has that lack of experience helped him enact his legislation? Honest democrats have admitted that it hasn’t.

In what other line of work is not having any direct experience a plus? Surgery? Carpentry? Investment banking?

Republicans would be wise to look for a candidate who has relevant experience, whether in Washington or in state governance. Private sector experience, foreign policy exposure, and honorable military service should be welcome additions to a candidates resume, but not the sole substance of it. Generalship perhaps is an exception, but relevant political experience should be foremost in the litmus test for the GOP presidential nomination.

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Filed under Election 2012

End it, don’t mend it.

The House Republicans will vote on a bill this week to abolish the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account, well before President Obama and the yet-to-be-determined Republican candidate have declared whether they plan to take those funds. Although this bill will mostly likely be DOA in the Senate, this is a worthwhile move. This has been a Republican goal for years but has continued with Democratic support. When Obama began his candidacy for the 2008 election he declared that he would accept the federal funding, and encouraged the other candidates to as well. Later, when he realized that his personal fundraising would break all records, opted out, saying it was “not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections. But the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system.”

If it was broken then, it’s broken now. Nothing has been done to fix it, and I’ll bet my $3 – the current voluntary donation on income tax forms – that Obama and the Republican nominee decline the funds. Obama is looking to raise upwards of $5 billion while the Republicans will leverage the fever of the Tea Party and surely break the measly $100 million offered by the program. Who supports this program in anything except words?

Created in 1976, the public funding system— which offers money to qualified primary- and general-election candidates, raised via a voluntary checkoff on individuals’ tax returns — has been on the ropes for at least a dozen years. George W. Bush started a trend by declining to take money during his 2000 and 2004 presidential primaries, and Obama became the first candidate not to accept funding for his general-election campaign in 2008.

At the same time, the proportion of taxpayers choosing to contribute to the presidential fund has been inching steadily downward. According to the IRS, the number has dropped from nearly 20 percent in 1990, to 12 percent in 2000, to less than 7 percent in 2010. So why continue a program that so few Americans are willing to subsidize?

President Obama says the system is broken, but that it needs to be repaired not scraped. No details were offered.

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Filed under Domestic Politics

Back from Vacation

I returned from a wonderful and relaxing vacation last night. Back to work this morning. I hope you enjoyed the selected posts while I was gone. Normal blogging resumes today, jet lag permitting.

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Filed under Miscellaneous

Beautiful Music. Beautiful Choreography.

Iron and Wine’s “Boy with a Coin.” Enjoy!


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Filed under Music

Goldwater’s aim

“My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to repeal old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden… And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituent’s ‘interests,’ I shall reply… that their main interest is liberty, and that in that cause I am doing the best I can.” -Barry Goldwater

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Filed under Domestic Politics, Philosophy, Quotations

How to Print a Map Envelope

I love this idea. You can print a map of your exact location, or of a special location, and fold that map into an envelope. In this day and age of emails, sending handwritten letters via snail mail shows thoughtfulness. This also shows creativity.


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David Axe on the world he sees.

“The more of the world I see, the less sense it makes. The more different people I meet, the less I believe in their humanity. The older I get, the less comfortable I am in my own skin. We are a world at war, sometimes quietly, often not. We are the cleverest monsters, and we deserve everything we’ve got coming.

“Everything falls apart. Everyone dies in time. In the great, slow reduction of our lives and history, the things we can believe in shrink into a space smaller than our own bodies. To preserve them, for as long as you might, arm yourself, and be afraid.”

-David Axe


Filed under Philosophy, Quotations

David Keith and Geoengineering

Environmental scientist David Keith proposes a cheap, effective, shocking means to address climate change: What if we injected a huge cloud of ash into the atmosphere to deflect sunlight and heat?

Those of you who have read SuperFreakonomics are familiar with the argument, but David Keith, a professor at the University of Calgary, is one of the more respected voices in the climate change community who has addressed geoengineering, “deliberately manipulating the Earth’s climate to counteract the effects of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions.”

Only a 16-min video, but worth the time for those concerned about, or interested in, climate change. At the very least you’ll be convinced that geoengineering should be “moved out of the shadows.”

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Filed under Science, Technology

PJ O’Rourke on the politician’s paycheck

“Power is the politician’s paycheck. Power gets politicians all the good things money can buy and plenty of other things as well. Businessmen work for money because money gives them mastery over their own lives. Politicians work for power because power gives them mastery over the lives of others.” -PJ O’Rourke

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Filed under Domestic Politics, Quotations