TMQ Critical Season Opens

Gregg Easterbrook today:

In other Olympic news, the timer said Michael Phelps swam the 100-meter butterfly in 50.58 seconds, Milorad Cavic swam it in 50.59 — can anyone seriously believe either finished one-hundredth of a second different from the other?

Yes. Because the cameras at the finish take pictures 10,000 times a second.

Friday Morning Linkorama

  • Now this is a reporter. She gets shot and keeps reporting.
  • Aussies
  • This letter probably explains the reason I would consider voting for McCain. As I’ve said on the other blog, McCain’s policy positions are irrelevant. He’s going to have a Democratic Congress.
  • Ah, Houston police. Makes me almost glad I didn’t get that job down there.
  • Personally, I’ve always suspected as much. Human beings are so smart because we eat processed food, lessening the energy demands of our digestive system.
  • Not a link; just an observation. I’m enjoying the Olympics quite a bit. Last night’s gymnastic final was fantastic.
  • What the hell is wrong with people?
  • Only Democrats could take Al Franken seriously as a Senate candidate. This guy seriously makes Schwarzeneggar look like a genius.
  • Signs You Are A Dad, Part III

    You can never find your cellphone. I’m bad with cellphones to begin with. I rarely carry mine and it’s constantly out of juice. A couple of years ago, I lost a phone in West Texas. And another perished in the Great Root Beer Incident of 2007.

    But now that I have a kid — one who is utterly fascinated by my phone — I can pretty much kiss it goodbye. It will go missing for days only to later reappear it in the cat food. It’s really only a matter of time until it’s flushed down the toilet.

    Olympic Chauvinism

    It’s not just for the US:

    Every four years some people moan and hand-wring about American TV’s excessive focus on American athletes and the Olympic events where Americans are likely to win medals.

    These people need to get out more.

    Or at least they need to spend a little time watching CCTV in China. Today’s early morning and evening Olympic coverage — was gone in the interim, at a real Olympic venue about which more later — focused heavily on events like Women’s Air Pistol (Gold medal: China), Men’s Air Pistol (Gold medal: China), Women’s 48kg Weightlifting (Gold medal: China), Men’s 56kg Weightlifting (Gold medal: China), and… you get the idea.

    Rally Scoring

    I’m watching women’s volleyball right now — did I mention that I love the Olympics? — and I just have this to say:

    Rally scoring sucks. The worst thing about rally scoring is that an error by an official is a two-point swing, rather than 1-point swing or a loss of service.

    Friday Linkorama

  • I’m not surprised that settling is better for malpractice plaintiffs than trial. Being familiar with several trials myself, the greed of the lawyers has a tendency to run afoul of reasonable juries.
  • A great look at why cap and trade won’t work. It’s one thing to cap and trade sulphur dioxide. It’s another thing to cap and trade the lifeblood of economics.
  • Prediction. Within a decade, the major airlines will either be bankrupt or running only international flights. Their business model — which consists of nickel and diming the customer to death — just isn’t feasible anymore.
  • If this doesn’t convince people that the government should stay the hell out of energy policy, nothing will:

    The Environmental Protection Agency rejected on Thursday a request to cut the quota for the use of ethanol in cars, concluding, for the time being, that the goal of reducing the nation’s reliance on oil trumps any effect on food prices from making fuel from corn.

    I am extremely dubious about both the practically and the usefulness of “energy independence”. But this is beyond the pale. The EPA is essentially saying that they don’t care if anyone starves or if tens of millions are pushed into poverty. ADM needs its subsidies, God dammit!

  • I got 7 out of 13. Watching too much Doctor Who, I think.
  • I honestly think that this perfectly encapsulates the thinking of the anti-school choice legions.
  • Never forget. Bush has not discredited small government ideas. He never pursued them. You can’t praise Bush in 2000 for departing from small government ideas and then claim he’s unpopular because of small government ideas he thoroughly abandoned.
  • Some hope on the eminent domain front. Slowly but surely.
  • Cheerleaders

    Apparently, I missed all the fun while I was in Austin:

    How many cheerleaders can cram into an elevator? Apparently not 26. A group of teenage girls attending a cheerleading camp on the University of Texas got stuck and had to be rescued after trying to squeeze into an elevator at a residence hall Tuesday night.

    One girl fainted and was treated at a hospital and released. Two others were treated at the scene.

    The elevator doors refused to open after the pack of 14- to 17-year-olds descended from the fourth to the first floor, police said. Responding to a few panicked cell phone calls from the group, police and firefighters summoned an elevator repairman, who spent about 25 minutes extricating them.

    Campus officials weren’t amused.

    “It’s dangerous, actually,” said a school police spokeswoman, Rhonda Weldon. “They’re lucky that that’s all that happened.”

    Well, to be fair, 26 cheerleaders probably weight a lot less than say, ten astronomers. But this doesn’t surprise me. Packs of teenage girls can often act as dumb as any group of men numbering more than zero.

    The Dark Knight

    I finally found the right intersection of baby sitter, wife and work that allowed me to see The Dark Knight. And I was pleased to find that the hype was for real. The movie is very good. I’m not a huge fan of comic book or superhero movies. I liked but didn’t love the Spiderman and X-Men movies. I wasn’t terribly impressed by Supeman Returns. But I really liked Batman Begins and really liked this one.

    Before I get into the specifics (which I’ll put below the fold to avoid spoilers), I must say that this has been the best summer movie season I can recall in some time. WALL-E, Ironman and Dark Knight are all great. Indy 4, for all its silliness, was good. I’m still interested in catching, on DVD, Get Smart, Prince Caspian and Hellboy II.

    Compare this to recent years:

    2007 – The summer of the brain-dead third parts. None were awful, but the third installments of Spidey, Shrek and Pirates weren’t terribly good. The best movie of the summer was either Ratatouille, one of Pixar’s lesser efforts, Simpsons, which I enjoyed because I’m a fan, or Transformers, which wasn’t really that good.

    2006 – More brain-dead sequels. MI3, X3, Pirates 2. I wasn’t that impressed by Superman Returns. The only good movie was Casino Royale.

    2005 – Sith and Batman Begins were great. Everything else — Kong, Potter 4, Narina was saved until winter.

    2004 – Shrek 2, Spidey 2, the latter being very over-rated. But Potter 3 was good.

    And so on. This is the first summer I can remember which produced at least three movies, and probably four, that I want on DVD. Every year, I predict that the movies will be better. This time, I was finally right.

    Oh, and I saw the trailer for Quantum of Solace before. Man, am I looking forward to that. It will give me something to do after what will no doubt be a depressing election.

    Continue reading The Dark Knight