Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

and the prize for stupid idea of the month goes to...

...the Pentagon, for their announcement that they would create a "futures market" for terrorist attacks. As I read the article, I had to double-check a few times to make sure that I hadn't ended up at The Onion by mistake (with competition like this in the pentagon, the onion might have to shut down, or change its domain to ".mil" to be taken seriously). In any case, one can certainly understand the logic behind this idea, as a theoretical undertaking. But we're talking about reality here (aren't we?). The group of guys at the Pentagon that keeps coming up with things like these look to me to be a tiny (tiny, tiny) bit out of touch. This comment (from the article) by a senator says it all I think:

One [senator, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota] said the idea seemed so preposterous that he had trouble persuading people it was not a hoax. "Can you imagine," Mr. Dorgan asked, "if another country set up a betting parlor so that people could go in — and is sponsored by the government itself — people could go in and bet on the assassination of [a] political figure?"
Yes, I think we can all imagine. (This same senator later sharpened his commentary slightly by saying, according to CNN, that the plan was "unbelievably stupid").

Besides, eight million dollars for this? I guess they had some leftover change from some smart bombs and such.

Since we're on this kind of mood :-) the Onion has this hilarious "News In Brief" item today:

Bush Not Heard From For Over A Month
WASHINGTON, DC—Beltway insiders and members of the media expressed concern Monday that President Bush has not been heard from for nearly five weeks. "I hope he's okay," said Secretary of State Colin Powell. "It's just like him to go off on a fishing trip to Alaska or something and not tell anyone. Which is fine. I mean, he's the president and can do what he wants and all that, but we kind of need to wrap up this whole Liberia thing we started." White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan admitted that he was unclear about the president's whereabouts, but figured he must be "off somewhere busy with something."
Bush does seem to get a lot of leeway from the press on this matter, doesn't he? On the other hand, look at poor Blair on this side of the Atlantic. He's on TV so much, his close relatives probably need to sneak into a press conference to see him in the flesh.

And, btw, about Pentagon thing, we could also give it the prize for "fastest to be shot down". CNN was announcing this afternoon that the plan will be abandoned. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. All twenty-four hours of it.

Categories: geopolitics
Posted by diego on July 29, 2003 at 8:26 PM

remember afghanistan?

The Economist has a sobering summary of the current situation there.

Categories: geopolitics
Posted by diego on July 29, 2003 at 7:58 PM

browser news

[Both items originally via Erik] First, Cheah notes that Firebird 0.6.1 has been released, fixing the infamous autocomplete bug. That bug (that crashes Firebird 0.6 after a number of uses of autocomplete on web forms) was incredibly annoying and it got me to the point where I was seriously considering to ditch Firebird. Glad to dump those thoughts. Bad, bad thoughts. Bad. (Slaps thoughts).

Ok. Breathe deep. Then go download.

Then Dion talks about projects to combine Mozilla and Java. In particular the idea of using Java as a backend for XUL sounds interesting (as a cool combination at least) but the bridge between them would have to be rock solid to be useful. Something to follow anyway.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on July 29, 2003 at 6:40 PM

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