Today’s phischbits

Digital Natives » Fine-Tuning Facebook: A Field Trip through Privacy Controls

Digital Natives » Fine-Tuning Facebook: A Field Trip through Privacy Controls
This may be old news for some, but if you haven’t tip-toed through your Facebook account’s privacy settings lately, this is a good guide.
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Recovery of US Airways 1549 from Hudson River (PICS) | ReasonPad

Recovery of US Airways 1549 from Hudson River (PICS) | ReasonPad
How do out get an airliner out of a river? Easy. (1) You need a big barge. (2) You need a big crane. (3) You need someone to document the recovery.
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Questions for Obama’s science guy

Jeff Jacoby:

IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy — the position known informally as White House science adviser — President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists, one “with a resume longer than your arm,” as Newsweek’s Sharon Begley exulted when the announcement was made. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and the author or co-author of many papers and books.

He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years — and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.

The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren’s nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight:

2009 Index of Economic Freedom

From The Patriot Post, Friday Digest, Vol. 09 No. 02:

In alarming conjunction with recent headlines reporting that the global influence of the United States has slipped dramatically due to the dereliction of government regulators largely responsible for triggering the current recession, the 15th annual Index of Economic Freedom published jointly by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation reveals the U.S. saw a corresponding slip in its rankings to sixth place. Hong Kong is tops again, followed by Singapore, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand to round out the top five.

Evaluating numerous criteria relating to economic freedom, the study again shows an affirmative correlation between economic freedom and national income. Freer countries enjoy per capita incomes more than 10 times higher than those in “repressed” countries occupying the bottom of the rankings. In a chilling highlight, it was repressed nations that turned to deficit spending, government seizure of land and resources, and government support of favored enterprises, eventually devastating their economies even further with government mismanagement. Not to suggest that our government’s current bailout debacle bears a striking resemblance to government mismanagement that landed many of the repressed countries at the bottom of the rankings, but as Founding Father John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things.”
It’s pretty bad when politically repressive places such as Hong Kong and Singapore are ranking higher on the list than the oldest surviving constitutional republic in the world.

“The current economic strategy is right out of Atlas Shrugged.”

Stephen Moore, ‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years:

For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises — that in most cases they themselves created — by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs…and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.

In the book, these relentless wealth redistributionists and their programs are disparaged as “the looters and their laws.” Every new act of government futility and stupidity carries with it a benevolent-sounding title. These include the “Anti-Greed Act” to redistribute income (sounds like Charlie Rangel’s promises soak-the-rich tax bill) and the “Equalization of Opportunity Act” to prevent people from starting more than one business (to give other people a chance). My personal favorite, the “Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Act,” aims to restrict cut-throat competition between firms and thus slow the wave of business bankruptcies. Why didn’t Hank Paulson think of that?

These acts and edicts sound farcical, yes, but no more so than the actual events in Washington, circa 2008. We already have been served up the $700 billion “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” and the “Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act.” Now that Barack Obama is in town, he will soon sign into law with great urgency the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” This latest Hail Mary pass will increase the federal budget (which has already expanded by $1.5 trillion in eight years under George Bush) by an additional $1 trillion — in roughly his first 100 days in office.

The current economic strategy is right out of “Atlas Shrugged”: The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. That’s the justification for the $2 trillion of subsidies doled out already to keep afloat distressed insurance companies, banks, Wall Street investment houses, and auto companies — while standing next in line for their share of the booty are real-estate developers, the steel industry, chemical companies, airlines, ethanol producers, construction firms and even catfish farmers. With each successive bailout to “calm the markets,” another trillion of national wealth is subsequently lost. Yet, as “Atlas” grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims, while those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate “windfalls.”
This. Must. STOP.
[Registration may be necessary to read complete article on WSJ.com.]
[Wave of the phin to Stephen for the link, via IM.]