Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Devin Finbarr recently addressed the decline of Detroit and other cities by suggesting some reading:

The Slaughter of the Cities, Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn Against Liberalism, Bridging the River of Hatred. Banfield is also a great source, and his books are free online. Check out the chapter in The Unheavenly City, “Rioting mainly for fun and profit”.

I followed the link and came across these Banfield-isms:

  • “Do no good and no harm will come of it.”
  • “Those who cannot learn cannot be taught; those who can learn don’t need to be taught.”
  • “If you don’t want people to find out about something, don’t do it.”
  • “Social scientists should never try to predict the future; they have trouble enough predicting the past.”
  • “A Unitarian is a lapsed Christian. I’m a lapsed Unitarian.”

The preface to The Unheavenly City opens with these words:

This book will probably strike many readers as the work of an ill-tempered and mean-spirited fellow.

Southern Half?

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

J.F. Gjersø recently addressed the North-South Divide, and now xkcd looks at the southern half of the globe:

Six Laws That Were Great On Paper

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Six laws that were great on paper — and insane everywhere else:

6. Smoking Bans in Pubs and Bars Means More Drunk Driving
A study by researchers Scott Adams and Chad Cotti discovered that, when faced with smoking bans in bars near their homes, alcohol-drinking smokers would simply drive further to other jurisdictions where the bans weren’t in place. That also meant they had a longer drive home when they were potentially drunk off their asses. Adams and Cotti found that, on average, there was a 13 percent increase in drunk driving fatalities in areas that had instituted smoking bans.

5. Sex Offender Laws Make Them Harder to Track
Somebody took a map of Dubuque and drew 4,000-foot diameter circles around every “predator free” landmark in town. They quickly realized that with dozens of overlapping circles covering the entire city, there was literally no place that a sex offender could legally live.
Once everyone on the sex offender registry became basically homeless, a good number of them went underground and disappeared off the police radar altogether.

4. Fishing Restrictions Mean Smaller Fish
In one study, a batch of Atlantic Silversides were divided up between three tanks. In the first tank, 90 percent of the largest fish were culled; in the second, 90 percent of the smallest fish were culled; and in the third control tank, they culled fish at random. Counter-intuitively, it turned out that the second tank ended up having larger fish, over longer periods of time.

3. The Endangered Species Act Endangers Species
As luck would have it, an estimated 90 percent of all endangered species in the United States can be found on privately owned land. When an animal on the endangered species list is found living somewhere, the surrounding habitat is automatically protected right along with it, and any activity that might harm the animal must cease. If the Fish and Wildlife Agency identifies a particular area as home to a giant kangaroo rat, for example, then farmers are restricted from tilling the soil there. Timber companies can’t harvest trees.
Obviously the farmers weren’t exactly content to let the government put the needs of a rat, no matter how giant or kangaroo-like, above their livelihoods. If their land seemed like a suitable habitat for an endangered species, then the solution was obvious: Wreck the ever-loving shit out of the property to make it as unattractive to that animal as possible, kind of like keeping the refrigerator empty and never washing towels until your dickhead roommate moves out. Alternately, if they found an endangered species living on their property before the government did, then it was time to shoot, shovel and shut up. Kill the animal, bury it and never say a word to anyone. The endangered species list basically became a hit list for any animal that was on it.

2. Boxing Gloves Mean More Head Injuries
The only thing boxing gloves have reduced are the number of cuts and bruises, while significantly increasing the risk of brain damage and number of deaths. [...] Yes, it turns out boxing gloves have only made it easier to punch a guy square in the face with full force. While the glove protects the hand against injury, your opponent’s brain still has to deal with the full force of the blow, actually made worse by the added weight of the glove.

1. The Paperwork Reduction Act Does Nothing of the Sort
If a particular government agency wants to collect data from more than nine people they must apply for an Information Collection Requirement (ICR) from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These ICR numbers have to be renewed every three years or, you guessed it, there are reams of reports to that have to be filed in order to update them.

Nazis in Spaaaaaaaace!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Somehow I missed the initial Iron Sky teaser, which came out two years ago and has since garnered 1.3 million YouTube views:

The Finnish filmmakers behind the trailer managed to bring in micro-investments from 52 fans and produced a second teaser trailer:

Now that the space-Nazi trailers have brought in funding, the film is going into production:

With 90 percent of the feature-length project’s $8.5 million budget now funded, casting for Iron Sky is nearly complete, with filming set to begin in Australia and Germany this fall.

CGI maestro Samuli Torssonen supervised Iron Sky’s visual effects after spending seven years working on zero-budget feature Star Wreck. For the Iron Sky trailers, “everything was either shot by ourselves or created by our VFX team at Energia Productions,” Torssonen told in an e-mail. “I think for indie productions it is very important to have in-house creative which can archive visually impressive shots with a decent budget.”

Torssonen relied on Maya 3-D software to craft the trailers’ visual effects. “Every shot was filmed against blue/green screen in a local studio,” he said. “Every shot, of course, also had quite a lot of CGI.”

Fan investments in Iron Sky were augmented by money from 12 traditional financiers, according to producer Tero Kaukomaa of Blind Spot Pictures. “If we are able to make money,” Kaukomaa said, “then the crowd who invested will make money, and if that happens, it will speed up the possibility to fund films totally with crowds.”

But VFX man Torssonen cautions that “fan/community funding is not an easy way out. We didn’t come out of nowhere. We’ve been building our internet community and visibility since 1999, with Star Wreck. You have to invest a lot of time and energy to win the trust of the internet audience. The only way to do that is to deliver good quality. Mediocre stuff just won’t cut it.”

As a hybrid model blending conventional business cash with microdonations from sci-fi zealots, Iron Sky is emerging as the most expensive fan-curated movie to date. As such, it points the way toward a future in which audience and investor become one and the same.

“I think it’s great that the audience can, in some terms, ‘order’ a film that they find cool by investing, participating in the production or donating money,” Torssonen said. “They can give ideas and feedback, become part of the whole process, and finally see a film in theaters that has been tailored for their needs.”

This invites an obvious comparison:

New Jersey’s Indian Influx

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Joel Stein’s home town of Edison, New Jersey — formerly Menlo Park, where Thomas Edison set up shop — is now totally unfamiliar to him. It has become home to one of the biggest Indian communities in the US:

I called James W. Hughes, policy-school dean at Rutgers University, who explained that Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 immigration law raised immigration caps for non-European countries. LBJ apparently had some weird relationship with Asians in which he liked both inviting them over and going over to Asia to kill them.

After the law passed, when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to AT&T, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post–WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.
Unlike previous waves of immigrants, who couldn’t fly home or Skype with relatives, Edison’s first Indian generation didn’t quickly assimilate (and give their kids Western names). But if you look at the current Facebook photos of students at my old high school, J.P. Stevens, which would be very creepy of you, you’ll see that, while the population seems at least half Indian, a lot of them look like the Italian Guidos I grew up with in the 1980s: gold chains, gelled hair, unbuttoned shirts. In fact, they are called Guindians. Their assimilation is so wonderfully American that if the Statue of Liberty could shed a tear, she would. Because of the amount of cologne they wear.

(Hat tip to Steve Sailer, naturally.)

Scenario Training

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Rory Miller (Meditations on Violence) recommends scenario training:

So in scenario training, you start with what you want the student to learn. You wanted the student to learn how to tap into her inner beast and let go? You can set up scenarios for that. You want to get a student over some deep personal conditioning? You can inoculate for that with scenarios. You want them to take sterile skills and apply them to a dynamic, messy environment? Scenarios were made for that.

Most often I use them to help the student develop judgment in tandem with skills. They know how to take someone down… do they have any idea when it is appropriate? They know how to defend themselves, do they know what constitutes self-defense legally? Can they explain their actions to a jury of their peers?

Can they tell when a situations is developing? Do they know when to leave? Do they recognize the point of no return? Knowledge of violence dynamics (how bad guys attack) and force law are integral parts of self-defense. Every so often, these elements have to be practiced together.

The other thing about scenario training is that you find glitches. When the student doesn’t run; or uses a martial skill instead of a survival skill (fighting to win instead of fighting to escape) or plays to the scenario instead of the problem (decides not to use the mirrors or doors, ignoring truth for an image in the head) it tells you something. The same student is vulnerable to his or her own mind games and assumptions in real life. That’s a glitch, and a dangerous one. The best survivors are cheaters. If you want to encourage survival skills, you have to make it safe to cheat.

It takes good role-players and a good coach. A role-player who wants to can turn everything into a fight…and the student learns that only fighting (never leaving, never talking) is what works. A role-player who can play a convincing criminal (not an unstoppable monster or a cartoon character) is solid gold.

I find that there’s a certain paradox to “realistic” scenario training:

In my experience, roleplaying, like animation, has an awkward tendency to fall into the uncanny valley, where increased realism makes the whole thing seem less realistic.

In real life, I trust my gut, but in a scenario all the cues are off, and I have to consciously pretend to counter-intimidate the guy brought in to yell at me, or whatever.

Where it’s undeniably useful is in eliciting a huge adrenaline response or a sense of total shock and surprise, because that opens some eyes — fine-motor skills go bye-bye, tunnel vision kicks in, etc. — and teaches you both how to stay somewhat calm and what you can do when you’re not centered.

Best Inoculation Ever

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Being rather pedantic, Aretae sticks with the actual definitions of the words atheist and agnostic:

Theism and Atheism are positions about belief in a god. Gnosticism and Agnosticism are positions about whether you can know things — and usually talking about the ability to know about God.

I, like 95% of all the other atheists I know are Agnostic Atheists. We do not believe in a god. And we do not believe that such a thing is knowable. And mostly, we think that the question is silly, along with the question of whether you are an A-Thor-ist, an A-Faerie-ist, or an A-6-dimensional invisible blue banana-ist. Yeah, whatever.

(If you’re trying to promote skepticism, I think the 1st edition AD&D Deities & Demigods book may be the best inoculation ever.)

The evangelical Christians were so afraid that D&D would convert nice little Christian children into devil-worshipers, when it really did something far worse; it turned them into non-worshipers.

Actually, it didn’t do that either. If you’re not genetically predisposed, the inoculation appears totally ineffective.

Don’t Trust Any General Over 50?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Should the rule of thumb be, Don’t trust any general over 50? Joseph Fouché cites Dmitri Rotov, who cites J.F.C. Fuller, while discussing generals who faint:

In J.F.C. Fuller’s book Generalship: Its Diseases and Their Cure, he names three pillars of generalship: courage, creative intelligence, and physical fitness, and he attributes all three to “the attributes of youth rather than middle age.” He does not find courage and creative intelligence among middle aged officers as a rule, and he would be dismayed at the current leadership of the U.S. military.

Tom Ricks of CNAS makes a related point in Lose a General, Win a War:

Back in World War II, the Army had no qualms about letting officers go; at least 16 of the 155 generals who commanded divisions in combat during the war were relieved while in combat. George Marshall, the nation’s top general, felt that a willingness to fire subordinates was a requirement of leadership. He once described Gen. Hap Arnold, chief of the Army Air Forces, as a fine man, but one who “didn’t have the nerve to get rid of men not worth a damn.”

Marshall had plenty of nerve: in 1940 and ’41, as war loomed, he forced into retirement several hundred officers he deemed too old and slow to be effective. When the commandant at Leavenworth, Brig. Gen. Charles Bundel, told him that updating the complete set of Army training manuals would take 18 months, Marshall offered him three months, and then four months, to do the job. It can’t be done, Bundel twice responded.

“You be very careful about that,” Marshall told him in a telephone conversation.

“No, it can’t be done,” Bundel repeated.

“I’m sorry, then you are relieved,” Marshall said.

We tend to remember those who were nearly relieved but ultimately weren’t, most notably Gen. George Patton, who came closest to being fired during the war after slapping two American soldiers suffering from combat fatigue. But that sort of exception illustrates another aspect of the lost tradition of relieving commanders: the military had some flexibility in enforcing it. Patton was seen by his superiors as having unusual weaknesses but equally rare strengths, so he was kept on.

One advantage of having a more flexible attitude toward removal from combat command was that it did not necessarily mean the end of one’s career. During World War II, three Army division commanders — Orlando Ward, Terry de la Mesa Allen and Leroy Watson — were relieved of command of divisions in combat but went on to lead different divisions later in the war.

The old system may seem harsh in today’s light, and certainly some men were treated unfairly. But keep in mind that job losses were dwarfed by combat losses: In the summer of 1944, 15 of the 20 battalion and regimental commanders in the 82nd Airborne were either killed or wounded. In World War II, a front-line officer either succeeded, became a casualty or was relieved within a few months — or in some cases, within days.

The tradition of swift relief provided two benefits that we have lost in today’s Army: It punished failure and it gave an opportunity to younger, more energetic officers who were better equipped to adapt to the quickening pace of the war. When George Marshall heard of a major who really was doing a general’s work, he stepped in to make the man a brigadier general overnight. Under this audacious system, a generation of brilliant young commanders emerged, men like James Gavin, an innovator in airborne warfare who became the Army’s youngest three-star general.

But that tradition was somehow lost in the Korean War and buried conclusively in Vietnam. Nowadays, dynamic young leaders can’t emerge as quickly, because almost no one is fired. In a much-discussed 2007 article in Armed Forces Journal, Lt. Col. Paul Yingling wrote that “a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

In Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, most of our commanders have “rotated in” for a year, led their units and gone home. This skews incentives away from risk-taking and toward not making waves. Consequently, the only generals who are fired are those at the very top, who do not serve one-year tours of duty and so must be removed by firing or forced resignation.

People like soccer’s offensive ineptitude

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Hard as it can be for Americans to believe, Steve Sailer says, people like soccer’s offensive ineptitude:

In the American cool weather game, scores have gradually risen as competence increased. In the 1970 NFL season, for instance, teams scored 3.5 times per game: 2.2 touchdowns and 1.3 field goals. (I’ll ignore point-after-touchdown conversions as vestigial.) That was 2.4 times the 1970 World Cup scoring rate of 1.48 goals per team per match.

By the most recent year, NFL teams were up to 4.1 scores per game (2.6 touchdowns and 1.5 field goals), while World Cup teams were down to 1.05. Hence, the NFL now sees almost four times as many scores as the World Cup.

Yet, both enterprises have flourished extravagantly over the last four decades. In a world that smugly congratulates itself on its purported increasing diversity, tastes in spectator sports have been homogenizing: football in America and soccer elsewhere.

It seems likely that the two kinds of football, in their different but both triumphant evolutions, are giving the people what they want. Hard as it can be for Americans to believe, people like soccer’s offensive ineptitude.

The appeal of high-scoring American football — with its action, expertise, and comebacks against the clock — is as obvious as the appeal of American summer movies.

In contrast, low-scoring soccer fulfills other human desires: such as, to not lose. Americans find it derisible that of the first 48 World Cup games, 14 ended without a victor. (As General Patton noted, “Americans love a winner.”) But that means that 65 percent of the time, fans avoided the national humiliation of defeat.

Bad offense also keeps hope alive throughout the match. If, say, England takes a 1-0 lead in the first four minutes, you can always hope their goalie will muff an easy one. Moreover, the narrowness of the margin gives you more excuse to complain that the referee cheated you.

The lack of proficiency also makes each of the few goals seem more epic, more worthy of being carved on the player’s tombstone: “Scored goal against Honduras in 2010 World Cup.”

Finally, low-scoring games are easy for fans to talk about because there isn’t much to recollect: a couple of goals and your favorite coulda woulda shoulda moment. In contrast, NFL games average eight scores, and, honestly, who can remember all that?

American games, such as baseball, tend to be described best statistically. Yet, humans don’t naturally like to think statistically. They like to think in narratives, and attribute outcomes (if they win) to the proper workings of moral justice, or (if they don’t) to sneaky villains, for which soccer is perfect.


Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

The Airfish is an unusual blimp that moves like a trout, with no conventional motor:

The designers, led by Christa Jordi and colleagues from EMPA, the Swiss federal laboratories for materials testing and research in Dübendorf, replaced traditional motors with swaths of acrylic polymers on each side of the Airfish. The polymers connect to carbon electrodes, and when a voltage moves across them, the electrodes are attracted to each other, compressing the polymers. The Airfish is forced to flex like a contracting muscle. By alternating the voltages applied to each side of the vehicle, the team can make the ship shimmy like a fish. Membranes on the tail move it back and forth, too.

The team modeled the Airfish after rainbow trout because they’re versatile swimmers, but aren’t especially quick or agile. They programmed software to mimic the rhythm of the trout’s motion, and ran it on a computer attached to lithium-polymer batteries in the airship’s gondola, New Scientist reports.

The combined motion of the tail and the body make the Airfish move forward at roughly 1.5 feet per second, akin to a slow walking speed.

Sumo Gambling

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I’m shocked — shocked! — to find that gambling is going on in sumo:

A slew of top-division sumo wrestlers — including its second-ranked wrestler — won’t compete in next month’s Nagoya grand tournament, in an unprecedented decision, after 65 of the sport’s 700 active sumo wrestlers admitted to illegally gambling on baseball and other games.

The Japan Sumo Association, the sport’s governing body known for its strict adherence to hierarchy and ritual, said the Nagoya tournament would proceed on July 11 as scheduled, but without the participation of 14 top wrestlers, including seven in the top division called Makuuchi.

A 34 year-old wrestler by the single name of Kotomitsuki, who reached the level of ozeki, or champion (one rank below yokozuna, or grand champion), is the highest-ranking wrestler barred from the tournament.

Obama won’t charge Blackwater with violation of Sudan sanctions

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Blackwater tried — but failed — to secure a defense contract with Southern Sudan while the country was under U.S. economic sanctions, and now the big news is that Obama won’t charge Blackwater for violating those sanctions:

Perhaps the most unique character in the story is Bradford Phillips, a Christian evangelical activist and former congressional aide who runs the Persecution Project Foundation, a Culpeper, Virginia nonprofit that works to publicize and alleviate the plight of Sudan’s Christians.

At Prince’s request, Phillips called on the government of Southern Sudan and recommended Blackwater’s protective services. He helped set up meetings between Kiir and Prince in Africa and Washington. The Washington session took place in November 2005 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, a few blocks from the White House, the documents show.

The chief salesman to the Sudanese during the Washington meeting appears to have been Cofer Black, a former top CIA and State Department official who in 2001 famously demanded that a CIA subordinate kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and deliver his head in dry ice.

Southern Sudan had emerged in 2005 as an autonomous region after a U.S.-brokered peace deal ended a 22-year war with the North. Weeks after he took the helm of the new Southern Sudan government, Kiir’s predecessor, John Garang, was killed in an unexplained helicopter crash, and Blackwater’s sales pitch to the Bush administration was that protecting the new leader would support U.S. policy objectives.

The company, however, also saw huge potential profits.

After negotiating a $2 million draft contract to train Kiir’s personal security detail, Blackwater in early 2007 drafted a detailed second proposal, valued at more than $100 million, to equip and train the south’s army. Because the south lacked ready cash, Blackwater sought 50 percent of the south’s untapped mineral wealth, a former senior U.S. official said.

In addition to its well-known oil and natural gas reserves, Southern Sudan has vast untapped reserves of gold, iron and diamonds.

“Most people don’t know this stuff exists. These guys did,” said a second former senior official who saw the document, which apparently was never signed.

Ultimately, though, Blackwater’s venture in Southern Sudan foundered, U.S. officials said.

The MotoCzysz E1pc

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Former motorcycle racer and architect Michael Czysz — pronounced “sizz” — founded MotoCzysz to develop the world’s most advanced electric motorcycle, the E1pc:

This is the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc, a race bike built by a tiny Oregonian company focused on pushing the limits of electric performance to the absolute max. It packs 10 times the battery capacity of a Toyota Prius and 2.5 times the torque of a Ducati 1198 into a package that looks like something out of a 24th-century Thunderdome.

The writer, Wes Siler, had me until Thunderdome. The gladiatorial arena in the post-apocalyptic settlement of Bartertown — in the third Mad Max movie — is decidedly low tech.

His later simile works better:

The E1pc looks like an X-Wing crossed with an iPod to the other electric racer’s cobbled-together adaptations of existing internal combustion engine bikes.

Unlike last year’s model, which used off-the-shelf parts and fried its electronic control unit after the first lap of the Isle of Man TT, this year’s model is almost completely custom designed:

“A bike has a relationship with the rider and a balance that is way beyond cars and computers, so you can’t just randomly shove stuff around and hope it works,” describes Czysz. “You have to work around the batteries, they’re they largest component, the heaviest component and the most important component.”

On the 2010 E1pc the batteries are huge, visually dominating the bike and occupying the space traditionally reserved for an internal combustion engine. There are 10 individual lithium polymer cells that each weigh 19.5 Lbs and were hand-assembled by a company that typically builds batteries for NASA. The level of integration here hints at the kind of work that’s gone into the rest of the bike. There are no wires connecting the batteries to the bike or any exposed terminals. Instead, posts on the batteries lock into receivers on the bike’s frame, at once making the electrical connection and supporting the batteries’ weight. The proprietary internal arrangement is secret, so we can’t show you a picture of it, but it allows the batteries to be swapped out in just a couple of seconds.

That ability is crucial. The electric motor is powerful enough to chew through the 12.5 kWh of on-board power in just 40 miles under race conditions (in comparison, the 2010 Toyota Prius’s battery pack holds just 1.3 kWh and can travel only a single mile in full-electric mode). Quick-swap batteries allow the team to run road tests without waiting four hours between charges and, more importantly, removable batteries bring huge safety benefits. The E1pc is running close to the maximum allowable 500 volts, enough power to turn a wrench into molten metal in a flash of white light or split a mechanic’s hand in half (it’s already done the former). The ability to remove that power source from the bike before working on it renders the machine safe from accidental electric shocks. This level of safety and convenience have clear applications in mainstream electric consumer vehicles — don’t expect Czysz’s patents to stay on one-off race bikes.

But the custom-engineered, oil-cooled electric motor that sucks up those batteries’ juice may be the single most important individual component driving the E1pc’s exceptional performance; while most electric bikes repurpose electric motors built for forklifts or high-power drills, Czysz’s motor is the first to be developed from the ground up to win races.

The DC internal permanent magnet motor, which Czysz calls “D1g1tal Dr1ve,” is small enough to hide within the swingarm beneath the rear shock. The oil-cooled motor makes more power and torque than all three air-cooled motors in last year’s E1pc combined, while being smaller than one of them individually. And crucially, it develops its 100 HP and 250 Lb-Ft of torque continuously. Air-cooled electric motors, on the other hand, quote peak figures which they’re only able to reach for a very brief period of time due to the rapid buildup of immense heat. Sometimes, they can only reach peak power for a fraction of a second. The MotoCzysz can always make that 100 HP — as long as the batteries hold out, that is. The oil-cooling is key here, allowing the motor to exponentially shrink in size and weight for its output level; air-cooled motors are huge, so their large metal components can soak up the heat.

With limited energy capacity and therefore limited power, a high-speed racing bike has to efficiently cut through the air:

“Ninety percent of a vehicle’s power is used simply to move the wind,” says Czysz, pointing out how aerodynamics play an even more important roll on electric vehicles than conventionally-powered ones (exhibit A: the Prius’s odd stub nose and compressed rump). Czysz has radically reduced the frontal area of this year’s bike — eyeballing the two next to each other, 2010 looks a third slimmer than 2009 — but it’s the wind’s exit that’s more important than its entrance.
So the challenge for a motorcycle aerodynamicist is to recombine the airflow behind the bike so it’s not sucked backwards as much as it is to split air cleanly around the front. Czysz also created ducts through the E1pc’s frame that suck air from the high-pressure area at the front through to the area beneath the seat, breaking up the low pressure. Gulfstream-jet-style winglets on the fairing whirl turbulence into these ducts just as the pull air rapidly through the motor and controller-cooling radiators.

The other extreme limiting factor to motorcycle aerodynamics is the big leather sack of human sitting on top, spoiling the airflow. Czysz has addressed this too, with perhaps the defining visual element of the 2010 E1pc. Turning to time trial bicycle racing for inspiration, he created a second riding position that the racer will move into on straights. By sliding their butt off the main seat and onto what’s basically a modified pillion pad at the extreme rear, the rider adopts an incredibly low, flat-backed riding position that still gives them the ability to keep their feet on the foot pegs and hands on the handlebars; they can still fully control the bike in this position and even attack high speed corners by weighting the pegs and turning the bars.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gun Rights

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I’m tempted to shoot an AK in the air, while the womenfolk ululate. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that binds states.

Apple Sells 1.7 Million iPhone 4s in 3 Days

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Apple sells 1.7 million iPhone 4s in three days, making it the most successful start for a product in the company’s history:

Apple said it took advance orders for more than 600,000 new iPhones world-wide on the first day it was available, the most ever taken by the company in a single day and 10 times higher than for the iPhone 3G last year.

Analysts have been expecting the new model to help Apple sell about 36 million iPhones in the fiscal year ending in September, up 73% from the prior fiscal year.