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Quote of the Day

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I keep trying to remind myself that failure is as important a component to a free-market economy as success. But goddamn if it doesn’t sting like a sumbitch.


- pdb

You don't say...

What do you mean, municipal wi-fi networks aren't the unalloyed good they were sold as?

Across the United States, many cities are finding their Wi-Fi projects costing more and drawing less interest than expected, leading to worries that a number will fail, resulting in millions of dollars in wasted tax dollars or grants when there had been roads to build and crime to fight.

I was recently in Pittsburgh, PA. Which has a downtown network that can be used "free" for two hours. I say "free", since I had to register. For the benefit of sending my info to the city, which I assume logged my IP and thus knew roughly where I was and more...I got slow service that could only be used in certain positions since the repeaters were weak and stationed poorly for coverage.

But, you know, it's hard to tell how these things will pan out.

If you can't beat 'em, pay 'em.

In an interesting move to combat hacking of MS Vista and Internet Explorer 7 VeriSign is offering aspiring hackers a bounty on flaws, with extra for working code exploiting flaws.

Given the number of days that IE 6 was open to manipulation in 2006 (284), this could actually be a tidy amount for someone willing to spend serious time.

Prohibition Nation

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New York went trans-fat free today. And I now have a new litmus test for figuring out of if you're too much of a meddling, know-it-all, self-righteous ass to grant you any sort of assumption of intelligence: if you say you agree with government bans on trans-fats, ding, you're the next contestant on "Soft Facism TV"!

Aside from the disturbingly twisted logic it takes to think that your publicly elected officials have the right to police your favorite eating establishment's cubbards for things they don't like, let's look the effectiveness of the policy itself. How can we do that? By looking at the first country to make such a ban legit: Denmark.

Even consuming less than five grams of trans fat - the amount found in one piece of fried chicken and a side of french fries - a day has been linked with a 25 percent increased risk of heart disease.

It is still too early to tell if removing trans fat from food in Denmark has improved the country's health.

Although the Danish health ministry reports that cardiovascular disease has dropped by 20 percent in the last five years, similar reductions have been reported in other countries that are making an effort to combat heart disease by measures such as regulating the food and tobacco industries, and by educating the public about the need to exercise. In countries that are making no effort to regulate the amount of trans fat in food, heart disease rates have continued to climb.

So, if you're fool enough to lunch at KFC everyday, this might help your heart. But in the aggregate, it's not worth the greasy wax-paper it was written on. But NYC heard it, and thought it sounded like a good idea.

Something else to stick in your fryer: trans-fat is cheaper to make and lasts longer. So who does eliminating it affect? The people who consume food with high levels of processed ingredients and who do not cosume what they buy on the day they bought it, i.e., the poorer folks in society. Since the yuppies strolling through Dean and Deluca find it just a shame that people don't eat more fresh food have decided that it really is ok for people to pay a premium to satisfy their societal whims, it's now incumbent on those folks consuming fast and packaged foods to pick up more of the bill for a law that has had no demonstrable societal benefits.

Spiffy work, folks.

And if you're part of the "but natural foods are so much healthier" crowd, try this article: "Organic chicken less nutritious."

Don't want the health care system to be burdened with the costs of a generation of obese people? Then don't make me pay for what you shove down your cake-hole. Take a look at the wreck of regulation and subsidy busy-bodies akin to the ban-supporters in NYC have made of the health care system, and start cutting away the red tape.

If the people lamenting the existence of folks who adhere to the myth of creationism think so highly of natural selection and evolution, let people do what they want with whatever foods they want. After a few generations of 20-year olds having heart attacks, I'm betting people will start figuring it out.

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