Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Mexico North?

By Aussiegirl

An eye-opening op-ed piece by Diana West on how much things have changed in Los Angeles -- and not for the better.

Mexico North?�-�Editorials/Op-Ed�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

As one of those American rarities — a Los Angeles native — I looked at recent, mainly Mexican protests against proposed restrictions on illegal immigration with more than just outrage over lost U.S. sovereignty. I was also reflexively examining aerial photos to pinpoint where in L.A. those hundreds of thousands of Mexican-flag-waving demonstrators were marching.
It was downtown Los Angeles, of course, a section of the sprawling city I rarely visited growing up. Then it hit me: As a little kid in the 1960s, my mother had taken me on an outing to Olvera Street, an old section of downtown ("old" for Los Angeles being mid-to-late-19th century) where visitors went to enjoy folkloric Mexican food and crafts as — it sounds unbelievable now — a colorful tourist attraction. And visitors still go there. But then it really hit me: There weren't that many Mexicans in Los Angeles back then.

[...] But then what — another fourfold increase over the next 20 years? That would equal 48 million illegal, mainly Hispanic, aliens by 2026. It's not impossible — particularly if we continue to shroud the issue in the irrational silence of taboo, never asking the most basic questions. Such as: Should America plan to become a Hispanic nation? The question is neither "racist" nor "xenophobic," but central to any coherent policy. If the answer is yes, we all might as well salute the red, white and green. If not, we better call our senators

Isaac Newton

By Aussiegirl

Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists and mathematicians in history, died on this day in 1727. This is a long and very interesting article that covers Newton's outstanding achievements in both physics and mathematics, and also looks at his difficult personality and relationships with his colleagues.

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton was born on Dec. 25, 1642 [Jan. 4, 1643, New Style],in Woolsthorpe,Lincolnshire, Eng. d. March 20 [March 31]1727.
A London English physicist and mathematician, who was the culminating figure of the scientific revolution of the 17th century.
In optics, his discovery of the composition of white light integrated the phenomena of colours into the science of light and laid the foundation for modern physical optics. In mechanics, his three laws of motion, the basic principles of modern physics, resulted in the formulation of the law of universal gravitation. In mathematics, he was the original discoverer of the infinitesimal calculus. Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), 1687, was one of the most important single works in the history of modern science.

Slapped in the face

By Aussiegirl

An impassioned letter to World Net Daily by a Hispanic immigrant who loves his adopted country and condemns in vigorous language the opportunistic and hateful forces who are using this immigration turmoil to infuse their hatred into both Americans and Mexicans.

WorldNetDaily: Slapped in the face

As an immigrant who came to this beautiful and blessed country legally, I am deeply offended and upset for what I consider a slap in my face by the opportunistic Democrat politicians and the gutless Republican leaders in Washington. They have betrayed all of those who played by the rules to become U.S. citizens.

[...] I believe that those protesters – who were a combination of anti-American groups and resentful illegal Mexicans – should go to Mexico and protest before Vicente Fox and demand from him and his government jobs and social justice. Finally, I believe that all illegal Mexicans in this country should unite, march and chant: "Thank you America, Thank you America, I love you America, I love you America."

Caesar M. Arevalo

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Red China Attains Global Control of Ports

By Aussiegirl

This is even more menacing than the Dubai ports deal. We are gradually being encircled by Red China. From the article: Of the eight international regions with choke points labeled by the Department of Defense as "U.S. lifelines and transit regions," Hutchison has ports in six. Notice the words "choke points"!

Red China Attains Global Control of Ports

Overlooked during America's preoccupation with the Dubai ports deal is a much more imminent threat - China's methodical campaign to gain control of global ports that are strategically positioned to support military or economic actions against the United States - a move that has gone virtually unnoticed.

The powerful Chinese-owned Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. is now the world's biggest cargo terminal operator, according to London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants. It also is the world's largest port owner.

Hutchison Port Holdings has assumed control of scores of potential economic choke points, including 169 berths at 41 ports worldwide. These facilities control about 15 percent of global maritime container traffic.

Some of Hutchison's ports lie near key sea lines of communication, such as the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal and the eastern coast of the United States. Of the eight international regions with choke points labeled by the Department of Defense as "U.S. lifelines and transit regions," Hutchison has ports in six.

[...] "Amidst the furor over a U.A.E. corporate takeover of major U.S. and Canadian seaports, scant notice has been given to the longstanding and continuing threat from the PRC/Triad [People's Republic of China and Chinese mobsters] 'business' presence at seaports around the world, including the U.S. and Canada," stated a top-level Canadian port security analyst.
"Of course, the Chinese military sees the benefit of having a base, a future base, so close to the United States," Moorer said.

"What China is trying to do is get a kind of maritime position worldwide, and they need a home base - so to speak - in every ocean. "Not only are the Chinese in the Bahamas, they're in Panama and the Spratly Islands right off the Philippines. They tried to get Long Beach [Calif.]," Moorer said.

"There's no question about the fact in my mind that the Chinese military forces are affiliated with Mr. Li, who in turn runs Hutchison Whampoa," added Moorer.

Borders, Waldenbooks Won't Carry Magazine

By Aussiegirl

From the article: "For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority,and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority.... We've just chosen not to carry this particular issue in our stores." The cartoon intifada gains a foothold on our shores.

Borders, Waldenbooks Won't Carry Magazine

By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, March 29, 2006 --

Borders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries.

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority,and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

"We absolutely respect our customers' right to choose what they wish to read and buy and we support the First Amendment," Bingham said. "And we absolutely support the rights of Free Inquiry to publish the cartoons. We've just chosen not to carry this particular issue in our stores.

Life waxes and wanes with bobbing of the Solar System

By Aussiegirl

A fascinating article about a possible reason for, to quote from the article, a mysterious dip in the Earth's biodiversity every 62 million years. I had no idea that the Solar System moves through the Milky Way at all, much less that it bobs up and down!

New Scientist Breaking News - Life waxes and wanes with bobbing of the Solar System

The solar system's up-and-down motion across our galaxy's disc periodically exposes it to higher doses of dangerous cosmic rays, new calculations suggest. The effect could explain a mysterious dip in the Earth's biodiversity every 62 million years.

The solar system moves through the Milky Way rather like a child on a merry-go-round. It completes a circuit of the galaxy once every 100 million years or so but as it goes it bobs up and down through the dense galactic disc.

Europes's ailing social model -- facts & fairy-tales

By Aussiegirl

A long article, but well worth studying, from the always-relevant Brussels Journal. To quote from the article: It is time to tackle the real and ultimate cause of Europe’s stagnation, namely the total discouragement of Europe’s work force. Judging from the reaction that the French students had to the proposed, surely modest, change in work regulations, this won't be an easy task.

Europe�s Ailing Social Model: Facts & Fairy-Tales | The Brussels Journal

On 23 and 24 March the European Council is meeting to discuss the future of Europe’s social model. The very essence of the welfare state is at stake. Europe’s present social model is unable to tackle the modern challenges of globalization, and has left Europe with gigantic problems: an unsurmountable public debt, a rapidly ageing population, 19 million unemployed, and an overall youth unemployment rate of 18%. The unemployment figures may easily be doubled to account for hidden unemployment. The untold reality is that Europe’s real unemployment stands at the level of the 1932 Depression.

[...] Curing the symptoms no longer helps. It is time to tackle the real and ultimate cause of Europe’s stagnation, namely the total discouragement of Europe’s work force. It is time to free Europe from its bureaucracy and its crippling tax burden. Failing this Europe will continue to lag behind ever further and its current relative impoverishment will soon turn into absolute pauperization, ultimately resulting not only in economic, but also in cultural and moral decline. If the economy is sick, it is because democracy is ill as well.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates: A global tribe waging segmental warfare?

By Aussiegirl

A very long but very interesting article by David Ronfeldt on the tribal nature of the Al Qaeda battle.

(For an article I posted a few weeks ago on a similar topic, this time on the tribal nature of Arab society, see An unsettling stroll through the Arab mind.)

Al Qaeda and its affiliates: A global tribe waging segmental warfare?

Al Qaeda and its affiliates are operating much like a global tribe waging segmental warfare. This paper describes the dynamics of classic tribes: what drives them, how they organize, how they fight. Al Qaeda fits the tribal paradigm quite well. Thus, continuing to view Al Qaeda mainly as a cutting–edge, post–modern phenomenon of the information age misses a crucial point: Al Qaeda and affiliates are using the information age to reiterate ancient patterns of tribalism on a global scale. The war they are waging is more about virulent tribalism than religion. The tribal paradigm should be added to the network and other prevailing paradigms to help figure out the best policies and strategies for countering these violent actors.

[...] The tribal paradigm may be useful for rethinking not only how to counter Al Qaeda, but also what may lie ahead if Al Qaeda or an affiliate ever succeeds in seizing power and installing an Islamic caliphate somewhere. Then, neither the tribal nor network paradigms would continue to be so central. Hierarchy would move to the fore, as a caliphate is imposed. Over the ages, people have come up with four major forms of organization for constructing their societies: tribes, hierarchical institutions, markets, and networks. How people use and combine these forms, both their bright and dark sides, pretty much determines what kind of society they have. Were an Al Qaeda–inspired caliphate to take root, we can be pretty sure that it would combine hyper–hierarchy and hyper–tribalism, while leaving marginal, subordinate spaces for economic markets and little if any space for autonomous civil–society networks. When this has occurred in the past, the result is normally fascism.

Ailurophile alert! New research into the family tree of your favorite companion animal

By Aussiegirl

A fascinating report about new insights into the family tree of our beloved house pet, the cat. Here's a quote, perhaps not altogether tongue-in-cheek, from the article: the most successful cat of all, even though it has mostly forsaken its predatory heritage: the cat that has induced people to pay for its board and lodging in return for frugal displays of affection.

DNA Offers New Insight Concerning Cat Evolution - New York Times

Researchers have gained a major insight into the evolution of cats by showing how they migrated to new continents and developed new species as sea levels rose and fell.
About nine million years ago - two million years after the cat family first appeared in Asia - these successful predators invaded North America by crossing the Beringian land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska, a team of geneticists writes in the journal Science today.

Later, several American cat lineages returned to Asia. With each migration, evolutionary forces morphed the pantherlike patriarch of all cats into a rainbow of species, from ocelots and lynxes to leopards, lions and the lineage that led to the most successful cat of all, even though it has mostly forsaken its predatory heritage: the cat that has induced people to pay for its board and lodging in return for frugal displays of affection.

Ghosts of a glorious past

By Aussiegirl

Yesterday Vasko Kohlmayer published this thoughtful note on The American Thinker, and quoted a beautiful passage by Whittaker Chambers. Here is Vasko's own beautiful and elegiac final passage: Godless, rudderless, confused, the will to live appears to have largely died in Europe. Like some ghosts stumbling among relics of a glorious past, they slouch toward their ruin with a vacant smile on their face

The American Thinker

Ghosts of a glorious past

Some five decades ago Whittaker Chambers wrote this in his classic autobiography:

They dying world of 1925 was without faith, hope, character, understanding of its malady or will to overcome it. It was dying but it laughed. And this laughter was not the defiance of a vigor that refuses to know when it is whipped. It was the loss, by the mind of a whole civilization, of the power to distinguish between reality and unreality, because, ultimately, though I did not know it, it had lost the power to distinguish between good and evil.

It is striking how applicable this is to Western Europe of today. The depth of their crisis is revealed not so much by the multitude of their problems as by the way in which they have come about and the lack of will to deal with them. The unemployment, economic malaise, unassimilated immigrant enclaves, unsustainable welfare regimes are all self-inflicted, the inevitable result of policies that could have no other outcomes. But instead of swerving off their road to woe, they continue headlong along the same path censuring those who would urge otherwise

It is as if the West Europeans have indeed lost touch with reality and are no longer able to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. Their moral confusion demonstrates itself in many ways. None perhaps is more disturbing than their eagerness to embrace those who call for their destruction while condemning those who offer to defend them. Godless, rudderless, confused, the will to live appears to have largely died in Europe. Like some ghosts stumbling among relics of a glorious past, they slouch toward their ruin with a vacant smile on their face.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Guests or gate crashers? Part II

By Aussiegirl

More brilliant economic analysis by Thomas Sowell, this time about the myths around the need for agricultural workers.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Guests or gate crashers? Part II by Thomas Sowell - Mar 29, 2006

Bogus arguments are a tip-off that you wouldn't buy the real reasons for what someone is doing. Phony arguments and phony words are the norm in discussions of immigration policy.
It starts with a refusal to call illegal aliens "illegal aliens" and ends with asking for "guest worker" status for people who are not guests but gate crashers. As for the substantive arguments, they are as phony as the verbal evasions.

What about all those illegal workers that we "need"? Many of the illegals are working in agriculture, producing crops that have been in chronic surplus for decades. These surplus crops are costing the American taxpayers billions of dollars in government storage costs and in the inflated prices created by deliberately keeping much of this agricultural output off the market.

[...] One of the most bogus of all the bogus arguments for a "guest worker" program is that it is impossible to find all the millions of illegal aliens in the country, so it is impossible to deport them.

If tomorrow someone came up with some brilliant way to identify every illegal alien in the country, it would not make the slightest difference. Right now, those who are identified as illegal, whether at the border, in prisons, at traffic stops or in any of our institutions, face no penalty whatsoever.

Identification is not the problem. Doing nothing is the problem.

Brussels Prosecutes Aramaic Priest for Islamophobia

By Aussiegirl

We are doomed. Christians must be prepared to martyr themselves in the name of their faith not only in Afghanistan, but in Europe.

Judging by the crowds which pack this church, one realizes the drawing power of true faith -- and true Christianity. Note that the mass is said in Latin and can last for four hours! That's not unlike an Orthodox service where the Easter liturgy lasts all night and is called the Easter vigil.

It is the churches that adhere to the true faith and spiritual message of the Christianity that succeed -- obviously to the discomfiture of the all powerful State Inquisition of Brussels.

"Hate Speech" is nothing more than a code word for thought and speech crime - the kind of crime that used to exist in the Soviet Union. They too prosecuted believers -- the EU is obviously the inheritor of that great tradition. Welcome to the EUSSR!

Brussels Prosecutes Aramaic Priest and Fugitive for Islamophobia The Brussels Journal

One of the rare Belgian churches that is packed every weekend is the church of Saint Anthony of Padova in Montignies-sur-Sambre, one of the poorest suburbs of Charleroi, a derelict rust belt area to the south of Brussels. Holy Mass in Montignies is conducted in Latin and lasts up to four hours. Yesterday over 2,000 people attended the service by Father Samuel (Père Samuel). The priest’s sermon dealt with his persecution. The Belgian authorities are bringing the popular priest to court on charges of racism.

Father Samuel has been prosecuted for “incitement to racist hatred” by the Belgian government’s inquisition agency, the so-called Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR), because of a remark he made in a 2002 television interview when he said:

“Every thoroughly islamized Muslim child that is born in Europe is a time bomb for Western children in the future. The latter will be persecuted when they have become a minority.”

Père SamuelLast Thursday the Belgian judiciary decided that the priest will have to stand trial before the penal court in Charleroi. He reacted by repeating his time bomb statement and added that he would be honoured if he had to go to jail for speaking his mind. He added that Jesus, too, had been convicted. During yesterday’s sermon he called upon the faithful to accompany him to court. “We will turn this into an excursion, driving there in full buses.”

Young Samuel became a Catholic priest. In the mid-1970s he fled to Belgium, claiming that the Aramaic Christians were being persecuted in Turkey. He became a Belgian and adopted the surname of Boniface – “he who does good things.” He was appointed to the diocese of Tournai, but soon became caught up in the culture war between Christians and secularists. Tournai is a thoroughly secularised, modernist diocese. Father Samuel clashed with the bishop, who suspended him in 2001. He then bought the St-Antoine-de-Padoue church in Montignies-sur-Sambre. There he conducts the Mass according to the traditional rites of the Catholic Church.

Hundreds of faithful from all over the country and even from the north of France attend Sunday Mass in Montignies-sur-Sambre. The congregation includes African immigrants, a large number of young people and many young families with small children. In his sermons and on his website Father Samuel speaks out against secularism, but also fights on another front of the three-way culture war, warning against “the islamic invasion” of the West. He says he has witnessed in Turkey what the future has in store for Europe. He claims Muslims are invading Europe and warns for an impending civil war. According to Father Samuel “so-called moderate Muslims do not exist.”

Iran is at war with us -- will someone please inform the U.S. government?

By Aussiegirl

Not much more to add to Ledeen's powerful article. Is anybody home? The threat of the "comfy chair" just won't cut it.

Iran is the elephant in the sitting room -- the U.S. is turning a blind eye and deaf ear to Iran's involvement in everything that is going wrong in Iraq. If we do nothing, then liberating Iraq will have created a greater Iran, with the Iranians annexing Iraq defacto, because of the Shia majority in Iraq. If nothing else, Iran can keep making things unstable and violent there for a long, long time. The same is true for Syria. We don't want to make the same mistake we did in Vietnam, where we did not bomb the sanctuaries because they were over the border. Iran is pulling all the strings -- of Zarqawi, Mookie Sadr and a bunch of other insurgents in Iraq -- the way out of Iraq goes through Iran -- except we are trying to pretend that's not the case.

Michael Ledeen on Iran on National Review Online

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is dying of cancer. But he is convinced that his legacy will be glorious. He believes that thousands of his Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers effectively control southern Iraq, and that the rest of the country is at his mercy, since we present no challenge to them — even along the Iraq/Iran border, where they operate with impunity. They calmly plan their next major assault without having to worry about American retribution. The mullahs have thousands of intelligence officers all over Iraq, as well as a hard core of Hezbollah terrorists — including the infamous Imadh Mughniyah, arguably the region’s most dangerous killer — and they control the major actors, from Zarqawi to Sadr to the Badr Brigades.

Khamenei and his top cronies believe they have effectively won. They think the U.S. is politically paralyzed, thanks to the relentless attacks of President Bush’s opponents and the five-year long internal debate about Iran policy, and thus there is no chance of an armed attack, even one limited to nuclear sites. They think Israel is similarly paralyzed by Sharon’s sudden departure and the triumph of their surrogate force, Hamas, in the Palestinian elections. They despise the Europeans, and hardly even bother to pretend to negotiate with them any more. They believe they have a strong strategic alliance with the Russians and they think they have the Chinese over a barrel, since the Chinese are so heavily dependent on Iranian oil. Recent statements from Beijing and Moscow regarding the chance of U.N. sanctions will have reinforced the Supreme Leader’s convictions.

[...]It’s time to take action against Iran and its half-brother Syria, for the carnage they have unleashed against us and the Iraqis. We know in detail the location of terrorist training camps run by the Iranian and Syrian terror masters; we should strike at them, and at the bases run by Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards as staging points for terrorist sorties into Iraq. No doubt the Iraqi armed forces would be delighted to participate, instead of constantly playing defense in their own half of the battlefield. And there are potent democratic forces among the Syrian people as well, as worthy of our support as the Iranians.

Swedish Welfare State collapses as immigrants wage war -- coming soon to a neighborhood near you courtesy of La Raza and the Republican party

By Aussiegirl

Read what is happening in Sweden -- that bastion of liberalism and socialism. But read further and compare this to what is happening in this country. While we do not yet have the problem with Muslim immigrants that Europe does, we do have a similar situation with Latino illegal immigrants, currently staging massive mob protests and demonstrations all over the country that only appear to be increasing by the day.

Our own jails are filling up with these illegals - fully 30% of inmates in federal penitentiaries are immigrants, and fully 80% of those are illegals. Just as in the Swedish case, the politicians insist that we must have these people here, that our economy would collapse without this illegal tide of immigration. But perhaps here, as in Europe, the taxpayer may wake up and realize that the state is defaulting on its responsibility to provide security in exchange for taxes.

The ruling classes in this country, let's not pretend it's a real democracy any more, have decided that what counts is keeping themselves in power so they can have access to all the goodies, and that their bankers in the financial communities require large numbers of what amounts to slave labor in order to keep their profits high and their costs low.

You -- the taxpayer, are tasked with the job of paying all the social costs this illegal immigration entails -- the staggering health costs, prison budgets, school budgets and on and on.

Quite a deal, eh? Nice work if you can get it. The elites get their profits, the pols get their cushy jobs, the illegals do all the cheap slave labor, and the middle class get the shaft AND the bill.

This is class warfare, and make no mistake about it. The blinkers are off -- the dems want cheap votes -- and they are willing to betray their supposed natural constituency, the working class American in order to do it -- why do they want votes? So they can be the party in power and get their hands on all the money.

The Republicans are eager for the votes of Hispanics for the same reason, they don't want to cede power and get their noses out of the trough.

There is an elite political class in this country that makes sure that no regular person every has a chance to get elected. There are countless examples of honest people who had support and backing who were not permitted to run by the Republican party -- and I'm sure it happens on the Dem side to. The reason is simple -- the only people the parties want coming into Washington are team players -- i.e. -- guys who can be relied upon to play the Washington two-card Monte game with the taxpayers -- lip service in exchange for unfettered power. They don't want some little guy from some small town somewhere, some Mr. Smith goes to Washington type, to come in there and actually imagine he's going to do something for the taxpayers and constituents back home. He has to be brought into line. Much easier to bring in to line someone hand chosen from the inside circles of Republican plutocrats and country club echelons.

Sooner or later this is coming to our country -- when it comes to the illegals -- it's already here. The world is coming to crisis in many areas at once. Keep your eyes peeled -- it will happen before you know it.

(Here is my introduction to another article about Sweden's welfare state that I published last month: This is a long but worthwhile read. Liberals always like to point to the relative success of the cradle-to-grave socialist welfare model in Scandinavia, but what they failed to understand is that that relative success was dependent upon the deeply ingrained homogeneity of their cultures. As this article points out, liberalism leads to multiculturalism, and multiculturalism leads to the breakdown of that very same social contract.)
Swedish Welfare State Collapses as Immigrants Wage War The Brussels Journal

In one of the rare instances where the Swedish media actually revealed the truth, the newspaper Aftonbladet reported several years ago that 9 out of 10 of the most criminal ethnic groups in Sweden came from Muslim countries. This must be borne in mind whilst reading the following newspaper article:

Immigrants are “waging war” against Swedes through robbery

The wave of robberies the city of Malmö has witnessed during this past year is part of a “war against the Swedes.” This is the explanation given by young robbers from immigrant backgrounds when questioned about why they only rob native Swedes, in interviews with Petra Åkesson for her thesis in sociology. “I read a report about young robbers in Stockholm and Malmö and wanted to know why they rob other youths. It usually does not involve a lot of money,” she says. She interviewed boys between 15 and 17 years old, both individually and in groups.

Almost 90% of all robberies reported to the police were committed by gangs, not individuals. “When we are in the city and robbing we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes.” This argument was repeated several times. “Power for me means that the Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet.” The boys explain, laughingly, that “there is a thrilling sensation in your body when you’re robbing, you feel satisfied and happy, it feels as if you’ve succeeded, it simply feels good.” “It’s so easy to rob Swedes, so easy.” “We rob every single day, as often as we want to, whenever we want to.” The immigrant youth regard the Swedes as stupid and cowardly: “The Swedes don’t do anything, they just give us the stuff. They’re so wimpy.” The young robbers do not plan their crimes: “No, we just see some Swedes that look rich or have nice mobile phones and then we rob them.”

[...]It is interesting to note that these Muslim immigrants state quite openly that they are involved in a “war,” and see participation in crime and harassment of the native population as such. This is completely in line with what I have posited before. The number of rape charges in Sweden has quadrupled in just above twenty years. Rape cases involving children under the age of 15 are six times as common today as they were a generation ago. Most other kinds of violent crime have rapidly increased, too. Instability is spreading to most urban and suburban areas. Resident aliens from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia dominate the group of rape suspects. Lawyer Ann Christine Hjelm found that 85 per cent of the convicted rapists were born on foreign soil or from foreign parents. The phenomenon is not restricted to Sweden. The number of rapes committed by Muslim immigrants in Western nations is so extremely high that it is difficult to view these rapes as merely random acts of individuals. It resembles warfare. This is happening in most Western European countries, as well as in other non muslim countries such as India. European jails are filling up with Muslims imprisoned for robberies and all kinds of violent crimes, and Muslims bomb European civilians. One can see the mainstream media are struggling to make sense of all of this. That is because they cannot, or do not want to, see the obvious: this is exactly how an invading army would behave: rape, pillage and bombing. If many of the Muslim immigrants see themselves as conquerors in a war, it all makes perfect sense.

[...]Although Sweden is an extreme example, similar stories could be told about much of Western Europe. As Mark Steyn points out, the Jihad in the streets of France looked like the early skirmishes of an impending Eurabian civil war, brought on by massive Muslim immigration and Multicultural stupidity. Law and order is slowly breaking down in major and even minor cities across the European continent, and the streets are ruled by aggressive gangs of Muslim youngsters. At the same time, Europeans are paying some of the highest taxes in the world. We should remind our authorities that the most important task of the state – some would even claim it should be the only task of the state – is to uphold the rule of law in exchange for taxation. Since it is becoming pretty obvious that this is no longer the case in Eurabia, we should question whether these taxes are still legitimate, or whether they are simply disguised Jizya paid in the form of welfare to Muslims and our new Eurocrat aristocracy. Although not exactly the Boston Tea Party, perhaps the time has now come for a pan-European tax rebellion: We will no longer pay taxes until our authorities restore law and order and close the borders to Muslim immigration.

Chief of staff choice is clever media distraction

The coverage of this non-event is a complete waste of time. Nothing will change - the clever reason for announcing this resignation now was to throw the media dogs a bone they could all attack in an orchestrated feeding frenzy, thereby taking coverage away from the increasing Immigrant Intefada taking place in major American cities.

Media wags got to thoughtfully pull on their chins and show off how much inside information they have on the new occupant -- let's see -- he rides a motorcycle, he lives with his girlfriend and her children, he bowls, and he puts his pants on one leg at a time -- all that and the White House too! What we do without the media to analyze world events for the great unwashed out here.

The Bush administration is smarter than we give it credit for when it comes to PR -- only they do it their way. Remember the "largest aerial assault in years" that recently took place in Northern Iraq? The one that miraculously happened on the same day that the staggeringly large debt ceiling was once again raised? That pretty well buried the debt story effectively.

Interestingly, not much came of that huge military campaign except for some 24/7 coverage by the sheep in the media, always happy if aerial shots of any non-event are provided.

Hence we have "breaking news" of a house fire somewhere in some southern city, "breaking news" of some car chase in LA -- as long as it's a helicopter shot -- it's breaking news.

And speaking of helicopter shots -- what overhead coverage were we watching the other day while a half a million illegal immigrants took over Los Angeles and a half-dozen other cities? Were we watching the mobs take to the streets in our own country? No -- we were treated to incessant footage of the French riots.

We might as well face it -- the media are in cahoots with the powers that be to keep your mind off what's really important.

The daytime 24 hour networks are geared toward stay at home women and welfare moms who watch Oprah -- the Oprah-fication of news -- the missing person of the week saga, the latest murder mystery, and more meaningless gossip and sob stories.

And you thought "Breaking News" actually meant something

Buffalo News - Chief of staff choice disappoints those hoping for change

Doing nothing is itself a form of doing something

By Aussiegirl

It's 1939 all over again, and George Bush and Jack Straw are Chamberlain. When it comes to Iran, perhaps the "comfy chair" is what they have in mind.

Jerusalem Post Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World

Having passed over another false crescendo, the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions seems to be calming down somewhat. The United Nations Security Council has danced away from the issue, at least for the time being. And the United States, having subcontracted its Iran policy to the European Union trio, shows no sign of wanting to keep the issue in the limelight.

The assumption in both Teheran and Washington is that nothing much will be done at least until June, when the G-8 summit is held in Moscow. The idea is that Russia, as the host of the G-8, will not provoke a split with the US and the EU over Iran during the Moscow summit.

There may be yet another reason why all parties to this bizarre dispute may want to cool things down - at least for a few months.

[...]When all other imaginable options appear dangerous or counterproductive there can always be a strong argument in favor of doing nothing. But it is important to remember that doing nothing is itself a form of doing something.

Right now, this "something" that the Western powers are doing amounts to a clear encouragement of the most radical factions in Teheran. And that means the coming clash, regarded by many as inevitable, will, when it comes, be that much harder on both sides.

Cyber Cossack tells it like it is

By Aussiegirl

OK -- here are two of the smartest Ukrainian pundits around -- check out Cyber Cossack and Orange Ukraine for excellent analysis of the real meaning of the Ukrainian elections. Yanukovych is NOT the winner. He garnered only 30% of the vote, way less than he polled in the last presidential election. The Orange Coalition together still outpolls Yanukovych's Russian-leaning Party of the Regions by at least 15%.

Here's just a taste of Cyber Cossack's excellent writing -- be sure to click and read the rest, as well as all the good links to other commentary on the election.

Cyber Cossack

There are no bounds to Yushchenko’s skills as a leader as he along with Ukraine are the Clear winners.

The MSM is still floating the absurd notion of a “victory” for Moscow but they are apparently confused with the country to the north.

No, a “Moscow” victory would have been replete with dioxin, multiple shot suicides, and other sovietesque anomolies.

This election was a win for Yushchenko as his stated goal in the first term was to build a nation, and this jackboot-free election is the first significant act of a free and united nation.

Tymoshenko calls for urgent coalition agreement with former Orange allies

By Aussiegirl

The latest from the Kyiv Post on the aftermath of the Ukrainian parliamentary elections. Who will Viktor choose -- Yulia -- or Yanukovych? The outcome will determine Ukraine's future. I don't like the suggestion that "Western" advisers are advising a coalition with Yanukovych because of his alliance with powerful tycoons. This will just lead Ukraine along the same ruinous path of globalization and corruption that is destroying the rest of the world -- and those "tycoons" will de facto run the country any way they like. Ukraine will become a mini-Russia, and may fall into Russia's sphere again. Yulia is the best choice, even though I don't trust her either.

Kyiv Post. Tymoshenko calls for urgent coalition agreement with former Orange allies

Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko appealed Wednesday to her estranged Orange Revolution allies to urgently revive their partnership, warning that a delay would only benefit their pro-Russian opponent, whose party is trying to negotiate a return to power after defeating the West-leaning forces.

Tymoshenko spoke after key members of President Viktor Yushchenko's party swung their support behind a new Orange Team, calling it the best way to safeguard Ukraine's path toward European integration. The party warned, however, that a final decision would not be made until senior members consider their options on April 7.

"It is absolutely important to create a coalition urgently," said Tymoshenko, whose party came in a surprisingly strong second in Sunday's vote.

Ukraine's new shift to a more parliamentary style system of government has left Yushchenko with few options. With no party winning a majority in the 450-member parliament, a 226-seat majority - charged with choosing the prime minister and most of the Cabinet - can be reached only through a coalition.

The president, whose party came in an embarrassing third place, must now decide whom he wants to govern with: the woman he sacked from the prime minister's job six months ago or pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych, whose ballot-stuffing attempt to win the 2004 presidency triggered the Orange Revolution.

Yushchenko is coming under increasing pressure from key party members who see a union with the popular Tymoshenko as the best way to revive their party's bleak political situation.

The president - not his party - has the final say in Ukraine's tense coalition talks. But in a statement posted on its website, the party set out severe - and possibly unacceptable - conditions for any cooperation with Yanukovych's Party of the Regions.

Ukrainian Security Council chief Anatoliy Kinakh said that any coalition members "outside of the Orange three," which also includes the Socialists, must agree to confirm Ukraine's pro-Western course, reject the possibility of adopting Russian as a second state language and turn down any calls to transfer significant central government powers to the regions.

The demands could be deal-breakers for the Party of the Regions, which campaigned on calls to make Russian a second state language and which has advocated what it calls a "soft federalism" course. Yanukovych has said he supports European Union membership, but wants to first join a Kremlin-dominated economic union of ex-Soviet republics.

"The priority for us is and will be Ukraine's foreign policy course toward European and Euroatlantic integration, while maintaining good-neighborly relations with Russia and other countries," said Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk, according to a party statement.

Yushchenko's bloc is cobbled together from many different groups, which united before the Orange Revolution in opposition to the regime of then-President Leonid Kuchma. Their leaders serve in Yushchenko's government, and many now see their own jobs on the line. There have been indications that some view Tymoshenko as the rising star and are considering staking their own political futures on her.

Tymoshenko said she was worried that some Our Ukraine officials were holding talks with the Party of Regions, which will command the biggest faction in parliament but needs a coalition with Yushchenko to return to power. A senior Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to appear to be influencing internal events in Ukraine, said Yushchenko's closest allies from the business world appeared to be leading the push for a union with Yanukovych, who is backed by powerful tycoons in Ukraine's industrial east.

"For Yushchenko, from a business perspective, it makes sense," said Serhiy Taran of the International Democratic Institute. "He could use some of that support from heavy industry."

But a union with Yanukovych could erode the president's power base, analysts warn. If Yushchenko and Tymoshenko can overcome their falling-out, their parties' combined votes would put their total above Yanukovych's. It remains unclear, however, whether the deep animosity between the two can be overcome.

Yushchenko's party also appeared reluctant to support giving Tymoshenko back the prime minister's job, saying it was not the time to talk "about assigning jobs."

Yanukovych's ally Oleksandr Stoyan called for compromise, but noted it would be impossible for his party to ignore election promises. "Our voters chose us not only due to our leader Yanukovych, but also due to our ideals," he said, adding that the party planned to discuss options at a meeting Thursday.

With nearly 98 percent of the vote counted, Yanukovych's party had about 32 percent, followed by Tymoshenko's bloc with 22 percent and Yushchenko's Our Ukraine with just over 14 percent.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Mark Steyn sees the problem soberly and clearly

By Aussiegirl

Another excellent article by Mark Steyn on what amounts to civilizational lack of confidence on our side -- which will inevitably lead to dhimmitude and the end of our civilization.

Article: Opinion - Steyn: Will we stick our necks out for his faith?

Fate conspires to remind us what this war is really about: civilizational confidence. And so history repeats itself: first the farce of the Danish cartoons, and now the tragedy - a man on trial for his life in post-Taliban Afghanistan because he has committed the crime of converting to Christianity.

The cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were deeply offensive to Muslims, and so thousands protested around the world in the usual restrained manner - rioting, torching, killing, etc.

The impending execution of Abdul Rahman for embracing Christianity is, of course, offensive to Westerners, and so around the world we reacted equally violently by issuing blood-curdling threats like that made by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack: "Freedom of worship is an important element of any democracy," he said. "And these are issues as Afghan democracy matures that they are going to have to deal with increasingly.

[...] As always, we come back to the words of Osama bin Laden: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." That's really the only issue: The Islamists know our side have tanks and planes, but they have will and faith, and they reckon in a long struggle that's the better bet. Most prominent Western leaders sound way too eager to climb into the weak-horse suit and audition to play the rear end. Consider, for example, the words of the Prince of Wales, speaking a few days ago at al-Azhar University in Cairo, which makes the average Ivy League nuthouse look like a beacon of sanity. Anyway, this is what His Royal Highness had to say to 800 Islamic "scholars":

"The recent ghastly strife and anger over the Danish cartoons shows the danger that comes of our failure to listen and to respect what is precious and sacred to others. In my view, the true mark of a civilized society is the respect it pays to minorities and to strangers."

[...] Unfortunately, what's "precious and sacred" to Islam is its institutional contempt for others. In his book "Islam And The West," Bernard Lewis writes, "The primary duty of the Muslim as set forth not once but many times in the Quran is 'to command good and forbid evil.' It is not enough to do good and refrain from evil as a personal choice. It is incumbent upon Muslims also to command and forbid." Or as the Canadian columnist David Warren put it: "We take it for granted that it is wrong to kill someone for his religious beliefs. Whereas Islam holds it is wrong not to kill him." In that sense, those imams are right, and Karzai's attempts to finesse the issue are, sharia-wise, wrong.

[...] In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

India today is better off without suttee. If we shrink from the logic of that, then in Afghanistan and many places far closer to home the implications are, as the Prince of Wales would say, "ghastly."

Things are worse in Denmark than we imagined

By Aussiegirl

Please read this alarming article about how bad things have gotten in Denmark. It turns out that the cartoon jihad was just the tip of the Islamic iceberg. Denmark is getting closer and closer to becoming Eurabia's first full-fledged member. Here's the most frightening sentence from the article: Today, it seems that even non-Muslim majorities are requested to descend into dhimmitude to avoid the wrath of some new immigrants. Denmark today, the United States tomorrow?

TCS Daily - Descent into Dhimmitude

While most media accounts of the "cartoon jihad" focused on the publication of the cartoons, and on the ensuing violent reaction by some Muslims -- who were depicted by the much of the press as victims! -- few reporters have ventured to describe the increasingly hostile climate that Muslim extremists had succeeded in creating in Denmark before the publication. In fact, an examination of Jyllands-Posten's own pages reveals why its editors likely decided to publish the cartoons in the first place -- as well as why the obscurantist rioters were so confident that they would prevail.

[...] These incidents, all disturbing, don't even scratch the surface of the appeasement Danes have made to accommodate the people who unleashed violence against them. In Copenhagen's public schools, the only food available to students -- regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof -- are Halal (prepared according to Islamic dietary requirements). In Denmark, a country which enjoys well-deserved praise for the courage with which citizens came together to save its small Jewish community during World War II, Danish Jewish students today cannot attend certain public schools because their very presence is viewed by administrators as "provocative" to radicalized Muslim peers. The country's only Jewish school, Copenhagen's 300-pupil Carolineskolen, founded in 1805, nowadays is constrained to operate behind a double ring of barbed wire.

[...] Historically, non-Muslim minorities (i.e., Jews and Christians) could escape the ravages of violent jihad only by surrendering to Islamic domination through a treaty of agreed-upon subjugation and oppression (dhimma) that turned them into "protected persons" (dhimmis) with second class status within the real of Islam. Today, it seems that even non-Muslim majorities are requested to descend into dhimmitude to avoid the wrath of some new immigrants. But, to paraphrase our own American Freedom Marchers, we are citizens, not dhimmis. Of course, once one has let oneself be treated like a dhimmi, it becomes hard to protest.

Watch a total eclipse on the Web

By Aussiegirl

If you can't travel to watch tomorrow's total eclipse live, you can watch it on your computer -- without worrying about having to protect your eyes. In addition to links to these webcams, there are several instructive links about eclipses.

Watch a total eclipse on the Web - Space News - MSNBC.com

Nothing can compare with being right in the track of totality for a few precious minutes, even if you have to travel thousands of miles to be there. But what if you're stuck in the States? Will Americans be totally in the dark when the moon's shadow sweeps over Earth early Wednesday?

Never fear: Even though Wednesday's total solar eclipse won't come anywhere near North America, you can still see a small-screen version of the spectacle on your computer monitor, courtesy of the Internet and a fearless band of Webcasters.

There are even a couple of consolations for computer-based eclipse watchers: You might be able to get five or six glimpses as the blacked-out sun, depending on how many Webcams you can click onto in the course of the morning. And you won't have to worry about protecting your eyes, either.

Fukuyama's fabrication

By Aussiegirl

I never understood how Fukuyama could have made that breathtakingly ridiculous statement that history was at an end. At the time he made it ,I said that he was completely overlooking the problem of radical Islam. How could Fukuyama have thought he could get away with misrepresenting Krauthammer's speech this way? Obviously these deluded folks think everyone lives in their own version of reality.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Fukuyama's fabrication by Charles Krauthammer - Mar 28, 2006

WASHINGTON -- It was, as the hero tells it, his Road to Damascus moment. There he is, in a hall of 1,500 people he has long considered to be his allies, hearing the speaker treat the Iraq War, nearing the end of its first year, as "a virtually unqualified success." He gasps as the audience enthusiastically applauds. Aghast to discover himself in a sea of comrades so deluded by ideology as to have lost touch with reality, he decides he can no longer be one of them.

And thus did Francis Fukuyama become the world's most celebrated ex-neoconservative, a well-timed metamorphosis that has brought him a piece of the fame that he once enjoyed 15 years ago as the man who declared, a mite prematurely, that history had ended.

A very nice story. It appears in the preface to Fukuyama's post-neocon coming out, "America at the Crossroads.'' Last Sunday it was repeated on the front page of The New York Times Book Review in Paul Berman's review.

I happen to know something about this story, as I was the speaker whose 2004 Irving Kristol lecture to the American Enterprise Institute Fukuyama has now brought to prominence. I can therefore testify that Fukuyama's claim that I attributed "virtually unqualified success'' to the war is a fabrication.

[...] Fukuyama now says that he had secretly opposed the Iraq War before it was launched. An unusual and convenient reticence, notes Irwin Stelzer, editor of "The Neocon Reader,'' for such an inveterate pamphleteer, letter writer and essayist. After public opinion had turned against the war, Fukuyama then courageously came out against it. He has every right to change his mind at his convenience. He has no right to change what I said.

Guests or gate crashers?

By Aussiegirl

Short and sweet -- as usual Thomas Sowell cuts through the verbiage and lays it on the line. It's not true that there are jobs that Americans will not do -- there are jobs that Americans can not afford to take because the wages are artificially depressed by illegal workers.

Another statistic heard on this morning's Laura Ingraham show -- we hear how everything in the economy is going up -- stock market, productivity, growth, etc. -- all except for one crucial factor -- real wages -- wages for the bottom 50% of American workers have gone DOWN since the early 90's -- courtesy of outsourcing of jobs and illegal immigration.

We are heading for a society much like South America -- with an elite wealthy class and a vast underclass of those who do the dirty work. The middle class is getting squeezed out -- politicians of both parties are elites - there's not a whit of difference between them -- they are only vying for power because the party in power collects more of the goodies.

Thomas Sowell

Immigration is yet another issue which we seem unable to discuss rationally — in part because words have been twisted beyond recognition in political rhetoric.

We can't even call illegal immigrants "illegal immigrants." The politically correct evasion is "undocumented workers."

Do American citizens go around carrying documents with them when they work or apply for work? Most Americans are undocumented workers but they are not illegal immigrants. There is a difference.

[...] Since existing immigration laws are not being enforced, how can anyone say that it would not do any good to try? People who get caught illegally crossing the border into the United States pay no penalty whatever. They are sent back home and can try again.

What if bank robbers who were caught were simply told to give the money back and not do it again? What if murderers who were caught were turned loose and warned not to kill again? Would that be proof that it is futile to take action, when no action was taken?

Let's hope the immigration bills before Congress can at least get an honest debate, instead of the word games we have been hearing for too long.

Citizenship: The Precious Legacy

By Aussiegirl

A wonderful article from Thomas Lifson, as usual. We have forgotten (or more precisely, it appear our politicians have forgotten) that citizenship is a great privilege and sacred duty -- not a meal ticket to freebies and welfare benefits. This concept has been eroded by liberal education over the years and is no longer taught in the schools -- remember the antedeluvian days when there were "civics" classes in high school? Increasingly, American voters are feeling like "subjects" when we realize that politicians pay no attention to us and instead, pander to the illegal masses.

By the way, the Latin phrase Lifson quotes in this article, "Civis Romanus est", actually means "He is a Roman citizen" ("I am a Roman citizen" would be "Civis Romanus sum"). The phrase comes from Acts 22; Paul, about to be tortured, asks, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned?" Whereupon the centurion tells the tribune that "this man is a Roman citizen" ("hic enim homo civis romanus est"). And when the tribune asks Paul if he is a Roman citizen, Paul answers simply "yes" ("etiam").

The American Thinker

The problem posed by the presence of millions of illegal aliens in our midst has no easy and immediately practical solution. Sweeping rhetoric from advocates of one clean-cut position or another may sound satisfying, but would cause chaos in practice. De facto open borders or mass expulsion, if ever were attempted, would be disasters. When being practical, we tend to focus on immediate practical issues like border security, drivers licenses and insurance, and the payment of income and Social Security taxes.

Lost in most of the arguments is the deep meaning that the concept of American citizenship holds for us

[...] Perhaps we need a two-tier solution. Maybe those whose identity and ultimate allegiance lies elsewhere can be offered temporary residence permits once they have made good on the back taxes they owe, have passed a background check for criminality, and agree not to burden our social welfare system with their needs. But if they do not buy into the entire package of citizenship, responsibilites and all, they do not deserve its rewards.

Citizenship should be reserved for those who understand and are committed to American fundamental values, and who stand ready to follow in the footsteps of patriots. Anything less diminishes us and our precious gift of citizenship

The Eye of God returns

By Aussiegirl

I wonder if any of my readers are lucky enough to be in a place where the eclipse will be visible. It must be a awesome sight -- I like my dictionary's current meaning of "awe": "reverent wonder tinged with fear inspired by the sublime".

The Eye of God returns

It has been called the Sun-eating Dragon. The Spirit of the Dead. The Eye of God. A harbinger of great events, good and evil -- terrible famines, bumper harvests, wars, the birth and death of kings.

On Wednesday, tens of millions of people will be treated to this spine-tingling celestial sight: a total eclipse of the Sun.

At 0836 GMT, our moon will be perfectly aligned with our star, and the lunar shadow will alight on the tip of eastern Brazil.

[...] Eclipses are infrequent events, and their rarity is enhanced by the fact that most take place over the ocean, which covers two-thirds of the world's surface, and so they go unwitnessed except by seafarers and remote islanders.

But writings dating back to the dawn of civilisation testify to thrill and dread as the Sun, the bringer of life, was gradually blotted out, the stars appeared in an indigo sky, the terrified birds stopped singing and bats left their roost.

"Nothing can be surprising any more, or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians, has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight, and ... fear has come upon mankind," wrote the Greek poet Archilochus after an eclipse in 648 BC. "After this, men can believe anything, expect anything.
"Don't any of you be surprised in future if land beasts change places with dolphins and go to live in their salty pastures, and get to like the sounding waves of the sea more than the land, while the dolphins prefer the mountains."

For the ancient Chinese, the eclipse was a Sun-eating dragon, which had to be scared away by the banging of cymbals and pans. For the Vikings, it was caused by two chasing wolves, Skoll and Hati. Hindu mythology blames a demon called Rahu who spitefully takes a bite out of the Sun from time to time.

Even today, in some cultures, eclipses are believed to bring poisonous vapours and so food and water containers are turned upside-down in protection.

Monday, March 27, 2006

After more than 200 years, science admits it: Adam Smith was right

by Aussiegirl

At last, science is discovering that our moral code, our sense of fair play, is built into us. But what about those of us who lack such a built-in moral sense, like the sociopath? From the article: So we need a compromise — a skeleton of formal regulation to stop the sociopaths taking advantage, fleshed out with plenty of self-regulation. Thus, we have a neat scientific explanation of why moderately regulated economies are the most creative and thus the wealthiest. So a little government added to our inherent moral sense turns out to be the best way to structure society.
Anjana Ahuja Science Notebook Times Online

IF YOU want to get a feel for cutting-edge science, may I recommend Adam Smith? Yes, the same Adam Smith who wrote Wealth of Nations. He also penned, in 1759, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a melodic work in which he describes the powerful, instinctive nature of “sympathy”:
“Man, say they, conscious of his own weakness, and of the need which he has for the assistance of others, rejoices whenever he observes that they adopt his own passions . . . and grieves whenever he observes the contrary . . . But both the pleasure and the pain are always felt so instantaneously, and often upon such frivolous occasions, that it seems evident that neither of them can be derived from any such self-interested consideration.”

Smith saw sympathy (compassion and commiseration for another person, even if you don’t share his troubles), or empathy (if you do), as an innate characteristic of man. It served, Smith suggested, as man’s moral compass, was difficult to overcome, and from it flourished an unwritten code of ethics that held society together.

During the past ten years scientists have confirmed Smith’s insights. People who trade money with strangers in a laboratory setting have an instinctive sense of fair play and reciprocity; chimps and capuchin monkeys also possess this instinct. These non-human primates display, just as we do, a sense of trust in response to generosity, and resentment in the face of selfishness. Such brooding resentment, in fact, that volunteers (and chimps) will often forgo reward in order to punish selfish participants.

[...] For example, one neuroeconomist thinks that our moral code is so ingrained that substituting it with formal regulation can lead to worse behaviour. Professor Paul Zak, from Claremont Graduate University in California, cites a fascinating study in which two daycare centres adopted different approaches with late parents. One centre merely reminded parents that turning up late inconvenienced the teacher, who had to stay behind. The other centre imposed a $3 fine. After several weeks, the “ penalty” centre was reporting more latecomers.

The theory is that the fine somehow replaced the social undesirability of inconveniencing the teacher. Zak suggests that penalties and regulations “may crowd out the good behaviour that most people, most of the time, follow”. That doesn’t mean that we can dispense with regulations completely — approximately 2 per cent of the population are sociopaths, and are quite happy to predate if conditions allow.

Convert Case Sparks Surge of Interest in Christianity Among Afghans

By Aussiegirl

Another, very inspiring story of Christianity in Afghanistan. It's very encouraging to find so many Muslims drawn to Christianity and thus willing to face death for their belief. Obviously they find a kind of freedom and solace for their souls in Christianity that they can't find in Islam.

Convert Case Sparks Surge of Interest in Christianity Among Afghans -- 03/27/2006

An Afghan Christian leader in the U.S. has welcomed reports that criminal charges may be dropped against an Afghan convert who was threatened with execution for refusing to return to Islam. The case has prompted strong international condemnation.

Hussain Andaryas said the publicity surrounding the Abdul Rahman case had resulted in a surge of interest in Christianity among Afghans, strong concern for the plight of Afghanistan's underground Christians -- and an antagonistic response from Muslims

[...] Andaryas runs a collection of Christian websites in Afghanistan's Dari-Persian tongue as well as daily radio programs and a weekly television program.

He is in daily contact with individuals in his homeland, and has been reporting for several years about the risks faced by Afghan Christians -- all converts from Islam and thus considered apostates worthy of death, according to Islamic law (shari'a).

[...] And then there are emails coming from Afghans wanting to know more about Christianity, asking where they can get a Bible in the Dari or Pashto language, or sharing the news that they had become believers in Jesus Christ.

Among the most stirring messages are those from Afghan Muslims marveling about a faith for which a man was willing to die and wanting to study the Bible further.

"I strongly believe God is using this situation for His glory," Andaryas said. "One man's bold step has shaken the world."

[...] Andaryas' own journey took him from Afghanistan to Iran, where he said he was caught communicating with a local Christian and arrested. In detention, he was cut with a knife and beaten with a rod bearing the words "confession or death" in Farsi.

"The three days and nights of torture in Iran brought me to understand that God cannot be like that, that God does not need protection for His religion, His way," he wrote later.

He later managed to leave Iran and eventually found his way to the U.S. by way of Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and India.

The secret world of Afghan Christians

By Aussiegirl

I had no idea that there were this many Christians in Afghanistan -- what brave people, especially now with Abdul Rahman in the news. I have to ask myself, how brave a Christian would I be under similar circumstances?

ABC News: Secret World of Afghan Christians

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 27, 2006 — The case of Abdul Rahman, the Christian convert who faced a potential death penalty in Afghanistan, may have shocked Americans, but for thousands of Afghans, it was a glimpse of what could await them.

[...] Getting Rahman out of the country will not solve the larger issue, though. Rahman is not the only Afghan to embrace Jesus Christ, and the thousands of other Christians in Afghanistan are praying that his case will open a window onto their plight.

ABC News got a glimpse into their secret world, where Christians meet quietly in small prayer groups. Some estimates put the number of Afghan converts at 10,000 or more.

Latest Ukraine voting results from Neeka's Backlog

By Aussiegirl

Here are the latest polling results courtesy of Neeka's Backlog. Check the site for lots of photos and background information on what is happening on the ground in Ukraine. She's doing a great job.

If these results continue to hold it just may be possible that Viktor Yushchenko's "Our Ukraine" bloc and Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc will have about 40% of the vote between them. They will most likely announce a coalition possibly, as was rumored last night, with the fourth placing Socialist Party of Moroz.

It may not have been such a bad idea for Yulia and Viktor to split up prior to the election, as I think by using a good cop/bad cop strategy they were able to garner more votes separately than they could have together. We'll see if I'm right. If so, Yulia Tymoshenko would be most likely named PM again, and we would hope that she and Viktor could come to some agreements on cooperating together.

BTW -- the Ukrainian Socialist Party claim that they are Socialists in the Swedish model -- and not communists in disguise -- well, we all know politicians and what they say -- still -- as a distant fourth they don't hold much power unless they form a coalition with some other parties. The communists polled a measely 3.53% so far, so at least they are totally out of the picture.

Like sausage making, it's an ugly process -- let's hope the end result is going to be palatable for Ukraine's continued steady, slow progress to a functioning free-market economy and vibrant democracy.

Neeka's Backlog

50.50% counted, here's the breakdown:

Party of Regions - 27.34%
Yulia Tymoshenko's Bloc - 23.52%
Our Ukraine Bloc - 16.27%
Socialist Party - 6.89%
Communist Party - 3.53%
Lytvyn's Bloc - 2.63%
Kostenko+Plyushch - 2.33%
Vitrenko - 2.27%
Pora-PRP - 1.47%

Sunday, March 26, 2006

More worrisome news about China and the internet

By Aussiegirl

I had read that Accoona was to be superior to other search engines, but according to this article it may help China become immune to any arm-twisting over internet freedoms.

FrontPage magazine.com :: Beijing's Freedom of Suppression by Robert T. McLean

March 8, western investors and the Chinese government came together at the United Nations headquarters in New York to unveil a product that derives its name from the Swahili phrase “no worries.” The new product, an internet search engine named Accoona, however, causes ample reason for concern. Beijing’s grip on the media and expression ranks among the tightest in the world and their control of the internet is no different. With little sign of relaxing its censorship policies and the China Daily Information Company’s partnership with Accoona, it appears that the greatest instrument in the advancement of free speech will fail to breakdown the information barrier surrounding the People’s Republic of China.

With the introduction of the internet in China in the 1990’s, the hope was – and still remains to a degree – that the expansion of internet activity would cause the information monopoly of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to crack and the regime subsequently would be forced to accept a more liberal exchange of ideas. This clearly has not transpired, and censorship of the internet in China continues to suppress the availability of objective information.

[...] An obstacle to Western efforts to encumber Beijing’s freedom to censure the internet could very well be the growth of Accoona. The July 2004 agreement between Accoona and the China Daily Information Company cemented a twenty-year agreement providing the New Jersey based search engine with exclusive rights to become the official provider for ChinaDaily.com. Essentially a branch of the State Council of Information, the government-owned China Daily is simply another instrument in the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda machine. With over five million viewers a day, the Chinese news site will provide Accoona with a considerable market-share in the country’s internet search engine sector, and that very partnership will likely result in an expanding government influence on Accoona.

[...] Accoona’s official web site claims that the China Daily Information Company has “a significant equity stake in Accoona Corp.,” and that with the twenty year partnership, “Accoona is poised to be the premiere Internet Search Site for the fastest growing economy of the 21st Century.” With these developments the Chinese government may become immune to regulatory measures passed in the United States as Accoona is altered into an essentially Chinese company and seeks favor with the CCP, not the United States Congress. Thus, for those who continue to be deceived by the notion that the internet will provide a catalyst for transparency in the People’s Republic of China, the case of Accoona displays that the Chinese regime is likely to have greater influence on the internet than the internet will have on the regime.

Ukraine's elections stand in stark contrast to those just held in Byelorus

By Aussiegirl

A tale of two elections with very different results. For complete and up-to-date coverage of the aftermath of the Byelorus elections visit Neeka's Backlog, where you'll find lots of photos and inside information on what is going on behind the scenes and on the streets -- she will also have coverage of the voting going on in Ukraine today.

Ukraine's Pora-PRP party protested in Kiev yesterday ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections

Ukraine's new, bumpy path csmonitor.com

KIEV, UKRAINE – Two very different elections, held within a week of each other in the neighboring republics of Belarus and Ukraine, illustrate a deepening schism between former Soviet states. Some are moving decisively toward democracy, while others are sliding into the political orbit of an increasingly authoritarian, energy-rich Russia.
In contrast to the tight government control that largely squelched opposition forces in Belarus ahead of last weekend's elections, Kiev's main square is a veritable bazaar of competing voices. Nearly 50 rival political parties are heading into the final leg of parliamentary polls slated for Sunday. The roughly 2,000 foreign observers here have noted no serious irregularities, and Ukrainian experts say these are the freest and most open elections in the country's history.

"There is absolute transparency, and an equal playing field for all parties," says Alexander Chernenko, an analyst with the Committee of Ukrainian Voters, a grass-roots monitoring group. "There is no fear, no coercion. People feel this is irreversible."

The same could not be said of Belarus. President Alexander Lukashenko, Moscow's sole European ally, was elected to a third term last Sunday with an 83 percent majority that few experts believe to be genuine.

During the campaign, police arrested hundreds of opposition workers, closed most independent media outlets, and cracked down on nongovernmental groups. Protesters occupied the capital, Minsk's, central square in an effort to force fresh elections, as happened in Ukraine's 2004 "Orange Revolution," but by Thursday only a few hundred remained.

Nearly 100 have been arrested since Sunday, human rights groups say, but the key reason for their fading hopes may be a sullen lack of public response.

"Lukashenko succeeds because a big part of society acquiesces," says Yaroslav Romanchuk, vice chair of the opposition United Civil Party in Minsk. "This longing for a firm hand that will provide stability and order is very deep among Belarussians. Once you've got him, you have to let that strong man do whatever he wants."

Many Ukrainians feared a Belarus scenario in 2004 when presidential elections were allegedly rigged in favor of Kremlin-backed candidate Viktor Yanukovych, who supports economic integration and political alliance with Russia. Tens of thousands of people thronged to the square and stayed for nearly two weeks, until the supreme court overturned the polls. In a fresh round of voting, Ukrainians elected pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko.

Belarus leader wary of Ukraine effect

Ukraine's democratic upsurge in 2004 may have been the key reason Mr. Lukashenko has cracked down so hard - with Moscow's support - on Belarussian opposition and civil society groups, experts say.

"That wave of color revolutions scared Lukashenko, and it made the Kremlin back away from any idea of holding dialogue with any other political forces in Belarus," says Oleg Manaev, a sociologist in Minsk. "The Ukrainian example looks like poison to them."

Russia's support comes with a price


Experts say that Lukashenko, who has used Russian subsidies and strict economic planning to improve living standards, could probably have won a fair election - though foreign observers judged that nothing of the sort took place in Belarus last week. Ukrainians, meanwhile, have no interest in following the Belarus model - despite indirect pressure from Russia such as the January cutoff of crucial natural gas supplies to the country after it refused to agree to a quadrupling in price. Belarus, meanwhile, pays just one-fifth the market price for its energy from Moscow.

"The Belarussian road means dependency on Russia for cheap energy and other favors, which must be purchased at a steep political price," says Oleksandr Shushko, an analyst with Kiev's independent Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation. "Ukrainians have turned away from that; we made a choice to join Europe and the world."

But Ukraine is deeply divided between the industrialized, russified east - Yanukovych's stronghold - and its Ukrainian-speaking Western provinces, where aspirations to join Europe and NATO are strong. Though the Kremlin has not interfered directly in these elections, as it did in 2004, the economic fallout of the gas dispute could aggravate the country's postrevolution slump. The GDP has fallen from 12.1 percent in 2004 to 2.6 percent in 2005.

"Yanukovych was able to tell his supporters that this wouldn't have happened if he had been president," says Mr. Shushko.

So in an ironic twist, Ukraine's exuberant new democracy could bring the former president back to power - this time with full legitimacy.

One key factor working in Yanukovych's favor is disunity among Orange leaders. A survey completed this week by the independent Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) puts Yanukovych's Party of Regions in the lead with 37 percent. Trailing are the parties of estranged Orange leaders, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc with 19 percent and Yushchenko's Our Ukraine at 18 percent. "Yanukovych has consolidated his electorate, while the Orange parties have split and squabbled among themselves," says Volodimir Paniotto, director general of KIIS. The split between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko, whose firing of Tymoshenko last September opened a breach in Ukraine's pro-democracy forces, "has been Yanukovych's main advantage," says Mr. Paniotto.

Democracy complicates elections

While Lukashenko appears to have safely ensconced himself in power through dubious polls, Ukraine may face protracted political crisis thanks to its embrace of democracy. If Sunday's vote produces no parliamentary majority, the new legislature may fail to form a government, paralyzing the state.

But experts say there will be no backpedaling for Ukraine. "Democracy is already in the [people's] way of thinking," says Dimitry Vydrin, director of the European Institute of Integration and Development in Kiev. "We've made our choice, and we're not going back".

Victor Yushchenko's Television Address

By Aussiegirl

Excerpt of text of Viktor Yushchenko's speech on the eve of the parliamentary elections:

ForUm :: Victor Yushchenko�s Television Address

On March 26, we will elect parliamentarians, deputies of local councils and mayors. We will together confirm our commitment to ideals of freedom and democracy. This day will determine Ukraine’s future. The configuration of forces in the Verkhovna Rada depends on your choice.

This year’s election campaign convincingly proves that changes in Ukraine are irreversible.

It is my obligation to conduct this election in accordance with democratic standards. My team has succeeded in ensuring greater transparency of the entire process. All political forces enjoyed equal rights but unfortunately we did not witness any competition of programs and ideas.

I am convinced that political forces willing to determine the country’s future should offer their voters perspectives and demonstrate civilized competition.

Ukrainian and international observers claim that Ukraine’s officials no longer abuse authority. Frankly speaking, there are some local problems but such officials are mercilessly prosecuted by law enforcement agencies.

For the first time in our history, the majority of Ukraine’s population believes that the vote will be fair and objective. As President of Ukraine, I would like to thank you all for this positive evaluation of our efforts.

Dear Ukrainians! We support different political parties but that must not divide us. We all love our motherland. We all strive to improve our life. We all respect our history and our ancestors. United, we will make Ukraine prosper.

As President, I want to see Ukraine become a powerful, independent, and modern country where citizens can develop free and enjoy fair justice and freedom of speech.

Robert McConnell on Ukraine on National Review Online

By Aussiegirl

With apologies to NRO, I reprint this wonderful essay on the Ukrainian elections and the prospects for democracy there written by Robert A. McConnel. It is by far the most accurate and insightful piece I have read on the situation there -- and I've been reading them all.

There is little to add except that democracy is a messy business, and the good news out of Ukraine is that democracy is underway -- and the bad news is that democracy is underway -- nevertheless a free and open election is expected and the media has been free to cover all candidates openly, which was not the case last time.

Russia is trying to work its influence behind the scenes, as is expected, but is not overtly pulling the strings and stifling free expression and manipulating the vote, and it has not attempted to assassinate any candidates this time around.

As the article states, too much was expected of Yushchenko, but what goes unappreciated is what he has accomplished, and at what a great cost to his personal health and life. Long live Ukraine's democracy -- long live the people living in a free land -- may they grow and learn and prosper -- may they re-connect with their heritage which has been stolen from them by the communists and Soviets -- let them awaken from years of slumber and take their place in the family of free nations. "Shche ne vmerla Ukraina" -- let us hope some day we can change the words of our national anthem to "Zavzhdi zhytyme Ukraina!"

Robert McConnell on Ukraine on National Review Online

As Ukraine’s parliamentary and local elections approach this weekend, there have been a number of stories offering analysis of that country’s complex political situation. Whether the stories talk about the tarnishing of the promises of the Orange Revolution, or the sharp-elbowed scramble of many — from oligarchs to petty criminals — to secure parliamentary seats with their guaranteed immunity from the law, or whether they discuss the Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko political divorce, almost all of the stories express disappointment after the great promise of what had happened in Kiev’s Independence Square, the Maidan.

A lot of these reports make fair and valid and true points about internal Orange turmoil. But many of these reports miss some critical elements of the Ukrainian political scene.

The Orange Revolution was dramatic and captured the attention of the world. The citizens of the Ukraine, demanding change and freedom, faced down the entrenched and corrupt Kuchma government, Russian money and operatives, and oligarch clans. The citizens on Kiev’s Independence Square kept alive Yushchenko’s candidacy after his life had nearly been taken by poison in the middle of the campaign, and then again after the original election was so badly manipulated as to be a farce.

Yet, despite all of the joy and celebration over this profound democratic expression in the Ukraine, the Orange Revolution was primarily a combination of forces united against the Kuchma regime, Russian interference, and oligarch domination. It was not a movement united behind a unitary and focused vision and common positive goals. Yushchenko’s objectives and approach were not shared by all of those who surrounded him on the stage of the Maidan.

Those tenuous alliances were from the very beginning destined to unravel. There were too many hyperactive egos and widely divergent objectives, along with too little commitment to Yushchenko and the program he had presented the country. The internal turmoil was easily visible even as the Yushchenko government was being formed.

As a result, the single biggest political dynamic casting its dark shadow over this weekend’s parliamentary elections is the disappointment of the citizens who anticipated immediate results that far exceeded anything possible in the short-term. Dashed expectations lead to harsh criticisms, and harsh criticisms can lead to major shifts in political alliances.

Polling and analysis suggest that the party likely to win the largest percentage of seats in the parliament under the new and troublesome election rules is the Party of the Regions. This is the party led by Viktor Yanukovych, the ex-con, former Kuchma prime minister who was defeated by President Yushchenko and the Orange Revolution less than a year and a half ago. But rather than an indication of the wizardry of American public-relations agents, or the reformation of a hard-line throwback, the perceived ascendancy of Yanukovych is really an indication that he and his supporters have essentially held onto his 2004 base while the fragmentation of the Orange alliances has divided the strength of the 2004 majority.

Most troubling is the common suggestion that Yushchenko has let down his supporters, who are now following others away from the Maidan stage. What is lacking is an appropriate discussion about what faces the president. Surely the missteps of the government under Yushchenko have disappointed many and are clearly a greater influence on the broad sweep of Ukrainian voters than is a revitalized Yanukovych. But with the election before us, it is critically important that voters and observers face the reality that has been visited upon Yushchenko and the Orange promises from the very beginning.

First, Yushchenko has never fully recovered from the poisoning that grabbed world’s attention, and this is a disgusting legacy to the cruel and evil ways of Yushchenko’s 2004 opponents. The side-by-side pictures of Yushchenko, the strikingly handsome candidate, and Yushchenko, the facially disfigured and discolored survivor, have long since disappeared from newspapers and televisions screens. But the poison has not completely left the president’s body. It continues to sap his strength and the strength of the Orange cause.

When the analysis of the poisoning became public in late 2004, experts were amazed that Yushchenko lived. Even more astonishing was that he continued to campaign, and demanded that his body allow him to lead the democratic uprising of Independence Square. This perseverance was a courageous act, but it has cost him, and this cost has not been adequately taken into account in the calculations of the government’s missteps and struggles. There can be no question that Yushchenko, the promises of the Maidan, and the Ukraine continue to bear the heavy cross placed upon them by the cowards who tried to replace the ballot box with lethal poison.

Second, with very few exceptions Viktor Yushchenko has not been surrounded in government by people committed to his vision and programs for Ukraine. Even in mature democracies a new administration must have legions of fully committed supporters if a new leader’s programs and promises are to be implemented successfully. Viktor Yushchenko never had such support.

Even before the polling stations opened on December 26, 2004, those surrounding Yushchenko were competing for positions, undermining the Yushchenko vision, and abandoning the leader selected by Ukraine’s voters. It was Yushchenko and his vision, not a collection of widely divergent visions, that was elected to office.

Nevertheless, even poisoned and surrounded by competing egos with narrow self-interests and agendas, Viktor Yushchenko remains a symbol of a new Ukraine, an independent Ukraine, with a desire to shed its corrupt and Communist past. Whether it is fully appreciated in his country or around the world, Viktor Yushchenko has literally put his life on the line and has not given up. Whatever happens in Sunday’s elections, the Ukraine will have a nationwide campaign with an open and free media, and cities full of colored tents with information on the various political parties and campaigns. Under Yushchenko, everyone can express his own viewpoint. The contrast with 2004, or, for that matter, with last week’s elections in Belarus, is as stark as it can be.

Flaws and setbacks and all, Yushchenko has ushered in a new era of Ukrainian openness that is already so accepted that it is taken for granted. Analysts of Sunday’s balloting will be well advised not to count him out. What came together on the Maidan still lives in the hearts of the people of Ukraine and in the soul of Viktor Yushchenko.

— Robert A. McConnell is co-founder of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and vice president of Hawthorne & York International Ltd.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thousands Rally for Immigrants' Rights

By Aussiegirl

This is the beginning of the Latino Intifada -- Pat Caddell had it exactly right tonight on Hannity's show -- the elites in this country are completely out of touch with the vast majority of the people -- the business elites on the Republican side demand cheap labor and the Democrat elites want cheap votes -- so the people be damned, the elites will have their way and import an insurgent army of illegal immigrants who will depress wages, ruin our social services, corrupt the culture, bankrupt the country and destroy both political parties -- a pox on all their houses.

YumaSun.com > News

Thousands of people across the country protested Friday against legislation cracking down on illegal immigrants, with demonstrators in cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta staging school walkouts, marches and work stoppages.

Congress is considering bills that would make it a felony to be in the United States illegally, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border. The proposals have angered many Hispanics.

Tiny Tunnels in Mars Rock Hint at Possibility of Life

By Aussiegirl

What I find fascinating about this article is the fact that they looked for DNA in an object that came from Mars! That means that DNA, which I thought only was found in Earth-based life, must be a building block found thoughout the entire universe!

SPACE.com -- Tiny Tunnels in Mars Rock Hint at Possibility of Life

A study of a meteorite that fell in Egypt nearly 95 years ago may offer clues as to the search for possible life on Mars.

Researchers studying the meteorite that originated from Mars found a series of microscopic tunnels within the object that mimic the size, shape and distribution to tracks left on Earth rocks by the feeding frenzy of bacteria.

The discovery of the tiny burrows adds intrigue to the search for life beyond Earth. However, no DNA could be extracted from the meteorite, so it's not known if the tunnels are of biological origin. The scientists said the lack of DNA also does not derail the prospect.

[...] Scientists have dated the igneous rock fragment from Nakhla at 1.3 billion years in age. They believe that the rock was exposed to water about 600 million years ago, based on the age of clay found inside the rocks.

"Virtually all of the tunnel marks on Earth rocks that we have examined were the result of bacterial invasion," Fisk explained in an OSU press statement. "In every instance, we've been able to extract DNA from these Earth rocks, but we have not yet been able to do that with the Martian samples."

That being the case, there are two likely scenarios.

"One is that there is an abiotic [non-living] way to create those tunnels in rock on Earth, and we just haven't found it yet," Fisk said. "The second possibility is that the tunnels on Martian rocks are indeed biological in nature, but the conditions are such on Mars that the DNA was not preserved."

Fisk said it is commonly believed that water is an essential ingredient for life. "So if bacteria laid down the tunnels in the rock when the rock was wet, they may have died 600 million years ago. That may explain why we can't find DNA—it is an organic compound that can break down."

Another scientific revolution

By Aussiegirl

This is a very interesting article discussing the possibility of the computer, not only dealing with the data that scientific concepts produce, but even coming up with the concepts in the first place. Imagine, Isaac Newton transfigured into a giant computer!

The scientific method | Computing the future | Economist.com

WHAT makes a scientific revolution? Thomas Kuhn famously described it as a “paradigm shift”—the change that takes place when one idea is overtaken by another, usually through the replacement over time of the generation of scientists who adhered to an old idea with another that cleaves to a new one. These revolutions can be triggered by technological breakthroughs, such as the construction of the first telescope (which overthrew the Aristotelian idea that heavenly bodies are perfect and unchanging) and by conceptual breakthroughs such as the invention of calculus (which allowed the laws of motion to be formulated). This week, a group of computer scientists claimed that developments in their subject will trigger a scientific revolution of similar proportions in the next 15 years.

[...] Such solutions, however, are merely an extension of the existing paradigm of collecting and ordering data by whatever technological means are available, but leaving the value-added stuff of interpretation to the human brain. What really interested Dr Emmott's team was whether computers could participate meaningfully in this process, too. That truly would be a paradigm shift in scientific method.

And computer science does, indeed, seem to be developing a role not only in handling data, but also in analysing and interpreting them.

[...] Stephen Muggleton, the head of computational bio-informatics at Imperial College, London, has, meanwhile, taken the involvement of computers with data handling one step further. He argues they will soon play a role in formulating scientific hypotheses and designing and running experiments to test them. The data deluge is such that human beings can no longer be expected to spot patterns in the data. Nor can they grasp the size and complexity of one database and see how it relates to another. Computers—he dubs them “robot scientists”—can help by learning how to do the job. A couple of years ago, for example, a team led by Ross King of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, demonstrated that a learning machine performed better than humans at selecting experiments that would discriminate between hypotheses about the genetics of yeast.