Friday Four

Friday, March 30, 2012

1. It would be premature to celebrate, but it looks like ObamaCare is in serious trouble at the Supreme Court:

Early in the arguments, [Anthony Kennedy, who appears to be the "swing" vote in a 5-4 decision,] cut to the heart of the debate over the so-called individual mandate -- which was the focus of Tuesday's hearing -- asking the federal government's attorney to explain what constitutional power the government had to force all Americans to obtain health insurance. "Can you create commerce to regulate it?" Kennedy asked Solicitor General Don Verrilli.
A legal analyst for CNN said that it looks like a "train wreck" for Obama and his cronies. Better yet, James Antle, writing for The American Spectator, notes that "[N]o matter how the Court rules, the bedrock assumptions of constitutionally limited government have returned to the mainstream of American political discourse." I hope he's right. Here's something else that goes no matter what: "... Americans will still have one last opportunity to overturn ObamaCare at the ballot box this fall: [by] elect[ing] politicians committed to repeal."

2. I got a kick out of reading about someone building the "worst Linux PC ever".
How fast is it? [Dmitry] tells us it takes two hours to boot up to a bash prompt, and four more to load up Ubuntu and login. If you want a Megahertz rating, good luck; the effective clock speed is about 6.5 kilohertz. While the worst Linux PC ever won’t win any races, its simple construction puts it within the reach of even the klutziest of hardware builders; the entire device is just a microcontroller, RAM, SD card, a few resistors, and some wire.
I guess this guy proved that Linux doesn't need "‘a computer made in the last 20 years" -- or at least that you need to add "to be useful" to that claim.

3. Scientists at MIT are working on a drug that could kill all viruses.
[DRACO] is a broad-spectrum antiviral. We have other broad-spectrum antivirals. We also have other PANACEA treatments that we've adapted to go after other things. Like for bacteria. And of course there are antibiotics, but for bacteria that are resistant to existing antibiotics, such as tuberculosis, malaria... so we can adapt this to pathogens other than viruses. We've done some initial experiments, we just can't get funding for that so far.
The idea is still in the lab, and many things could legitimately -- unlike the FDA -- stop its use in humans. However if this proved safe, genetic engineering could conceivably  allow people to produce the drug themselves at all times. I have my own misgivings about the advisability of using such a drug in this way, but this is still a fascinating idea.

4. I'm a proud father and my stories about my daughter do have their fans.... Here's one I meant to include in last week's batch: we have a "towel game". If I dangle a burp cloth in front of the baby, she'll grab at it. One day, while waiting with her on a subway platform, I started pulling it away just as she grabbed at it, and then lowering it again. I'd make sure I let her get hold of it once in a while, and say, "You got my towel!" whenever she did. Lately, with yawns having becoming mostly passé, this seems to be the best way to get her to laugh.

-- CAV

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