30 April 2005

More good health news

As we've all heard recently, being a little bit plump helps you live longer (sad to say, I'm more than a "little bit"). But now, comes this stunningly good news: drinking, in moderation, might make you smarter.

Obviously, my problem is with the "in moderation" part of that.

27 April 2005

Korea bests Japan!

OK, not really. What happened is that two MLB teams, with Koreans pitching, beat two teams with Japanese pitchers in New York. link

In the US, this is going to get a big collective "huh". And I know there'll be questions about it in trivia games across the country.

But I remember when I was working in Korea, there was a Korean pitching in the US majors whose image was plastered all over Seoul. Think Michael Jordan in the US at the peak of the hype, and you'll have some idea. And in Japan, where I was living at the time, the same was true of the Japanese players in the MLB. It didn't matter that I don't follow sports - no one, in either country, could believe that I had no clue who these guys were.

So I think these games in New York will be the cause of much rejoicing and celebrating in Seoul, and give rise to a great deal of soul-searching in Tokyo.

On the other hand, I had an American friend visiting recently, and while here he saw a Pepsi commercial which featured the likes of Beckham, Totti, Ronaldinho, and Roberto Carlos. Afterwards, I asked him how many of them he had recognized, and he didn't know who any of them were, and didn't believe me when I guessed that, worldwide, every one of those men was more famous than any American sports star, with the possible exceptions of Jordan and Tiger Woods. It just goes to show how very insular the US can be.


According to Drudge, Bush, by way of ingratiating himself with the locals, mentioned an annual large gay-oriented party to a crowd in Galveston, Texas. Maybe, as Drudge reports, he was unaware of the homosexual connotations of the event. Or maybe he just hazily remembers it as a really good time from those days before he allied himself with gay-bashers.

And before you make the inevitable "I didn't know there were enough gays in Texas to hold a party" comment, you should know that nearby Houston has one of the country's biggest gay populations.

The Republicans are going to investigate DeLay?


I'm sure they'll be Fair and Balanced about it, like they were with Clinton.

Come again?

Under pressure over high energy prices, President Bush on Wednesday will propose tackling the root causes of the problem by encouraging new oil refineries be built... link

And here I was thinking that high demand and uncertain supplies were the root cause of high energy prices.

They're also proposing tax credits for diesel, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. All other things being equal, promoting diesel seems like a good idea, But hybrids, although they help with pollution in cities, don't help overall, since the electricity to run them must be generated somehow, typically by burning fossil fuels.

Luckily - and I suspect this is really the point of all this - they're also proposing that insurance be offered to nuclear power companies to offset the cost of regulatory delay. If I'm reading that right, that means that if a company builds a shoddy nuclear plant, and their operating license gets delayed, we'll pay the company for its incompetence, as opposed to penalizing them. Somehow, I think this will create perverse incentives for the nuclear power industry.

In the end, though, given limited supplies, the only economically sound way of managing energy prices is to control demand. I'm with The Economist - a tax on the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere is the right way to go. For electric vehicles, this would be levied on the electricity provider, who would then pass it on to their customers. The main virtue of this tax would be that those heaviest hit by it would be those who pollute the most.

Update: I just realized that yesterday was the anniversary of Chernobyl. The brazenness just takes your breath away, doesn't it?