Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Notes from the Road

Not a good day for United Airlines. We are experiencing the dreaded mechanical delay here in San Diego. This, of course, leaves me with time to do a quick blog update.

In the category of not-terribly-relevant is the fact that Arthur C. Clarke has passed away. Clarke is the genius who worked out how to use satellites for communication purposes and who wrote such classic sci-fi books as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End, and Rendezvous With Rama. News here.

Crap Shoot at the Border:

Here is a sad story about a gambler. He is a Mexican national living illegally in the U.S. who decided to go to a Canadian casino. While there, he lost $500. When he tried to cross back into the U.S. without proof of citizenship, he was arrested and now awaits deportation to Mexico. Thereby likely losing a lot more.

Canadian NDP and Idaho Down on NAFTA:

This report indicates that the leftist New Democratic Party of Canada would like to work with U.S. Democrats to renegotiate NAFTA with an emphasis on labor and the environment. Meanwhile, the Idaho legislature is taking up NAFTA as a policy issue despite its complete inability to affect the issue.

An Economist on NAFTA:

This essay from the New York Times on the NAFTA debate is worth reading.

Books:

Luckily, before I left on this trip, I picked up a copy of The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. The book is a serious and well-written look at what happens when an agnostic decides to follow all the commandments in the Old and New Testaments for a year. I'm about halfway through. The book is interesting in that the author finds humor and tries to find meaning in what are--by modern standards--often absurd rules. For example, there is a commandment against mixing fibers in clothing. There is no known basis for this rule, although there are theories. Nevertheless, the author hires an expert to vet his clothing. In a funny and somewhat disturbing episode, Jacobs goes to Central Park looking for an adulterer to stone (with small stones) and finds one.

Given that my ETA is nine hours from now, I may finish the book.

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