Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Start Drilling Already!

Robert Samuelson at Newsweek (via RCP) says we need to start drilling - now. If we had done this 10-20 years ago, we wouldn't be in nearly the mess we find ourselves today. Most people would be surprised to learn the US is still the third leading oil producer in the world. However, large tracts of potentially available domestic resources, such the the ANWR, are off-limits - largely due to the environmental lobby. The off-limit areas could as much as double US reserves, currently believed to be around 30 billion barrels of oil and 80 trillion feet of natural gas. Why are prices reaching such stratospheric levels?

"The basic cause of exploding prices is that advancing demand has virtually exhausted the world's surplus production capacity, says analyst Douglas MacIntyre of the Energy Information Administration. The result: Any unexpected rise in demand or threat to supply triggers higher prices.

The best we can do is to try to influence the global balance of supply and demand. Increase our supply. Restrain our demand. With luck, this might widen the worldwide surplus of production capacity. Producers would have less power to exact ever-higher prices, because there would be more competition among them to sell."

Another issue is that foreign governments, who aren't terrribly interested in increasing supplies, control over 3/4 of global reserves. While Congressional morons complain about the profits of private oil companies, they then turn around and prevent them from exploring and investing in domestic production.

Investor's Business Daily wieghs in with an editorial (again, thanks to RCP) here. They also point out that US refining capacity, usually running at over 90%, has not been increased with any new facilities since 1976 (they do not mention that existing plants have expanded in that time, however).

There has also been an effective moratorium of the construction of new nuclear power plants, which provide around 20% of our electricity needs - while European nations such as France generate nearly 40% of their needs. while they are expensive, at $3 billion a pop, the electricity they produce ($1.72 per kw/hour)is much cheaper than coal ($2.37) or natural gas ($6.35)plant alternatives.

Added to all that are the threats to increase taxes and the regulatory burden to energy companies, and you have the current recipe for high prices.

Solar Sail Prototype Nears Testing Phase

Livescience is reporting an electrically charged 'solar sail' could be ready for testing in as few as three years. A team from Finland believes it has made a breakthrough with the concept, which traditionally has involved a lightweight 'sail' which would receive thrust form the Sun's solar winds of charged particles. The Finnish team's concept includes an electron gun (charged from solar panels) which would create a self sustaining flow of particles to generate thrust in the sail.

"Two solar panels would power an electron gun that keeps the spacecraft tethers charged, creating propulsion from the similarly charged solar wind pushing against the sail. Researchers are looking into aluminum or copper alloy wires for the tethers. The maiden mission would also test a concept to increase the thrust from the solar wind, called radio frequency electron heating. "turbo" charge. The subscale mission would also test a "turbo" charge for the solar sail. Radio-frequency waves could excite the solar wind particles through electron heating, which might boost the thrust created."

The solar sail concept has proven to be difficult to test, with two Russian attempts failing in 1999 & 2001, and a joint US-Russian mission failing 2005 due to a launch failure. A small scale a Japanese space test in 2004 proved successful, however. The payoff, of course, would be for the technology to allow much cheaper deep space exploration missions and lowering the cost of transport within the solar system. A fleet of such vehicles could retrieve resources from asteroids allowing the production of rocket fuel in either low Earth orbit or a planned Lunar base.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: "I'd just like to say that most of us begin life suckling on a breast. If we're lucky we end life suckling on a breast. So anybody who's against breasts is against life itself. Denny Crane."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Huskers & NFL Draft

While only 3 Huskers were drafted by NFL franchises over the weekend, there are a number of former players signing free agent deals, with a couple of other players invited to participate in NFL mini-camps.

Drafted were CB Zach Bowman by Chicago in the fifth round, as well as T Carl Nicks in the same round to New Orleans. One somewhat surprising pick was LB Bo Ruud to New England in the sixth.

Reportede free agent signings were S Tierre Green to Green Bay, WR Franz Hardy with Philly, CB Courtney Grixby with Carolina, LB Steve Octavien with Kansas City, C Brett Byford with the NY Jets and LB Lance Brandenburgh with San Fran. Once thought to be a draft lock, WR Maurice Purify is talking to Cincinnati (with two other teams apparently interested), and LB Corey McKeon will try his luck with Tampa after recieving an invite to their mini-camp. QB Sam Keller apparently has not received any offers, but I wouldn't be surprised to see someone give him a shot.

China's Unapparent Weakness

Francis Fukuyama at the LA Times points out a very interesting dilemma for the Chinese government. While there is a substantial amount of repression involving the Communist government on Tibetans, other minority groups and religious organizations, there is another source of coercion not often reported; the local government oligarchs that oppress the local citizens.

"The vast majority of abuses against the rights of ordinary Chinese citizens -- peasants who have their land taken away without just compensation, workers forced to labor under sweatshop conditions or villagers poisoned by illegal dumping of pollutants -- occur at a level far below that of the government in Beijing.

China's peculiar road toward modernization after 1978 was powered by "township and village enterprises" -- local government bodies given the freedom to establish businesses and enter into the emerging market economy. These entities were enormously successful, and many have become extraordinarily rich and powerful. In cahoots with private developers and companies, it is they that are producing conditions resembling the satanic mills of early industrial England.

The central government, by all accounts, would like to crack down on these local government bodies but is unable to do so. It both lacks the capacity to do this and depends on local governments and the private sector to produce jobs and revenue.

The Chinese Communist Party understands that it is riding a tiger. Each year, there are several thousand violent incidents of social protest, each one contained and suppressed by state authorities, who nevertheless cannot seem to get at the underlying source of the unrest."

In this case, much like medieval Poland, the central government is simply too unorganized, weak and dependent on these local officials to protect its people from the depravations of their local bureaucrats. Another example might be the Post-Reconstruction American South, where racial segragation and local Jim Crow laws oppressed the lives of Black Americans. Many of these local protests involve local peasants complaining of horrible workinf conditions and widespread pollution, particularly of water resources. While the central government has taken some steps to reign in local officials, it's like bailing water from a sinking ship. Of course, this doesn't by any means excuse the central government's oppression of Tibetans, Chinese Christians or members of Fulon Gong.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: See all the police outside? We must have a jumper. I hope it isn't Paul.
Tara: Denny, you don't know what is going on?
Denny: Why are you women in my office?
Sally: You really don't realize what's happening?
Denny: I think I do. Let's take off out clothes!
Sally: A man has a gun trained on Alan Shore out there, that's why the police are here.
Denny: Out there?
Sally: He's threatening to kill him.
Denny: Why didn't anybody come and get me? [strides to cabinets behind his desk, pulls out a rifle and begins to assemble it] All right then.
Tara: Are you mad?
Sally: I really don't think that's such a good idea!
Denny: It's a fantastic idea!
Tara: Denny, the police are already here.
Denny: Yes, I can see they have everything under control. Tara, when I say open, you open that door.
Tara: I most certainly will not!
Denny: I'm an ex-marine. I was a trained sniper. Or was it a pilot?
Tara: Put the gun down! You'll get everybody killed.
Denny: It's Alan out there. I'm mainly a skeet shooter now, so when I yell "Pull" that'll be your cue to open the door.
Tara: You are mad!
Sally: Don't Tara, he'll kill us.
Denny: Pull! [Tara opens the door, Denny fires and wounds the man in the shoulder]

Monday, April 28, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Shirley: You're waiting for me to tell you where your office is, aren't you?
Denny: No, I want to see the look on your face when you realize they still come in through that door looking for one man to solve their problems, they don't come marching in for Paul or for you. Only one man.
Shirley: Allow me. [stand up and approaches Denny's ear, whispers] Denny Crane.
Denny: She can still pump my chubby.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Behind the Rice 'Shortage'

Business Week's Pallavi Gogoi explains the recent media firestorm over the price of rice. Rice, a staple food source throughout Third World nations, has had dramatic price increases over the last couple of months - yet there is plenty of rice being produced. Reason? Due to larger inflationary concerns, rice exporting nations are withholding their crops from the global market due to domestic concerns.

"The rice rationing in the U.S. comes as the torrid pace of commodity price increases has led to violence over food supplies and costs in several nations. Globally, rice prices are starting to hit record highs, following a host of other commodities. However, experts are clear: There's currently no shortage of rice. "Vietnam and Thailand have had record rice crops in the past year, and India too has had bumper crops," says Nathan Childs, a senior economist who follows the global rice market at the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Agriculture Dept.

Instead, what's driving the price of rice so high are widespread worries about food inflation in many rice-growing nations. "In poorer nations, a large share of people's earnings is spent on food, and big price increases in other kinds of food are harming consumers," Childs says. So to protect their supplies of rice—a staple food in much of the world—several countries have imposed export bans or sharp limits. That has led to a sharp reduction of rice available for trade in the global market. In 2007, India and Vietnam, two of the world's biggest rice exporters, reduced their rice shipments. Since then, Cambodia, Egypt, and Brazil have all halted rice exports. And many observers worry that Thailand, the world's largest rice exporter, might jump on the bandwagon."

Rice prices in the US have effectively doubled, and many retailers such as Costco and Sam's Club are imposing limits on the amount people can purchase. Additionally, many restaurants appear to be stockpiling supplies as well. things may get worse; the Phillipine government tried to purchase a half million tons recently on the world market but was only able to acquire 320,000 tons. The Phillipines is a large rice importer, and has announced it will be looking to purchase another 100,000-600,000 tons in the near future. Whether or not the government there can find such a number could signal even further concerns over supplies.

Boston Legal Quotes

TV newswoman: We have very little information, other then the victim was in her fities and she was bludgeoned to death. It is the second death in a week that has rocked this idyllic little street. Just last Friday, the victim's next door neighbor died as well from head trama. You may recall the victim's son was briefly held, then released.
[Alan Shore jumps up from beneath Tara's desk]
Tara: What?
Newswoman: What isn't known is whether these two cases are connected.
Alan: It's Bernie.
Tara: Who?
Alan: My little skillet wielding client from last week. He's wacked another one! He promised me he wouldn't! [rushes from Tara's office]
Tara: Does that mean you're.......finished?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rules of the Game

DC attorney James Thunder takes a look at the primary and election process at The American Spectator, and not surprisingly finds both a bit lacking, given all the screaming in certain quarters about 'counting every vote' and the arguments about the popular vote versus the Electoral college. He asks many questions, some of which I will highlight:

"Is it democratic not to have secret ballots when voters meet (in caucus)?

Is it democratic to require voters to remain for several hours, to allow fellow voters to encourage others to change their votes, and to hold the voting open?

Is it democratic to hold both a primary and a caucus on the same day in succession?

Is it democratic to allow people who are not registered members of a party to vote in that party's nomination process? Is it democratic to allow people who are registered members of one party to vote in another's?

Is it democratic for a state party to allocate delegates between territorial districts within a state based on what the electorates in those districts, consisting of a different sets of voters, did in earlier election cycles?

Is it democratic to apportion the delegates of a state by territorial districts, making it possible for a candidate to win a majority the state-wide popular vote but not obtain a majority of the delegates?

Is it democratic to have 20% of the total number of delegates to be designated as such ex officio ("superdelegates") when they were elected to their offices in a prior election cycle and they were not elected for the purposes of voting in a national convention?

Is it democratic to hold a primary or caucus but not have it result in the selection of pledged delegates -- a process that awaits a later state convention?

If any of these is democratic, is it democratic to have all of them in the same election cycle among citizens of the same country?"

Of course, with all these issues and the others he raises (including the fact many states hold their votes over several days) it appears that the Electoral College may not be so 'undemocratic' after all. As he points out, there has never been an national popular vote election for President - the rules of the game are that the winner of the majority in the Electoral College wins the election. If there is no candidate winning the majority, then the House votes from among the top three finishers, with each state having one vote. While you can compile the results of the count from votes cast in each state, it is irrelevant. As Thunder puts it:

"To make an argument based on a supposed national popular vote is counterfactual. No voter has ever voted, and no candidate has ever campaigned, in the context of a national popular vote for president. There has been no contest for the national popular vote and, therefore, there have been no winners and no losers of such a contest. It is speculative, it is theoretical, as to what the results would be if voters and candidates had participated in such a campaign. We do not know, and we never can know, what the vote totals in non-battleground states would have been if there had been a contest for the national popular vote. The popular vote in an individual state is meaningful -- since it determines how the state electors will vote. The popular vote in the individual states, when aggregated on the national scale, however, is meaningless."

There are a number of proposals to modify the current system, but none have been implemented to date. There have been past modifications, such as the change in the early to mid 1800's whereby each state selected its electors to the college based on a winner take all system based on the popular vote results from each state. (Previously, state legislatures had a role in selecting electors in many states) Nebraska and Maine have altered this arrangement to a degree by selecting electors based on the vote results from each Congressional District, with the total state popular vote deciding the two electors each state receives in the college (based on each state's Senate seats).

One proposal that has been much bandied about is for each state to agree to pledge its electors to the winner of the national popular vote, (and there is considerable support for this by citizens in Colorado and Maryland) but this could not possibly be enacted until some indeterminate point in the future after the 2008 campaign and would probably not pass Constitutional muster in any event.

Boston Legal Quotes

[Police Detective is questioning Denny after he shooting the man that had Alan at gunpoint in the office]
Denny: Tom Delay is a friend of mine, advised me to keep a rifle in the office.
Detective: My question is, did it appear to you the suspect was about to shoot the hostage?
Denny: Of course not, why would I wait for that to happen?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How the Magna Carta Changed the World

In the latest of its series on world changing events, Livescience takes a look at how the Magna Carta, or Great Charter, changed the world. English nobles forced the king to sign the document in the early 13 century, forever changing the relationship between the governing and the governed, particulary in Western Europe. The charter established limits to the powers of the king for the first time.

"England's "Great Charter" of 1215 was the first document to challenge the authority of the king, subjecting him to the rule of the law and protecting his people from feudal abuse.

Although most of the charter's ideas were revised or have since been repealed, the Magna Carta's fundamental tenets provided the outline for modern democracies. One of its clauses, still in the English law books, has been credited as the first definition of habeas corpus – the universal right to due process."

The charter's establishment of this basic right, while not the most prominent feature at the time of the document's signing, has become one of the pre-eminent features of all civil liberties in the modern era. Little did the English barons realize the impact their rebellion would have on the rights of free people everywhere.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: [referring to Shirley] She's big trouble.
Alan: She break your heart?
Denny: Something like that. So what? I've had my heart broken lots of times. It stings for minute.
Alan: I would think it would be fun to have her back. I don't know about you but when I travel, going to new places isn't always as interesting as revisting some of the old ones. What is it about this that has you so balled up?
Denny: She isn't slipping, that's what.
Alan: You're worried about her seeing you age?
Denny: You might not believe this, but I was once a very remarkable man. [stares off]
Alan: Denny. [louder] Denny. You're a remarkable man.
Denny: Between you and me, that woman is too much for me.
Alan: Between you and me, we'll take her.
Denny: I'd like that. [leans back and tokes his cigar] I'd like that.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Time Cover

Dennis Prager takes a jab at Time, which published its latest edition with a Photoshopped version of the famous flag raising at Iwo Jima replacing the flag with a tree. Apparently this is supposed to suggest the environmental movement is heroic (or something) which Prager pretty successfully debunks.

"But like nearly all people who believe in a cause, they know that they have to fight some evil -- after all, the world really seems threatened by something. So they have channeled their desire to fight threats to the world to fighting an enemy that will not hurt them or their loved ones -- man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
It is much easier to fight global warming than to fight human evil. You will be celebrated at Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, the BBC and throughout the media world, no one will threaten your life, there are huge grants available to scientists and others who fight real or exaggerated environmental problems, and you may even receive an Academy Award and the Nobel Peace Prize. Individuals who fight Islamists get fatwas. The Time cover is cheap heroism. It is a liberal attempt to depict as equally heroic those who fight carbon emissions and those who fought Japanese fascists and Nazis."

He also points out the quite drastic consequences to people world-wide due to policies recommended by environmentalists, such as the widespread suffering in Africa from malaria due to the world-wide ban on DDT. There is also the nagging little issue of Third World hunger due to the substitution of foodcrops for transportation fuel. Left unsaid is the extreme left's view that such people simply aren't worth all the damage they do to the planet, consuming precious resources and the like. As Prager notes, "human suffering is not as significant as environmental degradation", or at least to many greens. He also notes the magazine's track record - there was a cover in 1974 decrying the coming Ice Age.

Obama's Plans for NASA

The American Thinker examines what a President Obama would do to NASA - and it isn't pretty. The "hope & change" candidate has an interesting perspective on NASA's future plans regarding the plan for manned spaceflight. Just as the Chinese are ramping up their efforts, he apparently wants to delay out next generation of space vehicles for FIVE years so he can start a federal program for PRE-SCHOOL!

"Barack Obama's early education and K-12 plan package costs about $18 billion per year. He will maintain fiscal responsibility and prevent an increase in the deficit by offsetting cuts and revenue sources in other parts of the government. The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years..."

So we sit around grounded for five years while the Chinese go to the Moon. Idiocy isn't a strong enough word. As if there wasn't already enough reason NOT to vote for this eloquent but empty-headed clown, he had to go and threaten my favorite government civilian program with extinction. While I'm still a reluctant supporter, Senator McCain is almost certain to get a check, perhaps as soon as today. While I've refrained from much on the political side of things (mostly through sheer exhaustion from the elongated primary process) now my dander is up, the gloves are coming off, and it's clobbering time!

Expect frequent criticism of everyone's favorite Senator from the great state of Illinois.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: I have an image - one could even say I'm all image.
Shirley Schmidt: One could. Imagine the fun working together again.
Denny: It won't be fun. There's only room for one at the mountaintop. It's my mountain.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cassini Mission Extended to 2010

Some good science news reported last week via MSNBC, the Cassini Saturn mission has been extended for another two years. The mission has been a fount of information on the ringed planet, as well as gathered some extremely interesting data on its system of moons, notably Titan and Enceladus. Cassini was launched eleven years ago and has been orbiting Saturn since 2004.

""The spacecraft is performing exceptionally well and the team is highly motivated, so we're excited at the prospect of another two years," said Bob Mitchell, Cassini program manager at JPL.

If mission managers decide to extend Cassini's journey yet again in 2010, the craft should have enough propellant to handle a third mission phase.

Since arriving at Saturn, Cassini has beamed back nearly 140,000 images during 62 revolutions around the planet and more than 50 flybys of its moons."

An upcoming close encounter with Enceladus will take the probe a mere 15 miles from the tiny moon and it's spectacular system of geysers. Also on tap is closer examinations of the moons Rhea, Dione, and Helene.

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: You're good when you're testy.
Denny: It came easy. My balls hurt.
Alan: Let's let that be the one and only time you tell me that.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Boston Police Officer: It's just as we regard it more as a domestic custody dispute. Her recourse would be with probate.
Alan: We'll there's where we're wrong, Denny. I thought if you were to physically and unlawfully grab somebody and haul them off to a foreign country, it would be a crime.
Denny: Well I'll be damned.
Alan: So we're wrong then. By the way, does one need to be related to the victim to escape charges? There's this junior mint I've had my eye on, and I thought I might borrow her for a long weekend, perhaps the Bahamas.
Other Officer: As we understand it, the father always brings the kids back.
Alan: That's what I'd do, it'd be a joyride.
Denny: We're wasting time here, you two look like good men, the department's full of good men, and that's why Denny Crane and this firm invest so much money in your annual ball. So you'll arrest the husband because A) Denny Crane want you to B)
Alan: I play poker with some reporters, one in particular who'd be curious as to why ethnic child snatchings don't get your attention and C)
Denny: The children were kidnapped! And D)
Alan: You're offically on notice.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Husker Spring Rosters Announced

NU coaches have announced the rosters for the Spring Game. Unlike previous years, this year's squad scrimmage will feature a mix of the top units on each side. The game is sold out, with an expected 80,000 plus crowd.

NU spring game rosters
Red Roster White Roster
No. Name Pos. No. Name Pos.
3 Rickey Thenarse S 1 Chris Brooks WR
4 Menelik Holt WR 2 Patrick Witt QB
5 Marlon Lucky IB 3 Zac Lee QB
5 Armando Murillo CB 4 Larry Asante S
6 Major Culbert S 8 Austin Cassidy S
7 Kody Spano QB 8 Will Henry WR
11 C. Gilleylen WR 10 Roy Helu Jr. IB
12 Joe Ganz QB 12 Blake Lawrence LB
14 Anthony Blue CB 16 Jim Ebke QB
15 Beau Davis QB 17 Todd Peterson WR
21 P. Amukamara DB 18 Shawn Sullivan DB
23 L. Washington LB 19 Q. Castille IB
24 Adam Watson DB 20 Adi Kunalic PK
27 Kenny Wilson IB 22 Anthony West CB
32 Marcus Mendoza IB 24 Niles Paul WR
36 Thomas Lawson FB 27 Ryan Ford DB
37 Kevin Thomsen FB 28 Eric Hagg DB
39 Lance Thorell DB 30 Mike Hays LB
41 Thomas Grove LB 31 Nick Covey LB
42 Joseph Camarata LB 31 Austin Jones IB
44 Mike McNeill TE 33 Matt O'Hanlon S
48 Tyler Legate FB 34 Cody Glenn LB
49 Dreu Young TE 36 Mathew May S
52 Phillip Dillard LB 37 Jake Wesch PK
53 Tyler Wortman LB 41 Aaron Gillaspie FB
54 Max McShane OT 43 Ty Steinkuhler DT
56 J. Baumgartner LS 45 J. Makovicka FB
57 Jeff Sayre LB 46 Ben Tasa TE
58 Mike Caputo OL 47 William Yancy DE
63 Ben Martin DT 54 Colton Koehler LB
66 Cruz Barrett OL 56 S. Barfield DT
68 Keith Williams OL 61 Mike Huff OL
70 Matt Slauson OL 65 Mike Smith OL
75 L. Lingenfelter DE 67 Jacob Hickman OL
76 Lydon Murtha OL 69 Cory Iske OL
78 Marcel Jones OL 71 Mike Masin OL
83 Matt Donahue WR 72 Jaivorio Burkes OL
85 F. KlingelhoeferDE 73 D.J. Jones OL
87 Nate Swift WR 74 Taylor EscamillaDL
88 Ben Lester WR 80 David Harvey DE
88 Jay Martin TE 80 Ryan Hill TE
89 Jonathon Santin DE 82 Wes Cammack WR
90 Alex Henery PK 82 T.J. O'Leary LS
90 Terrence Moore DT 84 Xavier Rucker WR
92 Tyrone Fahie DL 85 Tyson Hetzer TE
95 Pierre Allen DE 88 Clayton Sievers DE
97 Kevin Dixon DT 89 H. Teafatiller TE
97 Dan Titchener P 93 Ndamukong Suh DT
98 Zach Potter DE 94 Jared Crick DE
99 Barry Turner DE

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny[singing It's a Holly, Jolly Christmas, as Alan walks in]: Hey!
Denny: Set to go?
Alan: What are you doing?
Denny: ohhh, it's an office Christmas party next week, I do a number, it's good for morale. Helps get me laid. Are we off to court?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: You OK Denny?
Denny: It's this case, it seems like I've done nothing else but work on it for the last three weeks.
Alan: What in particular about the case is bothering you?
Denny: I don't know what it's about!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How Charlemagne Changed the World

Latest on world changing events from Livescience focuses on the reign of the Frankish King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Great, or Charlemagne. Ruling much of Western Europe, Charlemagne encouraged education, the arts, trade and reinforced the position of the Catholic Church as a unifying force for what had been the Western Roman Empire up to its downfall in 450 AD. Charlemagne ruled modern France, northern Spain and Italy, Belgium and Western Germany, along with many other territories, including Corsica and Sardinia in the Western Mediterranean Sea.

"One of the most important changes Charlemagne made was abandoning the gold standard and putting all of Europe on the same silver currency. Trade became easier and the continent prospered, aided by laws that took some power away from the nobles and let the peasantry participate in commerce. The lower classes benefited in other ways under Charlemagne, who was frustrated with the nobility's sense of entitlement and had deep sympathy for the peasants, according to historians.

Among other legislation, all local regional governors were subject to regular inspections by royal emissaries to make sure no injustices were being done. Educational reform was also high on Charlemagne's agenda. The progressive leader loved to learn, historians say, and so encouraged schooling throughout his kingdom in his chosen lingua franca, Latin. All of a sudden, not only were the once-fractured regions of Europe connected by peaceful trade networks and common laws, but people could communicate with each other too."

Charlemagne was born in the 740s AD, believed to be near Liege in modern Belgium. He ascended to the throne of the Frankish kingdom in 768. His father Pippin had established the new Carolingian dynasty after displacing the weak Merovingian figurehead King Childeric III. Most of Charlemagne's early reign was spent subduing neighboring areas such as Italy, Spain, Saxony and Bavaria, establishing his rule over the majority of Western Europe. He was named Roman Emperor in 800 AD, and also fought campaigns against the Slavs and Avars in Eastern Europe, as welll as the Danes.

Good Wiki article of the life and times of Charlemagne found here.

Venus Evolution Too Fast, then Too Slow

Scientists examining the planet Venus have long wondered about why "Earth's Twin" has such a radically different climate than our shiny blue marble. On theory now being bandied about egghead circles is that the planet evolved very rapidly in geologic terms, but then more or less halted after losing its lsupply iquid water, which it quite likely had at an early age. Water provides the ley lubricant for Earth's plate tectonic system, which helps keep the planetary climate stable by locking carbon into the planetary crust.

"In the early stages of the Solar System, Venus seems to have evolved very rapidly compared to the Earth. Data from Venus Express supports the theory that the Earth’s twin once had significant volume of water covering the surface but it appears that these oceans were lost in a very short geological timescale.

As a result of the loss of water, the geological evolution of the surface of Venus slowed right down because it was unable to develop plate tectonics like the Earth. Biological evolution was prevented altogether. Thus, in terms of Venus being another Earth in climate and habitability terms, it evolved too quickly at first, then too slowly."

Unfortunately for Venus, plate tectonics never got started, so a great deal of carbon dioxide remains in the planetary atmosphere, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect that sends temperatures on the surface to a blistering 450 degrees Celsius. Both the European Venus Explorer and a Japanese probe called the Venus Climate Orbiter are scheduled to study the planet in even more detail through the 2009-11 timeframe.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: What's that thing?
Alan: It's an ornament. A Christmas tree ornament.
Denny: Can't go to court like that.
Alan: Of course not.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: You know, they can never tell if I know what I'm doing or not.
Alan: Yes. Can you tell?
Denny: Not really. Every once in a while, just to keep 'em guessing, I stick a cigar in my ear.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Guantanamo Marine General: [is being questioned at trial, mutters under breath about Alan] Snide-ass.

Alan Shore: Your Honor, I move to strike. He's never seen my ass.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Smallest Exoplanet Found

Quick on the heels of my earlier note on planet detectors, Universe Today is reporting the smallest exoplanet yet has been discovered. Measuring in at a mere five Earth masses, GJ 436T wss found by a team of Spanish astronomers in the constellation Leo. The planet is far too close to its parent star to harbor liquid water, however, orbiting the star every 5 days.

""I think we are very close, just a few years away, from detecting a planet like Earth," team leader Ignasi Ribas said at a news conference on Wednesday April 9, 2008. The newest planet, "GJ 436T" was discovered by a team led by Ribas through its gravitational pull on other planets already discovered around the same star in the constellation of Leo.

It is only a matter of time before we find the 'Holy Grail' - a small rocky world with liquid water in the habitable zone of another star. We live in very interesting times.

New Biofuel Breakthrough

ScienceDaily has a note regarding a couple of exciting new breakthrough in the production of biofuels. University of Massachussets-Amherst engineer George Huber announced the first ever direct conversion of plant cellulose to gasoline components, while University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher James Dumesic announced an integrated process for creating chemical components of jet fuel using a green gasoline approach. The Dumesic group had done previous work on jet fuel but their new work showed that their entire process can be integrated and run sequentially without any intervening separation or purification processes neeeded.

"It is likely that the future consumer will not even know that they are putting biofuels into their car," said Huber. "Biofuels in the future will most likely be similar in chemical composition to gasoline and diesel fuel used today. The challenge for chemical engineers is to efficiently produce liquid fuels from biomass while fitting into the existing infrastructure today."

For their new approach, the UMass researchers rapidly heated cellulose in the presence of solid catalysts, materials that speed up reactions without sacrificing themselves in the process. They then rapidly cooled the products to create a liquid that contains many of the compounds found in gasoline.

The entire process was completed in under two minutes using relatively moderate amounts of heat. The compounds that formed in that single step, like naphthalene and toluene, make up one fourth of the suite of chemicals found in gasoline. The liquid can be further treated to form the remaining fuel components or can be used "as is" for a high octane gasoline blend."

We may be around 5 to 10 years away from widespread commercial applications of such fuel sources, which have the advantages of being used in conventional engines and not suffering the 30% energy/mileage penalty suffered by conventional ethanol. Additionally, cellulosic sources of energy such as switchgrass or wood chips would not require the high direct energy inputs required by other alternatives. These breakthroughs are the first in a series of steps in which we may eventually grow a significant percentage of our energy resources. Outstanding.

New Planet Detector should find ExoEarths

Astrobiology takes a look at new technology which should greatly aid our search for extraterrestrial earth type planets. The most successful method of finding such worlds has been the "wobble" method, where astronomers observe the gravitational 'tug' of planets of the light we receive from distant stars. In addition, there is even more difficult to detect 'transit' technique whereby the impact of a planet passing in front of the star from our vantage point lowers the amount of light reaching us from the star - obviously, timing is everything for this technique. With either method, large planets in relatively close orbits ('Hot Jupiters') are the easiest to find. Observing these large planets often lead to the discovery of others within the same system after further analysis of the gravitational effects.

However, things, as they say, they are a changin'. We are on what is likely to be the cusp of the greatest explosion of extrasolar planet finds in human history. Around 300 planets have already been detected using current methods.

" A revolutionary laser technology being developed by scientists and engineers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), with colleagues at MIT, will enable scientists to spot Earth-sized worlds in Earth-like orbits. The technology is a major step forward in the search for habitable worlds beyond our Solar System."We are at the cusp of a new era in planet searches, said CfA astrophysicist Chih-Hao Li. "With this technology we are developing, astronomers will finally be able to find the first truly Earth-like worlds in terms of size and orbit."

The new technology is a highly precise refinement of the 'wobble' technique. Current tech can find planets as small as 5 earth masses, but only in a fairly tight orbit around an alien star. The new device, which the researchers refer to as an 'astro-comb' uses ultrashort duration laser pulses combined with an atomic clock to provide a precision instrument capable of taking accurate measurments as small as one part in a trillion. This refinement may increase the 'wobble' detection accuracy as much aa 100 times, allowing planets even smaller than Earth to be detected. The new device is expected to go live for testing at Mount Hopkins Observatory this summer, with an improved design expected to be installed in the Canary Island's New Earth Facility by 2010.

Ancient Tools Found in Australia

NG is reporting the discovery of 35,000 year old stone and flint tools and knives in Western Austalia, some of the oldest human artifacts found on the continent, and aborigine leaders are quite pleased. There is evidence of human settlement in Australia as old as 40,000 years ago, but this is one of the oldest finds in this remote part of the continent's northwest.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm over the moon, because it's now indisputable," Slim Parker, an elder of the Martidja Banyjima people, told The Associated Press by telephone from Western Australia.

The tools, along with seeds, bark and other plant material, were found nearly 6.5 feet (about 2 meters) beneath the floor of a shelter—a slight crevice in the hillside protected by an overhang of rock—on the edges of an iron-ore mine site about 590 miles (950 kilometers) northeast of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.

"This area of land, in regard to our culture and customs and beliefs, is of great significance to us," Parker said. "We have songs and stories relating to that area as a sustaining resource that has provided for and cared for our people for thousands of years."

The significance of the find is that it conclusively proves that human moved into the much more arid regions of the continent at much earlier dates. Other such rock shelters in the regions will also be examined for further finds. People of aboriginal descent make up around 450,000 of Australia's 21 million people today.

Boston Legal Quotes

[both with a cigar in an ear]
Denny Crane: We look good together.

Alan Shore: Yes, we do.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Earth's Unbalance Sent Continents Wandering

Some interesting developments in the world of geoscience reported by NG. Some new evidence of switches in Earth's magnetic fields found in ancient rock samples seem to support a controversial theory regarding the speed of continental movements in Earth's plate tectonic system.

"Bernhard Steinberger and Trond Torsvik, of the Geological Survey of Norway, analyzed rock samples dating back 320 million years to hunt for clues in Earth's magnetic field about the history of plate motions. The researchers found evidence of a steady northward continental motion and, during certain time intervals, clockwise and counterclockwise rotations.
That pattern matches the predictions of a phenomenon known as true polar wander, a theory first proposed in the 1950s. The theory states that at times Earth's surface mass becomes imbalanced. The continents become dramatically offset from the planet's spin axis and so move rapidly to right themselves."

The evidence of this phenomenon is difficult to differentiate from the slower more regular continental movements, but the new analysis appears to show a dramatic shift of up to 18 degrees of latitude taking place over the last 320 million years. Earlier studies from the late 90s also seem to indicate another dramatic shift taking place around 550 million years ago, around the same time as the Cambrian Explosion, the diverse evolutionary period where a fantastic assortment of new life forms appeared.

The researchers of that period hypothesize that one of the planet's major subduction zones, where the ocean seafloor descends into the mantle under the continents, shut down as the continents formed the supercontinent Gondwanaland. The supercontinent then rotated rpaidly at a 90 degree angle and sent North America sprinting to the equator from deep in the southern hemishpere a mere 16 million years later, a relatively short span in geologic terms.

Another item of interest is that the the same theory appears to be applicable to the planet Mars, and the disappearance of what is believed to have been an ocean in the Northern hemishere as that planet's poles wandered.

Boston Legal Quotes

Judge Harry Hingham: Alright already, I've heard enough. I'm going to rule on this.

Alan Shore: You can't rule yet!

Judge Harry Hingham: Why not?

Alan Shore: I don't know.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Canada's Oil Boom

MSNBC has an interesting piece on the development of the Canadian oil industry, and also notes that many people don't realize that Canada is the US's leading external oil supplier. The high prices of conventional oil supplies are making unconventional sources such as Canada's oil sands economical to exploit.

"Here in Alberta — a once-desolate outpost 800 miles north of the U.S. border that has gone from ghost town to boom town — you won't see any spouting geysers, or traditional pumps drilling for oil deep underground. Oil — trapped in dark sticky sand — sits just below the surface of the earth waiting to be mined. Brad Bellows, a spokesman for oil company Suncor, explained that first step is to claw the oil mixed with sand out of the earth, using some monster machines."

The oil sands of Alberta stretch for over 50,000 miles and contain more oil than is found in even leading conventional producer Saudi Arabia. Canada's Suncor took a large gamble over a decade ago, when oil prices were far lower, to develop the technology that allows these resources to be produced today. Oil sands are difficult to produce, requiring large scale mining operations and large inputs of water and natural gas in the extraction process. It also releases more carbon dioxide than conventional oil operations, but Suncor and other firms are seeking ways to reduce these releases, and Suncor has cut its own emissions in half over the last decade. Canada, a Kyoto treaty signatory, is just as unlikely to meet its treaty commitments as most other signatories.

The success with oil sands is making oil firms also examine another unconventional oil resource, oil shale, found in large quantities in the American West. Some estimates are that up to 7 million barrels a day could be produced in the US by 2035. US oil firm Shell has invested $200 million in researching oil shale production methods, and thinks that pumping hot water deep into these deposits could reduce the problem of converting the shale into conventional oil.

Largest Star in the Universe?

Universe Today had a nice little column predicated on the question of how just how big is the biggest star in the universe is. Naturally, a difficult question given the size and scale of the universe, but something a little easier is how large is the largest star we puny humans have observed from our vantage point along the outer edge of the Milky Way galaxy?

Naturally, we use our parent star as the basis of comparison for other stars, using the terms solar mass (2 x 10 to the 30th power kilograms) and solar radius (432,000 miles). You could fit about 1 million Earth size planets inside the Sun, which accounts for 99.9% of all the mass in the solar system.

However, our sun is actually a pretty small to mid size star. The largest observed star in the Milky Way is called VY Canis Majoris, located in the Canis Majoris constellation around 5,000 light years from our solar system. Such a large star is very hard to measure because they generate so much solar wind that they lose a mass equal or greater than a gas giant size planet every year. Estimates of VY Canis Majoris size vary from as much as 2100 solar radii to 600 solar radii. The first estimate would place the surface of the star outside the orbit of Saturn, the latter outside the orbit of Mars - either way, really really big.

The author contacted the astronomer responsible for the larger of the VY Canis Majoris estimates, Roberta Humphreys, to ask how large a star could get in theory.

"I contacted Roberta Humphreys from the University of Minnesota, the researcher who calculated the size of VY Canis Majoris, and posed this question to her. She noted that the largest stars are the coolest. So even though Eta Carinae is the most luminous star we know of, it's extremely hot - 25,000 Kelvin - and so only a mere 400 solar radii. The largest stars will be the cool supergiants. For example, VY Canis Majoris is only 3,500 Kelvin. A really big star would be even cooler. At 3,000 Kelvin, a cool supergiant would be 2,600 times the size of the Sun.
That, she believes, is the largest possible star."

Interesting question, and an even more interesting answer.

Boston Legal Quotes

Shirley Schmidt: He is ultimately a benign man who we all happen to care about, including you. I think what you really mean to do is voice your concern unofficially.

Lori Colson: I'm making an official complaint. If there's forms to be filled out please have them sent to my office. [Lori walks away]

Shirley Schmidt: You little bitch.

Monday, April 07, 2008

How Gunpowder Changed the World

The lkatest installment from Livescience examines the way gunpowder changed the world. Chinese alchemists discovered the mix of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulfur ironically enough while attempting to find an elixer that would extend the human lifespan. Instead they discovered the most devastating weapon in human history.

"Gunpowder was quickly put to use by the reigning Sung dynasty against the Mongols, whose constant invasions into the country plagued the Chinese throughout the period. The Mongols were the first to be subject to flying fire — an arrow fixed with a tube of gunpowder that ignited and would propel itself across enemy lines. More gunpowder-based weapons were invented by the Chinese and perfected against the Mongols in the next centuries, including the first cannons and grenades. The psychological effect alone of the mystifying new technology likely helped the Chinese win battles against the Mongols, historians believe."

Gunpowder was exclusive to the Chinese until around the 13th century, when its secret was passed along the Silk Road into the Islamic world. The Ottoman Turks utilized gunpowder in cannons to lay seige to the capital of the Byzantine empire, Constantinople, and eventually destroy its walls and conquer the city in 1453. By the middle of the 15th century, individual firearms began to created, with further developments such as rifled barrels, cartridged ammunition, and machine guns coming as late as the 19th century.

Boston Legal Quotes

Donny Crane: He's mocking me... Dad, he's mocking me!

Denny Crane: You're a Crane. Get used to it

Friday, April 04, 2008

Earliest Evidence of New World Settlement

NG has a story of surprising new evidence off pre-Clovis human settlement in the Western Hemisphere. Surprising given the source material: fossilized human feces (called coprolites) found in an Oregon cave.

"Since the summer of 2002, University of Oregon archaeologist Dennis Jenkins and his research team have uncovered about 700 coprolite samples from a group of bone-dry caves in the desert of central Oregon, including several from humans.

After repeated radiocarbon dating and DNA analyses, the scientists concluded that the oldest of the human-produced material was deposited at least a thousand years before the so-called Clovis culture, according to a paper appearing in this week's issue of the journal Science. "

This evidence supports that found around 15 years ago from Monte Verde, Chile, showing human settlement in the New World pre-dating the Clovis culture as well. While the Oregon site had been previously explored in the 1930s, the studies done at that time utilized flawed methodologies that confused the evidence discovered there. The recent team led by Jenkins re-examined the caves and found solid evidence that they meticulously documented. The analysis of DNA from the samples showed the humans were from genetic haplogroups A2 and B2, two of the same groups from which many Native Americans descend from today. This evidence appears to support the idea that earlier pre-Clovis coastal migrations were undertaken by migrant hunters long before that technology group established itself in the Americas.

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan Shore: Denny - I need you at 12:30, it'll take 5 minutes, tops. I need to trade a little on your...prominance.Your heft.

Denny Crane: What do you want me to do?

Alan: I don't want you to do anything, say anything, I just want you to be. Be all that you can be. One of the few, the proud.

[Brad Cahse overhears and grimaces]

Denny: You don't want me to say anything?

Alan: Just those two little words that tend to shock and awe.

Denny: Denny Crane.

Brad: Feel free to mock me all you want, but don't you dare ridicule our troops.

Alan: Just so we're clear, I should feel free to mock you?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

2008 NL East Preview

Realized I still hadn't completed the Inferior League preview, so here goes the East.

The Fish traded away their two best players to the Tiggers, which leaves stud SS Hanley Ramirez as the biggest threat in the lineup to score, with some pop provided by 2B Dan Uggla, 1B Mike Jacobs and OF Josh Willingham. The staff boasts three southpaws, including journeyman Mark Hendrickson and youngsters Andrew Miller and Scott Olson, as well as righties Ricky Nolasco and Rick VandenHurck (no, you've never heard of any of these guys, except maybe Olson). Kevin Gregg returns as closer. The Fish once again are in their favorite position of having the youngest roster in the majors.

In Tomahawk land, the rotation again appears to be the strength of the team, starting with John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, the return of Tom Glavine from the Stupids, the return of Mike Hampton from the hospitial, and new kid on the block Jair Jurrjens (how many J's can a guy have in his name?). Last year's bullpen import Rafael Soriano gets the closer job, and the sticks have some new thunder in the cleanup spot with new import 1B Mark Texeira from the Sherrifs. Although they lost the Jones boy in center to the Brooklyners, the one at 3B stayed put and will likely put up those nice 30/100 numbers again. C Brian McCann and RF Jeff Francoeur also provide some pop down the lineup in the five and six holes, respectively.

Moving northeast to the nation's capital, the Senators boast a shiny new taxpayer funded ballpark, and some new arms in the rotation, including much traveled Odalis Perez, former Space Cadet Tim Redding (who pitched a gem last night) , young lefty Matt Chico, fellow youngster Jason Bergman and Sean Hill. Chad Cordero returns for the ninth, with Luis Ayala and Jon Rauch setting up. The lineup is built around 'franchise face' 3B Ryan Zimmerman (he of the opening day walk-off dinger) and former Yank 1B Nick Johnson, former Cincy OF Austin Kearns, former Stupids OF Lastings Milledge, former Twinkie SS Christian Guzman, along with former Brooklyn C Paul LoDuca - you get the point. While many of these guys are cast offs, they do have some talent with the sticks. Offensively, the team should be better, particularly with Johnson healthy.

On to the Quakers, who answered my faith in them last year by stealing the division right out from under the Stupids, which made me very happy. They have a nice 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with Brett Myers and lefty Cole Hamels, with wizened southpaw Jamie Moyer, former Priest Adam Eaton and youngster Kyle Kendirck filling out the rotation. Former Korsair/Stupid/Bird Kris Benson is also signed in case anyone falters. The team signed former Space Cadet closer Brad Lidge for the pen, but he starts the season on the DL, leaving Tom Gordon to finish games for the first week or so. The lineup is still pretty fearsome, led by 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley and LF Pat Burrell providing power, CF Shane Victorino providing some speed and SS Jimmy Rollins providing both. Former Brew Crewer Geoff Jenkins takes over in RF and former Midget Pedro Feliz takes over at the hot corner. Expect lots of scoring from this bunch, they led the Inferior League in runs last year and I see nothing to make me think they won't repeat the feat this season.

Then there is the Stupids, who have oodles of talent and idiots running the front office. They desperately needed pitching last season but never made a move for anything, lost the division and then sent a ton of prospects in the off season to go get the best pitcher in either league from the Twinkies in Johan Santana. Then in the second game of the season Pedro went down with a bad hammy in his first start. Brilliant! Youngters John Maine, Mike Pelfry, journeyman Oliver Perez and Nelson Figueroa fill out the rotation until the return of the oft-injured one. Billy Wagner returns to close ahead of setup guys Aaron Heileman and Jorge Sosa. The sticks are also fearsome - 3B David Wright, CF Carlos Beltran, 1B Carlos Delgado are all quality lumbermen, and SS Jose Reyes is still a base stealing king, and the #2 hole in the lineup has been filled nicely with former Twinkie/Fish Luis Castillo. CF Ryan Church also arrived from the Senators.

The popular choices are the Stupids and the Qakers, who both can mash, but I believe the Tomahawks may reassert themselves this year given the fact they can mash pretty well themselves and have a real staff. The Senators are improving, but I think a year or two away yet to develop. The Fish are pretty much in their one good team a decade rebuilding mode again, so see me in 2011 or 2012.

Boston Legal Quotes

[Alan and Sally are walking down the hall at the firm]
Alan Shore: How do you feel about working under cover?

Sally Heap: I'm sorry?

Alan: Their entire case is a store clerk. I want to put a private investigator on him, follow him, we pick the opportunity for you to meet him, lunch perhaps.

Sally: And then what?

[passing Denny] Denny Crane: Denny Crane!

Alan: Then you order appetizers, elicit some disparaging information, allowing him to believe you're anyone at all, other than the defendent's lawyer.

Sally: Is that fair?

Alan: I don't understand the question.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Oldest Gold Artifact in Western Hemishere Found

ScienceDaily reports that a University of Arizona team in Peru has discovered a 4,000 year old gold and turquoise necklace, the oldest such gold jewlery piece ever found in the Americas, more thean 600 years older than the previous record holder.

"A team of scientists led by an archaeologist from The University of Arizona has unearthed what is, to date, the oldest collection gold artifacts found in the Americas.

The finding suggests that even early groups with limited resources recognized the value of status symbols. Mark Aldenderfer, a professor of anthropology at the UA, and his team excavated a site in the Peruvian Andes of South America, near Lake Titicaca. The site, Jiskairumoko, is located in a drainage basin where groups of hunters and gatherers were beginning to make the transition to a more settled existence.

Dates for the Archaic period, when Jiskairumoko was inhabited by these people, are as early as 5,400 years ago and ending about 4,000 years ago."

What is interesting is that the piece was found in a relatively small village, whereas the find of such jewelry suggests a more sophisticated larger society capable of generating agricultural surpluses allowing for the development of the specialized skills necessary for jewelry manufacture. This particular piece appears to have been made by hammering the gold until flat enough to be rolled into small nine cylindrical shaped beads, which were interspersed with the turquoise. Both materials are not available locally, suggesting a lengthy trip outside the region or a long distance trade network established from a fairly early date.

How the Council of Nicea Changed the World

Livescience continues its 'events that changed the world' series with the Council of Nicea.

"When Constantine became the first Christian leader of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, his vast territory was populated by a hodgepodge of beliefs and religions.
Within his own young religion, there was also dissent, with one major question threatening to cleave the popular cult — as it was at the time — into warring factions: Was Jesus divine, and how?

It's hard to imagine riots in the streets, pamphlet wars and vicious rhetoric spawned by such a question, but that was the nature of things in A.D. 325, when Constantine was forced to take action to quell the controversy. That summer, 318 bishops from across the empire were invited to the Turkish town of Nicea, where Constantine had a vacation house, in an attempt to find common ground on what historians now refer to as the Arian Controversy. It was the first ever worldwide gathering of the Church.

The Christianity we know today is a result of what those men agreed upon over that sticky month, including the timing of the religion's most important holiday, Easter, which celebrates Jesus rising from the dead. "

The Council quelled the controversy over the question of Jesus' divinity with the politically astute compromise (forged by the Emperor himself) that Jesus and God were of the 'same substance'. This compromise, as issued in the Nicene Creed, forms a fundamental basis for chistian ideology and this statement of faith is still used in many services to this day. The council also settled a number of other church rules and settled on the way to determine the date of the Easter holiday celebration - the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox. However, this particular council did not settle on the final selections of which books to include in the Bible, which was done at one of the later Councils of Carthage, but there was a fairly widespread agreement on which books were canonical as early as 367.

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan Shore: I really don't need second chair for this.

Lori Carlson: Sexual harassment is a specialty of mine.

Alan: Mine too!

Lori: No doubt, but while your experience tends to be more hands on, mine...

Alan: Tends to be more wishful thinking.

Lori: Not to ooze.

Alan: I ooze.

Lori: Yes. That certain something that subliminally champions need me.

Alan: Lori, as much as I may want you, desire you even, I do not need you.

Lori: See that right there? Ooze.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

[Sally Heap is in Alan's office agitated, believing she isn't ready to argue her first case]
Alan Shore: Sally? Look at me. Trust me?
Sally: I do.
Alan: And because you trust me, you'll believe what I'm about to tell you.
Sally: I will.
Alan: That's all it is.
Sally: All what is?
Alan: Trial law. Getting the jury to trust you, so they'll believe what you tell them.
Sally[earnest look]: Really?
Alan: Sincerity. Once you learn to fake that, there'll be no stopping you.