URLs du Jour -- 12/21/2005

Happy Solstice, all. I drive to work in the dark, drive home in the dark, and some would argue much of the time in between is spent in the dark as well.

  • Shannon Love makes a good, if crude point point on warrantless, intrusive searches that nobody seems to get all het up about.
  • Interesting kerfuffle going on down at UMass/Dartmouth. Inside Higher Ed has a story claiming
    A senior at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth was interrogated last month by Department of Homeland Security officials because he tried to borrow from a campus library an unabridged version of The Little Red Book, which centers on Mao Tse-Tung's views of Communism.
    Whoa. That's a pretty nasty abuse of state power, as well as an indication that the DHS has way too much time on its hands. But is it true? The student is anonymous, and apparently his claims were second-hand accounts passed to the media through his UMass/Dartmouth profs. The comments at Inside Higher Ed include a number of skeptics (as well as the usual folks drawing Nazi parallels). Boing Boing also reports the story, and has an active thread discussing whether this is a hoax or not. Apparently the story was also reported as happening at UC-Santa Cruz with the professorial names changed. Slashdot story (predictably less skeptical than Boing Boing) is here. Original story from the New Bedford, MA Standard-Times is here. Now you know everything I do, and perhaps more. It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere.
  • Via Tim Harford at Marginal Revolution comes a pointer to a delightfully contrarian take on good old Scrooge. Excerpt:
    Scrooge has been called ungenerous. I say that's a bum rap. What could be more generous than keeping your lamps unlit and your plate unfilled, leaving more fuel for others to burn and more food for others to eat? Who is a more benevolent neighbor than the man who employs no servants, freeing them to wait on someone else?
    Good point. I'll show this to any member of the Salad family that accuses me of Scroogian behavior.
  • Update to yesterday's item about Dell treating Jane Galt poorly: they've now come through with "free expedited shipping and a 10% discount on a similar refurbished machine" in Update VI of her original article. Who knows how much being a famous blogger helped with this? But if she's forgiven them, I suppose I have to as well.