Spring’s Lease

My daughter goes to a local Brownie pack where my aunt is Brown Owl and Claire is a helper. We found out yesterday that one of the Brownies had died after collapsing at the weekend. It doesn’t seem to have really registered with Lauren, as she didn’t particularly know the girl, but obviously the adults are quite upset, and I’ve found it to be rather unsettling too. I’m sure you don’t need much prompting for this, but might I suggest an extra hug for your kids when you get home tonight.

Man of Honour

From the BBC:

A reservist, Darrel Vandeveld was called up as a military lawyer after 9/11 and served in Iraq, Bosnia and Africa.

In 2007, he became a prosecutor for the military commissions which tried terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, a role he took enthusiastically.

“I went down there on a mission and my mission was to convict as many of these detainees as possible and put them in prison for as long as I possibly could,” he told the BBC.

“I had zero doubts. I was a true believer.”

But his zeal did not last long.

When he arrived, he says he found the prosecutor’s office in chaos, with boxes scattered around the floor, files disorganised, evidence scattered in different places and no clear chain of command.

And more seriously, he soon discovered that defence lawyers were not receiving information which could help clear their clients, including evidence that suspects had been “mistreated” in order to secure confessions.

Rescuing GM

Thomas Friedman has a great article up about the foolishness of the likely bail-out of GM:

They were interviewing Bob Nardelli, the C.E.O. of Chrysler, and he was explaining why the auto industry, at that time, needed $25 billion in loan guarantees. It wasn’t a bailout, he said. It was a way to enable the car companies to retool for innovation. I could not help but shout back at the TV screen: “We have to subsidize Detroit so that it will innovate? What business were you people in other than innovation?” If we give you another $25 billion, will you also do accounting?

One of the puzzling things is that most of GM’s non-US operations are profitable, and most of those are prospering with the sort of cars that consumers in the US now want. Development costs are minimal – all the cars have great safety features, ‘clean’ emissions, etc. so there’s little tweaking to do – the cars are fuel efficient, and they’re even pretty well styled. The only stumbling block is cost, though production costs in Europe can’t be significantly higher than in the US (otherwise GM wouldn’t need the bailout. I guess hiring a container ship to start importing Vauxhall Astras is too innovative without a fat pot of government cash to pay for it.

OpenSolaris 2008.11

A while ago I posted on my adventures getting OpenSolaris networking to move from its natural state of notworking (see what I did there?) on a mac mini. Well today I installed the latest release candidate of 2008.11, the forthcoming update, and it went much more smoothly. You still have to install a driver (tip – usb keys work fine for file transfers), but once done restarting networking worked first time.