Saturday, January 29, 2005

Pure Genius

Quick: Who is the man most responsible for having developed the World Wide Web? If you said Al Gore you get demerits.

Captain Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters has this very interesting piece of modern computer history. Ed writes:

The inventor of the World Wide Web received an award for outstanding achievement in science and technology for Britons, the London Telegraph reports this morning....Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who first engineered the architecture of HTML and created the first browser that launched the commercial Internet, received the first annual honor that promotes British achievement.

Morrisey quotes from the Telegraph article:

"Sir Tim, 49, who now lives and works in America, where he heads the World Wide Web Consortium, accepted his accolade by video link."

"In an interview with The Telegraph, he said he was "chuffed to bits" to win the first of what is intended to be an annual award."

"The internet had already been in existence for 20 years when Sir Tim, a physicist then working in Geneva, developed the web in 1991 as a way of enabling people to share information. Despite its huge impact, he was for many years largely unknown in his own country before he was knighted last year."

Time Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Important People Of The Century and tells us this about him, according to Captain Ed:

[H]e cobbled together a relatively easy-to-learn coding system - HTML (HyperText Mark-up Language) - that has come to be the lingua franca of the Web; it's the way Web-content creators put those little colored, underlined links in their text, add images and so on. He designed an addressing scheme that gave each Web page a unique location, or url (universal resource locator). And he hacked a set of rules that permitted these documents to be linked together on computers across the Internet. He called that set of rules HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).

And on the seventh day, Berners-Lee cobbled together the World Wide Web's first (but not the last) browser, which allowed users anywhere to view his creation on their computer screen. In 1991 the World Wide Web debuted, instantly bringing order and clarity to the chaos that was cyberspace. From that moment on, the Web and the Internet grew as one, often at exponential rates. Within five years, the number of Internet users jumped from 600,000 to 40 million. At one point, it was doubling every 53 days.

According to Morrisey:

Berners-Lee heads the W3 Consortium, a non-profit that keeps the Internet open-source rather than allow software developers to Balkanize it with competing, exclusive standards. Berners-Lee never cashed in on his invention, either; he works at MIT, preferring academia for his contribution. No wonder he's "chuffed" at getting 28,000 pounds Sterling, although of course it's the honor that thrills him most."

The part that we found most intriguing, although it's commonplace in the history of science, especially in the computer field, is that Berners-Lee realized this world-changing achievement while still in his mid-thirties, and that he accomplished it essentially by himself. Amazing.


Bill came across this withering attack on Euro-appeasers by Matthias Döpfner, Chief Executive of German publisher Axel Springer AG. The article was posted by Tom Heard at Heard Here. The post is a translation and so the style may in places seem just a bit uneven. The sentiments, however, translate with pellucid clarity:

Europe - Thy Name is Cowardice. Commentary by Mathias Döpfner

A few days ago Henryk M. Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true. Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to agreements. Appeasement stabilized communism in the Soviet Union and East Germany in that part of Europe where inhuman, suppressive governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and we Europeans debated and debated until the Americans came in and did our work for us. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore 300,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, to issue bad grades to George Bush.

A particularly grotesque form of appeasement is reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere by suggesting that we should really have a Muslim holiday in Germany.What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians and directed against our free, open Western societies. It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than the great military conflicts of the last century, a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by tolerance and accommodation but only spurred on by such gestures, which will be mistaken for signs of weakness.

Two recent American presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush. Reagan ended the Cold War and Bush, supported only by the social democrat Blair acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic fight against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed. In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.

On the contrary, we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to the intolerant, as world champions of tolerance, which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic. For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy, because everything is at stake. While the alleged capitalistic robber barons in American know their priorities, we timidly defend our social welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive. We'd rather discuss the 35-hour workweek or our dental health plan coverage. Or listen to TV pastors preach about "reaching out to murderers."

These days, Europe reminds me of an elderly aunt who hides her last pieces of jewelry with shaking hands when she notices a robber has broken into a neighbor's house. Europe, thy name is cowardice.

It's nice to know that not all the opinion-makers in Europe are waving the white flag of surrender to the Islamo-fascists with one hand while giving Bush the finger with the other.

Pray For Iraq and the Iraqis

This article suggests that things are not going well for the orcs, Urukai and other minions of Sauron in Iraq:

To try to bolster public confidence, Iraqi officials Friday announced the arrests of three more purported lieutenants of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, including his military adviser and chief of operations in Baghdad.

The arrested al-Zarqawi associates included Salah Suleiman al-Loheibi, the head of his group's Baghdad operation, who met with al-Zarqawi more than 40 times over three months, said Qassim Dawoud, a top security adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Dawoud said Ali Hamad Yassin al-Issawi, another associate, also was captured. Dawoud said the two arrests took place within the past several weeks.

Al-Zarqawi's military adviser, a 31-year-old Iraqi named Anad Mohammed Qais, 31, also was captured, said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh.

"We are getting close to finishing off al-Zarqawi and we will get rid of him," Saleh said.

Despite Saleh's assurances, al-Zarqawi's group posted a new Web message Friday warning Iraqis they could get hit by shelling or other attacks if they approach polling stations, which it called "the centers of atheism and of vice."

"We have warned you, so don't blame us. You have only yourselves to blame," it said.

This is typical thug logic. If we kill you for exercising your right to vote then you can only blame yourself. You placed yourself in the spot where we just innocently happened to have a bomb. Very careless of you.

Despite their fears, millions of Iraqis will take to the polls in a few hours in what will be a historic election. Nothing like this has ever happened in the Arab world before. The terrorists among the Sunnis are doing everything they can to suppress the vote, knowing that a successful election will demonstrate the utter illegitimacy of their cause, and be a crucial nail in their coffin.

In what should be a lesson to the nay-sayers and Chicken Littles of the effete Euro-Left and the Michael Moore/Ted Kennedy wing of the Democrat party, many Sunnis are so hopeful and so trustful of American determination to persevere that they are prepared to brave threats to their lives in order to vote. It is only because they trust us to see things through until they can defend themselves that they are willing to risk everything to install democracy and freedom in this most uncongenial soil.

This is why demands to establish timetables for withdrawal or to start pulling out immediately are so nefarious. The Iraqi people are placing their lives and those of their children in our hands and saying that they are counting on us to continue the fight against the murderous butchers who would kill them all if we left. To betray them now as The Nation and Ted Kennedy and others on the Left have insisted we do would be a crime against humanity that would earn us the world's eternal opprobrium and contempt.

There are many brave people in Iraq. They need our prayers this weekend, and they need our resolve in the months and years ahead.