- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Still 'gonzo'
"There was a girl that worked for me a long time ago, who graduated third in her class from Georgetown Law School, and was from some kind of uptown family in Chicago, and instead of going to work for some big-time firm, she came to Aspen and ends up working for me out here in the wilderness. A year or so later her mother or father were coming out to visit. … And so I asked her just so I could get braced for this situation, meeting the parents and having them come to the house: 'Given what you know about me and what you hear about me, which is worse?' She finally came out and said there was no question in her mind that the reality was heavier and crazier and more dangerous. Having to deal with the reality is no doubt a little more traumatic. …
"I have one or two [assault weapons], but I got them before they were illegal. … Do I have any illegal weapons? No. I have a .454 magnum revolver, which is huge, and it's absolutely legal. … Mainly, I have rifles, pistols, shotguns; I have a lot of those. But everything I have is top quality; I don't have any junk weapons. …
"I think I'm still a life member of the NRA. I formed a gun club out here, an official sporting club, and I got a charter from the NRA. … You know, I consider Pat Buchanan a friend. I don't agree with him on many things. Personally, I enjoy him. I just like him. And I learn from Pat."
Hunter S. Thompson, "gonzo" journalist, interviewed by John Glassie, Monday in Salon at www.salon.com

Google universe
"Dazzlingly fast, vast, and precise, Google has made our lives appreciably easier. The first tool truly to make sense of the white noise that is the Internet, Google has become essential research for everyone from sales people calling on new accounts to single people taking another spin with blind-date roulette. … And who dials 411 anymore, when it's cheaper and faster on Google, and you don't have to explain to some headset-wearer in Terre Haute how to spell Worcester? Google saves time, saves face it may even save lives. Instead of calling their doctor, some people type their symptoms into Google; a few have learned they were in the early stages of a heart attack. …
"Ask people in the industry how Google was able to outdistance the competition, and they say the same thing: focus. While other Web sites tried to be all things to all people in an effort to get profitable, Google stubbornly concentrated on just building the world's best search engine. By the end of 2001, Google not only had reached its goal, but, surprisingly, it had managed to find profitability along the way. … Google embodies the original ethos of the Web free, fast, and democratic."
Neil Swidey, writing on "A Nation of Voyeurs," Sunday in the Boston Globe Magazine

First class or coach?
"It would be a shame if the Columbia disaster became another excuse to slow down efforts to transition space travel from a NASA-directed adventure to a private enterprise. In addition to the obvious benefits of competition and decentralized invention, there is a subtle emotional advantage to a non-governmental space program. If Dennis Tito (the bazillionaire space tourism pioneer) had been killed on his maiden voyage, if Lance Bass were someday incinerated on re-entry … we would not feel the need to treat these events as national tragedies, but would take them in stride and move forward as quickly as possible. Ironically, NASA, with its commitment to manned space travel but its lack of enthusiasm for space travel by anybody who's not in NASA, is working against its own future."
Tim Cavanaugh, writing on "Back to Space: NASA Fights the Future," Monday in ReasonOnline at www.reason.com

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