Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm Tubin'

And it aint the Ichnetuchnee.

My first foray into uploaded video on YouTube. I like the annotation feature.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zuckerman's Famous Pig

...or "Why this Swine Flu crap is crap"

Fact: Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 infected 28 percent of the population worldwide and 2.5% of them died.

Wisdom: If it happened again today, at worst, 7 out of 10 people would NEVER GET SICK...and the 3 out of 10 that did...97.5% of them would survive.

This is given the ground rules in 1918. Needless to say, the public health infrastructure of 2009 is much improved.

Oh...and there arent entire continents at war with one another now either.

Nothing to see here folks...move along.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Michael Oher

Remember this name. I circulated this NYT article in 2006 when it came out, about the superhuman giant homeless kid that was being groomed into being the next big thing in the NFL.

What I didnt realize is that the Left Tackle is the second highest paying position on the field, after Quarterback. Apparently it's part of the arms race with the Defensive Backs and a reaction to the likes of Lawrence Taylor etc.

Michael Oher was drafted 23rd in the first round by The Baltimore Ravens this weekend.

Tunnel Index - Schott’s Vocab Blog -

Tunnel Index - Schott’s Vocab Blog -

A show biz angle on the woes of the Auto Industry and by extension the advertising business.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Honey, Does this Les Paul make me sound fat?

I don't have the closet space now, but this might just inspire me to change that...or at least make sure there's a spot in a future closet for my guitars.

The Guitar Hanger

I'll update if there's ever a way to buy it online or a know...any USEFUL infromation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Let's Get One Thing Straight

For anyone that is concerned with Civil Liberties, this week's release of the OLC memos is an important victory. My choice of words is deliberate. It's a victory, which implies a battle.

Folks, the Obama Administration was COMPELLED to release these documents as a result of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU. As a reader of Glenn Greenwald's blog, I can tell you that the Obama administration has been fighting the release of this stuff tooth and nail, using the very same specious arguments that the Bush administration used before it.

They claimed state secrets, and when that failed they said, "give me a minute" over and over, extension after extension after delay.

These memos contain NO Intelligence information. Only the legal framework for justifying the means to gather intelligence. Now Dick Cheney is on the TV saying that we ought also to declassify other memos with DO detail intelligence and lay out in great detail what information was gained and how we averted 9/11 Redux.

Can you see how stupid this is? Dick, can I call you Dick?...if you want these memos released, you can sue just like the ACLU did. Give them a call. They are a principled bunch and will take your case if it has merit, even if you dont.

Dont count on winning though. You know...because they are classified for a very good reason.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This video is nuts, crazy, amazing. I had to rewind it in several places because I didnt believe my eyes.

The Pulitzer-winning investigation that dare not be uttered on TV - Glenn Greenwald -

The Pulitzer-winning investigation that dare not be uttered on TV - Glenn Greenwald -

Just in case you thought anything on television was actually informative and not purely agenda driven.

They'd better watch out. It's just a matter of time before software and bandwidth break the monopoly for TV like it did for print.

Recently MSNBC decided not to fill their 10pm time slot, and instead continue to air a repeat showing of Countdown. Interestingly, a video blogger was on the short list of possible entrants into this time slot.

"Cenk Uygur, one of 'The Young Turks,' said he believed MSNBC would do even better in the ratings with a new show but he understood the decision.

'I'm not put off by that,' he said. 'We're in a good position. We're almost certain to get on TV one way or another.' "

Almost certain. Until then he'll continue to broadcast from the Internet. Maybe it wont be him, maybe GE will twist Rachel Maddow's arm too hard someday, or maybe an up and comer at CNN will bump up against the Blitzer ceiling and take his career freelance, but it'll happen. Someone will set up shop online and start poaching.

It's Almost Certain.

Friday, April 17, 2009

High Speed Rail

Color me disappointed, and not just for personal geographic reasons. Take a look at this map. Sure the Coasts are served, but they are disconnected. "You cant get there from here" spots all over this map. The big thing for me though is the nice, long, straight shots are gray or "other passenger rail".

Wouldn't it make more sense for these multi hundred mile stretches between cities to be spanned by something like a 300mph bullet train? Is Denver not a major city? Why are the Mountain West and the Great Plains not linked to the West Coast like the Midwest and Mid-South are to the East Coast and the Upper Midwest?

Kansas City to Dallas? No. Miami to Atlanta or points North? No. Anywhere to Orlando or Vegas? No.

I mean Tulsa has that half scale replica of the World Trade Center, but seriously...

Read the rah rah here.

Copper Standard - Schott’s Vocab Blog -

Copper Standard - Schott’s Vocab Blog -

Watch out folks, China is like the Baby Boom of the International Marketplace. Anything they do, any shift they make has enormous implications. The nightmare of China dumping our debt will never come to pass (it would kill them as surely as us), but once there is a reliable and politically palatable place for them to park their money things could get interesting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earl Grey, Hot

Ok. I'm going to say I've had enough of the scrotum innuendo (now I'm doing it) that is all over the liberal media. We get it. Tea bagging is slang for something sexual.

Can we please move on? Ha said something "dirty" on TV with an almost-straight face. Aren't you clever.

Rachel Maddow, and David Schuster....I'm talking to you.

What next? Fart jokes?

Moon Trailer

This one looks good. It's shaping up to be a pretty good summer. Let's hope this one gets a wide release.

Monday, April 13, 2009

President Obama...You're My Heeeeeerooooo!!!

Please people. This whole Pirates of Penzance drama is being completely blown out of context.

No, it wasnt a test of Obama's resolve or whatever. Anyone that thinks anything beyond their next meal was in the minds of the Pirates needs their head examined.

No, this doesn't reflect on the President's military prowess in any way either. All he did was authorize the rules of engagement and get out of the way. If shooting three half starved and illiterate Somalis floating in the middle of the ocean required the direct involvment of our President, then we might as well mothball the Navy.

Folks, this was professional guys doing what they do. These pirates never had a chance, and it was an act of kindness to put them down with....get this...three simultaneously fired shots. Nobody knew anyone else was hit. One pop, three dead pirates.

So the reality challenged folks on both sides of the political spectrum need to go back to criticizing the First Lady's bare arms or lobbying for marijuana legalization or whatever and let the SEALS go back to cleaning their weapons and waiting on orders.

Not Presidential crisis, not averted by President, not test not passed. Nothing to see here....move along.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Amazon Prime

My wife signed us up for a one month trial of Amazon Prime, and I must say that when paired with the one click shopping it is almost scary how easy it is to buy stuff from Amazon. Free shipping on everything, and $3.99 overnight shipping.

Granted, we are in an occasion-heavy time of the year, but we've made 4 purchases in the two weeks since we signed up and have probably utilized a sizable portion of the $79 annual fee already.

If you get a box from Amazon a dozen or so times a year, I think that taking the shipping costs out of the buying equation will make a lot of sense for you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sally Struthers Never Mentioned This

I just came across a clarification of just how poor the world's poor people are.

The World Bank defines extreme poverty as not having enough income to meet the most basic human needs for adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, sanitation, health care, or education. One widely quoted statistic is that a billion people are living on less than one U.S. dollar per day. That was the World Bank’s poverty line until 2008, when better data led to a new poverty line of $1.25 per day. As a result, the number of people whose income puts them under the new poverty line is 1.4 billion.

On hearing the “$1.25 a day” figure, the thought may cross your mind that in many developing countries it is possible to live much more cheaply than in industrialized nations. But the World Bank has already made that adjustment in purchasing power, so those it classifies as living in extreme poverty are existing on a daily total consumption of goods and services — whether earned or homegrown — comparable to the amount of goods and services that can be bought in the United States for $1.25.

Emphasis mine. I'm not one of those "feed the children" types by any means. I think that aid, especially in Africa has done as much harm as good. As a matter of fact I am friendly with an Ethiopian guy that will say as much to anyone that will listen.

But I know I always said to myself "yeah, but $1.25 will get you pretty far in Africaland". I had no idea this was an adjusted number.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

No Such Luck

Nothing like a line of thunderstorms followed by snow.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Superbowl of Weather

Here's hoping that the weather holds up at least half of the weekend. I hear mutterings of "wintery mix" in the forecast for Sunday so I wont get my hopes up.

Any excuse for ELO though....

Only in Horseshoes

Further our conversation about competence vs going through the motions....

I just watched a clip of Levi Johnston on Tyra Banks adamantly saying that he practiced safe sex every time.

every time?
every time.
EVERY time?

(wait for it)

Most of the time.

**BUZZZ** Wrong answer. You see only has to fail ONCE for it not to work. As you are about to learn in your career as a semi-skilled worker...things cannot be "mostly" level or "almost square" or "pretty much" grounded.

It's not enough for load chains to be in place on a tractor trailer load of pipe, they have to be secure and inspected every 100 miles or so. "What??...there were chains on the load" isn't going to fly when people end up dead. Physics doesn't give a shit if you tried. No "A" for effort.

If you decide to work with food it cannot be stored in "cold enough" coolers or cooked until it's "almost safe" to eat either.

This is the mentality of the "give me credit for trying" culture...and it's painful to watch them suffer the consequences. Amusing...but painful.

All Hail Our New Robot Overlords

Couple of interesting articles about the impeding annihilation of the human race.

The first is about a robot which has been programmed to employ the scientific method and identify scientifically interesting results. Basically all the human "scientist" has to do is restock reagents and do general housekeeping periodically. Where is Isaac Asimov when you need him? Given enough computing power and sufficient time, could a machine like this derive new life or develop a biological shell for itself? I know it's just doing yeast experiments now, but wow.

The second is a computer that can derive the laws of physics simply by being given real world data as input. Show it the apple falling, it tells you about gravity....sorta.

Again, not to belabor the point, but given sufficient computing power, could these things tell us stuff that Hawking can't?

Next up, Ray Kurzweil's singularity and computers designing better computers. Once that happens, we're off to the races.

The Tyranny of the Majority

Or "Why I would rather not live in Kansas"

This morning my daughter walked in with a Lunchable in her hand. As I was getting her a bag to carry it in (good job mom...loser) she explained to me why she was bringing what they call "a home sack".

For you people on the coast, it's Lent. And as we approach the day when the Holy Easter Bunny laid a chocolate egg and the Jesus Zombie™ clawed his way out of his grave, Catholics don't eat meat on Friday. My theology might be a little mixed up there, and the whole no meat on Friday but transubstantiation on Sunday thing is simultaneously gross, inconsistent, and fascinating...but I digress.

The PUBLIC Schools out here dont serve meat on Fridays during Lent. If you are a secular kid that would rather not eat what passes for "fish" from a school cafeteria (and my pre-foodie kids fall into that category most certainly) then you are out of luck. Instead of the Catholic kids packing a PB&J on Fridays, my kids have to acommodate them.

Nevermind that I had NO idea this was going on and our other two children are going to have to just deal with the fish today. I'll be sure to pack them a lunch next week...we'll call it a Darwin Sack just to be obstinate.

Could somebody PLEASE explain to me how this is even remotely allowable under the First Amendment?

Now if I could just get one of this kids to have as bad of an attitude as I had at that age and say to the lunch lady, "Im not Catholic, I'll take the normal lunch" and cause a life would be complete.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Give it to Tesla

In another offline conversation, I've discussed this idea before. We should give GM and Chrysler's billions to companies like Telsa.

This is an under capitalized company that is on the cutting edge of technology and getting hammered by the economic downturn...and they can put a thing of beauty like THIS on the road for $50k?

A properly wired home charging set up (480V) can recharge this baby in 45 MINUTES, and with the enhanced battery pack it can go 300 miles. That's a tank of gas people.

0-60 in less than 6 seconds, and the battery is easily accessible so battery swapping stations are possible.

Dont worry though. If Tesla fails to catch on, the Chinese will be happy to lead the way.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome exercises that really work - Boing Boing

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome exercises that really work - Boing Boing

Great demonstration and explanation of these stretches. We've all seen them before but this put them in a context for me that was useful. I feel better after ONE stretch, never mind hourly for a couple of days.

Dr. Demento has fallen on hard times.

Dr. Demento lives on.....barely.

Im on a mission to see if I can't get a little social networking love for the Good Doctor. Digg it, Reddit what you do.

All I know is Weird Al should be sending him flowers...with a check.

Commentary: Is Obama skidding or crashing? -

Commentary: Is Obama skidding or crashing? -

Short post. I loves me some Penn Jillette. Nothing like someone firmly grounded in the rational world looking at crap, but having the personality to call it Bullshit. I'm guessing a lifetime spent hustling people tends to reinforce the idea that most of them just aren't very smart.

To continue his metaphor though, I think that Obama is skidding...but I fear that he might be a formula one guy trying to control a funny car on a wet track.

Google Shares its Server Design

Google drives innovation in Server Efficiency

What is this geeky nonsense and why am I blogging about it? Well off the grid yesterday I shared this article with a few buddies. Some gearheads had turned an old VW into an 84mpg medium high performance vehicle for about $7,000.

This article from Google makes me wonder why the large consumers of transportation technology arent demanding the same sorts of innovation and efficiency. What sort of clout does an Avis or a Hertz wield with GM? Could FedEx lock in to a multi-decade, multi-thousands of vehicles agreement with whoever makes their trucks and demand better fuel efficiency and lower costs?

Sure, you and I as consumers dont really give a crap about the cost of gasoline. Even when it's $4 a gallon our pain is mostly psychological. I buy about 750 gallons of gas a year. Incremental increases in cost really arent that meaningful. Sure, I hate seeing $60 go into my gas tank as much as the next person but it's REALLY not that much more money. Doubling a small number is really just a slightly larger small number.

But what about UPS or a chain like Marriott with their courtesy vehicles? Surely every penny in increased fuel costs tightens their belts....around their NECKS like a noose.

Google did this and innovated in an environment where electricity was relatively inexpensive. So why didnt "Cheap Electrons" cause the same sort of anti-innovation lethargy for their business that "Cheap Gas" does for transportation?

I know it's not apples to apples and the R&D on a new car is a lot more expensive than a server made out of 5 or 6 components, but I think this speaks more to the real problem in Detroit...the culture problem.