Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
How do religions die? Generally they don't, which probably explains why there's so little literature on the subject. Zoroastrianism, for instance, lost many of its sacred texts when Alexander sacked Persepolis in 330 B.C., and most Zoroastrians converted to Islam over 1,000 years ago. Yet today old Zoroaster still counts as many as 210,000 followers, including 11,000 in the U.S. Christopher Hitchens might say you can't kill what wasn't there to begin with.
Still, Zeus and Apollo are no longer with us, and neither are Odin and Thor. Among the secular gods, Marx is mostly dead and Freud is totally so. Something did away with them, and it's worth asking what.
Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.
As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences. As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term "climate change" when thermometers don't oblige the expected trend lines. As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other "deniers." And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Here's the info on Georgie. Lost on Friday November 25th near Lyons Valley and Peg Leg Mine Road. Georgie is Shih tzu three years old, black and white, weighs approximately 15 pounds. Very friendly. Has a very distinct bark, sounds like a much larger dog. Call Bill with information (619) 922-0527.
This is the real significance of the climategate emails. They show that major scientists who inform the IPCC can't be trusted to stick to the science and avoid political activism. This, in turn, has very worrying implications for the major international policy decisions adopted on the basis of their research.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
When you date someone, if you find them attractive and have a good time with them, things naturally progress. This might happen in one date or it might take a couple, but the point is that this is what happens. Also, as you’re dating someone, you develop a relationship of sorts with them, so if you’re short on your rent, they help you out. If you’re struggling to pay for school, they help you out.
If the person you’re dating likes you and they have extra money, they buy you gifts. This, folks, is dating. So, then, wouldn’t all dating be mutually beneficial? Now, when you actually plan a mutually beneficial arrangement, you should know that you’re dating, but you’re kind of laying out the terms of dating. You want gifts, you make sure that the person you’re planning your arrangement with will want to give them to you.
“The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering.”Cited in this article in the London Daily Mail.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails: (1) prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions; (2) these scientists view global warming as a political “cause” rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and (3) many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.
Les Jones is amused.
A nice search engine to let you research the new trove.
One of the recent studies suggesting that the CO2 multiplier might not be quite as large as early “research” suggested.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
If he's your lost dog, or if you know who he belongs to, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
One thing I'm noticing already: two years ago when the original ClimateGate emails were released, the blogs jumped all over them right way, but the media studiously ignored them for months. This time they're in the mainstream media right away. Interesting...
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
First, I'm torn between delight and disgust by the whole affair. Delight because a Congress deadlocked into inactivity is the safest kind of Congress I can imagine. Disgust because so few (I'd say less than 5%) of our Congress-critters seem to behave in a way that's in the best interest of the country.
In today's news, I read another story that at one level simply astounds any thinking person in its complete disconnection from reality. Obama is pushing to extend the Social Security “tax cuts” another year. This is from the leader of the same party that is so adamant about including tax increases as part of the deficit reduction. Last year those tax cuts were paid for by issuing government bonds (borrowing, in other words). One wonders what he's got in mind this time. Well, I guess we really don't wonder – Obama's angling for re-election, and what better way than to throw a few bucks at the masses? He might as well be out on the street with wads of money, handing them to anyone who will vote for him. Sheesh...
There are days (and this is one of them) when I think the only way we can get our country back is through some form of revolution. The big, big question: can that revolution happen at the ballot box? I'm not feeling optimistic this morning...
Monday, November 21, 2011
And now I have to go to work...
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Well, not so much. In fact, there is now more food per capita than at any previous point in history. Better food, too (in every sense!). How did this happen? Why were the projections so very wrong?
They had the same problem that every static projection has: they assumed that the rate of change of both food production and of population growth would remain the same. If that had actually happened, the Malthusians would have been correct. But it didn't; in fact, both changed. Our food production started climbing very rapidly during WWII with the near-simulateous development of cheap fertilizers, effective insecticides, and selective herbicides. A few decades later, genetic engineering kicked farm productivity even faster. There's no end in sight yet for farm productivity improvement. At the same time, worldwide population growth rates are slowing. The rate of change on those rates is low, but the effects are cumulative and large over the long term. Most experts today think that our world's human population will level off (or close to that) before the end of this century. My guess is that today's experts are probably just as wrong as the Malthusians were 100 years ago – but I have no idea in which direction they're wrong, much less the magnitude of their error!
A drunk woman, stark naked, jumped into a taxi.
The Indian driver opened his eyes wide and stared at the woman. He made no attempt to start the cab.
"What's wrong with you, haven't you ever seen a naked woman before?"
"I'll not be staring at you lady, I am telling you, that would not be proper, where I am coming from."
"Well if you're not bloody staring at me, what are you doing then?"
"Well, I am looking and looking, and I am thinking to myself, where is this lady keeping the money to be paying me with?"
Friday, November 18, 2011
The author is Sarah Palin...I've learned from local, state and national political experience that the only solution to entrenched corruption is sudden and relentless reform. Sudden because our permanent political class is adept at changing the subject to divert the public's attention—and we can no longer afford to be indifferent to this system of graft when our country is going bankrupt. Reform must be relentless because fighting corruption is like a game of whack-a-mole. You knock it down in one area only to see it pop up in another.
What are the solutions? We need reform that provides real transparency. Congress should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act like everyone else. We need more detailed financial disclosure reports, and members should submit reports much more often than once a year. All stock transactions above $5,000 should be disclosed within five days.
We need equality under the law. From now on, laws that apply to the private sector must apply to Congress, including whistleblower, conflict-of-interest and insider-trading laws. Trading on nonpublic government information should be illegal both for those who pass on the information and those who trade on it. (This should close the loophole of the blind trusts that aren't really blind because they're managed by family members or friends.)
No more sweetheart land deals with campaign contributors. No gifts of IPO shares. No trading of stocks related to committee assignments. No earmarks where the congressman receives a direct benefit. No accepting campaign contributions while Congress is in session. No lobbyists as family members, and no transitioning into a lobbying career after leaving office. No more revolving door, ever.
This call for real reform must transcend political parties. The grass-roots movements of the right and the left should embrace this. The tea party's mission has always been opposition to waste and crony capitalism, and the Occupy protesters must realize that Washington politicians have been "Occupying Wall Street" long before anyone pitched a tent in Zuccotti Park.
This doesn't mean there's general agreement that physics is broken. But it is one (unexpected by most) step in that direction.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Impairment Loss: A special, nonrecurring charge taken to write down an asset with an overstated book value. Generally an asset is considered to be value-impaired when its book value exceeds the future net cash flows expected to be received from its use. An impairment write-down reduces an overstated book value to fair value.
And yes, it's entirely plausible that my mom was one of them...Sitting on the side of the road waiting to catch speeding drivers, a Massachusetts state trooper sees a car puttering along at 24 mph. He thinks to himself, "This driver is as dangerous as a speeder!" So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.
Approaching the car, he notices that there are five elderly ladies - two in the front seat, and three in the back, wide-eyed and white as ghosts. The driver, obviously confused, says to him, "Officer, I don't understand. I was going the exact speed limit. What seems to be the problem?"
The trooper, trying to contain a chuckle, explains to her that "24" was the Route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.
"But before you go, Ma'am, I have to ask, "is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken."
"Oh, they'll be all right in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 128."
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Personally, I think it's shameful that an academic institution (Suffolk University law school, in this case) allows someone with that attitude to indoctrinate our youth.
Monday, November 14, 2011
The dogs, of course, know none of this. The three field spaniels were agog over the smells exposed by the soils dampness. They ran to and fro, in random directions but with huge energy. This morning they found nothing to focus on. They were like canine vacuum cleaners, zooming around sucking in all the joyous odors. They were clearly very happy dogs. Race, on the other hand, noticed none of this. All he had eyes for was his pine cone. As usual, he repeatedly laid it in my path so that I would walk over it and kick it. This is how he gets his joy: chasing a kicked pine cone. He runs it down, snags it in his jaws, then lifts his head high in sheer joy as he scampers about for 30 seconds or so of victory laps that take him all over the yard. Then he comes back and lays his pine cone down again.
Another morning out in the chaparral...
I have no idea whether that notion has any merit. However, inadvertently the article makes many points that bolster the case for legalizing drugs like cocaine. One of the consequences of making such a high-demand item (as evidenced by the price people are willing to pay for it) illegal is that people will finance their desire by committing crimes – property crimes and violent crimes. This country saw that during Prohibition, and rolled it back. I, along with many others, believe we should do the same thing with other illegal drugs. There's nothing special about alcohol, which manifestly has the same sorts of undesirable impacts on people and society that the illegal drugs do...
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Read the whole thing.Our parents’ generation has balked at the tough decisions required to preserve our country’s sacred entitlements, leaving us to clean up the mess. They let the infrastructure built with their fathers’ hands crumble like a stale cookie. They downgraded our nation’s credit rating. They seem content to hand us a debt exceeding the size of our entire economy, rather than brave a fight against the fortunate and entrenched interests on K Street and Wall Street.
- About 90% of all scientists who make breakthrough discoveries are heretics, in the sense that they held unorthodox views widely rejected by their contemporaries.
- About 90% of all scientists who are heretics (in the sense described above) are whacked out loonies – only about 10% of them actually make real breakthrough discoveries.
The early wetness has some of our plants changing their usual timing. We have bulbs popping up all over the place, and the grass is growing strongly – we're going to have an unusually long growing season this year, assuming we get our usual rainy season. Our aleppo pines are normally looking a little sad (dry) this time of year; now they're fully greened up and their sap is flowing. Take that, bark beetles! Our eucalyptus trees are putting out new growth. The ground is soft down to at least three feet, and the gophers are tunneling like crazy (good for some plants, bad for others). The manzanitas that happen to be full of berries right now have big, juicy berries. And the moss on the rocks is bright green.
I wouldn't mind a bit more of this. An inch or so every couple weeks would be quite nice!
Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. I think, "It is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver."Babe Ruth~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."Lyndon B. Johnson~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."Paul Horning~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."H. L. Mencken~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"When we drink, we get drunk.. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let's all get drunk and go to heaven!"George Bernard Shaw~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."Benjamin Franklin~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."Dave Barry~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Beer: Helping ugly people have sex since 3000 B.C.!W. C. Fields~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Remember "I" before "E," except in Budweiser.Professor Irwin Corey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~To some it's a six-pack, to me it's a Support Group - Salvation in a can!Leo Durocher~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One night at Cheers, Cliff Clavin explained the" Buffalo Theory" to his buddy Norm:"Well, ya see, Norm, it's like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.
In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine!That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
One of the reasons I do this is my own experiences while in the Navy in the '70s; I've blogged about these before. Suffice it to say that while I was in uniform, I never had the experience of a friendly stranger buying me coffee and saying “thanks” in a way I'd believe sincere. Quite the opposite. But I've often wished I'd had that experience.
I'm no longer in uniform; I've been out of the Navy for more than 30 years. But today – for the first time ever – I had an experience something close to this. A colleague of mine (whose name I don't have permission to use, and therefore won't) sent an email to myself and another mutual colleague, whom I'll call “J.” (since I don't have permission to use his name, either). With minor edits to maintain anonymity, here's the email:
J. and Tom,To say I was stunned would be a significant understatement. All these years later, someone said “thanks!” to me. It's some hours later as I write this, and I'm still shaken by the experience. I guess I never expected anyone to just say “thanks” to me...
Just a moment to say thanks to the only two Vietnam War vets that I really know (I think).
We are living at a time of war, the first one that I have first hand witness to in a way that I can understand. I see how the vets are revered and how their work and service is honored. I see the concern and care for the invisible wounds warriors come home with.
My memories of the Vietnam War are vague, I was young. What I know, though, is that what I see now is very different than what I remember seeing, however vaguely, back then. The people that cheered for soldiers; the people that welcomed them home; the people that cared about the invisible wounds were very few and far between and didn't have anywhere near the voice that people that opposed the war did.
But they were there. And my dad was (is) one of them. I learned from him the importance of the work of all who served and the depth of their sacrifices. I learned from him to cheer loudly when vets passed by on Veterans Day. I learned from him to look for and reach out to those who served. I learned from him to have respect.
As time has passed, our country has come to rethink and regret the collective attitude towards Vietnam Vets, though I am afraid for many vets, this was too little too late. But I do believe that it is the lessons learned in that attempt to reconcile that has given way to much of the honor our current warriors are extended. And for that, we all owe Vietnam Vets a certain and very sincere debt of gratitude.
If my dad had met either of you back then, he would have shook your hand. He would have cheered loudly as you passed by. He would have honored your service. He would have offered you a cup of coffee. He wasn't with you then, but I am here now. And in honor of today as Veteran's day, in honor of the lessons learned from my dad, and in honor of your service to your country - I would very much like to buy you a cup of coffee!
Some things can't be undone. Some things can't be forgotten. But it's my sincerest hope that it is never too late to say thank you.
Thank you so much, for your service. And thank you for what your collective experiences have brought to my life and my career all these years later.
Just to be clear: I'm a Vietnam-era vet; I wasn't actually in-country in Nam. Nor was I directly in combat. I was a sailor on a ship that supported combat air operations in Nam. I fixed computers (the mainframes of the day). I was a warrior only in some metaphorical sense. But I was a member of our armed forces, and served for six years. And now someone has said “Thanks, Tom”...
Subscriber caller: My Internet is down.
Tech: Why do you say that?
Caller: Because When I try to go to Google, it takes 10 minutes to draw the screen.
Tech: Do you have any XBOXs, TVs, or other Computers?
Tech: Go turn the power off on all of them and try again to access Google.
Caller: I can't... My husband is watching a movie on his new NetFlix power big screen, my kids are having an XBOX live tournament, and my daughter is updating her iPod/iTunes songs.
Tech: So you said your Internet isn't working?
Caller: OK, I turned all those things off. Speed is a little better, but still doesn't work.
Tech: OK try rebooting your router.
CAller : (phone disconnects, and she calls back). That's odd, my phone disconnected when I rebooted the router. Internet is still slow.
Tech: Oh so I see you have VOIP also. Do you have Direct TV boxes?
Caller: Yes, I'll go turn that off. I set my DVR to download movies in the background a few days ago. Do you think that had something to do with it?
Tech: Try again now.
Caller: Wow, my Internet sure is fast now! Google loads in 1/10th of a second. What did you do to fix it? You must have changed something on your end, when I was off turning stuff off. By the way, why did you want me to turn the stuff off?
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
All babies start out with the same number of raw cells, which over nine months, develop into a complete female baby.The problem occurs when cells are instructed by the little chromosomes to make a male baby instead.Because there are only so many cells to go around, the cell necessary to develop a male's reproductive organs have to come from cells already assigned elsewhere in the female.Recent tests have shown that these cells are removed from the communications center of the brain, migrate lower in the body and develop into male sexual organs. If you visualize a normal brain to be similar to a full deck of cards, this means that males are born a few cards short, so to speak, and some of their cards are in their shorts.This difference between the male and female brain manifests itself in various ways. Little girls will tend to play things like house or learn to read. Little boys, however, will tend to do things like placing a bucket over their heads and running into walls.This basic cognitive difference continues to grow until puberty, when the hormones kick into action and the trouble really begins. After puberty, not only the size of the male and female brains differ, but the center of thought also differs. Women think with their heads. Male thoughts often originate lower in their bodies where their ex-brain cells reside.Of course, the size of this problem varies from man to man.In some men only a small number of brain cells migrate and they are left with nearly full mental capacity but they tend to be rather dull, sexually speaking. Such men are known in medical terms as "Engineers."Other men suffer larger brain cell relocation. These men are medically referred to as "Fighter Pilots."A small number of men suffer massive brain cell migration to their groins. These men are usually referred to as..."Mr. President or Mr. Congressman."
The tribal wisdom of the Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, best strategy is to dismount."
However, in government more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:
1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Changing riders.
3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.
5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse's performance.
10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
And of course...
13 Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
If you don't understand this theory, you haven't lived long enough!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Then from reader Jim M.:A lawyer and a senior citizen are sitting next to each other on a long flight.
The lawyer is thinking that seniors are so dumb that he could get one over on them easily.
So, the lawyer asks if the senior would like to play a fun game.
The senior is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks.
The lawyer persists, saying that the game is a lot of fun...."I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me only $5.00. Then you ask me one, and if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500.00," he says.
This catches the senior's attention and, to keep the lawyer quiet, he agrees to play the game.
The lawyer asks the first question. "What's the distance from the Earth to the Moon?"
The senior doesn't say a word, but reaches into his pocket, pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the lawyer.
Now, it's the senior's turn. He asks the lawyer, "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?"
The lawyer uses his laptop to search all references he can find on the Net.
He sends E-mails to all the smart friends he knows; all to no avail. After an hour of searching, he finally gives up.
He wakes the senior and hands him $500.00. The senior pockets the $500.00 and goes right back to sleep.
The lawyer is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes the senior up and asks, "Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?"
The senior reaches into his pocket, hands the lawyer $5.00, and goes back to sleep.
An older, white haired man from Ft. Lauderdale inFlorida , walked into a jewelery store this past Friday evening with a beautiful much younger gal at his side.
He told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend. The jeweller looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring.
The man said, 'No, I'd like to see something more special.'
At that statement, the jeweller went to his special stock and brought another ring over. 'Here's a stunning ring at only $40,000 the jeweler said. The lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement.
The old man seeing this said, 'We'll take it.'
The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the man stated, 'by check. I know you need to make sure my check is good, so I'll write it now and you can call the bank Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick the ring up Monday afternoon.'
On Monday morning, the jeweler angrily phoned the old man and said 'There's no money in that account.'
'I know,' said the old man, 'But, MAN! Did I have a GREAT WEEKEND!'