Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Dog Poem...

Via my lovely bride:
Why own a dog? There's a danger you know
You can't own just one, for the craving will grow.
There's no doubt they're addictive, wherein lies the danger.
While living with lots, you'll grow poorer and stranger.

One dog is no trouble, and two are so funny.
The third one is easy, the fourth one's a honey.
The fifth one's delightful, the sixth one's a breeze,
You find you can live with a houseful of ease.

So how 'bout another? Would you really dare?
They're really quite easy but, oh, Lord the hair!
With dogs on the sofa and dogs on the bed,
And crates in the kitchen, it's no bother, you've said.

They're really no trouble, their manners are great.
What's one more dog and just one more crate?
The sofa is hairy, the windows are crusty,
The floor is all footprints, the furniture dusty.

The housekeeping suffers, but what do you care?
Who minds a few noseprints and a little more hair?
So let's keep a puppy, you can always find room,
And a little more time for the dust cloth and broom.

There's hardly a limit to the dogs you can add,
The thought of a cutback sure makes you sad.
Each one is so special, so useful, so funny.
The vet and food bills grows larger, you owe BIG money.

Your folks never visit, few friends come to stay,
Except other "dog folks" who live the same way.
Your lawn has now died, and your shrubs are dead too,
But your weekends are busy, you're off with your crew.

There's dog food and vitamins, training and shots.
And entries and travel and motels which cost lots.
Is it worth it you wonder? Are you caught in a trap?
Then that favorite one comes and climbs in your lap.

His look says you're special and you know that you will
Keep all of the critters in spite of the bill.
Some just for showing and some just to breed.
And some just for loving, they all fill a need.

God, winter's a hassle, the dogs hate it too.
But they must have their walks though they're numb and your blue.
Late evening is awful, you scream and you shout
At the dogs on the sofa who refuse to go out.

The dogs and the dog shows, the travel, the thrills,
The work and the worry, the pressure, the bills.
The whole thing seems worth it, the dogs are your life.
They're charming and funny and offset the strife.

Your life-style has changed. Things won't be the same.
Yes, those dogs are addictive and so is the dog game.
For the record, we've curbed our addiction at four.  We think...

American Eggs are Not the Same as British Eggs...

It would be illegal to sell American eggs in a British supermarket.  It would also be illegal to sell British eggs in an American supermarket.  How can this be?

Viking Navigation...

I've read several times speculation that the Vikings used polarized light to help navigate.  They didn't know that's what they were doing, they just discovered “sunstones” – calcite crystals – that naturally polarized light and could be used to tell where the sun was even on a cloudy day, and before sunrise or after sunset.

Now it appears that scientists have actually found a sunstone in the wreck of a Viking ship.

Awesome dudes, those Vikings...

We Had One of These...

Back in the '60s my family somehow acquired a gigantic boat of a car: a Chrysler station wagon.  It was equipped with a couple of gadgets that even then struck me as quite odd.  One was a push-button automatic transmission (no lever, just dashboard mounted push-buttons).  The other was a record player, exactly like the one at right.  I ran across this on Retronaut.

We could never play the darned thing, because we didn't have any of the 16.66 RPM records for it.  I don't even know if ours worked...


If this isn't a crime, it should be:
In the email sent Monday by Charles Brown, an official with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C., Mr. Brown asked “if there was any latitude” in how to spread the sequester cuts across the region to lessen the impacts on fish inspections.

He said he was discouraged by officials in Washington, who gave him this reply: “We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”
Translation: A government official asks if he can spread the sequestration effects around so as to minimize the impact.  Answer: not if doing so prevents the sequestration impacts we've been warning about.

The Obama administration wants the sequestration to be as painful as possible, and as visible as possible, to further their political aims.  The best interests of American citizens are not part of their calculus...

Obama official.
Some assembly required. 

I Confess That I Must Re-Post This...

Via my lovely bride:

Debbie Still Says “No!”

But I say “Oh, hell yes!”

An Interesting Correlation...

One of my favorite AGW skeptics is Warren Meyer, proprietor of CoyoteBlog.  He's put together a presentation on AGW skepticism that includes the chart below.  It shows that life expectancy in any given country is quite closely correlated with that country's CO2 emissions (which are themselves a good proxy for fossil fuel consumption).  The more fossil fuels a country uses, the longer its citizens can expect to live.

He's not arguing that fossil fuel consumption directly causes longer lives, but rather that something(s) else is causing both the increase.  He doesn't say what, but I'd offer up prosperity and accumulated wealth as those causes.

A Tale of Two Dummys...

Via my mom:
I knew he reminded me of somebody famous...

On the left is the famous "Walter", Jeff Dunham's dummy.

The one on the right is Obama's dummy.
Nailed it.

The “Smarty Pants” Test...

My lovely bride requested that I take this “Smart or Stoopid”  test.  I guess she's worried about my diminished mental capacity.  I got a 28.  I have no idea what it's actually measuring, though – certainly not IQ!

Smile Signs...

Via my lovely bride:

Categorical Thinking...and the Climate Debate...

Via reader and friend Doug W., an article by Craig Loehle exploring a notion that's new to me, though when I google the term I get a few bazillion hits.  My engineer's brain translates that notion into “binary thinking” vs. “analog thinking”.  Some might say “black and white thinking” vs. “more nuanced thinking”.  What's new in this article is connecting categorical thinking to the way the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) debate is polarized.  A key bit:
Categorical thinking is common in life. It is a critical mental shortcut that brings order to the chaos of sensory input—I do not claim it to be a defect. If someone lies to us once, they are now in the category of liar. This may work for judging likely human behavior but one hurricane is not a trend. If a person is in the clergy, we classify them as good. If they exhibit some defect such as shoplifting, we throw them down to the pits. They are either a saint or not a saint. We don’t say that a politician in the other party is misguided or has different goals from us, we call them evil (and they call each other evil). If some small thing goes wrong on a date or at a wedding, the event is “ruined”. In religion you are either “saved” or not, there is evidently no in-between category of semi-saved or saved part of the time or improved.

This categorical thinking permeates the climate change debate. A premise in categorical thinking about the environment that goes back before the current debate is that natural is good and artificial is bad, where artificial means anything affected by humans. In the case of nature this means that wilderness is good and trees planted in rows are bad (though birds don’t necessarily mind the rows). The categorical mindset means that any touch by humans ruins the wilderness, so humans in the US are being progressively excluded from wilderness (roads closed, no snowmobiles, horses banned, etc.) from the wilderness that they are supposed to value so highly. In the climate debate, it goes like this: “There is no doubt that humans have caused warming over the past 50 years. Therefore we must act now.” The question is posed as whether the climate has change, a categorical question. And of course it has changed and of course humans have had some effect even if tiny. The fact that there is some influence of humans is taken to mean that all the bad things one can imagine will consequently follow. In real life no one imagines that if their stock portfolio is yielding 0.1% annually that they are making money and therefore they are going to become rich and therefore they are already rich, but this is how the climate debate plays out, perhaps because climate is not something anyone has direct experience of so it is an abstraction, a “thing” not a process or continuum.
Mr. Loehle's argument resonates with me, mostly in the way it helps explain the arguments of those credulous of AGW.  It's a good read, and not very long...

Laws of Nature...

Via my lovely bride:
Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

Law of Gravity - Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of Probability - The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

Law of Random Numbers - If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

Supermarket Law - As soon as you get in the smallest line, the cashier will have to call for help.

Variation Law - If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now.

Law of the Bath - When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters - The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result - When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Law of the Theater & Hockey Arena - At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.

The Coffee Law - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

Murphy's Law of Lockers - If there are only 2 people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

Law of Physical Surfaces - The chances of an open-faced jam sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.

Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

Brown's Law of Physical Appearance - If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

Oliver's Law of Public Speaking - A closed mouth gathers no feet.

Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy - As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

Doctors' Law - If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better... But don't make an appointment, and you'll stay sick. This has been proven over and over with taking children to the pediatrician.
Long experience shows that these laws are absolutes...