Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Special

The other of my audience of two has noticed that I've been putting in a lot of DIY stuff in the links. It's true.

In that tradition, these are a lot of interesting DIY stuff that have something remotely to do with Thanksgiving or Christmas.


Things to do with plastic bags
Making Home Applesauce
The Thanksgiving Calculator: Organized Cooking for 42
Modular Icosahedron Pie
Making Good Corn Bread
Making Stuffed Sole
Making Paper Snowflakes.
How to Run Christmas Lights on your Bike
DIY New York Pizza
Papercraft Turkey Dinner
National Toy Hall of Fame
DIY LED Bike Light Guide

Okay. Now the science and stuff links.

Crazy Horse Lock Mechanism
SEED: State of Science
Hammers of Quality
Mankind's Best Friend, the Rat. Really. Honest.
Wildest Optical Illusion Ever
Digs you can See Up Close

There, then.

Go Thou and Eat Turky in My Name.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Detroit Under Water

I've owned a lot of cars. In order: VW Bug, VW Squareback, 1967 Chevy Nova, Toyota Starlet, Toyota Tercel Wagon (Dream Car), Subaru Wagon, Jeep Cherokee, Chevy Nova, Geo Metro, Subaru Forester, Ford Focus and Scion xA. I'm including my wife's cars as well since I drive them.

So: 2 VW's, 1 Jeep, 2 Chevys, 1 Ford, 6 Japanese cars.

I prefer the Japanese cars and have no love of American automobiles.

I can rant about American cars. I can talk about how they fall apart, how they make user feature choices that ruin usability purely in an attempt to hoodwink the consumer. They are not interested in repeat business-- at least, not mine. Every modern American car I've driven has been inadequate. I liked my 1967 Nova and the later Nova from the 1980s. But the more recent Jeep sucked and the Focus sucks. The only reason I replaced the Geo with the Focus was price. Used Toyotas and Hondas were just too damned expensive for a car to bridge between current technology and what's coming.

So: as a consumer it doesn't matter if Detroit sinks or not.

Even so, a lot of people do buy American cars. 22% market share is still 17 mCars/year. And if we're in the business of bailing out Citigroup and AIG for stupidity that makes the auto makers look like geniuses, what's the problem dropping a paltry $25 billion on Detroit? I mean, AIG has gotten well over a $120 billion alone and Paulson is dropping money on bankers like it's raining money-- from the point of view of AIG I guess it is.

It's strange to listen to the rhetoric. Why should we save them from their own mistakes?

You can make exactly the same argument for AIG. The answer for AIG is that there's a financial meltdown if you don't. The answer for Detroit is you get massive unemployment for Americans if you don't. We know whose side Bush is on.

I like Barney Frank's plan: the companies must follow hard rules such as no dividends, no increase in executive pay, etc.

I only wish they'd forced AIG to follow the same rules.
Signs of the Coming Apocalypse
Agreement between Popkes and Buchanan

Political Links
Ted Stevens Loses. Loses. Here that? Loses.
Cross Correlating Obama by County and Race

Wall of Idiots

Fox News Financial Advisor

Links of Interest
2008 Gadget Guide
Betty Davis Webcam Eyes
Doctor Atomic
Categorizing Grief
New Drug Resistant Pathogen
Gamma Cygni from Sky Factory
Brain Damage vs. Psychosis
Google Life
World Wide Space and here
Apple = DRM = RIAA
Laser Healing
Ancient Turtles

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Exoplanets Seen!

(Picture from here.)
We can now see, actually see, I mean with a telescope actually, really, truly, see a planet orbiting another star. This isn't checking for wobbles in the movement or blinking. This is like seeing the moon at midnight.

The picture shown is from a planet orbiting Fomalhaut, 25 light years away. It's a big thing-- somewhere between Neptune and three Jupiters.

But that's not all. We have sightings of three-- three-- planets orbiting HR 8799, 130 light years away.

Humans are amazing.

Enough of my rants. Look a the links. See the pictures. Imagine the possibilities.

Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here. Here.
Political Links
Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota

Wall of Idiots
Obama Iconography
Why Sean Tevis Really Lost
How to Become an Expert
The Supreme Court Justices

Links of Interest
Juan Enriquez on Oil
The Great Sulfer Pyramids of Canada
Evolution and War
Mining the Unminable
The Promise of Synthetic Biology
Animal Rights Extremism
XYZ: Female Embryology
How Bleach Kills Bacteria
Homo Erectus Pelvis and here
Causes of Asthma
Red Meat -> Cancer
Spirit Lives!
The Hunterian Museum
Retinal Jesus

Of Interest

Political Links
Obama in Mississippi
Taxing Issues

Wall of Idiots
Killer Sonar Okay
Obama Gestapo

Links of Interest
Mountains in Ice
Omniphobic Materials
Neural Control of the World and here
Miskatonic University
Scenes from Antarctica
Sport Animals as Furniture
The Moon and the Seven Sisters
Orridge and Lady Jaye
Google Rome
A New Generator
Miracle of the Buddha and here
Wizard of Oz Redux and here

Friday, November 7, 2008

Foot Shooting

When I was starting out as a software engineer a coworker told me of the three kinds of errors. The metaphor was shooting yourself in the foot.
The most common error is to take careful aim at the foot and blow it off. The most desired error was a system in which you took careful aim at your foot and missed. The most dangerous error was a system in which you took careful aim at your foot, pulled the trigger and blew your head off.

Now we come to Israel.

I am absolutely committed to the idea that Israel exist. I am also equally committed to the idea that for Israel to exist it must be more than some other country. It must stand for something. Otherwise, what is the point of Israel existing? There is an old Talmud statement for which I do not have an immediate reference that went something like this: It is a greater sin for a Jew to cheat a non-Jew than for a Jew to cheat another Jew. In the latter example, the cheat stands for itself and is a minor sin. But in the former case, the Jew is standing as an example of the Torah to the world and therefore the sin is greater as it is against the Torah and God. As was said, God made the world for the Torah, not the Torah for the world.

An odd thing for an atheist to say, isn't it? Still, let us leave that little dichotomy for another time and place.

Given the above, it gives me great pain when the government of Israel does silly things. This weekend I got this link across my desk. It seems the Simon Wiesenthal Center, based in Los Angeles, has decided to build a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. And it seems it is building it over a parking garage that is also the Mamilla Cemetery. (See here and here.)The Wiesenthal point of view is represented here and here. It's been a parking garage for a while. It's not classified as a cemetery for "over fifty years".

That's an interesting statement to make. Do bodies disappear when a space of land is no longer used as a cemetery? We have little family cemeteries all over the place in New England. I saw them in Missouri, too. It didn't mean they were no longer revered.

It gets even more involved, however. The cemetery fell into disuse in 1948-- when Israel was created. (See here and here) It is the Wiesenthal Center's point of view that the cemetery had been declared abandoned in 1964. Though there are those who dispute that. Regardless, as in Missouri and Massachusetts, people don't quit grieving and revering the dead just because a place is politically modified. A good essay on the subject is here. In Massachusetts there were the "lost towns of Quabbin". Towns that were leveled and destroyed to make Quabbin Reservoir that feeds water to Boston. There are still people who are ticked about it.

Now, imagine that sort of situation with a "Museum of Tolerance" with a known occupied territory in a place where both sides consider all men, women and children of the other side as essentially enemy combatants.
A better solution would have been to rebuild the Mamilla Cemetery and incorporate the Museum around it. That would have been a Museum of Tolerance worthy of its name.

"Shooting yourself in the foot" doesn't begin to cover it.
Political Links
Betta Republicans
Undoing Bush
Night of the Long Knives

Wall of Idiots

The Blessed GOP Meltdown

I have to say, it's been entertaining reading the right wing pundits try to make sense of the election. It would be difficult for them to say "Gee. Our ideas didn't really set well with the public after being in place for thirty years. Guess we gave them a chance and they didn't work so well." That would be like Rush Limbaugh deciding that drug rehabilitation was good for anybody (except himself.)

So, we have Windmill Annie. Ann Coulter spins around so fast in pointing blame in this week's column that she's in serious danger of becoming airborne. As usual, Coulter's column is content free. That is unless you consider bashing liberals to a beat content. There are some particularly nasty quotes to be gotten there.

Like this one: "Apparently Florida voters didn't mind Obama's palling around with Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, either. There must be a whole bunch of retired Pennsylvania Jews down there."

Or this one: "This was such an enormous Democratic year that even John Murtha won his congressional seat in Pennsylvania after calling his constituents racists. It turns out they're not racists -- they're retards."

And, lest you think that Windmill Annie doesn't make a profit on this sort of thing. We have her advice on Obamaproofing your portfolio. This shows that whether or not she is able to put a coherent thought together in an article, she's still able to make money on it. Of course, somebody out there has to actually pay her. One wonders who would even consider her advice useful, much less profitable.

Michael Reagan wasn't a lot better. He and Coulter both think McCain and Bush walked away from basic Republican ideals. After all, military spending, abrogation of human rights and saving corporations from their own blunders isn't a hallmark of the Republican Party, is it? Is it? Really? Hm, well now. After all, this was "not a referendum on Ronald Reagan." Who says saints are only found in the Catholic Church?

Oliver North, that bastion of integrity, considers how the GOP ought to be rebuilt. You remeber Ollie, don't you? He's the soldier who turned his back on his oath, his country and his personal honor to help Ronnie the Robot skunk the Constitution. Then he made money on it. Nice to know who Annie's friends are. He thinks moving Mike Pence (R-Ind) into a position of leadership shows "the rapidity of conservatives’ resurgence after the McCain loss Tuesday". Pence is Human Event's 2005 Man of the Year-- as grisly an endorsement as I can imagine.

Patrick Buchanan, who thinks Palin is the best thing since sliced bread, thinks the defeat was "unnecessary". It's the Mainstream Media. McCain gave it away. Barack had nothing to do with it except for "locking up black America." Nice to know where you stand, Pat. Buchanan is good with epitaphs: "These are the twin causes of death of the Reagan coalition, and as long as the Republican Party is hooked on K Street cash, it will not address either, and thus pass, blissfully addicted, from this earth."

Say it's so, Pat. Please, say it's so.

Political Links
Ballot Initiative Analysis. Mostly Crying in the Beer, here.
Ted Talk, Morality: Conservatives vs. Liberals
2008 Fact Check Awards
That Damned Liberal Media
Secretary McCain
Threats to Political Muslims
Palin Supporters
Obama and the White Vote
Race and the Executive
Joe Lieberman faces the music and here and here
Obama, McCain, Palin Dancing

Links of Interest
Giant Omelette Celebration
Volcano Slideshow
Social Network for Scientists
LHC Fears
Centauri B Planets Unlikely
Alternative Gun Cultures
Cephalopod Tricks
Kew-el Buildings
Green Spaces Reduce Health Gap