Monday, June 30, 2008

I want my Malechem

Thanks to Yarn Frog Studios

I Want My Malechem.

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Mr. Bush, render those deniers!

Through really no fault of my own, today I was exposed to Roy Spencer, a University of Alabama at Huntsville Principal Research Scientist and climate change denier. And you'll recall my fascination with these people. Roy Spencer insists that
After 12 years of receiving no compensation for my writings, I was eventually asked to write global warming related articles for (now That website advocated science, technology, and free markets, and was indeed partially funded by oil interests. While I no longer write for that web site, over a three year period I augmented my "day job" salary by an average of 5% by writing articles. The views expressed in those articles were consistent with the views I had expressed for twelve years for no compensation. (Quite frankly, since I supported the ideals promoted on, I really didn't care who funded it).

The dirty little secret is that environmental organizations and global warming pessimists receive far more money from Big Oil than do global warming optimists such as myself.

Right? So, what makes these people dissent so deceitfully? I mean, follow the link. There's no question that Roy Spencer, at least, is lying instead of merely being wrong, although the argument is technical enough (relying as it does on your ability to run a climate model at home) that he can still walk around in public. But, I believe that he's not getting paid for it. I have a new theory.

(a) The deniers tend to focus on radiative forcing as the explanation for the increase in the climate's resident heat, when they're forced to confront the issue.

(b) That's obviously nonsense. Unless the Sun is edging toward nova or there were some nonsolar radiative force being applied to the earth.

(c) We'd know if the Sun were getting ready to blow. All sorts of stuff would happen -- there'd be a pretty excited magnetic signal, for one thing, and its shape would be changing. I think. I'm not a solar physicist. Anyway, I'm pretty sure there'd be clues.

(d) That radiative forcing is heating the climate up and the Sun is not going to explode suggests another radiative forcing. Nothing natural is around to do this, suggesting the forcing is artificial. Climate change deniers are implying that space aliens are attacking our planet with a slow cooker.

(e) Climate change deniers, therefore, want us to come to the conclusion on our own that we're being attacked by an alien race with planetary attack capabilities. They want to give us time to reflect on this long enough that we're prepared to capitulate.

(f) That there actually are radiative aliens is as absurd as any non-greenhouse-gas explanation for heating. I'm not particularly interested in whether molecules in some other part of the universe started to self-replicate and become more complex*. However, that these complex self-replicating molecules started attacking us with radiative weapons beggars my credulity.

(g) Climate change deniers want us in a, um, capitulant state in the absence of aliens for some other reason.

(h) You would want a population in a capitulant state (no, see, I use it twice and it becomes a word. Why doesn't Firefox's spell checker understand that?) if you were inclined to invade it.

(i) Climate change deniers are working on behalf of a foreign power intent on invading the United States of America. If I had to guess, I'd say China, but it's possible Saudi Arabia might strong arm Russia into doing it. That's a geopolitical relationship I'm having a little trouble parsing.

Now, so, I think I've proven to any rational reader than climate change deniers are agents of a foreign power. As it happens, the Supreme Court may be pressuring the Pentagon into letting our Guantanamo inmates go. So, that's available, is all I'm saying.

* -- I'm aware this may make me a bad person, but then again there are stronger arguments for that. And I think it's a valid enough question that we should publicly fund research into it, maybe out of a central pot of funds for Critically Reasoned Answers and Concepts in Knowledge. A 'CRACK pot' fund, if you will.

RAND Reports

link (via TPM Muckraker)

Remember those RAND Reports? They're getting unsquashed!
Prepared from over 200 interviews conducted by military historians, the report attempts to avoid controversial elements of the conflict, often unsuccessfully.
Tee hee.

All the action seems to be in the Eastern Pacific


Tropical cyclones seem to be forming in the Eastern Pacific, instead of the Atlantic. This is good, because that's farther from me, but it's odd. We've got, as of this writing, Tropical Storms Cristina and Boris roiling around off Baja, and another tropical depression forming. If this gets to be three simultaneous tropical depressions, that may be a July record for the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Wikipedia's Tropical Cyclones Portal only goes back to 2003 for timelines, and shows that Bud, Carlotta and Daniel just failed to make it in 2006.

In any case, we're going to keep our attention firmly focuses on the Atlantic. As of a month ago, the level of activity in the Eastern Pacific was supposed to be below normal, with 11 - 16 storms. It's already looking like September out there.

update:This didn't happen. The last advisory has been issued on Cristina. Still, I'm having trouble believing we'll get to January with only 13 more storms.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

EVE was incredibly overengineered

The link's just to WALL·E's IMDB page. I want to point out in passing that now to view trailers, you have to sit through an advertisement. So, previews are apparently now considered informational, instead of promotional. If you're keeping track at home, I did not watch either.

WALL·E's a wonderful movie, and there's a lot for engineers, although more in the realm of emotionally satisfying moments than actual information or interesting puzzles. It salubriously (for our culture) keeps children's interest focused on robots, space flight, chromotography, ecology and other places children's interest should be focused. However, there's a flaw that seems sort of central.

You'll recall that the Simpsons movie had this element that taxed one's physical intuition -- that Homer Simpson could use the same process to ride the inside of a large arc that he used on a much smaller arc without any sort of nod to the increased centrifugal force he'd have to supply. And WALL·E has a similar sort of flaw, but more on a product development or systems engineering level than a physical level, which is that the Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE) is grossly overengineered.

EVE's role is to scour the surface of planets for vegetation. WALL·E's is to pick up garbage, and compact it. But, they're from the same point in technological development -- Engineering has apparently been pretty static in the 700 years WALL·E's been picking up garbage. She flies, and he doesn't. Well, OK. Maybe he's not supposed to pass an obstacle without dismembering it, and his maintenance costs are much lower. But, she can also fly through space. She's dropped off and picked up by a giant spaceship! In her normal course of events, she's never even in vacuum!

Now, even this I can allow, because the people fly through space in the same vehicle they land on earth with, which seems a little suspicious. So, it's an animated movie that's supposed to be accessible to children, and this is probably just simplified. It wouldn't really forward the story to add reentry vehicles, so maybe EVE does need to move herself back and forth from the planet to somewhere else. Well, forth. There'd be a narrative problem if she could get herself back, but it's possible that we're meant to understand that she transported herself to Earth through space.

But, she has a blaster. She's rather seriously armed, and has a sort of a hair trigger. There's no suggestion that any other engineered object is similarly equipped. We see a pretty broad overview of the state of human civilization, and she's the baddest ass in it. Not only did her designers expect her to be in hostile situations, but they expected her to be in unambiguously hostile 'shoot first and ask questions later' situations. Her job, again, as is implicit in her name, is to collect plants. I'm not saying you'll never run afoul of locals in that pursuit, but it seems a bit much to give every probe that much destructive power.

All of this means that she's really hard to stop when she... well, there's a school of thought that one should unnecessarily give away plot points. And, it is a wonderful movie. Recommended!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

America Divided Over Whether Paul Wellstone Was Assassinated

On the one side, there's me and apparently the authors of the book "American Assassination." On the other is everyone I talk to about it, but I've only talked about it with people twice -- Thinking about the Anthrax/Leahy episode stirred it up again. A couple of years ago, I was out with some friends and casually mentioned the assassination of Paul Wellstone. One asked, "Why do you think Senator Wellstone was assassinated?" I was floored! I thought everybody thought Paul Wellstone was assassinated!

So, at dinner tonight with three people, I tried again: "There's this thing I think Americans believe, but no one ever talks about, so I thought I'd ask you if you believed it. Were one or more of Donald Henry Rumsfeld, Richard Bruce Cheney or George Walker Bush complicit in the death of Senator Paul Wellstone?" It's not just that the answer was 'no', the very question seemed unfamiliar to them. I was accused of being a conspiracy theorist! Are not new conspiracies uncovered every day? A simple reciting of the news would make one sound like a conspiracy theorist.

So, Wellstone? Anyone?

Tom Lehrer on YouTube

If you're like me* you often find yourself singing a little Tom Lehrer tune, like "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park", "So Long, Mom", "Oedipus Rex" or "National Brotherhood Week." He's on YouTube! Some guy took video of him in the 60s doing songs and posted them. I actually had no idea what he looked like before tonight -- he was on the cover of "An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer," but very, very small.

* Incidentally, that's how I picture you. Identical to me, in every way. You read my blog, I read my blog. All I really know about you is that one thing you have in common with me, so it's natural for me to assume that everything else true about me is true about you. The keys, by the way, are in the bowl by the door. Where they always are. Try to spend a little less time looking for them tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Save almost 17 % on your next two rail purchases!


RailEurope ad reading 'Save 50% on your next rail purchase
See? It's not a bad deal the way I say it, but it's just wrong the way they say it. The deal is, 

Buy a railpass (between 4/24/2008 – 7/15/2008) and you will get a credit for 25% of the value of that railpass. You can apply this credit to your next rail purchase made by 12/15/2008. Your second purchase using your credit must be at least twice the value of that credit.
If anything, you can save up to 50 % on your second rail purchase. You don't save anything on your next rail purchase.


Improving Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts should be a bigger priority

[National Hurricane Center director Bill] Read said he's satisfied for now with the $3 million the government is spending this year for research into improving intensity forecasts. 
Ah... isn't that about 4 minutes of the Occupation of Iraq? It's nice to have a billion-dollar-a-day boondoggle to compare things to. You could buy every man, woman and child ice cream every day for less than the cost of our Middle East misadventures.

On the one hand, improving hurricane intensity forecasts would save the government much more than $3M/year. On the other...
Predicting a storm's intensity is much harder for meteorologists than estimating where it will go. Since 1990, forecasters have reduced by more than half their errors in predicting a storm's path, but over the same time the accuracy of their intensity forecasts has remained virtually unchanged."To really get after that you're talking tens of millions of dollars, if not more, to reach an ambitious goal," Read said. "We've made a steady gain in the improvement of the track forecasts, and we haven't figured out how to do that yet for rapid intensification."
That could take between five and 10 years, he said.

So, say there's some thing I don't know how to do. Say, build a pocket desalinator for seawater. Or train parrots to defuse bombs. I estimate it'll cost me tens of millions of dollars, if not more, and between five and 10 years. Heck, I'll stop Climate Change, although any beneficial effects will take place after my tenure as director. It's not like the NHC is going to spent $50 million dollars on a hurricane intensity forecasting widget and install it over the course of the next decade. They currently have no idea what'll work.

But, the government should be spending money and time on getting an idea of what will work.

update:I've thought more about this. And, running water is nice and all, but isn't the primary benefit of living in a technological civilization that we can predict the weather?

Can we call it the CSFB plan?

So, you recall when Credit Suisse bought First Boston, they renamed themselves 'CSFB,' to be palatable to the American people. After the invasion of Iraq, foreigners stopped caring how we felt, so in 2005, CSFB's foreign overlords decided to rerebrand themselves 'Credit Suisse.'

Banking lobbyists wrote a bill for a huge transfer of wealth from the American Taxpayer to their clients, which is their job. And it looks like it'll pass. But, I would ask that we stop calling it 'the Credit Suisse plan', and start calling it 'the CSFB plan.' We have to remember a time when America owned its own investment banks!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NJTransit may not fully 'get' the web

So... follow the link. In a new tab! What are you, still using IE6? While we're on the subject, remember MDI interfaces? You'd have one big frame, and little document windows inside it. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this in an accessible way, but it's how MS Office worked until Office XP, and how every application using the document ('MDI' means 'multidocument interface') metaphor, i.e. that there's a particular file which contains a particular set of data, used to work. The other day, I was sort of wishing that I could 'tile' all of the documents I was working on in a particular application, and realized that I wanted MDI back.

Anyway, we're not talking about that. We're talking about New Jersey Transit. Pick two stations. I chose from 'New York Penn Station' to 'Denville,' but I suspect it won't matter. Submit the form and view your fares.

Now, the asterices are a little confusing. The first asterisk explains to you what off peak means, which is valuable to know. But! That footnote has a footnote itself, which also uses a single asterisk. I don't think I've ever seen that before. It's my habit to look for footnotes on the bottom of the page, in which case the asterisk would have meant that the price is for five days in the future and you have to call to get the current price, which would have been absurd. No, instead, the first asterisked footnote gives you a number to call if you can't interpret what they mean by off peak. Its own asterisked footnote tells you, essentially, "Psych! That's not the real number!"

NJ Transit is apparently changing phone numbers, which has to happen every now and then. In this case, they're shutting off their toll-free service, which I'm not going to tie back to the housing-bubble-collapse-driven New Jersey budget crises because of my incredible focus. But, the current number is in the (second) footnote. Like most people who get a number off the web are going to call it five days hence, but for you pathologically fast callers, they'll give a little more information.

Can we rejoin the Commonwealth?

So, after recalling that the government had simply decided not to investigate its possible role in the Anthrax attacks on Senators Daschle and Leahy, it struck me that the investigation into the death of Senator Paul Wellstone -- who was threatening to derail the march to the invasion and occupation of Iraq -- did not end satisfactorily, 'satisfactorily' here meaning 'with the President, Vice President and Secretary of Defense shackled in a cell.'

Thanks largely to Joshua Micah Marshall's work at Talking Points Memo, this tendency simply to not investigate its own suspected misdeeds became pretty apparent during the US Attorney scandal, and is now a little less tenable. But, in 2002, the press totally took it in stride.

When I lived in Kenya, Scotland Yard came to investigate the death of Minister of International Cooperation Robert Ouko, whom the Kenyan government insisted had shot himself, stabbed himself, hanged himself, set himself on fire and threw himself out of a helicopter. Even Robert Mugabe has allowed various investigations to point the finger at his cronies, and from the third world here and there, you hear stories of investigations unconvering government misdeeds, and you wonder, "Why would a kleptocracy investigate itself at all?"

I think it's the Commonwealth. We're a former colony of the crown of England! Can we still get in?

PS Home prices are down to 2004 levels. This seems to be chugging along pretty quickly. Maybe they'll get to 1997 before President Obama takes office, keeping the blame focused where it belongs. Yeah, I'm aware that's cynical political thinking. And, I'm still hoping President Pelosi takes office first.

A recent spate of terrorist attacks?

Terrorist attacks are not completely imaginary -- whether the Bush League was complicit in 9/11 or not, it definitely happened -- but most plots that we hear about are in large part made up by our government, from the Tang Bombers to the plot to blow up the Sears Tower. So, I was a little non-plussed by the "Overheard in New York" casual reference to "[T]he recent spate of terrorist attacks [after which] the TSA decided to stop allowing liquids past the security gate."

I don't think the Department of Homeland Security releases information on non-imaginary attacks -- actual terrorist activity like the suburban DC sniper, the Oklahoma City bombing or the Unabomber don't lead one to want to occupy oil-rich countries -- so we're left with Wikipedia. So far this year, Wikipedia's classified two incidents (in Kirkwood and DeKalb) as terrorist attacks, both lone American gunmen (only one an Army basic training dropout on psychopharmaceuticals) carrying no known hot liquids. If you extend the time frame to a full year ago, you only add what Wikipedia calls 'fake grenades' that really exploded at the Mexican Consulate in New York City.

I know the "Overheard in New York" quotes can be kind of old, but the only spate I can remember is when people were seeing Anthrax in every packet of white powder. I want to point out that weaponized Anthrax presents the same danger now it did then. Do you know where your Cipro is? Where's the eternal vigilance, people? It's the price of liberty*! Incidentally, Senator Patrick Leahy at least now seems to think the Anthrax used in the letters to him and Senator Daschle came from our own government.

So... what's up with this spate reference?

* -- looking this up, I found on Bartleby an intellectual predecessor quote from Demosthenes, which is a pretty cool feature. I thought I'd share:
There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust.

Monday, June 23, 2008

More moronism

there's no link -- see the last post.
And, you have to really like data. But, if you look at how each
percent loss will push back the calendar on the Dow's inexorable
march to infinity, it becomes clear that the gains are a bunch of
very dense run-ups spaced in time. And, so, we can expect very dense
run-downs. Although, they may all be strung together.

Percent Loss


Last time the Dow was lower





























































Moronic Focus on the Dow Jones Industrial Average


OK. I totally understand that the Dow Jones Industrial Average means exactly what it means -- some arbitrary composition of the values of the 50 companies Rupert Murdoch feels are most representative of large public companies -- and nothing else. And focusing on the DJIA (to its friends) has blinkered us to many persistent intractable economic problems. I'm really going to try to stop talking about it.

But, it's so fun watching the line bounce between its technical levels! It's simple! And we get the false sense that our finger is on the pulse of the economy, and we should encourage our policy makers to harrumph smokily together and further beggar the American people in order to gin up this index.

It is, of course, inconceivable that the Dow could lose another 306 points (2.6%) and pass the 52-week low of 11,508.70 or even to close just 102 points (0.86 %) down and pass the March 10 close of 11,740.. But, if it did -- and, I assure you, tongue in cheek, that this is extraordinarily unlikely -- the next 'technical level' it would have to break through would be the last previous lower close, which was 11,727.34 on October 3 of 2006. I really don't predict we'll hit the Bush 43 Presidency low of 7286.27 from October 9 of 2002, but we could pass where the last president left us at 10,587.59 on January 19, 2001, as my DJIA predictions have two bases, neither of which are grounded in what one might call equity analysis:

  1. The Dow'll hang around each even power of ten for about 10 years
  2. The Bush League is a bunch of incompetent liars, and any sort of gain anyone has made under this presidency is an illusion born of their gymcrackery.

Get Smart Movie: Missed by that much


So, the Get Smart movie is wonderful, really. They've totally reinvented Maxwell Smart as someone who, while lacking the slick, amoral affect of a movie secret agent, can shoot, fight and dance competently with almost unbelievable listening comprehension in several languages. The story, really, is about a morbidly obese intelligence analyst who gets himself in shape to be a secret agent with the mission of bringing human understanding into espionage work. It's really very inspiring.

The movie falls down when it tries to reattach to Get Smart, the TV show. The bits with the cone of silence and Agent 13 in a tree are funny, but distract a little from the story. I found particularly jarring the catch phrase "missed [it] by that much." I'll explain, if you're not familiar with the TV show.

Often, Max's genitals would get shot at or nearly punctured by something or other. There would be a moment of tension, Max would gingerly check his groin, and report back wtih "Missed by that much," holding up his thumb and index finger. That last bit's important, because in the movie, he uses the catch phrase twice, but doesn't hold up his fingers. "That' refers to nothing. The movie's trying to elevate a little -- they're not penis jokes -- but you simply can't say, "Missed it by that much" without holding up your thumb and index finger. It's jarring to the audience.

So, I'd recommend the film, but only if you're willing to forgive the failing of wanting to refer to the original beloved series a little too much.

George Carlin is dead

Who will protect us from the censors?

Friday, June 20, 2008

1Sky & 350

Now, I've made fun a little of 350 and maybe seemed a little cynical about them. So, I want to be absolutely clear that I think activism and outreach -- which these sites do -- are essential to changing our culture to slow climate change. I'm not optimistic about saving civilization, but I totally think it's worth trying, and I value their efforts.


So, I volunteered to be a local leader for 1Sky. I'm having a problem with local activism as my political party has no presence to speak of in my community, so it's, well, not much of a party. I literally know 0 other Green Party members in Manhattan, and it's fair to say I know a lot of people. I was thinking of jumping ship to anarcho-syndicalism, but I don't know how much more popular that is, and it's really not electoral. I have been doing a little volunteering with, which infamously blames the Green Party, instead of Socialists or continuously inebriated mouth breathers for humanity's 2000 defeat in the US presidential election, but inviting people to a election season training tonight, I realized that there was no way I could not end up plumping for another party's presidential candidate if I kept up with them.

I can't work for a party with no one in it, and I can't work for an opposing party, so I'm left with nonpartisan organizations. It's not like I can give up political activism altogether. I'll let you know how this goes.

McCainization on FISA

there's no link
There was an article in Slate a few years back about how The Bush Administration dealt with its political opponents. It would say some crazy thing, the opponent would genteelly agree, then the Bush League would be all, "you really believe that crazy thing?" And the opponent would be like "yeah." This is how Hillary Clinton ended up insisting that preemptive war was a great idea.

And no one has suffered this worse than McCain. In 2000, he was a crabby somewhat corrupt former war hero senator would would say obvious truths, such as you can't spend a trillion dollars twice or Dubya is totally unfit to be president. In the last 8 years, he's famously come around on the Bush tax cuts, supported the nuttiest military action on record, started to advocate for torture and gone from a campaign finance reform activist to only being able to run because the FEC's understaffed. Other people are keeping track.

And with McCain, it looks like an obvious case of trying to get the President's support in order to get the support of the President's supporters. So, fine. He's now totally unappealing both to his 2000 supporters, who must be appalled at the way he's cozied up to an administration that sleazed him out of the race that year, and the continuously inebriated mouth breathers who apparently form the majority of our electorate, who remember him as the 2000 guy who caused problems.

But, what on God's green Earth is going on with Congress? How did they get McCainized? Seriously, I can conceive that there's simply some good argument against impeachment that's yet failed to get through my skull. I concede that it's pretty thick. But, yesterday's FISA bill compromise is just ridiculous. In the last 7+ years, legislators have seen that there's going to be no reciprocity if they give in to Bush on some issue, so why all the capitulation?

At the beginning, it looked like repetitive application of a clever realization about how media and politics interact. But, now? It's starting to look like Star Trek mind control slugs.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are we all doomed?


Just looking around the 350 web site, this question caught my eye. I know that surprises you.

If we're already past 350, are we all doomed?
No. We're like the patient that goes to the doctor and learns he's overweight, or his cholesterol is too high. He doesn't die immediately—but until he changes his lifestyle and gets back down to the safe zone, he's at more risk for heart attack or stroke. The planet is in its danger zone because we've poured too much carbon into the atmosphere, and we're starting to see signs of real trouble: melting ice caps, rapidly spreading drought. We need to scramble back as quickly as we can to safety.

That metaphor misses the mark a little. The planet's like that patient. We're more like a deadly skin infection. Or gangrene. Maybe we're like gangrene. I would, I guess, rewrite the answer a little.

If we're already past 350, are we all doomed?
No. You are, but we expect some survivors. While the planet will become considerably less hospitable to human life, the more quickly, decisively and effectively we act now, the larger the size of the greatly reduced population of the future.

Many traders believe the market is stuck in a range between 12000 and 13000


The Dow trimmed its losses to finish down 131.24 points, or 1.1%, at 12029.06, off 9.3% on the year. Many traders believe the market is stuck in a range between 12000 and 13000 -- a level it hasn't touched in a month -- because key questions about companies' balance sheets and the health of the economy remain stubbornly unresolved despite fervid efforts by chief executives, central bankers, and other officials.

"Right now, the market really is a pinball bouncing between these technical levels," for the Dow, said Chris Johnson, president of Johnson Research Group, in Cincinnati.
I'll bet you a dollar it's not.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Slick New Features at the National Hurricane Center Website


So, the NHC shows you views of the Atlantic, and cyclonic activity in it. This we had last year. What you're seeing there is a tropical wave. 

Don't worry! Conditions are unfavorable for development. How do I know, you ask? there's a new mouseover feature.

if I click it, I load the graphical tropical weather outlook, with my little cyclone circled.

And on which I can zoom in.

In other news? The Dow's flirting with 12K again. Dow 10,000's probably a year away.

FYI: 350 launched

Yay! Let's all work together and stop global warming! Go, Team!

Seriously, I'd encourage everyone to adopt their positive attitude. It just warms the heart.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Apples from Subway make me suspiciously happy

There's no link.

So, I went to Subway for lunch, and I made it a meal, adding a sugary soft drink* and a "fit side." I chose the apples. This is a 2.4 oz packet of "sweet red and tart green apple slices." Those aren't actually types of apples, but they're apple colors and flavors.

I like apples, and I was pretty happy with my packet. The ingredients read "Red Apples, Green Apples, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) , Calcium." Those all sound like fine things.

It's surprising to get a side at a fast food place that doesn't seem remotely dangerous, and that has an expiration date a week away. So, I'm well pleased. My distrust of Subway -- even to this day I occasionally mistake one of their restaurants for an actual subway entrance, which makes me distrust them -- gives me some pause, but I'm happy.

One thing I learned from the back of the packet is that Subway is a registered trademark of Doctor's Associates. According to Wikipedia, it has always been thus. But, it does go well with their post-Jared push to position themselves as healthy food.

* -- I had an Arnold Palmer, half lemonade and half iced tea, a concoction I picked up at the Shake Shack.

The most important blog experience of our time

The title's a Schizopolis reference.

The link's to a post by "Fabius Maximus" about the newly explicit statement by the Saudis that they're going to be limiting oil production in order to have oil for later. This seems prudent, but of course it's a little hard on a growing oil-based economy. Still, go Saudi Arabia. I'm almost never on the Saudis side, but it does seem like a good policy.

Really, it just amused me that the author referred to another of his blog posts as "perhaps the most important of the 177 posts on this site." He gave me a choice to read it, "[o]r just wait. Your newspapers will discuss it, eventually."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Government Provided Fun for Kids!

You might not expect the United States Patent and Trademark Office to have kids' pages on its web site, but that's just because you're close-minded. It makes sense! Maturity is really a process of ceasing to wonder about things that don't directly concern you. Kids are all little engineers, wanting to know how things like trains, quartz crystal displays and representative democracy work. The USPTO is full of this sort of thing, so there's a natural consonance.

So, take a look. I'll wait.

Had enough? Did phrases like "Below are diagrams explaining how to read these notations," not reawaken your childish sense of wonder?

Obviously, this page is meant for adults who shamefully can't intuit how to navigate patent and trademark archives. My guess is that it's labeled "kid's pages" so that the USPTO can't be accused of condescending to inventors. The informations's there, but as unto Christ, one must come unto the USPTO as a child.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Update: Platelets and Obesity

Apparently, the New York Blood Center doesn't let your first platelet donation be a triple, so I only got 100 points today. I already bought a Nano, though, so I need a new point goal. I could use a cot. But, let's see. 100 points for today, 350 points for July 6th, 300 points each for two other Sundays before August 1st, that's 1800 points with the 750 point four-time bonus. 1600 points gets me a 71 Piece Pneumatic Air Tool Kit. That sounds cool, but are air tools like air guitars?

Also? I'm no longer obese. I weighed in at 244# today, which corresponds to a BMI of 28.9. Still supraöptimal, but I'm on my way.

Hey what have I found

Really? It's almost like we got an early tropical storm just to have one. Like whoever makes hurricanes wanted to make a point about their not being constrained between June 1 and November 30.