Friday, March 28, 2008

Sickness, or "Operation Chaos"

Limbaugh is really having fun with the Democratic primary. What he's doing is pushing hard for whoever is the underdog of the day, so as to create chaos in the Democratic party.

I don't like it.

First, there's this.

Then yesterday, there was this screed. Give it a listen. Hear the tone of his voice. Yikes.

It seems like a violation of something to use the public airwaves to this extent for political purposes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Height of Comedy?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Baking Tip

If you are a bread hobbyist, and who isn't, let me just say that you need to get your hands on King Arthur brand Bread Flour. One wouldn't think that the brand of flour would make a difference, but it does.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Found in the drawer

An 8 pack of Duracell C batteries that EXPIRED in 2004.

They were purchased for to make a (long-gone) radio work in case of power outage...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Justices Appear Skeptical Of D.C.'s Handgun Ban

I have to say, from both a legal and common sense, that I agree with the
idea that if you ban guns, the only people who will not have guns are
the law abiding citizens.

Just parsing the language of the amendment, it's obvious what the statue
meant. The definition of the word militia is sort of irrelevant.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free
State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be

The first half is only there as justification- "for this reason, the
right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

They could have said "Just 'cuz we say so, the right..." or "A well
regulated fleemflop..." It doesn't matter. It still says that the
right shall not be infringed.

Getting to the more nitty gritty, did the DC gun ban change anything
when it was enacted? More crime, less crime, etc?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Things I hate

Internet meme edition:

1) Apostrophes before every s. Learn the language!

2) The comma ellipses.

3) Saw this one the other day, and while it may have just been a typo, I want to head it off at the pass: the semi colon as a time differentiator. 03;02;55 (three days, two minutes, 55 seconds) Just because some countries like to get the decimal and comma mixed up (incorrectly, I might add*), doesn't mean you have to show your non-Americanness by substituting different punctuation everywhere.

4) Finally, the big one. "Meh." I HATE that non-word. It is mean and sarcastic, and while it is meant to show disinterest in the subject, it also shows disrespect for the reader/listener. "Meh. I choose to not give you enough respect to even use a real word to express myself."

* Why incorrect? Because the period/decimal is more significant than the comma. A sentence can have multiple commas, but only one period. Same thing with numbers. Get it right! I roundly excoriate the SI for allowing it either way.


Also hate the concept of Why do people use that? Why does someone take time to find a link, go to a website, copy and paste the url into the website, get another url back, copy that and paste that into the email or web post or whatever? Why? WHY??! What do they think they are doing, who do they think they are helping, and what is wrong with these people?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"One in four teens has STD"

Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Well, they're including HPV in that total. Which is bad, but I don't think it's really what we think of when someone says "STD". Sort of like saying "Deadly Virus Incurable" when talking about the flu. There are some people for whom it is a death sentence, but not most.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Criminalizing Home Schoolers - TIME,8599,1720697,00.html

This is one circumstance where I agree with ideas like No Child Left
Behind. It's in the nation's best interest to have educated children,
and I think the right of the child to have an education trumps the
rights of parents to make decisions for their children. We all know
that a teaching degree doesn't guarantee someone will be good teachers.
So legislate results- if your kid passes the yearly competency test, god
bless. If he doesn't, it's back to an accredited school for them. In
the grade they failed.

This assumes they can put together a decent test that actually measures
education. Which I believe can be done. The outcry of the education
cabal that having achievement tests forces teachers to "teach to the
test" is silly- if it's a good test, then that will be effective.

Maybe a system can be set up sort of like the way the lawyer bar exam
works. Lets say the school year is 10 months. So we spend 9 months on
raw education, followed by a month of standardized review and
refreshers, culminating with the test. Home school kids would be
mandated to attend this month.

Further, and this is really a pipe dream, would be to analyze the tests
for teaching effectiveness. Each class would be flagged with a unique
identifier. Then the students' answers would be checked for deviations
from the normal on subject matter points- if nearly every kid in the
class fails question #9, that bit of subject matter would be added to
the curriculum for next year for that class of students. This would
account for and correct for a teacher who missed a spot, or who was
simply bad or incompetent. And if teachers are statistically bad year
to year, they get flagged for more training. I think this would
maximize the freedom of everyone, as well as maximize the effectiveness
of the teachers.

I predict this story will be spun by the nutjobs as limiting the rights
of parents to teach their children- I don't read it that way. It
doesn't stop the parents from educating their kids on top of mandated
education. It just sets a bar.

What I'd like to see

A- We're old. Favre is 38, just 6 years older than I am. And he is retiring.

B- He played something like 275 games straight. Certainly an NFL record. But he's getting grief for going out kinda young. I wonder how many games the Really Big Football Heroes played in throughout their careers. I'm betting he's played more games than most, just compressed into a fewer number of seasons. I tried briefly to find a "total games played" stat on the web, but was unsuccessful.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Your government at work

I have mixed reactions to this story.

1) Wow, that seems bad- for shame, Herb Kelleher! But it also is not nearly as bad as they make it out to be. Being deemed not airworthy for lack of inspections is not the same as actually being not airworthy, containing a fault.

2) That will teach the safest and most profitable airline a thing or two! If you don't take our bailout money, we'll take yours to bail us out.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Nice investigative reporter voice, Steve.

Dammit, you know one of these days he's going to take Dave Savini's job and we're going to have to see him and the corpse of Pam Zekman chasing around sleeping county workers. And I'll say to everyone who will listen (like my Gomez story), "hey, that guy sat behind me in Mrs. Littleton's class."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What I really want

I've done some minor tweaking of the blog template to try to widen it a little. I'll tell you what I'd like to do with it is have a more dense front page (story stubs instead of the whole text), where when you click on the story it does one of those fancy Web 2.0 things where the page dims and a box (not a popup) overlays the page with the full story and the comments available. I've seen the effect on some photo page somewhere, where you click on the thumbnail and the effect occurs. I've also seen it on sites where it's used in lieu of a "gateway ad", the main site appears but then the ad appears on top.

Failing that, maybe some drop shadows. Or injudicious use of Comic Sans.

EDIT- like this

They finally caught up with her

Dorothy Tillman arrested. When I saw the headline, I was really hoping it was for stealing a hat.


Answering this post from Competitive Notes:

1- It's code for "I care about the US worker".

2- If it's more expensive to move jobs outside the borders, companies will be less willing to move them away. Is that desirable is another question. Globalization is happening, with or without the US. We can ignore it and bankrupt ourselves. Or we can instantly embrace it on all levels and bankrupt ourselves. Or we can nudge our way into it, not by lowering ourselves to the standards of the rest of the world, but by gently pressuring the rest of the world to rise to our standards.

3- Mexico is the donkey, we're the Great White Father sitting on its back dangling a carrot in front of it to make it walk.

4- Exporting our pollution and sweatshoppery to second and third world nations could be considered worse than not trading with them at all. I don't know. It seems ethically sound from an "ends can't justify the means" standpoint. Maybe fewer Chinese are starving to death because they are assembling our lead and PCB filled coffee grinders and christmas lights, but are they making a deal with the devil? Are they taking our shiny quick money, ignoring the long term externalities? So, we, as a rich nation, say that we're not going to buy your stuff if it will result in more harm to people and the environment than other nations or building it ourselves. We'll pay $29.99 for a shitty coffee grinder made in a slightly less horrible manner than the $19.99 one. Or at least I think that's what he means.

Or call it a Monroe Doctrine of human rights and environmental impact.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why is so bad?

"The laser that runs the show [in Blu-ray players] is a very high-power laser," notes Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron. That laser is one of the main things that conspire to raise power consumption.
No. Not really at all. If the laser was using that much power, it would probably melt a hole through the computer. No, the other reason they state is more true, that it takes a lot more computing power to decode HDTV than SDTV. Even still, the whole premise is idiotic. This technology is BRAND NEW, and the only thing that's wrong is that it uses more power? Shut up. Sort of like buying a sports car and expecting it to get 45 MPG. You can't have everything.


The recent coverage of British Prince Harry having been in Afganistan and having personally killed 30 Taliban is turning my stomach a little. War is supposed to be bad, not a PR tool. Not wishing harm on anyone, but the story would be really different if he was one of the 2-3% of soldiers who come back without a limb, or one of the 10-20% who suffer from some kind of traumatic head injury. Or hand him a fake ID so he can blend in properly- I suggest "'arry F. Cockney-Beatlemania" as a perfectly normal, average English name- and let him serve a couple 15 month tours. See how everyone likes that.