Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Ode to CO2

Murray Grainger posts a wonderful bit of snark over at WUWT:
There once was a molecule of gas
whose actions simply bordered on crass:
Causing heat, rain and snow,
drought and floods (don’t you know?)
And the wastage of oodles of cash

Well played sir, well played.

What to do with that old piano?

I thought this was rather creative.

However, I do think my wife would cry if she saw one in that state of disrepair.

Resolutions are tough

So, the other day I posted my list of resolutions.

The first two are related.  Lose weight, and go to the gym.  Obviously, going to the gym is intended to help with the whole losing weight thing.  Well, I've met my goal (so far) of going to the gym 5 times a week.  And, obviously, I REALLY need to get into the gym.  Oh, and count calories too.

In workout clothes, I tipped the scales at 199.2 last night.  This morning, my waking weight was 192.0, just me in all my glory.  Long way to go to get down to 165.  Now, those are on two different scales, and I usually just track my weight on my home scale.  That takes any scale differences out of the mix.

The frustrating thing for me is that my weight has trended up since the holidays ended.  I did good maintaining at around 188 over Thanksgiving and Christmas, when I wasn't working out.  Now, I'm working out again, and my weight's gone up.  I think I've started shoving more food into my cake hole as I've become more active.

Hence the counting of calories.

Based on the calculator over at LiveStrong, I need ~1880 calories a day with a target weight loss of 1 pound a week.  I HATE counting calories.  Sometimes because it's depressing, other times because it's just difficult to do.  How in the world do I know how many calories are in the taco soup I'm going to have for lunch today?  It has hamburger meat, corn, at least two types of beans, tomatoes, taco seasoning, etc.  Sure, I can plug the recipe into a calculator and estimate serving sizes.  And that's what I need to do.  But man, some days I wish there was a magic little machine I could put my food in, and it would just go *bleep* *bip* *boop* and spit out the nutritional analysis.

Oh well.  Since that doesn't exist (at least not that I know of), I guess I get to do it the hard way.  And I need to do it, otherwise counting calories doesn't do me a lick of good.  And, as I've always heard, if something's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

Oh, and if you just have a morbid fascination with stalking me, you can always check out my LiveStrong profile.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maybe it's trying to tell me something

This has not been a very auspicious beginning to the day.

First, my computer BSODs when I fire up my VPN client.  The way they have GPOs configured for us, it takes ~20 minutes for my laptop to start up and become usable.

Second, one of our web servers is down, which has taken out all of our test websites.  Which means I can't deploy the changes I've made.  And that the users are agitating for.

Third, I'm having an on-again, off-again headache that keeps spiking at the rear of my cranium.  It HURTS when it flairs up.

I'm starting to think maybe I should just mail it in today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Waivers to leave the house

A Louisville Representative apparently thinks parents should sign waivers before their kids can leave the house.  Well, okay, I'll be honest.  She didn't say that in so many words.  But let's go to the tape:
“You have to sign permission slips for everything else. Why not this?” Marzian said in an interview. “Many parents don’t realize they could be exposing their children to guns in a very volatile political setting.”
Oh no!!  We could be exposing the children to those evil things called guns!!  Especially in a political environment like the statehouse.

But wait.  Kentucky is a constitutionally protected open-carry state.  With full preemption.   So any time a child leaves the house, they could be exposed to an environment where someone is allowed to carry a gun!!  This is HORRIBLE!!

Obviously, the solution is a state-wide perambulation registration database.  Any child found wandering the streets without the appropriate paperwork on file shall immediately be detained, and their parents liable for exposing them to The. Real. World.

After all, we have a Nanny State to protect.

Important Medical Breakthrough

It has come to my attention that the medical industry has made some important breakthroughs in exotic flus.  They have identified a crucial difference between avian flu and swine flu.

Based on this difference, they are now prescribing tweetments for the former, and oinkments for the latter.

No, no, a thousand times NO!

I'm sorry, but I have a big problem with this:
Disgusted Arizona residents are locking arms to stop the Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting the funerals for victims of Saturday's shooting in Tucson, with bikers and others organizing a massive counter-protest and state lawmakers fast-tracking a bill to hamstring the so-called church.
(emphasis mine)

I deplore the actions of Westboro Baptist.  I think they are misguided and are a repugnant group.  HOWEVER!!  We have a 1st amendment.  They have a right to their opinion.  They have a right to be jerks.  Just because someone does not like what they are saying does not mean that there oughta be a law.

The response of other residents, and the biker organizations, is the proper way to approach this.  Respond in kind, within the law.  We don't need more laws.  We don't need thought crimes.  We definitely don't need the legislature determining what is and isn't acceptable speech.

Even if this were a "content-neutral" restriction (and let's not waste time arguing that it is, because we all know that it isn't), which would theoretically be permissible, it's still a wrong idea.

Everyone just needs to put on the big-boy and big-girl pull-ups and start acting like adults.  That DOES NOT mean running to your local legislator to have them "do something about those people."  The next thing you know, you will be "those people."

Metrics that boggle the mind

Northern Kentucky is once again preparing for the white fluffy deathness that is Snowmaggedon.  It is apparently de rigeur to reassure the populace that the state has everything under control.  Thus, we see statements like this:
In Northern Kentucky, there are 19,000 tons of salt and 123 trucks available to treat state highways and interstates.
There are 24,000 tons of salt at the salt pile in Camp Washington. 
43,000 tons of salt.  86,000,000 pounds.

That would make a lot of ice cream.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A little Monday humor

Remember, the 'He' is always lower case

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thoughts on the debt limit

I've been reading lots of stories lately about the Federal debt limit, and whether or not the Republicans should allow it to be raised.  A number Tea Party congressmen and sympathizers are saying as loudly as they can that the debt limit shouldn't be raised, because we have to be fiscally responsible.

Great soundbites, but not very realistic.

Here's the problem.  The US Government already has spending commitments.  Unfortunately, a fair chunk of our spending is financed via debt instruments instead of paid for through direct revenues.  So, what happens when the debt limit is reached?  It's like having too much month and the end of the money.  You don't pay for something.  In a household, maybe you skip the cable bill, or you only pay part of your cell phone bill.  You even might get away with that for a few months before your creditors come after you.  Sure, you'll take a hit on your credit rating, but that's no big deal, right?

For the Feds, they take a hit on their credit rating too.  But there are large consequences.  The Government has to pay higher interest rates on T-Bills to entice people to loan money.  Bonds and securities get pummeled.  Lots of Not Good things happen.

Here's the gist of it.  The bills HAVE TO BE PAID.  The government doesn't have a choice.  The debt limit has to be raised.  Everything else is nothing more than theatre, a dog and pony show to look good in front of the electorate.  Now, I think Boehner's on the right track.  He's made statements that any increases in the debt limit should be tied to immediate spending reductions.  Symbolic?  Most likely.  Until the budgeting process kicks up, there's not a lot they can cut.  But, it's a better mindset than just increasing things willy-nilly.  I guess it's similar to actually enforcing Pay-Go restrictions.

And oh by the way, I like the noises being made about the new Pay-Go rules too.  No more "cut spending or increase revenues".  It's all "cut spending".  So, you want a new program, or want to spend more money on something?  Reduce expenditures elsewhere.  Ya know, like the government was on a fixed budget or something.  I like this idea.

QOTD - Leftist Insanity Edition

Tam brings the industrial-grade snark over at VFTP:
[...]and who here thought light bulbs would be banned before bullets?


Thursday, January 6, 2011


Some *mumble* *mutter* *mumble* years ago, a beautiful baby girl was born.  This wonderful creature grew up in a loving family, and had the opportunity to attend the most excellent university located in College Station, TX.  There, however, her life did take a minor turn for the worse.  For some reason, her mind fled, her wits escaped, her normally wonderful judgement failed her.

She agreed to go on a date with me.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Happy birthday sweetie!!!

Overheard in the office

Coworker 1: "Why would an upgrade from IE6 to IE7 break Cognos?"
Coworker 2: "It's a web-based app."
Coworker 1: "So?"

*shakes head*

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An 11-step program for potential parents

Lesson 1
  1. Go to the grocery store.
  2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
  3. Go home.
  4. Pick up the paper.
  5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their:

  1. Methods of discipline.
  2. Lack of patience.
  3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
  4. Allowing their children to run wild.

Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel:

  1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
  2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
  3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
  4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
  5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
  6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
  7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
  8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
  9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out:

  1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
  2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
  3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
  4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
  5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
  6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

  1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
  2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.  Do the following:

  1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
  2. Leave it there.
  3. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
  4. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
  5. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a preschool child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

  1. Hollow out a melon.
  2. Make a small hole in the side.
  3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
  4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
  5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
  6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street, Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, Pokemon, and the Wiggles. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

(from Facebook)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Losing focus

NewSouth Books is releasing a new edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Yay for re-publication of old classics, right?

As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend".
[they] will remove all instances of the “n” word—I’ll give you a hint, it’s notnonesuch—present in the text and replace it with slave. The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun.
Oh, really?  And why might they do this?
“Race matters in these books,”... “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.” 
Race matters?  You bet it does.  The thing is, Samuel Clemens was decrying and deriding the mindset and attitudes of a society that used derogatory words like "nigger" and "injun".  He wasn't glorifying them.  By removing those words, you have dumbed down the context, irrevocably severed it from the society it was mocking.  In some respects, the intent of the book has been neutered.

Appeasement by appeasers appeases no one.

New template

Okay, so I finally decided to move to one of the new templates Blogger has available.

Feel free to ridicule my lack of aesthetic sense here.

Emulating the cool kids

Well, since "everyone else" is doing it, I guess I could throw some of the resolutiony type things out there, so I can be mocked, ridiculed and angst-ridden later.
  1. Get my weight down to 165 lbs
  2. Go to the gym at least 5 times a week
  3. Read a fiction book at least 30 minutes a day
  4. Read a non-fiction book at least 30 minutes a day (history, how-to, technical, whatever)
  5. Write at least one blog post a day
  6. Go to the range at least once a month
We'll see how that goes :)

Patenting the self-fulfilling prophecy

Boy, what will those geniuses over at Apple think of next?

Apple patent endangers unbiased product reviews
But since positive product reviews engender positive product sales, a reviewer's prediction wouldn't take place in a vacuum: more positive reviews would produce more sales, making that review's positive prediction more accurate, and making that advertiser happier and triggering more incentives.
There are so many aspects of fail to this patent application, I don't even know where to start.  First, there are already plenty of prior-art examples for rating and review systems out there.  Just look at eBay, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, to name a few. Granted, this adds a new aspect to the scheme.  It's more of a "predict how well it will sell" instead of a true review.  But, is this truly new or novel?  Isn't the stock market itself already a predictive betting system that takes into account new product offerings?

Second, this introduces huge moral hazards and disincentives.  The reviewers, naturally, want to see the product do as they have predicted.  If they give it glowing ratings, they want it to sell well.  If they think it stinks, they want it to fail miserably in the market place.  Apple has said they will try and improve honesty by weighting the results, if you will.  Betting that the latest iGadget is going to sell like hotcakes won't be worth as much as betting the house on the fact that some garage band from Topeka is going to rocket to the top of the charts.  But, who sets the weightings?  Isn't that already pre-determining what the answer "should be"?

Third, and finally, just imagine what the FCC is going to say about a system like this.  They are already trying to crack down on bloggers who do product reviews because, gasp, they might be getting PAID!!!!  An institutionalized system that will essentially try and influence how a product does in the marketplace?  Yeah, that's what I thought.