Thursday, February 11, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...

...somewhere else. We were grazed by yesterday's snowstorm and ended up with enough of a dusting to cover up the ugly snowplow piles and the bare ground, but not much more than that. The problem is my drive to work which involves going up-and-over a low pass which likes to fill up with snow. It was getting quite a bit of snow when I came home last night, but the plows and sand trucks were already on it, so I should be OK as long as everyone else acts normal while driving. I know, I know. At least we're not in New York or DC. There is so much snow in Washington that a global warming Senate meeting was canceled. And at least one Senator has a sense of humor. Somehow I don't think Al Gore is laughing.

Mark Twain is supposed to have said something along the lines of, "Common sense ain't so common." But I think even a hardened cynic would do a double take upon learning that it is now New York school policy to take young children out of their classroom and down to the police station in handcuffs for drawing on their desk. Whatever happened to scrubbing all the desk in the room after school? Of course everyone is just following procedure because that's what people with below average intelligence do.

Speaking of below average intelligence, one of Obama's cronies wants to implement VW's Super Bowl ad's Green Police. Ye flippin' gods.

And while we're on the subject, a couple airport security stories. The TSA is once again accused of acting like goons and harassing the most unlikely-to-be-a-terrorist person in the security line. In this he-said-she-said story, the video tapes that would prove one side's case were destroyed because of a lack of disk space. First, why do I think that if the video tapes supported the TSA's side of the story, we'd be seeing them played endlessly on every news channel? Second, the TSA, with a budget in the hundreds of billions, can't afford the $150 for a couple terabytes of disk space? The problem with low IQ people in positions of power is that they think the rest of us are as stupid as they are.

And remember how we were told that the new virtual strip search scanners would have all the naughty bits covered up? That the image would only be viewable by one person? That that person would be located away from the public? That the images would be immediately destroyed? Well, surprise!!!!! They lied. Just like anyone with above-average intelligence has known all along.

And yet-another description of what's available on cable TV that gives me yet-another reason to never pay for it. The author brings up a great point about "reality" TV:
In so many cases—Hoarders, Intervention, Toddlers and Tiaras, The Real Housewives, and so on—so-called reality TV is merely a glitzed-up showcase through which we can watch people suffer through and struggle with genuine mental shortcomings. Is that entertainment? What if the diseases were more “conventional” and visible, like cancer or ALS? Wouldn’t we be collectively appalled if someone turned that kind of illness into a reality TV show? Naturally. So is our willingness to watch and be entertained mental illness a product of our ignorance of the subject? Or is it our need to feel smarter and more “whole” than our peers?

Somehow I can't see even a TV exec getting on board with a "reality" show where we all get to watch Stephen Hawking having his diaper changed. And don't give me the ol' "I don't watch that crap; I only watch intelligent stuff like ESPN" excuse. If you subscribe to cable, you are supporting every last one of these shows. Just say no.

A news story for those who think nuclear power plants are the only kind that can blow up and kill people.

The news is full of below-average-intelligence politicians acting stupid. Here's one more: South Carolina's best and brightest just passed a law so poorly worded that the entire population of the United States is now required to register with the Secretary of State for engaging in "subversive activities," or face a $25,000 fine and/or ten years in prison. The lunatics really are running the asylum.

Haiti seems to be falling off the news radar. After all, it's been a whole month and it's all cleaned up and everything is fixed, right? Anyway, the official death toll is now 230,000; equal to the 2004 tsunami. And like the tsunami, that is almost certainly a gross under-count. For perspective, if the US lost an equivalent percentage of its population, the death toll would be over 7 million people. The question now is what comes next? Haiti was a disaster long before the earthquake hit. I'm certain that the US will still be down there a decade from now "rebuilding" what was never there in the first place. As a natural-born pessimist, I expect that we will spend billions of dollars and Haiti will still be the train wreck that it has been for most of my life.

The Next Big Thing in the world of computing is cloud computing. Gone will be the days when your data and programs were trapped on a single computer. Everything will be accessible from anywhere via the internet. All your data will be safe and secure with no effort or expense on your part. Great idea until you want to switch which program you use. If I grow weary of my current photo library manager, I can easily grab and install an alternative. If I want to switch from Yahoo's Flickr to Google's Picasa, things get a bit dicier if my photos only exist on Flickr. Things get really interesting if the internet service I'm using goes dark. Anyone who trusts the only copy of their data to the cloud is a fool.

The US leads the world in many ways, not all of them good. But one area where we are really slipping behind is the ratio of household debt to income. We now in fifth place behind Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway. Europe is in much worse shape than many seem to realize. This thing is a long way from over.

And that is probably enough for one day. I need to get a couple things done, then get ready to scurry off to another fun day of taxes.

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