Monday, February 28, 2005

Our house needs a quarantine sign. Debbie stayed home from church Sunday morning because the local crud finally got the best of her. I had a minor sore throat, but that's fairly common for me in the winter. Nestina had spent the night at a friend's house, so I picked her up on my way in. About half-way through church it hit me: chills, joint pain, muscle pain, sinus pressure; the whole ball of wax. I was on praise team, of course. Somehow I stumbled onto the platform for the last set of songs and made a beeline for the door. I made Nestina drive home because I tend to get somewhat delusional when I have a fever. I changed into sweats and curled up in a blanket on my favorite chair, and barely moved. Debbie was already camped on the couch. Nestina remains unaffected in spite of us and every one of her friends being sick. About 7pm she was bouncing off the walls with boredom. Debbie and I are not the most exciting people to be around when we are well; being sick makes it even worse. We should have brought one of Nestina's friends home for the night. In any case, we survived.

I came to work this morning. I'm not entirely sure why. I felt slightly better when I got up, but that didn't last. I will be scooting out of here soon and finish the day working from home.

Terry Shiavo is back in the news again. I am not sure what to think in this case, but there have certainly been a lot of interference from a judge in what is, after all, a medical matter. What qualifies a judge to determine if and what physical therapy is appropriate? Using a ban on her parents seeing their dying daughter to silence them? Did I miss a memo? Does the Constitution not apply in Florida? (Silly question; of course it doesn't. Just like it no longer applies anywhere else in the United States.) Would someone explain to me why killing someone by starvation and dehydration is less cruel than keeping them alive "artificially?" If I kill an animal by those means, I would (rightly) be charged with a crime. Yet killing a human this way is described as being merciful. I feel like I have slipped into a Twilight Zone episode. In any case, Jerry Pournelle has something to say on this here and here.

And Jerry also takes on Global Warming again. Data. It's all about data. Anecdotes may make better news stories, but data is what makes science. We hear a lot about "global average temperature," but does the term even make sense? Is that surface temperatures? Atmospheric? Ocean? Freshwater? All of the above? How do you combine temperatures of ocean and atmosphere, for example? Do you apply a weighting to the numbers? It's pretty clear that ocean temperatures have a greater effect on climate than atmospheric, but how much greater? Why? Like they always say in grade school: show your work. The manipulations of the data are also important. It has been well established that any set of random numbers run through the most popular climate model will create the now-infamous hockey-stick graph.

This is not science. This is politics. The politics of envy. America is the most economically successful nation in human history. Kyoto would destroy our economy in favor of places like China, who are exempt. This, of course, is short-sighted to say the least. We are the market for Chinese exports. If Kyoto is implemented, it will destroy our economy, which will devastate China's; as well as every other nation with an export-based economy. Not many of those exports go to Algeria.

Enough. I need to go home and sleep.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Vox Day nails it. The money quote:

History teaches that the government you control today is the government that those you fear most will control tomorrow. Every muscle that you enjoy flexing today is one that will eventually used to punch you in the face. Far too many elements of the right have forgotten this, even as many leftists conveniently forget that the abuses they decry are the same sort of things they were perpetrating and cheering not so very long ago.
Read the whole thing here.

Not much else going on at the ranch other than working on the house and trying to maintain things at the same time.

Friday, February 25, 2005

This has been a strange week so far. First, everyone we know is sick with some strange upper-respiratory/sinus bug. Some of the school districts have closed completely do to lack of staff. Others are reporting up to 50% of the students are absent. Nestina was supposed to have a couple friends over for the weekend, but they are all sick. Debbie has been fighting this bug for several days. So far Nestina and I have been spared, but how long that will continue is in question.

We had a small group for youth group Wednesday night (see above) and none of the leaders were feeling particularly ambitious, so we just sat around and talked. One of the other leaders brought in pictures from the last youth mission trip to Peru, so that kept everyone occupied. I got to talk to the Jr. High teens, which I rarely get to do, so it was a good thing.

Yesterday, we went to the last regular season volleyball game at the high school. Kalkaska lost the best-of-five 3-1. The scores were as close as they can be in volleyball: the final score for two of the games was 24-26. The other team was a one-trick pony, but it was one heck of a trick. The Kalkaska ladies just couldn't shut down Charlevoix's two big spikers. It was a lot of fun, and I had a chance to talk to several people I hadn't seen in some time.

Tonight will probably just end up being a veg party as all the plans fell apart. And I need to get going so I can pick up Nestina from school.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Too much wishful thinking on my part. It now seems the report on the evidence for life on Mars was a fraud. I wondered why NASA, or anyone working with or for NASA would go this far out on a limb when up to this point, NASA has done everything possible to not make any statements that suggest definitive evidence of life. One would suspect that a photo of a Martian wearing Nike shoes and holding a "We Love Michael Jordan" sign would be reported as "strong evidence supporting the possibility of some form of biological activity." I didn't see anything in the report that would suggest any evidence more definitive that what had been previously reported, but then again, popularized scientific articles generally lack detail. I had hoped that I would hear more on this from my back channel sources after the Nature article appeared. Unfortunately, that part of the story was an absolute lie: nothing has been submitted to Nature.

Ah well. NASA (or the Chinese, or somebody) will send a probe that can drill and examine some deep cores. That will answer a lot of questions. I just hope I can hang on long enough to see it.

Back to work.

Monday, February 21, 2005

An entire week snuck by somehow and I haven't posted anything. Part of the problem has been connection problems. Our service provider keeps coming out and swapping equipment and making other changes, but we continue to have unreliable to non-existent internet access. When it works, it is a beautiful thing. When it works. We seem to have a stable combination of equipment right now, so we will see how it goes.

I won't even try to remember everything that happened over the last week. Nothing spectacular, just a lot of little things. We are starting to get into a routine around here. We will see how things go for the next couple of weeks, but things seem to be somewhat normal.

A lot of reading assignments have built up while I was slacking. I know everyone's life has been incomplete.

First, some geek humor:

Two engineering students meet on campus one day. The first engineer calls out to the other, "Hey -- Nice bike! Where did you get it?"

"Well," replies the other, "I was walking to class the other day when this pretty, young lady rides up on this bike. She jumps off, takes off all of her clothes, and says 'You can have ANYTHING you want!!'"

"Good choice," says the first, "her clothes wouldn't have fit you anyway."
And I am not the only paranoid person. Someone else seems to think that hate-speech legislation is sending our civilization and our churches off the rails.

The money quote:

I also wonder about the future of the church growth movement. They are, for all practical purposes, a business. Do you close the doors of a multi-million dollar business in the name of Christ? I have trouble believing that. The cynic in me says that if hate-speech legislation come to our shores, then we will see a rapid liberalization of the non-denominational mega-churches. I have to say that I think name of Jesus will be buddied up with Brahman, Buddha, and Mohammed in the name of the almighty dollar.

This is already well under way in Europe. I see nothing to stop it from happening here as well.

The news media are all a-buzz with the latest press release stating that the oceans are getting warmer. Jerry Pournelle cuts to the heart of the matter. Real science is about data. Where is the data?

And more Jerry Pournelle; this time on Iraq and Vietnam. I can't decide if people that claim to know more than I do can really be that willfully ignorant, or if it is intentional deception, but once again, Jerry has set things straight without me having to do anything. Every slackers dream.

And speaking of Jerry Pournelle, he just returned from a trip. It seems he tangled with the retards that staff the TSA. I have flown exactly once since 9/11. I will fly once more in March for the cruise celebrating my parents 50th anniversary. The next time I board an airplane will be with a one-way ticket out of the United States. Jerry is right. The TSA is a test. If we bow and scrape to these idiots instead of treating them as mad dogs and putting them down, we deserve what comes next.

Last week, we rented a movie. About half way through, it started skipping and otherwise acting up. I tried cleaning the DVD, but it still wouldn't play past a certain point in the movie. Nestina took it out, completely and thoroughly licked the DVD, dried it, and put it back in. It played perfectly. I asked her if she had thought about how many other people had already done that. She replied that she tries not to think about it. Well, it seems spit really is a good, all-purpose cleaner. I also now know there is more than one reason why I only handle rented DVD's by the edges.

Fred Reed blasts Maureen Dowd. Many people accuse Fred of hating all women. No, he just hates feminists. I would tend to agree with him. I have no idea why any woman would think that being an obnoxious pain in the rear will somehow endear them to a man. Of course if that column doesn't generate some serious hate mail, Fred follows it up with his view of the Larry Summers tempest in a tampon holder. Good thing Fred is in Mexico: I don't think he would live long in the States.

It's official: NASA is now talking about biological processes on Mars. And more talk here. And I really want to know what this is. I know what it looks like it is, but I would like to see more analysis of what it is. Lichen on Mars would be huge.

And more on water in Mar's past.

I haven't had much to say recently about the whole evolution vs. creation debate. I guess in my mind, there really isn't much debate. I can see with my own eyes that the earth is vastly older than 6,000 years. All of modern medicine, including the very drugs that have allowed me to live to the present time, are proof of the interrelatedness of all living organisms. I wish all the Discovery Institute folks would read and take to heart this bit from St. Augustine:

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

[ italics referred to 1 Timothy 1:7]

(translation is by J. H. Taylor in "Ancient Christian Writers," Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.)

That is just spot on. Humility folks. It's all about humility. "Dr." Kent Hovind; are you listening?

And it is very, very late. I hope to post again before next week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Another weekend came and went. At least I got a few things done during this one. Debbie worked Saturday, so Nestina and I cleaned house, finished painting the floors, started on another closet organizer, and other assorted tasks. We spent the evening at my sister's place being recruited into the Team of Destiny (the latest incarnation of the Amway empire). All I hear about is how much money everyone makes at this, but when I divide the gross revenue of the corporation by the number of Independent Business Owners, I get about $2,000 per year. As a supplemental income, that isn't that great. It certainly won't pay off my house in 5 years and let me retire in 10. Working the same number of hours, I could make that much in a month in a variety of ways. Or maybe it is the greatest thing since sliced bread and I'm just going to miss out.

Sunday, we had a progressive dinner between services with the teens. It went pretty well. One of last year's high school grads was saved after the morning service. I was geeked. Anyway, a good day all around.

Monday was just work then home to spend the entire evening trying to find the top of my desk. I actually succeeded. I can finally get back to working on my college stuff. Today was a little goofy. Debbie was working late, so she sent Nestina home with her car. We drove in around 7pm to get her and pick some things up at Nestina's mom's place. We barely got in the door and one of Nestina's friends called and wanted to spend the night. So I drove Nestina back into town to pick up her friend. Lots of extra miles, but I promised Nestina's friends when she moved out here, that they could come out any time they wanted to.

That's pretty much it. There is some good stuff out there that I need to link into here and make some comments, but it's way past my bedtime.


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Another exciting day at the Frost household. We went to work/school. We came home. We went to bed.


The big news in the tech world is that Carly Fiorina was fired from HP. All I can say is "About time!" That woman was the worst possible person for that job. To make the whole thing even more surreal, I had to suffer through an entire chapter of breathless prose in one of my college text books bragging the worthless wench as one of the greatest managers in the world. HP used to have really cool hardware and an arrogant sales force (If you didn't know that you needed HP and what you needed from them, you weren't smart enough to use HP equipment). After Carly was done, the arrogant sales force was still there, only now they are peddling mostly junk. Lets hope with her out of the picture, someone with some brains will turn the whole mess around.

And that is all I have the energy for.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I've blogged my first photographs from Flickr. It's easy to do, but I don't like the results much. I need to do some more reading so I can make better-looking posts. In any case, Wednesday was work and youth group. Today was work, meet with Debbie and Nestina for dinner, plow the church, then home.

I need to get some sleep. More when I can keep my eyes open.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Nestina on display

Debbie got the wise idea of using Nestina in the window display of the travel agency that she works at. That is not a wig; the name of the hair dye is Napalm Orange.

Car Crash (front view)

I'm still trying to figure out how Nestina walked away from this with some bruises and a microscopic cut on one finger from all the broken glass.

Crash Photo (rear view)

Here is what is left of Nestina's car after it had a close encounter of the tree kind. I am certainly glad there was no one in the rear seat.
Sunday we had a Superbowl party for the Jr. High, Sr. High and college group. It was... well... I guess a complete flop. There was one Jr. High teen and one college kid and three adults. The flu seems to be taking people out two and three at a time. The Superbowl itself was a good game, and the half-time show will go down as the most bland and boring in a generation.

Today, I stayed home from work in the morning so the internet guys could come over and figure out why our internet access died. It turns out one of the wall warts was feeding bad power to the bridge router. The failure was intermittent (and thus undiagnosable) until Saturday when it finally went out completely. I will be watching it very carefully over the next few days, but so far, I have been able to keep a connection for several hours without interruption.

It turns out it was a good thing I was here. Nestina called from school for me to come and get her. She had a good fever going when I picked her up, so it looks like she is coming down with the crud like everyone else. She hasn't felt good since Saturday night and I think it is finally kicking in big time.

I made a point of being at work today for the announcement about who was going to be out of a job. The short version is "not me." Their were some changes to things like on-call pay. A couple people were whining about it. Unreal. People are losing their jobs and the rest of the group is pissing about losing $2/hour for on-call pay.

Fred Reed has a good post he put up a while back. I never linked to it from here. The point of the article is that objective journalism doesn't exist. All journalism is filtered if for no other reason than the average person finds everyday things boring. Would anyone watch the news if all it consisted of was camera shots of people going about their business with a voice over stating that "Today, in Kalkaska, we are at the scene where absolutely nothing happened"? Do you think a journalist is any different. His editor? Do you know the word for a photographer that only takes pictures of smiling children and puppies? Unemployed. None of that is to say that media bias doesn't exist. It most certainly does, and the bias becomes more obvious by the day. I'm not stupid enough to believe that the mainstream media are shilling for the Democrats or Republicans. But they most certainly are only telling the stories that benefit them or their interests in some way.

And here is someone else that agrees with me on the brilliance of the latest government research on losing weight. I love Danae; I would date her if she was a couple years older and I was about 25 years younger.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

We survived another social gathering at our house. We had about 20 people here for Nestina's birthday. Everyone seemed to have fun. Only one of Nestina's friends ended up staying all night, so we didn't get to bed too late. I had to get up somewhat early this morning so I could back up the back up sound guy (long story). I did some work on the house, Debbie drove Nestina and her friend into Kalkaska so Nestina could get her new look (different color and cut of hair). I drove back into town this afternoon to scrape the slush off the church parking lot. It has been near 50 for the last couple of days, so I'm trying to work it back down to bare blacktop before it goes back to winter again.

Beautiful, sunny day. No rush to be anywhere or do anything. I just worked on odds and ends that we need to get finished up. Nothing dramatic, just a lot of odd bits that have been hanging over my head for a while. I do need to stop playing around on the computer and figure out what I'm going to talk about during the half-time show. We are having a Superbowl party with the youth group tomorrow, and I get to be the half-time show. Maybe I'll just have a wardrobe malfunction. Anyway.

I'm still working on getting set up to post photos. It isn't hard; I'm just lazy.

In other blogging news, I got my first spam comment. So far, it's just one, but I've heard tales of bloggers having their entire day eaten alive by deleting spam comments until they give up and restrict comments to just members of the blog. I don't want to do that, but it may come to that.

That's all I have for today.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Addendum to my last post: I realize that I neglected to mention that Nestina was not seriously hurt. She is very, very sore and bruised pretty much everywhere, but other wise intact.

And while we are talking about her:

Happy 18th Birthday, Nestina!!!

Tonight we are having somewhere around 20 people in our house (our largest crowd yet) and several of Nestina's friends will be spending the night. I have a feeling that we won't be getting much sleep....

Not much else to report. We are just going day to day at this point. After this week, we have to crack down and get on a schedule. It has been over two months since I even looked at any of my class work. I hope it is just the winter blah's. Debbie was sick this morning and Nestina has been complaining off and on of various flu symptoms. We are probably all on the verge of getting something nasty.

So it goes. At least the weather is giving us a bit of a break. No snow in a couple weeks and the temperature has been about freezing a couple of times. I certainly can't complain too much about that.

If you are ever on a jury, never pay the least bit of attention to "expert" witnesses. Here is a good demonstration of why I say that.

Nothing else has caught my eye yet. I will probably have more later.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Long weekend. The short version is that Nestina totaled her car Friday night. We are dealing with the aftermath of that. We have some good pictures which I will put up here when I get some time to set things up. She did a pretty good job.

Saturday, the youth group had rented the Kaliseum (ice rink and pool) and opened it up to the public. We had between 80-100 people, even though we didn't have a chance to do much advertising. Sunday was Sunday. The rest of the week has been mostly just work and catching up around here.

Some reading:

The lowly inkjet printer is getting some serious hi-tech assignments. 3-D printing for under $1,000 will make some serious changes in the way some things get marketed.

The amateurs are having fun with the Huygens photos. I'd love to get a hard-copy of the poster.

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you? I'm a Liger. I'm not sure what that means even though I've watched the movie twice.

And it's bed time.