Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Ol' Switcheroo

Well, in what I'm sure will come as a surprise to no one, I gave notice today at the bakery. I should be starting back at the restaurant full time. (Full time in the sense that I will be working a regular shift five days a week instead of my occasional shift; full time as in a 40-hour week seems to not exist as a concept in The Territories.) Giving notice was made much easier by the lunacy I had to put up with all day today from the psychically damaged owner. But at least I have two full days that I don't have to be there, then I'm just short-timing it.

The switch has some definite advantages: higher pay, more hours, two days off every week. The major disadvantage is that the days I will be working are Wednesday through Sunday with Monday and Tuesday off. When I was originally talking to the restaurant owner, she was going to switch back to Tuesday through Saturday like it was when I started working there. But she caved in to the pressure from the mall owners and backed off that idea. It would almost be easier if she just opened the place seven days a week. Then people could at least rotate the days they work so everyone got an occasional weekend off. The one bright spot is that I may be able to trade some double shifts for days off with another day-shift guy. We'll see. Up to now, most of these deals have just turned to dust.

So now I'm counting days until my "retirement" from the bakery. My last day will likely be Saturday, September 13th, and the first day at the restaurant will be Wednesday, September 17. Or I may need to work at the restaurant on the 14th and the bakery on the 15th and 16th. Or not. Nothing like having predictability in your life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

56 and Counting

The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004 for a 90-day mission. Fifty-six months later, they are still at it. Spirit survived winter and it looks as if Opportunity will be able to climb back out of the crater that it has been working in for most of a year. Not that time and the harsh environment hasn't taken their toll. The list of malfunctions on both rovers continues to grow. But consider this; what would happen to a car that had no maintenance done on it other than dumping in more gas while being driven off-road in the desert for nearly five years?

Too bad we can't get this sort of return-on-investment for the tax dollars we are spending on things like education and killing Iraqis.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Work Rant

I'm going to gripe about work a little bit. I know; what's new. Last week was very frustrating just getting through each day. This week started in the toilet and has gone down from there. The problems are multiple and interrelated, but the biggies are:

1. The economy. It sucks. Gas prices have eased back from insane to merely nuts, but it doesn't seem to be helping us (or anyone else I talk to in town). And what business we do get is "on the cheap" (plate splits, free ice water instead of soda or smoothies, three or four people sharing one brownie for dessert, blah, blah, blah). And don't even get me started on the crappy tipping. Tips are not something I expect as the dishwasher even though I probably wait on tables more than I wash dishes, but the counter people (when we have them; see below) hustle pretty good, especially with old coots who don't seem to get the idea of a deli-style lunch counter. It seems to me that the least you could do after running a minimum-wage employee ragged getting drink refills and bagging up your leftovers and busing your table and cleaning more food off the floor than we have to clean up from a family with small kids, is dig a lousy buck out of your $500 designer bag for the tip jar.

2. Employee problems. Mainly, they keep quitting and the replacements get little to no training before being dumped on the rest of us. Today, we had a brand new counter person being trained by the counter person that was hired three weeks ago. The owner? Off getting her massage therapy. She finally showed up around noon. Of course, this is why everybody keeps quitting. That and....

3. The owner is a mental and emotional wreck. Seriously; I don't want to hear about how horny you've been since you dumped your boyfriend or why you dumped him or that you have dumped him or that he's back in your bed or your feelings about... well, about anything. What we would like you to do is sit your scrawny butt down and come up with sensible work schedules, written employment policies, written procedures, doing inventory so we quit running out of things we need to do our jobs, getting more wholesale orders so our paychecks don't bounce, etc.

4. The food sucks. At least I think so. When I'm talking to people around town, I always get some line about how great everything is. And I do like the stuff the new pastry chef turns out and some of the cookies. But the sandwiches I make? Wouldn't touch any of it. Mainly because none of the refrigerated stuff is kept at the correct temp. Meat, cheese, mayo, whatever; it all sits out for hours at room temperature. The only things I eat at work are the potato chip crumbs out of the bottom of the bag and Scoobie snacks I get from the pastry chef. I wouldn't ingest anything else on a bet. It's hard to care too much about what the food you serve looks like when you know the meat is likely rancid.

Other irons in the fire: I may go back to the restaurant. There will be an opening there for a prep cook around mid-September. I would be working five days a week. The pay would probably be a bit more and the hours slightly more (but still not 40 a week), than what I'm getting at the bakery. And starting the first of September, the restaurant is going back to Tuesday through Saturday, so I would be back to having Sunday and Monday off. Not perfect, but better than six days a week. Another possibility I've already mentioned; a small cafe about a block and a half from here that is still in the process of being built. They had hoped to open by mid-August, but I would be surprised if they make mid-September given the delays they keep hitting. I have occasional contact with the cafe manager mainly because I walk by the place twice a day, so I can at least keep my name in the front of his mind.

In other sort-of-but-not-really work news, I will most likely be starting up college in January to take the last three electives that stand between me and a college degree. I should be finished up sometime next year. The classes are only six weeks, but I'm not sure when what I need will be offered. That only took from 1982 through 2009....

Well, that should be enough whining for one night.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

First What Removed Where?

At the Wiklanski reunion, I got into the whole first cousin, second cousin, removed blah blah conversation. As usual, I probably explained it badly and just confused people even more than they already where. This FAQ at explains it pretty well. If you scroll down a bit, there is a truncated version of a chart I was given some time ago at one of my family reunions. (I give up trying to get the table to play nice with Blogger; follow the link if you care about this stuff.)

My chart goes out to 15 generations, but the pattern is pretty clear. If two people are the same number of generations from their last shared ancestor, then they are siblings or first, second, third cousins, etc. The removes come into play when the number of generations from the last shared ancestor are different for the two people in question.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lazy Post

Reclined. Feet up. Relaxed. This is how blogging was meant to be.

Still getting used to the new keyboard and finding various ways to magnify what's on the screen so I don't have to sit in The Chair. Firefox has zoom controls that work more or less well depending on how the particular page you are looking at is coded. Getting a working wide-screen resolution will definitely help. Most web pages have flexible line lengths, but some don't, making for a lot of horizontal scrolling while reading. The cool thing I found out today is that Firefox remembers the zoom level I set for every page, so all the sites I hit on a daily basis automatically zoom to whatever I used the last time I viewed that site. Cool.

The other thing that will help a great deal is the new glasses that I should be getting in a couple weeks. The doc started with my current prescription, then tweaked it using the standard one-or-two, two-or-three, three-or-four technique. When she was done, she snapped from my existing prescription to the tweaked one. Sheesh. No wonder I can't see the TV from the couch (or road signs, for that matter).

I still don't have a good solution for seeing non-Firefox screens. I don't use them often, so I can leave the comfort of my couch/recliner and go back to The Chair.

For now. I'm sure that more toys are on the way.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blogging from the Couch

I'm typing this on our new Adesso wireless keyboard. It is advertised as working up to 100 feet. I'm not sure I believe that, but it seems to work fine from 16 feet away. Finding all the control keys like Home and End is proving to be a challenge; they are sort of stuck every which place in order to keep the form factor small. And we lost our beloved 10-key numeric pad. That always seems to be a low priority. But it is certainly more comfortable to use from the couch instead of a dining room chair in the middle of the floor. The keyboard has a built-in trackball plus the usual media buttons. The trackball is a little tricky, but I'm sure it will get easier with some practice.

But, as always seems to be the case with technology, solving one problem just creates another. Our laptop does not support the full resolution of our TV (1920x1080), so I cannot get anything large enough to see from the couch without having to scroll right-left. But that is a "hardship" we can deal with for the time being. I've been looking for something to plug into a USB port that outputs VGA or DVI/HDMI at full resolution and 32-bit color. There doesn't seem to be such a beast without dumping the laptop and buying a new computer. We don't have that much in the tip jar, so we will deal.

Step by step, we set up the ultimate living room PC.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back Among the Living

Well, sort of. At least the 12-hour days are over for now. The good part is that the tip jar has $300 in it. The bad part is that I still feel like I've been hit by a very large truck even after sleeping most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday. I've always said that the greatest job I ever had was when I worked at Ruggero's. I worked 40 hours in three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and had the rest of the week off. But after the last week, I'm not sure I can hack being on my feet for 12 to 14 hours a day. I was 19 then; it seems to make a bit of a difference.

Yesterday was the first day I had to catch up with what is going on in the world. I find I have to agree with Jerry Pournelle when he asks, "Has everyone at State and in the Pentagon lost their minds?" I realize that the end of the Cold War took away a lot of people's rice bowls, but do we really want to restart it over, of all things, Georgia? What compelling national interest do we have in Georgia? As to why Russia thinks it can get away with the invasion, one of Dr. Pournelle's readers responds:
I have noted some recent published letters to Chaos Manor have alluded to some confusion over the Russian attack on Georgia. As with many of the Chattering Class on Television and Radio, some readers of Chaos Manor have asked "How could the Russian leadership have ever thought they could get away with such a brazen act of 'aggression'?"

For those who ask that question, a primer:

First, take a small country that has one province overwhelmingly populated by an ethnic group that has traditionally been connected politically and culturally with a bordering nation.

Then, that ethnic group decides to revolt, and uses force in an attempt to secede their province from the small nation.

In due course, acting as nation-states are wont to act, the small country uses force to stop the revolt and attempted secession by the breakaway province. This force is directed largely against the ethnic group that seeks to secede.

Peace keepers are then dispatched to the province in order to stop the "ethnic cleansing". Since there is no peace to keep, this is useless, but there you have it. International opinion is appeased.

When fighting continues, the small country decides to cut the "Gordian Knot" and settle things once and for all with relatively massive military force.

So then the local nuclear superpower intervenes to "stop the genocide" (note the escalation in terms?), using massive air power because it's cheap, fast and pretty much all they have ready to go on such short notice, since they were relatively unprepared, and want to protect the peacekeeping forces they have in the breakaway province under the previous agreement. The nuclear powers leadership labels the leadershoip of the small country "war criminals" and demands their punishment.

So then the OTHER nuclear superpower, an ally of the small country, protests vehemently and seeks for anything they can use to punish the offending nuclear superpower for attacking its' ally. With little leverage, the second nuclear superpower is reduced to vehement protests, pointless gestures and a simmering sense of outrage. Over time the entire fiasco poisons the two nuclear superpowers relationship to everyone's loss.

Eventually, when enough times has passed, the breakaway province gains independence, under the protection of the first nuclear superpower, and the small country undergoes a change of regime in a process once called "Finlandization" when we did not like it.

You might think I have just described recent events in Georgia.

You would be wrong.

I have just described events in 1999, in the Balkans, when the United States and NATO intervened in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Yes, how could the Russians have -possibly- thought that they could get away with something like that? "I'm shocked, SHOCKED!' that they could have ever made such an assumption.

The chickens have come home to roost.

Which pretty much says it all. Actions have consequences even for super-power nations, and good intentions do not negate the law of cause-and-effect. Most embarrassing has been the response of our "leaders:" a lot of foot-stamping and shouts of, "We are very disappointed!"

On the education front: Before you send the wee tykes off to University, read what the Wall Street Journal has to say about the necessity of a four-year college education. Bottom line: the top 20% of the IQ bell curve should be the only students considering a four-year college. Everyone else is wasting their time and money, and driving up costs for everyone.

And just to beat that patch of bare ground where a dead horse used to be, the sun continues to be free of sunspots. The last time a sunspot cycle was delayed, we had the Little Ice Age. Global warming is good for some areas of the world, bad for a few (mostly low-lying coastal areas). Global cooling is bad for everyone.

Well, I need to finish getting ready for another exciting day of standing elbow-deep in other people's half-eaten food.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Going home

It is confirmed --- I am flying back to Michigan September 11th. No, not for good.

We are selling the rest of our property and the cabin to some family member of the guys we sold the house and 100 acres to. So, I get to come home -- visit with family and friends and empty out the cabin and shed. Luckily the last major big piece of furniture just found a new home.

I still have to figure out the cheapest option of renting an Uhaul or Penske truck to transport the things to Kalkaska, Burt and Waterford. (round trip or one way and make my Mom drive me back to Traverse City and my rental car)

I emailed a couple guys and talked to a couple nephews and a dear friend to try to arrange some help with loading and unloading up north. Then that friend is planning a special "Debbie Frost day" --- she gets me the whole day and will see who can come for lunch and the rest for a dinner get together and chat fest. The one way rental might work best since that will give me extra time with my Mom. We haven't had much one on one time.

I am just soooooooooooooo excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still have to email my old coworkers and try to plan a night/afternoon with them. A night with the nieces/nephews if I can get them all together for one night. Maybe combine with a night with Don and Shirley and Richard and Sally......I don't have too many nights to do dinner with everyone I want to. I am using up all of my PTO time again --- pray that I don't get sick between now and the end of Sept.

Ric is working another double tonite. He is going to be dragging by his day off on Sunday. At least he is building up his tip/slush fund and can buy new gadgets for the computer and new TV we got. Right now we have a kitchen chair and TV tray sitting in the middle of the living room so we can use the computer on the TV. He has ordered a new keyboard and mouse or track ball that is suppose to reach over 20ft ... then we can sit on the couch and surf the web.

Down, Down, Down

Oil is down. Gold is down. And yet the systemic problems remain.

In related news, we are within 45 days of closing on the property. That will rid us of the last thing that cannot fit into a packing crate.

Old Dead Guys

A team digging for dinosaurs has found human remains in the Sahara. Two separate civilizations that existed during wetter times. They must have burned a lot of fossil fuel to make the Sahara desert, because we know, know, that climate never changes through natural processes. Just ask Al Buy-carbon-credits-and-make-me-richer-than-God Gore.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Alone

Ric is working a double shift again today. He found out yesterday when he got asked to work at the restuarant again that the kid he is covering for ended up in the hospital. I'm not sure if they know what is wrong with him at all besides the high temps.

One of the bad things about him working doubles is dinner isn't almost done when I get home. :-( Plus what is bad is right now there are not too many quick fix meals for a single person in our place. I gotta quit complaining --- it is nice to get the extra money. It also makes me appreciate Ric more -- thanks honey! The other bad thing is I can't seem to go to sleep until he is here. I "hear" all kinds of noises and in the dark I imagine shapes are something they aren't!

I will be heading to Michigan sometime next month to clean out our cabin and shed. We are selling it to the sister of the guys we sold the house and 100 acres to last year. Still need to get rid of a big metal desk.....anybody want it and have room for it?

Well....dinner (hamburger) is ready to flip.....more later. Take care all of you out there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lego Computer

This is awesome.

This one is an all-black monolith, which is cool, but I can think of all sorts of wild stuff you could do with the basic design. Not sure what Debbie would think about it, but I could see one of these sitting next to the TV stand.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stupid Mayor Tricks

Out of jail for 24 hours and already the Prime Moron of Detroit is back in hot water. Of course we all know it's just 'cause he's black and a Democrat. If he was a white Republican, The Man wouldn't be all oppressin' him and stuff.

I Wanna Fly Like Harry Potter

Scientists are moving closer to an invisibility cloak.

Apologies to the Kinks:

And Debbie tells me I'm really reaching for this one, but I figure anytime you can work in an obscure Kinks reference, you have to go for it. Even if it means equating an invisibility cloak with flying.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

DIY Batmobile


If I had an extra $70K....

The Long Wait Has Ended

I finally got around to dumping the last three months of photos off the camera, sorting and cleaning them up, and uploading them into Flickr:

Some yellow roses that grow next to our parking spot.
A quick trip to Arcosanti.
Debbie's trip to the Wrigley Mansion.
Prescott's Fourth of July parade.
Our trip to Out of Africa.
The 2008 Vargason reunion.
The 2008 Wiklanski reunion.

There's only 433 photos this time, so no need to provision yourself before you start.

Working Doubles

Got a call on Friday from the restaurant wanting to know if I could wash dishes for them. Of course I said "yes." So as soon as I was done at the bakery, I walked across the plaza to the restaurant and worked another 7-hour shift. Last night was kind of the same only I had a couple hours to relax between the bakery and the restaurant, and I only worked about four hours at each job.

Today, I plan to do a lot of sleeping while taking short breaks for naps.

In other work-related news, I should hear something tomorrow about the job I applied for on Tuesday.

Well, gotta go take a nap.

Friday, August 08, 2008


No one under the age of 50 actually plans on retiring, right?

[To see the whole strip, you will have to click on it to bring up the page from their server. Instead of jpegs that can be re-sized to fit the width of a blog post, the New Improved Dilbert serves the comics as Flash objects. Which also means that anyone that wants to view Dilbert has to have the Flash player installed. I'm not sure why this is better....]

September 10, 2008: The World Ends

The first full-up test of the LHC will be on September 10. Serious Woo Hoo!!

And for any random drive-by readers, the title is a joke. I'm not one of these nut jobs.

A Bit of Good News

Dollar gains against the Euro. Of course that's mainly because of EU action, not anything that we are doing to put some value into our Monopoly money.

Oil "drops" below $120. Never thought I would live to type that sentence, but at least all grades of gas here in Arizona have fallen below $4. Only diesel is still over the $4 mark.

Woo hoo?

Experts Predict

More expert predictions on the number and size of this year's hurricanes. So when the "experts" are completely, absolutely wrong for the nth time in a row, will we continue to listen?

Of course, even I can predict that it will rain tomorrow. If I make that prediction every day, then every time it rains, I'm right. Every time it doesn't rain, I do a Bugs Bunny: "That's what I said; it will rain tomorrow."

[I've been Googling for 20 minutes trying to find a clip of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck on The Bugs Bunny Show doing their this-week, next-week, last-week routine. It has to be out on the InterTubes somewhere, but I'm not finding it. The internet may have the sum total of all human knowledge, but the indexing sucks dead bunnies.]


I see Detroit still knows how to pick a major that truly represents the... uh... diversity. More good stuff here.

I'm sure anyone over 30 remembers Detroit's other nationally famous mayor who made Detroit safe for blacks by driving out all the whites.

Update: And the band plays on....

Game Over?

From an article on Neowin:
Mark Dowd of IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS) and Alexander Sotirov, of VMware Inc. have discovered a technique that can be used to bypass all memory protection safeguards that Microsoft built into Windows Vista. These new methods have been used to get around Vista's Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and other protections by loading malicious content through an active web browser. The researchers were able to load whatever content they wanted into any location they wished on a user's machine using a variety of scripting languages, such as Java, ActiveX and even .NET objects. This feat was achieved by taking advantage of the way that Internet Explorer (and other browsers) handle active scripting in the Operating System.

While this may seem like any standard security hole, other researchers say that the work is a major breakthrough and there is very little that Microsoft can do to fix the problems. These attacks work differently than other security exploits, as they aren't based on any new Windows vulnerabilities, but instead take advantage of the way Microsoft chose to guard Vista's fundamental architecture. According to Dino Dai Zovi, a popular security researcher, "the genius of this is that it's completely reusable. They have attacks that let them load chosen content to a chosen location with chosen permissions. That's completely game over."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

SpaceX Update

I said last time that it looked like the Falcon 1 launch failure was due to the second stage firing before the first stage had separated. Good first guess, but not quite. The first stage separated when it should have, but had a bit of "residual thrust" which had pretty much the same effect.

And the Elon Musk quote is the perfect response to the whole "space is too hard for stupid private industry only really smart government bureaucrats can do it" crowd.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Holy Foot Five Months Later

It only took five months, but the holes have finally filled in. I figure I'm stuck with the scars.

I was thinking about this little incident the other day. I worked around 2300 degree bronze for six months and all I have is one nearly-invisible potmark on my arm. I work in a restaurant for six weeks and I end up with permanent scars from dish soap.


Not much going on around here. I still have two reunions and our trip to Out of Africa sitting on the digital cameras on the floor next to me. I finally got a couple other computer-related tasks done, so I may tackle that tomorrow. Or not. Never put off until tomorrow what you can postpone indefinitely.

I applied for a job at a new coffee shop/restaurant place that I walk by every day on the way to work. I've been watching their progress since January as they gut and rebuild an old motel as the Rooster Cafe and office space. I was chatting up one of the guys on the work site Friday and asked if they were starting to hire yet. He told me to stop by yesterday. I did, but he hadn't gotten the application forms yet, so I stopped in today on the way to work and filled one out. While I was sitting out front doing that, a lady walked in to also put in an application. I gave her my best Southwestern "howdy ma'am" (or maybe it was my best Midwestern head-tip-and-grunt) and told her the guy she was looking for was inside. She came back out a few minutes later with an application and left. I finished up filling out the three-page application (Can anyone tell me why businesses insist on asking for a bunch of information they neither want nor need? Do you really need three pages of information to hire a dishwasher?), I went to turn it in. Turns out the lady that stopped by was a regular at the bakery and made of point of talking about what a great worker I am. For about two beats, I thought about making some comment about that five bucks being worth it, but I figured I'd just smile and do a "Huh. Cool." Let him hire me first, then let him find out I'm a natural-born smart aleck.

Work is getting just plain weird. Money problems, equipment problems, supply problems, bank problems, personnel problems, you name it. All in a business with six employees. Hardly seems possible. It's gotten to the point of being funny; we all stand around trying to guess what the next disaster will be.

Completely unrelated note: has been around for a while, but one of Jerry Pournelle's readers sent a link to One-Click Answers. After you download and install the app, highlight any word or phrase in any document, web page, whatever, then Alt-click and a small box will pop up telling you about it with links to more information. It really comes in handy when you read people like Pournelle or Bob Thompson who like to make obscure references to literary or historical figures. Or those annoying bloggers that title their posts with nonsense words like "babblefish".

Like I said. It's been a slow week.

Work continues towards a 3-D computer interface. Most of the concepts in these videos have been around for some time. I recall seeing something similar to this in Byte Magazine in the 1980's. The problem up to now has been the lack of computing horsepower and high resolution displays. The fact that I am sitting in front of a 42" computer screen that doubles as my TV (at one-third the cost of my first 4.77 MHz 8088, 512KB-RAM, dual-360KB-floppy, 4-shades-of-green-CGA-screen computer, if you don't consider 20+ years of inflation) would seem to indicate that the second problem is already resolved. And with quad-core computers now becoming sweet-spot systems and 8-core systems already coming out, horsepower doesn't look to be an issue either. I'd expect to start seeing some of this show up in Apple's next version of OS-X after Snow Leopard. Linux will also jump on this early. Now that Gates is out of the picture, who knows if there will ever be another version of Windows after Vista? Ballmer just doesn't seem to have the drive and focus that Gates has.

OK, enough babbling. I'm going to bed.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Still More Changes

Removed some links and added some new ones over on the right. I'll probably be messing with the format again. I keep going through the templates, but I still haven't found one I like better than the one I have. But it never hurts to look again.

As usual, if things look really weird, give it a few minutes and it will change.

Update: Found one I liked. We'll see if I still like it in a couple days. I may mess with the color scheme and may do some re-arranging over on the right.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Progress in Robotics

Looks like science is catching up to science fiction. Watch the video (turn off the audio first; for some reason, they recorded the high-pitched buzzing noise the robot makes when it is running). It is absolutely amazing what this can do.

I would have loved to have one of these when we burned wood.

Update: Check out their other robots: LittleDog, RiSE, and, the coolest one to watch, RHex.

The Credibility of Climate Models

Once again, evidence that the antibodies are starting to kick in. Models, computer or otherwise, are useful, even necessary, for science to work. But their function is to show us what we don't know. One way this happens is when the model makes a prediction that diverges from reality.

Which is exactly what all the current climate models do: make predictions that diverge from reality.

Which is fine if the goal is to examine the various models' failures and advance our understanding of global climate. The problem is when they are instead treated as holy writ and anyone criticizing them equated with holocaust deniers and UFO-ologists.

We'll see how long it takes the IPCC politicians to launch the typical ad-hominem attacks against the authors.

Just Take Away All the Guns

Lefty-liberal females and castrated males have been telling us for decades that if we just take away everyone's guns, we will all come together like one big happy family and sing kum-buy-ya.

Or get into stick-vs.-knife fights.


More Banking Trouble

Another bank goes down, four more on the brink, and 90 on a watch list. A watch list that rumors say didn't include Indymac, one of the largest bank failures in US history.

But all we have to do is elect McCain/Obama and it will all be better. Yep. Fer sure, fer sure.

Missing Michigan

For a week at least. The TC Film Festival is, in my humble opinion, the best week to be in Traverse City and likely the entire state of Michigan. While I have serious issues with Michael Moore's politics and even his thin grasp of facts that some of his movies display, this festival is the best thing to happen to Michigan in many years.

SpaceX Launch Failure

SpaceX's third launch attempt has failed. It looks like the first stage did not separate prior to second stage ignition. As you would expect, that makes for a bad day. I did get a chuckle from the "doubts about private space flight" comment. How many launch failures did NASA have before reaching orbit? This is only SpaceX's third launch attempt. A more relevant question might be how many people has SpaceX killed vs. how many people NASA has killed. But that would probably be considered impolite.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dr. Doom Speaks

Bloomberg reports that Alan Greenspan is making his usual cheery comments:
falling U.S. home prices are "nowhere near the bottom"

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac... are a "major accident waiting to happen"

"The solution" is the "nationalization" of [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac]
The last statement should scare the crap out of every American, which means it will become what everyone demands.

Liquid Day

At last, the Phoenix has direct confirmation of water on Mars. And Cassini has finally confirmed liquid on Titan. The solar system just got a bunch of new beach-front property. Of course, the water on Mars is frozen to the hardness of concrete, and the liquid on Titan is -300 degree F ethane, but it's there. Woo hoo!!