Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why I hate auto correct on my iPhone

School lockdown lifted; phone's autocorrect created threatening message

A lockdown has been lifted at West Hall high and middle schools after law enforcement traced a text message to a student at Lanier Technical College, Hall County Schools spokesman Gordon Higgins said.
Someone in the West Hall community received a text message saying "Gunman go to West Hall this afternoon." That message was received around 11:30 this morning.
That person in turn contacted law enforcement.
"Law enforcement called West Hall High School and told them to go into lockdown until they could get there and have a chance to do an investigation in terms of determining where this call came from," Higgins said.
They were able to trace the message, and the person who sent it had no intentions of harm, Higgins said. The person meant to say "Gunna go to West Hall this afternoon," but autocorrect changed it to "gunman," according to Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks with the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

Mitt Romney didn't win last night, nor could he possibly have won


The best he could do was not lose, and that is what he did.  He won his (one of three) home state by a narrow margin, and he won Arizona outright.  The good news for Mitt is that he did not really need to win.  He only had to make sure he did not lose.  So on to Super Tuesday, where I suspect having the only real machine in place will allow Mitt to distance himself from the field.  

I'd rather own Apple than . . .


Poland.  Cuz it's worth more.  Than the whole country.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Early word out of Michigan

Is that turn out has been low.  That should help Romney because his machine should be better.  He has way more money and his old man used to be Governor, which ought to count for something.  Of course, I suppose the Santorum people are more enthused and that should count for something, too.  It is just that my experience has been that machine and money count for more, especially in primaries.

I hate open primaries

Our electoral system is not pretty, but it generally works pretty well.  However, open primaries (those where any registered voter can vote for anyone in any party primary), hurt and do not help the process.  Remember, our the general election of our Presidents is not by popular vote.  Forget about the electoral college, there are all kinds of institutional and practical constraints on anyone outside of a party nominee mounting, let along succeeding, in a national campaign for office.  And I like it that way.  After the field on both sides gets winnowed down, most people vote not for the candidate of their dreams, but of the better of the two, if not the  lesser of two evils.  It has worked fairly well.  And during the primaries, winning the party nomination has driven each nominee toward ideals and electability has driven them toward moderation and compromise.  But in States like Michigan where Democrats may freely, easily and without consequence vote in the Republican primary, the process gets prostituted.  Since there is only one person running for the Democratic nomination, registered Democrats not only have no procedural impediments to voting in the Republican primary, they have no incentive no to.  A Democrat's vote is worthless in their own primary, but can damage the Republican candidate that is most likely to defeat their boy.  I suppose, since the Republicans tend to have more common sense, pragmatism and are less purely ideological in their decision making, the open primary process works more for them then against them.  However, if I were a Santorum backer in Michigan, I would not vote for him today for one reason.  He solicited Democrats to cross over to defeat Romney because he knows Romney has a better chance of beating Obama.  Persuade the people of your party that you have a better vision, are more in line with their beliefs and that you can beat Obama, but do not try to win at the cost of weakening the party.  I find it odious, though I know it is part of the system today.  I do not think it will matter and may have a backlash effect, but the Michigan primary is clearly up for grabs so who knows.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Among the questions I never thought to ask . . .

. . . is why astronauts like horseradish and tabasco sause.  Other hot foods, too.  Turns out that without gravity, there can be no post nasal drip.  Which sounds like a good thing, but it really isn't.  If your sinuses don't drain, then you are constantly stuffed up.  And hot foods like shrimp cocktail with lots of horseradish work zero-G medicinal wonders.  Even if the shrimp do taste like card board.

What happens when you implement a failed social model with a centralized government overtaxing to provide too many "social services"?

You run out of money.  Just like the UK has.  Just ask Chancellor George Osborne.  Or you could re-elect Obama and find out on your own.

Friday, February 24, 2012

More Civil War photos

The Atlantic has posted the second in its series of Civil War photographs.  Above is Francis C. Barlow.  He was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts and had just graduated from Harvard Law School when the war broke out.  He mustered in as an enlisted man and mustered out as a Brigadier General.  Among the battles he fought (and very much distinguished himself in) were Antietam, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, the Siege of Petersburg and Gettysburg.  He directly faced off on the likes of Stonewall Jackson and Jubal Early on the field of battle.  My favorite story about him was how he decided to ensure his troops would not straggle when marching.  He put a company at the end of the column in a skirmish line with bayonets fixed.  Yup, that'll work.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

If you lived in Greece right now. . .

. . . your per capita Government debt would be way better than it is here in the US thanks to Obama.  What he has done to our country and our children's legacy is criminal.

I have mentioned my ties to the Great State of Maine in the past

It truly is a wonderful place.  And I have yet more evidence.  Check out the latest arcade game from the Maine Lobster Company.

Move over Climategate, welcome Fakegate

Post Climategate, the desperate and increasingly few global warmists need a reverse "hide the decline" climategate and climategate II in order to staunch the bleeding.  Of course, there wasn't one handy.  So what did one of the true believers do?  He made it up out of whole cloth.  So what, you say, if one outlier goes rouge?  Should that paint the whole warmista movement with a scarlet letter?  I don't know and I don't have to think about it.  The guilty party Peter Gleick, and Gleick is the Chairman of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics!  Robert Tracinski nails it, and nails Gleick, in his article on
This was supposed to be a scandal that would undermine the global warming skeptics. In fact, it was supposed to be an exact parallel of Climategate, but this time discrediting the Heartland Institute, a pro-free-market think tank in Chicago that has been a leader in debunking the global warming hysteria.
Someone calling himself "Heartland Insider" released a series of internal documents from Heartland. On the whole, the documents were unremarkable. They revealed that a think tank which advocates the free market and is skeptical of global warming was raising money to, um, advocate the free market and promote skepticism of global warming. As Delingpole put it, "Run it next to the story about the Pope being caught worshipping regularly in Rome and the photograph of a bear pooping behind a tree."
But there was one document, a "confidential strategy memo" that provided more inflammatory material, including an admission that one of Heartland's programs is aimed at "dissuading teachers from teaching science." See, those evil global warming deniers really are anti-science!
But if you are an actual global warming skeptic, this is a big red flag, because we skeptics view ourselves as the defenders of science who are trying to protect it from corruption by an anti-capitalist political agenda. We never, in our own private discussions, refer to ourselves as discouraging the teaching of science. Quite the contrary.
This is the dead giveaway that the "confidential strategy memo" is a fake, and that is what the real scandal has become. The Atlantic blogger Megan McArdle helped break this open with aninitial post raising questions, as well as a detailed follow-up. McArdle gets a little too far into the weeds of information technology, not to mention grammar and English usage, but the basic issue is that the "meta-data" in the Heartland files—data marking when the documents were created, on what machines, in what format, and in what time zone—don't match. Most of the documents were created directly as PDFs from a word-processing program, while the supposed "confidential strategy memo" was printed and then scanned. The genuine Heartland files were created weeks earlier in the central time zone, while the incriminating memo was created very shortly before the release of the documents and in the Pacific time zone. This corroborates Heartland's claim that the document is a fake.
McArdle also points out that the "confidential strategy memo" consists almost completely of facts and wording lifted from the other files, with the inflammatory quotes pasted in between in an inconsistent style. Moreover, some of the facts from the other files are used inaccurately. For example, the memo claims that money from the Koch brothers—central figures in any good leftist conspiracy theory—was being used to support Heartland's global warming programs, when it was actually earmarked for their health-care policy work. That's something a real Heartland insider would know; only a warmist creating a fake document would get it wrong.
So it was pretty obvious that the "confidential strategy memo" was not a Heartland document at all but a fraud pasted together after the fact by someone who wanted to discredit Heartland, but who didn't know enough about IT to cover his tracks.
Note one other thing: how this fraud self-consciously tries to recreate every aspect of the Climategate scandal, projecting those elements onto the climate skeptics. Climategate had: a) an insider who leaked information, b) private admissions of unscientific practices, like misrepresenting the data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures, and c) discussions of attempts to suppress opposing views. Further scandals that followed on from Climategate included one more element: d) using material from non-scientists in activist groups to pad out scientific reports for the UN.
The fake Heartland memo tried to re-create all of this. It was posted to the Web by someone who called himself "Heartland Insider." It contains admissions of things like opposing the teaching of science. It includes discussion of attempts to exclude global warming alarmists from the media, particularly an attempt to oust a fellow named Peter Gleick, described in the memo as a "high profile climate scientist," from his Forbes blog, because "This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out." And it describes a program to hire a "paid team of writers" to "undermine the official United Nation's [sic] IPCC reports." So this has all of the elements of Climategate, but in mirror image.
But it is all a lie. It took bloggers mere days to spot the document as a fake and less than a week to find the person who posted it and the other Heartland documents. He turns out to be...Peter Gleick, a climate scientist who is president of the left-leaning Pacific Institute. It's actually kind of pathetic, when you think about it. What gave Gleick
So the "leaker" wasn't an insider, Heartland has not been exposed as anti-science, and it is not conspiring to silence opposing voices. In fact, days before the documents were posted, Heartland had asked Gleick to participate in a debate, and he refused the invitation. Oh, and those "paid writers" who were supposed to "undermine" the UN climate reports? They were actually a team of distinguished scientists who were compiling their own independent climate research.
After he was caught, Gleick confessed, but he's still trying the "modified limited hangout": confess to a small crime in the hope that this will mollify investigators and they won't dig up evidence of your big crime. So Gleick has confessed to obtaining the genuine Heartland documents through deceptive means. (He called Heartland posing as a member of the institute's board and talked a gullible junior staffer into sending him the handouts for an upcoming board meeting.) But he still maintains that the fake "confidential strategy memo" was sent to him by an anonymous source, and that he only obtained the Heartland documents in an attempt to verify the memo.
This won't hold up, because Gleick still doesn't understand the meta-data that tripped him up. The fake strategy memo was created about a day before the documents were released, which appears to be well after Gleick pilfered the genuine documents. That fits with McArdle's impression that the fake memo was created by cutting and pasting facts from the other documents. Which implies that Gleick was the forger.
All of this will come out, and in a much fuller way than in the Climategate scandal. With Climategate, the victim of the fraud was the public, which pays the salaries of the scientists who have been fudging the facts. But this means that the government and its scientific institutions were put in charge of the investigation, and they had a vested interest in whitewashing the story. In this case, the victims are Heartland and other independent scientists whose reputations were impugned by the forged document. They have a good criminal and civil case against Gleick for identity theft, fraud, and defamation, and they will be able to use the courts' subpoena power to dig into Gleick's computer records and get to the whole truth. So he's now going to suffer the same fate as John Edwards: admit part of his wrongdoing but cover up the rest, then be forced to admit more, then a little bit more. It's the most ignominious way to go down.
Which means, for us skeptics, that it's time to pass around the popcorn and enjoy the show.
Oh, and it gets better. Some global warming alarmists are lining up to defend Gleick. Judith Curry points to the blog where Gleick posted the fake memo, which is now declaring, "For his courage, his honor, and for performing a selfless act of public service, [Gleick] deserves our gratitude and applause." Another warmist adds that Gleick "is the hero and Heartland remains the villain. He will have many people lining up to support him."
I certainly hope so. A lot of people deserve to go down along with Gleick.
Even many of those who deplore Gleick's fraud are still willfully blind to its implications. In Time, Bryan Walsh laments that "Worst of all—at least for those who care about global warming—Gleick’s act will almost certainly produce a backlash against climate advocates at a politically sensitive moment. And if the money isn’t already rolling into the Heartland Institute, it will soon." So yet another warmist has been exposed as a fraud—and the worst thing that can happen is that this will reduce the credibility of the warmists? But they deserveto lose their credibility.
Fakegate shows us, with the precision of a scientific experiment, several key truths about the global warming movement. It shows that most warmists, both the scientists and the journalists, will embrace any claim that seems to bolster their cause, without bothering to check the facts or subject them to rigorous investigation. (Anthony Watts notes how few journalists bothered to contact him before reporting the claims about him that are made in the fake memo.) And it shows us that warmists like Gleick have no compunction about falsifying information to promote their agenda, and that many other warmists are willing to serve as accomplices after the fact, excusing Gleick's fraud on the grounds that he was acting in a "noble cause." It shows us that "hide the decline" dishonesty is a deeply ingrained part of the corporate culture of the global warming movement.
Gleick wasn't just an obscure, rogue operator in the climate debate. Before his exposure, his stock in trade was lecturing on "scientific integrity," and until a few days ago he was the chairman of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics. So this scandal goes to the very top of the global warming establishment, and it compels honest observers to ask: if the warmists were willing to deceive us on this, what else have they been deceiving us about?

Remember the discovery of a faster than light particle

Oops. Never mind.  Einstein can roll back over in his grave.  Relativity remains immutable, at least for now.  Turns out those whacky scientists had a loose connection. And by that I do not mean in their brains, though that may be the case, too.  The experiment used a GPS receiver to correct the timing of the neutrinos flight around the CERN particle accelerator.  The GPS receiver was connected to the OPERA  computer to measure the speed of the neutrinos.  Well, it turns out that the fiber optic cable was a tad loose.  They tightened it and, voila, the neutrinos obeyed the laws of physics and stayed on the right side of the speed of light.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What woulda happened if you had put Borepatch in charge of an artillery battery during the Civil War?

Don't forget, I've known Borepatch a lot longer than you.

Actually, the above picture is of what is left of a "parrot rifle" on Morris Island, South Carolina in 1863.  The Atlantic has complied an outstanding collection of Civil War photographs.

What could be worse than Federal Government control on the internet?

The International Telecommunications Union or "ITU" is a treaty based organization under the control of the UN.  Next week in Geneva the diplomatic process is beginning where a bunch of countries including Russia and China are pushing to throw out the 1988 international treaty that has allowed multiple private (non-governmental) parties to keep a bottom's up governance model with the internet.  Needless to say, the internet, business and even individuals have thrived in immeasurable ways.  As the Wall Street Journal points out:
Net access, especially through mobile devices, is improving the human condition more quickly—and more fundamentally—than any other technology in history. Nowhere is this more true than in the developing world, where unfettered Internet technologies are expanding economies and raising living standards.
 Farmers who live far from markets are now able to find buyers for their crops through their Internet-connected mobile devices without assuming the risks and expenses of traveling with their goods. Worried parents are able to go online to locate medicine for their sick children. And proponents of political freedom are better able to share information and organize support to break down the walls of tyranny.
So what's the problem?  Simple, governments and bureaucracies have been cut out.  First and foremost, no revenue.  Heaven forbid that there be commerce without the leeches sucking some money out.  Worse still, you have an Arab Spring, protests in Beijing and demonstrators in Moscow.  Can't have that, can we.  And certainly the new world order, er, I mean the UN bureaucracy has never seen an opportunity for growth and centralized control that it did not like.  The Wall Street Journal article outlines some of the proposed changes:
Reading even a partial list of proposals that could be codified into international law next December at a conference in Dubai is chilling:
• Subject cyber security and data privacy to international control;
• Allow foreign phone companies to charge fees for "international" Internet traffic, perhaps even on a "per-click" basis for certain Web destinations, with the goal of generating revenue for state-owned phone companies and government treasuries;
• Impose unprecedented economic regulations such as mandates for rates, terms and conditions for currently unregulated traffic-swapping agreements known as "peering."
• Establish for the first time ITU dominion over important functions of multi-stakeholder Internet governance entities such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit entity that coordinates the .com and .org Web addresses of the world;
• Subsume under intergovernmental control many functions of the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Society and other multi-stakeholder groups that establish the engineering and technical standards that allow the Internet to work;
• Regulate international mobile roaming rates and practices.
So what has the Obama administration done about this impending challenge that threatens freedom and free commerce?  Nothing.  As in they haven't even appointed a delegate to for the US in the treaty negotiations.

Ask an American whether he is satisfied with the direction of the country

And only 22% will say they like the way things are going.  At this point in the Carter adminisrtation, 19% said they thought the country was going in the right direction.  The only other President in recent memory that was in the 20% range was George H. W. Bush.  And neither Carter nor Bush won reelection.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Obama's VEWB is too low to win reelection

Is It the Economy, Stupid?

1956Dwight D. Eisenhower-0.6Won
1960Richard Nixon-2.2Lost
1964Lyndon B. Johnson3.6Won
1968Hubert Humphrey5Lost
1972Richard Nixon4.3Won
1976Gerald Ford1Lost
1980Jimmy Carter-4Lost
1984Ronald Reagan0Won
1988George H. W. Bush0.8Won
1992George H. W. Bush-1.3Lost
1996Bill Clinton0.5Won
2000Al Gore2.6Lost
2004George W. Bush0Won
2011Barack Obama-3.9
*Voters' Economic Well-Being = Consumer spending growth minus the jobless rate

Gene Epstein at Barron's came up with a simple predictive index for an incumbent's reelection chances.  Subtract the jobless rate for married males from the percentage increase in real consumer spending and you end up with the Voter's Economic Well-Being index.  Epstein looked at incumbents running for President since Ike in 1956.  He included the nine actual incumbents who and the four Vice Presidents of incumbents.  What he found was that, although a positive VEWB was not a guaranty of victory, a negative predicted a loss.  The VEWB had to be flat or positive for an incumbent to win.  Obama's VEWB last November was worse than any incumbent except for Jimmy Carter.  It has improved a little (though that may not last if gas prices keep going up), but not near enough to win reelection.

Who is more popular right now, George W. Bush or Barak Obama?


The answer is Bush.

Spring flowers


I guess since it is February that would technically be winter flowers.  Which would be appropriate since those flowers pictured above were regenerated by Russian scientists from seed tissue found in a 30,000 year old squirrel burrow in the Siberian permafrost.  One has to wonder how long it will be before we are really seeing a woolly mammoth trundling around.

The 14 year old boy who achieved nuclear fusion in his garage

And to think, I got mad at my son when he put a hole in a window with a BB gun.  Taylor Wilson built a fusion reactor in his garage.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Think Big

Record $6 Trillion of Fake U.S. Bonds Seized in Mafia Probe

When committing a financial crime, it is a good idea to try to go unnoticed or to go big.  One example of going big would be Bernie Madoff.  A second example would be the guys in Potenza Italy who were caught with $6 Trillion Dollars in fake US Treasury Bonds.  That amounts to more than a third of the entire US National Debt.  A third example would be the recent budget submitted by the Obama Administration.

Yet another medicinal reason for beer consumption

It kills blood borne parasites.  At least in fruit flies.  A common scourge of fruit flies is a parasitic wasp.  The wasp lays its eggs in the fruit fly larvae where they grow until eventually killing the host and hatching.  Well, fruit flies have come up with a defense.  If you think about it, they live in a world of booze.  Their food is decaying fruit.  Another way to describe decaying fruit is fermenting fruit.  The amount of alcohol in their normal environment can range from 5 to 15%.  (Mine too because I like the heavier microbrews . . .)  Researchers found that infected fruit flies actually sought out and consumed alcohol to kill the parasites.  And it worked.  When they dissected the the previously infected fruit flies, the researchers found wasp larvae with organs spewing out their anuses.  The interesting part is that the infected fruit flies actually sought out the alcohol where the uninfected ones did not.  So if you will excuse me, I need to go do a little paraticide.  Just in case.  TGIF.

Fit him for a Red Sox uniform

Christian Haupt was just two when his mom posted a video of his remarkable baseball skills on youtube last year.  The casting director for a new Adam Sandler film "That's My Boy" saw it and a star was born.  Athletic or acting star, I am not sure, but a star.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It must be another Iranian plot!

News Flash: Colbert Report Abruptly Suspends Production.
(Reuters) - Comedy Central has suspended production of the Colbert Report for at least two days, an unexplained development that ignited widespread speculation about the popular satirical news show on Twitter and other social networks.
Comedy Central said the show aired a repeat episode on Wednesday and would again on Thursday due to "unforeseen circumstances," but did not elaborate. A spokesman for the cable network, owned by Viacom Inc., was not immediately available to comment.
The break comes during a crucial stretch for Stephen Colbert's show, with the Republican primary season in full swing. Last month, Colbert took his political shtick to South Carolina before its primary, staging a mock campaign rally and urging fans to vote for former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain.
The comedian also has a super PAC - "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow" - that had raised more than $1 million by late January.

I know I work in one of those too pushy and frenetic northeast cities

But, hey, all you people who aggravate the heck out of me by dawdling along and not getting the @#$% out of my way, read this:
The speed someone walks may predict the likelihood of developing dementia later in life, according to researchers in the US.
They also told a conference that grip strength in middle-age was linked to the chance of a stroke.
The scientists said more studies were needed to understand what was happening.
Experts said the findings raised important questions, but more research was needed.
Suggestions of a link between slow walking speed and poor health have been made before.
A study, published in the British Medical Journal in 2009, said there was a "strong association" between slow walking speed and death from heart attacks and other heart problems. A Journal of the American Medical Association study suggested a link between walking faster over the age of 65 and a longer life.

I have no problems with wind turbines to generate electricy

File photo a wind farm on the Danish coast.

Not that I think we need to pop the suckers up on every rooftop to stop AGW.  That's been proven to be a load of (profitable to a select few) crap.  I nonetheless have no problem reducing emissions from power plants, notably sulfur and volatile organic compounds, that ruin my air quality.  However, before I support wind turbines or any other alternative energy, I have a few considerations for siting any such project.  For example, there are other valuable resources that need protection.  For example, it is idiotic to stick a wind farm as proposed in Martha's Vineyard sound which would ruin the aesthetic of one of the more beautiful stretches of coastline and water around.  It also cannot turn out to be an environmental disaster by killing migratory birds or leaking into the water.  Most importantly, it has to make some economic sense without a huge subsidy.  And few big scale wind farms do.  Now you can add one more negative into the mix.  It turns out that here is one more very important factor in any economic model for off shore wind farms--the wind.  By that I do not mean will there be enough wind to make the farm viable.  I mean will there be too much wind.  As this article in the New Scientist entitled "Hurricanes Deliver Fatal Blow to Wind Turbines" explains, an average hurricane will wipe out about half a wind farm.  Since they each cost about a quarter of a billion largely tax and rate payer subsidized dollars, I'm thinking hurricanes are an important variable that maybe ought to be included in any cost projections.

Finally some truth in advertising

The whole marketing campaign for the Heart Attack Grill in Vegas centers around its name.  You can order Flatline Fries and a Butterfat Milkshake to go with your Quadruple By-pass Burger.  Patrons that weigh more than 350 pounds eat for free.  Well, yesterday a guy went in and started chowing down on a Triple By-pass Burger when . . . wait for it . . . he had a heart attack.  Really.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Please reconcile the following

1) Candidate Obama in Dover New Hampshire pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year:

2)  President Obama's brief filed last month defending the Constitutionality of his health care mandate:
"The practical operation of the minimum coverage provision is as a tax law," reads the administration's Supreme Court brief filed last month. "It is fully integrated into the tax system, will raise substantial revenue, and triggers only tax consequences for non-compliance."

3)  OMB Director Jeffery Zients this morning testifying before Congress that the mandate penalty for not purchasing health insurance does not constitute a tax:

Ok.  So let me get this straight.  Obama says he won't raise taxes, but he says he can impose the health care law under the power to raise taxes while his OMB Director says it isn't a tax.  Even though that is the Constitutional power which makes the Health care mandate legal.  But he isn't raising any one's taxes.  Huh?

I cannot believe that the American people are not rioting in the streets

They have been robbed.  Worse, our future and our children have been horribly hurt by Obama.  There is no way to spin or sugar coat it.  The Weekly Standard has an excellent blog entry entitled "The Cost Of Obama."  Based upon Obama's own numbers (which we know are going to be wildly, laughably optimistic), he will have wrung up a staggering $5.17 trillion dollar deficit in just four years!  A few other highlights:
To help put that colossal sum of money into perspective, if you take our deficit spending under Obama and divide it evenly among the roughly 300 million American citizens, that works out to just over $17,000 per person — or about $70,000 for a family of four.
 Because the gross domestic product (GDP) nearly always grows from year to year, the most favorable way to view Obama’s deficit spending is as a percentage of GDP. Surely he can’t look as bad in that light, right? 

More perspective:
Well, prior to Obama, our annual deficit spending had only exceeded 6.0 percent of GDP during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Except during those huge conflicts, our deficits had never exceeded 6.0 percent of GDP in any year — not during the Great Depression, not at the height of the Cold War defense buildup, not ever. But that’s no longer the case. During Obama’s four years in the White House (and, again, using his own numbers), annual deficit spending will average 8.4 percent of GDP.
That’s nearly double the average annual level of deficit spending under any other post-War president. 

I do not care who runs against him.  For the sake of America and our children, this guy has to be thrown out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Who needs a stupid voter ID law?

Pretty much everyone, it turns out.  According to a Pew Center study, about 24 million voter registrations in America have a "serious problem" with them.  1.8 million dead people are registered.  A whole lot more (2.7 million) have active registrations to vote in more than one State.  Over 12 million have addresses listed that are so incorrect that mail would not be delivered if sent to them at the registration address.  Many have more than one defect.  But don't worry, the fact that one out of every eight voter registrations in America have what is termed a "serious problem" is not indicative of wide spread voter fraud, according to Pew.  It just means we should update our system.  Yeah, OK.  Here is one simple and cheap update: make everyone show a valid ID when they show up to vote.  Problem solved.

Two Lincolns


Believe it or not, the above two images are of the same thing.  At left are some crew members aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.  At right is, well, Abraham Lincoln.  There are notable similarities between the two.  Both have/had balls and are/were not afraid to fight for what is right.  I dare say neither would lose just about any fight they picked, either.  So perhaps it is appropriate that the USS Lincoln Carrier Group just rounded the Straits of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf today, only two days after what would have been Lincoln's 203rd birthday.  I am sure this has a lot to do with Iran's refusal to comply with international conventions governing nuclear power and weapons, as well as the recent attacks on Israeli diplomats in Georgia, India and last night in Bangkok (though this time the Iranian idiot blew his leg off in the attempt, but is going to survive, so there may be direct proof of Iranian involvement shortly).   The official line from the Navy is as follows:
"I wouldn't characterize ... us going through the strait as: 'Hey, this is a huge show of force, we're coming through.' It's an international strait to transit. We're going from one body of water to the other," said Capt. John Alexander, the Lincoln's commanding officer, as preparations for the trip got under way late Monday.

The Lincoln passed a few miles off the coast of Iran.  As you may recall, the last time an American Carrier Group (the USS John C. Stennis) transited the Straits in late December, Iran's Army chief warned them not to do it again.  Well the US Navy does not take its orders from Tehran.  Neither do the Brits or even the French, both of whom have ships in the group. One has to wonder if a little shock and awe is not too far away.  Maybe ours, maybe Israeli, but sanctions are not working which only leaves one other "deterrent".

Darn! I thought it was real

Turns out the woolly mammoth video was a fake! And I was all excited, too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Old art.  Really old art.  Really, really old art.  In fact the oldest art ever found.  Neanderthals painted it on a cave in Spain between 43,500 and 42,300 years ago according to radio carbon dating.  

Were these seals painted by Neanderthals? (<i>Image: Nerja Cave Foundation</i>)

Whitney Houston had a beautiful voice

And what happened to her was tragic, to be sure.  But the Today show spent all of their first half hour on her. Live remotes from LA at 5 in the morning Pacific Time.  Speculation on the cause of death.   How it will cast a pall over the Grammies.  Really!?  What about Iran going nuclear?  Or the Saudis saying they will if Iran does.  They spent most of the second half hour on it too.  I think everyone in front of a camera is so self absorbed that they assume we all care terribly about what happens to everyone else in front of a camera.  

Good weekend for Romney, barely

Mitt took the Maine caucuses.  Barely.  He beat Ron Paul by a few hundred votes (as much as you can translate caucuses into votes).  Close enough so Ron Paul calls it a tie.  But Mitt won.  I do not think the Maine win moved him forward, but it might have killed him if he did not win.  It was almost a border state.  It tends to be moderate and he did well there four years ago.  If he'd lost it, his air of inevitability would have been absolutely and quite possibly permanently deflated.  He did score a big win this weekend, though.  And I am shocked it hasn't gotten more play.  He just won the straw poll a CPAC.  My son was there and I cannot wait to talk to him about it.  Mitt managed to top the field at the most conservative and most active of political activists.  If they (grudgingly) fall in line for him in the general election--and I think they will--he is a shoe in in the general election.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Something Brewing in the Maine Caucuses?

Maine has always been a pretty libertarian State.  I am not talking about an outpost for a small political party, I am talking about how it votes.  Unlike many states, the legislature often goes back and forth between Republican and Democrat control.  Not all that long ago, Maine had a Democrat and a Republican Senator, a Democrat and Republican Representative, a Republican Senate, a Democrat House and an Independent Governor.  Right now it has two Republican Senators, a Republican Governor, Republican House and Senate, but both US Representatives are Democrat.  They like their guns, and don't try to run their schools from the state capital (let alone Washington).  Most everyone is pretty happy to be left alone and in turn they tend to leave others alone.  So it is not surprising that Ron Paul has consistently polled well there.  And do not forget that Maine is also an open caucus State where a few well placed but ardent supporters can deliver a victory.  Add in to that situation complacency by Mitt and attention and effort by Paul and we may have an upset brewing in the Pine Tree State.  Romney has barely visited the State and spent no money.  I am sure he figured the nearby neighbor to Massachusetts and abutter to New Hampshire were automatically his.  Did I also mention that Mainers are a bit perverse by nature and like to do the opposite of what people tell them they are supposed to do?  Could be fun times Down East . . .

Wow. This could be huge for defeating Alzheimer's

Some of the greatest discoveries of mankind have been found serendipitously (Borepatch, that means by accident).  Penicillin, Teflon, plastic and even Coca Cola are great examples of things that were invented accidentally.  Well, you may be able to add bexorotene as an outright cure for Alzheimer's to that list.  Bexorotene is a drug that is used to treat certain forms of skin cancer.  Researchers at Case Western were giving high doses of the drug to mice as part of a research project that had nothing to do with the horrible, degenerative, mind wasting disease.  And within 72 hours, a mouse with that had exhibited all of the signs of Alzheimer's was cured.  They ran more tests.  Normal mice would use a sheet of tissue paper to line their nest.  Alzheimer's mice forgot how.  Normal mice would not re-enter a cage where they had previously been given an electrical shock.  Mice with Alzheimer's would.  After being given high doses of bexorotene, the Alzheimer's mice feathered their nest with tissue and would refuse to go into the electrified cage.  When the researchers checked the amyloid plague build-up in the brains of the mice previously diagnosed with Alzheimer's (which is a hallmark of an Azheimer's diseased brain), it was reduced by 25% in just 6 hours and by 50% in three days time.  This is not a chance discovery of a preventative medication, it is a cure.  And since bexorotene is an already FDA approved drug, human trials can begin immediately.  Lets keep our fingers crossed.

It's Friday and I know you need a little humor to pick you up

So let's revisit those bumbling fools one more time.  The Three Stooges? No.  Laurel and Hardy? Well, no again.  Let me be more specific.  The REALLY bumbling fools.  That's right Rajendra Pachauri and his laugh a minute UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Remember the good one he through out there about the Himalayan glaciers all melting away by 2035?  I will remind you:
The IPCC report had indicated that the total area of Himalayan glaciers would shrink from 500,000 square kilometers to 100,000 square kilometers within 25 years. The study cited a 2005 report by the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental advocacy group. The WWF study cited a 1999 article in New Scientist magazine that quoted another expert, who speculated that Himalayan glaciers could disappear within forty years
Well, it turns out that the whole thing was a joke.  A big joke.  Whereas an honest to to goodness actually peer reviewed article in Nature using orbital satellites (the first truly comprehensive study of the issue) has shown no loss of ice over the past ten years.  Now, granted, this isn't based upon a report issued by an advocacy group that cites a non-peer reviewed article quoting the speculation of a third source, but I think it will probably suffice.  Oh, and by the way, all of the data is published so you and everyone else can review it and draw your conclusions.

This is a full service blog

Or maybe I am just a Renaissance blogger. Either way, I bring you three breaking stories about the fauna that surround us here on Earth:

Woolly Mammoth Spotted and Filmed in Siberia
No, really. And supposedly a fur sample matches the fur from frozen ones found throughout the region from ten thousand years ago. The last (or at least the heretofore believed to be last) of them died out on an isolated island off of Siberia about 3500 years ago. However, an engineer who was surveying a very remote area of the vast Siberian wilderness filmed this bad boy crossing a river:

Pennsylvania Couple Catches a Purple Squirrel
Once again, no, really.  Percy and Connie Emert of Jersey Shore, PA have been waging a battle all winter with squirrels.  They have trapped about 50 of the rascals who were raiding their bird feeders so far this winter.  They got quite a surprise when one of them was purple:

ht purple squirrel jp 120209 wblog Couple Catches Purple Squirrel in Pennsylvania

Bear and Wolf are Best Friends Since Cub-hood
L'il Bear and Talia the wolf grew up together at the Woodland Zoo and are still best friends.

No need to thank me for the update on nature news.  All part of the service.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

God has mustered out

Or maybe I should say has been ordered to retire.  The Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office has always had the above emblem.  Across the bottom is their motto in Latin: "Doing God's Work With Other Peoples Money."  The Obama Administration has ordered the word "God" removed.  It now reads: Miraculi Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus.  Translation: Doing Miracles With Other People's Money.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Santorum Sweep

If I were to just read the MSM, I would be shocked with what I woke up to this morning.  Everyone seems to trumpeting the Santorum Sweep as yet another sea change in the Republican Primary.  However, I will ask this trivia question which I do no believe I saw anywhere in an article today: How many delegates did Santorum win last night?  Answer: none.  That is right, none.  Minnesota was an open delegate caucus.  By the time the convention comes around my bet is that they will all be voting for Mitt because he will have the nomination tied up and because they are merely electors at the convention and not bound to anyone.  It is also worth noting that Mitt essentially did not campaign in Minnesota.  Missouri was a non-binding "beauty contest" vote that once again Mitt did not campaign in.  Colorado is also an open delegate state.  So practically speaking, no one won any delegates there, either.  However, I think this one has to be troubling for him.  Colorado was a State he did campaign in.  Plus he won it last time over John McCain.  The fact that he lost it because of big turn outs (in admittedly little caucuses that are easy for an ardent few to control) in conservative corners of the State like Colorado Springs has to be telling him he is running to much toward the middle and had better start thinking about his right flank.  You cannot win a general election until you first win the nomination.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Them MIT guys sure is smart

Photosystem I solar harvesting infographic

How would you like to mow your lawn then power up your house with the clippings.  This guy at MIT, Andreus Mershin, figured out how to do just that. First you mow the lawn or rake the leaves. Then you stir the yard waste into a bunch of cheap and plentiful chemicals. Take the resulting muck and paint it in your roof. Voila, instant electricity. Not much, at least not yet, but electricity. After extracting the chlorophyll, Professor Mershin's process is described as follows:
These molecules are then stabilized and spread on a glass substrate that’s covered in a forest of zinc oxide nanowires and titanium dioxide “sponges.” When sunlight hits the panels, both the titanium dioxide and the new material absorb light and turn it into electricity, and the nanowires carry the electricity away. In essence, Mershin has replaced the layer of silicon in conventional photovoltaic cells with a slurry of photosynthesizing molecules. “It’s like an electric nanoforest,” he says.

I went jogging last night

No too far, about two miles, but I purposely picked a very hilly route.  I do a kind of interval workout where I sprint up the hills and jog down them.  I do most of my aerobic workouts on my nordic track cross country ski machine which is very low impact.  Every so often I crave the fresh air so I suck it up and actually run.  Then I pay the price for it the next day.  So today I feel very old.  However, I am just a whipper snapper in cosmic clock of things on earth as it turns out.  An Australian scientist sequenced the DNA of a type of giant sea grass found in the Mediterranean.  Turns out some of those patches are 200,000 years old.  By far the oldest living organism on the planet.  Gee, I may have to run a marathon tonight.

A stock image of seagrass.

Iran's totalitarian regime has gone too far

First they banned Barbie.  And I was a little understanding.  I mean, sometimes I wonder about the message Barbie dolls were sending to my own daughter.  But now they have really gone too far.  I have come to the conclusion that complete eradication is the only answer.  Iran has banned the sale of Simpson dolls!  D'oh!!

Screw you, EU, and the plane you flew in on

China has told the EU to take their carbon tax on air flights over Europe and put it where the sun don't shine. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme went into effect on January 1st. It purports to charge all airlines flying in EU airspace a carbon tax on emmissions. Many countries, including Canada and the US have protested the tax. China did them one better. It ordered all Chineses flagged airlines not to pay the tax.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl food

Borepatch family chili.  And I am not giving any credit to Borepatch, though he did teach me the recipe when we were kids.  It came from his parents.  And it is outstanding!

It's Super Bowl Sunday and there is one question in the collective consciousness of America

How much will the Patriots win by?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Entry polls to the Nevada and Maine caucuses show Romney winning each

By a lot.  Nevada has its caucus today and Maine has its all week.

Money is gonna dry up soon for the others.  Romney can coast a little and start raising serious money,

Wait. What!?

Screen grab from the Giants website:

A screen grab of via google cache.

Oops.  I thinking Bill Belichick has already posted that sucker in every Patriot hotel room.  Kinda funny, really.  We all know they have no chance of actually beating the Pats!

I really think it is time for the US to leave the UN

During the cold war, it served an important roll as a means of communication and interaction between super powers so the chances were lessened that we'd blow the world up.  The UN has turned into a new bureaucracy that has reached its own critical mass.  Also, as was observed as far back as at least Julius Caesar, if you let the majority, who has less then the minority, govern, they will do nothing but try to take away what the minority has.  In case you don't realize it, we are the minority.  The great Global Warming scam is winding down, though that didn't stop the UN loonies from "imposing" a universal "tax" on us rich countries at Durban a few months ago.  And the whole carbon trading thing was a cover for having 'wealthy' (read: hard working, innovating and successful) countries being socialized to the lesser developed countries.  Well the UN is at it again.  This time they are being more blatant in their attempt to socialize the world at our expense:
The United Nations wants a world tax imposed on all financial transactions to fund a global model of social services that will provide “needy people” with a basic income, free healthcare, education and housing.

The drive is part of the UN’s mission to create a “social protection floor” under the auspices of the Commission on Social Development, which began this week in New York. The SPF will become the UN’s primary focus from 2015 onwards when the Millennium Development Goals project concludes.
“The money to fund these services may come from a new world tax,” reports the Deseret News, quoting Jens Wandel, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Program, who said that a long term funding plan for the project would center around “a minimal financial transaction tax (of .005 percent). This will create $40 billion in revenue.”  ***
So I ask again, why are we paying for yet another attempt to fleece western taxpayers to fund their socialistic goals that are to our detriment?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Yet another reason for my political affiliation

Republicans have more orgasms. In fact, the more conservative you are the more often you orgasm. No really. did it's annual sex survey and this is what they concluded:
Republican Lead the Polls—In Orgasm

Yep, you heard that right. Republicans—and conservative Republicans, for that matter—reported the highest frequency of orgasm of all of the survey respondents, despite having the least amount of sex. More than half of those who identified as conservative Republicans said they reached climax almost every time they had sex, compared with just 40 percent of liberal Democrats. Sure, these answers are self-reported, but the survey was conducted anonymously online. What reason do they have to lie?

Enjoy the mild winter

Because everywhere else in the world it seems like this winter has been incredibly bad.  Snow on the Colosseum:

Want to escape to a sunny beach in Spain?
A thin layer of snow covers the sand on La Concha beach in San Sebastian, north Spain

Or maybe run your hands through the fountain in Trafalgar Square?

Tourists dip their fingers into the coll water which has frozen over in the fountains in Trafalgar Square, London. Parts of the UK have experienced temperatures as low as -10c during the cold spell

I blogged earlier about the all time record setting cold reading in Alaska and the European cold snap has been so severe, that it has killed 150 people so far.  No thanks!  I'm sticking with my little corner of Al Gore's world right.