Friday, April 06, 2007

Sunshades and Global Warming

Could a cloud of two-foot wide sunshades 60,000 miles long save the Earth from a global warming emergency? Roger Angel (Steward Observatory, University of Arizona) has been studying the idea of making the spacecraft out of micron-thick glass weighing one gram per sunshade. That’s the weight of a butterfly for each unit, but we’re talking about trillions of them out at the L1 Lagrangian point, an almost fixed zone in relation to Earth whose mild orbital instability can be overcome by onboard intelligence. Total sunshade mass: 20 million tons.


the Jesus Nut

Saturn's Hexagon gets a name:

The judges very nearly went for the Jesus Nut, which was suggested by the novelist Christopher Buckley. That’s what soldiers call the hexagonal nut on top of a helicopter that that keeps the main rotor from falling off. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined by soldiers in the Vietnam War who figured that if the nut came loose, you would spend your final seconds praying to the Lord.

My Secret: Revealed!

Yes, it's true. I've been deliberately wasting the time of doctors and neurologists the last two years. My real strategy has been revealed!

Meetings I Don't Get Invited to

So I was walking down the hall to get some lunch, glanced into a room where a meeting was gathering and had the following internal conversation:

hmmm thats a big meeting...
... wait! Is that woman showning her naked ass???
It is! ... are her jeans cut away just to show her ass? like that movie with Ryan O'Neal?
... ohhh it's a plastic ass
on the outside of her jeans...
...and it's covered with ... candy?? yes candy!

(door closes)

How come I never get to go to meetings like that?

5 Stages of GOP Grief

Humorous, with a point:

We seem to have discovered a new stage in the traditional K├╝bler-Ross process:
1. Denial: “The media doesn’t show the good news in Iraq.”
2. Anger: “The treasonous far-left-liberals and their media lapdogs are making us lose in Iraq.”
3. Bargaining: “If we send x-thousand more troops to Iraq, victory will be ours.”
4. Depression: “Did you catch 300 yet? [munch-munch-burp] God, it made me hate liberals even more. [channels flipping] They wouldn’t last a day in ancient Sparta.”
5. Advanced Literary Theory: “The hegemonic binary of ’success’ and ‘failure’ traumatizes the (re)interpretive possibilities of an ethos of jouissance regarding the War in Iraq.”

on point 1, which has been in the comments, I still have trouble with the "unreported Good News" thesis for the following reasons:

"embedded reporters", the practice of putting reporters in with combat units, and having them report from there for months at a time was the Bush Administration's way of getting in front of the news and getting a pro-Administration message out. This has worked very, very well, to the point that the journalists themselves identify more with the troops than with their audience at home. Much of the news, good and bad, is being viewed through this, the Administration’s hand crafted lens. If I were to have to do a bias correction on a piece of news, it would have to be the "other" way. Regardless of bias correction though, I think the administration has a fairly straight channel to the airwaves.

Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch, and the latest kerfuffle with John McCain's stroll through Baghdad are all telling examples of the Administrations willingness to lie, bold-faced lie, to the American people when they think no one can check on them. Add to this any number of credibility ruining press-releases from the AG, NASA, and the Department of Labor, and I find I simply have to be extremely skeptical of any news from the administration, good or bad. I'm not even suggesting this is a quality solely of the current administration (see my description at the right for my stance on this).

Finally, while it's assumed there is a left-bias in the news, studies generally show this is untrue for news and true in the other direction for analysis and opinion.

I think there are spots of good news, yes. I think we win battles, I think the troops are brave and I think some the Iraqis genuinely want a western style democracy. But I think these are bright stars in a dark sky, and the long term, structural changes required to turn this around are missing. Why is the place still such a shithole after 4 years? This is the question the american people are asking now. If, as they say, it isn't, then I will be happily wrong, I will apologize and I'll even start watching Fox (as they will have been the only news organization to get it right).
But until the country has nationwide power, water and economic niceties like a central bank again, I will continue to be skeptical of "unreported good news" there.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Charlie Brown Kwanza


I have to say, I would never have thought of this. On the bright side, I'm now all hooked up on my hip-talk refresh of the English language...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

KITT for Sale

(AP) KITT, the flame-throwing, river-jumping, talking muscle car from the American '80s TV show "Knight Rider" starring David Hasselhoff is up for sale. Restored to its debut-season glory, the modified black 1982 Pontiac Trans Am is offered at $149,995 at a California auto dealership. Johnny "Vette" Verhoek of Kassabian Motors has had the car, officially called Knight Industries Two Thousand, on display for about a month.


Not mentioned is the upgrade from KITT's orginal 8088 to Pentium CoreDuo

Visualization of US Housing Data

done as a roller coaster. Very clever (and scary!)


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Train Sets New French Speed Record

ABOARD TRAIN V150, France (April 3) - A French train with a 25,000-horsepower engine and special wheels broke the world speed record Tuesday for conventional rail trains, reaching 357.2 mph as it zipped through the countryside to the applause of spectators.

the secret? It's powered by fear of the Germans.

Rolling WIth The Big Boys

I had to calculate the amount of revenue pull-through for a stack of products for some Capital Markets solutions I am proposing we build. It's important to the sales teams for them to know how much of their quota they will satisfy by selling the solution, and important to the product teams as they want to make sure that their products are being correctly untilized. E.g. a sale of one product results in 16 Windows server licences, 10 copies of office, 10 copies of MSDN, 16 copies of MOM/SMS etc. As a result, it's a fairly complex calculation with a surprisingly high number of opinionated stakeholders, and I have to do it for 4 products.

Below is the exact email I sent to the person who is in charge of coordinating this exercise:

Took a look at the product pull through and talked a bit with the product teams to get an idea of the pull through. There has been much lively debate about how to count CCE revenue in the taxonomy but that’s really just change compared to everything else. I also looked at how Digipede and some of our other partners count this, but that seems to over count a number of products not listed here and undercounted some of the server revenue.

So I just rolled 3d6+3.

Claw, Claw, Bite FTW!

I finished days ahead of the others :)

Kites and Pakistan

Yeah, the Pakistanis *really* know how to Par-Tey!

"At least 11 people have died and more than 100 injured at an annual kite flying festival in eastern Pakistan…. The deaths and injuries were caused by stray bullets, sharpened kite-strings, electrocution and people falling off rooftops

The festival is regularly marred by casualties caused by sharp kite strings or celebratory gunshots fired into the air…Kite flyers often use strings made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to cross and cut a rival's string or damage the other kite, often after betting on the outcome…. He also said that a 16-year-old girl and a school boy, 12, died after their throats were slashed by metal kite strings in separate incidents.

A 13-year-old boy fell to his death from the roof of his home as he tried to catch a stray kite, and a 35-year-old woman fell off the roof of her home trying to stop her son from running after a stray kite."

The goons , of course, are on the case!

Maybe It's a Good Thing the 70s are gone after all

Shatner vs. Borgnine!

Key scenes: Early in the film, Shatner challenges Borgnine to an epic faith-off in which Shatner prays to his god and Borgnine worships his satanic majesty. God totally gets served.

Plot: Back in old-timey days, Satanic minister Ernest Borgnine swears vengeance when the wife of his disciple William Shatner rats Borgnine out to the town holy man. Three centuries later, Shatner's descendents are bedeviled by a Borgnine-led cabal of Satan worshippers out to retrieve a book pledging various souls to Satan. Shatner travels to a spooky ghost town to confront Borgnine, but ends up among the hooded, chanting, pentagram-happy damned. Shatner's brother (Tom Skerritt), an ESP expert, investigates his brother's mysterious disappearance by going undercover as one of Satan's minions. He seemingly succeeds in smashing Borgnine's ring of satanic evil, but Borgnine gets the last laugh when he uses his dark powers to possess Skerritt's wife.

Actually, I remember this movie. It was during the whole series of "Omen" rip-offs.

also, somehow I missed this movie in my formative years:

Plot: Mother Goose (played by Hal Smith, a.k.a. Otis from The Andy Griffith Show) gets put on trial for obscenity. When she takes the stand, she says, "I guess I'd better start at the fucking beginning. Um, I mean, 'Once upon a time…'" Then she proceeds to tell the real stories of Jack and the beanstalk, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood, in X-rated detail, aided by a group of Disney animators moonlighting from their day jobs.

Key scenes: The movie shoots most of its figurative load in the first segment, which has a breast-obsessed Jack trading his cow to a flasher in a trenchcoat for a sack of beans, which he later ejaculates on, causing an enormous phallic beanstalk to erupt out of the ground. He climbs the stalk to an erotic fairyland in the clouds, where plates of food have sex with each other while a magic harp plays. Inspired by the music, Jack attempts to get it on with the giant's wife, but when her husband comes home, he has to hide inside her vagina, and avoid the thrusting of the giant's penis. Um… trippy?

Otis played Mother Goose? Holy Dr. Girlfriend!

Damned with Faint Priase

At work yesterday I was talking to a colleague about an assignment which was coming in a little late. He assured me that, while late, I was actually way ahead because the other folks workng on this had even started yet, leading me to exclaim, "Woohoo! I am in last place in the race to the bottom!"


Well *I* thought it was funny!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007