November 29, 2008

It's raining deer!

Five deer leaped over the 224 I-69 overpass and landed on a semi windshield.

In a gruesome display of bizarre animal behavior, five deer leapt to their deaths off the U.S. 224 overpass and onto the northbound lanes of I-69 about 12:30 p.m. Friday. The last one went through the windshield of a tractor-trailer rig, the Huntington County Sheriff's Department said. The driver was uninjured.

The 20- to 30-foot fall killed all five deer.

Their 401K's must have looked really, really bad...

November 25, 2008

IU NCAA Rules Violation Timeline

Here's the timeline, but I'll make it simple: IU hired Kelvin Sampson, a known rules violator, from Oklahoma in 2006. He never, for a minute, stopped violating NCAA rules. IU finally bought him out (for $750,000) and he left in 2007, as did all but two IU players. NCAA gives IU three years probation, Sampson's on coaching in the NBA.

Higher Education? Not at IU.

November 24, 2008

What have we learned in Space

Instead of going forward to the next big challenge of space exploration, maybe it's time to take a break and think about the past three decades. After thirty years of Space Shuttle missions and ten years of International Space Station operations, what have we learned?

Never before in the history of humankind are we making so many discoveries about our neighboring universe. Never in the fifty years of space exploration have we seen so many probes exploring so many interesting places in our solar system.

The International Space Station is 10 years old and will likely only last another 10 years, the Space Shuttle program will be at the end of its life in 2010... is there a future for manned space flight?

When we were growing up, Space was pushed to the public. TV's were rolled into classrooms to watch launches, and we all knew the names of at least some of the astronauts. Now Space news is something you have to pull... all the news is out there, but you have to go find it, read it, pass it on. It will take major discoveries for manned space travel to ever be feasible. Don't count on there ever being such a thing as Warp Drive or Light Speed engines. Don't count on there ever being such a thing as artificial gravity or replicators capable of turning energy into matter -- electricity into a glass of water, nuclear power into a turkey dinner, matter-antimatter reactors into cups of Earl Grey tea. Don't count on there ever being transporters or teleporters or traversable wormholes or suspended animation or starships holding hundreds or thousands of people. These are the cold, hard facts of what we have learned: other worlds are far, far away and it's not only extremely dangerous, but nearly impossible to pack enough resources for people to go very far. We can learn a lot by sending remotes to go and take a look at different areas of our solar system, and we can guess even more from the little slices of information we get back, but those probes can't send information back from even the nearest star system, let alone another galaxy. The future of space travel is in what we can see with telescopes and radio emissions that reach us from the depths of space and even then we are looking at information that is millions, sometimes billions of years old (because it takes that long for light to reach Earth from deep space). In this, despite 50 years of exploration, we haven't changed since we first turned our eyes to the heavens.

Indiana Girl Sues to play Baseball

Logan Young has played baseball against boys since she was five years old and she wants to continue doing so in high school.

"In this day and age, a girl should have the opportunity to participate on an equal footing with the boys in high school sports and the IHSAA precludes that," Tae Sture, one of the family's attorneys, said Monday.

"Our feeling is, quite frankly, there's no rational reason for it," he said.

An IHSAA rule prohibits girls from trying out for baseball if their school has a softball team on the basis that the sports are comparable. But the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis argues that baseball and softball aren't the same sport, so girls should be able to try out for baseball.

I think there is a rational reason for the rule.  For every spot on the boys baseball team a girl takes, a boy doesn't play.  If you say, "That boy can just try out for the girls softball team."  Well, just how many boys can be on the girls softball team before it's no longer the girls softball team?  How long will a school keep two coed ball teams around?  Why not just have one?    Not everything is perfectly equal and perfectly fair and that's an important thing to learn, too.  How many boys would like to play volleyball if only the IHSAA would let them?

Bruce Lee plays ping pong -- with nunchucka

November 19, 2008

Life Pictures

Millions of Life Magazine pictures -- all online, all searchable.  I found the one above -- a picture from Market Street in Bluffton from 1962.  Looks like a pretty busy Saturday morning!

Where are my tools?

It seems like everytime I do a little home repair job, I end up misplacing at least one tool... they are never where they should be when the next job comes up. Now I finally realize what the deal is: when I'm not looking, they float off into space!

Living without a heart

I didn't know this was possible for such long periods of time.

"She essentially lived for 118 days without a heart, with her circulation supported only by the two blood pumps," said Dr. Marco Ricci, the hospital's director of pediatric cardiac surgery. During that time, Simmons was mobile but remained hospitalized.

When an artificial heart is used to sustain a patient, the patient's own heart is usually left in the body, doctors said.

In some cases, adult patients have been kept alive that way for more than a year, they said.

"This, we believe, is the first pediatric patient who has received such a device in this configuration without the heart, and possibly one of the youngest that has ... been bridged to transplantation without her native heart," Ricci said.

The Futile Quest for Climate Control

If you find yourself with nothing to do of an evening, read The Futile Quest for Climate Control, a very long and interesting article.

Don't have the time?  Here's a quick bit:

In 1990 the IPCC's first Assessment Report concluded that no human influence on climate was discernible. Despite the huge expenditure of research effort and money since that time, the boundary arguments to the debate have scarcely moved. We now have copiously more data and more powerful computers, have spent upwards of $50 billion on climate research, and are the beneficiaries of twenty years of hard thinking by some of the world's most accomplished scientists. Yet the protagonists in the debate remain in the same bunkers they occupied in the early 1990s, and a clear human-caused climate signal continues to elude us.

Kaylee Imel signs with Western Michigan

Congratulations to Norwell Senior Kaylee Imel, who has signed on to golf for Western Michigan University next Fall.  They have a pretty good golf program there, I hear.

November 18, 2008

Budget Shortfalls

There are a whole lot of states spending more than they're bringing in -- Indiana's not one of them, but I have heard of a novel solution: perhaps the states could cut back on their spending.

And the Feds should not borrow money to pay off the states overspending on their budgets. If the states can't meet their obligations, they have a recourse: they can cut back on their obligations... it's perfectly legal... they write the laws!

Look at California's budget up top... you can click on it to make it bigger. I totally understand paying for firefighters and policemen and prisons and road repair crews and the like... But 31% of the California budget going to K-12 Education and another 10% going to higher education? They're spending 41+ percent of their budget on education? Is that really the prime purpose of Government?

Now lest we Hoosiers feel all goody, goody about California -- Indiana spends well over 50% of our budget on K-12 and higher education. And what do we get for it? Complaints that our children don't know nearly as much as they should.

What is the worst that could happen if the Feds and the States kept the laws in place that enforce and document our K-12 educational needs, but drop all the money we're pouring into the effort? 1) Our shortfalls would go away, 2) our taxes would go down, 3) parents would have a windfall of the funds they need to send their kids to decent, private schools and 4) without state and federal funding, colleges would have to drop their prices.


For those of you with a scientific bent out there (perhaps it's in your genes?), spend a little time on this article from the New York Times last week.  Sometimes, based on pop science you see on TV and hear on the radio, you might get the impression that biologists have a pretty good understanding about the human genome and how genes work.  Well, not so... we are really just at the beginning and we're doing a lot of groping in the dark.

Athletic Decision Making

Here is an interesting science article on shaping up athlete's brains so they can make faster, better decisions during the heat of play.

Professor Jocelyn Faubert and postdoctoral student David Tinjust, put a dozen soccer, tennis and hockey players through multiple object-tracking exercises. The athletes' capacity to absorb a lot of information simultaneously and manage it efficiently increased on average by 53 percent.

In one of these exercises, subjects in the automatic virtual environment cave were asked to follow the increasingly rapid movements of a series of balls and identify those that quickly changed colour. After each training session, which lasted about an hour, results were recorded and athletes could note their progress. "It's like physical training, but for the brain," says Faubert.

We have one of those "virtual caves" at our house.  It's called a WII Fit and it throws soccer balls, spiked shoes and/or panda heads at you.

Norwell Girls Basketball 2008

A very nice article in yesterday's Journal-Gazette about the 2008 Norwell Girls Basketball Team

Having a pair of All-NHC first-team picks and a second-team selection who is entering her fourth year as a starting point guard should seem to make Norwell a contender, minimally, for a conference title.

"You start with three kids like that, it's pretty tough to screw that up," said coach Eric Thornton, referencing Andrea Vogel, Haley Chaney and Kylie Dial.

But add in a 6-foot-2 freshman, a junior sharpshooter and three sophomores who should contribute quality minutes, and the Knights could be a lock for a third straight NHC championship.

Go girls!

November 17, 2008

Buy American

I've heard that phrase since we were in high school, haven't you? "Buy American." It hasn't really panned out though. The last car I bought was a Kia. With cars, clothes, toys, electronics... we've really lost out, haven't we. For awhile it seemed like we were becoming a service economy rather than a manufacturing economy and that would be our future... and that would be OK. But you know how that's going, too... each time you call for support you know how that's going because your calls end up in some other country. Have you asked yourself why this is happening?

I heard today that Lutheran Health Network has decided to close down their medical transcription efforts and contract that effort out to a company in India. This has been a growing movement among doctors and hospitals. First the hospitals outsource their employees and hire contractors... you don't have to pay contractors benefits, you only pay them by the number of lines they type. You lose control, yes, but you save money. How can you reduce it further? Well, folks in India will work for much less than folks in America, won't they.

The thing you have to ask yourself is, just how much information about yourself do you give up to those people building cars in Korea? None, right? Just how much about you do those Chinese peasants know who are sewing your clothes and making your shoes? They know nothing about you, do they. Tell me, just how comfortable would you be buying a TV from Sony if you had to provide not just your social security number, not just your full name and birth date to them every time you shopped at Walmart, but also what drugs you're taking, what diseases you've had, how tall you are and how much you weigh... none too comfortable, I'd say.

So, the next time you stop by your doctor, the next time you do a little business in the Lutheran Health Network, why not ask them exactly what security they have in place to prevent those typists in India from stealing your identity and selling it on the International Market. At least, here in America, we have contracts, we have legal recourse, those who would steal are within reach. Overseas? Well, good luck with that.

And why is this happening? Congress, minimum wage, labor laws -- we have voted to protect ourselves from our employers and we've protected ourselves right out of our jobs. Way back when, back when Henry Ford started building cars, he had an idea that you should pay your employees enough so that they could afford to buy the product they were building. Back then, Americans were cheap immigrant laborers. Today, I would guess we make far more, especially once benefits are thrown in to the mix... and there are more and more laws being written every year to prevent American employers from reducing the cost of American labor.

Tell me... if someone is willing to work 60 hours a week at a flat rate below minimum wage -- why is that illegal in America. More important, why is it illegal for an American to do that job at that rate, but perfectly legal to hire someone in India to do the same job at that same low rate? As more people lose their jobs, just who is being protected here?

November 14, 2008

Top 10 NFL Kick Returns

These are nice kick returns, and entertaining, despite the ad pages, but aren't they way too focused on the last few years?  Were there no great kick returns prior to Devin Hester?  What about runs by Bo Jackson, or Gale Sayers, Deion Sanders (to name a few).

Here are some more good runs, and some great ones.

November 13, 2008

Palin Hits are a Hoax

So a couple of Hollywood types invented a character who eventually morphed into a top adviser to John McCain.  Martin Eisenstadt (who doesn't exist) was apparently the source for several Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin hits that MSNBC, Fox and other major media outlets fell for.

The big media types often downplay citizen journalists/bloggers because they have no editors, they are no filters, because no one checks their facts and stories.  Apparently, no one checks the facts or stories of the big guys either.

November 12, 2008

Glenbrook Mall owners going Bankrupt?

Are the owners of Glenbrook actually going bankrupt?  How is that possible.  I know they own a lot of different malls, but Glenbrook is nearly always swamped with customers.

Perhaps this is just one more company looking to cash in on the easy bailout money we taxpayers have so kindly agreed to provide?

Human vs. Chimp, October vs. September

Do you remember learning, or at least hearing, that humans and chimpanzees were over 98% identical at the genetic level? I certainly remember hearing that and finding it surprising. I remember reading articles with that information and the authors using it to say that humans are really not that different from animals.

Well, now that both the human and chimp genomes have been sequenced, we find that a better percentage is that we are around 72% similar to chimps, but even then, scientists are not yet sure how to compare Man's genetic structure to the chimpanzee's genetic structure. If you read at the link you'll see, too, that even to get to the 72% figure, scientists had to manipulate the chimp genome, bend and flex it, to even compare.

So, oops... forget the last 30 or 40 years... scientists do make mistakes, don't they... like NASA just reporting that October 2008 was the warmest October in 129 years only come to realize that they were using September data to calculate October temperatures. NASA says it's only reporting what was given to them -- I didn't realize we were paying NASA scientists to be reporters, I would have thought our good money would go toward, you know, them doing some science. If a private citizen can look at satellite data for free and realize immediately that October was not warmer than September, why are we funding NASA?

Suffice to say, October remains colder than September and humans are quite different from chimpanzees... and most children can tell you the same with very little funding.

November 10, 2008

Pandora's Music Box

Someone brought an interesting music site to my attention today.  It's called  If you register there (free and easy) Pandora allows you to create personal radio stations of music you like.  Not a broadcast radio station, mind you, you just type in an artist, or a song you like and Pandora turns it into a music station just for you that plays songs and artists similar to the one you chose.

The downfall of this is, of course, that you may miss a lot of music outside of the categories you've chosen that perhaps you might like if you'd only listen to them.  The benefit of this method is that you may find artists you love you never would have found otherwise.  There are lots of options on the site, allowing you to make many stations, share your song choices with others, keep bookmarks online of your favorites, etc.

The connections the software makes for you are often interesting... try it out sometime, you can always create a station and minimize the window, allowing your computer to play songs in the background while you balance your checkbook, or read the news.


Mini Nuclear Power Plants

I heard about these mini nuclear power plants, about as big as a garden shed, that would power around 20,000 homes.  The thing would have no moving parts and be encased in concrete and buried underground.   Hyperion, out of New Mexico, is the company licensed to create them.  A power plant of that size would put out 27MW -- not nearly enough to send a Delorean back in time (that would require 1.21GW).  They don't require water for cooling like a big plant does, you just dig it up every 10 years and replace the uranium.  They do not use weapons grade fuel.

There's already a six year waiting list -- and they only cost $25 million... so add that to your Christmas list!

November 5, 2008

Oh no... Michael Crichton has died

Author of Jurassic Park, Terminal Man, Andromeda Strain, Timeline, Congo,  the "ER" TV series and much, much more, Michael Crichton has passed away at 66 after a battle with cancer.

November 4, 2008

Obama Wins!

President Elect Barack Obama makes history... out performing expectations in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, to name a few states. This is a big hurdle for America and a big hurdle for the class of '77... the first time someone younger than us has been elected President.

What is clear is that Barack Obama will now be my President as well as the President of all those who voted for him. I will pray for him and respect his office. I will also do all that I can to influence him and his administration concerning the truth of this fundamental human right to life. I will also do something else. I will join with others in building a new movement which recognizes the failures of both major political parties and seeks to build a new alliance of Americans. This alliance will insist upon the primacy of the fundamental human right to life - not as a single issue - but as the very framework and foundation of a truly just society.

Indiana Votes

The Official Indiana Secretary of State Website Vote Tally for President -- numbers will start to show up after voting closes in Lake County.

For all Indiana Candidates

Ohio Secretary of State Vote Tally for President

Virginia Secretary of State Vote Tally for President

Florida Pennsylvania North Carolina Georgia

November 2, 2008

The Gap

Rasmussen has Senator Obama up by 5 points over McCain.  His analysis, though, is based on a model of about 40 percent of those voting next Tuesday being Democrats, about 33 percent being Republicans and about 27% being Independents.  In 2004, though, the gap between Democrats and Republicans who voted was only 2%, not 7%.

If McCain wins, you can bet the big news folks will cry racism -- but the fact has been, and remains, that the pollsters are over polling Democrats by 5 to 10 percent on most of these polls.  In each of the battleground states where Obama is polling under 50% and McCain is polling only 5 or 6 percent behind... look for McCain to win.

This is no "Bradley Effect," this is a failure on the assumptions of the pollsters, this is a failure of the art of the poll.  This is an unwillingness to recognize that one side, the Democrat side, always polls higher than they perform and one side, the Republicans, always polls lower than they perform -- quite likely due not only to hundreds of thousands of fake registrations, but also to conservative folks being less likely to sit for polls.

November 1, 2008

Senator Obama and his Aunt

So Senator Obama's Aunt is in the country illegally.... I personally don't really care, she's old and poor and her nephew's one of the most famous and perhaps one of the most powerful people in the world... let her stay.

What concerns me is the Senator's reaction. People call him calm, even cold -- but this is beyond cold. What would your response have been? I mean, he's a Senator, possibly the next president -- he didn't know about her status. He should have said, "I was unaware of my aunt's status, but will do everything in my power to help her remain if she wants to remain in this, the greatest country in the world, for the reminder of her life. I don't have a lot of family left and hope this can be worked out to everyone's best interest."

But to say that "any and all laws should be followed..." Man.. he wants his own aunt deported because it makes him look strong on the law? That's just cold. You know, it reminds me of that question Dukakis was asked in a presidential debate back in the 80's. Remember, he was against the death penalty and Bernard Shaw asked him what he would want done if his own wife were brutally murdered... Dukakis gave some cold, detached answer.

This isn't a presidential debate, though, and it's quite late in the process -- shoot, millions of people have already voted and millions more will never hear about the newest relative Senator Obama has thrown under the bus. Suffice to say, though, that I find The Senator's detachment quite troubling.