June 30, 2009

A good reason to stay out of Sewers

Apparently, this creature is a Bryozoan, but you never know... it could be some kind of pod-person-thingie...

June 29, 2009

Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground

An interesting Frontline examination of high-tech waste

When containers of old computers first began arriving in West Africa a few years ago, Ghanaians welcomed what they thought were donations to help bridge the digital divide. But soon exporters learned to exploit the loopholes by labeling junk computers "donations," leaving men like Godson to sort it out.

Godson, one of the e-waste dealers who have set up shop close to the port, shows the contents of the container he has bought.

"Some are from Germany and the U.K., and also from America," he says, when asked where the equipment has come from. He sorts through them looking for working electronics that can be sold. He says that maybe 50 percent of the shipment is junk."

The video is very interesting... and security relevant, as well. 

Simple Cap and Trade Analysis

Stephen Spruiell translates Cap and Trade analysis by Paul Krugman

The goal of Waxman-Markey is to make the cheapest form of energy we have [coal/oil] more expensive, consequently making everything produced in this country more expensive. It would defeat the purpose of this legislation to allow U.S. consumers to evade this energy tax by purchasing products from countries like China that choose not to adopt a similar tax. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to restrict Americans' access to products from these countries, and the president is wrong to oppose such restrictions.

If Cap and Trade is ever signed into law, the Democrats who wrote the bill put in a provision to protect US markets because all of our products would suddenly become more expensive on the global market and those who don't tax their coal and oil will easily under sell us.   The President is against that provision, saying it's protectionist.  So, the Administration is for raising the prices of American goods through an energy tax, but against tarriffs on foreign goods. 

So what would be the result on American jobs if all our goods suddenly increase in price while all Chinese and Korean and Indian goods do not?

Quotes that haunt you

"I speak directly to the people, and I know that
the people of California want to
have better leadership.
They want to have great leadership. They want to have

somebody that will represent them."

California issues IOUs

Once the US's richest state, California now has the dubious distinction of having the worst credit rating in the country.

Using Antique Technology

OK, so it really hurts when someone calls a Sony Walkman "antique technology" -- but I have to get used to this kind of thing because, well, you know... it's true.  Read the whole thing and consider how your own kids would evaluate the quality of a Walkman:

There were a number of buttons protruding from the top and sides of this device to provide functions such as "rewinding" and "fast-forwarding" (remember those?), which added even more bulk.

As well as this, the need for changing tapes is bothersome in itself. The tapes which I had could only hold around 12 tracks each, a fraction of the capacity of the smallest iPod.

Did my dad, Alan, really ever think this was a credible piece of technology?

It's my understanding, though I don't actually have an iPod to try it on, you actually can get an iPod to fast forward (press the middle button once until a diamond appears, then use the scrollwheel to advance the music).

June 28, 2009

Insanity Rules

The Cap and Trade Bill passed by the House, doesn't represent any "green" revolution

The House of Representatives passed a bill it did not read, did not understand. A bill that is based on crumbling scientific claims and a bill that will have no detectable climate impact (assuming climate fear promoters are correct on the science and the bill is fully implemented – both implausible assumptions).

Proponents of the bill made spectacular claims in their efforts to impress the urgency of the bill on their colleagues. To illustrate just how delusional these claims became, imagine if in 1909 the U.S. Congress passed a bill attempting to predict climate, temperature and the energy mix powering our national economy in the year 2000. (not to mention sanctimonious claims about "saving the Earth.") Any such attempt would have been ridiculed, but somehow in 2009, attempting to control the economy and climate of the year 2100 is seen as reasonable by many.

Read the whole thing, if you have the time.... the whole Global Warming fear is falling apart around the world as the hyped computer models fail to reflect reality.... and here the representatives of the people of America hitch their tax-wagon to the falling star of Carbon Dioxide as pollutant.  Carbon Dioxide is not, never was, and never will be a pollutant... it is a gas that occurs naturally in our atmosphere in incredibly small percentages.... and Man's contribution is an incredibly small percentage of that incredibly small percentage.  The ridiculousness of taxing carbon dioxide will be made plain if this bill ever makes it into law.

Missile defense for Hawaii, but not for the rest of us

Missile defense for Hawaii, but not for the rest of us

The Pentagon recently announced that it is repositioning ground-to-air radar and missile defenses near Hawaii in case North Korea decides to launch another long-range missile, this time toward the Aloha State. So at least 1.3 million Hawaiians will benefit from defenses that many officials in the current Administration didn't even want to build.

But what about the rest of us? It's an odd time to be cutting missile defense, as the Obama Administration is doing in its 2010 budget.

"The Obama Administration is staffed with Cold War-era arms controllers who still believe missile defense is destabilizing -- except, apparently, now that they need it for Hawaii."

June 27, 2009

Mourning Celebrities

David Konig writes a bit about Michael Jackson while James Hudnall documents his one and only creepy brush with the King of Pop at a comic book store.

An interesting YouTube discussion on Jackson's skin disease, vitiligo.

Inmates in the Philippines recreate Thriller after a night of practice.

Update: Ian Halperin has written a long and sad description of Jackson's final months. I take these things with many grains of salt since many of the people quoted have vested interests and/or little to no education but feel quite free to diagnose Jackson's various physical and mental illnesses.

June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson has died: Rest in Peace

Michael Jackson has died. I prefer to remember him as he is above, from the 25th Anniversary of Motown special, singing and dancing to Billy Jean. Do you remember the buzz after that show? Do you remember how Fred Astaire called Michael the next day to tell him, "You're one hell of a mover." Do you remember everyone trying to moonwalk and watching Michael in his Sgt. Pepper outfit and sequined glove trying to hold eight Grammys in 1984? Do you remember trying to find out when the thriller video would be playing on MTV so you could watch it, tape it. I'll remember those things and try to forget what came later.

So I'll remember him as he was then and pray he's found peace.

Farrah Fawcett has died

Farrah Fawcett has passed away at age 62 after a battle with cancer.

June 24, 2009

Lowering the world's cholesterol level

Science News reports that more than 70% of patients with high cholesterol in a variety of countries are successfully lowering their cholesterol with statin drugs.  What's missing in the Science News article?  It doesn't mention anything about whether all those people have improved health.

Volcano from Space

Astronauts on the International Space Station took this picture of Sarychev Peak during an eruption.

Under the Scientology Covers

An important investigation into the Church of Scientology... make sure to read all three parts and the accompanying documents.

This is what journalism is supposed to be.

June 23, 2009

House to vote on Friday regarding Cap and Trade Carbon Taxes

I've said it before and will probably say it again: Congress and the Administration are like little kids in a store, touching, poking, breaking everything they see and not particularly caring about the damage left behind.  If it's not Health Care, it's Cap and Trade, if it's not CAFE standards, it's the next unconstitutional czar.  If the President isn't breaking his own law by firing a whistle-blower without notifying Congress, he's firing bio-ethicists who disagree with him.  Who gave the Executive Branch (both Bush and Obama) the money and approval to purchase GM and Chrysler? No one! When banks pay back TARP money, how can the President keep the money in a Presidential slush fund and not return it to the people?  He can't, and yet he does.  We see coverage for days about the skill and ramifications of the President swatting a fly but hardly a word is ever spoken about the President's stance on increasing America's nuclear energy.

If the President's strategy is to overwhelm the nation with proposed change until his critics tire out... he's well on his way.

June 22, 2009


The L.A. Times reports about the life and death of Neda

The I-69 SUV/BUS Crash from the Canadian Perspective

I had not read that the Canadian Semi-Pro football players pulled the two children from the burning SUV and saved their lives:

Myros, running back Nick Romain, 25, and wide receiver McCartney Sealey, 21, were among the first players out of the bus after the crash. Romain climbed through a roof emergency exit, followed by Myros. Sealey went out a side window exit.

As Romain helped Cameron, Sealey was at the other door trying to grab his sister. “My face and arms felt like they were burning,” said Sealey. “It was hot, but I just had to keep pulling at it and finally ripped the door open. I got her out a few feet and then it just got too hot and I was thinking the car might explode.”

When Sealey got the door open, the rush of oxygen fuelled the flames shortly before the gas tank exploded. “It was brutal,” said Sealey. “They were in pain. It was terrible. She was screaming for us to help her mother and brother. But it was a surreal experience. There’s a lot of things I can’t remember. I was focused on my task.”

Romain pulled the brother from the SUV less than 30 seconds before it exploded.

Perhaps I just missed it in the coverage, but here is a report from TV21/33:

Members of a Fort Wayne-based National Guard were the first at the scene. Witnesses say the troops, while returning from a training drill in Michigan immediately stopped to help the victims.

"The SUV was completely engulfed in flames by the time we got there," Specialist Dustin Winebrenner with the 293rd Infantry Battalion said. "I heard somebody screaming in the direction of the SUV and it looks like somebody might be being pulled from the wreckage of that SUV or not. It sounded like a little girl was screaming. We didn't go to that SUV because if anybody was in it we assumed that they weren't going to make it so we went straight to the bus."

The article from Canada repeats the first-reported mis-fact that the mother was driving. It was apparently the 16-year-old daughter. In any case, a horrific scene and very heroic football players and National Guardsmen.

Wisconsin takes the lead over Indiana

No, no.... we're not talking Big 10 Basketball...Wisconsin just took the lead in manufacturing jobs away from Indiana

The latest preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show Wisconsin with 15.6% of its jobs in manufacturing last month, compared to 15.4% for Indiana.

Those are down from May 2008 rates of 17% for Wisconsin and 17.8% for Indiana, demonstrating the decline of factory jobs in the recession.

The numbers also illustrate how much more Indiana is suffering from the decline than Wisconsin. Since May 1998, Wisconsin lost nearly 160,000 manufacturing jobs or 31%. Meantime, Indiana lost more than 224,000 or 37%.

Also from the article:  "Remaining a leading manufacturing state should be important, Ward said. "It's a good thing, in the sense that we're finding fewer and fewer parts of the country with the expertise that can manufacture to scale,"

That's fairly scary, that fewer and fewer parts of the country can handle large manufacturing jobs.  You know, when animal species become endangered, we go out of our way to protect them... one thing we do is keep our hands off their environment.  Perhaps the government should keep its hands off the manufacturing environment:  eliminate minimum wage in Indiana, scale back EPA and other government regulations, etc.  Given freedom, manufacturing jobs will flow back into Indiana.

Instead, the Administration is talking about taxing carbon.  Taxing carbon is manufacturing's killing season.

Prostate Cancer Therapy Success

Prostate Cancer: From Inoperable to Cancer Free  -- a very interesting article with some really hopeful news.

Girls IHSAA Basketball Finals headed to Ft. Wayne

Since the girls high school basketball finals will be held in Ft. Wayne next year, I will expect Norwell to put on a good show.  Don't give me any guff about all the girls who graduated, either.

June 20, 2009

Simon, behind the scenes

Simon Cowell speaks about Susan Boyle and Britain's got talent.

June 19, 2009

Parkview Field at Night

Thanks to Sevens member Sherri Kumfer for this picture of Parkview Field in Ft. Wayne.  I flew in from Atlanta last night and believe I saw Parkview Field from a much higher altitude that this, but I suppose it could have been a high school field, too, I suppose.

I've been to see a couple TinCap games and the field is very nice, to be sure.

June 15, 2009

And the reason David Letterman's apology is too late?

Even though Letterman tried again to apologize this evening, it's too late... Letterman already played the apology card last week for more yuks, repeating his disgusting jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughters. And now, because of Letterman and in support of Letterman, Bill Maher has decided to take the whole thing down further into the gutter, actually using the F word with respect to Letterman and 14 year old Willow.

They both believe they are untouchable...and in an Indian sense, I rather think they are. But in a financial and career respect -- normal everyday Americans are the reason they even have careers... and what is given, can be taken away if enough people find them offensive.

I wonder what the FBI has to say about Bill Maher's comment about the possibility of Letterman raping 14-year-old Willow on the stage for Letterman's show... I may just have to find out.

June 14, 2009

How to get David Letterman Fired

I know, I really do, that not everyone is as upset by David Letterman "joking" about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter(s) being raped and abused by A-Rod and/or Eliot Spitzer (who frequents prostitutes).  Just a joke, just a joke... but so few decent people go into politics now and how many less will ever try to pull our country out of its problems if all they can look forward to is sickening jokes about themselves and their children on national TV.  I'll tell you what, pick your favorite teenage daughter, sister, grand daughter, or niece and put their name in David Letterman's mouth.  What do you think their life at school would be like in the days and weeks after Letterman makes his funny joke about them getting knocked up during the seventh-inning-stretch and then watching the replay on Sports Center later that night.  What will the boys and other girls being saying about them after Letterman insunuates that an old whore-lover like Eliot Spitzer is slobbering over them.

Then, when the joke is about your loved-one, then maybe you'll be interested in How to Get David Letterman Fired.

June 12, 2009

FDA and Cigarettes

So many "firsts" going on in America these days... Congress is passing a bill so the Food and Drug Administration can regulate tobacco. But tobacco is not classified as a food or a drug so this is a new one on the FDA

The FDA's role is to regulate food and drugs and deem them safe for use. Tobacco, which would be regulated by the FDA under the bill, is neither food nor drug, and thus constitutes uncharted territory for the FDA. Given how dangerous tobacco is, it's extremely difficult for the FDA to declare tobacco in any way to be safe and maintain its public-health credibility.

Once again, it's always amazing to see what makes it to the top of the Congressional list of things to do.

June 10, 2009

Letterman: a poor excuse for a Hoosier

Now that the heat's on, David Letterman claims his joke about Sarah Palin's daughter being impregnated by Alex Rodriguez at a Yankee game she attended was about 18 year old Bristol, who was not in New York and who did not attend the game.  Letterman claims he would never joke about 14 year old Willow being raped even though she was the Palin daughter who was in New York, even though she was the Palin daughter who was at the Yankee game.

Right, David... right.  Here's one Hoosier who plans to vote for Conan with the remote.

June 9, 2009

The Obama Stimulus: Predictions vs. Reality

Supreme Court stays away from Chrysler/Fiat Deal

Well, after Justice Ginsburg gave herself time to think, she apparently decided not to challenge the Administration on the Chrysler/Fiat deal.  So what if Indiana pensioners lose millions of dollars by being pushed to the back of the line -- apparently the executive branch IS the law of the land.  Bankruptcy laws can be broken by the President because the end justifies the means. Congressional laws do not pertain to the Executive branch and the Judicial branch turns a blind eye.

Congress Cuts NASA

$670 million cut from NASA

June 8, 2009

The Supremes step in... maybe

Ruth Bader Ginsberg has given herself more time to decide whether the Supreme Court should investigate the administration's theft of Indiana pension funds.

Palin 14 for 14

I wonder what other Governor, ever, had their own state swamp them with ethics charges after being picked to be on a national ticket.  Normally I would expect states to exhibit pride in the honor, but Alaska Democrats are another beast.  Sarah Palin, since accepting the nod to run for VP and gaining the national spotlight, has been hit with 14 ethics lawsuits.  Last week, the last one was knocked down, making Palin 14 for 14... not one charge was valid.  Not only did the lawsuits cost her family hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, but they cost the state of Alaska, as well.

I would think those who brought the charges would be ashamed, but shame doesn't seem to enter into politics any more.  I'm sure more ethics charges will be brought against Governor Palin since it appears to be free, not costing the person who complains anything while wasting thousands of tax and private dollars and everyone's time.  The last complaint, for example, was that the Governor wore a coat with decals/logos on it to one of her husband's snowmobile races. 

Teardrop Memorial

Thanks to Sevens member Scott Elzey for sending along the story of the Russian Teardrop 9/11 Memorial in New Jersey.  The memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2006 and stands across the harbor from where the Twin Towers once stood.

On September 11, 2006, the 100-foot monument, "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism," is unveiled at a dedication ceremony featuring former President Clinton, Governor Corzine, Senators Menendez and Lautenberg and other dignitaries. The monument was created and donated by artist Zurab Tsereteli and the people of Russia to memorialize the victims of the Sept. 11 and the 1993 World Trade Center attacks. The memorial is the centerpiece of Harbor View Park located on the northeast corner of The Peninsula. Two weeks after the dedication ceremony, the first mile of greenway on The Peninsula is open to the public for the first time in a generation. The community is invited for a celebration and tour.

Sometimes, good stories just don't make it out across the country for years... strange.

June 5, 2009

Indiana Loses in Chrysler Bankruptcy Ruling

2nd Circuit Rules in Chrysler's Favor, OK's sale to Fiat.  Indiana has until 4pm Monday to get the Supreme Court to step in.  Apparently, the decision by the Supreme Court is in the hands of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

A creditor bid for Supreme Court intervention would likely go first to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who handles emergency matters from the New York-based federal appeals court that ruled Friday. She could act on her own or refer the request to the full nine-member court. The votes of at least four of the nine justices are required for the court to consider the appeal.

Dennis Jacobs, the chief judge on the panel, asked Lauria what the bankruptcy court should have done.

"The motion should have been denied," Lauria said.

"There were no other bidders," Kearse told him. "It seems the bankruptcy court had no alternative."

The alternative is to close Chrysler and sell it's assets to pay back it's creditors. If Fiat backs out, them's the breaks.  It's hard to understand how judges can dispense with the law just because they want Chrysler to survive.  If the law says secured creditors are at the top of the line and the President pushes them to the bottom, what difference does it make in the eyes of the law what the end picture of Chrysler ends up being?

What does the law mean to anyone if it can be overcome by events so easily, so quickly.

Global Warming Interview with Freeman Dyson

A wonderful interview, I really enjoy Freeman Dyson.

Parker Brothers

Justin Parker is batting .313 for the South Bend Silver Hawks, where his brother Jarrod starred last year.

June 3, 2009

Online Photo Editors

Ten Online Photo Editors

Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling 2009

Obama: America is a large Muslim Country

From President Obama's interview with a French television station in preparation for his coming speech in Egypt:

And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.

Not only is this not true (we'd only be #38), but if we add up other religions...

Actually, if you look at the number of Jewish Americans, we'd be the largest Jewish country in the world after Israel. And America is the largest Christian country in the world. This context might be useful to the president as he tries to help the Muslim world better understand the United States.

 So our president heads over to the Middle East and claims America is among the world's largest Muslim countries even though we are the world's largest Christian nation.

What are we to make of that?