March 26, 2009
The explosion was so big it shook the town of Esparto, knocking Stephens off her couch and breaking her front window.
"Course all the neighbors ran out into the street. We didn't know what was going on," said Paul Williams, who heard the explosion.
Some people said they thought it was a plane crash, others, a house explosion.
The smoke and dust rose from the site about a mile from town.
It turns out the Discovery channel's Mythbusters were taping an episode there.
They were trying to literally "knock the socks off" a mannequin by igniting 500 pounds of ammonium nitrate. But the explosion was a lot bigger than they expected.
Gonna have to catch that episode!
the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson has quietly resided in Princeton, N.J., on the wooded former farmland that is home to his employer, the Institute for Advanced Study, this country's most rarefied community of scholars. Lately, however, since coming "out of the closet as far as global warming is concerned," as Dyson sometimes puts it, there has been noise all around him. Chat rooms, Web threads, editors' letter boxes and Dyson's own e-mail queue resonate with a thermal current of invective in which Dyson has discovered himself variously described as "a pompous twit," "a blowhard," "a cesspool of misinformation," "an old coot riding into the sunset" and, perhaps inevitably, "a mad scientist." Dyson had proposed that whatever inflammations the climate was experiencing might be a good thing because carbon dioxide helps plants of all kinds grow. Then he added the caveat that if CO2 levels soared too high, they could be soothed by the mass cultivation of specially bred "carbon-eating trees," . . . Dyson's son, George, a technology historian, says his father's views have cooled friendships, while many others have concluded that time has cost Dyson something else. There is the suspicion that, at age 85, a great scientist of the 20th century is no longer just far out, he is far gone — out of his beautiful mind.
And this is what passes for scientific discussion in the world of global warming... if you have ideas that don't include ruining the economy, or that don't agree that global warming is all that bad for Mankind.. you are, no matter how smart you once were, a twit, a blowhard, a cesspool, an old coot or too old to think straight. Yeah, those comebacks really blow his ideas out of the water, don't they. Just remember, they only call you names when they can't refute your statements.
March 25, 2009
... people who are writing to him have a sense of "anger, frustration, rage in some cases."Also here: The Expired Meter more ongoing updates...
To the point where some, it appears, are vandalizing the meters. Pictures on Mike's website show meters deliberately smashed, taken apart, spray-painted, or deliberately jammed.
"People suggest taking a quarter, putting some super glue on it, and putting it in the coin slot," Mike said.
Read the whole thing, but here's a taste of it below... DeSantis' division was always profitable and was in no way a cause of the meltdown, and yet, Congress, the State of New York, the media and the public are not only holding employees like him in contempt, but actively threatening them with harm from the public mob:
The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to "name and shame," and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.
So what am I to do? There's no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn't disagree.That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.'s or the federal government's budget.
March 24, 2009
"This plan will provide a tax cut to 95 percent of working families..."
*Unless they use electricity...
March 23, 2009
The eruption of Redoubt volcano continues. Ashfall advisories are available on the National Weather Service site http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/volcano.php Ash is still being emitted from the volcano and the National Weather Service Ashfall Advisories will be updated with changing conditions.
"Some of these sports stars, like AIG execs, have negotiated sweetheart deals paying them millions of dollars, and yet they lose games," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. "The president shares the outrage of the American people at these obscene salaries and bonuses. There's nothing that makes the little people feel littler than the thought of these fat cats getting fatter just because that have specialized skills that are in high demand in a free-market economy."
Read the whole thing, it's pretty funny.
March 22, 2009
And for the record, that's Demi on the right and Emma on the left.
On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. there were at least 10 open parking meters down one short block of Clark Street next to Lincoln Park.
At noon in Wicker Park, where Milwaukee Avenue is usually packed with parked cars, there were open meters waiting.And at 2 p.m. around the Sheraton Hotel on Columbus Drive, a place where normally you can't crowbar your car into a space, there were at least three or four parking spaces.
Apparently, not a lot of people.
March 21, 2009
Like Skynet maybe?
Given the sophisticated nature of the worm, the question remains: What is the purpose of Conficker, which could possibly become the world's most powerful parallel computer on April 1? That is when the worm will generate 50,000 domain names and systematically try to communicate with each one. The authors then only need to register one of the domain names in order to take control of the millions of zombie computers that have been created.Speculation about Conficker's purpose ranges from the benign — an April Fool's Day prank — to far darker notions.
March 20, 2009
As you can see in this picture, generated by the European Space Agency, we have surrounded the Earth with fifty years of space age gear.... we are well on the way to creating a non-functional Dyson Sphere of past-tech leftovers.
March 19, 2009
Will Congress pass a law to make all congressmen return the funds/bribes AIG gave them? No, because THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW. Will Congress pass a law to make all congressmen give back their $4700 raise they just gave themselves during our national economic crisis? No, because THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW. Will Congress ever call up Chris Dodd or Barney Frank to give testimony regarding the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mess? No, because THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW.
THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW and our money, our reputations and our manner of living is forfeit to their whim.
Update: The lawyers over at Powerline agree... be afraid.
If the Pelosi bill is actually enacted into law (which I still think is doubtful) and upheld by the courts, there is no limit to the arbitrary power of Congress. In that event, we have no property rights and there is no Constitution--no equal protection clause, no due process clause, no impairment of contracts clause, no bill of attainder/ex post facto law clause. Instead, we are living in a majoritarian tyranny.
March 18, 2009
But according to the state of Colorado, the rain that falls on [Kris] Holstrom's property is not hers to keep. It should be allowed to fall to the ground and flow unimpeded into surrounding creeks and streams, the law states, to become the property of farmers, ranchers, developers and water agencies that have bought the rights to those waterways.
Apparently, Kris Holstrom was collecting rainwater from her gutters and using it to water her garden.
What a thief!
March 16, 2009
Pretty nice. I've added a link to Kosmix on the right.
I went to an Indian Casino in Wisconsin a few years ago... walked in with $50 and left with nothing. A lot folks have had the same results with their 401k pensions over the last year -- pumping 5 or 10 or 15 percent of their salaries into the stock slots and walking away with little, or nothing, or less than they started with. Gambling isn't for me, but I don't begrudge others their fun, especially since the money they throw away lessens my tax burden.
There are reasons for gambling having been banned in Indiana for so long. For example:
Gambling in the 1930s and 1940s was instrumental in Jeffersonville's recovery from the Great Depression and the Flood of 1937. Casinos, betting parlors, night clubs, and even a dog track were present, giving the town the nickname "Little Las Vegas". After a New Albany businessman was gunned down, public sentiment turned against gambling. On January 2, 1948, Indiana State Police raided every casino in the city before the operators could warn each other, and the judge who had devoted the past nine years in eliminating gambling from Jeffersonville, James L. Bottorff, made sure that the equipment was confiscated and the money at the casinos given to charity.
What goes around, comes around. Perhaps this easy money helps us now, but eventually enough people will be hurt in all manner of various ways that gambling hurts people and it will go the other way again.
Why? Well, politicians change things for the same reason kids touch things in the supermarket.
March 15, 2009
March 13, 2009
I'm tellin' ya, it pays to read documents before ya sign 'em.
Having been through meetings like this during the renovation of South Side High School in Ft. Wayne, I can tell you it's quite frustrating on both sides. We're taxed so much and so much of it goes to waste or to projects that are unworthy or unnecessary, it's difficult to get people vote for more taxes on themselves when a needed and worthy project comes along. Make that doubly difficult since Governor Daniels has finally gotten our property taxes lowered & this would bring them back up to where they were.
One note though -- the South Side renovation passed and the school is magnificent. It had been built before 1922 and didn't get major building funds until around the late 1990's. Students attending South Side before the renovation had to learn through leaks, bats, narrow hallways, broken heating systems and sub par facilities for years while watching newer schools like Wayne and Northrop go through their days without those distractions.
March 12, 2009
March 11, 2009
"Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts. And that's why I've opposed their outright elimination," he said.
We should expect this from a past Senator. Earmarks are bribes, plain and simple. Senators steal tax payer money, our money, without discussion, without voting, without any right, and send it home for whatever splashy project plays well in the news so they can be the big savior and get reelected again and again and again. Who gave these... these robber barons the right to collect tolls on our lives, to tax every little thing we do, to control every transaction in America, and feed the spoils back to their home state for their friends' projects, for voter bribes.
And, to paraphrase from the movie Powder, "just how long do they think we'll let them keep us here." Yes, yes, earmarks are a small part of the budget... but they are bribes that keep these people in power... just how small does a bribe have to be before it's illegal? President Obama and others say earmarks are for worthy, public projects. Here's an idea, reduce our federal taxes so more money is available to states and let the state legislators vote on whether these projects are worthy or not. Why should Hoosiers be forced to pay for projects in West Virginia without even a vote? How long does this go on before someone realizes other States' Senators, who are not representing us, are taking our money. Just what is, "Taxation without Representation" if not this?
This actually seems reasonable in a world where celebrities experience no downside from their endorsements... what do they say, "There's no such thing as bad publicity in Hollywood." This way, if Jay Leno wants to make money (and get free chips) by doing commercials for Doritos, if you happen across some bad chips, you can get a piece of Jay's fortune.
The stipulation is part of China's efforts to bolster food safety systems following a string of scandals that have killed or sickened consumers and hurt the image overseas of Chinese exports.
In one of the biggest, at least six infants died last year and nearly 300,000 were sickened by baby formula tainted by an industrial chemical that had been added to milk supplies to give the appearance of higher protein.
March 9, 2009
The Space Shuttle Discovery is set to deliver the power-generating solar panels and Starboard 6 (S6) truss segment to the ISS on the 125th mission in the Shuttle program, known as STS-119/15A (slated for launch on March 11, 2009 at 9:20 p.m. Eastern). This final piece of the Station's backbone will bring the ISS to its full length of 102 metres (roughly the size of a Canadian football field), and will increase the quantity of electricity available for science experiments by 50%. This additional power also means that the Station will be closer to being ready to house a crew of 6 astronauts instead of the current 3.
Here's more discussion by Adam Keiper
Yippy ka yay, cowboy. I think he's chasing his tail on this one.
"We view what happened with stem cell research in the last administration as one manifestation of failure to think carefully about how federal support of science and the use of scientific advice occurs," [Harold] Varmus said. "This is consistent with the president's determination to use sound scientific practice, responsible practice of science and evidence, instead of dogma in developing federal policy."
This reads as if the Administration sees no moral issues in science, though I'm sure they must. Dogma is religious doctrine -- so does Obama really feel there is no moral issues to be taken into account when it comes to decisions in science? I wonder how he feels about the study on Tuskegee Airmen? If that study was a bad scientific decision, then explain why without using morality in the discussion. (Nice S.A.T. essay question, don't you think?)
I watched a few minutes of discussion on this on CNN this morning. The Obama side of the argument goes like this: There are over 600,000 frozen embryos in the US alone, and they will almost certainly be destroyed and never be implanted in a womb. Why destroy these embryos for nothing when they can be used to further scientific study on cures for diseases like spinal injuries, diabetes and Parkinson's? What a waste.
This, of course, comes down to how you feel about embryos. If you substitute, say, "vegetative state people" for "frozen embryos" -- or perhaps "death row inmates" -- do we suddenly think it's OK to start removing their organs since they aren't going to be using them for much longer, or as fully as someone else might? Both Presidents Clinton and Bush felt tax dollars shouldn't be used to fund research that is morally repugnant to large portions of the taxpayers who would be funding it.
There's a different cowboy in town now.
If you're interested in Norwell's music programs, you'd do well to bookmark "Showtime! Wells County" which does a good job of reporting on them.
March 8, 2009
Why does it cost so much more to educate kids these days? Here's some thoughts on that, mostly dealing with Federal, State and Local governments piling mandates onto the schools without regard for cost.
One has to wonder what the hero of the movie, if there is a hero of the movie, Rorschach, would say (and do) to such parents.
So why, with all of that, would I consider Watchmen a good movie and a great book? Let's put it this way, I saw a trailer for a new Johnny Depp movie about John Dillinger, the Chicago gangster, and Melvin Purvis, one of the "untouchable" G-Men. Eliot Ness and Melvis Purvis were considered "untouchable" because they couldn't be corrupted, they couldn't be paid off by the criminals they were chasing (many other lawmen were paid to look the other way). Many people loved John Dillinger because they hated the banks and they saw Dillinger like Robin Hood, stealing from the rich bankers and making the corrupt establishment look bad. And then there were the untouchables, tasked with bringing in Dillinger, who were uncorruptable, uncompromising, and often just as violent. You can see the conflict: people loved Dillinger and weren't afraid of him because he was hurting those who were corrupt and not the normal, hard working, getting their job done people. Purvis, though, was a hard working, uncorrupt, getting the job done person. Watchmen is full of that kind of conflict, taken to the max.
March 7, 2009
This is the problem with journalists... they write like children. Did you ever have one of your young kids talk to you about money and believe all you had to do was go to the bank machine to "get" as much money as you want? Sure Indiana is going to "get" some money -- In fact, Indiana will be "getting" well over $11 billion from the stimulus -- over $1,700 per person in Indiana, but that is dwarfed by the folks in the District of Columbia who will be "getting" nearly $2,600 per person. I guess the folks in D.C. need to be stimulated more than the folks in the heartland. But what will be the cost of "getting" this money in the long run?
A better headline would be "Washington borrows $1 trillion from China, chucks $35 million at Indiana to expand Hoosier Police programs because Lord knows, we can't have any government programs shrink."
So goes our nation... speak out at your own risk.
March 6, 2009
March 5, 2009
President Obama is in a hurry. A big hurry. Not only with the way he demanded Congress pass the stimulus bill, but also with his desire to enact the sweeping changes across major sectors of American life he outlined in his first address to Congress. Contrast Obama's opening salvo with another young president who took office amid turbulent times both at home and abroad. On January 30, 1961, this is how John F. Kennedy began his first speed to Congress:
I speak today in an hour of national peril and national opportunity. Before my term has ended, we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain. The answers are by no means clear. All of us together--this Administration, this Congress, this nation-must forge those answers.
But today, were I to offer--after little more than a week in office--detailed legislation to remedy every national ill, the Congress would rightly wonder whether the desire for speed had replaced the duty of responsibility.
Kennedy offered this strikingly prudent tone despite the fact that his Democratic party held even larger majorities in the House (263 seats) and the Senate (64 seats) than Obama's party holds today (233 seats in the House and 58 in the Senate). Obama, on the other hand, went before Congress after one month on the job and unveiled a list of promises to transform American healthcare, energy, education, etc.In his address, Kennedy went on to tell Congress that "the prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust."
Read the whole thing, though, including Kennedy's first speech to Congress. Sometimes, often, speed is not our friend.
March 4, 2009
President Barack Obama's proposed cap-and-trade system on greenhouse gas emissions is a giant economic dagger aimed at the nation's heartland -- particularly Michigan. It is a multibillion-dollar tax hike on everything that Michigan does, including making things, driving cars and burning coal.
The president is asking for a system of government limits on carbon emissions. The right to emit carbon would be auctioned off to generate revenue for more government spending programs.
That's the plan -- tax everyone who's doing anything to pay the way for those who do nothing.
March 1, 2009
And this is as good a time as any to promote the Instructables - make-it-yourself web site... if you're a do-it-yourselfer, you might want to bookmark it