July 31, 2009

Lost Houses and Neighborhoods of Detroit

Amazing photos of abandoned houses and neighborhoods and buildings in Detroit... remember to click on the menu on the left for different collections.  Sad and thought provoking.

July 30, 2009

Ossian's Website

The Official Town of Ossian website.

Dan Aykroyd Performs

A very nice article about Dan Aykroyd supporting our wounded troops at the Soldier Ride in East Hampton.

I watched the faces of the soldiers. These young people looking at Dan, their eyes, bullets, fixed on him. I saw them, twenty, maybe thirty deep, at the front of the stage, comfortably pressing into an almost solid entity. An entity of hopefulness, and scrubbed youth, and ravaged possibility.

Dan delivered the goods as only he could have. Those beautiful boys and girls, men and women, were lifted from the heaviness if only for the length of time they watched wonderful Dan give them that diversion of joy. And he did. I saw the glow on the faces of those soldiers, sort of a trance. It was magnificent.


Bullying the States

Senator Schumer (Democrat, NY) would like to bully every state into passing laws against driving and texting by taking away federal highway funds if they don't.  (Do as I say or I'll stop borrowing money from China to pave your roads).  That's a great reason for not passing a texting law.  The more states who get off the Federal dole, the better.  Another reason is that cell phones do not appear to be increasing the number of highway deaths in America.

Look at the above chart, click on it to make it larger or go to the link about cell phones.  The number of highway deaths in America has been stagnant since the early 90's with even a sizable drop in 2008.  Now what can you tell me about cell phone usage between 1990 and 2008?  I think we can assume that the drop in 2008 was do to fewer miles on the road due to the price of gasoline last year, so the explosion in cell phone usage in the last decade has resulted in zero impact on highway deaths.

Once again, our federal representatives seek to restrict our freedoms, they seek to legislate common sense, they seek, at any and every opportunity, to control.

July 29, 2009

Google Satellite Tracker

A live action graphical representation of the location of the International Space Station and (currently) Space Shuttle Endeavor can be found at this Google Maps Satellite Tracker.

Unable to turn inward, all fear turns outward

The title is a quote from John D. MacDonald, quoted in the essay "The Enormous Absurdity of Nature" by Paul Carter:

"The culture," adds adventure-fiction writer (and, at times, social philosopher) John D. MacDonald, "has labeled death unthinkable and unspeakable.  One is forbidden even to think about it."  That repression generates a deep cultural sickness: "Unable to turn inward, all fears turn outward."  ...

... And this empty, conventional linear time, within which modern folk live and move and consume but can scarcely be said to have their being, "goes on and on, simply toward a future that these very people refuse to consider, but it cannot go in and in, toward the hidden springs and fountains of life."

I don't agree with the entire essay, but find it thoughtful... especially now as the great health care non-debate continues.  It talks about how modern man, especially in cities, is separated from the life cycle: 

"there is something incredibly charming about nature, but also something harsh and awful."  We evade the harshness; seedtime and harvest become something we encounter only on the supermarket produce shelves.  If we took time to consider nature, we could understand more fully the raw beauty of the life cycle.  In the natural rhythm of life, things are born, grow up, grow old, die and rejoin the Creator.  But we have become nature's misers, hoarding our youth."

We tinker with nature, tame it, push it back, turn Job's wilderness into grudged pockets of museum preservation.  It becomes harder to gain access to a side of God that resonates with the wild passions of the psalms and provides a balance for the tender mercy that Christ preaches in the gospels.  It becomes harder to gain access to the God o fthe Behemoth and Leviathan, the God of the lamb and the dove, "Who eons ago fashioned the trilobite in His hand, Who has put lightning and thunder in the skies and tenderness in our hearts."

Carter notes that Jesus went into the wilderness, the desert, the mountains, for temptation and transfiguration... this is a wild world, God made, not a tame world, and we need, sometimes, to remove our watches and phones and iPods and swim in the wildness, be sparrow, be owl, and pray without grumbling.


July 28, 2009

Endeavor, docked to the ISS, crosses the face of the Sun

This photo is by photo by Thierry Legault.  I watched the transit of Endeavor and the International Space Station Saturday night, but all I saw was a white dot, moving West to South, in the sky.

Virginia, the Blind Dog

I saw this article about how well dogs adapt to blindness on BoingBoing and thought I'd pass it along.

July 26, 2009

Exposing AGW for the con it is

An interesting interview with Professor Ian Plimer, author of Heaven and Earth:  Global Warming, the Missing Science.  The book points out, for example,

... that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth's warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian's Wall — were times of wealth and plenty.

I've said it before, but make note of that... CO2 makes up only 0.001 percent of the Earth's atmosphere  (one thousandth of one percent) and the Human contribution to that one thousandth of one percent is minuscule in the extreme.... minuscule to the point of making it ridiculous to conclude that human's have any effect on the climate of Earth.   

July 24, 2009

So I was thinking of getting an aquarium...

The main tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. The 'Kuroshio Sea' holds 7,500 cubic meters (1,981,290 gallons) of water.

July 23, 2009

Welcome to Solar Minimum

Fred Dardick writes about the quiet Sun in the Canada Free Press

The primary effect solar cycles can have on the earth illustrates one of the biggest problems with global warming proponents. Computer models, often presented as irrefutable evidence for global warming, often ignore factors which have a much greater impact on global temperature than carbon dioxide concentration.

It also begs the question: Even if carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, what does it matter if the earth is cooling 5X faster because of the sun?

The great irony here is it is entirely possible that President Obama and congressional Democrats will impose massive new energy taxes on the nation in a misguided effort to combat global warming, while at the same time the earth is barreling towards another little ice age.

The comment on computer models ignoring the forest for the trees is exactly right.  Because it is impossible to predict the activity of the Sun, the models ignore it and the global warmers pretend the Sun has an unchanging affect on the climate of Earth.  Read the whole thing, as it does a good job of describing scientific efforts to map solar activity to Earth's climate.


Health Care Presser Fact Check

The Associated Press does some fact checking for a change

July 21, 2009

Voilà! an ethics violation

So Sarah Palin is sued 14 times for Ethics violations, all of which are thrown out as baseless but which leave her a half a million dollars in debt.  Her lawyer sets up a legal defense fund to help with those bills through private donations and Voilà! an ethics violation.

It's good to remind the nation's youth what public service does for a person.

July 20, 2009

Section 1233

It's bad enough that any bill would be so large to have thousands of sections and be pushed through so quickly that none of us can read what's to be imposed upon us, but Section 1233 of H.R. 3200 (The Health Care Bill) is a particularly annoying section:

The section, titled “Advanced Care Planning Consultation” requires senior citizens to meet at least every 5 years with a doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss dying with dignity. The section requires that they talk to their doctor, not a lawyer, about living wills, durable healthcare powers of attorney, hospice, etc.

The day I follow that law... the day my government can force me to discuss any particular thing with my doctor... well, lets just say I won't wait five years to tell my representative what I think about it.

Who is Samuel Langly?

Who is Samuel Langley?  He's the man Congress decided should invent the airplane and funded him to do so.  After two crashes, he came back for more money from the Feds but the Wright Brothers beat him with their own money and their own bicycle shop.

Congress should stay out of the way and not try to run what should be private industry.  If they must pay for innovation, why not do it with awards that people can win if they invent whatever it is Congress wants invented -- that way if it's not invented, nobody's out the money!

July 15, 2009

Whither Medicare?

Obama Care will repeal Medicare

Obama’s health care proposal is, in effect, the repeal of the Medicare program as we know it. The elderly will go from being the group with the most access to free medical care to the one with the least access. Indeed, the principal impact of the Obama health care program will be to reduce sharply the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medical need be met, their every medication prescribed, their every need to improve their quality of life answered.

It is so ironic that the elderly - who were so vigilant when Bush proposed to change Social Security - are so relaxed about the Obama health care proposals. Bush’s Social Security plan, which did not cut their benefits at all, aroused the strongest opposition among the elderly. But Obama’s plan, which will totally gut Medicare and replace it with government-managed care and rationing, has elicited little more than a yawn from most senior citizens.

It’s time for the elderly to wake up before it is too late!

I hope so. Contact your representatives!

July 14, 2009

Turmeric and Pain

Dr. Scott Haig wonders, "Can the spice turmeric relieve pain?"

Sarah Palin: "Cap and Tax" is a Dead End

A nice editorial by Sarah Palin in today's Wall Street Journal

We are ripe for economic growth and energy independence if we responsibly tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil. Just as important, we have more desire and ability to protect the environment than any foreign nation from which we purchase energy today.

I think the section I bolded above is often lost in the shuffle... so many want to save the planet, they prevent the one nation (America) that has the technology and will to produce energy and protect the environment, from doing either.

July 12, 2009

The President: Misleader in Chief

President Obama wrote an article, Rebuilding Something Better, in the Washington Post and claimed right off the bat that America was in the worst economic downturn since the great depression when he took office on January 20th. No only is that not true, as you can see above (57/58 was actually a bit worse), it's also disingenuous to compare our current downturn to the great depression -- they are just in different ball parks.. Keith Hennessey investigates the whole truth. Read the whole article to see both sides.

July 8, 2009

Things are getting dicey in California

What California government workers think of taxpayers

Make sure you click on SacBee in the article (or at the left) to see the most recent comments.

The Piranahs of the Press


Carl Cannon's article, Sarah 'Barracuda' Palin and the Piranhas of the Press, is a long and interesting read. Tuck it away for some quiet time reflection.

Just a little country fun

video

Thanks, Scott, for sending this along...

July 6, 2009

Palin and her enemies

An interesting analysis of our culture and the two sides of our current political ideal:  Barack Obama and Sarah Palin

Our president represents the meritocratic ideal — that anyone, from any background, can grow up to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School and become a great American success story. But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

And what have we learned?

Here are lessons of the Sarah Palin experience, for any aspiring politician who shares her background and her sex. Your children will go through the tabloid wringer. Your religion will be mocked and misrepresented. Your political record will be distorted, to better parody your family and your faith. (And no, gentle reader, Palin did not insist on abstinence-only sex education, slash funds for special-needs children or inject creationism into public schools.)

Male commentators will attack you for parading your children. Female commentators will attack you for not staying home with them. You'll be sneered at for how you talk and how many colleges you attended. You'll endure gibes about your "slutty" looks and your "white trash concupiscence," while a prominent female academic declares that your "greatest hypocrisy" is the "pretense" that you're a woman. And eight months after the election, the professionals who pressed you into the service of a gimmicky, dreary, idea-free campaign will still be blaming you for their defeat.

Read the whole thing... it doesn't let Sarah Palin off the hook for her mistakes, but I think her attackers come off much worse.

July 5, 2009

Why do feminists *hate* Sarah Palin

I thought this was an interesting article... though it has no real answers, but the questions the author raises, and the comments to the article, at least examine the issue of people hating Sarah Palin in a calm fashion.

But even weirder is what happens when you try to replace the myths [about Palin] with the truth. If you explain, "no, she didn't charge rape victims," your feminist interlocutor will come back with something else: "she's abstinence-only!" No, you say, she's not; and then the person comes back with, "she's a creationist!" and so on. "She's an uneducated moron!" Actually, Sarah Palin is not dumb at all, and based on her interviews and comments, I'd say she has a greater knowledge of evolution, global warming, and the Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska than the average citizen.

But after you've had a few of these myth-dispelling conversations, you start to realize that it doesn't matter. These people don't hate Palin because of the lies; the lies exist to justify the hate.

Read the whole thing, if you get the chance... if nothing else, the disgusting treatment of Palin is an insight to our society.

For an example of that Palin hate, Paul Begala's article is hard to beat:

Sarah Palin makes Mark Foley, the congressman who sent filthy emails to pages look almost normal. She makes David Vitter, the senator who was hanging out with hookers, look almost boring. She makes Larry Craig, caught hitting on a cop in a men's room, look almost stable. She makes John Ensign, the senator who was having an affair with a staffer, look almost humdrum (and compared to the rest of the GOP whack-jobs, he is). And she makes Mark Sanford, the governor with the Latin lover, look positively predictable.

So, you see... Sarah Palin resigning is like all these Republican men sniffing around for sex..... and Begala's title for the article?  "Sarah Palin turns Pro."   Care to analyze Begala's creepiness in comparing Palin resigning due to constant Democrat lawsuites and media bashings to men resigning for sex scandals?  I guess that team of Bill Clinton advisors (Begala, Carville, Dick Morris, George Stephanopolous) can't hardly see outside that box.
 

NYC: No change in June Temps for 130 years

This is the reason why Greens and Democrats have changed their "Global Warming" warnings to "Climate Change" warnings:

FOR SOME PERSPECTIVE...HERE ARE THE TOP TEN COOLEST AND WETTEST
JUNES ON RECORD SINCE 1869 FOR CENTRAL PARK NY:

COOLEST WETTEST
AVG. TEMP. YEAR INCHES PRECIP. YEAR
64.2 1903 10.27 2003
65.2 1881 10.06 2009
65.7 1916 9.78 1903
66.8 1926/1902 9.30 1972
67.2 1958 8.79 1989
67.3 1927 8.55 2006
67.4 1928 7.76 1887
67.5 2009/1897 7.58 1975
67.7 1878 7.13 1938
67.8 1924 7.05 1871


DUE TO THE UNUSUALLY COOL AND WET CONDITIONS IN JUNE...HERE ARE SOME
INTERESTING FACTS TO NOTE:

THIS JUNE IS TIED FOR THE 8TH COOLEST ON RECORD. THE AVERAGE
TEMPERATURE WAS 67.5...3.7 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL...WHICH ALSO
OCCURRED IN 1897.

THIS WAS THE COOLEST JUNE SINCE 1958...WHEN THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE
WAS 67.2 DEGREES.

If Carbon Dioxide causes the planet to warm, and if New York City exhales vast amounts of Carbon Dioxide, how is it possible that the temperature in June is essentially the same as it was in not only 1958, but 1878 -- 130 years of Mankind dumping Carbon into the airs of New York and the temperature remains the same.

You can see why now we are to fear "Climate Change"  -- this way we can be afraid of any unusual weather... hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm -- but still, how is it possible to fear "no change in 130 years?"

July 4, 2009

The pros and cons of Sarah Palin's resignation

The brilliant stategery of Sarah Palin... 

Don't underestimate Sarah Palin. Any woman who can calmly stare down David Letterman, without blinking, forcing a humiliating public apology out of a man who routinely makes lesser mortals weep via his withering excoriation is a woman with a plan. A big plan.

That bit about Letterman is at the end, but read the whole piece... the author sees a lot of upside and very little downside to Palin's resignation.

July 1, 2009

Political Will

President Obama, from today's Health Care Town Hall:
One of the great things about this country is .... we've got a system, that's sometimes hard to change, kind of bogged down, and part of that is the way the Constitution is designed, it has served us well, we don't have coups and all kinds of governments collapsing all the time. But the disadvantage sometimes is that it's hard for us to make big bold steps. But the great thing about the system is that every once in awhile, when we finally hit a point where things just aren't working at all, we are able to generate the political will to finally get things done. That's how we got social security: after the great depression, nobody had pensions or protections and people started realizing, "We can't have a country where suddenly older Americans are just on the streets. After working hard all their lives." And finally we got social security. And then people said, "We can't have older Americans who don't have any health care." And we got Medicare. At every juncture, when we finally need to make a change, we make a change. This is one of those times. So don't be scared about the future. Let's embrace the future.
Does the country have the political will to own and bail out private companies, and also the political will to rid the nation of large vehicles (CAFE standards), and also the political will to tax carbon energies and completely revamp our power grid, and also the political will to redesign our nation's health care/insurance system, and also the political will to strike down the Defense of Marriage act?

I doubt it.

I think the President has already found out that we did not have the political will to leave Iraq within 100 days of his taking office, or close Guantanamo Bay, or close down military tribunals. And was it he, himself, who lacked the political will to put bills on public display for five days before voting on them? Was it the President who lacked the political will make his Administration Open and Transparent? And what happened to his political will when it came to stopping pork barrel spending and putting pork projects online for all to see.

Private Heroism

A very nice story out of Iowa about a woman trapped in the roil of a dam... rescue attempts failed until a construction crew, on hand for other work, lowered a worker on a crane to save her.

Oglesbee was reluctant to give his name or be interviewed when first approached by members of the media. He later allowed a couple of questions before returning to work. The crew from Cramer & Associates was on hand to construct the high-arching Center Street pedestrian bridge.When asked if he volunteered to be rigged to the crane, Oglesbee said he just happened to be wearing the harness. Joe Lowe operated the crane that suspended Oglesbee above the water.

"They just harnessed me up and dipped me down in the water and I grabbed her and the crane drug her to the boat and that's it," Oglesbee said. "What are you going to do if she's like that? It's no big deal. The whole crew did it."
 
The dramatic rescue was met with cheers from spectators who had gathered on the banks of the river and nearby bridges after the boat the woman was in went over the Center Street dam.

I think he should have stuck with not talking to the media... the intensity of these types of rescues can wreak havoc on your mental state and adding the media spotlight makes the whole thing even worse.

That said... well done!

A Table Saw for Tim Allen (and me)

Nice!

Google Earth Font

A nice collection of letters found using Google Earth... you can click on the image above to make it larger.