November 29, 2010

Title IX

Title IX, which simply reads,

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

really opened up women's sports in America... but the law which once allowed Norwell girls to try out for the boys' tennis team because there was no girls' tennis team and which created the great girls' basketball system we see today, has become a hammer in modern schools. To avoid lawsuits, high schools and colleges have decided that the ratio of boys to girls in a school must be reflected in athletics. Since for decades the education system in America has been focusing on providing opportunities for women, colleges currently have a ratio of 60 women for every 40 men. Thus, to avoid lawsuits, colleges work to have 60 female athletes for every 40 male athletes.

The trouble is, after great early strides added girls' sports, and since (in general) more men seem to want to participate in sports than women, the only cost-effective way to achieve the matching ratio in athletics was not to add girls' sports -- because the coaches, the facilities and the time were just not feasible in the budgets of the schools. The only way to achieve the needed ratio to avoid lawsuits was to eliminate boys' teams, and that is what many high schools and colleges are doing and have done.

What's interesting to me, though, is that Title IX says nothing, not one word, about sports. The law that once allowed access for women into shop class and for men into home economics class, has been turned into a one way sports quota system. But who is looking out for equality in the ratios between guys and gals in, say, cheerleading, or journalism, or theater, or band or other really important things like attendance and GPA? Nobody, that's who, and perhaps that's why more women than men attend and are successful in college these days.

November 28, 2010

Godspeed Leslie Nielson

Lelsie Nielson has passed away at age 84.

"Surely you're not serious"  "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."

November 22, 2010

Flying with Points

It seems to me that the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) could easily come up with a point system that would take a major step in eliminating the long lines and the public unrest at airports.  They wouldn't even have to publish it, they could keep it secret so the terrorists don't know exactly what is being used to identify them.  The data would come from a combination of security databases, answering standard questions or even providing your Social Security Number for the purchase of tickets. Every ticket would end up having a point value and if the value exceeded a certain amount, the traveler would have to go through the strip-search x-ray machine or be patted down.

Something like this: 

A US citizen:  0 points 
Male:  10 points
Female: 5 points
Current Military: free pass
Veteran over 65: free pass
US Citizen over 70: take away 20 points
A non-US citizen:  20 points
A non-US citizen from terror-list country: 40 points
Been to a terror-list country in last ten years?:  40 points
A frequent flier:  0 points
Flying with Family:  0 points
Round-trip ticket:  0 points
One way ticket: 20 points
Small airplane:  0 points
Medium sized airplane: 10 points
Large airplane: 20 points
Destination New York: 25 points
Destination LA:  20 points
Destination Chicago: 15 points
Random:  Add 40 points to every 500th person.

You get the idea... once a certain point level is reached, you go through a different scanner.  You're from a terror-list country, on a one way ticket to New York on a large airliner?  You bet you're over the point count.  You're from Fort Wayne, IN flying with your family on round trip ticket to Orlando?  Pass on through.  The vast, vast majority of travelers would not need to be examined.  I believe they are doing the random thing now... you can ask when you get your tickets if any of them are going to be scanned and you can opt out your kids under 12 before you even get to the security area.

November 21, 2010

2010 Might be the Warmest Year on Record?

NASA is touting the likelihood that 2010 may be judged the warmest year on record, moving past 1998, which previously held the record.

First of all, NASA had to retract that 1998 was the warmest year on record after it was discovered that a Y2K error in the NASA models caused it to be just a little warmer than 1934. NASA, to their discredit, then decided to go regional on us, claiming 1934 was the warmest year in the United States, but not in the world. Imagine the difficulty involved in that determination... that 1934 was the warmest year in America, but the rest of the planet, no so much. For that matter, the whole idea of taking the temperature of planet Earth, which is ever changing, with weather stations that are ever changing, by people and nations that are ever changing... and then claiming this year is a half a degree warmer than that year is just downright silly.

Secondly, NASA has delayed and outright refused freedom of information requests to release the math they use to arrive at these claims. NASA doesn't record the temperatures, they take others' data and post-process it with fudge factors they refused to release to the public (even though we pay for it) and then claim it's getting hotter.

Thirdly, as I've said before, in 1990, NOAA started eliminating all weather stations at high altitudes and in rural areas from their recording lists -- these, of course, were all stations which recorded cooler temperatures, on average -- so NOAA now favors more easily visited stations in warmer areas. Where they used to look at 7500 weather stations, now they only look at 1500 or less. The temperature immediately started to rise (surprise, surprise).

Lastly, though I'm sure there are other complaints, let's get someone to tell us how this determination of "warmest December," "warmest winter," "warmest year" is being determined. In England, for example, their NOAA, called "The Met" records the highest temperatures and lowest temperatures of each day. They then take the highest 15 readings between November and March and average them to determine how warm the winter has been... if you can see how silly that is, why can't they? In early January 2010 the Met announced that the winter of 2010 was the warmest on record -- and they hadn't even gone through January, February and March! All because November 2009 had been a warm month -- all 15 of the warmest days were in November of 2009. Of course it escapes them that a winter could easily be both the warmest and coldest on record in the same year.

Just remember, when these warmest years and coldest years claims come out... the temperature ranges on Earth between -90 degrees Celsius to +60 degrees Celsius and that has not changed throughout 30 years of global warming. There is no average temperature on Earth, we do not have the monitoring technology to determine the average temperature on Earth. The temperature where you are when you read the thermometer averaged with the temperature in Alaska or Mongolia or Australia or Chad -- is meaningless.

November 16, 2010


The Transportation Safety Administration is now investigating the man who opted out going through the strip-search scanner and then refused to be patted down. The TSA told him he would have to leave the airport, which he chose to do. After he left the scanning/pat-down area, but before he got out the door of the airport, some administrator told him he could be fined up to $10,000 for leaving (after he was told he must leave if he refused to be searched). So the current rules, apparently, are that once you step into line, stepping out will result in the TSA working to destroy you.

And now they are doubling down on their pat-down/molestations in their attempt to stop anyone from opting out of the strip-search scanners.

The TSA is run by bullies.

November 12, 2010

Dark Matter, or Time Winding Down

The red areas in the image above represent dark matter missing in Milky Way. Scientists don't understand the apparent speed and movement in the universe based on the amount of matter we can see. They theorize there must be huge amounts of matter out there we just can't see (thus, dark matter). To make what is observed match Newton's laws, dark matter must make up 80% of the matter in the universe. So if an eight slice pizza was the universe, you would open your pizza box and only see two pieces, one of them half eaten.

Some say, dark matter is proof that we really don't understand the universe at all... I mean, if you have to make up a substance that can't be seen that is four times bigger than what you do see just to make your observations accurate, something must be off somewhere. Some say the amount of dark matter needed to make the universe move properly is proof that the Big Bang theory is wrong, that the universe always was and always will be in a steady state.

A new theory does away with dark matter through the hypothesis that time is slowing down... this would explain why the further away stars are, the faster they appear to move. If time itself is not constant, all the calculations used to map celestial movement are off and would need a gigantic fudge factor (dark matter) for them to make sense.

So what happens when time stops?

Update: And there is also the Electric Universe Theory, as well, which if you ask me, which you didn't, seems to match observation much better than the Big Bang/Dark Matter theory to which mathematicians subscribe.

November 11, 2010

Top Selling Authors of the last Decade

A nice list of the top selling authors 2000-2009. You might guess that JK Rowling would be right up there -- and you might be right!

Author Books Sold (Value)
1 JK Rowling 29,084,999 (£225.9m)
2 Roger Hargreaves 14,163,141 (£26.6m)
3 Dan Brown 13,372,007 (£74.1m)
4 Jacqueline Wilson 12,673,148 (£69.9m)
5 Terry Pratchett 10,455,397 (£77.2m)
6 John Grisham 9,862,998 (£65.9m)
7 Richard Parsons 9,561,776 (£49.2m)
8 Danielle Steel 9,119,149 (£51m)
9 James Patterson 8,172,647 (£53.8m)
10 Enid Blyton 7,910,758 (£31.2m)

See the entire top 100 at the link, it's quite interesting.

November 4, 2010

Sparky "Captain Hook" Anderson 1934-2010

Sparky Anderson has passed away.  Being a kid, growing up in Indiana, the Big Red Machine managed by Sparky Anderson had a huge impact on us.  Godspeed, Sparky.

November 3, 2010

Anti-Incumbent Fever?

37 Senate seats were up for grabs.  14 Senators either retired or decided not to run this year, so 23 Incumbents were running.  Only 2 lost.

254 Congressional seats were up for grabs.  37 Representatives either retired or decided not to run this year, so 217 Incumbents were running.  4 of those Incumbents lost in the primaries.  I have not seen how many of those 213 that remained in the General Election lost, but will update this post if I find the number.