December 17, 2011

Large Areas of Mars could Sustain Life

Scientists from the Australian National University modeled conditions on Mars on a global scale and found that large regions could be capable of sustaining life – three percent of the planet actually, albeit mostly underground. By comparison, just one percent of Earth's volume, from the central core to the upper atmosphere, is inhabited by some kind of life.

We need some global cooperation to open up this new frontier.  Are there any countries in a cooperative mood these days?

December 11, 2011


A very nice article on the Khan Academy and how it is a revolution for students and online education.

Note:  If you have a Roku box, it has a Khan Channel.

November 28, 2011

An Open Letter to Dr. Phil Jones

Willis Eschenbach (a statistician), writes an open letter to Dr. Phil Jones (a climatologist).  No matter what you think of Eschenbach or the case for Man-Made Global Warming, the hiding and lying of the scientists involved, revealed in ClimateGate email releases I and II give a black eye to the scientific method we all learned in school:

"But in any case, only scientists with something to hide need privacy to have a "free and frank discussion" about science. Honest scientists have no reason to hide their views. Honest scientists discuss these scientific issues on the web in the full light of day. Why on earth would someone need privacy to discuss the intricacies of the climate models? Do you really have to go into a closet with your best friend to speak your true mind about atmospheric physics? Is it true that you guys actually need some kind of 'private space' to expose your secret inner ideas about the factors affecting the formation of clouds? From my perspective, these kinds of private discussions are not only not what is needed. This two-faced nature of you guys' statements on the science are a large part of the problem itself."

It is a long, revealing and fascinating letter and you don't need to understand the science to understand what's been going on.

November 21, 2011

Safe Money

Bruce Krasting's, "On Capital Flight and Forced Repatriation" is an interesting read about the European Commission working with Greece to get the money people have moved out of Greece over to Switzerland Banks for safety, back into the banks in Greece... and how that move will affect the world.

November 7, 2011

Rest, Joe.

Joe Frazier, 1944 - 2011

Coyote-Wolf Hybrids

Coyotes and wolves have mated in the great lakes region and the hybrid is heading east and south.  The animal is larger than a coyote, with more wolf-like skulls, jaws and teeth.  Like coyotes, they can eat almost anything, but unlike coyotes, it is thought they may be powerful enough to bring down deer.

October 18, 2011

Virgin Galactic: Not your Grandfather's NASA

They're Just Pretending Not To Get It

I saw NBC's David Gregory interview Herman Cain over the weekend.
Cain has a plan to replace the Federal Tax Structure -- to get rid of
the whole Federal Tax Code, the IRS, the Estate Tax, Capital Gains
Taxes -- and replace it with flat taxes and a national sales tax.
Gregory was unable to understand that this has nothing to do with
State Taxes no matter how plainly Cain stated it... to the point that
Gregory appeared either dense or was purposely trying to confuse
everyone. And now this quote appears from Cain saying that putting a
national sales tax on top of our current structure would be the worst
idea and they play this up as Cain attacking his own plan... but
Cain's plan isn't to put a national sales tax on top of the IRS
structure, clearly, obviously, his plan is to replace all that. I
don't care what you think of the GOP or Herman Cain, but this business
of the media acting too dense to understand plain English is just

October 14, 2011

A Drudge Editorial

Drudge editorializes, with a little St. John the Baptist thrown in...

October 6, 2011

10 by 20

I happened to catch John Ratzenberger on the Neil Cavuto show yesterday as he unveiled the "10x20" program.  Ratzenberger, if you don't remember, was Cliff Clavin on the TV Show "Cheers."  Before he became an actor, he was a carpenter.  Similar to the Discover Channel's Mike Rowe, Ratzenberger points out that America, for a long, long time, has been pushing kids away from skilled labor into a one-track-fits-all white-collar world of college.  So much so that the Bureau of Statistics reports that by the year 2030, there will be 10 million or more vacant job positions for carpenters, welders, machinists, electricians, plumbers, etc.  The impact of no one filling those jobs as we baby boomers retire is huge, not only will it be costly and slow to get anything built or repaired, but the 10 million people who might have fit those jobs had the schools maintained their vocational programs might instead become frustrated square pegs in round career holes, or worse, be unable to find a job at all.

Ratzenberger was promoting the idea of current skilled laborers taking on the missing vocational training the public school system has ignored or eliminated for a generation or more.

And did you know Ratzenberger has been in every, single Pixar movie? 

August 26, 2011

Not-A-Planet has Four Moons

The Hubble Space Telescope was used to discover another moon orbiting around Not-A-Planet-Pluto, which now has four moons.  The newest moon is temporarily being called P4, what should its name be?  I think maybe it should be called, "Are You Looking at Me, Mike Brown?"  Aylammb, for short.

August 24, 2011

TomCo Energy and Shale Oil

TomCo Energy, out of London, has awarded contracts toward pulling oil out of shale in Utah.

With total reserves estimated at up to 1.3 trillion barrels,  and ultimately recoverable reserves of 800 billion barrels or more , this formation holds three times or more the amount of Saudi Arabia's proven reserves.  Unlocking this formation would change the energy outlook of the nation – and of the world – for a century or more.


August 12, 2011

August 8, 2011

American Tinderbox

The growth of violent, criminal flash mobs.

Jamal Foster's story is an example… Foster says he and his friends often travel to North Avenue and Oak Street Beach (Chicago)—two popular lakefront locations along the Gold Coast—to intimidate people and steal whatever they can. "We can get some good stuff down there," the 17-year-old says. "You can't get no iPods or nothing like that on the West Side. So we go to where you can and when we mob up, even the cops can't stop us."

From the movie, Warriors, 1979:

[At the big conclave/street gang meeting, Cyrus, the boss of the street gang appears]
Cyrus: [yelling] Can you count, suckers? I say, the future is ours... if you can count!
[a couple of soldiers cheer for Cyrus]
Cyrus: Now, look what we have here before us. We got the Saracens sitting next to the Jones Street Boys. We've got the Moonrunners right by the Van Cortlandt Rangers. Nobody is wasting nobody. That... is a miracle. And miracles is the way things ought to be.
[Few more soldiers cheering for Cyrus]
Cyrus: You're standing right now with nine delegates from 100 gangs. And there's over a hundred more. That's 20,000 hardcore members. Forty-thousand, counting affiliates, and twenty-thousand more, not organized, but ready to fight: 60,000 soldiers! Now, there ain't but 20,000 police in the whole town. Can you dig it?
Gang Members: Yeah.
Cyrus: Can you dig it?
Gang Members: Yeah!
Cyrus (voice lowers to a growl): Can you dig it?
Gang Members: YEAH!
[shouting and Cheering]

August 5, 2011

Oops All Movies

Oops all Movies is a nice weekly podcast which reviews movies.  Just three guys (currently audio only) sitting around discussing movies.

July 21, 2011

America Always Has to Pay

America Always Has to Pay 

"Even though our defense spending as a portion of our GDP has been dropping steadily since the Vietnam War, American allies have become accustomed to seeing the U.S. pick up most of the tab for military expenses that benefit all. That attitude comes from the fact that over a century ago, the U.S. became the largest economy on the planet. In 1945, the U.S. accounted for half the world's GDP. That has since come down to 25 percent, but American allies still feel that the rich guy should pick up most of the tab."

July 15, 2011

Rest in Peace Bob Grill, 67

Dawn Entering Orbit around Asteroid Vesta

The Dawn Spacecraft is due to enter orbit around the asteroid named Vesta this evening at around 10pm. Dawn was launched in September of 2007, whipped around Mars and is now coming in for a short exploratory rest around Vesta before heading out next year for Ceres, a dwarf planet also in the asteroid belt. Dawn should get to Ceres 3 years after leaving Vesta (July 2015).

Amazing science... we're skipping our own stones through the asteroid belt.

June 27, 2011

2011 MD Passes by at 1pm EST Today

Don't forget to wave today as a big rock tumbles past the Earth at 1pm just under 8,000 miles up... that's close enough to hit our communications satellites.  Let's hope it doesn't.

June 24, 2011

RIP, Peter Falk, 83

Columbo star, Peter Falk has passed away from Alzheimer's disease. He was 83 and brought a lot of enjoyment and entertainment to many.

June 14, 2011

Fading Solar Activity

The American Astronomical Society says we may not see another solar maximum in our lifetime (if you're my age). Some believe that weakened magnetic activity and fading sunspots lead to a cooler Earth. I guess maybe we'll find out.

Woodward signs with Dodgers

Congratulations to 2007 Norwell grad Scott Woodward, who signed with the L.A. Dodgers on Saturday.

June 7, 2011

NAP: Free Books!

The National Academies Press, which is the publishing arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council,  as of last Thursday, has released all of its books and reports for free electronic PDF downloads.

I had hoped that perhaps this would include some basic science texts, but it appears at first glance that they publish mostly social impact of science material.  For example, in looking for some basic biology texts I found "Science Medicine and Animals" is about balancing animal testing with concern for all living creatures; and the final report of the human embryonic stem cell research advisory committee, many texts on Evolution vs. Creationism, and the effects of Mankind on biodiversity, but no basic textbooks. 

The Earth Science section has many books about Man's impact on the environment, ecology, conservation, climate change, etc.  Nothing about the basic science.  The Math section had books on how to estimate health insurance coverage for children, gender studies in science careers and statistical studies about how the Department of Justice operates.

In short, though the press release sounds exciting to book lovers and science hounds... not so much.  I'm sure there's lots of interesting reading to be found there, but much of it is cultural and political in nature.

June 6, 2011

We Seven, Were Seven, Several Years Ago

That's a picture of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in the Assembly Building above, and Alan Shepard the first American in space and the launch of Mercury 1... Atlantis will be the last space shuttle that will ever blast off into space sometime around July 8th, 2011.  I like the shuttle picture.  It's a shadowy version of the shuttle in close quarters... suitable for the dirge of the last shuttle flight.  After the Atlantis launch the United States goes manned-mission dark.  For the first time since Project Mercury began, in 1959, we will have no manned space program.

I find that chilling.  I can remember, back in the 60's, I had a child's plastic slide projector.  There were 3 or 4 slides on each panel and you'd push them through to see the image projected on your wall... I had one of Alan Shepard in his silver spacesuit preparing for launch in, what was it called?  Freedom 7.  America's first man in space on May 5, 1961.

"Well Done, My Good And Faithful Servant"  Matthew 25:21

May 24, 2011

Private Space

Rand Simberg's "Legacy space companies running scared" is a nice read if you're following the ups and downs of SpaceX

I'm hoping for the privatization of space flight and colonization of space.  Some will be lost, like so many who were lost colonizing our own world.  We may never know what becomes of some, just as early colonies in America disappeared without trace.  But we need to get off this lovely rock.

May 21, 2011


I sometimes look up celebrities on NNDB to see what their education levels are, esp. when they appear before Congress. Most of them have a high school level of education, some less, which is fine, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn't need college degrees to change the world, but actors present themselves as experts in all kinds of fields not related to acting. NNDB also has a relationship cloud mapper, as the picture above of Johnny Depp. You can click on the picture to make it bigger.

May 15, 2011


Republicans and Libertarians should always bring an air horn with them when they go on Sunday news shows. That way, when David Gregory or one of the others go all racer, accusing conservatives of being racist when describe Obama's defects from the Right (as Gregory did to Newt this morning), they can just blow the air horn in the news person's face in response.

May 14, 2011

Obama to open Alaskan Petroleum Reserve

President Obama has decided to open up NPRA (the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska) for more oil exploration.  This is a good start, but  when did we allow the President of the United States complete authority over where oil companies can and cannot drill on public lands?  President Bush did the same thing, opening up offshore drilling with the stroke of a pen... why no EPA?  Why no Congress?  How have we come to a point where one guy in Washington D.C. can wake up some Saturday morning and say, "What the hey, this'll shut them up."

It's good to be King.

May 5, 2011

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR)

Are we ready yet to accept Cold Fusion as a real phenomenon?

"The Fleischmann-Pons announcement [in 1989] should have been the start of a new era of cheap, clean energy that would have saved us from the financial and environmental disasters and wars caused by fossil fuel energy. Instead, denial and dirty tricks caused us to waste 23 years and tens of billions of dollars on failed nuclear projects as though nothing had happened."

Since Adrian Rossi is shipping a product in October, I'd say, "Yes!"


Even though it sounds like something from "The Onion," this article from "The Hill" reports an apparently serious Obama plan to tax cars by the mile driven.  Obama's "Transportation Opportunities Act" apparently builds on a Senate Budget Committee proposal by Kent Conrad (D-ND) to gather revenues by taxing cars:

Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

This is a non-starter.  Why is anyone wasting tax money developing a plan that would require installing government tracking equipment in everyone's car?  And "payment could take place electronically at filling stations!"  -- It already does!  It's called the Federal Gasoline Tax!

May 4, 2011

R.I.P Jackie Cooper

Jackie Cooper has passed away at 88

April 27, 2011

TSA Has Not Caught Even One Terrorist

You read that right, TSA has not caught even one terrorist and yet now, along with the naked body scanners and intimate pat downs, they have released a list of 70 behavioral indicators that help them determine who might be a terrorist.  One item on the list is, of course,

"Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures."

Yes, if you, like Miss America 2003 (not everyone is selected for additional screening... how interesting that Miss America was selected), express contempt about TSA's assumption of your guilt until you are proven innocent, then you put yourself at risk for further invasion into your rights.


Russia says it will refuse to let unsafe vehicles dock with the International Space Station.  "Unsafe," in this case, means U.S commercial spacecraft... meaning PRIVATE... meaning NOT FUNDED WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY... meaning CHEAPER FOR AMERICA.... meaning.... LOSS OF MONEY TO RUSSIA.

Russia currently has a monopoly on lifeboat services to the International Space Station and next year they will have a monopoly on crew transportation (after the shuttle is retired). Right now Russia is charging us $63 million a seat while SpaceX intends to charge only $20 million a seat.

April 21, 2011

Atlas Shrugged in Action

You don't have to go to the movie-house to see what Atlas Shrugged is all about.  Just read about the National Labor Relations Board suit against Boeing, trying to prevent them from moving work away from Union-locked Washington State to Right-to-Work South Carolina.  Even though not one person has been downsized (in fact, Boeing has added a couple thousand workers in Washington), even though the Union has struck Boeing five times in 30 years, the United States has jumped in to fight for the Union.

April 20, 2011

Do twisty bulbs release carcinogens?

What will it take for Congress to ACT and repeal the incandescent light bulb ban?  How about new studies showing the twisty bulbs release several carcinogenic chemicals when they are switched on and advice that you shouldn't use them in unventilated areas or anywhere near your head?  For crying out loud!

April 16, 2011

Review: Atlas Shrugged Part I

I enjoyed the movie, but entertain no beliefs that it will win any awards. I found it choppy, mostly because the scope of the book covered years and a wide array of characters. When I read the book, I had a Lauren Bacall type of actress in mind for Dagny. Taylor Schilling has that look, but few modern actors have the gravitas of a Bacall who could say so much with just the cast of her eyes. I never liked the descriptions of Hank Rearden in the book because the blonde, tall, powerful portrait Rand wrote, along with his demeanor made him sound a bit nazi-like -- so I was pleased with Grant Bowler as a shorter, darker Hank. As for James Taggart, Matthew Marsden just didn't work for me: he was neither smarmy enough nor experienced enough nor lost-to-culture enough. The casting directory in my head would seek someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman or John Malkavich instead. But those cast performed their parts well. Perhaps Rebecca Wisocky as Hank's wife was the best cast. I'll withhold judgement on Jsu Garcia as Francisco D'Anconia -- his major parts are yet to come.

Sadly, as well, my favorite scene from Part I in the book, the successful maiden run of the John Galt Line, was turned into a rather boring montage of a model train running through barren terrain. In the book, the government threw countless barriers into the path of getting the John Galt Line built, including the false claim that Rearden Metal was dangerously weak. Dagny and Hank brought the Line into existence through their forceful wills and work ethic and they inspired not only the workers on the project, but the whole country. On the maiden run there was fear that the government would sabotage the train or the bridge but as the engine traveled on, people started appearing along the tracks cheering it on, holding guns aloft to show they had been protecting the track. More and more people cheered them on and it became a roaring crowd of success by the time they pulled to a final stop. Nothing like that appeared in the movie. I think something like ten people were shown at a brief distance, celebrating the train as it pulled into the station.

Another scene that affected me when reading the book that's missing from the movie is during the search of the 20th Century Motors factory site. The factory had fallen to ruin years ago (think Detroit) and the whole area around the old factory site was ill-serviced... water, power, govt. services had begun to fall away, leaving the residents to either flee, or survive in a kind of third world life. As I read the book, I found it a powerful reminder of how government and union policies can end up destroying industry and all of industry's attendant economic activity. Shops, stations, roads, etc. are kept in good repair while a factory is churning out goods because raw materials need to be supplied, goods shipped out, workers need to be housed and fed, their children educated. When they searched the factory in the book, the sadness of America's abandoned manufacturing sites filled the pages. None of those scenes were present in the movie... Hank and Dagny find the factory without encountering any of the surrounding population. Their search of the site is accomplished quickly and miraculously. Scenes that could have been powerfully rendered, scenes that hold a mirror up to what's happening in some areas of America, aren't even attempted.

As with other movies made from popular books (Harry Potter comes to mind), one of the nice things about the movie is that you're sitting in an audience of people who know and love the book and who want to love the movie. I think it will make money (what other measure of success could a movie of Atlas Shrugged desire?), if the size of a 2pm Friday showing is any measure. Hopefully, it will make enough of a profit for Part II to appear on Tax Day 2012.

April 12, 2011

Sandy Springs

I think this video about the new town, Sandy Springs, in Georgia needs wider play. I also like that the city planner reminds me of Gilligan, only smart.

April 10, 2011

Energy Consumption

I'm a sucker for an excellent chart... the one above, from 2009 (click on it to make it bigger), is chock full of great information. Facts like 8.3 percent of our energy supply in America is Nuclear and it makes up 22 percent of our electricity is quite interesting. I only wish it had more depth, allowing one to tunnel down further into how energy is used in America. It would be nice, for example, to drill down on the renewable energy sources used in America to find out that burning wood and water dams make up 50% and 35% of our renewable energy respectively while solar power makes up just 1 percent (1% of 7.7% of our energy comes from solar or 0.00077 of our energy) Or that 59% of petroleum used in transportation goes to gasoline, 20% goes to diesel and 11% goes to jet fuel.

72 percent of petroleum used in America goes to transportation and of that 72 percent, 30 percent goes to light trucks, SUVs, etc., 28 percent goes to cars, 19 percent to big trucks, construction equipment, etc. and 9 percent to airplanes.

Update: Another portrait of the same data, with the addition of efficiency loss:

April 1, 2011

Wisconsin Judge Makes her own rules

I would hope it doesn't matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat.  When the Judicial Branch rules that the Legislative and Executive Branches cannot pass a law, you should be offended.  Judge Sumi, in Wisconsin, is not ruling that the new law is unconstitutional... she's ruling that the law cannot go into effect because of the procedure being used to pass it.  Question, how can a judge rule on a law if it isn't in effect?  Answer, it cannot even come before the court because nobody has standing until the law is in effect.  John Fund has a nice article about this in the Wall Street Journal:

Legal analysts say it's preposterous for a judge to enjoin publication of a law before it has even taken effect, as citizens don't have standing to challenge a law until they are subject to it. In a similar case in 1943, the state's Supreme Court ruled that a judge had no such authority. In 1977, another state Supreme Court opinion reiterated that under separation of powers "no court has jurisdiction to enjoin the legislative process at any point." Rick Esenberg, an assistant professor of law at Marquette University, says he is "speechless" over the fact that Judge Sumi "has failed to articulate why she has the authority" to issue her ruling.

So just who does this Judge Sumi think she is (besides a tool of the unions and Democrats)?  It appears this is going to head to the Wisconsin Supreme Court which, as Fund says above, has already ruled twice that a Judge does not have this power.  What Sumi is managing to do, though, is delay everything long enough for a Supreme Court election, where the unions and Democrats plan to do their darnedest to buy a friendly judge onto the Supreme Court to break precedent with the past.  We shall see if the Wisconsin voters allow such foolishness to continue.

March 24, 2011

Deaths per Terawatt

President Obama wants to buy oil from off-shore wells in Brazil

"By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States.  We want to work with you.  We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers."

and mine coal in Wyoming

"Coal is a critical component of America's comprehensive energy portfolio as well as Wyoming's economy," Secretary Salazar said in making his announcement with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. "As the number one coal producer from public lands, Wyoming provided nearly 40 percent of the domestic coal used to generate electricity last year and it's important that we continue to encourage safe production of this important resource."

Let's hope, given the death rate per terawatt for the different energy technologies, that the President follows through on his nuclear power pledges.

Thorium Again

Kirk Sorensen Rebuts IEER/PSR Thorium Paper.  This article is full of interesting facts.

March 22, 2011

The Wisconsin Restraining Order

How can a judge issue a restraining order on something that doesn't exist? How can the Judicial Branch reach down into the Legislative Branch and call a law unconstitutional before it even becomes a law... preventing it from becoming law? Perhaps more importantly, why would the Executive or Legislative branches honor such a usurpation of their power instead of just ignoring it.

March 16, 2011

The War on Gravity

Popular Science has a very nice article this month about Roger Babson and his "One Man War Against Gravity."

Tsar Bomba

A dose of calm from Jerry Pournelle

Wealthy civilizations have costs. They are small compared to the grinding costs of poverty. Low productivity produces poverty. High energy costs lower productivity. Before we call for any drastic reduction in energy production, it would be well to see what the maximum disaster costs might be, and what can be done to mitigate or prevent such in future. That does not appear to be the advice the media is giving us.

Tsar Bomba, refers to the 50 megaton hydrogen bomb deployed 10-30-1961 by the Soviets in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. The most powerful nuclear bomb every detonated. 50 megatons is estimated to be one quarter of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. (The Soviets design Tsar Bomba to yield 100 megatons but they reduced the yield for the test because they were worried about fallout).

A reverse-order timeline of the nuclear problems in Japan

March 14, 2011

Norwell Boys have a fine season

The Knights ended the season 16-7 on Saturday, losing a close one to Harding in the Regional opener 52-53.  Harding, in turn, lost to Columbia City who advanced to the semistate in Huntington and will play Culver Academy.

Norwell averaged 59 points a game this season against their opponents' 52 points a game.

Prayers for Japan

The destruction is nearly unfathomable.

Additional photos

March 13, 2011

March 7, 2011

Norwell Boys Win Sectional

For the first time since 1995, the Norwell Knights are Sectional victors! Congratulations, guys, and good luck in the Blackford Regional at noon on Saturday against Harding (in their final year).

February 21, 2011

The Death of the Music Industry

A very interesting article at Business Insider on the death of the music industry.  As you can see, people aren't spending near as much as they used to.  The article thinks this is due to people only  downloading individual songs instead of entire albums.  There are tons of charts and facts in the article, but still, I think, something is missing.

I'd like to see similar charts for different styles of music.  I have the impression, and perhaps it's just me, that the music industry spends a lot of money on the technology of recording and post-processing music.  Perhaps this is sustainable for artists who hit a sweet spot in the population (like we Baby Boomers), but is unsustainable for niche markets.  The music industry rose with the Baby Boomers, spiked when we converted our favorite albums to CD, and now falls as fewer pop artists try to please us. 

Just a thought.

February 18, 2011

Obama's 2012 Budget Proposal

Either click on the picture above, or go here to examine President Obama's 2012 Budget Proposal. Just as last year, red represents cuts, green represents increased spending... the darker the color, the steeper the cut or increase. Notice the huge blocks of green on the left for Social Security and Medicare and the large block of green on the right for Interest on the Debt.
Thanks to Rose McAfee for the nice picture of Norwell's Sectional Victory. The 20-2 Lady Knights continue to the Peru Regional tomorrow (Saturday 2/19) against Yorktown (16-7) at 10:00am. Go Knights!

February 15, 2011

Jarrod Parker News

Diamondbacks'  Parker plots full-speed return after Tommy John surgery:

General manager Kevin Towers said Parker will not be held back this spring.

"I think sometimes you can tend to coddle people too long," Towers said. "I mean, this guy's almost two years post-op. He threw very good in instructional ball. he's been working his tail off here in the off season at Chase Field. He's a special pitcher. We're going to do what's right for him, but this guy's chomping at the bit."

Parker's fastball hit 97 mph in workouts last fall. In a two-inning instructional league appearance, he hit 95 mph 10 times, striking out three and walking one without allowing a hit.

"Parker was Arizona's No. 1 pick, the ninth selection overall, in the 2007 draft after going 12-0 with a 0.10 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 70 innings at Norwell High School in Ossian, Indiana. He was selected Indiana's Mr. Baseball on a team that went 35-0 and won the state title.

February 13, 2011

Big Tree

The caption on this picture claims it is a fig tree in a sugar cane field Queensland, Australia, circa 1870. If so, that's a mighty big fig tree. Its figs must have been quite bruised when they fell.

February 12, 2011

Unrest in North Africa and the Middle East

A very nice article, attempting to explain the ongoing revolutions.

The Immortal Cells of Henrietta Lacks

I've read about this before, but this is a very nice synopsys about the Immortal Cells of Henrietta Lacks.  Countless people are alive and thousands have become very wealthy through experimentation with her tissue.  Perhps there oughta be a law.

February 11, 2011

Norwell vs. Bellmont Tonight

The Norwell girls crushed Maconaquah in their Peru Sectional opener on Tuesday, 79-15, moving them to 18-2 on the season.  Norwell takes on Bellmont tonight at 7:30.  Norwell will be looking to repeat their January 15th defeat of the Braves.

Wayne takes on Peru in the opening game at 5pm.

January 28, 2011

Egypt 2011

Are we on the right side of what's going on in Egypt?  I see VP Biden is supporting President Mubarak by saying Mubarak's not a dictator... but the guy's been running Egypt since Sadat was assassinated in 1981... he routinely arrests his political opposition and now he's pulled the plug on the Internet in Egypt.  If Mubarak crushes this uprising... how are all those protesting going to feel about America, which not only didn't speak out for them (just like we didn't speak out for the protesters in Iran), but we spoke out for the anti-democratic ruler.

We seem to seek stability more than democracy.

January 27, 2011

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

I like Rand Paul's plan a lot... it's about time, after decades of failure, to get rid of the department's of Energy and Education and Housing and Urban Development and the Commission of Fine Arts and support for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities.  America didn't always have these departments... how long must they fail before we finally eliminate them?

January 24, 2011

Rest in Peace Jack LaLanne

I remember Jack LaLanne's TV show well.  His exercise equipment on his show was a chair and a towel.  In his own workouts, though, it was weights -- weights until he couldn't do them anymore.

Rest well, Jack LaLanne... at 96, you deserve it.

January 19, 2011

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

Johannes Vermeer painted "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" (above) in 1665. Dorothee Golz created the modern day version (below) digitally.

Golz is experimenting by putting portraits from hundreds of years ago into modern settings and modern body language... of her various attempts with this and other photoshops, this is one that seems to work... I suppose that says a lot about the original.

Ex-NY Mayor Ed Koch stands up for Civility

Mayor Koch has always been one to speak his mind. His comments regarding that recent attacks on Sarah Palin are no exception:
The fools in politics today in both parties are those who think she is dumb. I've never met her, but I've always thought that she is highly intelligent but not knowledgeable in many areas and politically uninformed. I don't believe she will run for president in 2012 or that she would be elected if she did. But I do believe she is equal in ability to many of those in the Republican Party seeking that office.

Many women understand what she has done for their cause. She will not be silenced nor will she leave the heavy lifts to the men in her Party. She will not be falsely charged, remain silent, and look for others - men - to defend her. She is plucky and unafraid.

Well said. I tire of listening to Newt Gingrich and Charles Krauthammer complain that Palin should remain silent... they join the Democrat comics and commentators who just want Palin to shut up. Apparently, this was the one thing they all liked about President Bush, that he will not defend himself. It makes it so much easier if those you slander and libel just take it in silence.

January 18, 2011

Climate Bunco

Dr. Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist at MIT,  writes A Case Against Precipitous Climate Action over at Watt's Up With That:

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope...

[ Climate change disasters ] depend not on some global average of surface temperature anomaly, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind. The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal (a leading modeler refers to it as essentially guesswork). Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range. The odds of any specific catastrophe actually occurring are almost zero....
Inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data.

It's hard to pick out the most interesting part of the article, so be sure to read the whole thing.  Lindzen is one of the premier scientists in the bunco squad fighting against global warming/climate change scams and hysterics.

January 15, 2011

Norwell Girls 14-1

The Lady Knights move to 14-1 on the season, defeating Bellmont by a cool 20 points.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Got Ethanol?

Food supplies are tightening across the world

As supplies tighten, prices surge. Earlier this month, the FAO said its food price index jumped 32 percent in the second half of 2010, soaring past the previous record set in 2008.

Prices rose again this week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut back its already-tight estimate of grain inventories. Estimated reserves of corn were cut to about half the level in storage at the start of the 2010 harvest; soybean reserves are at the lowest levels in three decades, the USDA estimates, in part because of heavy buying by China. The ratio of stocks to demand is expected to fall later this year to "levels unseen since the mid-1970s," the agency said.

and Congress wants to save money... simple arithmatic: Stop pushing our food into our fuel supply!

Higher oil prices are also pushing up the cost of food — in two ways. First, the added shipping cost raises the delivered price of agricultural products. Higher oil prices also divert more crops like corn and soybeans to biofuel production, further tightening supplies for livestock feed and human consumption. Conley estimates that more than a third of the corn produced in the U.S is now used to make ethanol.

Let's all hope there actually is such a thing as global warming so we can have extended growing seasons and spend less money on heating and snow removal. Before climate scientists existed, geologists understood the Earth was trapped in a cycle of repeated ice ages. Warming is our best scenario, plants love carbon dioxide... what do you think trees are made of?

More: Experts warn of fuel and food shortages

January 3, 2011

A Thin, Red Line

Click on the above to make it bigger, but you still won't be able to see wind, solar and geothermal power as anything but a thin, red line.

The above and many more charts can be see at The Oil Drum.