Friday, November 30, 2007

Interesting Chart

(H/T Barry Ritholz.)

the Evolution of Water

Computer water, circa 1982

Computer water, circa 2007

A series of 32 screen shots showing the development of rendering techniques for water in computer games from a German PC Magazine. I've actually played both the first and the last of the games in the sequence. Amazing how far graphics have come.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Immigration Policy

I suppose that we should get around to taking a look at the different approaches proposed by each candidate.

Fred Thompson

Comprehensive, detailed and logical. The problem didn't happen overnight and it won't be fixed overnight.

Rudy Giuliani

Doesn't seem to feel it's an issue. That or he hides it in a place I can't find.

Mitt Romney

The man has a really firm grasp of the principles of platitude construction. Promises strong employer sanctions and a "cut back" on federal funding to sanctuary cities. Doesn't mention whether it would be 1.1% or 1.2%. Doesn't explain exactly how he'll get the illegals to show up for their biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card nor does he explain why they shouldn't be deported when they do show up. The proposal can me read as a mandate to make all visitors get that biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card prior to entry. We had over 33 million foreign vistors last year. Should be a piece of cake.

John McCain

Open borders

Mike Huckabee

I urge you to read this one completely. It's not bad conceptually but the presentation lacks anything approaching the quality that one might expect from a serious contender. He makes some decent points but at a remarkably low skill level.

IMO - Thompson's proposal has the edge. Huckabee is too confrontational/combative. Romney - very, very malleable. He's going to be a hard one to corner.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Treason's Reward

Lovely, isn't it?

This morning Bank of America issued a "sell" recommendation that knocked the stock down to another new 52 week low. It's being propped at the moment by institutional holders (with very heavy volume). If Junior's office has operable windows, Keller better have maintenance screw them shut for the time being.

CyberMonday came in a lot better than even Black Friday.

Don't these people realize just how nigh the end is? Why aren't they huddled in a tent somehwere in Idaho awaiting the arrival of the dreaded Black Swan?

Weekly Links

Stem cells from skin cells.

More housing price records.

China's first spacewalk.

Is Mankind destroying the world? Worse, we're foreshortening the life of the Universe itself. Repent!

Australia shifts away from the US, toward China.

A group is its own worst enemy.

Robotic aircraft learn to stunt-fly.

How to protect IM from Big Brother.

The sliding rocks of Racetrack Playa mystery. (And who knew "playa" was an English word too?)

Time to burn cars in Paris again.

15 dark comedies to watch.

Google's privacy protections are worth the paper they're printed on.

Putin arrests Kasparov. "We don't need no stinkin' dissent", he opines. "One party's good enough for my boys, it's good enough for Russia."

10 free science courses online at good universities.

The Chinese African empire continues to grow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ermm... who tested this idea?

Hilarious! But then again...

During the course of the day we discovered two "baby" mice. They're old enough to walk but not old enough to scurry worth a darn - easily collected and, umm..., relocated.

The hilarious part is the ease with which My-Better-Two-Thirds can be made to jump out of her skin. A simple BOO! will do it. Repeatedly. What a laugh riot, such good fun.

But then again... I do believe that mouse litters involve a bit more than two of the critters. Not to mention mom. Off to buy some traps. Sigh...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Video du Jour


The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

- Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation October 3, 1863

I do not mean the following to belittle anything anyone has said or will say about thankfulness or this fabulous holiday we observe. It is just something I like and am struggling to make real for me...

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
--WT Purkiser
(No, I'm not reborn, I just choose to try and believe some things regardless of how difficult they are to bring to life.)

And last, but nowhere near least, in addition to the many things I will ponder upon over the next few days...
I am thankful for Jim, Brian, and Tony.
- Knucklehead
I would also like to thank my friends here at Flares for being here (and there). I have no idea what's become of Terrye but I hope she is well and happy.

Idiot's Parade

What's wrong with old Sesame Street?:

The old “Sesame Street” is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for softies born since 1998, when the chipper “Elmo’s World” started. Anyone who considers bull markets normal, extracurricular activities sacrosanct and New York a tidy, governable place — well, the original “Sesame Street” might hurt your feelings.

I asked Carol-Lynn Parente, the executive producer of “Sesame Street,” how exactly the first episodes were unsuitable for toddlers in 2007. She told me about Alistair Cookie and the parody “Monsterpiece Theater.” Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, used to appear with a pipe, which he later gobbled. According to Parente, “That modeled the wrong behavior” — smoking, eating pipes — “so we reshot those scenes without the pipe, and then we dropped the parody altogether.”

Weekly Links

My Girl Cuffy
Originally uploaded by dallasjlogan

Will the Internet run out of capacity in two years?

Killing cancer without surgery or chemo (part of our ongoing Dr. McCoy series).

Black Friday ads.

The debate dominatrix tames the Obambi. (H/T Doug)

How to catch a rainbow.

The best of what's new.

Is the end of the world is as nigh as next May?

The "drop-dead basic mathematics" of category theory.

9 awesome natural phenomena.

How to increase contempt and disdain for the law.

Growth stocks for a troubled economy.

The first virtual teacher.

The top 5 free anti-virus programs.

Hong Kong vs. Shanghai.

How the Inca leapt canyons.

Decode your DNA.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Overcoming Bias: The Simple Math of Everything: "t seems to me that there's a substantial advantage in knowing the drop-dead basic fundamental embarrassingly simple mathematics in as many different subjects as you can manage. Not, necessarily, the high-falutin' complicated damn math that appears in the latest journal articles. Not unless you plan to become a professional in the field. But for people who can read calculus, and sometimes just plain algebra, the drop-dead basic mathematics of a field may not take that long to learn. And it's likely to change your outlook on life more than the math-free popularizations or the highly technical math."

Late for the sky

RIP, Fred (see page 9 for those who are interested). As you mentioned in your interview with CNN back in 2004, when you were three years beyond the prognosis,
I'm much more empathetic towards my patients that I deal with when I'm at work. And I enjoy my life more one day at a time. And try and just appreciate everything that I have. And I do have a lot. And I am very blessed.
And you lasted more than three additional years all the while doing just that. Living life with empathy and appreciation. Well done.



The smart set had inched forward
Through the rows
Of lettuces and onions, summer stuff
That still means something
As a year wears on—
Those wedded to those meanings waited to
Release them, just a few spurts
At a time
Of their own choosing, late in fall, a light
Of golden motes filtering down through trees
And wires the warblers
Had abandoned for
Oncoming winter, storms still out at sea
In long lines, waiting
Northwest of the Bay.
To give up, to confess that one has failed
His spin class, just because he shows up drunk
With lust for ladies prettier than he,
Is sobering. But to stand around the way

We stood around the garden
Like scarecrows,
Just soaking up the blessings, crazed with light
And time, and so to fill the whole ram’s horn
With plenty, though we’ve angered several trees,
May be forgiven, if justice is done
To what the garden gives us.
Let the air
Be redolent of light and color where
Tomorrow we’ll be
Found with our bouquets
Of lavender, and marjoram, and sage,
As fall comes on. — Wild Goose Chase
And Blue Moon
Can be our theme songs, sixty years ago
They were atop the charts!
Time to bring back
The kind of longing that carried us here,
Bewildered, where a wilderness of vines
Hangs in the balance,
Just before the rains
Include us in the winter’s plans for us.

Tomorrow I promise to have made time
For gardening with boots on, —
Should the sun
Decline our invitation, we’ll still be
Strapped to our task, unbundling the light
Of gardens,
And we’ll all breathe easier
As day gets busy, erasing what’s lost.

For Jeremy and Deanie

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Greening of America

Plants are all the rage. Nothing brightens up a debate like potted plants scattered among the audience. The best rundown I have yet seen of the audience plants in the CNN debate is at pcexposed. I count three definite and one possible plant at this point. Read the post, then ask yourself what we can do to counter the corrupt and arrogant elites who are cynically manipulating and undermining the polity of our country.

h/t: Ace

Update: All sorts are piling on. Remember Rathergate? This is beginning to smell like that. Dan Riehl has a update with more links. This could be fun, especially if it makes it into the MSM. Rathergate never really did, amazingly enough, but this time even some Democrats might be interested in uncovering the scam. Especially if it turns out that some of them weren't in on it. And yes, our favorite corrupt senator, Harry Reid, seems to have played a part in setting up this disgusting charade.

Picture du Jour

Bring. It. ON.

Kerry has accepted Boone Picken's challenge.

I intend to follow this one here. I am sure Tom McGuire will have some posts on this as well.

This should be fun.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Clockwise, or Counter Clockwise?

PIcture du Jour

Rare Nazi German shot

Weekly Links

As big a shock as Sputnik? So much for superpower status....

Is the new Zune better than the iPod Classic?

Fast food nutrition.

How to get 99% of the hydrogen from waste.

Google claims to have produced a quantum computer—but is it a hoax?

The 10 weirdest houses.

Is 10 years old too young for the 39 raisins?

Introducing Songza.

Squeezing 40% more transistors in.

The difficult patients of the information age.

The source of empathy and autism?

Krugman's latest innocent mistakes.

Even more poor people are with us in South Africa.

More Python goodies.

The source of all chocolate.

How to invest in Africa.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Say "Hello!" to President Hillary

Well I was talking the other day to an old friend who lives in Topeka. This lawyer is very smart and over the course of time I have come to think of him as the very embodiment of the center of American politics. He was one of the first smart people I knew who supported Reagan, long before I would even have considered voting Republican.

We had previously discussed Giuliani, and I had expressed my belief that he is the least objectionable to me of the current crop of wanna-be Presidents. He's not terribly fond of Giuliani himself, but he's the sort of fellow who's never fond of any particular politician or party—all the more reason to sit up and listen when he ends up supporting one. Now we were on the subject of hospitals and he remarked that the VA hospital system has become truly awful and the people who are stuck in it are in very bad shape. He remarked that he can hardly bear to visit the VA hospitals any more because they are so dingy and depressing. I couldn't help but jump at the opportunity to put the wedge in, so I replied that once "his candidate" Hillary took over, every hostpital would soon become as dingy and depressing as the VA Hospitals.

I was rather shocked at his reaction. He immediately, and with surprising heat, starting attacking me over Iraq and Iran, saying things like "Do you believe we should go to war with Iran?" and "Do you really think Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction?". This unexpected barrage of assertive questions overwhelmed my ability to respond or answer in short time, but it made one thing abundantly clear to me: the country is frustrated and angry over the Iraq War. There is a widespread sense than Bush and the Republicans—no matter what the stripe—must be punished for their transgressions, and it matters little whether the instrument of punishment is Hillary or any other semi-reputable Democrat. The issue now is the Republicans, and unless that changes, Hillary will soon be in control.

Picture du Jour

Video du Jour

(H/T: Rob)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Links

Pui Mun
Originally uploaded by duke9042004

Facebook is stalking you.

Fly me over the Moon, in HDTV.

30-year vaporware.

William Gibson speaks.

7 engineering wonders of the modern world.

French nuclear bombs, circa 1968.

The big juicy Twitter guide.

201 Chekhov stories.

A dollar collapse is not likely yet.

Iraq is getting better. (H/T doug)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Journal of Geoclimatic Studies

Is a Fraud. Just thought I would do my bit to get the keywords out there. Dr Hiroko Takebe of the Journal of Geoclimatic Studies is a FRAUD. The study on the effect of benthic bacteria on global warming detailed in the "Journal of Geoclimatic Studies" is a FRAUD. More at Blue Crab Boulevard and The American Thinker.

Picture du Jour

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Picture du Jour

The happy children of N. Korea.

Weekly Links

Biofuels are a "crime against humanity".

Labor shortages in China.

Meet The Shadow.

Big German Brother?

Windows Home Server reviewed.

Pirate-hunting robots on the seas.

The world's tiniest radio.

Deathrays made of light—for viruses.

Monkey brains are hardwired for counting.

Food prices are rising.

Every robot lost the race.

Mining humans to circumvent captchas.

In Britain, they came first to track the animals, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an animal; And then they came to track the little children, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a little child; And then they came to track the students....

9 staircases.

87 rattlesnakes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

OPENING ARGUMENT: Mukasey And The Slippery Pols (11/05/2007)

OPENING ARGUMENT: Mukasey And The Slippery Pols (11/05/2007): "The attacks on Mukasey are an exquisite example of Congress's penchant for avoiding accountability by leaving the law unclear and then trashing the executive for whichever interpretation it adopts whenever something goes wrong."

Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science

Climate Audit - by Steve McIntyre » The Wegman and North Reports for Newbies

Picture du Jour

The Brits have gone completely bonkers!

Spurning leftovers may hurt climate. (ht: Tim Blair)

British Environment Minister Joan Ruddock has warned citizens that by not eating leftover food, they are effectively causing climate change.

Ruddock said that through food waste and excessive shopping, British citizens were paying a significant cost in both environmental and financial terms, The Independent reported Friday.

"At this rate we will not have a place to live which is habitable if we don't address climate change globally and the U.K. has to make its contribution," she said of such social problems.

To which I say...

"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"


This one's for you.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Too bad about the ghost infestation...

..otherwise I would buy one of these joints in a heartbeat.
Hello to the 21st Century is my motto.
Now, if these places are connected with
conveyor belt sidewalks the place is nirvana.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Troubles in Paradise

The EU Referendum blog has been covering an interesting story out of Italy. Apparently surrounding Rome are some pretty bad squatter type of slums. These settlements are grim and consist of trailers and some cardboard/plywood makeshift hovels. There are a lot of Romanian immigrants, legal since Romania is part of the EU as is Italy, living in these slums. Crime is a problem. Quoting the EU Referendum, "The mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, says that 75 percent of arrests for murder, rape and robbery in his city this year can be attributed to Romanians."

Emotions finally boiled over after the killing of an Italian woman, who was raped, beaten to death and tossed into a ditch. Under public pressure the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, ironically a former EU president, has passed a decree allowing the deportation of any immigrant who poses a threat. This apparently runs afoul of EU Mandates, which forbid such expulsions for anything other than extraordinary cases.

The Italian government, as EU countries seem to do when the urge strikes them, are ignoring the EU's laws and have began to bulldoze the settlements. Many of the Romanian immigrants are reported to be packing up and leaving prior to the crackdown.

As I mentioned in the Gates of Vienna post comments, I think a dynamic that will come into play is that, when one EU country cracks down on immigrants, the immigrants -- due to the open borders within the EU -- will cross the borders into neighboring countries looking for greener pastures. Those countries will then be faced with either absorbing what might undesirable newcomers, or cracking down themselves. This could lead to an escalating situation that resulted in an essentially 'stateless' immigrant population sloshing around Europe.

It will be an interesting story to watch unfold. Will the EU turn a blind-eye or try to enforce their directives? Will Italy continue to ignore the EU laws? What will other countries in the EU do if they get an up-tick in Romanians immigrating from Italy? Finally, if Italy gets away with its actions, will EU countries turn their eyes towards their troublesome Moslem neighborhoods and apply the same remedy?

Friday Links

Super-strong full body armor in sight.

Good programming habits.

Unclutter your music.

Is it time to completely dump the dollar?

Google wants it all.

How long can China pollute for free?

A brief history of record industry suicide.

How to do a Facebook mashup with Popfly.

1980's deja vu all over again?

Europe explained in maps.

25 top websites for stock research.

China moves deeper into Africa.

Why we need a recession soon.

AMERICAN DIGEST Essays | News | Notes | Quotes

AMERICAN DIGEST Essays | News | Notes | Quotes: "Another compelling reason to read authors from what seems like long ago is to gain perspective and insight into the present; to be confirmed in the constant suspicion that no matter how new and modern some idea or fashion may seem it is really only reiteration when it comes to the minds, behavior, and souls of men. For while the tone of these men's prose may seem archaic, their insights are often fresher than today's dawn."