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2005 History

December 30, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


The Last Friday Cat Blogging of 2005: Miko

As you can guess from the recent blockage of bloggage, I've been busy with family and work of late. Sorry.

I've been thinking of making some changes at the website for 2006:

Cat Blogging will continue, but because this year pretty much burned through my back catalog of cat pictures, so I'll publish the really good new ones as I take them. (Not that I don't have hundreds of unpublished cat photos, I take 3-5 for each one I publish, but as they are indoor cats the number of poses is somewhat limited.)

That's going to leave room for a more eclectic mix of photos, and since many of the photos I'd like to share just don't look right when shunk to 384x288, I'll be re-designing the hompage and feed for bigger photos.

I'll be refreshing the layout to support the larger graphics, and maybe replace the banner from time to time. (Once again, following Dave Winer's lead)

I'm also thinking of splitting the RSS feed into two: one related to the Hompage and general podcasts, and one for Anime and fanfiction podcasts.

Fri, 30 Dec 2005 08:34:56 PST - Link

December 28, 2005

Matthew Simmons' Address To ASPO

Peaking is actually a fact. It is not a concept", he stated. "All finite resources, unfortunately, have their limits to growth, and the faster a resources is used, the sooner its use peaks. Peaking, categorically doesn't mean running out. Peaking means further growth is over. The difference between peak oil and running out is as profound as me saying, I am getting a tiny bit hungry and I am about to starve to death. Or I sneezed, I might have cold or I am in the last stages of a terminal disease.

EV World

EV World was also granted permission to record audio at the conference, and they have a 45 minute podcast of Mr Simmons' presentation to the APSO USA Conference.

Wed, 28 Dec 2005 08:29:42 PST - Link

December 23, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


Tory James, sink.

BTW, Cats In Sinks has loads of pictures of cats in sinks.

Fri, 23 Dec 2005 17:40:26 PST - Link

December 21, 2005

Happy Solstice!

SunriseHere's the view out my window of this morning's sunrise.

Wed, 21 Dec 2005 08:14:49 PST - Link

December 20, 2005

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.

But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper's internal discussions.

LA Times


Tue, 20 Dec 2005 08:49:59 PST - Link

December 19, 2005

Oil Shale

Searching for appropriate analogies, we enter the realm of Weight Watchers. Oil shale is said to be "rich" when a ton yields 30 gallons of oil. An equal weight of granola contains three times more energy. America's "vast," "immense" deposits of shale have the energy density of a baked potato. Oil shale has one-third the energy density of Cap'n Crunch, but no one is counting on the Quaker Oats Company to become a major energy producer soon.

Denver Post

This from a state with good wind resources an plenty of mountain locations for pumped-water energy storage systems.

Mon, 19 Dec 2005 15:58:31 PST - Link

December 16, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory James

Cat. Sun. Sleep. Tory James

- Link

Hack. The. Election.

"The expert that we used simply programmed it on his laptop in his hotel room," Sancho said.

Sancho began investigating the problem after watching the votes come in during the infamous 2000 presidential election. In Volusia County precinct 216, a memory card added more than 200 votes to George W. Bush's total and subtracted 16,000 votes from Al Gore. The mistake was later corrected during a hand count.

After watching his computer expert change vote totals this week, Sancho said that he now believes someone on the inside did the same think in Volusia County in 2000.

WESH Channel 2

Funny — the things that get reported once the teflon is off the administration.

As always, BradBlog is the tip of the spear on eVoting Fraud.

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:59:08 PST - Link

December 9, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


This time of year, the boys find the duvet irresistable.

Fri, 09 Dec 2005 08:40:47 PST - Link

December 8, 2005

Peak Oil Hearing

Transcripts and .mp3 and .rm audio of the December 7 congressional hearing on peak oil are now online at Global Public Media

You need to hear this.

Thu, 08 Dec 2005 22:36:20 PST - Link

December 6, 2005

Beanball Economics

First, this headline and story from US News:

Workers continue to step up to the plate

A new government report released this morning shows that the productivity of U.S. workers surged by 4.7 percent in the third quarter, not 4.1 percent as was previously thought.

To get hit with:

Hourly compensation grew 3.7 percent in the third quarter of 2005, following the 0.9-percent rise in the second quarter (as revised). When the rise in consumer prices is taken into account, real hourly compensation declined 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2005 and 3.1 percent one quarter earlier.

Business and Legal Reports

Say—who is this great economy great for, anyway?

Tue, 06 Dec 2005 11:37:08 PST - Link

A Jon Stewart Moment...

This Yahoo headline caught my eye...

US may make mistakes in 'war on terror': Rice

May make mistakes? — MAY? Like someone give this administration permission to continue to screw up?

Oh yeah — 2004. Nevermind. Carry on. Nothing to see here.

Tue, 06 Dec 2005 08:25:11 PST - Link

Word Of The Year...


Tue, 06 Dec 2005 07:57:20 PST - Link

Aw, Whata Ham

Via Cunningham-Lee, a few photos from those Be Demos in Tokyo

Ueda-san (Of the Shibuya office of Metrowerks Japan) was doing the translating, he was a little hesitant in the first demo, but as the week went on he was really getting into the spririt of the demo!

Thanks for the Photos, Gary!

Tue, 06 Dec 2005 07:54:00 PST - Link

December 5, 2005

Peak Oil Hearing and Webcast from Washington DC

Understanding the Peak Oil Theory

Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality
December 7, 2005
2322 Rayburn House Office Building
09:30 AM

The Committee on Energy and Commerce Joe Barton, Chairman

Webcast details TBD, at the URL above.

Mon, 05 Dec 2005 17:56:40 PST - Link

December 4, 2005

Welcome, OS News

Woah. Nice flurry of hits from OS news, welcome guys!

While you're here, check out:

The BeBox Gallery which has some very nice pictures of the BeBox I was given when I left Be.

The Be, Inc. Gallery which has some cool historical photos (But alas, no photo of the Launch Pad Chicken!™)

And make sure not to miss the most popular part of my site:

Paper Airplanes Loads of fun, or double your money back!

Sun, 04 Dec 2005 21:36:56 PST - Link

Let Them Burn Cake

A while back a friend (one who belives that the free market will prevent Peak Oil from being a major, world changing economic event) sent me a link to an article By Peter Huber in Forbes.

I tried my best to respond to the article, but I was not really able to devote enough time to it to really deconstruct Mr Huber's arguments.

This being the age of the internet it just took a couple of weeks before somone with the time and knowledge to take Mr Huber to task:

What is Huber stating in his article? Essentially, the same basic message: that (in Huber's scenario above) energy will become so expensive that, after investing ten units of cheap energy to produce one unit of the "final form", consumable energy, that consumable energy will still sell at a handsome profit (why else otherwise would Wall Street care to fund such a business from here to Alberta, as Huber puts it?) In short, selling very expensive energy will be a very profitable business, but no cheaper forms of energy in a consumable form will be available. Obviously, energy production in a society thus described by Huber will be at the very center of the economy, and will remain among the few profitable activities, as many other formerly profitable businesses and entire industries will be killed off by the skyrocketing energy prices. In other words, an economic shrinkage of societal scale in the scenario formulated by Huber is unavoidable.

On The Prospects Of Using AAA Type Batteries As Peak OilMitigation Devices By Dmitry Podborits

Sun, 04 Dec 2005 21:17:40 PST - Link

December 3, 2005

Worst. President. Ever.

From The History News Network at George Mason University:

• He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;

• He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;

• He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;

• He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;

• He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign ( Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);

• He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;

• He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;

• He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.


Sat, 03 Dec 2005 11:27:15 PST - Link

Girls, With Rockets.

Adorable Rockets is a new blog dedicated to anime reviews. No muscle-bound super-heros here, think school girls, some magical, some with rockets, and some even have fangs.

It's just getting started, but I like the clean layout and screenshots.

Hey Rocket — have you seen Windy Tales or Kamichu yet?

Sat, 03 Dec 2005 09:34:38 PST - Link

BeBox Interview

A couple of months back I was asked to answer some questions about the Quad 604 BeBox, in the form of an online interview. You can read the interview at BeBox News

Sat, 03 Dec 2005 09:20:03 PST - Link

December 2, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging



Fri, 02 Dec 2005 20:36:50 PST - Link

Checking Predictions

The Energy Information Administration, an "independent statistical and analytical agency within the Department of Energy" occasionaly predicts the future.

Ron Patterson took a look at some 2001 predictions, and compared them to actual performance.

EIA: North Sea will peak in 2006 at 6.6 million barrels/day.
FACT: The North Sea peaked in 1999 at 5.947 mb/d

EIA: Mexico: 4 million barrels/day by 2010, and little decline to 2020.
FACT: Mexico peaked in December 2003 at 3.455 million barrels/day. Pemex is predicting a 14% per year decline rates.

Fri, 02 Dec 2005 07:53:45 PST - Link

November 30, 2005

A Barrel A Year Is All We Ask

The 20 gallons of gasoline made from one barrel of oil contains about 180 useful kilowatt-hours. If we divide that by say, 1/8 of a kilowatt — a generous continuous output for a fit person — we get 1440 hours of hard human work. Let's assume that a person can put out this 1/8 of a kilowatt for 6 hours per day. That is, half of the output of a top Tour de France cyclist for a continuous 6 hours (not counting breaks) per day. This means that you would need 240 days to get 180 kilowatt-hours (or more, if you are a dimmer bulb), which is minimally equivalent to one year of 5-days-a-week very hard labor by a fit human. This boils down conveniently to: ONE BARREL of oil = ONE YEAR of hard human labor.

The Oil Drum

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 21:34:29 PST - Link

A Sea Of Suits

This morning, Bush gave another one of his "speeches in front of people likely to clap harder at the right time", this time In Anapolis. It was a bit creepy, since the house lights were down, and any time you saw a wide shot of the auditorium, you saw a sea of identical dark suits, each sitting ram-rod straight in their seats. I've seen that movie, and it didn't end well. It's really time this president faced the great unwashed. It's really time we insist he stand before a real cross section of America. We don't like where we've been, we don't like where we are, and we don't like where he wants to take us.

It occured to me this morning that there was a point where the the Iraq war train was off the tracks:

"We've tried diplomacy," Mr. Bush said when asked about the issue today. "We're trying it one more time. I believe the free world, if we make up our mind to, can disarm this man peacefully."

At the same time he said, "The stated policy of our government, the previous administration and this administration, is regime change? because we don't believe he is going to change."


"However, if he were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations, the conditions that I've described very clearly in terms that everybody can understand, that in itself will signal the regime has changed."

October 21, 2002 Back to Iraq

This was 6 months before shock and awe, and just one month later, (2002.11.18) UN weapons inspectors were permitted back into Iraq.

So it seems that on October 21, 2002 there was a moment when this war was not inevitable. It had to be Colin Powell's doing, we now know he was the only one in the white house that was pushing for moderation and caution, and for one brief moment it appears that he'd swayed Bush to his position. I wonder if we'll ever find out who put that train back on the tracks.

John Kerry and Jack Reed are giving the Democratic response to the Bush speech, and taking unscripted questions from the press. I've been miffed at Kerry for losing 2004, listening to him speak now reminds my why I supported him. His calm depth and command of the issues was a poor match for the campaign trail, but he sure sounds good now, and the world would certainly be a better place were he in office today. You can know that he wouldn't have been on vacation when Katrina hit, and Brownie wouldn't have been in charge. Grrr.

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 08:43:38 PST - Link

Four New Saudi Arabias

Instead, oil production will reflect past years of production-such as the amount produced in 1997, for example-but demand will, of course, still be solidly grounded in the present. Everyone agrees that this will happen, although most politicians shy away from acknowledging this fact.

A pamphlet called Oil Depletion and the Fate of the World sums up this situation nicely: "Even Exxon-Mobil recently stated that, due to depletion, it will be necessary to replace 80% of current production with new fields by 2015.

In other words, we need to find four new Saudi Arabias in the next 11 years just in order to keep oil production flat."

SARAH GRILLO - Vermont Cynic

Hard to believe, isn't it. With today's price for Gasoline returning to near $2.20 a gallon, it's hard to believe that things won't just keep going on like this forever, and that buying a hulking huge pickup with a half acre of chrome bumper isn't a good idea, but it's not. We'd be hearing more about peak oil if it were a real problem, right?

We are hearing about it. Not from this administration, of course. We're hearing about it from the energy companies. Instead of spending thier recent record profits on exploration, they're buying airtime and opening websites in an effort to try to soak one simple fact - oil can not be the energy of the future - into the public. Go ahead, visit the British Pertolium website. The headline, in in eco-freindly green is "Alternative Energy".

Watch for the ads. Replay them on your Tivos. They ask us to turn down our thermostats. They urge us to drive 55. They ask us about where the energy of the future will come from.

Ask yourselves why they are running the ads.

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 08:43:38 PST - Link

November 28, 2005

In The News

WASHINGTON: A part of the marble facade of the Supreme Court building has collapsed to the entry stairs below.

Structual engineers on the scene say the damage appears to have been caused by the accumulated stress upon the court of Bush v Gore decision, the cracking of the original foundation by use of torture in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, the erosion of the separation of powers, and structural stress caused by years of pressure to move the court to the right.

Mon, 28 Nov 2005 07:43:55 PST - Link

November 27, 2005

Shouting Movie In A Crowded Firehouse.

It's been a rare two movie weekend:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Even though and a lot of the source material was left out of the screenplay, the first half of the movie feels rushed. The pacing settles down in the second half, and the scenes play true to the images I'd seen in my head while reading the book. It is perhaps ironic that this darkest of the Potter films was the most magical, and also a has the most laughs. I wish this movie were two hours longer. (Extended DVD version, guys? Pretty Please?)

RENT: is not so much an adaptation, as it is a cinema presentation of the original Broadway production, but shot on location. The music was stirring, and the cinematography and set design were inspired. Bring Kleenex.

Sun, 27 Nov 2005 20:59:53 PST - Link

November 25, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


T-chan soaking up some sun.

Fri, 25 Nov 2005 22:54:58 PST - Link

November 24, 2005

Best. Turkey. Ever.

I'm not sure what happened — A turkey that should have taken 4 hours (16lb 8oz) took a full 5 hours before it was done (165 degrees internal temp). I was frantic that with all that time in the oven, it would be as dry as toast—but it wasn't. It was perfect. Better than any I've ever had. Ever. What did I do I right?

Thu, 24 Nov 2005 23:29:49 PST - Link

Half Full

Peak Oil

Source: Happy Peak Oil Day? - The Oil Drum

Now, for the world - and we’re getting to the core of the story here - after 1983, the world production settles down to a pretty good straight line, and there is one more black dot - because I had to release this to the publisher before the 2004 numbers came out - so the 2004 numbers - another black dot jammed between there and the plus mark. The plus mark is when half of the oil is being produced, and that third equation, a couple of slides back, had as one of its consequences that the peak of production occurs at the symmetry point when half of the oil has been produced.

And so I got an enlarged version of this and counted forward. And that is where I got to Thanksgiving Day this year, saying that that is my estimate of the peak. Now, I did that to make the economists nervous. It really is uncertain by about three weeks on either side. (Laughter.) Now, this came across

Kenneth Deffeyes at the Bartlett Energy Conference [PDF]

Today is a day to relax, and eat well, and be with your families. Tomorrow is the day to roll up our sleves and get serious about energy.

Thu, 24 Nov 2005 10:19:01 PST - Link

November 19, 2005

Did I Hear You Say "Peak"?

"Quite remarkably, in the first half of 2005 the top five, the top ten and the top 22 publicly quoted oil companies all produced less crude and NGLs [Natural Gas Liquids] than they did in 2004," according to a report published in the October issue of Petroleum Review. Compared with 2003, ten companies produced less in the first half of this year. Nine companies produced less than in 2002. "Clearly, it is no exaggeration to say that the world's largest oil companies are now really struggling to hold production levels," the report says. Meanwhile, a recent study by energy consultants Wood Mackenzie shows that only a quarter of the 28 leading oil companies active in international exploration have fully replaced their production through new field discoveries. The group of companies studied represents more than 30 percent of total world oil supply. "Not only is exploration more expensive now, but it has become more difficult to achieve success, as the more accessible fields have been discovered," the study author Andrew Latham said, noting that the industry has not discovered any new "world-class" fields since 2000.

The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre

This is a little confusing at first, since the chart shows BP first, and they were up in both the first and second quarters. What the author is doing is grouping together the top 5, which as a group lost ground, then the top ten, which as a group lost ground, then the top 22, which as a group lost ground.

It's interesting to note that BP (The largest of this group) pumped 69 times as much oil as the number 22 entry: EOG Resources. If there's any gain to be had it's way out in that long tail of small producers.

Sat, 19 Nov 2005 16:37:43 PST - Link

November 18, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


Tory James

Fri, 18 Nov 2005 07:32:57 PST - Link

November 14, 2005

Something Rotten In The State Of Ohio

I'll try to summarize here briefly. There were five initiatives on the ballot last week. Issue 1 was a controversial proposition for $2 billion in new state spending. The Christian Right was opposed (because some of the new funds might go to stem cell research), but otherwise, the Republican Governor Taft's Administration (he recently plead guilty to several counts of corruption) was pushing it hard alongside progressives in the state.

The Columbus Dispatch's pre-election polling, which Fritrakis and Wasserman describe as "uncannily accurate for decades", called the race correctly within 1% of the final result. The margin of error for the poll was +/- 2.5% with a 95% confidence interval. On Issue 1, the Dispatch poll was right on the money. They predicted 53% in favor, the final result was 54% in favor.


But then came Issues 2 through 5 put forward by ReformOhioNow.org — a bi-partisan coalition pushing these four initiatives for Electoral Reform in the Buckeye State largely in response to their shameful '04 Election performance led by the extremely partisan Secretary of State (and Bush/Cheney '04 Co-Chair) J. Kenneth Blackwell.

On those four issues, which Blackwell and the Christian Right were against, the final results were impossibly different — and we mean impossibly!

Huffington Post

This is chilling. This is the stick-shaker stall-warning in the cockpit of Democracy. We must get to the bottom of this before we run out of airspeed, altitude and ideas.

Mon, 14 Nov 2005 23:32:40 PST - Link

On Getting Things Done

Ceej blogged an interesting artical on how to be more productive.

I agree 100% with the big / dual monitor concept. More pixels is better. I've recently stepped up to two LCDs at work, and It really does help.

This bit caught my eye:

But their suggestions were surprisingly low-tech. None of them used complex technology to manage their to-do lists: no Palm Pilots, no day-planner software. Instead, they all preferred to find one extremely simple application and shove their entire lives into it. Some of O'Brien's correspondents said they opened up a single document in a word-processing program and used it as an extra brain, dumping in everything they needed to remember - addresses, to-do lists, birthdays - and then just searched through that file when they needed a piece of information.

I've used the 'plain text file' for years. In the old days (Back when monitors were 800x600) I used to keep my trusty Psion running in a text editor nect to my keyboard. As I thought of things I'd just jot them in as check box items:

[ ] Add test point to U1.4

When I'd finished the task, I'd check the box:

[*] Add test point to U1.4

This rather crude scheme was highly effective on my PDA of the era, a Psion 3a, but became far more cumbersome and unmanagable on the Series 5 — they'd "upgraded" the text editor into a miniature word processor, which wanted to "help" you format items, and the fonts changed, and they were either too big or too small, and for some reason it was really hard to stay in monospace.

I use NoteTab Pro as my text editor these days. It's simple, and unlike Word it is happy to record your keystrokes exactly as you type them. It's happy to let you indent a line without trying to "help" you by making a bullet item list. It won't paste in the formatting when you've copied a bit of text off a webpage — like you really wanted that part number in 24 point, dark blue, bold helvetica in the middle of that 12 point courier paragraph. Ah, jeez.

You can see where this is going, right? When a program does something that I didn't ask for, (which Word seems to do every other line) I loose productivity. It's not just the time to go undo the "help" I've just been "given"—it's exactly like an outside interruption. My task, which was to move ideas from my head onto the screen was disrupted, because what I got was not what I expected, and not what I wanted, and now I'm in a full context switch to try to undo somthing I didn't want, and it wasn't even my fault. Of course, the task of removing unwated formatting can be as daunting as getting an unwilling cat into a carrier for a trip to the vet. How is it an animal that can squeeze through a baseball-sized gap behind the recliner, and climb up into the springs, so that when you tip it over you have to be carefull not to activate the mechanism so as not to harm the cat, can then re-configure itself so that it cannot be pushed though the opening in the carrier which is big enough to take a regulation soccerball? And why are they black and white, anyway? The soccer balls, not the cats, who are Seal points, and one Blue point, which is more grey than blue, anyway.

Where was I? Oh. Distractions. Interruptions. Tools that interrupt you.

I spent much of last weekend using a top-name CAD package. It must have crashed 50 times. By the end of the weekend I had trained myself to save every 20 seconds or so, which was unpleasant because the program seemed to want to take 5 seconds to save a file. 15 seconds of work, 5 seconds of waiting. By the end of the session, I was in a state of clenched-fist, arm-waving frustration, drained of any interest in examining the end product of my toils.

So, back to productivity. Big monitors good. Plain text editors, Good. Programs that are written to cause distraction, bad. Programs that crash often: Very Very Bad™.

Mon, 14 Nov 2005 22:39:54 PST - Link

November 12, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging (Late Edition)


Miko on the monitor. Poor baby, that desk anchor will soon be replaced by a cat-hostile LCD display.

Sat, 12 Nov 2005 08:33:59 PST - Link

November 10, 2005

Sanity? In Washington?

Twenty-five Republicans, led by Rep. Charles Bass of New Hampshire, signed a letter asking GOP leaders to strike the Alaskan drilling provision from the broader $54 billion budget cut bill.

"Rather then reversing decades of protection for this publicly held land, focusing greater attention on renewable energy sources, alternate fuels, and more efficient systems and appliances would yield more net energy savings than could come from ANWR and would have a higher benefit on the nation’s long-term economic leadership and security," they said.


More Good News™

Thu, 10 Nov 2005 08:46:39 PST - Link

November 9, 2005

54.64 Miles x 54.64 Miles is all we ask

The annual electricity-consumption of the United States is about 3,479 billion kWhr. PYRON solar power plants can produce this amount on 7,731 km2 (87.92 km x 87.92 km or 54.64 mi x 54.64 mi) at a yearly solar radiation of 2790 kWhr/m2. To deliver the United States annual consumption of 11,835 kW-hr for each person of the US-population of 290 million, only 26.3 m2 or 31.51 sq.yd per capita of desert would be needed. Regarding household electricity consumption of 3,547 kW-hr/yr, a miniscule 7.88m2 (9.42 sq.yd) of desert would suffice. In comparison, supplying one person’s food needs 2,820m2 of valuable agricultural land (and a lot of petroleum too). His electricity consumption produced by PYRON-SOLAR-generators requires about 350-times less land than farming.

Pyron Solar

This Pyron system is really clever, it uses plastic injection-molded lenses to concentrate the sunlight on a solar cell designed for use at 400x the brightness of the sun. To keep the cell from melting, the whole thing floats in a shallow pool of water, and cells are mounted in heat sinks which transfer the heat from the cell to the water.

Since it's floating, the entire array can be rotated with a tiny (1 watt) motor to track the sun. The only downside is that it must be mounted flat, but it looks like a 12 foot diameter array (12.56 Sq Yards) would be plenty for the average home. I can easily imagine designing homes with a re-enforced flat-roof ready for just such an array.

Wed, 09 Nov 2005 08:50:51 PST - Link

Ahnald Strikes Out

All eight of the ballot inititives on the ballot here in California have gone down to defeat, including all four of the initiatives that Schwarzenegger placed on the ballot.

Wed, 09 Nov 2005 07:18:59 PST - Link

November 8, 2005

Well, There Is One Thing He's Really Reaaly Good At.

President Bush and the current administration have borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than the previous 42 presidents combined, a group of conservative to moderate Democrats said Friday.

CBS News

Tue, 08 Nov 2005 21:19:24 PST - Link

November 7, 2005

Matthew Simmons Interview

I believe we are either at or very close to peak oil. If I'm right, then we have to assume that five or 10 years from now we'll be producing less oil than we are today. And yet we have a society that is expecting, under the most conservative assumptions, that oil usage will grow by at least 30 to 50 percent over the next 25 years. In other words, we would end up with only 70 percent of the oil we have today when we would need to have 150 percent. It's a problem of staggering economic proportions — far greater than the temporary setback of a terrorist attack on energy infrastructure — that could end up leading to more geopolitical fistfights than you can ever imagine. The fistfights turn into weapon fights and give way to a very ugly society.

Grist Magazine

I think Mr. Simmons is spot on his predictions, but I disagree with him on drilling ANWAR. Not yet. Not while you can still buy a Hummer. (And get a HUGE tax break if you claim it's for business.)

I watched the 'live debate' episode of The West Wing last night. I was sorely dissapointed in the discussion on energy, the Republican position was written as "the free market will save us" and the Democratic position was "Renewables - blah - blah - blah". We're in a Very Bad Place™ when we can't even fictionalize politicians really facing the cold hard facts on energy.

Mon, 07 Nov 2005 08:04:10 PST - Link

November 4, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


Tory James

Fri, 04 Nov 2005 08:35:33 PST - Link

November 3, 2005

Oily Calculations

The International Energy Agency, the oil sector monitoring body, on Wednesday said that oil prices by 2030 would be 50 per cent higher than today if Saudi Arabia did not muster the political will to invest billions of dollars in new production.

Fatih Birol, the group's chief economist, said in an interview with the Financial Times that Saudi Arabia, the most important oil producer, might not make the investment needed to ensure production met the strong demand growth in China and India.

"It is not a problem of availability of reserves or capital. We need to be sure that the increase in production will be high enough and a sustained production capacity increase policy is in place. That will need sustained political will," he said. Saudi Arabia has plans to invest $14bn to raise output capacity from 11m barrels a day to 12.5m b/d by 2009, according to a report by Samba Financial Group, a Riyadh-based bank.

Financial Times


11m barrels per day at $60 a barrel = $660 million dollars per day.

Invest $14bn (About 21 days of sales) to keep the price stable...

12.5m barrels per day at $60 a barrel = $750 million dollars per day.

Or - Keep the 14bn, and let the price rise 50%..

11m barrels per day at $90 a barrel = $990 million dollars per day.

Which of these two business plans do you think the Saudis will follow?

If course, of you've read "Twilight in the Desert" you'd know that it may be geologically difficult for Saudi Arabia to raise production at all, and that $14bn (and more) may be needed to just stay even.

Thu, 03 Nov 2005 07:53:05 PST - Link

November 2, 2005

Joe needs...

From M at Language Geek

OK, so this is the latest blog meme... You type "[your name] needs" into Google and see what it comes up with.

Okay, M, I'll bite:

Joe needs his Tampa tamer.

Joe needs two cracking matches to avoid going down to reserve and he is capable of doing it if everything is right.

[Trader] Joe's needs sign and mural artists.

[Smokin'] Joe Needs You.

Joe needs an editor.

Joe Needs Your Help!

[The Average] Joe Needs your Help.

Joe Needs Food Badly.

[Army} Joe needs another History of the Game

Joe Needs Good Commentaries

Joe needs to try a number of different things..

[Every] Joe Needs His Jane.

[The last thing] Joe needs is more bad luck.

Joe needs to come back to Australia sometime.

Joe needs the American people to listen to what he has to say.

Wed, 02 Nov 2005 21:26:07 PST - Link

November 2, 2005

100% Of Your Daily Requirement Of Bummer

I think there is an unspoken subtext in our national political culture right now. In fact I think it's a subtext to our society. I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with "right track" and "wrong track" but missing the number of people who think the answer to "How are things going in America?" is "Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination."

PEGGY NOONAN in the Wall Street Journal

Peggy jumps to the conclusion that it's all to big for a president to deal with. No, Peggy. It's just too big for this president to deal with, and his hard right social, and hit neocon economic politics, are exactly the wrong prescription for what ails this country.

May I remind Ms. Noonan, in this administration, politics trumps policy.

Wed, 02 Nov 2005 08:45:25 PST - Link

October 28, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory James

Tory James, in repose. He's in repose often.

Fri, 28 Oct 2005 07:53:28 PDT - Link

October 25, 2005

NOC knocked...

Sorry about the outage, but Hurricane Wilma apparently took down NTT/Verio's server farm in Boca Raton yesterday morning. This is the first time I've ever noted an outage, and it took a catagory 3 hurricane to do it. My guess is that there are meetings happening today to figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

In any case, it looks like the Network Operations Center ops team was up all night to get things back on line. Thanks for your work, guys. I have to think you'd have prefered spending the last 24 hours dealing with the effects of the hurriane on your homes and families.

Tue, 25 Oct 2005 08:29:26 PDT - Link

October 22, 2005

A Liberal By Any Other Name - or - You Know That Word You Keepa Usin'? I Don' Think It 'A Means What You Think It 'A Means.

Here is the liberals' problem in a nutshell: More than 30 percent of Americans happily answer to the appellation "conservative," while 18 percent call themselves "liberal." And yet when questioned by pollsters, a super-majority of more than 60 percent take positions liberal in everything but name. Indeed, on many if not most issues, Americans hold views well to the left of those espoused by almost any national Democratic politician.

In a May survey published by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 65 percent of respondents said they favor providing health insurance to all Americans, even if it means raising taxes, and 86 percent said they favor raising the minimum wage. Seventy-seven percent said they believe the country "should do whatever it takes to protect the environment.'' A September Gallup Poll finds that 59 percent consider the Iraq War a mistake and 63 percent agree that US forces should be partially or completely withdrawn.

Eric Alterman in The Nation

Sat, 22 Oct 2005 07:02:37 PDT - Link

October 21, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tchan and Miki

T-chan. Miko. Red Office Chair.

Fri, 21 Oct 2005 07:46:16 PDT - Link

October 17, 2005

More Mirrors

With 354 MW of solar electric generating systems (SEGS) parabolic trough power plants connected to the grid in Southern California since the mid-1980s, parabolic troughs represent the most mature CSP technology. To date, there are more than 100 plant-years of experience from the nine operating plants, which range in size from 14 MW to 80 MW.

Solar Paces

A deeper analysis can be found in their report: Solar Parabolic Trough [pdf]

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 23:10:36 PDT - Link

October 15, 2005

A Mighty Wind

...one of the company's V90, 3.0 MW offshore wind turbines has to generate electricity for approximately 6.8 months before it produces as much energy as is used during the manufacturing lifetime. This, they say, means the turbine model earns its own worth more than 35 times during its energy production lifetime.

Furthermore, compared to the V80-2.0 MW offshore wind turbine, the 6.8 months constitutes an improvement of approximately 2.2 months over the lower capacity model.

If installed on a good site, the V90-3.0 MW wind turbine will generate approximately 280,000 MWh in 20 years - thus sparing the environment the impact of a net volume of approximately 230,000 tons of CO2, as compared to the figures for energy generated by a coal-fired power station.

Renewable Energy Access

I keep wondering how it would look if you design for an 80+ year life for the tower, and replace/refurbish the generator on a 20 year schedule. After all, the Golden Gate Bridge is over 80 years old...

Sat, 15 Oct 2005 13:17:43 PDT - Link

October 14, 2005

What's That Buzzing Noise?

Flaying away with a stick at a hornets' nest while loudly proclaiming "I will stay the course" is an exercise in catastrophic leadership.

Zbigniew Brzezinski in the International Herald Tribune

Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:12:56 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging



Fri, 14 Oct 2005 09:53:01 PDT - Link

The Silence Before The Storm

Some Iraqi troops went a step further, saying they were only awaiting word from the marja'iya before turning on American forces. Although many Shiites are grateful for the overthrow of Saddam, they also are suspicious of U.S. motives. Those suspicions partly stem from the failure of the first Bush administration to support a U.S.-encouraged Shiite uprising against Saddam in 1991. Saddam suppressed it and slaughtered thousands.

"In Amariyah last week, a car bomb hit a U.S. Humvee and their soldiers began to shoot randomly. They killed a lot of innocent civilians. I was there; I saw it," said Sgt. Fadhal Yahan. "This happens all the time. If they keep doing this, the people will attack them. And we are part of the people."

Sgt. Jawad Majid chimed in: "We have our marja'iya and we are waiting for them to decide when the time to fight (the Americans) is, when it is no longer time to be silent."

TOM LASSETER Knight Ridder Newspapers

Read this.

Fri, 14 Oct 2005 08:42:40 PDT - Link

October 13, 2005

New Job!

The really great news:

I've got a new job.

The (somewhat) bad news:

I don't get to talk about it here.

My new gig is at a start-up in deep-stealth mode, so I won't even publish the name of the place (yet).

If you look back though my blog, you'll find realating to my job I've always been careful to link to third party press releases and articles, or I've waited until the product is in the customer's hands before publishing my own photos. You can expect more of the same. I'll talk about it when I can, but in the meantime: <stealth-mode>.

I hadn't really been looking for a start-up. I had applied at a couple of big companies, And I thought the interviews went well, but in one case I was told that what they really wanted was a manager, and in another case the interviewer said 'from your resume, it looks like you're one of the first 3 people I'd want at a start-up'. I took that as a compliment, but my peculiar mix of skills wasn't a good fit.

I really clicked with the people at the new gig, and after a very few minutes I was thinking "I could do this", and after a few more minutes, it was "I really want to do this."

So — here I am, back in a start-up. I start Monday. Big Grin

Thu, 13 Oct 2005 10:11:55 PDT - Link

October 11, 2005

Left vs Right

Plot of data L vs R

Kevin Drum over at Washington Monthly has been looking into the Left vs Right split, and he's linked to a remarkable table from the National Election Studies website which tracks the Conservatism Index from 1964-2002.

I've plotted that data (averaging '76 and '80 for the '78 value) to come up with this chart. Red is more conservative, Blue is more liberal.

I'm not sure why their data shows a consistant offset to the conservative side, but it's pretty clear that from Johnston to Nixon to Ford to Carter to Reagan to Bush to Clinton to BushII the country hasn't really moved much one way or the other. We're a pretty purple bunch, after all.

Tue, 11 Oct 2005 11:07:43 PDT - Link

October 10, 2005

Pencil And Paper

Pencil Revolution is an engaging blog about pencils. Yes, Pencils. Real ones, made from incense cedar wood with a graphite core. There really is something comforting about the feel of a real pencil, and sharpening them with a hand-cranked sharpener has the feel of ritual.

Since reading the blog I've begun keeping a couple classic #2 pencils in my bag, next to my mechanicals: a Pentel Forte black .5mm, Red and Blue at .7mm, and my favorite - a 2mm yellow lead in a draftsman's mechanical lead holder (With a yellow cap!). The 2mm yellow lead has become very hard to find, a couple years back I ended up having to order two packs from a shop in Canada. They are perfect for highlighting while checking schematics, the line is narrow and clear, it won't cause ink to bleed, and unlike marker pens, yellow lead doesn't stain my fingers.

I don't know what it is about Pencil and Pen companies, both the Pentel and Staedtler have high gloss, but user-hostile websites.

You'll need some paper to go with your pens, and the best notebooks are made in Italy by Moleskine Matias turned me on to these legendary notebooks a couple years back, and since then I've become a big fan. The cover is solid, but they lay comfortable flat. The paper is sturdy, takes erasures well, and has a yellowish tint that is comfortable to read in full sunlight. Notebooks come with an elastic band to keep them closed, and a built-in ribbon bookmark.

As an engineer, I prefer the style with squared rulings — they're great for lists of parts and sketching out schematics. You can find them in fine art stores, and at Moleskine US

Mon, 10 Oct 2005 16:55:30 PDT - Link

Door Number Two

You know, this whole Harriet Miers nomination has me flashing back to the game show Let's Make A Deal. Harriet is like the gift wrapped box - we don't really know for sure what is inside, but we know for sure it's not a goat (a long-running gag on the show was to open a door or curtain to reveal a farm animal.) So — the Democrats are standing there, in thier Raggedy Ann costumes, biting thier nails, staring at the box, and the Right Wing of the Republican party (I repeat myself) is demanding Monty Hall to give them a look behind Door Number two.

Mon, 10 Oct 2005 11:11:28 PDT - Link

October 9, 2005

Back Of The Envelope Calculations

I saw an ad during one of this morning's news shows that got me thinking.

I didn't catch who the ad was from, but the message was clear: 20,000 windmills would be required to supply electricity to the city the size of Paris, then there was an image of the Eiffel tower with three gaint blades. I guess the idea was to make 20,000 sound like an impossibly huge number, and that for that fact alone, we should look elsewhere for energy.

Not specified in the ad was what the meaning of "Paris" — is it the 2 million in the core city, or is it the 10 million in the greater metro area? Anyway, I thought I'd pull out my HP calculatator and take a whack at the USA.

The Energy Information Administration provides a few starting points.

2003 U.S. Production (Net Generation) = 3,883,185 Million Kilowatthours

That's 3,883,185,000 Megawatt hours in a year.

That's 10,638,863 Megawatt hours per day

That's 443,285 Megawatts (average)

Modern windmills are in the megawatt range, and they cost about $1/watt, so to replace all of the electrical power used in the USA, we'd need 443,285 windmills, at a cost of 443.2 billion dollars. That sounds like a lot, until you think that to date we've spent nearly half of that on the war in Iraq. It's less than the ammount that will be added to the national debt — this year alone.

Now realistically speaking, we'd never get 100% generation for each windmill site, and there are transmission loses, so a derating factor would have to be applied, just as a swag we'll call it somewhat less han 50% so we need an even 1,000,000 windmills. That's a trillion dollars, or about what we'll be adding to the national debt in just 19 months.

A million is a whole lot of windmills, but on the other hand, the technology it no more complicated than a modern automobile, and GM alone sold nine million cars and trucks globaly in 2004. Now I have to think that if we set out to build a million windmills, we might be able to find some economies of scale.

If 20,000 windmills for Paris sounds like a lot, remember that over twice that number of new cars are sold each day, in the USA alone.

Sun, 09 Oct 2005 13:47:02 PDT - Link

October 7, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

T-chan and Miko

Another in the series of Palmer cats on red office chairs...

Fri, 07 Oct 2005 10:27:58 PDT - Link

Thoughtlets: On The BeBox

Pocket Protector

Andrew's put together a nice story about the BeBox release with loads of links to Be resources. Domo, Domo!

BTW, that's a first generation "We Be Geeks" pocket protector. I really can't remember who came up with the idea, for these but they were quite popular at trade shows. And you know, these things are really useful. I wonder why they went out of style...

We Be Geeks Tattoo

I saw an add for temporary tattoos in one of those magazines that the airlines put in thier seat pockets and thought we should get some. That was one of the really great things about being at Be, if any of us had ideas for viral marketing JLG would jump onboard.

At one point, a group at Apple had rented a movie theater for a mid-morning show, and someone there invited the Be engineers along. We asked JLG if we could give out t-shirts, and he gave us a dozen which we left on random seats before the show. I don't know if we snagged any new employees from that, but it did help build goodwill.

I think it was that showing that gave me the idea to put slides up in the theater promoting Be. It was around the time of the Star Trek movie featuring the Borg. When I got back to the office I brought the suggestion to JLG, and within minutes we'd rented a slot in two major markets in Silicon Valley, (It was not very expensive back then) and artwork was being sent to a place that could make the slides. The slides said:

Resistance Is Not Futile.


They ran for a month or so in a couple dozen theaters (the ones most likely to contain future Be employees and customers.) I never did get to see it on the big screen. (Sniffle)

Fri, 07 Oct 2005 10:10:30 PDT - Link

October 3, 2005

BeBox Still In The News (But Not Good News)

12:25-1:26 am Three uniformed police officers search my flat and interview my girlfriend. They take away several mobile phones, an old IBM laptop, a BeBox tower computer (an obsolete kind of PC from the mid-1990s), a handheld GPS receiver (positioning device with maps, very useful when walking), a frequency counter (picked it up at a radio amateur junk fair because it looked interesting), a radio scanner (receives short wave radio stations), a blue RS232C breakout box (a tool I used to use when reviewing modems for computer magazines), some cables, a computer security conference leaflet, envelopes with addresses, maps of Prague and London Heathrow, some business cards, and some photographs I took for the 50 years of the Association of Computing Machinery conference. This list is from my girlfriend's memory, or what we have noticed is missing since.

Guardian UK

You know, those guys would need a Very Big Truck™ to take away all of that sort of stuff from my garage.

Mon, 03 Oct 2005 16:35:05 PDT - Link

Happy 10th Birthday, BeBox!

Bebox Guidebook

It was 10 years ago today that the BeBox was first shown to the public at the Agenda Conference. I've found a handful of photos from that show to put in the new Be, Inc Gallery. I also dropped in a few photos of the first run of BeBoxen, which were assembled in the Be offices in Menlo Park, and a bunch of pictures from Macworld Japan, 1997.

Photos of my BeBox (Signed by all the employees on my last day) are here.

Mon, 03 Oct 2005 10:53:26 PDT - Link

September 30, 2005

About Okonomiyaki

The LA weekly reviews an Okonomiyaki shop in LA.

I make okonomiyaki myself at home, using this receipe, which also contains the charming and immortal bit of HTML formated prose...

And it will taste well with


Somehow that just cracks me up. The formatting makes it look like we're in for a whole list of food an beverage pairings, but the list contains just one item. beer.

He's right on that, by the way.

Oh yeah, the Chinese yam is called nagaimo. I always leave a ring of the skin on it, if you peel the whole thing with a potato peeler it gets too slippery to hold. In fact, the first time you work with nagaimo you will be freeked out at how slithy it is. (But it really tastes great!)

It's a lot of work to make them, so anytime I make them I make a few extra to freeze for lunch. They're pretty good re-heated in the microwave.

Fri, 30 Sep 2005 17:49:43 PDT - Link

Podcast - The Seasons Stories 2: Spring - a Ranma 1/2 Audio Fanfiction

This is a Ranma 1/2 audio Fanfiction. No, it's not a new story, it was first published over 10 years ago. Spring is the second in an arc of four stories which have come to be called "The Seasons Stories" in the Ranma 1/2 fanfiction world.

Enjoy, and please let me know if you like what you hear.

P.S. I'm much happier with the recording quality of his one.


Fri, 30 Sep 2005 15:06:40 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging

T-chan, Tory and Miko

T-chan, Tory and Miko. I used the flash to fill, but you can still make out the patch of sun that attracted them.

Fri, 30 Sep 2005 08:48:39 PDT - Link

September 29, 2005

New York City and Colorado Photo Album

The Face Of Liberty

I've added a new photo gallery of images taken on my recent vacation to New York City and Colorado. Enjoy!

Thu, 29 Sep 2005 12:31:54 PDT - Link

The $3 Threshold

has dropped 10% below last year's, starting in August. It's "a huge change" that he previously thought would take years.

Factoring out the few days of panic buying after Katrina, demand for gasoline has "been down 6% to 15%, depending on the store," says Jay Ricker, president of Rickers, a chain of 33 convenience-store stations in Indiana. "When we crossed the $3 threshold, that was a defining moment, getting people to think more about their driving."

If so, it's a much-discussed moment. Automakers had been saying it would take an extended period of $3 gasoline, and some shortages, to get Americans to drive less or switch to fuel-efficient models.

USA Today

To think, when I bought my Prius last year, people told me I'd never make up the added price of the hybryd system in gas savings. I wonder if they would say the same thing today.

Thu, 29 Sep 2005 09:07:24 PDT - Link

Rita May Have Caused More Damage Than Katrina

"The impact on the rigs is something that’s never been seen by this country before," said Daniel Naatz, director of federal resources for the Independent Petroleum Association of America. ODS-Petrodata, which provides data and information to the industry, reported 13 rigs already seriously damaged or destroyed by Rita. Platform damage still is being assessed, said Tom Marsh, ODS analyst


The Oil Drum has a list of rigs that are Beached, Sunk, Missing, Aground, and Upside Down.

Oil is one thing, many of us can make cut-backs in our driving to save 5 or 10%, we could probably deal with the loss of 1.5 million BL/Day in the Gulf. What I'm worried about is Natural Gas. If it's a cold winter, things could get Very Bad™.

Thu, 29 Sep 2005 09:07:24 PDT - Link

September 28, 2005

Got Arctic Ice Sheet?

One of these positive feedbacks centers on increasingly warm temperatures. Serreze explained that as sea ice declines because of warmer temperatures, the loss of ice is likely to lead to still-further ice losses. Sea ice reflects much of the sun's radiation back into space, whereas dark ice-free ocean absorbs more of the sun's energy. As sea ice melts, Earth's overall albedo, the fraction of energy reflected away from the planet, decreases. The increased absorption of energy further warms the planet.

"Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold," argues NSIDC Lead Scientist Ted Scambos. Moreover, these feedbacks could change our estimate of the rate of decline of sea ice. "Right now, our projections for the future use a steady linear decline, but when feedbacks are involved the decline is not necessarily steady—it could pick up speed."

The National Snow and Ice Data Center

You know those levees in NOLA? You need to rebuild them stronger. And Higher. A lot higher.

Wed, 28 Sep 2005 16:07:26 PDT - Link

Whas That A Shoe I Heard Falling - And Why Did It Splash?

Surging energy prices, low personal savings and the higher cost of borrowing have combined to produce a record level of overdue credit card bills.

The American Bankers Association reported Wednesday that the percentage of credit card accounts 30 or more days past due climbed to an all-time high of 4.81 percent in the April-to-June period. It could grow in the months ahead, experts said.

ABC News / AP

I just tracked down a receipt from June 16. Gas was $2.48 / Gallon on that date. It's now $2.92 at the station arround the corner. It's up $0.44 or nearly 18% higher today.

Wed, 28 Sep 2005 15:46:35 PDT - Link

Brother Can You Spare A Subcompact?

"We are seeing people who are driving $40,000 Suburbans trading them in on $15,000 Corollas," said Mathews, who manages a dealership in a state where big trucks and sport-utility vehicles rule the roads. "The last 30 days have been unlike anything I've ever seen in the automotive industry."

Washington Post

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

Wed, 28 Sep 2005 15:46:35 PDT - Link

Rep. Bartlett's 2005 Energy Conference

Representstive Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) held an energy conference on September 26th, Unfortunately C-Span has not sheduled a re-run, but you can read the transcripts at his website in [pdf] or in lovely HTML at Energy Bulletin: [1] [2] [3]

He was also on the Washington Journal call-in show this morning (Warning: Link decay in 15 days)

I really hope a torrent of this conference becomes available, the bits I caught were outstanding.

P.S. Rep Bartlet spoke about this article by Matt Savinar.

Wed, 28 Sep 2005 12:23:52 PDT - Link

Wired Rave Award

Wired Rave Award

Sometimes good things happen at bad times. On September 1st, as the images of people crying for help in NOLA were on the television, something very good, and very long awaited happened to me—I got something very nice in the mail.

I’d like to publicly thank Christine and the rest of the Rave Awards team at Wired for making this possible. There aren’t many opportunities for an engineer like myself to get this sort or recognition for the work that we do, and it means a very great deal to me that I now have such a substantial memento.

Wed, 28 Sep 2005 10:32:02 PDT - Link

September 26, 2005

Hou Have GOT To Be Kidding me.

(CBS) — CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate it's response following Hurricane Katrina.


Mon, 26 Sep 2005 16:55:03 PDT - Link


Lady Liberty

Wife and I spent four days in NYC last week, seeing many of the classic tourist sites. It was my first trip, so my image of the city was mostly based on what I'd seen in movies and on television, which gave me a very distorted view. Manhattan is a friendlier, less gritty and safer place than I'd been lead to expect. (Why is it that so many dramas based on crime and violence are filmed there?)

The subways are great for getting around, we picked up Metro Cards first thing and were able to sort out the train-route uptown-downtown scheme within a few minutes, and only once ended up going in the wrong direction.

I've yet to go through all of the photos, but if I come across any that are really good, I'll sprinkle a few here.

Mesa Grill? Go for the smoked shrimp cake, it was outstanding! The Grilled Tuna Steak was a bit uninspired, however. I recommend the Sea Scallops and Roasted Sirloin of Beef at the Gramercy Tavern

Mon, 26 Sep 2005 12:24:00 PDT - Link

"We Have Lost Control" - Greenspan

Bitter disagreements over global economic policy broke out into the open yesterday as the French Finance Minister claimed that Alan Greenspan had admitted America had "lost control" of its budget while China warned the US to drop demands for radical economic policy changes.

In an extraordinary revelation after a meeting between Thierry Breton and Mr Greenspan, M. Breton told reporters: "'We have lost control,' that was his [Mr Greenspan's] expression.

"The US has lost control of their budget at a time when racking up deficits has been authorised without any control [from Congress]," M. Breton said.

"We were both disappointed that the management of debt is not a political priority today. The situation that is creating tension today on the currency market ... is clearly the American deficit."

The Independent [UK]

Bush stayed on vacation when Katrina hit New Orleans, when he should have been in the Whitehouse. Now with Rita, he's flitting about the country as the acting FEMA director. Mr. Bush, you have to understand that you can save a lot of jet fuel by staying at home. You have a situation room, you know. That's where you belong when we have a situation.

Besides, the bigest problem you face is not in the Gulf States, it's in your budget. You can't fix that from Colorado Springs.

Mon, 26 Sep 2005 08:46:00 PDT - Link

September 23, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


Miko getting his ears cleaned by T-chan. (Awww.)

Fri, 23 Sep 2005 07:29:21 PDT - Link

September 19, 2005


I ate at the Mensa Grill last night, it took an hour to figure out the menu.

Mon, 19 Sep 2005 08:08:49 PDT - Link

September 16, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

The eye of Miko


Fri, 16 Sep 2005 19:37:18 PDT - Link

Potemkin Power - or - JUMP!

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.


Go ahead and jump.

Fri, 16 Sep 2005 09:30:47 PDT - Link

September 12, 2005

SPECIAL REPORT:'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Katrina

FEMA ordered the Red Cross and Salvation Army not to go into the New Orleans disaster zone, although the National Response Plan directs FEMA to work with all agencies, public or private, that wish to assist and are qualified. The Florida Airboat Association had 300 boats fully equipped, their pilots trained, but FEMA never authorized their help. FEMA rejected three tankers filled with drinking water donated by Wal-Mart, forbid Jefferson Parrish to accept 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel provided by the Coast Guard, and cut emergency communication lines, according to Aaron Broussard, Jefferson Parish president. Under his direction, the Sheriff reconnected the lines and posted armed guards.

The U.S. Forest Service offered water-tanker aircraft to fight the fires; Amtrak offered trains to evacuate the city. FEMA "has yet to accept the aid" of the Forest Service, and "dragged its feet" on Amtrak's offer, said Sen. Landrieu almost a week after Katrina came ashore. James May, president of the Air Transport Association, told the Associated Press that Homeland Security didn't even contact his association for assistance in evacuation until three days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

The Navy offered the assistance of the crew of the U.S.S. Bataan, an amphibious assault ship in the area when the hurricane hit, but FEMA underused the services the first few days. Capt. Nora Tyson, the Bataan's commanding officer, told the Chicago Tribune she had 1,200 sailors who "could be on the beach plucking through garbage or distributing water and food," that the ship could have opened its operating rooms, and provided medical personnel and 600 beds to the relief effort, that its helicopters could have been flying rescue missions, that it could have made as much as 100,000 gallons of drinkable water a day, that the police could have used the ship's electrical system to charge their radios— "but I can't force myself on people." Tyson did send a landing craft loaded with food and water up the Mississippi to New Orleans, and ordered her helicopters into the air to assist in rescue operations, but FEMA was slow to request assistance. Donald Rumsfeld was reluctant to order military assistance, deferring to FEMA to provide the leadership, although the Department of Defense had legal authority to act during a state of emergency to protect life and property.

SPECIAL REPORT: 'Unacceptable': The federal response to Katrina

By Walter M. Brasch

EDITOR'S NOTE: We recommend that our readers print out this incisive special report and read it in print. The author is an award-winning syndicated columnist, professor of journalism, and a former emergency management official. This article is an in-depth look at the Bush policies that created the atmosphere not only for an ineffective FEMA response during the Katrina catastrophe, but which may have contributed to additional property destruction and deaths than should have occurred. — Smirking Chimp

Mon, 12 Sep 2005 09:25:11 PDT - Link

September 11, 2005


How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.


This too is Real News™.

Sun, 11 Sep 2005 19:31:28 PDT - Link

September 9, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Pete Time Travels

Cousin Pete experiments with time travel.

Photo: B. Palmer

Fri, 09 Sep 2005 13:43:16 PDT - Link

Lessons Unlearned

The lesson of Katrina, after all, is not that the White House is bad at handling hurricanes. The lesson is that the Bush White House doesn't care much about whether things actually work. This is why they screwed up Iraq: they had an idea of what they wanted to accomplish, but figured that good results would take care of themselves as long as they applied energy and conservative principles. It's why the Medicare prescription bill turned out to be such a Frankenstein's monster: they knew they wanted to give seniors their pills, but they didn't really care much about actually implementing a sound policy. And it's why Republicans are conducting a war on science these days: to them, science is just something that gets in the way of what they want to do. The fact that eventually you're going to run aground if science is against you doesn't seem to register with them.

Washington Monthly

Fri, 09 Sep 2005 09:39:38 PDT - Link

September 7, 2005

Two Strikes And We're Out

"We certainly can't stand another storm," said Tom Bentz, vice president and senior energy analyst for BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Inc. "That's why people are watching the storms out there now."

Two hurricanes and a tropical storm were churning in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday. None of the current storms are forecast to enter the Gulf.

Yahoo News

Katrina made landfall in Florida on the 13th Anniversary Of Hurricane Andrew.

Andrew was the 1st named storm of 6 in 1992.

Katrina was the 11th named storm in 2005.

Wed, 07 Sep 2005 20:36:44 PDT - Link

September 6, 2005

Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences

This was a process we saw repeatedly in the aftermath of Katrina. When individuals had to fight to find food or water, it meant looking out for yourself only. You had to do whatever it took to find water for your kids or food for your parents. When these basic needs were met, people began to look out for each other, working together and constructing a community.

If the relief organizations had saturated the City with food and water in the first 2 or 3 days, the desperation, the frustration and the ugliness would not have set in.

Flush with the necessities, we offered food and water to passing families and individuals. Many decided to stay and join us. Our encampment grew to 80 or 90 people.

From a woman with a battery powered radio we learned that the media was talking about us. Up in full view on the freeway, every relief and news organizations saw us on their way into the City. Officials were being asked what they were going to do about all those families living up on the freeway? The officials responded they were going to take care of us. Some of us got a sinking feeling. "Taking care of us" had an ominous tone to it.

Unfortunately, our sinking feeling (along with the sinking City) was correct. Just as dusk set in, a Gretna Sheriff showed up, jumped out of his patrol vehicle, aimed his gun at our faces, screaming, "Get off the f***ing freeway". A helicopter arrived and used the wind from its blades to blow away our flimsy structures. As we retreated, the sheriff loaded up his truck with our food and water.

Daily Kos

Funny thing, isn't it — the natural inclination of people in need to gather together to form governments in their common interests.

Tue, 06 Sep 2005 22:01:26 PDT - Link

I Just Got Back From A FEMA Detainment Camp

He then precedes to tell us that some churches had already enquired into whether they could send a van or bus on Sundays to pick up any occupants of their cabins who might be interested in attending church. FEMA will not allow this. The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. If they leave the camp they may never return. They will be issued FEMA identification cards and "a sum of money" and they will remain within the camp for the next 5 months.

Above Top Secret

Just read it. It's Real News™.

Tue, 06 Sep 2005 21:29:49 PDT - Link

Shouting Movie! In A Crowded Fire House

The firefighters, several of whom are from Utah, were told to bring backpacks, sleeping bags, first-aid kits and Meals Ready to Eat. They were told to prepare for "austere conditions." Many of them came with awkward fire gear and expected to wade in floodwaters, sift through rubble and save lives.

"They've got people here who are search-and-rescue certified, paramedics, haz-mat certified," said a Texas firefighter. "We're sitting in here having a sexual-harassment class while there are still [victims] in Louisiana who haven't been contacted yet."


But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

Salt Lake Tribune

Tue, 06 Sep 2005 21:29:49 PDT - Link

September 4, 2005

Pendulum. Stops. Here.

On second thought Mr. President, resign.

It's nothing personal, sir, it's just that your administration's handling of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina has at long last exposed that the most closely held doctrines of the neoconservative movement are diametrically opposed with the principals of good governance.

To borrow your own words, what you need to understand is that you, personally, have failed this nation, and your strict adherence to neocon policies have caused damage to this nation that will take generations to repair. You need to go, and you need to take your neocon buddies with you.

It is now abundantly clear the bumbling cascade of 'intelligence' mistakes that led to the war in Iraq, and the inept execution of the post-war reconstruction cannot be chalked up to malice or incompetence. Occam suggests that the efforts in Iraq have been guided, chapter and verse, by the neocon rulebook. We see the tragic results every day.

It is now abundantly clear that the unconscionable budget deficits are a direct result of your callus disregard of simple mathematics. Your tax cuts provided temporary solace to your strongest supporters, corporate profits are up, but in every other measure the economy has performed worse for the vast majority of Americans under your guidance and polices. Look today, Mr. President. The Dow Jones, NASDAQ, S&P 500 are all lower due to your policies. Your trickle-down policy has trickled out

It is now abundantly clear that every action you have taken in the past demonstrates that you are the wrong man to lead this nation forward. Your priorities are not our priorities. Your goals are not our goals. Your vision for America is not our vision for America.

Mr. President, this summer Cindy Sheehan stepped forward put a face to this nation's doubts about the Iraq war. She asked a question you couldn't answer, about a war that shouldn't have happened. There is no doubt to her moral standing to ask that question.

Mr. President, there are many more questions we'd like answered — questions that don't have such a face behind them. Questions about global warming, the environment, the economy, tax policy, oil, renewable energy, the rising costs of health care, drug policy, education, stem cells research, evolution, and intelligent design. We have questions about the separation of church and state, civil rights, privacy rights, reproductive rights.

Some of these are trick questions, we already know your answers, and on issues of fact, you disagree with the facts, and on issues of opinion, your opinions are in opposition to the majority.

Mr. President, the ropes are beginning to slip through the hands of your supporters. The pendulum, held overlong in place by corporate interests and their wholly owned media subsidiaries, has today begun its overdue swing back the middle. Like the city of New Orleans, you stand today at the high-water mark of neo-conservatism. Like the city of New Orleans, the clean-up will be an effort that will take generations.

Mr. President, at long last, for the good of our nation, for the good of the world, it is time for you to go.

Sun, 04 Sep 2005 10:16:42 PDT - Link

September 3, 2005

Long-term Ambitions

Faced with one of the worst political crises of his administration, President Bush abruptly overhauled his September schedule on Saturday as the White House scrambled to gain control of a situation that Republicans said threatened to undermine Mr. Bush's second-term agenda and the party's long-term ambitions.

New York Times

Yeah, Bush, that's what you really needed to spend this Saturday doing. I guess there wasn't anything more important to do today.

"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." — Grover Norquist

Mission accomplished, Grover. All it took was a bigger bathtub. A much bigger bathtub. A New Orleans sized bathtub. Is this what you had in mind? Your conservatives have been in power for four and a half years, remaking the Federal Government in your conservative mold. Are you happy with the results? Did you spend the last 5 days standing in your attic up to you neck in poisonous waters, waiting for your model conservative government to come knocking?

Nearly four years after 9-11, and the first time the Department Of Homeland Security is called upon to serve its charter the first thing they do is wastes lives and time in a truf battle with the Governor of Louisiana. Was it because she is a Democrat, Grover?

This threat was moving slowly so slowly it took days to arrive, and was so big it could have been clearly seen by the naked eye from the surface of the moon. If the DHS couldn't deal with that, how well will they do against a terroist threat? Four years, and untold billions of debt later, and this is what your conservative model of Government comes up with?

Back in 2000, FEMA (Now run by a man who was pushed out of his last job - policing horse shows) placed three threats at the top of the list. 1) A terrorist attack in NYC. 2) A Hurricane-caused flood in New Orleans and 3) A major earthquake in San Francisco. Two out of the three have happened on Bush's watch, and nearly four years after 9-11 the conservative government response to the Flood in New Orleans less organized, and less effective, less timely.

For those of you who live near Earthquake faults, (yes, those of you near New Madrid too.) stock up. Two weeks of food and water per person, and you're going to need a shovel to dig a latrine. We now know that you must be prepared to fend for yourself if Bush finds himself in a position to reprise his famous line: "lucky me — I hit the trifecta".

Sat, 03 Sep 2005 23:57:03 PDT - Link

Indifference Is A Weapon Of Mass Destruction.

Floor Statement of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich:
The Supplemental for Hurricane Katrina

WASHINGTON - September 2 - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following speech today on the House floor during a special session to provide relief money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina:

"This amount of money is only a fraction of what is needed and everyone here knows it. Let it go forward quickly with heart-felt thanks to those who are helping to save lives with necessary food, water, shelter, medical care and security. Congress must also demand accountability with the appropriations. Because until there are basic changes in the direction of this government, this tragedy will multiply to apocalyptic proportions.

"The Administration yesterday said that no one anticipated the breach of the levees. Did the Administration not see or care about the 2001 FEMA warning about the risk of a devastating hurricane hitting the people of New Orleans? Did it not know or care that civil and army engineers were warning for years about the consequences of failure to strengthen the flood control system? Was it aware or did it care that the very same Administration which decries the plight of the people today, cut from the budget tens of millions needed for Gulf-area flood control projects?

"Countless lives have been lost throughout the South with a cost of hundreds of billions in ruined homes, businesses, and the destruction of an entire physical and social infrastructure.

"The President said an hour ago that the Gulf Coast looks like it has been obliterated by a weapon. It has. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction.

"Our indifferent government is in a crisis of legitimacy. If it continues to ignore its basic responsibility for the health and welfare of the American people, will there ever be enough money to clean up after their indifference?

"As our government continues to squander human and monetary resources of this country on the war, people are beginning to ask, "Isn't it time we began to take care of our own people here at home? Isn't it time we rescued our own citizens? Isn't it time we fed our own people? Isn't it time we sheltered our own people? Isn't it time we provided physical and economic security for our own people?" And isn't it time we stopped the oil companies from profiting from this tragedy?

"We have plenty of work to do here at home. It is time for America to come home and take care of its own people who are drowning in the streets, suffocating in attics, dying from exposure to the elements, oppressed by poverty and illness, wracked with despair and hunger and thirst.

"The time is NOW to bring back to the United States the 78,000 National Guard troops currently deployed overseas into the Gulf Coast region.

"The time is NOW to bring back to the US the equipment which will be needed for search and rescue, for clean up and reclamation.

"The time is NOW for federal resources, including closed Army bases, to be used for temporary shelter for those who have been displaced by the hurricane.

"The time is NOW to plan massive public works, with jobs going to the people of the Gulf Coast states, to build new levees, new roads, bridges, libraries, schools, colleges and universities and to rebuild all public institutions, including hospitals. Medicare ought to be extended to everyone, so every person can get the physical and mental health care they might need as a result of the disaster.

"The time is NOW for the federal government to take seriously the research of scientists who have warned for years about the dangers of changes in the global climate, and to prepare other regions of the country for other possible weather disasters until we change our disastrous energy policies.

"The time is NOW for changes in our energy policy, to end the domination of oil and fossil fuel and to invest heavily in alternative energy, including wind and solar, geothermal and biofuels.

"As bad as this catastrophe will prove to be, it is in fact only a warning. Our government must change its direction, it must become involved in making America a better place to live, a place where all may survive and thrive. It must get off the path of war and seek the path of peace, peace with the natural environment, peace with other nations, peace with a just economic system."

Sat, 03 Sep 2005 10:34:42 PDT - Link

September 2, 2005


New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gave a heart-wrenching an interview (.mp3 file) to WWL-AM. (Via Scripting News)

CNN's transcript does not come close to expressing the anguish, desperation and anger in the voice of the mayor.

Real News is that information you need to keep your freedoms. This is Real News. It is critical to your understanding of what is happening in New Orleans to listen to this.

Katrina opened a tear in the fabric of society, and tens of thousands of Americans have fallen through. The first to fall were the elderly and poor, those with no cars to drive themselves out of town. The first to fall were those with no money left at the end of the month for a bus ticket. The first to fall were those who simply had nowhere to go, and no way to get there.

But there were may be some 350,000 houses lost to the floods, these houses were home to perhaps 1,000,000 people. Those with jobs, and cars, and money for gas, were able to get out of Katrina's path, but now, their homes and jobs are underwater. They got out, but they have no where to go back to. Soon their credit cards will max out, and what then can they do? Where will they go? There may be 100,000 souls on the streets on New Orleans today, what will the rest of us do when the next 100,000 are forced from their motels, and then the next 100,000, and then the next 100,000, and the next 100,000...

Fri, 02 Sep 2005 15:11:18 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging


Tory James

I didn't really feel like cat blogging today. I've been glued to CNN, CNBC, and the web all week, and the news from New Orleans just keeps getting worse. Yes, I've given to the Red Cross (Thanks, Amazon, the Red Cross Website was too busy to get in) but it doesn't seem like enough. We're not doing enough.

My chair is comfortable, there's phones, television, internet, electrical power, water, clean clothes, a bathroom and a shower. If I'm thirsty I walk downstairs to my well-stocked refrigerator. If I'm hungry I pull something from the freezer and pass it through the microwave. If that runs out I can walk on clean, dry sidwalks the two minutes to the closest store. Civilization, such as it is.

Then I turn on that TV. The people in New Orleans have none of that, not even the dry land. They're waiting for help on rooftop islands, or chasing false rumors of help, chest-deep in foetid water. One day. Two days. Three days. Four days. Five days. Civilization makes way for survival.

The president was on TV "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." If I'd have been interviewing him I'd have read him the riot act, right then, right there on national TV. This was one of the most predicted disasters in human history. It was in the top 3 of FEMA's worst-case catastrophies. Mr. President, in fact, EVERYONE ANTICIPATED THE BREECH OF THE LEVEES.

Everyone but you, Mr. President.

Fri, 02 Sep 2005 13:54:23 PDT - Link

August 30, 2005

NOLA images


From Hunt101 via Kathryn Cramer, An image of the break in the levee.

The red roof is clearly visible on Google Maps

Tue, 30 Aug 2005 10:59:58 PDT - Link

Katrina, 24 Hours Later

As the sky clears, the true extent of the damage is slowly being seen. New Orleans was spared the direct hit, but the damage is extensive, and flooding continues. The news on TV seemed to be on top of it, I saw plenty of reporters standing in the wind and rain, but these were pinpoint views, from safe locations scouted out before the storm.

As the day went on, it bacame clear that Katrina missing the heart of New Orleans only meant that the worst of the damage was moved to Mississippi and Alabama, where the reporters were fewer, and further between.

A large section of the vital 17th Street Canal levee, where it connects to the brand new .hurricane proof. Old Hammond Highway bridge, gave way late Monday morning in Bucktown after Katrina's fiercest winds were well north. The breach sent a churning sea of water from Lake Pontchartrain coursing across Lakeview and into Mid-City, Carrollton, Gentilly, City Park and neighborhoods farther south and east.


I think they are talking bout this bridge, but I'm not positive — the local coverage uses neighborhood names not found on google maps. It looks like the flooding is to the east of this bridge.

There are also reports of devistating flooding in the Ninth Ward, which is to the east of the canal in the center of this map.

My heart aches.

Tue, 30 Aug 2005 09:28:42 PDT - Link

August 29, 2005

Katrina - After Landfall

It's nowhere close to over, but it now looks like NOLA was spared the worst. Time to exhale — just a little. Hang tight, and my thoughts are with you. — J

Mon, 29 Aug 2005 09:14:36 PDT - Link

August 28, 2005

Katrina - Before Landfall

For those in the path of Katrina, please stay safe. Take care of your families, take care of yourselves. My heart and thoughts are with you. — J

Sun, 28 Aug 2005 21:20:12 PDT - Link

August 26, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging



Fri, 26 Aug 2005 08:19:37 PDT - Link

August 25, 2005

Systray Icons Missing

Some Windows XP installations show a peculiar defect in that some systray (system tray, nowadays also called notification area) icons disappear or, rather, do not appear, when the system is booted and the user logs on. The problem is even more prevalent on systems with autologon. The most frequently affected icons seem to be the speaker icon (sound volume) and the power/energy icon.


Francesco Saverio Ostuni wrote: "... I found a solution for me that works perfectly. I simply went to My network Places and on the left pane I chose to Hide UPnP devices.


This has been driving me nuts. Sometimes, if I waited a really long time before logging in, I'd get the icons, but most of the time I'd be missing the battery notification. The Ostuni Workaround solved my problem — thank you, Francesco.

Thu, 25 Aug 2005 22:16:38 PDT - Link

Stop. Don't Do This.

In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.

The American Conservative

Hat Tip to Direland.

Thu, 25 Aug 2005 08:44:39 PDT - Link

August 22, 2005

Someone Send a Copy Of This To Crawford

Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined.

"The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions," said a senior official who discussed the still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.

Scientists from the United States, France, Japan, Britain and Russia met in secret during the past nine months to pore over data collected by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to U.S. and foreign officials. Recently, the group, whose existence had not been previously reported, definitively matched samples of the highly enriched uranium — a key ingredient for a nuclear weapon — with centrifuge equipment turned over by the government of Pakistan.

Washington Post

Burn this in your ROM. There is NO evidence that Iran has enriched Uranium to weapons grade. Someone please tell Bush.

Mon, 22 Aug 2005 22:44:04 PDT - Link

A Flood of Peak Oil

The last couple of days have seen a lot of talk about Peak Oil, Starting with an article in the New York Times Magazine: (Yes Danny, I'd seen it first, but please don't stop sending the links!)

The Breaking Point in the New York Times Magazine

Which lead to a spirited response:

"Peak Oil:" Welcome to the media's new version of shark attacks in Freakonomics

Which lead to one observation:

I guess this is discourse...? The Oil Drum

And another observation

Delusion and the Media Cluster**** Nation by Jim Kunstler

And another comment from one of my favorite economics blogs


Phew! If that wasn't enough, Peter Maass (Who seems to have lit this candle) was on WHYY's Fresh Air:

Peter Maass on 'The Breaking Point' for Gas Demand Fresh Air (Audio)

On top of all that, Kenneth Deffeyes Was on Book TV:

Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak

Geologist, author, and Princeton University professor Kenneth Deffeyes writes that world oil production is no longer increasing in his new book, "Beyond Oil: The View From Hubbert's Peak." The title of the book comes from petroleum geologist M. King Hubbert, who formulated that the world's oil production would reach its peak in 2000 and begin to decline rapidly until the global fossil fuel supplies went dry. Mr. Deffeyes believes that the world's oil production would peak at the close of 2005 and that the eventual absence of fossil fuels would have a devastating and potentially catastrophic effect on world economies. The book also lists the potential replacement fossil fuel energy sources and the ways in which they can be utilized effectively.

Sorry, Book TV does not have a video archive. No linksies.

Big Ed Schultz did a big section of his show today on biodiesel. Big Ed has discussed Peak Oil several times on his show, If you've never heard him, think of Rush's unevil twin.

Last, but not least, a close look at the souring of the crude:

Sweet and sour crude: Econbrowser

Mon, 22 Aug 2005 22:14:08 PDT - Link

If The Election Were Held Today

Red vs Blue vs Purple

Here's what happens when you apply the August 2005 state-by-state approval ratings to to 2004 Red/Blue election map.

Mon, 22 Aug 2005 09:07:09 PDT - Link

Robert Moog, Age 71

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — August 21, 2005 — Bob died this afternoon at his home in Asheville, N.C. He was 71. Bob was diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme or GBM) in late April 2005. He had received both radiation treatment and chemotherapy to help combat the disease. He is survived by his wife, Ileana, his five children, Laura Moog Lanier, Matthew Moog, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renee Moog, and Miranda Richmond; and the mother of his children, Shirleigh Moog.

Moog Music

I met Bob back at the US Festival (either '82 or '83). He gave a presentation, and afterwards a couple of folks sat and talked with him for a bit. He was thoughtfull, and funny, and very interesting. Thank you Bob, my record collection wouldn't be the same without you.

Mon, 22 Aug 2005 00:26:54 PDT - Link

August 21, 2005

Crude and Cruder

The key point is that non-OPEC light sweet crude went from 41% of 66 mb/d to 34% of 70 mb/d from 2000 to 2004, a drop of 3.26 mb/d. OPEC added 1 mb/d of light sweet crude over the same period resulting in a global reduction of light sweet crude of over 2mb/d showing that global light sweet crude has peaked and is now in decline.

Energy Bulletin

Sun, 21 Aug 2005 15:59:25 PDT - Link

August 20, 2005

At Long Last Sir, Have You No Sense Of Perspective?

Veteran sports broadcaster Bob Costas declined to fill in as a guest host on CNN's "Larry King Live" Thursday night because of the program's focus on the missing Alabama teenager and Dennis Rader, the BTK serial killer.

Costas bowed out of the Thursday show after he was unsuccessful at persuading producers to change the program's lineup.

Thank you, Mr. Costas. How ironic, that it took a sports broadcaster to bring perspective to obsesive news coverage.

Sat, 20 Aug 2005 10:15:01 PDT - Link

August 19, 2005

Friday Big Cat Blogging

Cat at Zoo

Unidentified Lion at San Franscisco Zoo.

Fri, 19 Aug 2005 13:26:57 PDT - Link

August 17, 2005

Autodesk Inventor

Interlocking parts

I'm learning a little 3D today...

Wed, 17 Aug 2005 09:03:55 PDT - Link

August 16, 2005

If Kittens Ran The Economy

For those who think the economy is strong... Here's a little reality check...

                    Jan 19, 2001   Aug 16, 2005
   DOW JONES           10,587.59      10,518.54
   NASDAQ COMPOSITE     2,770.38       2,137.93
   S&P 500 INDEX        1,342.54       1,220.11
   Light, Sweet Crude     $25.43         $66.08
   National Debt         T$ 5.72        T$ 7.91

Saturday January 20, 2001 was Bush's first day in office. The numbers abover were for the close of markets the day before.

Not looking so hot so far, so how is that National Debt doing?

   Jan 19, 2001           $5,727,776,738,304.64   
   Aug 16, 2005           $7,911,005,564,473.77
   Added Debt             $2,183,228,826,169.13 
   Your share - today's Debt:        $26,644.72 
   Your share - added under Bush      $7,353.24 

For fans of percentages, I make that...

   DOW JONES              -0.65%
   NASDAQ COMPOSITE      -22.83%
   S&P 500 INDEX         - 9.12%
   Light, Sweet Crude   +159.85%
   National Debt         +38.12%

Doesn't that just make you want to privatize Social Security?

Reference Materials:
[ National Debt Clock ]
[ Population Clock ]
[ Finance.yahoo.com ]
[ nymex ]

P.S. I was unable to calculate the national debt numbers on my pocket calculator. Too many digits.

P.P.S. Sorry, this had very little to do with kittens.

Tue, 16 Aug 2005 13:51:14 PDT - Link

Kitty Likes SUVs

So let's see if I have this straight. Our fuel economy standards now separate vehicles into two classes, sorted by weight, and require that the fuel efficiency of a manufacturer's vehicles within each class average to a given amount. The good news: that provides an incentive to build smaller vehicles within each class. The bad news: it doesn't cover the hugest gas-guzzlers of them all. We now propose to change to a system that separates vehicles into about six classes, not two. That does away with the good news: auto makers will have no incentive to build small as opposed to non-monstrously-large SUVs. But we do not take the opportunity to do away with the bad news by covering gas-guzzling monsters that no one needs anyway.

Obsidian Wings comments on the new energy bill.

As an engineer following the oil market, and smug Prius driver (but I repeat myself ^_^) the fact the (Pork.) Energy (Pork.) Bill (Pork.) did nothing to raise CAFE standards in the face of oil shortages make me too angry to comment. (Pork-Pork-Pork.)

And for the kitty part? Obsidian Wings also offers a selection of left wing kittens. (Warning, images sure to wrap the needle around the end stop on your cute meter.)

Tue, 16 Aug 2005 10:00:31 PDT - Link

Kitty Like PEZ?

Smart Car Dispensor

Photo: B. Palmer Regensburg, Germany 2000 - Thanks Cuz!

I'd seen one of these Smart Car dealers in another town in Germany, and thought that maybe the cars would have a better chance in the US Market if they didn't come in a giant PEZ dispensor.

The Smart is pretty common in Europe, I even saw a few on the autoban, and they can even be used as cat toys.

Tue, 16 Aug 2005 07:56:44 PDT - Link

August 15, 2005

Steampunk And Granola

News.com has a Different Take on the use of Stirling Engines to produce power from the sun. Make sure to take a ganer at the photos: [ 1 ][ 2 ][ 3 ]

They quote a critic, Harry Braun, CEO of Sustainable Partners International, (Google Search) who is apparently also running for president.

Mon, 15 Aug 2005 17:58:42 PDT - Link

August 13, 2005

Stirling Resources

Are you sure that's not a flux capacitor?

Berkely Power Electronics Group

Low-Cost distributed solar-thermal-electric power generation

Stirling Engine Society - USA

Stirling Numeretical Analysis Program

Stirling Engine Links

American Stirling Company (Models and Kits)

Stirling Books

Stirling Engine Images (Google)

Exergy Theory

Sat, 13 Aug 2005 10:55:04 PDT - Link

August 12, 2005

Here's Why Gas Is So Expensive

Peak Oil

This chart says it all. It's from Congressman Roscoe Bartlett's Special Order Speech OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL given in the House of Representatives, April 20, 2005.

Supply is still rising (Green) but demand is rising too, (Yellow) faster than supply.

This is why Crude Oil for September delivery closed at $66.86. Novermber and December were over $68 in today's intraday trading.

This is why you will soon be waiting in line to pay $3.00+ for regular unleaded.

Fri, 12 Aug 2005 14:33:39 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging


Miko, 10 minutes ago. "Leave me alone, dad. Sleeping, dad."

Fri, 12 Aug 2005 13:41:33 PDT - Link

It's All Done With Mirrors

PHOENIX, Arizona, Aug. 10, 2005 — Stirling Energy Systems, Inc. (SES) today announced an agreement with Edison International (NYSE:EIX) subsidiary Southern California Edison (SCE), the nation’s leading purchaser of renewable energy, that will result in construction of a massive, 4,500-acre solar generating station in Southern California. When completed, this power station will be the world’s largest solar facility, capable of producing more electricity than all other U.S. solar projects combined.

Stirling Energy Press Release


Give a visit to the Stirling Energy website to see what these things look like. The idea is simple - Build a 38 foot parabolic dish of 82 small, inexpensive mirrors. Mount a stirling (heat) engine and generator at the focal point. Add the mechanicals to follow the sun. Most of this stuff is well known technology from the sattelite dish world, and the stirling engine, while different that an internal combustion engine, uses the same manufacturing processes and tools. No magic required.

It looks like each dish is good for 25,000 watts in full sunlight. That's about 237 watts per square meter, (or about 22 Watts per square foot), which is about twice what you get from PV.

Okay, It's not the sort of thing you'd want on your roof, but if you flatten out the mirrors, and give them each x-y articulation, you could probably do this in a way that would work in the suburban environment, probably for a cost not much higher than a Suburban. The cool thing (umm... make that the hot thing) is that you could dual-purpose the collector, and use it for both to generate electricity and collect heat. If you add a heat storage tank, you could keep your house warm, and run a stirling generator overnight.

With articulated mirrors you could put arrays on lots of surfaces. For example, here in San Jose the freeways are lined with sound-walls. If you covered the top 8 feet or so of the southern exposed walls with mirrors, you'd get about 175 watts per linear foot of highway, or about 924,000 watts per mile.

I think we have a keeper. If we re-tooled a few old auto factories, we could turn these things out by the millions.

Fri, 12 Aug 2005 13:08:01 PDT - Link

August 11, 2005

Messing With The HTML

I'm changing the homepage to use the <blockquote> element for my pullquotes. If everything works as planned you will not see a visual difference, but the HTML will clearly declare when something is a quote. For some reason that matters to me.

Thu, 11 Aug 2005 21:53:32 PDT - Link

The Tipping Point

Siberia feels the heat. It's a frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined, contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas and, for the first time since the ice age, it is melting.

Guardian UK

Thu, 11 Aug 2005 16:39:26 PDT - Link

Demand Destruction

The argument over oil and the marketplace has been re-ignited over at Econbrowser

Once again, the argument seems to depend on what the meaning of demand is.

Imagine a line of 100 cars at a gas station. All 100 drivers are in line to fill their tanks, but there's only enough supply for 75 cars to fill up. Economic theory says the that the price at the pump should rise to the point where demand equals supply, at which point 25 cars would no longer demand gas, and would volunteer to leave the gas line. The other 75 cars would all fill up, each paying the price that caused the 76th car to leave.

The problem appears to be that if you were to interview each of those 25 drivers as the pulled into line, they would surely agree to call their reason for being there was "demand". If you were to interview each them as they left the line, you wouldn't be able to print the resonses.

Thu, 11 Aug 2005 13:04:08 PDT - Link

August 10, 2005

A Passion And A Vengeance

JIM: Why is it, do you think, there’s only been 2 groups that have been concerned with this: you have the oil company executives, because they are obviously looking around the globe and they’re not finding major elephants on a yearly basis; and then we’ve had environmentalists who have also been concerned about this. Those have been the main 2 groups, but aside from that, you have a third group, the economists, who basically just say, “as the prices of oil goes up the production goes up to meet it.”

MATT: Yes, and they say it with a passion and a vengeance. What I’ve also found so interesting is that the concept of peak oil which is finally getting some serious traction as a discussion item gets scorned by economists - energy economists. What they hear is the world is running out of oil, they don’t understand the concept of peak oil. And I continue to remind people that the difference between oil supply peaking and running out of oil is as profound as someone saying, “I’m getting a little bit hungry,” and someone saying, “I have about 2 more minutes to live before I starve to death.” And we will never run out of oil, in our lifetime, our children’s lifetime, our grandchildren’s lifetime. But by 2030 we could easily have a world that can only produce 10 or 15 or 20 million barrels per day, and the shortfall from what we thought we were going to produce is only a modest 100 million barrels per day. So this is really a major, major, major global issue.

From a transcript of an audio interview with Matthew R. Simmons, President Simmons & Company International

Wed, 10 Aug 2005 13:38:24 PDT - Link

Make Your Depth $65.

I called $65 on February 22, and today Light Sweet Crude touched that $65 number then slid back to close a dime lower at $64.90. I'm still puzzling out the NYMEX website, since they show a high of $66.90 for delivery in Sep 2005, but the rest of the press is confirming $65.00 as the high.

Oil trading seem to be a bit of a black art. September deliveries close August 22, so in about two weeks the paper must be settled, and deliveries sheduled for the real thing, and you've got to have some empty oil storage tanks ready, or dump your options to somone who does.

Further out, the numbers are even scarier. $66.06 for October, $66.77 for November and $67.12 for December. Today on CNBC, T. Boon Pickens was calling for $75 in the next 12 months. Interesting times.

I don't know why I fixed on $65, I suppose it was a nice round number, high enough to seem scary at the time. The markets seem to agree. As the price neared $65, it got like one of those old submarine movies where they test dive the ship, nervously jumping at each pop, creek, and groan. $65 was that magic depth where the bolts start to go, ricocheting around the compartments while everyone dives for cover.

Wed, 10 Aug 2005 13:30:09 PDT - Link

August 9, 2005

There Are No Tax Cuts.

Republican control of the White House and Congress has yielded trillions in tax increases since January of 2001. How can this be? Simple. When you spend more, and when you pass laws that commit the government to spending more in the future, you increase taxes, sooner or later. Spending not financed by current taxes will be financed by future taxes. A debt increase is the present value of future increased taxes. If taxpayers merely pay interest on the debt incurred, forever, the present value of the interest payments is the initial increase in debt.


Who will pay for these tax increases? Increasingly, as the "Bush tax cuts" (sic) focus the Federal tax system on wages, it will be current and future workers. You may recall that these are the folks upon whom we were told it would be immoral to bequath an insolvent (sic) Social Security system.

MaxSpeak, You Listen!

At first glance, it's one of those black is white arguments, but Max is right, sooner or later, the piper must be paid, and later has a funny way of becoming sooner.

Tue, 09 Aug 2005 22:57:40 PDT - Link

August 6, 2005

Why are we doing this?

So asks Maciej Ceglowski of the NASA Space Shuttle.

Sat, 06 Aug 2005 10:06:14 PDT - Link

August 5, 2005

Resumé Online

My Resumé is now online. This is a pretty vanilla format resume, over time I plan to expand it with photos and additional details of some of the cool stuff I've worked on.

Fri, 05 Aug 2005 12:38:40 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging



Fri, 05 Aug 2005 08:30:09 PDT - Link

August 4, 2005

Matthew Simmons WaPo Online Chat

Suwanee, Ga.: Some analysts think the world will reach its Hubbert's Peak in the next year. What is your opinion of when this will occur?

Matthew Simmons: The biggest worry I have as a result of doing the research on Saudi Arabia's oil is that there is a real risk that they have already exceeded sustainable peak oil production and the longer the produce at current risk the higher the risk that they could start into a production collapse. If that turns out to be true than the odds are 95% that the world has then exceeded sustained peak oil production. What the people that get into the peak oil debate often don't think about is that peak oil is not the maximum amount of oil you could produce in a single day, it's realistically the amount you could produce per day for at least a half decade. Therefore it could already be happening. And we'll never know that until we get better data.

Washington Post

An interesting chat, make sure to read Mr. Simmons' observations about the economies of Middle East countries in a post-peak environment.

Thu, 04 Aug 2005 20:55:36 PDT - Link

Spin — The Good Kind

Beacon Flywheel

Beacon Power is already shipping flywheel energy storage. This unit can supply 6 kWh, which by our PG&E bill is enough to run our house for about 10 hours. It would probably last longer in the overnight when the lights are off.

I'd read about flywheel storage a while back, it's nice to see that it's now out of the lab.

I haven't been able to find the price on this, but I'm guessing it would be about $1 to $2 per Watt Hour in full production. It also requires a control box, (perhaps another $3000 to $4000 or so) but I imagine a combined PV / Flywheel / invertor / grid connection box so that cost would be shared with the PV panels on the roof.

I love the idea of designing it for direct burial, I can imagine an intallation truck with a drill that would back up onto my lawn, pop a hole for the unit, drop it in with a small lift crane, cover it up and drive off with the excess dirt, all in an hour or so. Placing it underground solves the noise and safety issues, and since the device is highly reliable (It's designed to run 20 years without maintinence) there's no need to have access.

Unlike windmills, where bigger is better, flywheels are limited in size by material strength. Because of this you're not going to see neighborhood or even block scale flyweels. Physics seems to have made them a perfect fit behind the grid side meter.

Thu, 04 Aug 2005 13:05:11 PDT - Link

August 3, 2005

There's Lies, Damn Lies And Oil Production Estimates

Every once in a while the MSM finds an article to publish from the valley oil point of view — those who believe that we're just on the verge of plentiful oil once again.

Personally, I don't think it helps Daniel Yergin's case that his firm asks $2500 to look at the data he uses to make these claims. It doesn't leave much room for peer review.

It's not clear if Ron Cooke paid to see the report, but he has a very interesting reply published in Global Public Media

Wed, 03 Aug 2005 13:03:12 PDT - Link

Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools

Somewhat related to paper airplanes, (in that it involves paper) comes an application that creates flattened versions of 3-d objects, ready for printing, cutting and assembly.

While very cool, this isn't the sort of thing I'd normally link, it's just a kind of Plymouth Rock* page, the first page I've stepped on while entering a new (to me) and wondrous website. I knew I was in a cool place when I jumped to the homepage and found a bright red link to The Long Now Foundation, Where Mr. Kelly is a board member. Further exploration finds that he was part of Wired, The Well and Whole Earth Catalogs.

Reading the Whole Earth Catalog as a teenager was transformative to me. It's a big part of the reason I moved to California, and ended up in computers. Thanks Kevin!

Link courtesy of Daniel, and unlike the *myth of Plymouth Rock Daniel's link really was my first step into a country (okay, website) where I feel right at home.

Wed, 03 Aug 2005 10:11:50 PDT - Link

$65.22/bl (Feb 2006)

Light, Sweet Crude Oil has passed $65 in intraday trading for the Feb 2006 contracts.

I'm still predicting $65 for oil contracts in 2005, but that's not a very brave prediction since Dec 2005 hit $64.64 earlier today.

Wed, 03 Aug 2005 07:53:55 PDT - Link

August 2, 2005

Peak Oil Meets The Wall Street Journal

Robert writes: James is certainly correct — oil prices may not rise until the peak passes, and those price rises are critical for making the economic transition. I am less sanguine than James about the market's ability to anticipate the peak and price oil accordingly. Statistical studies of futures markets indicate that the price of oil in the "outer months" (six months or a year ahead) is not a very good "predictor."


If the market doesn't anticipate the peak, the price signals needed to stimulate research and development may not arrive until after the peak. By then, it will be too late to avoid major disruptions. Think about the changes needed to replace motor gasoline. Society will have to retool the auto industry, alter every gas station and retrain every auto mechanic. These changes need to start before the peak. If they start after, they will add to the disruptions caused by the peak.

Wall Street Journal Online

Yup, even the Wall Street Journal is a believer in peak oil. What they didn't get into was that long before the actual peak, the world demand for cheap oil will exceed the world supply of cheap oil. We may well see that event before Thanksgiving. Go have a listen to Oilcast #20, there are already significant local shortages happening in Asia.

Tue, 02 Aug 2005 15:40:21 PDT - Link

Warning - Hangover Ahead

July was a stellar month for auto sales...


No doubt these numbers are the result of the "employee discount" promotions, which have moved purchases forward into the year. I'm thinking October will be a pretty quiet month down on the local auto row.

Tue, 02 Aug 2005 12:50:09 PDT - Link

Coal - It Warms You Twice!

Another great link from Daniel, this time about our dirty old freind Coal.

Here is a link to an article at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The take-home message is that coal contains about 1-2 ppm uranium and also a larger amount of thorium (maybe I have that wrong . . . )

In any case, since a coal-fired power plant burns fuel by the trainload, this amounts to a huge release of these metalsalong with a number of other products.

I read about this about 7 years ago in Science News. I told people I worked with that the fissionable materials should be extracted from fly ash and used to fuel nuclear power plants. Just imagine the slogan "Coal - It Warms You Twice!"

The article points out some startling facts:

Assuming 10% usage, the total of the thermal energy capacities from each of these three fissionable isotopes is about 10.1 x 10E14 kWh, 1.5 times more than the total from coal. World combustion of coal has the same ratio, similarly indicating that coal combustion wastes more energy than it produces.

Consequently, the energy content of nuclear fuel released in coal combustion is more than that of the coal consumed! Clearly, coal-fired power plants are not only generating electricity but are also releasing nuclear fuels whose commercial value for electricity production by nuclear power plants is over $7 trillion, more than the U.S. national debt. This figure is based on current nuclear utility fuel costs of 7 mils per kWh, which is about half the cost for coal. Consequently, significant quantities of nuclear materials are being treated as coal waste, which might become the cleanup nightmare of the future, and their value is hardly recognized at all.

So, burning coal produces less electricity than could be had if (very big if) the trace quantities of uranium could be extracted and used in a nuke plant. Of course, it's not extracted, it passes through the fire and becomes part of the waste ash. Some of it leaves the smoke stack, even with scrubbers. None is treated as radioactive waste.

Think about it — all of that uranium (and thorium, don't forget the thorium!) — enough uranuim to produce all of the elecrticity of the coal that brung it — is released into the environment.

Windmills, PV and Zinc are looking better and better.

Tue, 02 Aug 2005 07:45:11 PDT - Link

August 1, 2005

Giving Zinc Some Ink

The zinc can be used in zinc-air batteries or be used to produce hydrogen by reacting it with water vapor. In both cases the zinc recombines with oxygen and zinc oxide is produced, which can be reused in the solar reactor to produce zinc once more.

In essence, the process stores solar energy in a transportable metal carrier that then can release the energy as electricity or hydrogen.

Green Car Congress

This is really interesting. Zinc is plentiful, and very safe and easy to deal with. Zinc-air batteries are proven technology, in use from hearing aids to mass transit.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been working zinc-air batteries, and is seeking industry partners for its patented battery technology.

They describe a sort of mechanical recharge, where the cell would be refurbished with new zinc and electrolite instead of being recharged. The oxidized zinc would be re-formed (perhaps using the process above) to be reused. No zinc is expended in the cycle, it's used over and over again.

There is carbon expended in this scheme, but not at the consumer level, it's only seen in the reformation of the zinc, which can be done at a location where it can be captured and sequestered, also, if the carbon comes from the atmosphere (biomass) there would be no net carbon released.

The Engineer-Poet has applied a calculator to using the zinc cycle for energy storage...

A bedroom suburb with .25 acres per house (including streets and parks) would have 2560 homes per square mile, or 988 homes per square kilometer. Two square kilometers of solar-zinc plants could power 190 square kilometers of such suburb (188,000 homes), with one vehicle each; this is about 1% of the total suburban land area devoted to power production. This is clearly something people would accept.

I haven't checked his calculations, but it looks like the zinc cycle might be an encouraging step towards sustainable energy.

Mon, 01 Aug 2005 16:47:29 PDT - Link

July 31, 2005

3 Scenarios

The study envisions three scenarios for dealing with a peak oil reality: scenario one involves action not taken until peaking occurs, and scenarios two and three deal with action taken ten and twenty years prior thereto. The conclusions follow:

* Waiting until world oil production peaks before taking crash program action leaves the world with a significant liquid fuel deficit for more than two decades.

* Initiating a mitigation crash program 10 years before world oil peaking helps considerably but still leaves a liquid fuels shortfall roughly a decade after the time that oil would have peaked.

* Initiating a mitigation crash program 20 years before peaking appears to offer the possibility of avoiding a world liquid fuels shortfall for the forecast period. Resource Investor Comments on the Hirsch Report (Report Linked below)

This is the work of a generation. Twenty years, give or take, no matter when we start. The best time to start would have been 20 years ago, but of course those were the go-go Reagan years. Carter put solar heating panels on the roof of the White House, one of Reagan's first official acts as president was to order them removed.

This week a new "energy bill" winds its way into law — I watched part of the conference committee workings — they just don't get it. There were occasions when a senator or representative spoke of dates by which we should have targets to raise the use of renewables. Some of these dates fell after the most optimistic dates given for the peaking of global oil production. (The most pessimistic dates are, well, now.)

This administration is putting of the work of a generation on to the backs of the next generation — that same generation who must also also carry the debts of this administration.

How cynically symmetric.

Sun, 31 Jul 2005 08:38:08 PDT - Link


Preliminary findings indicate Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier could be one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world with a speed of almost nine miles per year. The measurements were made this week using high precision GPS survey methods. In 1996, measurements made with satellite imagery revealed the glacier’s speed was three miles per year. In addition, Kangerdlugssuaq Glacier has unexpectedly receded approximately three miles since 2001 after maintaining a stable position for the past 40 years.

The Greenland Ice Sheet could melt down if regional warming exceeds about five degrees Fahrenheit. If this were to occur, sea level would rise approximately 23 feet over a few thousand years. However, a two to four foot rise in sea level in the next century would have significant impacts on society. More than 70 percent of the world's population lives on coastal plains, and 11 of the world's 15 largest cities are on the coast or reside near estuaries.

999 Today

So in just 9 years, this glacier went from 3 Miles/yr to 9 Miles/yr.

Sun, 31 Jul 2005 08:02:57 PDT - Link

Peak Oil Reading

1. When world oil peaking will occur is not known with certainty. A fundamental problem in predicting oil peaking is the poor quality of and possible political biases in world oil reserves data. Some experts believe peaking may occur soon. This study indicates that “soon” is within 20 years.

2. The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past “energy crisis” experience will provide relatively little guidance. The challenge of oil peaking deserves immediate, serious attention, if risks are to be fully understood and mitigation begun on a timely basis.

3. Oil peaking will create a severe liquid fuels problem for the transportation sector, not an “energy crisis” in the usual sense that term has been used.

4. Peaking will result in dramatically higher oil prices, which will cause protracted economic hardship in the United States and the world. However, the problems are not insoluble. Timely, aggressive mitigation initiatives addressing both the supply and the demand sides of the issue will be required.

5. In the developed nations, the problems will be especially serious. In the developing nations peaking problems have the potential to be much worse.

6. Mitigation will require a minimum of a decade of intense, expensive effort, because the scale of liquid fuels mitigation is inherently extremely large.

7. While greater end-use efficiency is essential, increased efficiency alone will be neither sufficient nor timely enough to solve the problem. Production of large amounts of substitute liquid fuels will be required. A number of commercial or near-commercial substitute fuel production technologies are currently available for deployment, so the production of vast amounts of substitute liquid fuels is feasible with existing technology.

8. Intervention by governments will be required, because the economic and social implications of oil peaking would otherwise be chaotic. The experiences of the 1970s and 1980s offer important guides as to government actions that are desirable and those that are undesirable, but the process will not be easy.

The Hirsch Report - February 2005

Sun, 31 Jul 2005 07:46:23 PDT - Link

Another Day At The Races

I'll be back at the track today, fortunately, Champ cars run on Methanol

Sun, 31 Jul 2005 07:46:23 PDT - Link

July 30, 2005

Champ Car

Champ Car

Sat, 30 Jul 2005 08:34:55 PDT - Link

Cat Blogging - NYT edition

Cats are the Web's it-animals. They're everywhere. When you look up Devil Cats, you'll see comics about cat owners who love too much and the cats that cheat on them.

New York Times

Sat, 30 Jul 2005 08:15:03 PDT - Link

July 29, 2005

SJGP Blogging

Just arrived at the track, one of the temp pedestrian overpasses is still under construction, and they are putting up the last of the crash barriers on the light rail crossing. In the meantime I have to wait to cross the track. No race cars yet, just construction cranes. — from Hiptop

Fri, 29 Jul 2005 10:54:36 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging

T-chan and Miko

T-chan and Miko

Fri, 29 Jul 2005 08:58:38 PDT - Link

July 28, 2005

Podcasting Blogging

It'd been a week since I released my last podcast — a reading of my first fanfiction "Winter" — time to collect some observations.

A walk-in closet closet makes a surprisingly quiet studio. Before recording, I noticed a fizzing noise. It turned out to be my carbonated bottled water.

The closet is a terrible studio, It's dim, warm and uncomfortable.

Recording while standing up makes me breath different. I sounded very robotic. I really dislike the reading I got. (Sorry)

The last half of he recording was lost, so I had to re-do it. The second take was far better than the first.

For some reason, the mixer and computer had a communications error which is what caused me to loose half the take. I suspect trouble in the USB transceiver circuit in the mixer. It would not even mount to the computer over a 10 foot USB cable that works fine with other devices.

I read the story as it was written in 1994. Ten years, and dozens of silent readings later I noticed punctuation errors in the text while reading it.

There are bits of prose that do not read well out-loud, but seem to work okay when read silently.

I should really do a vocal read-though and edit on these stories before recording them. Yeah, that recording script would be different from the original text, but it'd make a better podcast.

I reserve the right to replace that recording with a better one.

I recorded onto one track, and chopped out the bad bits. I think it would have been better if I'd have had a pre-roll so that I could have monitored the previous recording so that each pause would have a more human touch.

Once again I recorded with not enough gain, and although I thought I'd fixed the levels during mastering, it still ended up sounding very poor. I really, really need to pay better attention to my recording levels

The compressor-limiter that comes with Cubase LE seems to 'dry-out' the sound. I downloaded some free and sample 3rd party VST plug-ins and got much better sound quality. The best one was like $65, (I tried the demo) but hardware compressor-limiters can be found for about twice that.

There are some really cool VST plug-ins and instruments out there.

I wonder what people who are used to my tech/political ramblings thought when their subscription turned up an Audio Fanfiction. Maybe I need to set up a different feed for these. (Yes, I plan to record more, but I promise to do a better job, both artistically and technically.)

I was able to download it through iTunes. Someone had already entered my feed URL. (Thanks!)

I'm looking into updating my feed to support the iTunes extensions (Art and such) but Apple recommends UTF-8 encoding of the RSS file, and I use iso-8859-1 on my homepage. It is 2005, maybe I should think about changing my homepage encoding. There's no hurry on this, since my present RSS seems to work.

This whole feed/program thing has me perplexed. Perhaps I should be publishing multiple feeds, one for the Homepage and "Images Words and Sounds" podcasts, and another dedicated feed for "Audio Fanfiction" podcasts, and yet another dedicated feed for "Music" Podcasts. I'd have to do a little work on the backend codes, but it wouldn't be too hard.

Remind my to explain my backend codes one day. I've come about 180 degrees from being a fanatical WYSIWYG kind of guy, to writing and using a .macro based system for my homepage blog. It works for me.

Thu, 28 Jul 2005 19:44:51 PDT - Link

July 27, 2005

Prius Modding

My initiative : to be able to squeeze out more info from the Prius than it is given on the standard display... Such as amperage used, longer term MPG computation and more...

My CAN Project

Looks like there's more cool data flowing around my Prius than Toyota reveals. (Thanks for the link, Daniel)

Wed, 27 Jul 2005 10:19:18 PDT - Link

Google Toolbar

Google has released a version of their toolbar for the Firefox Browser. It solves two web issues, for me — A larger window for searches, and a spell checker for text areas (Like the one I use for my blogging software. — YAY!)

Wed, 27 Jul 2005 10:19:18 PDT - Link

July 22, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


T-chan. (Such a handsome boy, don't you think?)

Fri, 22 Jul 2005 08:17:32 PDT - Link

July 21, 2005

Podcast - The Seasons Stories 1: Winter - a Ranma 1/2 Audio Fanfiction

This is a Ranma 1/2 audio Fanfiction. No, it's not a new story, it was first published over 10 years ago. It was the first story I'd ever written that was released into the wild.

Winter is the first of an arc of four stories which have come to be called "The Seasons Stories" in the fanfiction world.

Enjoy, and let me know if you like what you hear.

6.46MB, 10:19


Thu, 21 Jul 2005 19:48:53 PDT - Link

July 17, 2005

What A Gas - an Air Car!

On the 20th September a car with an air-compressed engine, invented by the Frenchman Guy Négre, will be presented in London. The presentation will take place at 10 am in the Millennium Hotel (17 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London SW1). The aim of the event is to present MDI's technology to the public before its imminent arrival on the market and to offer to businessmen and institutions the chance to take part in establishing the factories in the UK.

One of the many challenges of today's society is maintaining our lifestyle with minimal repercussions to the environment. This is why Guy Négre has invented a "zero pollution" car which involves no combustion.

The MDI car can reach a speed of 68 mph and has a road coverage of roughly 124 miles -some 8 hours of travel- which is more than double the road coverage of an electric car. When recharging the tank, the car needs to be connected to the mains (220V) for 3 to 4 hours or attached to an air pump in a petrol station for only 2 minutes.

Economy and the ecological benefits are the main advantages for the client since the car's maintenance cost is 10 times less than that of a petrol-run car, costing 1 pound for the car to travel for up to 8 hours or to cover 124 miles in an Urban area.

motordeaire Press Release See

The Air Car website.

- Link

July 16, 2005

More Peak Oil Economics

odograph made this keen observation in the ongoing discussion over at Econbrowser...

Allen, I think it is easy to identify the two extremes to the Peak Oil argument. At one end are the "die off" folks, who see human popluations as unsustainable in their livetimes. At the other end are the "there won't even be a speedbump" folks, who think smoothly rising prices will yield more extraction, and low cost alternatives.

I feel like I'm in the middle (there will be some disruption) and that I can criticize in both directions (toward excessive optimists and pessimists).

It seems like the engineers are lining up somewhere be

Wed, 27 Jul 2005 10:19:18 PDT - Link

Google Toolbar

Google has released a version of their toolbar for the Firefox Browser. It solves two web issues, for me — A larger window for searches, and a spell checker for text areas (Like the one I use for my blogging software. — YAY!)

Wed, 27 Jul 2005 10:19:18 PDT - Link

July 22, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


T-chan. (Such a handsome boy, don't you think?)

Fri, 22 Jul 2005 08:17:32 PDT - Link

July 21, 2005

Podcast - The Seasons Stories 1: Winter - a Ranma 1/2 Audio Fanfiction

This is a Ranma 1/2 audio Fanfiction. No, it's not a new story, it was first published over 10 years ago. It was the first story I'd ever written that was released into the wild.

Winter is the first of an arc of four stories which have come to be called "The Seasons Stories" in the fanfiction world.

Enjoy, and let me know if you like what you hear.

6.46MB, 10:19


Thu, 21 Jul 2005 19:48:53 PDT - Link

July 17, 2005

What A Gas - an Air Car!

On the 20th September a car with an air-compressed engine, invented by the Frenchman Guy Négre, will be presented in London. The presentation will take place at 10 am in the Millennium Hotel (17 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London SW1). The aim of the event is to present MDI's technology to the public before its imminent arrival on the market and to offer to businessmen and institutions the chance to take part in establishing the factories in the UK.

One of the many challenges of today's society is maintaining our lifestyle with minimal repercussions to the environment. This is why Guy Négre has invented a "zero pollution" car which involves no combustion.

The MDI car can reach a speed of 68 mph and has a road coverage of roughly 124 miles -some 8 hours of travel- which is more than double the road coverage of an electric car. When recharging the tank, the car needs to be connected to the mains (220V) for 3 to 4 hours or attached to an air pump in a petrol station for only 2 minutes.

Economy and the ecological benefits are the main advantages for the client since the car's maintenance cost is 10 times less than that of a petrol-run car, costing 1 pound for the car to travel for up to 8 hours or to cover 124 miles in an Urban area.

motordeaire Press Release See

The Air Car website.

- Link

July 16, 2005

More Peak Oil Economics

odograph made this keen observation in the ongoing discussion over at Econbrowser...

Allen, I think it is easy to identify the two extremes to the Peak Oil argument. At one end are the "die off" folks, who see human popluations as unsustainable in their livetimes. At the other end are the "there won't even be a speedbump" folks, who think smoothly rising prices will yield more extraction, and low cost alternatives.

I feel like I'm in the middle (there will be some disruption) and that I can criticize in both directions (toward excessive optimists and pessimists).

It seems like the engineers are lining up somewhere be

Wed, 27 Jul 2005 10:19:18 PDT - Link

Google Toolbar

Google has released a version of their toolbar for the Firefox Browser. It solves two web issues, for me — A larger window for searches, and a spell checker for text areas (Like the one I use for my blogging software. — YAY!)

Wed, 27 Jul 2005 10:19:18 PDT - Link

July 22, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


T-chan. (Such a handsome boy, don't you think?)

Fri, 22 Jul 2005 08:17:32 PDT - Link

July 21, 2005

Podcast - The Seasons Stories 1: Winter - a Ranma 1/2 Audio Fanfiction

This is a Ranma 1/2 audio Fanfiction. No, it's not a new story, it was first published over 10 years ago. It was the first story I'd ever written that was released into the wild.

Winter is the first of an arc of four stories which have come to be called "The Seasons Stories" in the fanfiction world.

Enjoy, and let me know if you like what you hear.

6.46MB, 10:19


Thu, 21 Jul 2005 19:48:53 PDT - Link

July 17, 2005

What A Gas - an Air Car!

On the 20th September a car with an air-compressed engine, invented by the Frenchman Guy Négre, will be presented in London. The presentation will take place at 10 am in the Millennium Hotel (17 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London SW1). The aim of the event is to present MDI's technology to the public before its imminent arrival on the market and to offer to businessmen and institutions the chance to take part in establishing the factories in the UK.

One of the many challenges of today's society is maintaining our lifestyle with minimal repercussions to the environment. This is why Guy Négre has invented a "zero pollution" car which involves no combustion.

The MDI car can reach a speed of 68 mph and has a road coverage of roughly 124 miles -some 8 hours of travel- which is more than double the road coverage of an electric car. When recharging the tank, the car needs to be connected to the mains (220V) for 3 to 4 hours or attached to an air pump in a petrol station for only 2 minutes.

Economy and the ecological benefits are the main advantages for the client since the car's maintenance cost is 10 times less than that of a petrol-run car, costing 1 pound for the car to travel for up to 8 hours or to cover 124 miles in an Urban area.

motordeaire Press Release See

The Air Car website.

- Link

July 16, 2005

More Peak Oil Economics

odograph made this keen observation in the ongoing discussion over at Econbrowser...

Allen, I think it is easy to identify the two extremes to the Peak Oil argument. At one end are the "die off" folks, who see human popluations as unsustainable in their livetimes. At the other end are the "there won't even be a speedbump" folks, who think smoothly rising prices will yield more extraction, and low cost alternatives.

I feel like I'm in the middle (there will be some disruption) and that I can criticize in both directions (toward excessive optimists and pessimists).

It seems like the engineers are lining up somewhere between "Die Off" and "Speed Bump" while the free market economists gather somewhere between the "Speed Bump" and smooth transition points of view. The free market mavins are declaring that technology will keep the Escalades rolling — while the engineers are declaring you can't buy a technology that doesn't yet exist.

Sat, 16 Jul 2005 09:03:37 PDT - Link

July 15, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

T-Chan and Tory

T-chan and Tory James on a hot, hot day.

Fri, 15 Jul 2005 22:12:16 PDT - Link

July 14, 2005

Google Maps - Japan

The satellite images have been up for a little while, but tonight I just noticed that the street maps of Japan are starting to show up online.

A couple of years back we spent a few days off the tourist trails, including a couple of days in the charming (if chilly in November) town of Futami.

From there we traveled down the coast to the resort and fishing village of Kii Katsura

I love maps. I have ever since I was a kid. I'd spend hours following railroads, examining coastlines. Thanks, Google. This is so cool! (Make that Ariagto, Google. Kakkoii!

Thu, 14 Jul 2005 22:52:00 PDT - Link

July 12, 2005

Oil Economics

Econbrowser takes a look at How to talk to an economist about peak oil.

I know that many physical scientists feel that economists have a misguided, mystical faith that "markets will always solve everything." Though I understand how outsiders might get this impression, I would guess that more than half of the published research in economics has to do with how the market can misallocate resources rather than how it always does a perfect job. But one thing in which most economists do place a great deal of faith is the powerful forces that are unleashed, for good or ill, by people's efforts to make themselves richer.

Make sure the read the comments, several make very good arguments:

Where were your theoretical profit seekers three years ago? Oil prices have nearly tripled over the last few years, why are you so sure what just happened is unlikely to happen again?

Doesn't the fact that oil prices have nearly tripled over the last three years suggest that information in the markets for oil is not nearly perfect enough to make your arguments relevant?

Last week a freind suggested that if I believe in Peak Oil, I should invest in futures options. He might be right, but the only thing I know for sure is that world oil production will peak, but oil pricing is far more complicated. One need only look to the last few days at NYMEX, where options went up because of Hurricane Dennis, then when down because it missed the major producing rigs in the gulf, and is now going back up because Emily is on the way, and maybe Dennis did more damage than first thought...

Thunderhorse Rig, Photo BP

Thunder Horse Rig, Photo British Petroleum

This rig was to come online late this year, and the market (if it was a rational player) had already assumed its production in forcasts.

Tue, 12 Jul 2005 08:25:49 PDT - Link

July 8, 2005

The Day Of Long Goodbyes or Where's my Brain?

Today was my last day at Danger, Inc. It's quite hard to say goodbye after almost 5 years, the folks I worked with became nearly family. (If I missed saying goodbye to any of you Danger folks today, I'm sorry, I will catch you up later, and there's always lunch. I like lunch.)

All day people were asking where I'm going. I told them: (please read in a South London accent, think of Stan Shunpike, the conductor of the knight bus in the Prisoner of Azkerban)

Home. I'm just going home for a bit. See — I miss my brain, and I'm going to go home and have a look for it. And once I've found by brain, I'll start looking about for something to do with it.

In search of my Brain, I'm going to paint my home office, do some yard work, write some fanfiction, clear out the garage, read the new Harry Potter, hack on my website, go to the San Jose Grand Prix, do some recording, pet my cats, work on a list of things I want to do in my life, and maybe even visit my family.

Not sure where I'm going to end up. I've got a couple of really terrific prospects — I just hope they'll give me enough time to find my brain before I get an offer. I'm really much smarter with my brain, you see.

Fri, 08 Jul 2005 18:16:03 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging

The Boys at the Cat TV

(L-R) Miko, Tory, and T-Chan

Fri, 08 Jul 2005 07:38:22 PDT - Link

Paper Airplane Linkage

Guy Fletcher

Film Composer - Musician - Engineer - Producer - sad amateur meteorologist - not really a doctor

took a little time out from his tour with Mark Knopfler to fly some paper airplanes. He linked me, but the photo is of a Canadian Design. Maybe he'll take a picture of one of mine when he plays The Mountain Winery in Saratoga on July 27th.

It's really stunning how many great recordings Mr. Fletcher has been envolved in.

Fri, 08 Jul 2005 07:38:22 PDT - Link

July 7, 2005

A Dark Day In Londontown

The BBC has an in-depth report.

My heart goes out to the people of a great and favorite city. Just last night I was following the Thames on the satellite images on maps.google.com thinking how much I'd like to go back again.

Thu, 07 Jul 2005 08:47:30 PDT - Link

July 6, 2005

Cheron Sees the Light

"Energy will be one of the defining issues of this century. One thing is clear: the era of easy oil is over. What we do next will determine how well we meet the energy needs of the entire world in this century and beyond"

Will You Join Us — Chevron

This interesting site is sponsored by Chevron. Yes, that Chevron.

You know things are heating up when the Oil companies start publishing Peak Oil Websites.

Thanks to Flying Talking Donkey (Oh, and thanks for the hits!)

Wed, 06 Jul 2005 17:07:03 PDT - Link

July 2, 2005

I Told Ya.

Sure enough, late Friday, masked by the uproar of O'Conner stepping down is the news that find that Karl (Bush's Brain) Rove is implicated in the Plame case.

And I joked he'd be nominated for O'Conner's seat on the Supreme Court. Oh, well, I was partly right. He'll soon be spending a lot more time in in the courtroom.

The summer just got way hotter.

Sat, 02 Jul 2005 13:43:35 PDT - Link

Prius Blogging

That materials that come from Toyota when you purchase a Prius are consumer-freindly, but lack the kind of detail that interests an engineer. Thanks to Google images, I was able to learn a lot more about my car.

Family Car Has a nice schematic and introduction of how the planetary gear splits the energy.

InsightCentral.net compares the Prius to the Honda Insight, and reveals the power flows inside both cars side-by-side.

Philippe B. de l'Arc - Voiture electrique - Toyota Prius (French) has terrific cut-away drawings of the drivetrain.

The drivetrain is far more ingenious than I'd ever imagined.

Sat, 02 Jul 2005 09:05:34 PDT - Link

July 1, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging Tory James

Nice try, but no, Tory. You will not fit in that box.

Sat, 02 Jul 2005 07:07:45 PDT - Link

O'Conner Resigns Supreme Court, Bolton On Short List?

Okay, okay. I'm only joking. Bush is really planning on nominating Karl Rove.

Ignore the front page this weekend, the real news will be on 10A.

It's going to be a long, hot summer.

Fri, 01 Jul 2005 07:47:04 PDT - Link

June 29, 2005

A Little Humor

"Perl eventually will acquire enough syntax that it will collapse upon itself, taking nearby solar systems with."

"The noise from the implosion will of course be valid Perl code."

— Brian and Joe

Quotes from Frotz.net

Wed, 29 Jun 2005 08:01:39 PDT - Link

June 28, 2005

Out Of Danger


Not sure what else to say, I've been at Danger for 4 1/2 years, but now it's time to take a little time off to decompress and then start looking around for another rock.

Tue, 28 Jun 2005 15:13:40 PDT - Link

Fusion = Wind / 24

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Science's quest to find a cheap and inexhaustible way to meet global energy needs took a major step forward on Tuesday when a 30-nation consortium chose France to host the world's first nuclear fusion reactor.

After months of wrangling, France defeated a bid from Japan and signed a deal to site the 10-billion-euro ($12.18-billion) experimental reactor in Cadarache, near Marseille.


The 500 megawatt ITER reactor will use deuterium, extracted from seawater, as its major fuel and a giant electromagnetic ring to fuse atomic nuclei at extremely high temperatures.


"I give it a 50:50 chance of success but the engineering is very difficult," said Ian Fells of Britain's Royal Academy of Engineering.

"If we can really make this work there will be enough electricity to last the world for the next 1,000 to 2,000 years," he said.

Washington Post

Let me get this straight, this (admitedly prototype) plant has a 50:50 chance of working, and if it does, it will produce 500 megawatts for a $12 Bn investment.

If you spend that same $12 Bn on windmills you'd have... 12,000 megawatts, and there will still be plenty of wind in 4005.

Tue, 28 Jun 2005 09:02:37 PDT - Link

Welcome Flying Talking Donkey

One good link deserves another, go visit the Flying Talking Donkey website. More links to energy news than you can shake a stick at.

Tue, 28 Jun 2005 08:41:47 PDT - Link

More Wind

Wind over the USA

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has some very nice wind maps of the US.

Why do I like wind, you ask?

The authors found that the locations with sustainable Class 3 winds could produce approximately 72 terawatts. A terawatt is 1 trillion watts, the power generated by more than 500 nuclear reactors or thousands of coal-burning plants. Capturing even a fraction of those 72 terawatts could provide the 1.6 to 1.8 terawatts that made up the world's electricity usage in 2000.Converting as little as 20 percent of potential wind energy to electricity could satisfy the entirety of the world's energy demands.

Stanford Report

That's why I like wind. There's 20x more than we need, and we'll never run out of it.

Tue, 28 Jun 2005 08:07:49 PDT - Link

June 27, 2005

12,714 MPG

PAC-Car II could beat his own world record in the sunday race and set the mark to 5385 km/l!


Wow. I feel like a wastrel for only getting 50 MPG in the Prius.

Mon, 27 Jun 2005 17:02:36 PDT - Link

Interesting Times

"We're coming up on a brick wall," he said. "The fourth quarter this year is going to maybe be the most interesting quarter I've ever experienced in my 50 years in the oil industry."

T. Boone Pickens CNN

In related news, Light Sweet Crude traded above $60/Bl all day, to close at $60.54.

Mon, 27 Jun 2005 13:49:35 PDT - Link

June 26, 2005


The world's jittery oil markets are on high alert after alarming language by the new hardline leader of Iran, and fresh warnings that the price of oil could soon reach $100 a barrel.

Crude reached historic highs of $60 dollars a barrel last week, causing a sell-off in global equities. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a shake-up of Iran's oil industry and a crackdown on foreign companies


Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an Islamic fundamentalist who was elected last Friday, has called for a radical shake-up of the country's oil industry and a crackdown on foreign companies. Domestic firms will be given priority in awarding contracts.

"I will cut the hands off the mafias of powers and factions who have a grasp on our oil, I stake my life on this," he said. "People must see their share of oil money in their daily lives."

The Telegraph UK

Sun, 26 Jun 2005 20:21:32 PDT - Link

June 24, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


T-Chan in repose

Fri, 24 Jun 2005 07:22:07 PDT - Link

Oil Shockwave: Magnitude 7.8 Epicenter: Where You Live.

As the scenario played out, the price of a barrel of oil leapt to $80 a barrel then $100, then $150. Price per gallon broke $5, and the cost to fill up your mid-size SUV broke $100. The economic effects were devastating — more than 2 million jobs lost in 2007 (largest single yearly loss since 1945), average annual gas costs per household spiking to $5,800 a year, a recession, and 28 percent drop in the S&P 500. Not a pretty picture.

Kenneth Baer Reporting from inside the room of the Oil Shockwave wargame.

More Coverage from the Washington Post.

I'll bet if you apply the Senate's new Energy bill, the situation only gets worse.

Fri, 24 Jun 2005 11:01:40 PDT - Link

The Silenced Majority

But I actually think Rove's rant should be seen as a somewhat encouraging sign. Rove and his idiot chorus aren't roaring at the top of their lungs to try to drown out the liberals — that would be absurd overkill, given how effectively the corporate media has ridiculed and/or demonized the likes of Howard Dean and Dick Durbin. No, Rove's hate rally is aimed squarely at suppressing the growing doubts of the great silent majority — and even, to a certain extent, those of the conservative true believers, some of whom are showing ominous signs of war weariness.


I wasn't able to quite achive the same level of outrage that many bloggers rose to this week, I'm afraid the needle on my outrage meter wraped itself around the end stop long, long ago.

I'm outraged that every time I turned on C-Span 2, the argument in the Senate on the energy bill was about everything but energy. I saw one Senator put up a graphic in opposition to large windmills, showing that "only one would fit in a football stadium". Thanks. I'm sure your gandchildren will be viewing lots of day games in that stadium. No one stood up to point out that all signs point away from fossil fuels, and toward renewable energy. No one stood to point out that in 100 years, that's all we'll have.

100 years really isn't that long from now. I have a woodworking plane made in 1904. I still use it. (It doesn't use any electricity.)

Fri, 24 Jun 2005 08:47:38 PDT - Link

Twilight In The Desert

Twilight In The Desert

This book is rather convincing, and more than a little disturbing. The overwealming evidence is that the great oil fields of Saudi Arabia may soon permanently fall into permanent decline.

This is no beach novel, it's full of tables and illustrations and references, all perfectly designed to appeal to the engineering mind.

Matthew Simmons is an investmet banker with Simmons & Company. He's been in to oil industry for years, and has connections to the Bush Administration.

The National Interst Radio show (Australia) has an in-depth audio interview. (Highly recomended)

Fri, 24 Jun 2005 08:25:38 PDT - Link

June 21, 2005

"Totally Implausible"

A key Foreign Office diplomat responsible for liaising with UN inspectors says today that claims the government made about Iraq's weapons programme were "totally implausible".

He tells the Guardian: "I'd read the intelligence on WMD for four and a half years, and there's no way that it could sustain the case that the government was presenting. All of my colleagues knew that, too".

Guardian UK

Tue, 21 Jun 2005 07:30:33 PDT - Link

June 20, 2005

Why George Went To War

"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and Houston Chronicle journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said, 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He went on, 'If I have a chance to invade..., if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.'"

Why George Went To War TomPaine.com

Mon, 20 Jun 2005 13:52:13 PDT - Link

June 17, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

T-chan and Tory

You're no fun, you fell right over.

Fri, 17 Jun 2005 14:24:38 PDT - Link

$60 — And Not A Drop To Drink

Light, Sweet Crude Oil (Day's high as of now...)
$58.10 — July
$58.90 — August
$59.40 — September
$59.70 — October
$59.65 — November
$60.00 — December

Maybe this is why...

Iran Analyst Says Oil Output Won't Meet 4Q Demand -Report

TEHRAN -(Dow Jones)- Global oil producers will fail to meet rising oil demand in the fourth quarter, sparking oil price rises of up to around $60 a barrel, an Iranian oil analyst said Wednesday.

Mohammad-Ali Khatibi, director of the Tehran-based International Center for Energy Studies' OPEC research office, told the Pars news agency that OPEC and non-OPEC producers wouldn't be able to meet demand in the fourth quarter.

The official, from a center affiliated to the oil ministry, said current production of 85 million b/d would be surpassed by projected demand rises to 87 million b/d in the fourth quarter, leaving producing countries having to pump an extra two million b/d, which they won't be able to do.


Looks like it's going to be a long, chilly winter.

Fri, 17 Jun 2005 10:02:00 PDT - Link

June 16, 2005

Public Service Announcement


WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Thursday June 16, 2005, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of House Judiciary Committee, and other Democratic Members will hold a Democratic hearing to hear testimony concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

On May 1, 2005 a Sunday London Times article disclosed the details of a classified memo, also known as the Downing Street Minutes, recounting the minutes of a July 2002 meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair that describes an American President already committed to going to war in the summer of 2002, despite contrary assertions to the public and the Congress. The minutes also describe apparent efforts by the Administration to manipulate intelligence data to justify the war. The June 16th hearing will attempt to answer the serious constitutional questions raised by these revelations and will further investigate the Administration's actions in the lead up to war with new documents that further corroborate the Downing Street memo.

Directly following the hearing, Rep. Conyers, Members of Congress, and concerned citizens plan to hand deliver to the White House the petition and signatures of over a half million Americans that have joined Rep. Conyers in demanding that President Bush answer questions about his secret plan for the Iraq war.

WHAT: Democratic hearing on Downing Street Minutes and Pre-war intelligence

WHEN: Thursday, June 16, 2005, 2:30pm EDT

WHERE: HC-9 The Capitol

(Overflow Room - 430 S. Capitol Street, The Wasserman Room)

WITNESSES: Joe Wilson, Former Ambassador and WMD Expert, Ray McGovern, 27-year CIA analyst who prepared regular Presidential briefings during the Reagan administration, Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen American soldier, John Bonifaz, constitutional lawyer

Thu, 16 Jun 2005 07:57:05 PDT - Link

June 15, 2005

Thanks Dave

Thank You, Dave

Yesterday Brian Bailey of Leave It Behind added a Thanks Dave button to his site, and suggested that we share the love.

I added a link with the following dedication:

My thanks to Dave Winer for inspiring me to create this website, and for getting me started in podcasting. Oh, yeah, and thanks for RSS 2.0, Dave.

Scripting news was the inspiration for this site, and Dave's "Edit This Page" movement inspired me to build my own back end. (Yes, I'm one of those people who saw what Dave was doing, and copied it.) It was Dave's unrelenting promotion of RSS that got me to look at it, and in the end, implement it on my site.

More than that, Dave Winer has always been a public person, he uses his real name on everything he writes. That's why this is JosephPalmer.com. That's why I dug through old disks and used the internet wayback machine to rebuild my history files. Because of Dave's example, I became a public person, and I put my name on — and stand behind — everything I write. Thank you, Dave.

Wed, 15 Jun 2005 08:45:41 PDT - Link

AP = Apathetic Press

As American newspaper editors look back and examine why the controversial Downing Street memo, first published by the Times of London on May 1, received so little coverage in their papers, several of them are pointing to the same culprit: the Associated Press. Editors rely on the worldwide wire service to let them know what's worthy of attention, and that's particularly true for international events. In the case of the Downing Street memo out of London, they say the AP simply failed to cover the story.


Wed, 15 Jun 2005 08:20:31 PDT - Link

Six More Downing Street Documents

Michael Smith, the defense writer for the Times of London who revealed the Downing Street minutes in a story May 1, provided a full text of the six new documents to the Los Angeles Times.

Portions of the new documents, all labeled "secret" or "confidential," have appeared previously in two British newspapers, the Times of London and the Telegraph. Blair's government has not challenged their authenticity.

New York Newsday

Wed, 15 Jun 2005 08:20:31 PDT - Link

June 13, 2005

Fortune Cookie: Today Is A Bad Day To Buy An SUV.

VIENNA (Reuters) - OPEC producers, considering lifting oil output limits, said on Monday they had little left in their armory to rein in prices now at $54 a barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is struggling to contain prices that it worries are too high for the economic growth required to sustain rising world energy consumption.

It is operating close to full crude production capacity and can do nothing to combat a global squeeze on refined products, particularly diesel.

ABC News

Mon, 13 Jun 2005 13:03:10 PDT - Link

June 12, 2005

Did You Get The Memo?

Here is the second Downing Street Memo.

The paper, produced by the Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, is incomplete because the last page is missing. The following is a transcript rather than the original document in order to protect the source. The Times Online




Ministers are invited to:

(1) Note the latest position on US military planning and timescales for possible action.

(2) Agree that the objective of any military action should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD.

(3) Agree to engage the US on the need to set military plans within a realistic political strategy, which includes identifying the succession to Saddam Hussein and creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action, which might include an ultimatum for the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq. This should include a call from the Prime Minister to President Bush ahead of the briefing of US military plans to the President on 4 August.

(4) Note the potentially long lead times involved in equipping UK Armed Forces to undertake operations in the Iraqi theatre and agree that the MOD should bring forward proposals for the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements under cover of the lessons learned from Afghanistan and the outcome of SR2002.

(5) Agree to the establishment of an ad hoc group of officials under Cabinet Office Chairmanship to consider the development of an information campaign to be agreed with the US.


1. The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.

2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.

3. We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support.

4. In order to fulfil the conditions set out by the Prime Minister for UK support for military action against Iraq, certain preparations need to be made, and other considerations taken into account. This note sets them out in a form which can be adapted for use with the US Government. Depending on US intentions, a decision in principle may be needed soon on whether and in what form the UK takes part in military action.

The Goal

5. Our objective should be a stable and law-abiding Iraq, within present borders, co-operating with the international community, no longer posing a threat to its neighbours or to international security, and abiding by its international obligations on WMD. It seems unlikely that this could be achieved while the current Iraqi regime remains in power. US military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by elimination if Iraqi WMD. It is however, by no means certain, in the view of UK officials, that one would necessarily follow from the other. Even if regime change is a necessary condition for controlling Iraqi WMD, it is certainly not a sufficient one.

US Military Planning

6. Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq. In a 'Running Start', military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up. Air strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime. A 'Generated Start' would involve a longer build-up before any military action were taken, as early as January 2003. US military plans include no specifics on the strategic context either before or after the campaign. Currently the preference appears to be for the 'Running Start'. CDS will be ready to brief Ministers in more detail.

7. US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia. This means that legal base issues would arise virtually whatever option Ministers choose with regard to UK participation.

The Viability of the Plans

8. The Chiefs of Staff have discussed the viability of US military plans. Their initial view is that there are a number of questions which would have to be answered before they could assess whether the plans are sound. Notably these include the realism of the 'Running Start', the extent to which the plans are proof against Iraqi counter-attack using chemical or biological weapons and the robustness of US assumptions about the bases and about Iraqi (un)willingness to fight.

UK Military Contribution

9. The UK's ability to contribute forces depends on the details of the US military planning and the time available to prepare and deploy them. The MOD is examining how the UK might contribute to US-led action. The options range from deployment of a Division (ie Gulf War sized contribution plus naval and air forces) to making available bases. It is already clear that the UK could not generate a Division in time for an operation in January 2003, unless publicly visible decisions were taken very soon. Maritime and air forces could be deployed in time, provided adequate basing arrangements could be made. The lead times involved in preparing for UK military involvement include the procurement of Urgent Operational Requirements, for which there is no financial provision.

The Conditions Necessary for Military Action

10. Aside from the existence of a viable military plan we consider the following conditions necessary for military action and UK participation: justification/legal base; an international coalition; a quiescent Israel/Palestine; a positive risk/benefit assessment; and the preparation of domestic opinion.


11. US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council. A detailed consideration of the legal issues, prepared earlier this year, is at Annex A. The legal position would depend on the precise circumstances at the time. Legal bases for an invasion of Iraq are in principle conceivable in both the first two instances but would be difficult to establish because of, for example, the tests of immediacy and proportionality. Further legal advice would be needed on this point.

12. This leaves the route under the UNSC resolutions on weapons inspectors. Kofi Annan has held three rounds of meetings with Iraq in an attempt to persuade them to admit the UN weapons inspectors. These have made no substantive progress; the Iraqis are deliberately obfuscating. Annan has downgraded the dialogue but more pointless talks are possible. We need to persuade the UN and the international community that this situation cannot be allowed to continue ad infinitum. We need to set a deadline, leading to an ultimatum. It would be preferable to obtain backing of a UNSCR for any ultimatum and early work would be necessary to explore with Kofi Annan and the Russians, in particular, the scope for achieving this.

13. In practice, facing pressure of military action, Saddam is likely to admit weapons inspectors as a means of forestalling it. But once admitted, he would not allow them to operate freely. UNMOVIC (the successor to UNSCOM) will take at least six months after entering Iraq to establish the monitoring and verification system under Resolution 1284 necessary to assess whether Iraq is meeting its obligations. Hence, even if UN inspectors gained access today, by January 2003 they would at best only just be completing setting up. It is possible that they will encounter Iraqi obstruction during this period, but this more likely when they are fully operational.

14. It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.

An International Coalition

15. An international coalition is necessary to provide a military platform and desirable for political purposes.

16. US military planning assumes that the US would be allowed to use bases in Kuwait (air and ground forces), Jordan, in the Gulf (air and naval forces) and UK territory (Diego Garcia and our bases in Cyprus). The plans assume that Saudi Arabia would withhold co-operation except granting military over-flights. On the assumption that military action would involve operations in the Kurdish area in the North of Iraq, the use of bases in Turkey would also be necessary.

17. In the absence of UN authorisation, there will be problems in securing the support of NATO and EU partners. Australia would be likely to participate on the same basis as the UK. France might be prepared to take part if she saw military action as inevitable. Russia and China, seeking to improve their US relations, might set aside their misgivings if sufficient attention were paid to their legal and economic concerns. Probably the best we could expect from the region would be neutrality. The US is likely to restrain Israel from taking part in military action. In practice, much of the international community would find it difficult to stand in the way of the determined course of the US hegemon. However, the greater the international support, the greater the prospects of success.

A Quiescent Israel-Palestine

18. The Israeli re-occupation of the West Bank has dampened Palestinian violence for the time being but is unsustainable in the long-term and stoking more trouble for the future. The Bush speech was at best a half step forward. We are using the Palestinian reform agenda to make progress, including a resumption of political negotiations. The Americans are talking of a ministerial conference in November or later. Real progress towards a viable Palestinian state is the best way to undercut Palestinian extremists and reduce Arab antipathy to military action against Saddam Hussein. However, another upsurge of Palestinian/Israeli violence is highly likely. The co-incidence of such an upsurge with the preparations for military action against Iraq cannot be ruled out. Indeed Saddam would use continuing violence in the Occupied Territories to bolster popular Arab support for his regime.


19. Even with a legal base and a viable military plan, we would still need to ensure that the benefits of action outweigh the risks. In particular, we need to be sure that the outcome of the military action would match our objective as set out in paragraph 5 above. A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden. Further work is required to define more precisely the means by which the desired endstate would be created, in particular what form of Government might replace Saddam Hussein's regime and the timescale within which it would be possible to identify a successor. We must also consider in greater detail the impact of military action on other UK interests in the region.

Domestic Opinion

20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action.


21. Although the US military could act against Iraq as soon as November, we judge that a military campaign is unlikely to start until January 2003, if only because of the time it will take to reach consensus in Washington. That said, we judge that for climactic reasons, military action would need to start by January 2003, unless action were deferred until the following autumn.

22. As this paper makes clear, even this timescale would present problems. This means that:

(a) We need to influence US consideration of the military plans before President Bush is briefed on 4 August, through contacts betweens the Prime Minister and the President and at other levels;

Sun, 12 Jun 2005 15:44:23 PDT - Link

Wapo Wakes Up

The Washington Post has now picked up on this second memo. On Page 1.

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 12, 2005; Page A01

A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.

Memo: U.S. Lacked Full Postwar Iraq Plan
Washington Post

Sun, 12 Jun 2005 07:44:11 PDT - Link

June 11, 2005

Necessary To Create The Conditions

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.

The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.

This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.

Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’

The Times (London)

Thanks, BuzzFlash

Needless to say, I'll be reprinting it here when it shows up on the web.

Kinda puts that Blue Dress thing in a whole new perspective, doesn't it?

Sat, 11 Jun 2005 19:17:52 PDT - Link

June 10, 2005

Collapse By Design

"Sure, you feel a social responsibility," said Matthew Tremblay, 27, a James Dean type once he peels off a nattily tailored black-leather motorcycle outfit. "You get a good feeling when you design a car like that, that is better for the environment. But on the other hand, you want to make something loud and obnoxious. Americans like big, loud things that are high off the ground."

The need for speed Design instructors want the auto industry to go green, but students are resisting — SFGate

Jezz, you think maybe the combined advertising budgets of Acura, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Porsche, Saab, Saturn, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, (All listed in the SUV section of Kelly Blue Book) might have had something to do with developing that "like?"

Nod to P for the link, thanks.

- Link

Friday Cat Blogging


Cousin George

"As far as we know, he's just a normal cat. But every woman that meets him falls in love with him. We think he has the "Kavorka".

Fri, 10 Jun 2005 06:28:43 PDT - Link

June 9, 2005

Are We Stealing Elections Yet?

Tallahassee, FL: "Are we having fun yet?"

This is the message that appeared in the window of a county optical scan machine, startling Leon County Information Systems Officer Thomas James. Visibly shaken, he immediately turned the machine off.

Diebold's opti-scan (paper ballot) voting system uses a curious memory card design, offering penetration by a lone programmer such that standard canvassing procedures cannot detect election manipulation.


Most states prohibit elections officials from checking on optical scan tallies by examining the paper ballots. In Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed declared such spontaneous checkups to be "unauthorized recounts" and prohibited them altogether. New Florida regulations will forbid counting paper ballots, even in recounts, except in highly unusual circumstances. Without paper ballot hand-counts, the hacks demonstrated below show that optical-scan elections can be destroyed in seconds. (Emphasis Added)

Black Box Voting


Thu, 09 Jun 2005 12:55:20 PDT - Link

WatcH YouR CapS

I'm seeing a load of errors in my hitlogs, it looks like someone has linked a permalink, but replaced "View_Permalink" with "view_permalink" in the URL.

I've made a copy of the script and renamed it, so maybe the bad URL will begin to work, but I'd like to know where these hits were coming from....

Thu, 09 Jun 2005 11:37:26 PDT - Link

The Well Of Information

Here's a list of sites that I frequent to keep a finger on the weakening pulse of Peak Oil...

The Oil Drum — Peak Oil Blog, with terrific blogroll and links. Many high quality posts in the comments from informed sources.

Flying Talking Donkey — Oil and Energy news links. This is the go-to site for current events in energy and oil.

Google News — "Peak Oil" search. Here's what the top blogs and Main Stream Media are saying when they say "Peak Oil".

New York Mercantile Exchange Watch the ebb and flow of prices as the options mature and expire. Scary Java.

Washington Monthly Kevin Drum's excellent blog, which from time to time touches on peak oil.

You'll note that this site is a pretty small fish in the Peak Oil pond — in fact I don't even hit their blogrolls, which is appropriate for my content density.

Thu, 09 Jun 2005 08:29:16 PDT - Link

Shoot. The. Duck.


Today's Boondocks was better read online. (Note, you may get a different ad. I got the duck.)

Thu, 09 Jun 2005 07:40:55 PDT - Link

June 8, 2005


A search of CNN finds no hits for Peak Oil.

Wed, 08 Jun 2005 15:28:34 PDT - Link

This Is London

London could see a quarter of its electricity come from 270 wind turbines in what would be the world's largest offshore wind farm, Shell and several energy partners said Tuesday in applying for permits to build the $2.7 billion project.

The London Array project would place the turbines on offshore platforms where the Thames River meets the North Sea around 60 miles outside London.

The turbines would generate around 1,000 megawatts and connect into Britain’s national grid to supply power for more than 750,000 homes, helping meet Prime Minister Tony Blair’s target of generating 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010.


2.7 Billion? That's about what we spent in Iraq over the Memorial Day weekend.

President's George Bush's decision not to sign the United States up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from ExxonMobil, the world's most powerful oil company, and other industries, according to US State Department papers seen by the Guardian.

The documents, which emerged as Tony Blair visited the White House for discussions on climate change before next month's G8 meeting, reinforce widely-held suspicions of how close the company is to the administration and its role in helping to formulate US policy.

The Guardian

Tony, don't be a stranger. You need to visit more often.

Wed, 08 Jun 2005 07:52:43 PDT - Link

The Lies Were Being Fixed Around The Policy

A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.

In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

Wed, 08 Jun 2005 07:52:43 PDT - Link

Meanwhile, Back In London

An unprecedented joint statement issued by the leading scientific academies of the world has called on the G8 governments to take urgent action to avert a global catastrophe caused by climate change.

The national academies of science for all the G8 countries, along with those of Brazil, India and China, have warned that governments must no longer procrastinate on what is widely seen as the greatest danger facing humanity. The statement, which has taken months to finalise, is all the more important as it is signed by Bruce Alberts, president of the US National Academy of Sciences, which has warned George Bush about the dangers of ignoring the threat posed by global warming.

The Independant

Well, maybe the Whitehouse was thinking "What's the big fuss? We're going to run out of oil soon anyway.

Wed, 08 Jun 2005 07:52:43 PDT - Link

June 7, 2005

Hardly Uninformed

We know that our national leaders are hardly uninformed about this predicament. President George W. Bush has been briefed on the dangers of the oil-peak situation as long ago as before the 2000 election and repeatedly since then. In March, the Department of Energy released a report that officially acknowledges for the first time that peak oil is for real and states plainly that "the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary."

James Howard Kunstler — Macon Area Online

Of late this factoid has been heavy on my mind. I can't look at Bush's Social Security proposals, or judicial nominations, or UN ambassador nomination or pollyanna pronouncements of democracy in Iraq without seeing that news through the filter of "He Knows."

It seems that nearly every action he takes is in denial of the future, that every action is meant to undo civil cohesion at a time when it will be most needed.

It is as if he has declared open season for one last pillage of the masses by the privileged before things get ugly and they pull the ladder up. But up where?

Tue, 07 Jun 2005 10:22:48 PDT - Link

Back At Ya

I'm seeing lots of hits from two locations today: Kung Fu Monkey who I've mentioned before for his great advice. It's a blog of distinction, well worth the visit, and I'm going to have to set aside an evening to explore his writing links.

In a totaly unrealted matter, Rakhal's Penultimate Ranma Fanfic Index is delivering a flood of hits now that Yellow has been updated. Thanks, Rak.

I'd also like to thank those who've sent emails, and Eljee, Ryan, Ced, and ginny for their Guestbook Entries on the latest chapter of Yellow. (And yes, ginny, I found and fixed the cursed/coursed mix up in Orange. Thanks!)

Tue, 07 Jun 2005 09:46:44 PDT - Link

June 6, 2005

Danish Windpower

The Danish Wind Industry Association website offers the most comprehensive overview of modern wind power I've found.

Another great resource is the Vestas Wind Systems site.

Mon, 06 Jun 2005 21:22:38 PDT - Link

It's Still Dark In The Box

Well, it's happend. Apple is switching to Intel Processors. It brings to mind the first opinion piece I ever published:

All that really mattered was the user experience of the software. It didn't really matter what was in the box, or who it was from, because it was dark in the box and that was that.

It's Dark in the Box — jpalmer

Mon, 06 Jun 2005 11:48:46 PDT - Link

The Long Emergency

The Long Emergency Book Cover

There are now two different planets of information. There's the Internet planet, and then there's the major media, and the major media are not paying attention at all to anything, in fact, they are part of the problem.

I'm allergic to conspiracy theories, and I actually don't believe that there is any conspiracy, but the cluelessness at the highest levels of American business, government and media is really amazing.


James Howard Kunstler - Book TV, C-span2

I picked up The Long Emergency Saturday, so far the first two chapters “Sleepwalking Into The Future,” and “Modernity and the Fossil Fuels Dilemma” are familiar territory, at least for someone who has a passing knowledge with the stark, concrete, incontrovertible evidence of resource depletion. I’m almost relived, perhaps my web research has really found the bottom. One very new bit of information was on Page 30, where it was revealed that Matthew Simmons had advised George W. Bush as early as 1999 about the coming peak in world oil production.

Somehow it was easier not knowing that, because it’s a new light, revealing a new perspective on this President. It’s going to take me a while to re-compile my thoughts with the “Bush knew” switch set to “Peal Oil Aware”.

A quick trip to the Whitehouse Website found no hits for “Peak Oil”, “Oil Peak” or “Oil Depletion.” Whatever this administration knows about Peak Oil, they’ve not spoken about it.

Mon, 06 Jun 2005 08:25:25 PDT - Link

Oil Storm? Oil Yawn.

Kudos to FX for breaking new ground, Oil Storm is a fictional depiction of what would happen if one of the many hurricanes predicted this year (yes, 2005) were to damage a pipline and oil terminal. Done in Frontline documentary style, the movie flits between a family in Texas who run a Gas station, an EMT in Boston, and a family farm in the midwest.

As a movie, I can only give it only one star, the setup was reasonably realistic, but the ending was a little too deus ex Russia.

It's worth a watch — but only if you're into disaster movies.

Mon, 06 Jun 2005 08:25:25 PDT - Link

June 3, 2005

We'll Use Lasers!

Over at Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum has wrapped up his 5 part series on Peak Oil. He offers a four point plan for where to go from here:

1) Increased production

2) Conservation

3) Increased efficiency

4) Alternative fuels

I do not support his notion in point one that we need to drill ANWAR. Here is my contributions to the comments:

My personal, nearly religious, feeling is that ANWAR should be off the table.

I declare the nature above, and oil below belongs not to this generation, but to our posterity.

Our generation has squandered the resources of our nation and our planet in a blind orgy of profligate consumption. It would be a sin against nature and our progeny if but one drop of that oil is pumped into the tank of an Escalade. We do not deserve it. It is not for us.

ANWAR is an assessment of our humanity, a stark test of our ability to see beyond our own lives. The oil that is there is enough for but a season or two of propelling ourselves around in our colossal SUVs, and offers no comfort for the seasons that follow. Can we not reserve this one puny cache?

Points two and three, conservation and efficiency are givens. We already waste far more power (From all sources) than is needed for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I take issue with his alternative fuels section is as well, Hydrogen is a storage medium, not an energy source. Fuel Cells are like cold combustion generators, they combine stored Hydrogen fuel with Oxygen from the air, to make electricity. For Mr. Drum to make such a basic mistake is quite unfortunate, because it brings into question his mastery of the subject, and devalues the rest of the series, which was really quite good.

I honestly hope he starts another series, this time focusing on the "Post-Oil" era, he has a good platform and an informed and vocal readership at his blog.

P.S. I sometimes must shake my head at some to the comments, they bring to mind a story/joke from a generation ago that sticks in my head about technology:

"I can't wait for 3D television — it'll be so cool!"

"3D? How will they make that work?"

"Hmmm. Oh, I know — we'll use lasers!"

Some folks are treating the end of cheap oil with that same "we'll use lasers" attitude. We can live without 3D TV, we need to be serious about life without cheap oil.

Fri, 03 Jun 2005 13:12:26 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging

Pete in Red Office Chair

"Pete's Day Job"

From the series:

Extended Series of Palmer Cats on Red Office Chairs

Palmer and Palmer

Thanks, Cuz!

Fri, 03 Jun 2005 08:57:31 PDT - Link

June 1, 2005

Something Is Afoot.

Oil jumped $2.75 a barrel today, to settle at $54.60. It's drifted downward to $54.33 in after-hours trading.

The U.S. stockpile report is to be released tomorrow. I wonder if someone got a sniff, or this might just be the same old buy on rumor, sell on news.

Wed, 01 Jun 2005 13:18:48 PDT - Link

Talking Points Cafe

I've long been a fan and daily reader of Josh Marshall's Takling Points Memo website. Yesterday he opened a new site, TPM Cafe. I'm still trying to figure out the overly helpful post editing system, but it looks to be an interesting site.

Wed, 01 Jun 2005 07:39:11 PDT - Link

May 31, 2005

Breadcrumbs And Kitchen Math

Follow me, if you will, on a not so random walk of the interwebs. We'll start in Sweden...

The Swedish state company Vattenfall, which runs Barseback, says it will invest SEK8bn ($1.09bn) to build the biggest wind farm in northern Europe.

It hopes it will produce two terawatt hours per year from 2010. Barseback produced double that, and Sweden used 148 terawatts hours last year.


Huh. Sweden is shutting down Barseback 2 — hey wait a second did they really just say that 1.09bn in wind farm will replace half what a nuke plant produces, and it will be online in 5 years. Must be Euros or something. (quick trip to finance.yahoo.com) Nope. SEK8bn is about $1.077bn USD. I wonder how much it costs to build a nuke plant.... (quick trip to Google)

Nuclear power's biggest problems are economic: it is simply no longer competitive with other, newer forms of power generation. The final 20 U.S. reactors cost $3 to $4 billion to build, or some $3,000 to $4,000 per kilowatt of capacity. By contrast, new gas-fired combined cycle plants using the latest jet engine technology cost $400-$600 per kilowatt, and wind turbines are being installed at less than $1,000 per kilowatt.


Then I remembered that it's one thing to build a nuke plant, and it's another to de-commision it. Back to Google.

Cost estimates made in 1993 by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for decommissioning of nuclear power stations are about US$300,000 per MW (or US$300 million for a 1,000-MW nuclear reactor). This is much lower than the costs of the examples given above, which varied between US$1.210 million to US$4.032 million per MW.


Stop. Don't. Come Back.

If I read that right, it cost (past tense, not an estimate, real cost) $1,200 to $4,032 per kilowatt just to dissassemble a decomisioned nuke plant, and it costs less than $1000 per kilowatt to install wind turbines.

Tell me again why we're talking about new nuclear plants...

Tue, 31 May 2005 21:14:13 PDT - Link

Greetings from Rodney and Fender

Greetings From Rodney And Fender

Back on March 10 I blogged about a curious cancel stamp which arived in my (snail)mailbox. I'd given it a close look at the time, and read it as "Greetings from Rooney and Fender". Well, It's really "Greetings from Rodney and Fender".

I got both an email and a guestbook entry setting me straight today.

The USPS website has the cheerful Press Release, Postalwatch was not so amused.

Tue, 31 May 2005 19:17:26 PDT - Link

You know that word you keep usin? I don' think ita means what you think ita means.

In terms of ah.. (you know the) the detainees we've had thousands of people detained we've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seems like to me they based some of their decisions on - on the word of ah.. and the allegations by people who're held in detention people who have been trained in some instances to disassemble. — That means to not tell the truth.

George W. Bush — May 31, 2005.

I think you meant dissemble not disassemble

Tue, 31 May 2005 08:18:31 PDT - Link

May 30, 2005

Wind. Power.

Clipper Wind makes some interesting windmill transmision / generators.

One of the reasons I remain a little optomistic about the energy future is that wind power looks like a real possibility.

Wind power could provide up to forty times more electricity than worldwide demand.

Daily Kos

Wind generators will take energy and resources to make, they will clutter up the skyline, there will be blade and transmission noise, and there will be birdstrikes. It's not free energy, but it's about as green as it gets.

I actually like the look of windmills, and I rather fancy the notion of plunking them every half mile along California freeways — where we (the people) already have right-of-ways, and the noise would be masked by the traffic. Unfortunately, the wind at 80 meters above Highway 280 In San Jose is probably not up to the task, but I think there is a kind of closed-loop feeling of justice in driving an electric car in the shadow of windmills. If things get really bad, we could take over the fast lane in each direction for trains. Electric trains.

Mon, 30 May 2005 21:40:45 PDT - Link

Results 1 - 10 of about 198

You remember that Associated Press Story on peak Oil I linked on the 27th? When I linked it it was the the only hit for that story then I searched for "Peak Oil" on Google news.

Just now I found 198 hits for that story.

I've been doing that "Peak Oil" search nearly every day for months. This is by far the widest distribution of an article on Peak Oil that I've seen.

Of course, a search for "Crane Standoff" nets 1310. "Jackson Trial" gets 3700. "Runaway Bride nets 6750.

We are literaly Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Mon, 30 May 2005 18:50:23 PDT - Link

May 28, 2005

Web Design & the Huffington Post

I've been thinking about a refresh of my main page design, the present one was developed in the days when the vast majority of my hits were from modems, so I was leaning towards a very lean structure with content graphics no larger than 384 pixels wide.

Some of the images I'd like to publish just don't work at that scale, so I'm looking for ways to allow for larger images. My conundrum is that I really like the narrow width of my blog text column, I suppose I could stretch it some, but I think if I stretched it to match 640 pixel wide images, the readability would suffer.

Anyway I've been looking at other sites for ideas, and the Huffington Post gave me a few, but not for my site...

The HP uses a classic three column design, with the left column given over to Blog excerpts, and the middle and right columns given over to links

I think it's a good design, with a few bugs and a curious missed opportunity

One bug is that for each blog excerpt there are four or five hyperlinks: The Authors Name is a link, The Title of the item is a link, there's red text that says "read whole post" that's a link, and red text that says "permalink" that's a link, and if there are comments, there is red text with "comments (x)" that is also a link.

That seems to me like overkill, but the problem is that if you click any of the first three (including "read whole post") you do not go to the whole post. You get dropped into a page with the post expanded with more text, but if it is a long blog entry you are once again faced with "read whole post" — Umm, I ALREADY ASKED FOR THAT WHEN I CLICKED "READ WHOLE POST, DIDN'T I?"

Oddly enough, clicking the permalink (Something I never do on other sites unless I right-click to copy the link location) drops you into the full post, as does clicking "comments"

It's an easily fixable bug, and I only comment on it because I like the content of the site enough to want to complain about the design.

The missed opportunity is a little hard to explain, and perhaps even harder to implement. I got the core idea from Bill Moyers

I also reminded them of how the correspondent and historian Richard Reeves answered a student who asked him to define real news. "Real news," Reeves responded, "is the news you and I need to keep our freedoms."

The two remaining columns represent a possiblilty to divide stories into two categories, real news, and everything else.

A story like:

U.S. Arms Sales to Undemocratic Countries Has Increased Sharply Since 9/11

is real news. It is to me unambigously in that catagory. We should base our choices in tha ballot box with information like that. On the opther hand...

Depp Goes Gonzo: Actor to Fire Hunter S. Thompson's Ashes Out of Cannon

is not news. Sorry, It's not. Yes, I've read Thompson's "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72", but that doesn't make firing his ashes out of a canon real news. (Oddly enough the book itself, although a work of fiction, far better fits that definition of real news.)

I know it may be impossible to draw such a bright line, and that there are articles that belong on both sides of that line, but even an imperfect attempt by the editors might well be better than the current cloudy mix.

Strangely enough, I would not object if on some days there was only one item of real news, and a dozen of other — That is the power of this medium. The Huffington Post does not need to fill 24 hours of air time. It does not need film to go with the story. It does not need to fill each page with ink.

Sat, 28 May 2005 09:08:37 PDT - Link

May 27, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


Miko and T-chan

Fri, 27 May 2005 18:58:32 PDT - Link

You Can't Buy Off Mother Nature

But Deffeyes and many other geologists counter that when it comes to oil, Mother Nature trumps Adam Smith. The way they see it, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway and other major producers are already pumping as fast as they can. The only way to increase production capacity is to discover more oil. Yet with a few exceptions, there just isn't much left out there to be discovered.

"The economists all think that if you show up at the cashier's cage with enough currency, God will put more oil in ground," Deffeyes said.

The Daily News (Associated Press Story)

Fri, 27 May 2005 12:20:04 PDT - Link

Hiptop2 collection exclusief bij Hi!

Pimped out Sidekick

Check out the blinged-out Sidekicks Offered by "Hi" (KPN Mobile The Netherlands B.V.)

No, I don't think the "Hi" is related to the coffehouses in Amsterdam ^_^

Fri, 27 May 2005 10:05:59 PDT - Link

Mobiles Surfen, Mailen, Chatten, Telefonieren

Mit dem Sidekick II macht mobiles Surfen endlich Spaß - und Sinn. Denn Sie haben Zugriff auf das freie Internet wie Google, eBay und Co. und sind dank GPRS richtig schnell. Im Stau E-Mails abrufen, auf einer Zugfahrt chatten oder der Online Preisvergleich: Mit 46 Tasten und Scroll-Rad ein Kinderspiel. Dazu kommen die Extras eines High-Tech-Handys - MMS, Blitzlicht-Kamera, Organzier und vieles mehr.

T-Mobile Germany

Or if you love a bit to the east of Amsterdam, T-Mobile Germany can hook you up.

Fri, 27 May 2005 10:05:59 PDT - Link

Fanime Schedule

Fanime has released the Live Schedule! (.pdf)

Yes, the Fanfic Panel has moved to Panel Room 2, and I have requested two hours, but there is open space before and after the panel. I think that's that same room as last year, so please sit near the front, or we won't be able to hear each other.

Fri, 27 May 2005 08:30:49 PDT - Link

May 27, 2005

Great Minds...

It looks ike Kevin Drum was inspired by the same Mobil Exxon report to do a post on peak oil. Be sure to read through the comments, Kevin draws a smart crowd at his blog and the ratio of trolls to boffins is quite good. I followed one of the comment links to a Report on the hydrogen economy important reading, that.

You know, maybe having a comments feature isn't such a bad idea after all.

Fri, 27 May 2005 08:25:40 PDT - Link

May 26, 2005

Coming To Fanime?

Fanfic UnPANEL The Panel Where You Are The Panel Sunday 11:00 AM Panel Room 1

Please join us — I guarantee the largest and most talented Panel In Fanime History!

Thu, 26 May 2005 19:55:14 PDT - Link

Something Like That..

Joseph Palmer's Yellow was updated to chapter 12... the world must be comming to an end ^_^

Fukufics Update List

Thu, 26 May 2005 10:12:14 PDT - Link

It's Talk Like George Galloway Day On The Internets

Okay. I made that up. It's kind of like "Talk like a Pirate Day", but it's a chance to hone our skills at verbal Kenpo. If you like the idea, pass the meme.

Here's my entry for today:

Let me tell you what I know about the issue of Peak Oil; it's the iceberg appearing out of the fog in on the horizon, it's the bridge out before the thundering train, it's the flashing red light on the dashboard of humanity, it's every metaphore for every crisis — in every language known to man, all rolled into one, and you Mr President, are ignoring it.

That was fun — I think I'll do that again sometime.

Thu, 26 May 2005 12:03:35 PDT - Link

Exxon Mobil, Meet Peak Oil. Peak Oil, Exxon Mobil

Without any press conferences, grand announcements, or hyperbolic advertising campaigns, the Exxon Mobil Corporation, one of the world's largest publicly owned petroleum companies, has quietly joined the ranks of those who are predicting an impending plateau in non-OPEC oil production. Their report, The Outlook for Energy: A 2030 View, forecasts a peak in just five years.

Oil: Caveat empty — Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Thu, 26 May 2005 09:06:34 PDT - Link

Four More Years

...112 billion barrels—the proven oil reserves of Iraq, the second largest proven oil reserves in the world—would last a little more than four years at today's usage rates.

Oil: The illusion of plenty — Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

This is why I don't subscribe to the notion that the Iraq was is only about oil. It is simply beyond the capture range of my imagination that an administration placed in power by the electoral college could make the calculus to start a war that would to date trade 1651 American Troop Casualties, (as of this writing) an unreported number of serious and ultmately fatal injuries to the same troops, and an uncounted number of innocent Iraqi civilian deaths (Estimated to be over 100,000 last year) for four years of oil.

Four years of oil isn't enough for that — is it?

But look out beyond 2010 — Exxon Mobil predicts that after that date, non-OPEC sources will have peaked, and OPEC must step in to pick up the slack, and once again the world is at the mercy of OPEC. Is this what they were talking about in those Secret Enegry Meetings in 2001?

Look at those charts in the report — each cheerfully reports in freindly primary colors that that demand is going to keep rising, and that demand will be met by contries who have been secretive to the point of paranoia about thier actual geological data. It would be governmental malpractice to take these estimates at face value.

Ever-increasing supplies of low-cost petroleum are thought to be vital to the U.S. and world economies, which is why the invasion of Iraq and the belief that controlling its 112-billion-barrel reserve would give the United States a limitless pipeline to cheap oil were so dangerous. The war in Iraq will definitely have an effect on the U.S. and world economies, but not a positive one. The invasion, occupation, and rebuilding of Iraq will cost the people of the United States both blood and treasure. But more to the point, Iraq could be a fatal distraction from many fundamental and extremely unpleasant facts that actually threaten the United States—one of which is the finite nature of petroleum resources.

(Emphasis Added — J.)

Oil: The illusion of plenty — Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Okay guys, the tin-foil hats are off. This is no longer an issue for the lone voices howling in the night. This is how it happens. First, the boffins with calculators ask "what if". Then the guys with the numbers look up from next quarter and start to raise the alarm. Slowly, galacially slowly that information begins to trickle into the mainstream. It starts with articles in magazines you've never even heard of. Then a few in the science mags, and a mention or two in the newspapers. Then someone in congress takes notice. Someone who used to be in the sciences. Then it hits the main stream media. Then, in the last step, it becomes policy to deal with it.


Peak Oil is the iceberg in the fog, and no matter what we do we're going to hit it.

Thu, 26 May 2005 09:06:34 PDT - Link

May 25, 2005

A New Chapter of Yellow


Chapter 12

She drifted awake as from a dream.



Her back was pressing on something hard, and it was cold.



There were soft things in her hands, and they were warm.



She could hear shouting, and the person shouting sounded a lot like her sister. The shouting stopped and she felt a warm hand caress her cheek. She opened her eyes to find Souichi kneeling by her side, and Ranma and Akane standing over her.

For those of you who are only familiar with my blog, maybe a little explanation is required —

Yellow is a work of fiction, based on a Japanese series (both manga and anime) called Ranma Nibunnoichi (Ranma 1/2). This particular story was started in 1997, and over the years I've been nibbling away at it. I've even slipped two shorter stories into he interrum, After Black and Manila, which are linked from my Fanfictions Page

The last chapter was published on Dec 10, 2002. I really do promise to write more frequently.

P.S. Be sure to join us at the Fanme Fanfiction unPanel (Tenatively scheduled for Sunday at 11:00.)

Wed, 25 May 2005 08:29:44 PDT - Link

May 24, 2005

Crude Awakening

The Globe and Mail (Canada) has a good series of articles on oil depletion.

Tue, 24 May 2005 13:00:02 PDT - Link

May 20, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory in Bucket

Still life with Amazon box, Bucket and Tory James.

Fri, 20 May 2005 21:35:03 PDT - Link

Main Stream Media, Meet Peak Oil. Peak Oil, Main Stream Media.

Last night the local CBS 5 affiliate in San Jose ran a story on peak oil.

"A soft landing is that we get enough new nuclear electric generating capacity, wind energy, high efficiency automobiles on the road by this coming Thanksgiving, or it's a hard landing," he says. "There, we get probably a worldwide recession that's worse than 1930." (—Professor Kenneth Deffeyes)

That's because of higher prices for everything from fuel to food, as new problems emerge over how much oil is left and who gets to have it. — Hank Plante, CBS 5 Eyewittness news.

The Peak oil report was on tape, and at the end, the on-air talent seemed a little shaken:


"Well, there's a happy thought..."

"Very Important."

"Something to think about."

Kinda puts that whole chilli-finger story you opened the broadcast with into perspective, doesn't it. Chilli finger — Global Depression. Chilli finger — Global Depression. Let's go to weather!

Fri, 20 May 2005 08:15:00 PDT - Link

How It's Done.

The video of all of George Galloway's blistering testimony before the senate committee looking into the oil for food scandal can be found here

You can agree with him or not, (and I whole heartedly agree with him on Iraq) but no one can deny that he is a Jedai Master of the verbal sword.

Stan Goff at Counterpunch Recomends Democrats should take the lesson.

George Galloway did that for which you have proven incapable; he spoke as an opposition. Since there seems to be a great dark space in the middle of your heads where the notion of opposition should be a void filled by parliamentary molasses and the pusillanimous inabilty to tell simple truths - I suggest you all review the recordings of Galloway's confrontation with Republican Senator Norm "Twit" Coleman to see exactly how effortless it is to stand up to these cheap political bullies (watch the video). While you are at it, you can watch your colleague Carl Levin demonstrate exactly what I mean about most of you and your party, as he alternately hurls petulant cream-puff insults at Galloway and kisses Coleman's stunned, clueless ass to give that toothy dips*** some comfort in the wake of Galloway's verbal drubbing.

Fri, 20 May 2005 07:46:57 PDT - Link

May 19, 2005

Japan HQ

Everything Japan, from About Japan to Yu Gi Oh Japanese.

Japan HQ has an amazing and eclectic set of links related to Japan. A guy could spend months just following the links...

Thu, 19 May 2005 20:26:52 PDT - Link

May 17, 2005

George Galloway: Speaking Truth To Power

"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

"I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

"If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."

Times Online

You can see the video, or hear the audio at: Crooks and Liars

I'll post a link to the entire hearing as soon as I find it.

Oh and senator, he riped you a new one that can be seen from earth orbit.

Tue, 17 May 2005 13:01:34 PDT - Link

May 16, 2005

Deficit Pumping

Rep. Bartlet made another of his special orders speeches about peak oil tonight. Among the interesting facts was a startling new one; some of those stripper wells we see bobbing out in the middle of nowhere are actualy running at a BTU defecit — The electrical energy used to pump the oil is more than the energy content of the oil itself.

Mon, 16 May 2005 21:28:52 PDT - Link

More More Moyers

Democracy Now has the transcript, streams, and a .mp3 of the Bill Moyers presentation.

Apparently there was apoplexy in the right wing area, particularly when I closed the broadcast one Friday night by putting a flag in my lapel and said - well, here’s exactly what I said. Here’s a copy of what I said: “I wore my flag tonight, first time. Until now I haven’t thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans. Sometimes I would offer a small prayer of gratitude that I had been born in a country whose institutions sustain me, whose armed forces protected me and whose ideals inspired me. I offered my heart’s affection in return. It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother’s picture on my lapel to prove her son’s love. Mother knew where I stood. So does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15th. So what’s this doing here? I put it on to take it back. The flag’s been hijacked and turned into a logo, the trademark - the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On most Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it’s the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. During the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration’s patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official labels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao’s Little Red Book of orthodoxy on every official’s desk, omnipresent and unread.

“But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapel while writing books and running web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American. They are people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They’re in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks, even as they call for spending more on war.

“So I put this on as a modest repose to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks. or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don’t have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the ‘Coalition of the Willing.’ I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us. The flag belongs to the country, not to the government, and it reminds me that it’s not un-American to think that war, except in self defense, is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve and diplomacy. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country.”

Mon, 16 May 2005 21:14:38 PDT - Link

Bill Moyers Strikes Back

Bill Moyers outstanding speech before the National Conference for Media Reform is now online at C-SPAN

Mon, 16 May 2005 12:29:43 PDT - Link

May 14, 2005

Commute test: 51.6 MPG - 181 miles

Prius Dashboard

Here's a "screenshot" of the display of my Prius taken in my driveway Friday evening at the end of my commute.

The 181 miles reflects my commute Monday though Friday, and a short (Less than two miles) side trip to Best Buy. My commute is about 18 miles, one way, part freeway, part city. This week has been nearly ideal, I didn't need the headlights, and the heater and air conditioner were saw minimal use, and the temperature was in the 60s and 70s. The radio was on pretty much 100% of the time.

The "AVERAGE" number resets to zero automatically when you re-fill the car, or when you hit that big "Reset" button. It appears that it continuiously tracks the odmeter and the gasoline flow to display the average (per tank) and closely reflects the number I get if I check at the pump.

The bar graph in the middle is a bit odd, it displays the MPG chunked into 5 minute blocks. This display is reset each time the car is turned off.

Note that the first block is well under 25 MPG, and that the mileage builds from there. From what I've read this effect is because internal combustion engines are less efficient when cold so the Prius (and any other internal combustion engine car) does not really show its stride until the engine is warmed up. In my experience about 15 minutes are required before the mileage reaches its full potential.

If you make a short stop after it's warmed up, the milage stays up in the post-warm up range. I think they actually keep some of the fluids in a thermos tank just for this reason.

This trip was a bit unusual, on most trips I get at least one "bar" where it is pegged at 100MPG - a 5 minute period where I've been coasting or maintining speed on the battery alone.

So here's the deal, if your commute is less than fifteen minutes, you are unlikely to see the full potential of the Prius, but on the other hand, that will be true of any other internal combustion vehicle as well.

I got my Prius about seven months and 7,200 miles ago, it has proven to be a solid, comfortable, quiet, fun to drive car.

Now, if Apple would only build me an in-dash iPod... Do you hear me Steve? Built. In. With WiFi. I want to drag songs to it from my home network — oh yeah, it should be able to download podcasts by itself, and act as a "radio Tivo" and swap songs with other nearby cars, and... and... (Hey, Steve. give me a call!)

Sat, 14 May 2005 08:46:46 PDT - Link

May 13, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Carl with unidentified squirrel

~1974 Carl, with unidentified squirrel.

That squirrel would spend hours teasing Carl. He'd slink down the tree far enough to be a tempting target, Carl would wiggle into place, than launch himself at the squirrel. The squirrel, of course, would be twelve of fifteen feet up the tree before the cat hit, and he would turn and scold Carl while he slid ungracefully down the bark back to the ground. Repeat.

Fri, 13 May 2005 12:30:11 PDT - Link

May 12, 2005

The School Of War

With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran.

"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.


All the while the insurgents are gaining strength, he said. "The longer they keep going on the better they will get," said Lang, a student of military history. "The best school of war is war."


Thu, 12 May 2005 08:52:21 PDT - Link

May 9, 2005

Now That's What I Call A Poison Pill

According to the book, which will be released to the public on May 17, based on National Security Agency electronic intercepts, the Saudi Arabian government has in place a nationwide, self-destruction explosive system composed of conventional explosives and dirty bombs strategically placed at the Kingdom's key oil ports, pipelines, pumping stations, storage tanks, offshore platforms, and backup facilities. If activated, the bombs would destroy the infrastructure of the world's largest oil supplier, and leave the country a contaminated nuclear wasteland ensuring that the Kingdom's oil would be unusable to anyone. The NSA file is dubbed internally Petro SE, for petroleum scorched earth.


An interesting gambit, if true, and a truly auspicious scoop for opening day at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Maybe I should start a blogroll...

Mon, 09 May 2005 12:28:17 PDT - Link

$1000? Bet On Blue. $1,000,000? Bet On Red.


Kevin Drum takes a look at the economy under Republican presidents, and under Democratic presidents over the last 50 years.

On the average, low and middle incomes do better under Democarats, and they take it in the pocketbook under Republicans.

I'd like to see this analysis add a few more data points — the top 1% and the top 0.1%, and include 2000-2004.

FYI: The Dow Jones average is still lower than it was on Bushe's first day in office.

Mon, 09 May 2005 08:39:14 PDT - Link

May 8, 2005

Perfectly Legal, Profoundly Angry

Perfectly Legal

I read David Kay Johnston's Perfectly Legal last year, but I didn't comment too much upon it at the time.

It is a difficult read, and I found myself putting it down from time to time — not because it was poorly written — on the contrary, it's brilliantly written — but I'd put it down because it is soul-wrenching to realize how corrupt our nation has become.

There were a few oh, you've got to be kidding me passages, but the most devastating were those passages that dealt in depth with front-page stories that only get superficial coverage in the main stream media.

At the time I read it I didn't make much comment on it, but looking back I realize that having read it, it had a profound effect. It changed the way I look at the twisted dialect of capitalism now spoken in the United States.

I'd left the book in a box in the garage — out of sight, out of mind, you know, but this morning I came across a must-read review of it:

...Yes, it’s fair to say I know most of my country’s worst past and present flagrant abuses of human and political rights, but after reading Perfectly Legal I am shocked.

Plain shocked, even after all that I know, of the vast abuses of the American tax system chronicled so plainly in its pages. Even worse, I’m shocked (not surprised) that I’m shocked. I have a good education, have been a political journalism junkie all my life, and prowl the political blogs even now every day helplessly addicted to whatever news and political currents are swirling in the national consciousness (such as it is).

I had no idea of the utter degradation of mission of the IRS, the rampant felony cheating in the corporate and upper brackets, the horrifying mendacity of political leadership that leads to nothing short of looting and stealing. Worst of all is a creeping, incredibly powerful background hum of consciousness to the results of this flagrant abuse of the American Dream, a crushing economic poverty that inflicts vast amounts of pain and suffering over great swathes of our people, snuffing out incredible potential of the human soul so powerful we can’t even dream about it.


Rather than weave a standard review at this point I’m going to state some truths about the American business and political reality as I perceive them. Perfectly Legal seems to have acted as a neuron crystallizer in my soul and consciousness; before I can review I must state some truths as starkly as I can. As a 42 year old white male, educated, only-recently-“successful” citizen who pays attention, I know this much is true:

The Left Coaster

What follows in his post are six stark and lucid observations about where we are as a nation. This is a must-read.

Sun, 08 May 2005 09:38:27 PDT - Link

May 7, 2005

There's Hybrids, And Then There's Hybrids.

Last week C asked me to comment on this US News Article about hybrids.

I don't have any serious problems with the content — there weren't any glaring factual errors. I did have a problem with this:

GM and DaimlerChrysler recently joined forces on a crash R&D program, and both companies plan to introduce their first full hybrids in 2007. GM in particular could leapfrog its rivals by introducing full-hybrid versions of products that are still market heavyweights, like the Chevy Silverado pickup truck and the TrailBlazer SUV.

From the Chevrolet website:

Silverado Hybrid is the industry’s most fuel efficient V8-equipped pickup.* With the same powerful, reliable Vortec 5300 engine as the conventional Silverado, the Hybrid model boosts estimated city fuel economy by 2 MPG with no loss in power compared to a conventional Silverado with the same engine.

* Silverado MPG estimates of 18 city/21 hwy (2WD) and 17 city/19 hwy (4x4) based on GM testing. Official 2005 EPA estimates not yet available. Competitive fuel economy based on 2004 EPA Guide. Excludes other GM vehicles. Offered only in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada and Florida. Quantities are limited.

Two MPG. Two Stinking MPG. That's what you get when you bolt on hybrid technology to a Silverado. I didn't find specs on a TrailBlazer hybrid, but a V6 ranges from 16/21 to 14/18 and the V8 15/20 to 14/19 depending on options. You can expect to add 2 MPG if you assume the same hybrid technology as used in the Silverado Drivetrain.

Adding 2 MPG does not make enough of a difference, and if that's what Detroit is all about, then of course Detroit hybrids will not be relevant.

For myself, my first choice to replace my Saturn SW2 in 2003 was a Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor Sport Sedan, which I probably would have purchased used in the mid $20,000 range. The Prius was not then on my list because the styling of the 2003 Prius was too econobox for my taste. When the 2004 model Prius came out I liked the styling much better, and the added mileage put it over the top as my choice.

At no time did I consider the likes of a Chevy Silverado pickup truck or a TrailBlazer SUV. All the millions of dollars in advertising had not swayed me away from my practical roots.

The C230 has an EPA rating of 24 city / 32 hwy. The Prius has an EPA rating of 60 city / 51 Hwy / 55 combined. I have no way to know how the C230 would do in the same conditions, but I'm guessing that I probably got a 20 to 25 MPG Boost picking the Prius over the Mercedes.

If I drive 12,000 miles in a year, the Prius (by the EPA combined number) should take 218 Gallons of gas at about $555.90 at today's price of $2.55/Gal. The C230 would take 428 gallons (Assuming 28 MPG, halfway between city and hwy EPA ratings) at about $1,091.40. I'd save about $535.50 per year on gas, while in a car that was roughly the same price out the door.

That Hybrid Silverado? 615 gallons at $1599.23 — about $1,043.33 more per year in gas alone.

Now suppose I needed a truck...

I just called Penske and a 10' box truck is available for $20 per hour, and $68 per day. I can get a lot of truckage done in a year for $1043.33. I could literally rent a 10' truck once a month and still come out ahead.

Bolting on hybrid technology to an inefficient vehicle will make it a little bit less infficient.

Using hybrid technology as one part of a complete solution for improving mileage in a passenger car can be a big win.

Sat, 07 May 2005 11:24:22 PDT - Link

When There Is Too Much Smoke To See The Smoking Gun


Drudge is running the headline:


I guess there must be some unwritten diplomatic rule about calling a duck a duck, if that duck in question is in — say, Latvia — at the time.

Matt Drudge seems overly concerned that the president might get all huffy and take Air Force One out on a road trip because a Senator called him a loser.

Personally, I think that might be a good idea. Bush never did spend any quality time in Europe before becoming president, and now's as good a time as any.

It'd be better for us anyway, since as soon as he gets back he'll just fly around the USA blowing smoke to rooms of fauning supporters about how he wants to unravel Social Security. But maybe that's why he's got to rush back. It wouldn't do to have the smoke clear so that we could get a look at the wreckage.

I think that's been part of his sucess — by foisting outrage after outrage he's presented such a target rich environment for his critics that no single issue — say for example, wrongly waging war against a country after "facts were being fixed around the policy" — can draw the same concentration of news coverage and criticism as say — lying about a personal affair.

You can go to New York City, and stand where the towers once stood, and see the stars at night, and blue skies by day, but the smoke of 9-11 still surrounds this president, as evidenced by Mr. Drudge.

Sat, 07 May 2005 09:23:37 PDT - Link

May 6, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory James

Tory James

Fri, 06 May 2005 07:49:52 PDT - Link

May 5, 2005

Need To Know. That's You. YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Republished below is that secret Downing Street memo.


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.

The two broad US options were:

(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 days deployment to Kuwait).

(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.

The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:

(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.

(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.

(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.

The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.

The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.


(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.

He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)


You can make up your own mind, but here in stark black and white is evidence that Bush wanted this war, and he wasn't going to let the UN or lack of WMDs, or truth, or facts get in his way.

You might notice that I'm not calling him Dubya anymore. Somehow this is too serious to use his nick-name. Making war is a high crime against the constitution and humanity.

I'll let Greg Palast make the case:


Wednesday, May 4, 2005

By Greg Palast

Here it is. The smoking gun. The memo that has "IMPEACH HIM" written all over it.

The top-level government memo marked "SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL," dated eight months before Bush sent us into Iraq, following a closed meeting with the President, reads, "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Read the rest at BuzzFlash

Thu, 05 May 2005 08:40:29 PDT - Link

May 4, 2005

Now Who's Wearing The Tin-Foil Hat?

I caught the Peak Oil presentation by Congressman Bartlett from last night. (Thanks, Tivo.) It didn't contain anything I hadn't seen before, but I was quite pleased that it was again a fair overview of the situation, including graphs that point out that well before the "peak" that the exponential growth of demand can cause oil shortages — even while oil production is increasing.

He alluded to receiving infomation that there is still a lot of oil out there to be found, and that he would look into those reports, but it seemed to me that he was unconvinced that these new finds would have a material effect on the problem. In fact, Hubbard's model pretty much assumes that there will be new finds, otherwise the tail of production would be far more abrupt.

These days it seems that the hopefull unsubstantiated claims come not from those who believe in "peak oil" but from those who believe cand clap harder the problem will go away, or at least be delayed untill after the next election.

One of the most refreshing aspects of the presentation was that it was presened as scientific facts, not political dogma. This comes in stark contrast to other special orders speaches of the evening which placed party politics before reality. Rep. Bartlet is a Republican. I'm going to write to my Democatic representative, Mike Honda, to ask him to lend his support to Mr. Bartlet in his efforts to bring the issue of peak oil into the political dialouge.

This morning Vijay Vaitheeswaran (The Economist) was on C-Span's Washington Journal. It almost seemed like he was there in response to Bartlet's presentation. He too talked of future finds — information he got from un-named sources.

Methinks he doth clap too much.

Wed, 04 May 2005 07:53:43 PDT - Link

May 3, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Tivos

"Peak Oil" - May 3—C-SPAN will broadcast LIVE on cable and the Internet Congressman Bartlett's third Special Order Speech about Peak Oil. It is scheduled for the third hour after legislative business is completed. The estimated start time is between 10:30 and 11:30pm EST. Congressman Bartlett will discuss how the U.S. can overcome the threat to America's economic prosperity and national security posed by growing world demand for oil and consensus projections of future declines in world oil production.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett

Tue, 03 May 2005 08:04:43 PDT - Link

Learn to Say 'Ain't'...

Wherein a stand-up comic applies his experience with connecting to people on stage to politics. Howard Dean should take a week off to travel with this guy...

People will relax and trust you when you're not trying to dazzle them with brainpower. It's okay to be the smartest guy in the room, but that shouldn't be the point of it. This is a liberal weakness, because they often seem to operate on the dual fuels of statistics and sputtering. They foolishly believe that the smartest, most morally equitable, most well-reasoned argument is the right one.

Well, of course it's the right one. It's just not necessarily the one that's going to WIN. And when they point, justifiably, at their idea which is backed up by all the data, all the statistics, and say "But, but this is the only logical solution", the implication is "... by not arriving at this yourself, you are stupid." And once somebody thinks you called them stupid, you've lost them forever.

King Fu Monkey (refered by Pandagon) Say — what happened to you picture of Genma?

Tue, 03 May 2005 07:59:02 PDT - Link

May 2, 2005

Cowbell Tiara

Cowbell Tiara

Kawaii fantasy illustrations in a beautiful color pallette. Make sure to find the links page. It's a goldmine!

Mon, 02 May 2005 22:58:27 PDT - Link

Oekaki Circle


Meo24 is another wonderful French illustration site, with a feature I've never seen before: An online paint gallery with animation:

Guest artists use an online paint program to create the images, and record the complete evolution of a work from blank 'canvas' to finished illustration.

Enter the site, click "Oekaki Circle", read the current rules, then click the [Enter] link to get to the gallery. Find an illustration you like with the [View Animation] option, click it, sit back and be amazed.

Mon, 02 May 2005 22:34:40 PDT - Link


Riyadh, 29 April (AKI) - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to the United States this week to discuss oil matters with President George W. Bush, took place amid growing speculation back home that the bed-ridden King Fahd's condition has worsened with the monarch slipping out of conciousness. Speculation is rife among Riyadh's ruling elite of Fahd's clinical death - but even if this were true, any official announcement would delayed until a final decision on Fahd's successor has been taken.


It doesn't sound to me as if the succession is a settled thing. Let's hope that the transition does not spark civil unrest—that's a fire that would burn untill all of the oil is gone.

Mon, 02 May 2005 20:32:04 PDT - Link

May 1, 2005

Fanime Fanfic Panel

Tendou Akane

Time to get this party started

I'd really like to hear feedback from people who attended the Fanime Fanfiction Panel last year. Didn't go to Fanime last year? Please comment panels you attended at other cons.

What did you like?

What didn't you like?

What do you want from this year's panel?

Anyone interested in recording it as a podcast?

comment here please! J.

Sun, 01 May 2005 09:43:11 PDT - Link

Question Time on BBC

C-span just ran an stunning program from the BBC. Prime Minister Blair was questioned by a live studio audience in the lead up to this week's elections in the UK.

The audience was clearly NOT hand picked by Blair's party. The questions were probing, and several follow-ups were permitted.

We really, really, really need a program like that on this side of the pond.

Sun, 01 May 2005 16:39:17 PDT - Link

A Physicist's View of the World's Energy Situation

Here's a streaming presentation by Steven E. Koonin, Cheif Scientist at BP plc.

BP has published Statistical Review of World Energy 2004. This site also includes world production data in spreadsheet format.

Sun, 01 May 2005 11:36:14 PDT - Link

Premature Iraqulation

Tony Blair had resolved to send British troops into action alongside US forces eight months before the Iraq War began, despite a clear warning from the Foreign Office that the conflict could be illegal.

A damning minute leaked to a Sunday newspaper reveals that in July 2002, a few weeks after meeting George Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Mr Blair summoned his closest aides for what amounted to a council of war. The minute reveals the head of British intelligence reported that President Bush had firmly made up his mind to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, adding that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy". (Emphasis Added)


Here's a timeline. Please note that Dubya was fixed on invading Iraq nearly 5 months before UN weapons inspectors began their work, and that UN inspections began 40 days before the troop deployment orders were issued.

(That was a bit foggy in my memory, I'd remembered troop deployments prior to inspections. I do recall that the growing force of troops made the UN's search more urgent, and was helpful in getting access.)


Apr. 7/8 2002

Bush & Blair meet in Crawford Texas

Jul. 23 2002

Blair meets with Cabinet in Council of war - Bush "firmly made up his mind to invade Iraq"

Sep. 16 2002

Iraq informs UN weapons inspectors may return

Nov. 18 2002

UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq

Dec. 28 2002

Deployment of troops to Iraq ordered by Pentagon

Mar. 19 2003

Shock and Awe - War begins.


The elections in the UK are proving to be a catalyst for the release of details on pre-war planning. I guess their reporters don't have a British swift-boat story to cover, and they have to deal with facts.

Sun, 01 May 2005 09:07:56 PDT - Link

April 29, 2005

Funny Gear

So I was searching for inexpensive steel spur gears to make some Bass Guitar tuners, and the next thing I know I'm looking at the website of Amusement Gear, a machine shop that makes replacement gears for amusement park rides, specializing in Carousel gears. Unfortunately, the gears they make are a little too big for my application.

Fri, 29 Apr 2005 15:19:42 PDT - Link

Fortune Cookie

Fortune Cookie

As my unofficial sabatical draws to an end, I'm beginning to wonder...

Fri, 29 Apr 2005 10:00:00 PDT - Link

Time and Tide

Energy is a crisis right now for this country. Social Security may be a crisis a few decades from now. If the President made our present energy crisis as much of a priority as he's made our potential Social Security crisis, it's quite likely that Social Security would not be as much of a problem in the future. By failing to do so, Bush is virtually guaranteeing that there will indeed be a crisis with Social Security. Did I just discover an ulterior motive for not dealing with the energy problem? Unfortunately, not dealing with the energy crisis also makes it likely that Social Security will be the least of the crises we face down the road.

Another brilliant post from the independent / conservative blog Cunning Realist

Cheap oil has been the tide that has floated our collective boat for generations, and now that oily tide is going out, and it will never, never come back.

What is this administrations response to this most fundamental change in the "constants" of the economy? Blind adherence to neocon economic dogma.

Social Security, with all its flaws, is for most Americans is the general welfare in found in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Social Security is perhaps the most familiar and identifiable component of the social glue that binds us into a nation, one to another, generation to generation. We have long since abandoned our individualistic 40 acres and a mule, in favor of shared burden and shared rewards of civil governance. Dubya’s vision is of private (personal) accounts is a vision of social division, the strong and the fortunate will benefit, the infirm and unlucky will face a life of despair and destitution.

I don’t know if Social Security will survive the economic continental shift if the end of cheap oil, I do know that it will take we the people to successfully face that crisis.

Fri, 29 Apr 2005 08:57:20 PDT - Link

Friday Cat Blogging


Carl, ~1973 Nikon FTn 50mm Nikkor, Tri-X pan

Fri, 29 Apr 2005 07:38:04 PDT - Link

April 28, 2005

Only Nixon Can Go To China

In tonight's press conference Dubya spoke of energy in his prepared statement:

First, we must better use technology to become better conservers of energy.

That sentence should be taken out and shot.

Secondly, we must find innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to make the most of our existing energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal and safe, clean nuclear power.

Yes, yes, we want the the safe, clean nuclear power — not the nuclear power that requires massive expenditures in fossil fuels to mine and refine the uranium fuel, and leaves behind waste that must be kept from polluting the environment for 12,000 years.

Third, we must develop promising new sources of energy, such as hydrogen, ethanol or biodiesel.

Hydrogen, ehtanol and biodesel are not a sources of energy, they are storage media for energy. There is no place on earth where you can drill a hole and slurp out hydrogen, or ethanol, or biodesel. You can split hydrogen from water — using power. You can grow, brew, and distill alcohol, and make biodesel — using using the power of the sun, nutrients from the soil and water. Those nutrients and water might be better spent growing foodcrops.

Fourth, we must help growing energy consumers overseas, like China and India, apply new technologies to use energy more efficiently, and reduce global demand of fossil fuels.

No argument here Dubya, but we must lead by example. We should eliminate the tax laws that promote large, inefficient vehicles. We should promote and invest in solar and wind and other true renewable energy resources with the intensity and urgency of a Manhattan project or the moonshot, or WWII. We should raise the CAFE standard by 5 MPG each year, starting... today.

As the Vulcans say: Only Nixon can go to China, and only an Oilman can lead us away from Oil. Dubya hads chosen to focus all of his energy, attention and political capital on privatizing social security — something we don't want, and he has chosen to pay lip service to the most pressing issue of our time — the end of cheap oil.

Dubya, you chose poorly.

Thu, 28 Apr 2005 22:11:14 PDT - Link

Essential Fonts For Designers

goodfonts.org has 300 free(!) truetype fonts for download.

Sometimes I use my blog as a peripheral to my carbon-based storage unit, this item falls into the category of "I'd like to remember where I saw this".

Thu, 28 Apr 2005 22:11:14 PDT - Link

Bare Tree

Tree in Edgewood Park

Tree in Edgewood Park: 2005.03.06 - Nikon 990E

Thu, 28 Apr 2005 17:28:59 PDT - Link

Today's Game: What Would You Ask The President?

Tonight Dubya will be having his first news conference of his second term. Here are some questions I'd like answered.

Mr. President, as of 4:00 PM, 1574 US troops have died in Iraq. That number does not include those who died in hospitals or in transit outside of the Iraqi war theater as a direct result of wounds or injuries that they suffered in Iraq. Can you tell us how many fit into this second category, and will you order the Pentagon here and now to make this information available on an ongoing basis?

Mr. President, in the past you have said that knowing what we know today, we would still have gone into Iraq. This week the CIA released a report once again confirming that there were no WMDs in Iraq. Without WMDs, Iraq posed no credible threat to the US. Are you prepared to say that knowing what we know today we would still have gone into Iraq even though attacking a country that posed no threat to us is a war crime?

Mr. President, tax laws give businesses a significant depreciation tax break when purchasing vehicles of over 6000 lbs. This has lead to a fleet of large, gas guzzling vehicles for businesses who would frequently be better served by smaller, more efficient vehicles. Will your administration either eliminate that deduction, or make it available to all vehicles weight classes?

Mr. President, Oil is now trading over $50 a barrel, and gasoline at the pump has reached $2.50 at the station nearest my home, will your administration finally push for higher CAFE standards?

Mr. President, you are a very wealthy man, and as such you, personally, will never need too look to Social Security for your retirement, nor for survivor benefits for your family, yet you wish to radically change that program for all Americans from a shared risk insurance program to an individual risk program. Do you understand that most Americans cannot bank on their family names to bail them out should their private investments falter?

Mr. President, It's been nearly a year since you were last asked if you have made any mistakes, can you describe any mistakes today?

Mr. President, why do you belive that income by sweat-of-the-brow work should be taxed at a far higher rate than income from investments?

- Link

April 27, 2005

I Said NO CAMELS. That's TWO CAMELS. Can't You Count?

They audited and verified, one by one, the 895 votes in the precinct and found: 12 innocent and unsuspecting voters who had their names duplicated on the roster and their votes for Bush counted twice. Twenty-two "undervotes" where the machine had failed to register a preference for president, and these had been dutifully and meticulously converted to 22 votes for Bush.

I met Richard Hayes Phillips, a geologist from New Hampshire who was invited to Ohio to study the integrity of the vote, and realized that a complete inventory of lost and miscounted votes was needed. To date, Phillips has analyzed 15 of Ohio's 88 counties, and by his most conservative estimate has found 101,000 uncounted Kerry votes - 136,000 is the margin by which Bush officially defeated Kerry.

Original Article at: Philly.com Registration Required

login email = cypherpunk

Pass = cypherpunk

or you can read and comment at Smirking Chimp

There's More at GNN.TV and at Richard Hayes Phillips's Website

Wed, 27 Apr 2005 08:33:31 PDT - Link

Taxes: It's Good To Be The Kings

So in 1979 the super-rich earned 3% of the money and paid 5% of the taxes. In 1999 the super-rich earned 10% of the money and paid 11% of the taxes.


So shed no tears for the super rich in America. Their incomes have tripled in the past couple of decades and at the same time their tax rates have decreased by 9 percentage points. That's a pretty sweet deal in anybody's book.

Washington Monthly

Make sure to follow the link to the IRS report [PDF]

Wed, 27 Apr 2005 07:33:17 PDT - Link

April 26, 2005


No, I have no idea what EUFDEPAK means, but it is a great artist-portfolio site. [French]

Update: I've heard from a freind in France:

If you read it out loud (with French pronunciation :-) ) it sounds like Easter egg in French (Oeuf de Paques)...

I guess that explains the big white rabbit painting the egg. ^_^;

It also reminds me of a book of poems that a former co-worker showed me. Each poem was in French, but when read outloud sounded like English. The example he read was sounded a lot like Humpty-dumpty. He said that the words chosen in Fench did still make sense, in a surreal kind of way.

Tue, 26 Apr 2005 22:10:23 PDT - Link



Bruno Bellamy does magic with pencil sketches. The site is in French, but navigation is quite simple — just click links and enjoy.

Tue, 26 Apr 2005 21:58:51 PDT - Link

Because A Realtor Really Really Needs A Hummer

Forty-one domestic and 15 foreign SUVs qualify for this tax break. The Porsche Cayenne, a notably business-like vehicle, is among them. As a consequence, while the depreciation write-off for any passenger car used for business is limited to only $2,960 in 2005, down from $10,610 in 2004, those claiming 100% business use of these SUVs could deduct 100% of the $89,665 price of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo during 2003 and until late October 2004. For those who bought in time, the write-off represented an immediate income tax savings of $31,383, provided the buyer was in the 35% tax bracket. Think of it as a bagatelle for the non-indigent from the Jobs and Growth Act of 2003.

moneycentral MSN

Don't even think about talking to ME about the free market taking care of the oil problem when we have laws like this. Yesterday I saw one of these gainormous SUVs being used for a Laser Printer repair business. You can buy a lot of $5.00 gas (Which is deductable as a business expense anyway) for that kind of tax savings.

Of course the largest SUVs (over 8500 lbs) are not even counted in the CAFE standards - Detroit loves those.

Tue, 26 Apr 2005 12:28:29 PDT - Link

Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zi—p.

In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.


Oh, great. Now you tell us.

Tue, 26 Apr 2005 09:22:03 PDT - Link

If You Search For Bias Online...

On the whole is seems that the MSN search engine is indeed placing IIS hosted sites higher in the results more frequently than other webservers. Frequently the MSN search is placing more IIS servers in the important top 10 results than Google even where result sets from a query have actually returned fewer IIS servers overall on MSN.

Ivor Hewitt


Tue, 26 Apr 2005 08:49:22 PDT - Link

April 23, 2005


Oilcast is a new issue-blog, with podcasts and reports on the oil market.

Sat, 23 Apr 2005 14:40:14 PDT - Link

April 22, 2005

Simple Math

"About 944bn barrels of oil has so far been extracted, some 764bn remains extractable in known fields, or reserves, and a further 142bn of reserves are classed as 'yet-to-find', meaning what oil is expected to be discovered. If this is so, then the overall oil peak arrives next year," he says.

If he is correct, then global oil production can be expected to decline steadily at about 2-3% a year, the cost of everything from travel, heating, agriculture, trade, and anything made of plastic rises. And the scramble to control oil resources intensifies. As one US analyst said this week: "Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye."

Guardian UK

Peak Oil is slowly beginning to pick up coverage in the mainstream media. Who knows, we may even see it hit the US media — but not until there is film of gas lines to go with the story, and not if Jacko is late to court again.

By the way, much of that "764bn remains extractable" is heavy sour crude, high in sulfur and low in the good stuff needed for lighter distillates, which will become proportionally more expensive.

Fri, 22 Apr 2005 13:13:05 PDT - Link

April 22, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory James

I was away visiting family last week, and had limited net connectivity, so I spent most of my comuter time scanning hundreds of old family photographs, some going back over 80 years.

This is a more recent photo of Tory James enjoying the sunshine.

Fri, 22 Apr 2005 09:04:06 PDT - Link

April 15, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging



Fri, 15 Apr 2005 18:25:07 PDT - Link

April 11, 2005

PSSSS! Hey Miiister, Wana Buy A Used Priiius?

Demand for the gas-electric hybrid Prius is so great that some used Priuses are selling for more than the list price for a new one, a report said on Monday.

Used Prius prices like new

Back when I got my Prius, I was sitting in the back office filling out the 3ft long purchase agreement, asking the finance guy what each of the signature lines meant. We got to one and he said:

This says you're buying the car, and you can't just bring it back. BUT... This is a Prius. It is our policy to sell a new Prius at list price, but we sell a used Prius at market price. The last two we got in sold for more than the list price. We'd be glad to take it back.

I'm keeping mine.

Lately I've seen questions about how high gas would have to go before it would cause people to change their habits. Having driven through the '79 gas crunch I think the answer is that the price is less important than availability.

It's one thing to pay $3.00 for gas.

It's far worse to wait in line for $2.50 gas.

It's a lifestyle changing event to have wait in a gas line in your Escalade.

Mon, 11 Apr 2005 12:52:28 PDT - Link

April 10, 2005

A World Of Hurt

Last night Kevin Drum (The Political Animal) did another of his stories on Peak oil, adding via majikthise two interesting Oil interest sites: The Oil Drum and Land of Black Gold

It's always intesting and infuriating to read the comments to a peak oil story on a big blog like Washington Monthly.

I tend to check Google News for media stories on peak oil, as of today I'll also check Technorati tag:peak oil to see what the blogs are on about.

Last week the Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi talked about adding 200 Billion Barrels to their 261 BBl reserve, and adding 1.5 Million Bl/Day to their production, which may have been the cause of the recent drop in crude prices from the $57 range to the $53 range at the New York Mechantile Exchange [Warning: soul-eating, Firefox-crashing Java on this site.]

It sounds re-assuring, but I have my doubts. Serious doubts. It somehow feels more related to the state of Dubya's polls than it does to the amount of oil in the ground under Saudi sand.

Sun, 10 Apr 2005 10:08:17 PDT - Link

April 9, 2005

Words Images Sounds #5 - Mic Test!



MXL 990

MXL 991

Shure SM-57

Audio Technica AT9200

Plantronics headset



This podcast is a quick microphone test. Please note that the headset was connected directly to the sound input on my Sony Vaio S260P laptop, the other mics went through the Alesis Multimix 8USB mixer. Since the goal was to listen to the mics, no compression or EQ was added anywhere in the chain during this part of the podcast.

The second part of the podcast shows off the software compressor/limiter included in Cubase LE — which came with the Alesis mixer. The way this works is that the input is recorded raw from the Mixer, and the compression is applied while rendering the output file. I was only testing the compressor, It may sound better yet with a little software EQ and reverb.

I think It's pretty clear that the Entry System from Podcast Rigs is up the the task for a one man show (and then some).


Sat, 09 Apr 2005 14:20:04 PDT - Link

April 8, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tchan and Miko

Tchan: Should we let dad have his chair back?
Miko: There are two of us, and only one of him.
Tchan: Only fair.
Miko: He'd only work on his stupid blog, anyway.

Fri, 08 Apr 2005 08:23:22 PDT - Link

The Big Picture

As for market forces, not only are they are incapable of deciding between right or wrong and good or bad, but they have historically often been trecherous when left unchecked. Unfettered market forces led the country to monopolies, market manipulations, child labor, slavery, the 6-day workweek, deadly tenements and rampant pollution of our environment, just to name a few. Government intervention saved us, or at least tempered the problems, in every case. Pure capitalism is untenable in a societal sense, and leads to strictly dollar-based decision making. Sorry, but some things are more important than that and I believe a true national energy strategy is one.

Comment By dark1p on a post about Gasoline Prices at The Big Picture

Fri, 08 Apr 2005 12:18:08 PDT - Link

Eclipse (of the news)

CNN was too busy doing Pope Funeral coverage to point out that this is the last eclipse we will see from the continental US until 2012. They were also too busy to tell you when to go outside to see it.

Fortunately, Nasa has the details.

Fri, 08 Apr 2005 11:54:59 PDT - Link

Word of the day: "Bourse"

Iran does not pose a threat to the United States because of its nuclear projects, its WMD, or its support to “terrorists organizations” as America claims, but in its attempt to reshape the global economic system by converting it from a petrodollar to a petro euro system. Such conversion is looked upon as a declaration of economic warfare against the US as that would drastically reduce the revenues of the American corporations and eventually might cause an economic collapse.

In June 2004, Iran declared its intention to set up an international oil exchange (a bourse) denominated in the euro currency. Many oil-producing as well as oil-consuming countries had welcomed such a bourse. The reports had stated that this bourse may start functioning at the beginning of 2006. Naturally, such an oil bourse would compete against London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) as well as against the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), both owned by American corporations. Oil-consuming countries have no choice but to use the American dollar to purchase their oil, since the dollar has so far been the global standard monetary fund for oil exchange. This necessitates these countries to keep the dollar in their central banks as their reserve fund, thus strengthening the American economy. But if Iran, followed by other oil-producing countries, offered to accept the euro as another choice for oil exchange, the American economy would suffer as a consequence.

We could witness this crisis at the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 when oil investors would have the choice to pay $57 a barrel of oil at the American NYMEX and at London’s IPE, or pay 37 euros at the Iranian oil bourse. Such a choice would reduce trade volumes at both the dollar-dependent NYMEX and the IPE.

Greater Kashmir

A chilling and thoughtful analysis, don't you think?

Update: That URL has evaporated, but the story was picked up at Aquarian Conspirators You can still read it there, ir you can see the story in the Google Cache

Fri, 08 Apr 2005 11:15:45 PDT - Link

April 7, 2005

Could Be Worse.

Shell Gas at $2.579

Thu, 07 Apr 2005 11:57:05 PDT - Link

April 6, 2005

A Few Ranma Backlinks

Just thought I'd share the love for a few sites that have been sending trafic my way. Most of my hits now come in from search services, but a few still come in the old fasioned way.

Anime-Related links From Shu at dryphed.com

Remi's Favorite Links

Seth's interests at baka.org (Love the domain!)

Ashfe Links

Steves Anime Links

Anipike (Classic)

Wed, 06 Apr 2005 12:41:13 PDT - Link

April 5, 2005

Which Way Are The Cameras Pointing?

Everyone from Drudge to Kos is laying into the ex-bugman Tom Delay tonight. The left side of the dial seems to think that this might well be an 'Et tu, Brute' moment, and that may well be true, except that this weekend is sure to be All Pope Funeral, All The Time. It's as if someone planned for this to all to come out in a week when the entire world is otherwise occupied. Hmmm...

Tue, 05 Apr 2005 20:45:53 PDT - Link

More Things

Via The Agow.josephpalmer.com/cgi-local/View_Permalink.cgi?entry=2005/4/08/11:54:59:00 ">Link

Word of the day: "Bourse"

Iran does not pose a threat to the United States because of its nuclear projects, its WMD, or its support to “terrorists organizations” as America claims, but in its attempt to reshape the global economic system by converting it from a petrodollar to a petro euro system. Such conversion is looked upon as a declaration of economic warfare against the US as that would drastically reduce the revenues of the American corporations and eventually might cause an economic collapse.

In June 2004, Iran declared its intention to set up an international oil exchange (a bourse) denominated in the euro currency. Many oil-producing as well as oil-consuming countries had welcomed such a bourse. The reports had stated that this bourse may start functioning at the beginning of 2006. Naturally, such an oil bourse would compete against London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) as well as against the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), both owned by American corporations. Oil-consuming countries have no choice but to use the American dollar to purchase their oil, since the dollar has so far been the global standard monetary fund for oil exchange. This necessitates these countries to keep the dollar in their central banks as their reserve fund, thus strengthening the American economy. But if Iran, followed by other oil-producing countries, offered to accept the euro as another choice for oil exchange, the American economy would suffer as a consequence.

We could witness this crisis at the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 when oil investors would have the choice to pay $57 a barrel of oil at the American NYMEX and at London’s IPE, or pay 37 euros at the Iranian oil bourse. Such a choice would reduce trade volumes at both the dollar-dependent NYMEX and the IPE.

Greater Kashmir

A chilling and thoughtful analysis, don't you think?

Update: That URL has evaporated, but the story was picked up at Aquarian Conspirators You can still read it there, ir you can see the story in the Google Cache

Fri, 08 Apr 2005 11:15:45 PDT - Link

April 7, 2005

Could Be Worse.

Shell Gas at $2.579

Thu, 07 Apr 2005 11:57:05 PDT - Link

April 6, 2005

A Few Ranma Backlinks

Just thought I'd share the love for a few sites that have been sending trafic my way. Most of my hits now come in from search services, but a few still come in the old fasioned way.

Anime-Related links From Shu at dryphed.com

Remi's Favorite Links

Seth's interests at baka.org (Love the domain!)

Ashfe Links

Steves Anime Links

Anipike (Classic)

Wed, 06 Apr 2005 12:41:13 PDT - Link

April 5, 2005

Which Way Are The Cameras Pointing?

Everyone from Drudge to Kos is laying into the ex-bugman Tom Delay tonight. The left side of the dial seems to think that this might well be an 'Et tu, Brute' moment, and that may well be true, except that this weekend is sure to be All Pope Funeral, All The Time. It's as if someone planned for this to all to come out in a week when the entire world is otherwise occupied. Hmmm...

Tue, 05 Apr 2005 20:45:53 PDT - Link

More Things

Via The Agonist (I found a couple of the source stories...)

BTW, you can paste a q005/4/05/20:45:53:00 ">Link

More Things

Via The Agow.josephpalmer.com/cgi-local/View_Permalink.cgi?entry=2005/4/08/11:54:59:00 ">Link

Word of the day: "Bourse"

Iran does not pose a threat to the United States because of its nuclear projects, its WMD, or its support to “terrorists organizations” as America claims, but in its attempt to reshape the global economic system by converting it from a petrodollar to a petro euro system. Such conversion is looked upon as a declaration of economic warfare against the US as that would drastically reduce the revenues of the American corporations and eventually might cause an economic collapse.

In June 2004, Iran declared its intention to set up an international oil exchange (a bourse) denominated in the euro currency. Many oil-producing as well as oil-consuming countries had welcomed such a bourse. The reports had stated that this bourse may start functioning at the beginning of 2006. Naturally, such an oil bourse would compete against London’s International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) as well as against the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), both owned by American corporations. Oil-consuming countries have no choice but to use the American dollar to purchase their oil, since the dollar has so far been the global standard monetary fund for oil exchange. This necessitates these countries to keep the dollar in their central banks as their reserve fund, thus strengthening the American economy. But if Iran, followed by other oil-producing countries, offered to accept the euro as another choice for oil exchange, the American economy would suffer as a consequence.

We could witness this crisis at the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 when oil investors would have the choice to pay $57 a barrel of oil at the American NYMEX and at London’s IPE, or pay 37 euros at the Iranian oil bourse. Such a choice would reduce trade volumes at both the dollar-dependent NYMEX and the IPE.

Greater Kashmir

A chilling and thoughtful analysis, don't you think?

Update: That URL has evaporated, but the story was picked up at Aquarian Conspirators You can still read it there, ir you can see the story in the Google Cache

Fri, 08 Apr 2005 11:15:45 PDT - Link

April 7, 2005

Could Be Worse.

Shell Gas at $2.579

Thu, 07 Apr 2005 11:57:05 PDT - Link

April 6, 2005

A Few Ranma Backlinks

Just thought I'd share the love for a few sites that have been sending trafic my way. Most of my hits now come in from search services, but a few still come in the old fasioned way.

Anime-Related links From Shu at dryphed.com

Remi's Favorite Links

Seth's interests at baka.org (Love the domain!)

Ashfe Links

Steves Anime Links

Anipike (Classic)

Wed, 06 Apr 2005 12:41:13 PDT - Link

April 5, 2005

Which Way Are The Cameras Pointing?

Everyone from Drudge to Kos is laying into the ex-bugman Tom Delay tonight. The left side of the dial seems to think that this might well be an 'Et tu, Brute' moment, and that may well be true, except that this weekend is sure to be All Pope Funeral, All The Time. It's as if someone planned for this to all to come out in a week when the entire world is otherwise occupied. Hmmm...

Tue, 05 Apr 2005 20:45:53 PDT - Link

More Things

Via The Agonist (I found a couple of the source stories...)

BTW, you can paste a quoted sentence into the search window at news.google.com and find most source stories. Sometimes the story is subscription only, but if it's any good it will be picked up on a free access site within hours.


Shipowners must scrap 169 tankers with a combined capacity of about 6.9 million tons this year, or 2.1 percent of this year's global capacity. By 2010, as many as 1,402 ships carrying 104.6 million tons, or a quarter of global tanker capacity, would have to be scrapped, according to a report issued Friday by the London-based ship broker E.A. Gibson.

Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea, which runs the world's largest shipyard, and other shipbuilders have limited capacity to build new tankers as they struggle to meet demand for more profitable container ship and liquefied natural gas carriers.

International Herald Tribune

Oil Men

The price of oil continues to climb. Legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens recently said he sees oil climbing above $60 a barrel this year. But now there's some talk of oil climbing even higher, perhaps as high as $80.

MSN Money

I called $65 on February 22, and It's going to hit $103 if Iran is bombed.

FYI: So you know where we are at today...

                    Jan 19, 2001    Apr 5, 2005
   DOW JONES           10,587.59      10,461.51
   NASDAQ COMPOSITE     2,770.38       1,998.16
   S&P 500 INDEX        1,342.54       1,181.40
   Light, Sweet Crude      25.43          56.67

You won't see that on CNN. Jan 19, 2001 Was Dubya's first day on the job. I really miss Clinton.


Increased demand for oil in India and China is so large they have created a worrisome climate among the world's energy producers, the chief of Saudi Arabia's services company in the United States said on Monday.

Financial Express

Tue, 05 Apr 2005 10:40:24 PDT - Link

April 4, 2005

Some. Things.

You know, some days — there just isn't enough tin foil in the whole world.

I'm beginning to think that English, as a language is almost worn out. Words that were once sharp and cutting, now feel dull and rounded over. Words like lie, dissemble, distortion, deceit, defame, dishonest disinformation, distortion, evasion, fabrication, falsification, fraud, guile, hyperbole, inaccuracy, mendacity, misrepresentation, misstatement, perjury, prevarication, revile, slander and subterfuge have been ground to dust in the last 4 years.

They should take whoever is in charge of CNN, and make them watch thirty minutes of their network from 1985, then thirty from 2005, and so on for one whole day. Barf bag(s) will be provided.

Chicken Little was right.

I think the most disturbing thing about the last four years is how fragile our Republic actually is. I am shaken that a single minded president was able to drive the nation to a war of choice. His choice.

The talk about an attack on Iran has the hair on the back of my neck standing up.

Iran can attack the west by simply turning off their oil.

Saudi Arabia cannot possibly make up that loss.

They can also attack oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

Saudi oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

An attack on Iran means $5.00 Gasoline, 10 Gallons at a time.

You really won't feel welcome in a gas line in an 8500lb SUV.

CNN has trouble telling stories that don't have video. It makes it impossible for them to do stories about the future.

Selective service was still opperating when I was of that age. My freind had a plan — join the coast guard and ask for Great Lakes duty.

Not a lot of action in the Sault Ste. Marie, and not many volunteers, either. Kinda cold, though.

Mon, 04 Apr 2005 23:56:09 PDT - Link

April 2, 2005

If You Lined Up 100 Economists...

A growth rate of 1.9 percent would be the slowest sustained rate since the 1930s. Bloomberg News surveyed 58 economists and strategists, and found that 39 of them feel that if the economy actually grows at such a slow pace, the president's stock outlook is by far too optimistic. Bloomberg finds that "[o]ver the last 50 years, as the U.S. economy grew 3.4 percent a year on average, almost twice as much as the agency is forecasting, — the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index returned only 6.8 percent after dividends were reinvested." In other words, if growth were to slow to a rate of 1.9 percent, maintaining 6.5 percent dividend growth would be almost impossible.

Eric Alterman at the Center for American Progress

I am still waiting for one economist to come forward with projections that take into account that the cheap-oil foundation of the last century's growth is crumbling away beneath us. Put away your tin-foil, I'm not saying it's happening this instant, but NO SERIOUS PROJECTION says we will have cheap oil past 2025. That's just twenty short, short years. I've got guitars twice that age. I've even got CDs older than that.

And don't give me any of that "the invisible hand of the market will magically step in" crap, either. That hand is too busy selling Hummer H2s, (Nothing says a**hole like a Hummer) and Dodge Dakotas, (As big as North and South - Combined!) and Chevey Suburbans (comes with it's very own zipcode!), and Cadillac Escalades. (Comes with it's own gravitational field - beware of orbiting motorcycles.) That's where the profit is today.

Let's hope there'll be enough oil left to build the windmills and Photo Voltaic farms.

Sat, 02 Apr 2005 11:19:16 PST - Link


Here are the results of yesterday's April Fool's joke. (At least the ones I can find)

"You had me going there."

- via email

"I can't find a smiley in my directory that even begins to express my feelings over this!"

followed 10 minutes later by:

"Oh . . . Hey! What day is this? .. .. .. YOU BASTARD!

- via email

"I wish. Happy April 1st, dude."

- Via Livejournal.

P.S. Thank you, Livejournal for always showing the whole permalink url in big blue letters — including the 14:21:00:April_Fools part. Grrr. Hint — Look at how Bloglines does it )


- Livejournal Entry. (Gomenasai!)


"If this is an April Fools Joke I will be quite put out! I've been checking your site to see if you had any updates or new releases on your work and saw the announcement about new Ranma OAVs including, if I understand it YOUR STORIES?"

- via email (Found in my SpamArrest inbox)

(The rest of the email makes me blush too much to post it here.)

Sorry. Won't happen again. But I would like to point out that there was one Dr. Who episode produced from a fan script, so it's not like this hasn't really happened once upon a time. Just watch, this time next year I'll get punk'd by someone pretending to be from Rumic, or Fuji TV, or Kitty Animation, or Shogakukan, and I'll probably fall for it. Now, more than ever, this world needs a little more of Takahashi-sensi's Nerima.

Oh, and if you really are from Rumic, or Fuji TV, or Kitty Animation, or Shogakukan, give me a call.

Sat, 02 Apr 2005 08:43:03 PST - Link

April 1, 2005

Friday Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag Blogging

I just got this Email translating part of the press release from my agent in Japan: (I'll post the URL as soon as I get it. Sorry about the quality of the translation.)

New Ranma OAV series: 12 episode OAV series of Ranma 1/2 production of Rumic World, Fuji TV, and Kitty Film have new production begun. Six the episodes are of Takahashi Rumiko's Ranma 1/2 manga and others are of scripts original including three of fan writing. Two Japanese fan origin, but "Seasons" script from USA also producing.

Both Winter and Spring required extensive re-writes to make them suitable scripts for Anime, but some of the scenes were saved. Summer and Autumn fared much better, the story boards look great.

Update: The release should be up on Newtype Japan soon.

Fri, 1 Apr 2005 00:04:01 PST - Link

Again, Oil

               Open  Open  Day   Day  Settle Change
               High  Low   High  Low
    May  2005  55.75 55.55 57.70 55.15 57.27 +3.28
    June 2005  56.70 56.53 58.70 56.35 58.29 +3.50
    July 2005  57.25 57.10 59.20 57.10 58.87 +3.61
    Aug  2005  57.45 57.35 59.50 57.35 59.09 +3.65
    Sep  2005  57.40 57.40 59.15 57.40 59.12 +3.68
    Oct  2005   0.00  0.00 59.15 58.05 59.02 +3.70

Yo. New York Mercantile Exchange — Guys, this is was not funny. Bad Joke. Guys? Guys?

Fri, 01 Apr 2005 13:43:39 PST - Link

Friday Cat Blogging

Eno Nelson Palmer

Eno ~1986

Fri, 01 Apr 2005 08:10:41 PST - Link

March 28, 2005

Mirror, Mirror

Reflections In A Lamp

Nikon FTn, 50mm Nikkor ~1983

Mon, 28 Mar 2005 22:22:57 PST - Link

March 26, 2005

Podcast Rigs Forum

Podcast Rigs

Podcast Rigs has added a new fourm where podcasters can get together and discuss their geer.

Sat, 26 Mar 2005 10:06:26 PST - Link

March 25, 2005

Blogging About Podcasting

The new rig fixes the noise floor.

I recorded with the HI eq set to -7.5 db on the mixer, I think I knocked off too much of the high end. Next time I'll record it without EQ.

I encoded the .MP3 to mono at 32K bits, and it sounds muddy. (Sounds like crap compared to the Daily Source Code, but maybe it's just my voice.)

I recorded with more headroom than I really needed.

I should experiment with recording to stereo, with one channel 20 db lower than the other. Then I could use the data from the cold channel to replace cliped sections in the hot channel.

Cubase LE (which came with the mixer) is really very complicated, and really really powerful - every bit as complicated and powerful as the CAD programs I use.

Cubase has a compressor that can be applied to a pre-recorded track. I'll have to try that.

I have four different microphones - I should do test recordings with all four.

Talking for 18 minutes in a row puts me into a trans-like state.

Maybe the best reason to have music in a podcast is that it gives you a chance to shut up and think.

I forgot to mention my website url. Bad, bad Joe.

I really need a consistant bit of intro audio.

I really need to organize my notes before recording.

The 1.4 GHz Laptop with WinXP has no problems with USB audio, my 800 Mhz desktop machine chokes and makes scary noises.

Fri, 25 Mar 2005 11:31:19 PST - Link

March 25, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory James

Tory James: "It's like a BOX dad, I HAD to climb in it."

Fri, 25 Mar 2005 08:56:24 PST - Link

March 24, 2005

Chipping Away

Podcast Logo

Another minor change to my back end: I've changed the codes to insert this Creative Commons graphic by Tim Madden. Thanks, Tim.

This, however opens another interesting can of worms. Is this single post acceptable as attribution under Creative Commons? It will slide off my hompage blog in a couple of weeks. Do I now need to add a "Some Elements Licenced under Creative Commons" to my sidebar? Hmmm.

Thu, 24 Mar 2005 16:17:06 PST - Link

A Conservative Blog

The Cunning Realist is a blog from a self-described conservative, but one who is perhaps a classical conservative. (Would that be an eo-con, or maybe an eld-con or is it ante-con?)

His writing is self-reflective, and well worth a read, as are the comments.

I found this post to be particularly revealing, and I was bowled over by one of the comments:

... I consider myself a conservative also, but certainly not a Republican. They're just a little too self-righteous as they pull the ladder up after them.
— paterewska

That imagery is just chilling.

Thu, 24 Mar 2005 10:32:48 PST - Link


Ipodder Screenshot

I got picked up on ipodder.org! I'm not sure which catagory I've been placed in, and that's part of the reason that I'd never submitted myself for the directory. I now see that there is a "Audio Blogs" category, which is where I belong, I suppose.

I'm of the opinion that ipodder.org is very version 1.0, it is a sorted list of podcasts, but I might want to produce podcasts on a number of subjects, and I'm not sure how that would be addressed in the ipodder schema. Ipodder.org assumes that all podcasts from a given feed would always be on the same subject.

I'm not saying that's the wrong way to do it, I suppose I could hack my back-end system so that it creates a separate new feed for each subject I'd like to 'cast about, but it assumes that a podcast only belongs in one category. In yesterdays podcast I was into Social Security(Politics/Policy) Peak Oil (Energy / Environment), My new Podcasting Rig (Tech / Audio), and I did an ad about Social Security (Humor / Advertizement).

I'd prefer that we extend RSS to include an optional "feedwords" tag, so that a podcast could be referenced from many categories. (Of course, as soon as I wrote that I realized that this could be abused — someone could fill this tag with every category. Dang. Maybe limit the number of tags used for catagorization to the first 5, but let the rest be seachable? Hmm....

Thu, 24 Mar 2005 10:04:44 PST - Link

The End of Oil

The upshot of all this is that we are entering a historical period of potentially great instability, turbulence and hardship. Obviously, geopolitical maneuvering around the world's richest energy regions has already led to war and promises more international military conflict. Since the Middle East contains two-thirds of the world's remaining oil supplies, the U.S. has attempted desperately to stabilize the region by, in effect, opening a big police station in Iraq. The intent was not just to secure Iraq's oil but to modify and influence the behavior of neighboring states around the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. The results have been far from entirely positive, and our future prospects in that part of the world are not something we can feel altogether confident about.


We know that our national leaders are hardly uninformed about this predicament. President George W. Bush has been briefed on the dangers of the oil-peak situation as long ago as before the 2000 election and repeatedly since then. In March, the Department of Energy released a report that officially acknowledges for the first time that peak oil is for real and states plainly that "the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary."

Rolling Stone

Leave it to Rolling Stone to publish the most thorough, sober and grim analysis of the Peaking of oil I've yet seen in the mainstream press.

Wake up sheeple.

Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:43:41 PST - Link

March 23, 2005

What Max Says:

That means a permanent tax increase of 1.2 percent of GDP would offset the Social Security gap, forever and ever and ever. In FY2006 dollars, that would be $155 billion. By contrast, the cost of the tax cuts since 2000 in the same terms is 2.2 percent of GDP (Auerbach, Gale and Orszag, 2004). So eliminating 55 percent of the Bush tax cuts offsets the Social Security shortfall over the infinite horizon.

Ephasis Added — J.

MaxSpeak, You Listen!

Hmmm... Give back the tax cuts, or save social security. Doushio, Doushio*

* What to do.. what to do...

Wed, 23 Mar 2005 17:15:03 PST - Link

Words Images and Sounds #4

Subjects: Social Security, Peak Oil, and my New Podcasting Rig:

My Podcast Rig

I pretty much ended up with the entry system as recomended by Podcastrigs.com

The sound is really amazing - I think the weak link at this point is my room; it's just too noisy for top-notch recording. My two makor noise sources are the laptop, which goes into full fan mode when running Cubase-LE, and my Tivo, which has the old style hard drive, (Ball Bearings) so it makes a continuous whine. I'll have to solve both of them before I think I'll run up against the limitations of this rig.

I don't have a compressor/limiter, so I recorded with loads of headroom, then knocked down a couple of loud passages in Cubase, then normalized the entire track. A compressor/limiter would probably be a real help.

I ended up using Acid to create the mp3, the OEM version of Cubase has a limit of 20 MP3 encodings (but you can upgrade to unlimited for $10).

(Update - This was really my #4 podcast d'oh!)


Wed, 23 Mar 2005 15:33:14 PST - Link

Bringin' Down the House

Last night wife was watching American Idol, and an an amazing ad from the AARP played.

[Picture of clogged sink - eww.]
Plumber: Ayup - Looks like the drain is clogged. Only one way to fix it. We're going to have to tear down the entire house.
Homeowner: What?

The ad itself is spectacular, and is available for viewing at the AARP. Perhaps more impressive is that it played on American Idol. The AARP knows who they need to convince on this.

Dang, I was writing a Podcast spot on a similar theme - "About like havin' to re-grout the tub".

Wed, 23 Mar 2005 08:46:37 PST - Link

March 22, 2005

Google News

Dave Winer is hinting that he'd like Google news to scan Scripting News for stories. I think I know why they don't.

Dave does have "news" from time to time — I'll define news here as original content that is of general interest to some number of readers. The problem is two-fold. First, Scripting News (Which I read every day) is a mix of links and comments, very few of which could be generously described as news. Here's an example:

Today the sky has an other-worldly quality. #

I clicked though, and it is a fine photograph — but is it news? Should Google News have picked up on that?

The second issue has to do with the very format of Scripting News. I happen to like the interspersing of link and text, and I think Scripting News works for what it is. The issue comes when you think about the Google News back end. Scripting News rarely uses the <title> element in the items of the feed - It appears that Google News scrapes these for headlines, and the general format of Google News is "Headline - Source - Content"

In the end it may just be a case of a square peg in a round hole — The format and content of Scripting News is incompatable with the Google News model. I'd bet that if Dave wanted to create a second feed that sort of looks like a news feed, and only contains items that are either news, and/or comments on the news, Google would pick up on it.

For myself, I'm in the opposite position. My back end is strict, so I cannot now even create an item without a title. Every item I publish is in the correct format to be slurped into Google News — but almost nothing I blog belongs there.

Tue, 22 Mar 2005 16:39:20 PST - Link


Akane Winter Thumbnail

I've been experimenting with Kokemomo's techniques to try to do an illustration for my first Fanfiction, Winter. I just can't seem to get her right. Once I fire up the Wacom tablet going, I tend to get too "photographic".

I got some new recording gear recently, so I think I'll switch from Photoshop to podcasting tomorrow. Maybe I'll fnd something I'm good at.

(Click for larger image.)

Tue, 22 Mar 2005 15:37:52 PST - Link

How Did I Get here?

More interesting data in the hitlogs for the Fanfiction page — I found Google search hits from Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Germany, and Canada.

Woah. I'm the #1 PageRank in the Google Directory for Ranma Fanfiction.

Tue, 22 Mar 2005 11:42:51 PST - Link

March 21, 2005

Are You Better Off...

Just thought I'd look up some other closing numbers. DOW is down. NASDAQ way down. S&P down. But at least Crude Oil is way up!

                    Jan 19, 2001   Mar 21, 2003
   DOW JONES           10,587.59      10,565.39
   NASDAQ COMPOSITE     2,770.38       2,007.51
   S&P 500 INDEX        1,342.54       1,183.78
   Light, Sweet Crude      25.43          56.62

Mon, 21 Mar 2005 15:15:02 PST - Link

Dow(n), Dow(n), Dow(n)

FYI: I just had a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and it was at 10,572.87. So you know, it was at 10,587.60 on Dubya's first day in office.

Really makes you want to privatize social security, doesn't it.

Mon, 21 Mar 2005 11:44:05 PST - Link

March 19, 2005

Art Lessons

Chai Link Graphic

Kokemomo of the wonderful Ranma Fanart site Chai has put together a terrific illustration tutorial (In Japanese, but the images really tell the story.)

While you're there, make sure to take a look at the Fanart page.

I wonder if Kokemomo would take a commision...

Sat, 19 Mar 2005 10:12:07 PST - Link

March 18, 2005


The latest US Oil consumption estimates say that we are consuming about 20 million barrels per day.

Estimates of recoverable oil within ANWR range from 600 million to 9.2 billion barrels.

So all we are talking about is enough oil to provide oil for 30 to 460 days at present consumption.

The current CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards were set in 1975. The present standard for passenger vehicles is 27.5 mpg. It's 20.7 mpg for light trucks and SUVs. Those values were set in 1975 as targets for the year 1990. They haven't changed since 1990.

Light trucks are vehicles under 8500 lb GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). Vehicles over 8500 lb are exempt from the standard, and do not count in the fleet averages.

There's more of those then you might expect:

American General: H2 (Okay-no surprise there!)
Cadillac: Escalade
Chevrolet: Suburban, 2500 pickup, 3500 pickup, 2500 G Van 3500 G Van
Dodge: Ram Van 3500, Ram pickup 2500/D25, Ram pickup 3500/D350
Ford/Mercury: Excursion, Expedition, Econoline van E150, E250, E350, F250/F350 pickup, F250/350/450 Super Duty
GMC: Suburban, Sierra 2500/3500 pickup, 2500/3500 G Van

There are some pretty popular names in that list, don't you think? How many laps of a NASCAR race can you watch on TV without seeing an ad for one of them? How many minutes of Football?

The (mis)administration is making the argument that it's only a teeny-tiny part of the overall reserve, and that we can sneak in on the ice, suck out the oil, and the Caribou will be one the wiser.

I don't believe them, but that's not the point. We've had the chance to cut oil consumption by setting higher CAFE standards, but we didn't. We've had the chance to change our tax laws to encourage conservation and alternative energy, but we fell short. We were given stern and fair warning in the oil shocks of the 70's and 80's, and we've ignored them. We had two chances to elect sober, responsible leadership to the Whitehouse, and have chosen poorly.

That oil belongs to our children and their children. The energy it contains is but a few short days of our profligate use, but that legacy may also represent their only chance to convert to other sources of energy.

If but one drop of AWAR oil reaches the tank of an H2, we have committed a mortal sin against our children and against our planet. I say: let us put it out of our wastrel minds, we've proven so practiced at forgetting, and hold it in reserve for children wiser than us to use, or for them to pass on.

We shouldn't drill it, because we don't deserve it.

Fri, 18 Mar 2005 19:33:49 PST - Link

Blind. Deaf. Dumb.

CNN Screen Shot

CNN, It's March 18, and you're missing the story of the year.

Fri, 18 Mar 2005 16:16:39 PST - Link

Aw... Shucks

Anyway, not all that long ago I went on the quest to find the greatest paper airplane of all time. I succeeded. The greatest paper airplane of all time can be found here. When properly made, it's simply amazing how far, how straight, and how fast this airplane can fly. It's a breathtaking thing to witness.

That is not to say it is the best flying paper airplane of all time. It's not all that far from obtaining this title, but in my searches I did find a select few models which can achieve greater distances. The reason I have still deemed this paper airplane with such an esteemed title is its sheer simplicity of design. Given a piece of paper, anyone can make this airplane anywhere at anytime. It does not require measurements, does not require weights, and does not require an excessive amount of time.

Purple Curtain

Fri, 18 Mar 2005 16:02:52 PST - Link

World Hits

random | list | prev | next | prev5 | next5

A few weeks ago I was linked into the Rumic Webring. At the same time I began to monitor hits on my fanfiction page to see if the ring was having any effect. I did find that I was seeing about one hit per day from Japan, referred from the ring. I haven't paid much attention to the hits to that page in some time, so I was startled to see a number of hits from Google in Poland — Dziękuję, Witać!

Fri, 18 Mar 2005 14:28:38 PST - Link

Friday Cat Blogging


Miko in repose.

Fri, 18 Mar 2005 10:57:46 PST - Link

Oil: Iraq

The Bush administration made plans for war and for Iraq's oil before the 9/11 attacks, sparking a policy battle between neo-cons and Big Oil, BBC's Newsnight has revealed.


It just seems wrong that an administration that professes to be true believers in the Free Market ™ would hatch a plan to try to militarily undermine the Free Market ™.

The irony is that their ideal result would have been to artificially and temporarily depress oil prices below the natural market rate — muting and delaying a critical market signal.

Success in this case would have meant a year or two more of cheap oil*, a year or two more of converting the civilian auto fleet to 15 MPG SUVs, followed by an economy crushing step in prices to well above today’s mid $50s range.

Of course the worst case would have been a collapse of the Iraqi oil industry due to insurgency, and a generation or two of anti-American feelings, followed by an oil market that can no longer be satisfied by OPEC production. (Sound familiar?)


* Iraq is costing 300 BILLION dollars, there are 300 MILLION Americans - you do the math. (It’s two years of fill-ups in my Prius.)

Fri, 18 Mar 2005 10:47:47 PST - Link

March 17, 2005

This. Changes. Everything.

It's an expression that has been overused of late. Neocons used it as rallying cry. Politicians cynically used it as a new narrative to explain everything from Tax cuts to Iraq. They were so wrong. 9-11 was a horrifying event, but it did not change everything, they simply used it as a convenient excuse for doing everything they've ever wanted to do.

Today Oil reaced a new intraday high of $57.50 — now that's a change. (I wonder how they'll use this?)

Thu, 17 Mar 2005 09:50:11 PST - Link

March 16, 2005

Oil Prices Shoot to New Intraday High: $56.25

Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose $1.20 to $56.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The previous intraday high, set in October, was $55.67.

Wed, 16 Mar 2005 08:45:33 PST - Link

March 15, 2005

Six for One

Chart 6 shows us that more drilling just will not solve the problem. This is a very interesting chart. This shows the difference between the amount of oil that you are finding and the amount of oil that you are pumping. Notice from 1960 on until about 1980, declining for sure, but every year except for one we found more oil than we pumped. The yellow line up here is drilling. You remember the Reagan administration and all the emphasis on drilling because we knew that we were approaching this flipover point where we were going to be pumping more oil than we found and so there was a rationale that if you just give them a profit motive and you have the right incentives, tax and regulatory incentives and so forth, they will go out and they will dig more wells and they will find more oil. Sure as heck they went out and dug more wells. But did they find any more oil? As a matter of fact, in 1982, more oil was used in looking for oil than the oil they found in 1982. Pretty consistently for every year after 1982, we have used more oil than we found. Today worldwide we are pumping at least six barrels of oil for every barrel that we find.


Chart 9. This is a very interesting chart. It is a little too busy, but let me try to explain what is there. The oil companies for reasons of pricing and regulations and so forth have had the habit through the years of underreporting initially how much oil they found. Then later when it was appropriate to their license to produce more oil, they would report additional oil. They never found any additional oil, they simply reported oil they had found previously. By the way, you may have noted that three times in the last roughly 3 weeks, oil companies have admitted that their estimates of the reserves were exaggerated and have downscaled the reserves that they said were there. If you took the original reporting of the reserves, you might be able to construct a curve, a straight line curve which said we are just getting more and more. But if you backdated that to the actual discoveries, then you get this curve. This curve is asymtoting at a bit over 2,000 gigabarrels, which is about what the world's experts say had been there. We have now pumped about half of that. We have about 1,000 gigabarrels remaining.

The Congressional Record click on "Page: H1409" (this site does not have "permalinks").

I'll post a link to the charts when I find them.

Looks like it's time to start beating the SUVs into windmills.

Tue, 15 Mar 2005 20:53:46 PST - Link

Wall Street Awakes

When oil fields reach their peak in production, they fall fast. When do we reach peak oil? We reach it when Saudi Arabian production goes into decline. The geologists believe that is soon. When we hit peak oil, supply will not be able to meet demand regardless of price. Higher prices then become the limiter. They allocate demand to those who can afford to pay for it. That means an end to global economic growth until a new energy source is discovered. Lifestyles will have to change to accommodate less supply while governments resort to energy rationing.

Peak oil will soon be upon us and we have done nothing to prepare for it. Americans are driving bigger and less fuel efficient cars. The speed limit has been raised on most highways and we are still building more freeways. In the area of energy we assume it will always be there. We have done very little in the way of energy research or looked at alternative fuels. Our main concern has been the environment without any thought of the consequences of peak oil. As Simmons is fond of saying, we have no “Plan B.” That is why oil prices are as high as they are today.

Jim Puplava at financialsense.com

Tue, 15 Mar 2005 20:53:46 PST - Link

March 14, 2005

Peak Oil Hits the US House Of Representatives

Republican representitives Roscoe Bartlett and Wayne Gilchrest Maryland are at this moment on the floor of the house discussing peak oil!

I'm not sure it will make any difference, since it's just them in the chamber but at least it is at least being talked about.

Mon, 14 Mar 2005 17:46:36 PST - Link

March 11, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Do Not Sit

No, this isn't one of mine. I took this picture several years ago while in the Caribbean. I'd say this is proof that cats can't read, except that it might also be proof that they can.

Fri, 11 Mar 2005 12:46:36 PST - Link

March 10, 2005

The Top 3 to 4 Percent?

I just spend an hour in Google looking for detailed wealth and income information by centile. I've seen loads of charts and tables that show this information broken into quintiles — 0-20%, 20-40%, 40-60%, 60-80% and 80—100% and sometime the top 1% is also given.

What I've NEVER seen is a chart or table broken into each of the 100 centiles.

Thu, 10 Mar 2005 20:46:59 PST - Link

Greetings From Rooney and Fender

Postal Cancel

I found this curious image used as the cancel stamp on a letter mailed from my dentist.

Thu, 10 Mar 2005 09:40:26 PST - Link

March 9, 2005

The Paper Airplane Translation Project

Back on October 30, 1998 I published my first paper Airplane on the Internet. Since then, I've added three more planes, and I've had over a million visitors to my site from all over the world. I've never charged for the designs, nor do I place advertising on the site. It's enough for me to know that kids all over the world can experience the same joy of making and flying planes that I have.

The most common request that I get is to add more planes to add to my site. I've tried many, many times, but so far I've failed come up with designs that fly better than the ones I have. — I'll only publish my own designs, and only if they are good enough.

But, I have thought of a way to improve my site; I'd like to translate the instructions into languages other than English, and I'd like your help.

Here's the bargain:

I'd like this effort to become a worldwide class project: Ideally, teachers of English classes would assist and guide their students in the translation from English to their native languages.

In return, I'll publish the designs with translations alongside the English versions, and for the translated pages I'll even publish class pictures with first names of the students who do the translation work.

Hopefully you'll have fun doing the translation, you'll get a little fame, but most importantly you'll be helping people who speak your native language have fun with paper airplanes.

There are some details to be worked out: I want to make sure that the translated text does not contain naughty words, for example. Fortunately, living in Silicon Valley I have friends who read and speak many languages, so I'll be able to have the text checked by a trusted friend. I’m not sure yet how I’ll find proofreaders for the languages my friends know, But I’m sure we’ll figure something together.

I'm not quite sure how this project will be organized yet, but I'm thinking I'll make a web page that will be the sign-up sheet for each plane, in each language. I will accept and publish multiple translations of the same plane in each language, and I pledge to learn enough HTML to correctly present each language as it is meant to be read.

If you're interested, please email me, and place "The Paper Airplane Translation Project" in the subject field.

Wed, 09 Mar 2005 13:32:16 PST - Link

March 9, 2005

The Barbazon School Of Network Journalism

I just about choked when the Talking Hair on CNN reported:

If you've forgotten, and many people in Washington have, the Bush plan streses conservation alternative sources and greater US production.

Sadly, NO. That wasn't even close to the the Bush plan. In case you've forgotten, conservation and was an afterthought Dubya's energy plan. If you guys did any research at all on this you'd find that when the initial secret Cheney task force energy plan was reviewed, it had did not talk about conservation at all, in fact Cheney famously said: "Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy,"

That took me all of 2 Seconds to find on Google.

No wonder your ratings suck.

Earth to CNN: Try reporting facts. People will watch.

Wed, 09 Mar 2005 11:37:17 PST - Link

March 8, 2005

Rode Hard And Put Away Wet or My So-Called Mid-Life Crisis

I don't often talk about myself here, or anywhere else, for that matter, but I thought I should appologize for the profound lack of quantity and quality in blogage of late. Nearly all of my energy has been going into hitting a milestone at work, leaving Joe a rather dull boy.

I wonder if Toyota is planning a convertable Prius?

Tue, 08 Mar 2005 22:16:03 PST - Link


"The Uninstallation has sucessfully uninstalled Adobe Audition 1.5"

— Unerror message from UninstallShield

Tue, 08 Mar 2005 20:11:53 PST - Link

March 6, 2005

Divide By Zero

I wonder what he's really up to. Dubya, I mean. You can't really tell from what he says, most of the words that come out of his mouth were written by somebody else — and chosen to put the best spin on any position he might pretend to take.

He's talking a lot about social security. Is it the money? It could be. After all, in the '80s a bargain was struck that payroll taxes would be increased — mostly on the baby boomers — so that a reserve of funds could be built up to provide Social Security checks — for the baby boomers.

On paper this was a reasonable idea, and an example of something we've not seen from Dubya's administration; responsible governance.

For a generation now, ordinary working folks have been sending cash to Washington in preparation for their retirements, but starting with Ronald Reagan, this reserve was tapped and those funds used to offset a portion of the operational deficits that were generated by irresponsible governance.

Now Dubya is spending millions of our dollars to try to convince us that the money borrowed from the social security trust fund is gone. It's not really gone at all, It's right there, in the pockets of those who benefited from his (and Reagan's) "save the rich" tax cuts. They borrowed it from us, and they want to keep it, and they are willing to destroy Social Security to do it.

But — Maybe it's not just the money. Maybe there's something else in Dubya's mind. We know he doesn't like Social Security — or Government of any kind. He pretty keen on corporations, though. He really doesn't seem to get on with the notion that people might form groups for self interest where the self interest is anything other than blind profit.

Social Security works because we made a compact with each other. We all put money in the pot, and we promise that money will be there for us when we need it. Some of us don't make it to retirement, and never dip our hands in the pot. Some of us are visited by misfortune, and begin to dip in when we are younger. This only works because there are a lot of us sharing the burden, sharing the risks, and sharing the reward. It's the same idea that caused primitive man to gather together into tribes, then villages, then towns, then cities. It's called civilization. People working together to the betterment of all.

Now maybe Dubya, born into a rich family, with rich freinds and associates, just doesn't see the point in all this civilization stuff. He should. When his Oil ventures went dry (We'll get back to oil) his father's friends bailed him out. And helped him buy a stake in a baseball team. And made him stinking rich, and then they made him President. Who needs Social Security when you have friends like that? Friends that have so generously benefited from tax cuts borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund.

Meanwhile, half a world away...

This month Gasoline is projected to rise 25 cents per gallon, and OPEC has announced that $50 is the new trading range. (For now. Could be $80 if something bad happens. It's a big world. Something bad always happens.)

What does that have to do with Social Security? Everything. All of the projections for growth — used on both sides — are based on a history based on cheap oil. That history is coming to an end.

Everything you buy is soon to become more expensive. We are about to experience a transformation of our economy that makes the troubles of Social Security seem trivial in comparison.

Maybe Dubya doesn't know this. Maybe he just thinks we'll have all the oil we'll need to last until the rapture. Maybe breaking the social bonds we share through Social Security doesn't matter to him. Maybe he doesn't make a connection between cheap oil and the economy. I hope that's so. I really do. Because the alternative is that he is willfully weakening the economy, weakening government and weakening our social bonds just at a time we are facing the greatest societal challenge since the industrial revolution.

Comment here

- Link

March 5, 2005

Google, You're Scaring Me.

Google Adwords

Somehow, it just doesn't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling when the "Google sponsored links" in a news article about Uranium Enrichment in Iran contains an ad for "Gas Centerfuge Equipment". But, maybe it's just me.

Sat, 05 Mar 2005 09:01:00 PST - Link

March 4, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging


"Don't even THINK of getting an LCD monitor." — Miko

- Link

March 3, 2005

I've Hit The Big Time!


Boondocks is Copyright © Aaron McGruder. For the next few days you can see the rest of this strip at: Ucomics.com Or you can buy the Boondocks books at your favorite bookseller.

There are a few things I've wanted to do in my life; I've wanted a patent (US D 484503) I've wanted to put something into a Museum (The BeBox is in the Computer History Museum) I've wanted my products to be on Magazine covers (Apple Quadra 660AV, BeBox, and the Sidekick (on Architectural Digest!) and Sidekick II) and I've wanted something I've worked on to show up in a national comic strip. Needless to say, I'm thrilled, especially because Boondocks is my favorite cartoon strip, and Aaron McGruder is not just a brilliant cartoonist. I've seen him on C-span, and Real Time with Bill Maher, and he's witty, and smart and quick.

Mr. McGruder, if you come across this, sorry about the image scan, but this is a big thing to me. If you're ever in San Jose, I'd be honored to buy you dinner in exchange.

Thu, 03 Mar 2005 07:59:40 PST - Link

February 25, 2005

Dean LeBaron - Adventure Capitalist

But my point is that there has been a big change in Europe. Now, it is not just the U.S. government that they don't like. It's the American people. Sure, we have some friends there, but Europeans in general really are afraid of America. And they have decided, "We'd just better distance ourselves as much as possible." So they are forming a European Defense Union, which is essentially NATO, without America. They are seriously discussing which currency will be a reserve currency, other than the dollar. They're discussing trade relationships that do not depend on the World Trade Organization, which they see as dominated by America, and so on. What I am saying is that we are being sidelined, and it's serious. There has been a sharp drop in the number of foreign students applying to American universities this year.

Dean LeBaron, founder of Batterymarch Financial in an interview with Weedon & Co

Also check out Mr. LeBaron's personal website. It's an interesting mix, in a pre-blog style, and his videos are kind of like podcasts. Worth a long look.

- Link

Friday Cat Blogging

Any cat butt in a storm

Miko and Tchan

Thu, 24 Feb 2005 23:36:56 PST - Link

February 22, 2005

Congradulations, Burt!

Burt Rutan took the Industrial Designer Wired Rave Award for SpaceShipOne this evening.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it since I'd canceled out of attending the awards this evening. I somehow got my wires crossed, and thought that the event crashed on a dinner engagement that I couldn't miss. (It didn't) Oh well. Maybe next year. (P.S. The French Laundry in Yountville is fantastic, it was voted the Best Restaurant In the World in 2004)

It's a real honor to have my name on the 2003 award, knowing his name is on the award for 2005.

Tue, 22 Feb 2005 22:25:30 PST - Link

Rumic Novels Webring

A few weeks ago I signed into a webring for Japanese Fanfiction and today they hooked me in. I'm the only English Language site in the ring, I hope this will stir some interest in Japanese translations. (hint-hint)

Tue, 22 Feb 2005 22:25:30 PST - Link

$51.10, $51.10, $51.10 Do I Hear $65?

FYI: Oil is back above $50.00 a barrel.

I'm not joking about that $65. I bet we'll see it before this year is out.

Ih yeah, that's in US Dollars. As of today, you can get USD 1.3245 for one Euro.

Tue, 22 Feb 2005 12:47:05 PST - Link

Dr. Gene Scott 1929-2005

Back when I first moved to the Bay Area, Dr. Scott was a fixture on broadcast television, sitting in his chair and talking at the cameras live nearly every night. More often then I care to admit, it was the best thing on. He was pre-cursor to pocdasting, in a way. I partucularly remember one show where one of the cameras failed, and most of the time was spent discussing the replacement of the Plumbicon Tube. Dr Scott knew what it was.

I'm not a very religous person, but Dr. Scott was interesting, even to me. I expect that part of that was because unlike most televangelists, he really was a doctor, with a Ph. D. from Stanford.

Dr. Scott's father was also a preacher, and would open the Sunday services by leading the congregation in song. One Sunday was Dr. Scott's birthday, and after the hymns, his father sang a song to his son, the way a father might sing a lullaby to a newborn. Dr. Scott was moved to tears, and went on to give a touching sermon that linked the love between father and son to the the love between God and Man.

Thanks and goodbye, Gene. I hope they have horses in Heaven.

Yahoo News

Tue, 22 Feb 2005 09:09:58 PST - Link

February 21, 2005

Did You Sense A Disturbance In The Force? I Did.

On Friday evening in Olympia, former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter appeared with journalist Dahr Jamail. — Ritter made two shocking claims: George W. Bush has "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, and the U.S. manipulated the results of the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq....

United for Peace of Pierce County

Yes, that Scott Ritter who said there were no WMDs in Iraq. Before the war. Before 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths. Before 1400 US troop deaths. That Scott Ritter.

Did you sense a disturbance in the force? The first strike of WWIII may have been struck with a pen.

Mon, 21 Feb 2005 21:31:55 PST - Link

But It's All Downhill From Here.

Energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, of Simmons & Co International, has been outspoken in his warnings about peak oil before. His new statement is his strongest yet, "we may have already passed peak oil".


Saudi oil peaking?

Speaking exclusively to Aljazeera, Simmons came out with a statement that, if proven true over time, could herald by far the biggest energy crisis mankind has known.

"If Saudi Arabia have damaged their fields, accidentally or not, by overproducing them, then we may have already passed peak oil. Iran has certainly peaked, there is no way on Earth they can ever get back to their production of six million barrels per day (mbpd)."


Mon, 21 Feb 2005 14:06:26 PST - Link

February 18, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Miko and Tory

Tory: Look deeply into my laser-like eyes...

Miko: Bring tuna... bring tuna...

Fri, 18 Feb 2005 08:03:42 PST - Link

February 16, 2005

Just Be Sure To Avoid The Mr. Pibb Water...

Tab water Is safe for drinking

Wed, 16 Feb 2005 20:28:49 PST - Link

February 16, 2005

I Thought He Was Playing Roulette

“The tendency in Washington is, ‘OK, Mr. President, you play your cards now and we’ll decide if we’re going to play ours,’ ” Bush said. “I’m not going to do that. I’m keeping them close to the vest.”

Dubya in the Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa (Via TPM )

Dubya, you're drawing to an inside straight, and you've got our retirement in the pot.

Wed, 16 Feb 2005 08:48:23 PST - Link

February 15, 2005

Night Rain

~1973 — Nikon FTn, 50mm Nikkor Tri-X Pan

Tue, 15 Feb 2005 22:07:17 PST - Link

♪ One Of These Things ♪ Is Not Like The Others ♪

It's no surprise to me that the hollow shell of the Talon News service was able to place itself un-noticed on the grand avenue of the White House Press Corps. If you wander down the back alleys you'll find that the grand structures that were once CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN have been hollowed out from behind, with the desks for the investigative reporters piled in the rubble, the offices empty but for the Micheal Jackson departmemts, where the lights never go out.

Tue, 15 Feb 2005 09:13:30 PST - Link

February 14, 2005

Hello Fishcake!

Hello Kitty Fishcake

'Nuff said.

Mon, 14 Feb 2005 22:34:31 PST - Link

Based on History

Privatization schemes assume that this will have no effect on how much interest the government will have to pay, or what kind of long-term return you can expect on investments in the private economy. For example the right-wing Heritage Foundation, a major thumper for privatization, assumes that private accounts can earn a long-term, risk-free return of 4.7 percent after inflation, which they say is based on history.

— Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post

Say — Did any of that "history" ever include the transition from an oil-based economy to a renewal-based economy?

Remember, we've spent most of the last 75 years living on inexpensive oil, which is like drilling holes in the ground and pumping out fully charged batteries. We used the power, then spit the 'empties' out the tailpipe.

Do these economic estimates take this into account? After all, we shall surely be production limited long before Social Security burns through the bonds.

Mon, 14 Feb 2005 12:45:18 PST - Link

February 13, 2005

It's Your Money, And We've Just Borrowed $3000.00. (You Can Pay Us Back Later)

To most Americans, the federal budget, more than 2,000 pages of fine print, is hard to grasp; it isn't easy to summon a mental image of $2.57 trillion. One way to look at it is to consider how much the government spends per household. In the 1990's, the figure held steady at about $18,000, according to Brian M. Riedl, a budget analyst for the Heritage Foundation. But last year, it exceeded $20,000, adjusted for inflation, the highest amount since World War II. But the government only takes in $17,000 for each household. "So right there," Mr. Reidl said, "we're borrowing $3,000 per household."

New York Times

Sun, 13 Feb 2005 12:10:25 PST - Link

The Fear Of All Sums

Despite cuts to scores of domestic programs, the Administration’s budget increases rather than decreases the deficit over the next five years. As shown by its own figures, the effect of the Administration’s budget is to increase total deficits over the next five years from $1.364 trillion under current law to $1.393 trillion. A main reason for this outcome is the tax-cut proposals the Administration has included in its budget.

Over the longer run, by proposing to make its tax cuts permanent, the Administration’s budget proposals would dramatically swell the deficit. In 2015 alone, the Administration’s tax proposals — including the cost of making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent — would reduce revenues by $287 billion. The total effect on the deficit, including the related interest costs, would be $358 billion. The Administration’s proposal to replace part of Social Security with private accounts also would swell deficits further. It would add $1.4 trillion to deficits in its first ten years (2019 to 2028) and another $3.5 trillion in the decade after that. In 2015 alone, it would add $177 billion.


The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a superb series of reports on the 2006 budget, with loads of charts and graphs.

I'm finding it impossible to get my arms around this. This budget is so dishonest, so irresponsable, so disasterous.

At the same time Dubya's been flying around the country (on our dime) trying to default on the debt owed to wage earners by declaring that the Treasury bonds held by Social Security are worthless. Since the early 80's working folks have been buying those bonds, and now Dubya says they're worthless. A very clever trick, that. Don't tell China, they've got closets full of those very same bonds.

Dubya's all agog about changing Social Security to individual accounts. According to him, it's gotta be done soon — while he's in office — can't be leaving a crisis that looms decades from now to some future president who might actually want to save it.

Dubya, if you really want to see a crisis, just look at next years budget. Not the one you published, the secret one that also includes the cost of your war in Iraq. And the cost of your Social Security Privatization.

Dubya worrying about Social Security now is like Capitan Smith worrying about hitting the dock in New York, while steaming full speed though an ice feild.

Sun, 13 Feb 2005 11:41:46 PST - Link

February 12, 2005

Building A Bridge to the Middle Ages

I've been puzzling over the question: What would our country look like if Dubya had his way." It's really hard to visualize what he's building, because down here in the flatlands of the bottom 99% all we get to see is demolition:

Demolition of science.
Demolition of the budget.
Demolition of environment.
Demolition of civil rights.
Demolition of voting rights.
Demolition of consumer rights.
Demolition of trust in government.
Demolition of the education system.
Demolition of the social safety net.
Demolition of the progressive tax code.
Demolition of the wall between church and state.

But there's demolition happening up on the 1% hills, too:

Demolition of the estate tax.
Demolition of corporate taxes.
Demolition of open government.
Demolition of the dividend tax.
Demolition of corporate oversight.
Demolition of the capitol gains tax.
Demolition of media ownership limits.
Demolition of corporate responsibility.
Demolition of government accountability.
Demolition of equal access to the airwaves.

I could go on, you get the idea. I could easily come up with a dozen or two more, then link hundreds of examples. That's lot of demolition, and we didn't even get to Iraq, and our relationships with "Old Europe".

Funny we should end there, on "Old Europe", for it is there that we may find the best example for the sort of society that Dubya is building.

The castles which are today such an unmistakable feature of the Rhein landscape date back to the Middle Ages. Their founders were feudal overloards, who, so far from cherishing any romantic notions, built them with one simple aim in mind: to protect their lands from marauders and predatory neighbours.

Castles Along the Rhein River

Is this the model for Dubya's America?

The corporations which are today such an unmistakable feature of the American landscape date back to the Middle of the 1900s. Their founders became wealthy businessmen, who, so far from cherishing any romantic notions, built them with one simple aim in mind: to protect their businesses from governmental control and market competition.

As far as I can tell, Dubya's America will have castles too, but they're called Wal-Mart, and Haliburton, and ironically enough, Disney. Dubya's Feudal Overlords live in a time where they have no need for troop or armor — they've outsourced that to the government, and cleverly got the surfs to foot the bills. In Dubya's America, the abuses of Castle "Enron" upon the surfs have be met with little more than stern words from the government, but final punishment left to the silent lash of the invisible whip in the unseen hand of the market. The abuses of Castle "Microsoft", proven in civil court, were met with strong governmental reprimand: The lord was forced to sign a written promise to stop breaking the law that they should not have been breaking in the first place.

In Dubya's America, ultimate power rests not with the people, not in their representative government, but in the corporations.

In Dubya's America, the overlords have returned, but this time they have no mortal soul, no natural lifespan. Corporations have no need for clean air, clean water, or good schools. They work tirelessly to remove their restraints of taxation and regulation. They control the news, they control opinion. They have become large enough to wrestle the most powerful government on earth. We created them to become our slaves, In Dubya's America, we will become theirs.

Sat, 12 Feb 2005 10:28:28 PST - Link

February 11, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tchan and Miko

T-chan and Miko

- Link

February 6, 2005

The Great American "La-La-La-La-La"

I've never been a big football fan. I did go out of my way to catch a game or two when I was a youngster, but over the years I drifted away, or perhaps it drifted away from me. These days I let my Tivo watch for me, so I can go back and watch the commercials.

Back then it was a distraction from the nightly news. (We were in Vietnam at the time.) Superbowl Sunday was a kind of holiday from that, a time set aside to stick our fingers in our ears, cover our eyes, and go "La-La-La" for a few hours, watch some big guys run up and down the field, and cheer as if it really mattered.

The difference is today when I turn on the nightly news, all I get is "La-La-La-La-La".

Maybe to complete the symmetry, need another new holiday, one where we spend the day unflinchingly facing the reality of the world.

Jeez, I am in a bad mood today.

Sun, 06 Feb 2005 14:35:23 PST - Link

Best. Analysis. Ever.

Social Security envisions a retirement in which recipients, hopefully, have three sources of income: Social Security, some employer-based pension and personal savings. The latter two, in varying degrees depend on how hard you work, how much you make, how wisely you invest and the vagaries of chance. Social Security, as a defined benefit program, is meant to be the one leg of the stool which is a flat guarantee.

At root, with all the statistics and flimflam over words, President Bush wants to change that. He wants to phase out Social Security in favor of private investment accounts. In the latter case, there is no guarantee at all, just as there is no guarantee in private nesting, which of course is just as is should be. He wants to get rid of the defined benefit program and change it to a defined contribution program — not partially, but totally. Indeed, he said this in his recent press conference quite clearly. But few of the reporters present latched on to the statement or its significance. Social Security, he said, is "now in a precarious position. And the question is whether or not our society has got the will necessary to adjust from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. And I believe the will will be there. (emphasis added)."

Joshua Micah Marshall Talking Points Memo

Mr. Marshall also uncovered this nuggest from Clinton's 1999 State of the Union:

"I propose that we commit 60 percent of the budget surplus for the next 15 years to Social Security, investing a small portion in the private sector just as any private or state government pension would do. This will earn a higher return and keep Social Security sound for 55 years." — William Jefferson Clinton [Ephasis Added]

Sun, 06 Feb 2005 08:55:25 PST - Link

Can we use the word LIE yet?

There are so many deceptions to discuss in President Bush's plan for dismantling Social Security, and many of them require complex explanations to show just how deceptive they are. For now, let's take on a couple. Please pay attention, young workers, because you get taken to the cleaners by his plan.

The structure of Bush's private accounts isn't new; it was offered as "Plan 2" by the 2004 President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, so it has been pretty well studied.

In addition to the private accounts, the Bush plan envisions future benefit cuts for everyone. The line being peddled by the White House is that private accounts would more than offset the cuts, leaving younger people better off. That is simply not the case.

Editorial: Young workers/The real victims of Bush's plan startribune.com

Sun, 06 Feb 2005 11:36:40 PST - Link

February 5, 2005

Echos of the past

According to Gary Ott, who was then a reporter for the Plainview Daily Herald, Bush stopped by the paper's little office "maybe five or six times. He'd sit down at my desk; he was a fun guy. He was very outgoing, very friendly, and we would argue politics since I was a liberal. We'd argue over Carter policies." Bush criticized energy policy, federal land use policy, subsidized housing, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("a misuse of power," he said), and he warned that Social Security would go bust in ten years unless people were given a chance to invest the money themselves. None of this really distinguished him from Hance, though, so in the end Bush simply argued that a Republican could better represent the district: "If you want a chance in the way Congress has been run, send someone who will be independent from those who will run the Congress."

Texas Observer

Just so you know, that was back in the late 70s. Destroying Social Security has been a life-long dream of Dubya.

Sat, 05 Feb 2005 10:25:52 PST - Link

The Other Side Of Wall Street

You see, Wall Street is divided right down the center lane. On the equity side of the street are the buyers and sellers of securities in brokerage firms and mutual fund companies. They're all for the Bush agenda because it will put more money in their pockets. Not only will they get more tax cuts on unearned income, but they also stand to rake in hundreds of millions in management fees on all those privatized Social Security accounts.

But on the other side of Wall Street are the bond traders, and they think differently. They're beginning to worry about the size of the deficits likely to result from Bush's plans, just like they worried about Clinton's potential deficits. They've heard estimates of the trillions of dollars the government will have to borrow over the next decade in order to privatize Social Security, not to mention making Bush's tax cuts permanent.

Robert B. Reich on CBS News

Sat, 05 Feb 2005 10:25:52 PST - Link

It's The End Of The World (For Some)

In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

What makes the story so appealing to Christian fundamentalists is that before the big battle begins, all "true believers" (ie those who believe what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to heaven during an event called the Rapture. Not only do the worthy get to sit at the right hand of God, but they will be able to watch, from the best seats, their political and religious opponents being devoured by boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation which follow.

America's War with Itself George Monbiot in The Guardian UK

Say — If they would be raptured right out of thier clothes, wouldn't they be neekid in heaven? Woah. You couldn't show that in the superbowl half-time show. And if the rapture means getting neekid, why are the very people most offended by neekidness looking forward to this Rapture, anyway?

That's troubling, because the beliefs in question are antithetical to environmentalism. For starters, any environmental science that contradicts the End-Timer's interpretation of Holy Writ is automatically suspect. This explains the disregard for environmental science so prevalent among Christian fundamentalist lawmakers: the denial of global warming, of the damaged ozone layer, and of the poisoning caused by industrial arsenic and mercury.

More important, End-Time beliefs make such problems inconsequential. Faith in Christ's impending return causes End-Timers to be interested only in short-term political-theological outcomes, not long-term solutions. Unfortunately, nearly every environmental issue, from the conservation of endangered species to the curbing of climate change, requires belief in and commitment to an enduring earth. And yet, no amount of scientific evidence will likely shake fundamentalists of their End-Time faith or bring them over to the cause of saving the environment.

The Godly Must Be Crazy by By Glenn Scherer in Grist

Sat, 05 Feb 2005 09:39:01 PST - Link

February 4, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging



Fri, 04 Feb 2005 20:05:03 PST - Link

Words Images and Sounds #3 - Social Security

This is an Audio Recording of my "The All New Social Security — Now With Even More WMDs!" post. After writing a post, I sit and read it to myself to look for errors. While I was reading this post, I was 'hearing' it, as if it were being read by my favorite cowboy poet, Baxter Black. I don't have his expressive voice, but I thought I'd give it a shot.


Fri, 04 Feb 2005 12:36:26 PST - Link

The All New Social Security — Now With Even More WMDs!

Several commentators have noted the similarity of Dubya's marketing of the Enronization of Social Security to his marketing of the war against Sadam.

Now there's one more similarity: Shifting Rational

I'll leave it up to others to walk through the ugly details [Atrios 1] [Atrios 2] [Atrios 3] [Atrios 4] [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] [Talking Points Memo 1] [Talking Points Memo 2] [Matthew Yglesias] [Angry Bear]

We learned in the last election that numbers alone won't sway the public, they need a little emotional argument as well. Here goes:

We Already Have Personal Accounts: I already get a statement every year from Social Security, with my name on it. They know how much I put in. They know how much I've taken out. My money pours in, automatically, and they keep track of it, and invest it for me. They only invest it in US Treasuries, so the rate of return is limited by that. But on the other hand, the overhead fees are only on the order of 1%. That's not great, but not too bad as funds go, especially considering that unlike a Wall Street firm, who gets the occasional transaction from the investor, Social Security sees a multitude of deposits, and issues millions of checks each month, and let's face it, since there is more to Social Security — for example disability and survivors benefits — they simply have more paperwork to deal with.

Private or Public, it'd still look the same: If you were to set out to design a private firm to take the place of Social Security, you'd end up with something that looks surprisingly like Social Security. There would be a few differences; 1% overhead is very poor efficiency, you can make more than that holding US treasuries. A private firm would need to charge much higher fees to make a going concern. (They found this out in countries where privatizing has been tried.) Remember, high efficiency to a private corporation is measured only by profit. A high efficiency private Social Security firm is one that skims the maximum amount from each transaction in fees — but not so high as to loose too many customers to their competitors. But if such a firm were a monopoly — Ka-CHING!

Asset Allocator

A limited investment choice is no choice at all: From what I've been reading, it sounds as if "investors" in Social Security will not have full control of where or when they invest, they will be given a limited range of options, heavy on... (Oh, wait for it...) US Treasury Bonds. This is a poor investment strategy. A truly private account would permit the investor to develop a portfolio allocating assets to non-correlating investments such as US and foreign securities and bonds. (take a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average, It hasn't looked to good for the past few years, has it?)

There's easier ways to do this: If your goal is to improve the return on Social Security, why not invest some of it in the private markets? Now for anti-government folks, that's pretty much the third rail, but that's nearly what Dubya is proposing. He's pushing for Payroll taxes to be used to purchase private securities.

In my plan, we (all 300 Million of US) hire a handful of brilliant investors to place some of our money in the private sector, with an eye towards making return on the investments. We could hire 300 of them for $1,000,000 each per year - at a cost of $1 per US resident per year. Overhead is reduced because there's only 300 of them doing transactions, and in the end, the returns go back into the Social Security fund. There would have to be strict oversight to prevent fraud, so maybe we hire some folks to do continuous audits - (Another $1 a day.) Now, do you suppose that these professional full time investors, given the entire world in which to invest, might bring in more than what we pay them? We could start out slow, with only 1% of the Social Security Surplus income per month rolling into the private sector, and build up to the point where Social Security will be solvent — forever.

In Dubya's plan, we are in effect hiring 300 million amateurs to invest in a limited and correlated set of investment opportunities, but instead of pooling the risk, each individual would be on their own. Oh yeah, and when they retire they MUST buy an annuity to draw on for their pension. God help them if they want to retire in a down year.

If Social Security were perfect, Dubya would still want to eliminate it: This is the critical fact to remember. Even if Social Security looked like it would be providing surpluses until 1400 years after the Sun collapsed upon itself, Dubya would still want to privatize it. He simply, down in his core values, does not believe in civic shared risk. He does not believe in government (Except where it comes to say - preventing gay marriage, or providing corporate welfare.) Pretty ironic, isn't it — that the president of the United States doesn't really believe in government. Maybe that's why he's so bad at governing.

Fri, 04 Feb 2005 11:06:02 PST - Link

February 2, 2005

Curiouser and Curiouser

Hmm... I never remeber seeing these socket 10054 errors in the old version of CuteFTP.

(Downloads version 4.2.5, installs, transfers file flawlessly.) Okay, Version 4.2.5 works perfectly between my house and my server. Version 6.0 chokes.

When is Version 6.2.5 coming out?

Wed, 02 Feb 2005 18:52:04 PST - Link

February 1, 2005

A Little Color

Hershey Martini

Nikon N990 2004.07.16

Taken on the veranda of the Hershey Hotel. That's a Chocolate Martini. 5 Stars.

This picture doesn't mean anything — sometimes my page just needs a little color. This is one of those times.

Tue, 01 Feb 2005 20:46:49 PST - Link

The State Of The Union: UNSUSTAINABLE

Simply put, our nation’s fiscal policy is on an unsustainable course. As long-term budget simulations by GAO, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and others show, over the long term we face a large and growing structural deficit due primarily to known demographic trends and rising health care costs. Continuing on this unsustainable fiscal path will gradually erode, if not suddenly damage, our economy, our standard of living, and ultimately our national security. Our current path also will increasingly constrain our ability to address emerging and unexpected budgetary needs.

Regardless of the assumptions used, all simulations indicate that the problem is too big to be solved by economic growth alone or by making modest changes to existing spending and tax policies. Nothing less than a fundamental reexamination of all major existing spending and tax policies and of priorities is needed. This reexamination should also involve a national discussion about what Americans want from their government and how much they are willing to pay for those things. This discussion will not be easy, but it must take place.

The Comptroller General of the United States in a report [pdf] released today.

Dear Dubya,

ya'll remember that PDB entitled Bin Laden Determined To Strike Inside US? Well, this here report is just like that. Maybe worse.

See, have a gander at the chart on Page 9. See that bar marked 2040? That white area at the bottom? That's interest on the National Debt. See that black Line? that's revenue if we extend your tax cuts.

See what happens in 2040? If we follow your plan, in 2040 every dollar of revenue will go to pay interest on the debt.

Dubya, that's a Really Bad Idea™.

Tue, 01 Feb 2005 13:14:25 PST - Link

January 31, 2005

More Than Meets The Eye

The 100,000 Power Transformers in America today cost between $500K and $4M each. These critical Electrical Grid assets are old (average age of 40 years according to Hartford Steam Boiler Insurance Company) with a design life of about 45 years. This sounds like trouble.

In recent years, many have been “pushed” to operate at near “nameplate” load and above - shortening their useful life. A major national transformer service company has said that about 65% of transformers are overloaded 125%-150% and more beyond nameplate and that overloading a transformer for 4 hours at 125% decreases life expectancy by 7 days. Overloading a transformer for 4 hours at 150% and more decreases life expectancy by a whopping (and counter-intuitive) 160 days.

Energy Pulse

Mon, 31 Jan 2005 21:55:06 PST - Link

Words Images and Sounds #2 - take 2

File Fix: Dave Winer & Tony Kahn, Peak oil and 9-11.

Sorry about the re-post, but I got bit by CuteFTP again, and only the first 500K of the file got through. This podcast was Recorded in studio VGN-S260 (My Vaio laptop sitting on the floor of my livingroom.) Unfortunately the sound quality is not up to my normal standards, there's lots of mic cable noise, (memo to self- put the cable clip back on the headset) and for part of it the mic was pointing the wrong drection. My Bad. Won't happen again.

In fact, listening to it again today I found the sibalance simply too much to take, so I ran the original .wav through the graphic equalizer in PolderbitS to knock off the rough edges. Unfortunately, the original recording was overmodulated in places, so the quality is still not there. I really need to get serious about my rig if I'm going to do any more of this.

Show Notes:

Audio Interview — Dave Winer with Tony Kahn. Well worth the listen.

Notice: This podcast contains Adult Language


Mon, 31 Jan 2005 21:15:16 PST - Link

Oh Dang.

My problems with CuteFTP are not over, as it turns out I was only able to upload 250K of the 3.7MB file, and anyone who tried to listen got a mercifuly short version. I re-uploaded the file, and it's now all there.

It really shouldn't be this hard.

Mon, 31 Jan 2005 13:26:39 PST - Link

Forbes.com looks at the Sidekick II

Forbes.com: Enter the Sidekick II. It's thinner and slightly longer than the original, and it has an integrated camera, which the original didn't. That flip-up display screen from the original is still there and is one of the best ideas I've seen on a wireless gadget ever. And as on the original, the screen hides the keyboard.

Aw, Shucks.

Mon, 31 Jan 2005 10:00:48 PST - Link

January 30, 2005

Stop. Right. There. or Gatekeepers? We don't need no steenkin' Gaptekeepers!

Without visiting all 37 million sites coughed up by Internet search engines, it is safe to assume that most blogs are not worth the cyberspace they occupy. The bulk are boring or offensive self-indulgences produced by those with axes to grind, prejudice to spew, porn to peddle or without the ability to get past the gatekeepers at newspapers, magazines, book publishers and edited online publications.

Ottawa Citizen via Scripting News (Thanks, Dave!)

Yes, I'm sure that it's more than safe to apply Sturgeon's Law to the body of blogs, and even to this one.

I can not, however, endorse the notion that a simple pass through the belly of the gatekeepers adds the aroma of excellence.

Don't get me wrong, there are great publications, filled with great writing; Sturgeon generously allows for that.

The problem (speaking for here, south of your border) is that the gatekeepers have been replaced with toll takers, and that nearly all newspapers, magazines, book publishers and edited online publications are corporate ventures — genetically engineered to make profits. Oh, and we can add to that group the Television and Radio media. Also genetically engineered to make profits.

Most don't make a dime publishing great stories. They earn their crust by selling advertising. For Wal-Mart. For Gas-Guzzling SUVs. For Fattening Fast Food. For Diet Pills. What gets on the page, and on the air, are the simple stories that don't get in the way of selling those ads. I give you Scott Peterson. Little Elian Gonzalez. Monica. JonBenet. Chandra. OJ. (You need more?)

These stories all made it past those vaunted gatekeepers of yours, and lingered on the front page of the papers, on the covers of the magazines in the grocery store line, and on the best-sellers list, and don't get me started on 24 Hour news. They love these stories. The on-screen talent need only glance at the dally notes while the make-up goes on, the WHAM! 20 minutes of babbling program, and 10 minutes of Advertisement Air time.

Please, don't tell me that the only measure of quality is market-based. We must keep a place in this world for publications that are civic-based, or ecology-based.

Yes, 90% (or more) of blogs are crud, but I can live with that. 90% of what gets past your gatekeepers is crud too...

Sun, 30 Jan 2005 19:03:23 PST - Link

Images Words and Sounds #2

Podcast: Dave Winer & Tony Kahn, Peak oil and 9-11.

Recorded in studio VGN-S260 (My laptop sitting on the floor of my livingroom.) Sorry about the sound quality, there's lots of mic cable noise, for part of it the mic was pointing the wrong drection. My Bad. Won't happen again.

UPDATE: Notice: This podcast contains Adult Language

Recorded and compressed with AudioGrabber

Show Notes:

Audio Interview Dave Winer with Tony Kahn.

Sun, 30 Jan 2005 16:08:30 PST - Link

January 28, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

3 Cats on couch

That's a lot of white paws.

Fri, 28 Jan 2005 09:30:22 PST - Link

January 25, 2005

Buds? In January?


2005.01.22 Nikon E990

I went out to take pictures in the fog last Saturday, but found that the area around my house is simpley not very photogenic. I hopped in Suki (wife has taken to calling our Prius "Suki") and wandered off to a Park in nearby Campbell. I got this image, and several more that didn't make good use of the fog before my batteries went flat. I can't believe I left the house without spare batteries. Of course I'd already scampered down a muddy the creek bank, tripod in hand, and had a nice shot in the viewfinder before they went south on me.

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 23:01:49 PST - Link

Four Months Ago? Oh Yeah. BEFORE The Election.

The CBO's annual report on the budget outlook foresees a deficit of $400 billion this year. It also forecast a cumulative deficit of $1.3 trillion from 2005 to 2014, an increase of nearly 60% from the CBO's $861-billion estimate of just four months ago.

LA Times

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 22:38:23 PST - Link

Wind Power

A 2 MW wind turbine with a 30% duty cycle and 95% availability will generate 5.8 million kWh/year. Fifteen quads of wind power by 2030 would require 750,000 turbines, or 30,000 per year starting now. That is five times present world production capacity, but is probably a worst-case estimate. At 3MW, 35% duty cycle and 15 quads we would need only 450,000. Building 15,000 to 30,000 turbines per year is no big deal for an economy that can build 17 million cars, trucks, and busses per year, but still, we had better get cranking. It can’t wait until after 2020.

Energy Pulse

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 21:58:30 PST - Link

Okay, Now I'm Scared.

Further confirming this trend, recent E&D results strongly support the expectation of a near term peak in oil production. The net present value of all discoveries for the 5 oil majors, during 2001/2/3 was less than their exploration costs.

— Murray Duffin Energy Pulse

Let's you and I unpack that.

Take the top 5 Oil producers.

All the new oil they found in 2001...

and 2002...

and 2003...

wouldn't cover their costs for searching for that oil in 2001...

and 2002...

and 2003...

I suppose they'll just have to wait 'till it reaches $80/Bl to sell it.

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 21:40:27 PST - Link

The future of Journalism

Dan Gillmor, late of the San Jose Mercury News, has begin a project in grassroots journalism. I like what I see. Very Much. Go Visit.

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 20:57:10 PST - Link

The Point Of Paper Ballots Is That You Can Recount Them.

It turns out that the threat of “black-box-voting” is far more widespread than the critics had earlier feared. The same private Republican-owned corporations that build and code the touch screen machines, also compile the total votes incoming from the local precincts. (See our discussion above of the “Florida registration discrepancy”). One might suppose that the optical screen method would be tamper-proof, since this system utilizes paper ballots. However, independent auditing is possible only if the ballots are made available by the state government officials (in most cases, the Secretaries of State). Otherwise, the system might just as well be “paperless.” In Florida, the Republican Secretary of State, Glenda Hood (handpicked by George Bush’s brother, Governor Jeb Bush), refuses to release the optical scan ballots for inspection.

Has the Case for Election Fraud been Refuted? — Ernest Partridge

Tue, 25 Jan 2005 09:11:03 PST - Link

January 24, 2005

Heeeeeeeeeeeer's Oil!

One of their most startling claims is the following: Six barrels of oil are now used for every new barrel discovered. Major oil finds — that is, over 500 million barrels — peaked in 1964. In 2000, there were 13 such discoveries; in 2001, six; in 2002, two; and in 2003, zero — the first time that ever happened.

The "peak" oil analysts also say that oil industry investment patterns seem to indicate that there isn't much oil left to discover.

In 2004, the "Financial Times" quoted a study by Scottish energy consultant Wood Mackenzie showing major oil companies had invested $35 billion to develop existing oil fields in 1998. Five years later in 2003, the amount was $50 billion, a record, according to the Mackenzie study. During the same time period, spending on oil exploration dropped from $11 billion to $8 billion. Peak oil analysts contend the oil companies were putting their money where the oil is — and that's not oil exploration.


Mathew Simmons, an energy investment banker and one-time adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, said no one really knows how much oil the Saudis have. The state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, has not provided production data for more than two decades.

"My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel." — Saudi Saying

From Radio Free Europe [Part 1] [Part 2]

I keep harping on about "Peak Oil" this because this is one of those "tipping point" things, oil is back up to $48.55 a barrel today on news of political instabilities affecting supply, (and, ironically enough, political stabilities affecting the demand side).

One can hope that political instabilities will magically be solved, but of course, it's the oil (okay, the wealth that you can trade for the oil) that's causing those very instabilities.

One can hope that the demand side will stop growing, but that'd take a global resession. Or global war. It's nothing to hope for.

The "peak" in peak oil may have already passed, or it may take a decade or two, but it is coming, and no amount of math or prayers can possibly stop it. Our only choice is to face up to it as the thinking beings we are, and realize that the mighty and unseen hand of the market might need a little guidance this time.

The growth in production cannot long keep up with the growth in demand, some predict those lines cross in 2007 — and as the author said, we're already buring 6 barrels for every new barrel we find.

I find it disheartening that ahttp://www.josephpalmer.com/cgi-local/View_Permalink.cgi?entry=2005/1/25/09:11:03:00 ">Link

January 24, 2005

Heeeeeeeeeeeer's Oil!

One of their most startling claims is the following: Six barrels of oil are now used for every new barrel discovered. Major oil finds — that is, over 500 million barrels — peaked in 1964. In 2000, there were 13 such discoveries; in 2001, six; in 2002, two; and in 2003, zero — the first time that ever happened.

The "peak" oil analysts also say that oil industry investment patterns seem to indicate that there isn't much oil left to discover.

In 2004, the "Financial Times" quoted a study by Scottish energy consultant Wood Mackenzie showing major oil companies had invested $35 billion to develop existing oil fields in 1998. Five years later in 2003, the amount was $50 billion, a record, according to the Mackenzie study. During the same time period, spending on oil exploration dropped from $11 billion to $8 billion. Peak oil analysts contend the oil companies were putting their money where the oil is — and that's not oil exploration.


Mathew Simmons, an energy investment banker and one-time adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, said no one really knows how much oil the Saudis have. The state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, has not provided production data for more than two decades.

"My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel." — Saudi Saying

From Radio Free Europe [Part 1] [Part 2]

I keep harping on about "Peak Oil" this because this is one of those "tipping point" things, oil is back up to $48.55 a barrel today on news of political instabilities affecting supply, (and, ironically enough, political stabilities affecting the demand side).

One can hope that political instabilities will magically be solved, but of course, it's the oil (okay, the wealth that you can trade for the oil) that's causing those very instabilities.

One can hope that the demand side will stop growing, but that'd take a global resession. Or global war. It's nothing to hope for.

The "peak" in peak oil may have already passed, or it may take a decade or two, but it is coming, and no amount of math or prayers can possibly stop it. Our only choice is to face up to it as the thinking beings we are, and realize that the mighty and unseen hand of the market might need a little guidance this time.

The growth in production cannot long keep up with the growth in demand, some predict those lines cross in 2007 — and as the author said, we're already buring 6 barrels for every new barrel we find.

I find it disheartening that at the very time when we need leadership away from oil, we have an (unsucessfull) oil man in the Whitehouse

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 13:39:42 PST - Link

Oil Be Seeing You Later

China's already vigorous response to this challenge is likely to bring it increasingly up against the United States. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for instance, returned from a Christmas trip to China where he apparently sold America's historic Venezuelan oil supplies to the Chinese together with future prospecting rights. Even Canada (in the words of President Bush, "our most important neighbors to the north") is negotiating to sell up to one-third of its oil reserves to China. CNOOC, China's third largest oil and gas group, is actually considering a bid of more that $13 billion for its American rival, Unocal. The real significance of the deal (which, given the size, could not have been contemplated in the absence of Chinese state support) is that it illustrates the emerging competition between China and the U.S. for global influence - and resources.

By Marshall Auerback of Tomdispatch.com, in Alternet

Mon, 24 Jan 2005 08:17:38 PST - Link

January 23, 2005

Can you think better when you're typing?

This question is probed at Collision Detection

I haven't written in cursive longhand in many years, although I did go through a period where I'd use a flat-tipped ink pen to write personal letters. I found that combination soothing, and the pauses to refill the ink matched well with the pauses I needed to gather my thoughts.

I still prefer to use a plain text editor (Note Tab Pro) to do first drafts of writing. I find the auto-formatting features of Word to be perfectly tuned to derail my thought process, and during one session of concentrated work, I ended up taping a peice of paper over all of the toolbars. My headaches went away.

I still miss Acta, which was a wonderful outliner for the Macintosh. It fell off my list of usable programs during the transition from MacOS System 6 to System 7. They'd made a change to one of the key sequences for which I'd developed muscle memory, which for me was sort of like mixing up the strings on my guitar. No amount of messing with resedit was able to bring it back to the transparent usability of its earlier version.

Sun, 23 Jan 2005 15:50:12 PST - Link

January 21, 2005

Friday Cat Bloggng


Fri, 21 Jan 2005 07:46:21 PST - Link

January 20, 2005

Milk. Shake.

Milk Shake Can

Good Taste!

One of the many unusual drinks to be found in vending machines in Japan. It comes out of the machines hot.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 21:37:40 PST - Link

January 20, 2005

Yeah, Why Is It That The "NO WMD FOUND IN IRAQ" Story That Should Be On The Front Page Of Every Paper In 200 Point Text And Lead Every Newscast On TV, Radio And Cable, And Be The Subject Of Every Editorial For Months And Months On End Ends Up as Three and One Half Inches on A16?

O.J. was fun. Monica Lewinsky was fun. "America's New War" was fun—there was a war at the end of that rainbow. But "We All Totally F****** Up" is not fun. You can't make a whole new set of tv graphics for "We All Totally F****** Up." There is no obvious location where Wolf Blitzer can do a somber, grimacing "We All Totally F****** Up" live shot (above an "Operation We All Totally F****** Up" bug in the corner of the screen). Hundreds of reporters cannot rush to stores to buy special khakis or rain slickers or Kevlar vests in preparation for "We All Totally F****** Up." They would have to wear their own clothes and stand, not in front of burning tanks or smashed Indonesian hovels, but in front of their own apartments.

Matt Taibbi in the New York Press.

[present participle of explicitive verb edited, follow the F****** link for the F****** original. It's worth the read. — J ]

Via Scripting News Thanks, Dave. See you at the Wired Rave Awards. (Let's Talk.)

Okay, I still won't use common profanity on my homepage, out of respect for the younger set who stumble onto this page in search of paper airplanes, but I cannot (And will not) make the same claim for future webcasts.

Matt Tabbi has here used loose profanity in a way that shines a stark and somber light on the dark and deformed absurdity that is today's American Media.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 20:30:01 PST - Link

Can I Please Get The Liberal Media On Cable — Please?

Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Republican and conservative guests and commentators outnumbered Democrats and progressives 17 to 6 on FOX, 10 to 1 on CNN (not including a Republican-skewed panel featuring Ohio voters), and 13 to 2 on MSNBC.

Media Matters

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 20:30:01 PST - Link

January 20, 2005

Some Jokes Write Themselves

Nation split on bush as uniter or dividor


One thing is for sure, he can't add.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 14:00:30 PST - Link

Exports Of Fear And Anger

Today, on Black Thursday, I bring you the words of a man leaving the the administration:

"The biggest regret is that we didn't stop 9/11. And then in the wake of 9/11, instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and our anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world. I regret that a lot."

Richard Armitage, the outgoing Deputy Secretary of State

In 2000, the election was turned by one vote — on the US Supreme Court. In 2004, the election was turned by the acts of one man — Osama Bin Laden.

In his inaugural address Dubya just laid out his plan for the next four years; ever greater exports of Fear and Anger™.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005 09:32:11 PST - Link

January 18, 2005

A Question of Numbers

The New York Times Magazine takes a long hard look at the numbers behind Social Security.

This might be the most important and well researched article to date.

You can skip the login through Google but of any paper in the US, it's worth the time to get a NYT login.

There will soon be a new report from the actuaries within the SSA, and based on last years's good economic news the date that we (Yes WE) need to start to dip into the huge pot* of savings for social security will move out another year or two or more.

HOWEVER, I wouldn't put it past Dubya to cook the numbers in Social Security and threaten “extremely severe” consequences as happend when he didn't like the real numbers behind the Medicare Drug Benefit.

*That pot is the one where Dubya's buddies at the very tip of the income scale are swilling from his tax cuts. If we just set taxes back to where they were during the booming 90s we would NEVER have to dip into social security.

Tue, 18 Jan 2005 13:18:40 PST - Link

January 17, 2005

Temple Priestess

Temple Preistess

Nikon E990 2001.11.21 Nara, Japan

The wooden boxes contain numbered sticks. You pay your fee, (200 Yen, as I recall) then you shake the box until one of them pokes out of the box, she then hands you a fortune that matches the number.

If you pick a bad luck fortune, you have to fold it up and tie it to the branch of the designated bad luck tree to make the bad luck go away.

Mon, 17 Jan 2005 21:48:13 PST - Link

January 16, 2005

It's The Future, Smart.

Edward Tuft, Author of the stunning The Visual Display of Quantitative Information has temporarily placed some of his upcoming book on line. No surprise in that, except that he is eliciting helpful comments to improve the book. This is the future. I love the inkerwebs!

Via dsandler.org

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 20:33:40 PST - Link


Just got back from seeing Sideways which turned out to be both smart and funny, a rare combination these days. Well worth the trip to the theater: Four stars.

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 18:26:30 PST - Link

Observations On Listening To Podcasts

I've taken to listening to podcasts on long airplane trips, it's a great way to pass the time while some very dumb and unfunny films play. I've noticed that my favorites while doing my sardine impression in 37G are replays of prepared speeches, usually given at one conference or another. IT Conversations seems to be the premier source for these programs.

I did download some Al Franken shows to listen to, but they seemed somehow ill-suited to podcasting. I've grown accustomed to a denser diet of information per minute than comes through in a program which is impedance matched for live radio. The internal shedule promotion: "later in the show we'll talk to XXXXX" feels wrong and wasteful when you listen to it out of realtime.

Other shows, like Adam Curry's Daily Source code, are perfect for my commute, but because they are released on a daily shedule, they feel more volitile, and listening to them a day or two later on the plane doesn't have the same feel. I don't know if anyone else has the same feeling about his shows, but I think it's a pretty cool trick to have content that falls magically between timeless and realtime. Perhaps it's because there is some connective tissue of story — his real life — that binds the shows one to another.

I don't really know what my next podcast will be about — but it will not be about podcasting.

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 18:26:30 PST - Link

January 16, 2005

Bad News? We Don't Need No Steenkin' Bad News

WASHINGTON: President George Bush is no longer prepared to listen to any dissenting opinion on Iraq, even from the highest ranking member of his cabinet, a source with insider knowledge of the administration has told Daily Times. He said quite recently when the President asked his Secretary of State Colin Powell how the war in Iraq was going, he told him that America was losing the war. So upset the President was by the answer that he asked Powell to leave the room. A former US ambassador has also confirmed this account.

Daily Times of Pakistan

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 11:30:50 PST - Link

It's 2005: Time For Another War

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets, The New Yorker magazine reported Sunday.

The article, by award-winning reporter Seymour Hersh, said the secret missions have been going on at least since last summer with the goal of identifying target information for three dozen or more suspected sites.

Hersh quotes one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon as saying, "The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible."


Did you vote for that in November? Did you? DID YOU? I know I didn't.

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 11:23:44 PST - Link

Also in the New Yorker: Hayao Miyazaki

This week in the magazine, Margaret Talbot writes about the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, the writer and director of such films as “Spirited Away.” Here, with The New Yorker’s Daniel Cappello, Talbot discusses Miyazaki’s films, his influences, and his temperament.


Sun, 16 Jan 2005 11:23:44 PST - Link

The View From The Great White North

“It was one thing every Republican said was off the table—even these revolutionary Republicans,” Moore recalls. So he was more than a little shocked when he went to Austin in 1999 to meet the Texas Governor, who was putting together a presidential campaign, and George Bush himself brought up Social Security—not just tinkering with the program but making the most radical change of all. “I just want you to know,” Bush told Moore, “that I’m really committed to these private investment accounts.”

This is so like Dubya, to be morally convinced of his position before doing any analysis of the facts. If the facts don't match his position? Willfully ignore them. Even if Socical Security was in Crisis, this is not the president to fix it. He doesn't want to fix it. He wants to make it go away. In his gut, he doesn't like social programs of any sort — even if they work perfectly — because he does not believe in social programs. Or Science. I have to wonder if this man, who when asked about his legacy famously quipped "I'll be dead", cares at all about this world after he is gone from it.

Just as Bush believes democracy has the power to transform places like Iraq, so too is he convinced that privatization of Social Security could recharge America’s future.

Oh Great. Here we go again. In case you haven't noticed, Iraq has collapsed into economic, political and civil chaos. Dubya doesn't have the power to transform, he has the power to destroy.

Time Canada

Get Informed. Read the rest, it's a solid 5 page article. Remeber, the future you save may be your own. If you don't believe me, go seek out an 80 year old and ask them about the poor houses.

Sun, 16 Jan 2005 11:23:44 PST - Link

January 15, 2005

Irony Is SO DEAD

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 - Over the objections of many of its own employees, the Social Security Administration is gearing up for a major effort to publicize the financial problems of Social Security and to convince the public that private accounts are needed as part of any solution.

The agency's plans are set forth in internal documents, including a "tactical plan" for communications and marketing of the idea that Social Security faces dire financial problems requiring immediate action.

Social Security officials say the agency is carrying out its mission to educate the public, including more than 47 million beneficiaries, and to support President Bush's agenda.

New York Times

Educate? EDUCATE? Is that what you kids call it these days? In my time it was called LYING.

Sat, 15 Jan 2005 13:48:02 PST - Link




JANUARY 15 2005

SUBJECT: Attack Advisory : Alert Level elevated to RED - UNDER ATTACK

FOR: All US Citizens and representatives

The Department of Homeland Mathematics (DHM) has issued an UNDER ATTACK ADVISORY to all citizens of the United States Of America for the period of JANUARY 15, 2005 to JANUARY 20, 2009.

Attacks are underway on the Social Security System using false, misleading and factually unsupportable mathematics.


DHM requests that any citizen report false mathematics being used to attack Social Security to the DHM, the news media, bloggers and all persons within the sound of their voice. As of January 15, 2005 attacks using false mathematics upon Social Security have been detected in the following television media outlets: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, FOX News, CNBC, and the DHM has received numerous reports of attacks in the print and internet media.

Please see http://www.dhm.gov for the latest updates.

Subterfuge/Lying Activities

→ Please Report factual errors using mathematics against Social Security in Whitehouse Press Releases, media appearances by the President of the US, media appearances by GOP members or operatives.

Remeber: The attackers of Social Security operate boldly, in broad daylight, shielded only by the use of false mathematics. Citizen Action can stop these attacks using false and distorted mathematics before they succeed to destroy Social Security.

Citizen Action

Citizens are requested to tack direct action when mathematics are being abused or misused. The DHM believes that the attacks can be successfully thwarted by direct action:

→ All Citizens should arm themselves with calculators. (Note that calculators with scientific notation or at least 15 display digits (1,000,000,000,000.00) will be required to stop abuse of numbers in the trillions). The DHM reminds citizens that under the US constitution all calculators, of any caliber, power or range, including defense, intelligence or weapons grade are legal for any citizen of any age to carry, bear and operate. → All Citizens should ask their elected representatives if they have access to suitable calculation resources, and offer their calculators, or if they are qualified, calculation services.

→ Those Citizens with computers should equip them with spreadsheets capable of handling the range of numbers and dates involved.

→ Citizens should attempt to make corrections to false uses of mathematics as soon as they are detected: Telephones, including wireless and cellular may be used to call and correct radio talk programs, and pen and paper or even computers may be employed to send letters to the editors of local newspapers.

→ Citizens may in perfect safety safety confront the axis of mathematics attackers by calculator, slide rule, abacus or Fifth-Grade mathematics text.

The DHM thanks you for your assistance.

Sat, 15 Jan 2005 11:28:23 PST - Link

January 14, 2005

Error Message

Error Message from LiveJournal

I went to see what Kyburg was up to at LiveJournal, and I got this informative and personal error message from the LiveJournal NOC staff. I'm not happy about the outage either, but I feel a strange connection to the real humans on the other end who are spending their Friday evening deal with this.

Fri, 14 Jan 2005 18:34:44 PST - Link

Testing — An'a One An'a Two

♫ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♪

Fri, 14 Jan 2005 17:58:06 PST - Link

Friday Cat Blogging



Fri, 14 Jan 2005 15:59:26 PST - Link

January 12, 2005

Oh Lucy, You Got Some 'Esplaining to do.

The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has quietly concluded without any evidence of the banned weapons that President Bush cited as justification for going to war, the White House said Wednesday.

Democrats said Bush owes the country an explanation of why he was so wrong.

ABC News

Of course, they pulled out before Christmas, but the news is only trickling out today. Didn't want to upset the folks over the holidays, you know.

I did giggle when I noticed that the news.google.com front page featured ABC as the lead on this, and a link to morons.org as the 1st follow up. Dear me, could it be that the Google data center has not only achived consciousness, but a sense of ironic humor as well?

I smiled until I remembered how many have died for this lie.

Wed, 12 Jan 2005 13:49:43 PST - Link

January 11, 2005

Quote Of The Day

I heard this in a podcast yesterday, I think it's apropos of nearly everything that has gone wrong in the last four years:

"What we need is a Department of Homeland Mathmatics." — Marvin Minsky

Tue, 11 Jan 2005 13:15:12 PST - Link

January 9, 2005

The Mission Of This Beast

The Center for Economic and Policy Research has an Interesting Report called: Basic Facts on Social Security and Proposed Benefit Cuts/Privatization

Today I had a revelation.

Dubya just plain doesn't like Social Security.

He just doesn't like it and there is no research, no facts, no truth that will change his resolute mind. Dubya doesn't much like the idea of government helping people. Even if it was the people put the government in charge of helping them.

Sun, 09 Jan 2005 23:41:26 PST - Link

The Nature Of This Beast

Mr. Wolfowitz, who devised the debacle in Iraq, is kept on, while Brent Scowcroft, Poppy Bush's lieutenant who warned Junior not to go into Iraq, is pushed out as chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. That's the backward nature of this beast: Deceive, you're golden; tell the truth, you're gone.


Sun, 09 Jan 2005 08:48:42 PST - Link

January 8, 2005

Broken Infrastructure

Everything in Iraq is set against the backdrop of shattered infrastructure and a nearly complete lack of reconstruction. What the Americans turn out to be best at is, once again, promises — and propaganda. During the period when the Coalition Provisional Authority ruled Iraq from Baghdad's Green Zone, their handouts often read like this one released on May 21, 2004: "The Coalition Provisional Authority has recently given out hundreds of soccer balls to Iraqi children in Ramadi, Kerbala, and Hilla. Iraqi women from Hilla sewed the soccer balls, which are emblazoned with the phrase ‘All of Us Participate in a New Iraq.'"

By Dahr Jamail

Please read this devistating view from somone from inside Iraq.

I began to capture a list of the words and phrases the author used to describe Iraq, and as the list of raw words grew, stripped of the comforting civilized structure, a more emotional word image of the war emerged:

Horrors - terrible - devistation - occupation - atrocities - aerial bombardment - broken promises - friend killed - war/occupation - massive unemployment - soaring energy prices - horrendous - torturing - violent resistance - detained - shattered - dangerous - speechless - crying - none - emblazoned - nowhere to be found - nearly complete standstill - officially ended - triangle of death - lifeless - empty container - nausea - diarrhea - kidney stones - cramps - cholera - broken-down - Bechtel - contaminated - dirty stream - dysentery - garbage - responsibility - siphon - dirty hole - residue - water-born - children - short of every medicine - reuse IV's - no choice - Hepatitis Type-E - graves - collapsing infrastructure - heavy-handed - commonplace - home raids - military patrols - fire randomly - heavy civilian casualties - 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties - - Fallujah - three-quarters - rubble - ruins - fighting - atrocities - photographic evidence - chemical - phosphorous weapons - cluster bombs - leaflets - buried - putrid - sixty percent - women and children - numerous tiny graves - harbinger - squelch - resistance - destruction - spread - intensified - families - fleeing - growing resistance - resistance is acceptable - escalation

This is no movie, no book — this is what we've done in Iraq. Not to actors, not to characters — to real people like you and I.

Sat, 08 Jan 2005 09:18:49 PST - Link

January 7, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory Tory James

Tory James

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 20:15:47 PST - Link

Yo! Portland! Wazzzup?

For some reason, someone in Portland is reading my RSS feed every four minutes using "Internet Explorer".

I don't update that often, you're confusing me with CNN.

In fact my feed specifies <ttl>60</ttl>, which means: that it has a 60 minute time to live.

Please roll that back to 60 minutes, and if you are beta testing something from Microsoft, please ask them to design their software to honor the <ttl> tag. ^_^

Fri, 07 Jan 2005 12:38:15 PST - Link

Joseph Palmer - Words Images Sounds #1


This is a reposting* of my first podcast, recorded in the cockpit of my 2004 Prius.

I introduce myself, and talk about the hardware of podcasting, both playback and recording, responding to podcasting hardware issues brought up by Dave Winer and Adam Curry in their recent webcasts.

Show Notes:
[Dave Winer's Scripting News]
[Adam Curry: Curry.com]
[Danger, Inc. — Sidekick II]
[Bebox Zone — BeBox and BeOS]
(Be, Inc is defunct, The BeBox zone is a good place to learn about the BeBox)

* This is a re-post because the first post was not picked up by the aggregator at livejournal. I now think it was because I pulled the entry awaiting the resolution of my FTP issues, and when I re-posted it I did not re-generate the pubdate and guid. Not that any of the five people (down from a high of 20) who subscribe to my feed from LiveJournal will listen, I just figure that they have a state of the art feed reader, and if it didn't like my feed then I'd better well fix it.

P.S. The FTP server issue appears to be an incompatability between CuteFTP Home 6.0 and my server. SmartFTP works fine. I can't be sure if it's the client or the server, but that's the problem.


Fri, 07 Jan 2005 07:27:59 PST - Link

January 6, 2005

Oh now I'm Confused - Part 1

This is the first of two identical posts, this one does not have an attachment.

Thu, 06 Jan 2005 22:15:31 PST - Link

Oh now I'm Confused - Part 2

This is the first of two identical posts, this one has an attachment.


Thu, 06 Jan 2005 22:15:31 PST - Link

Oh now I'm Confused - Part 3

Now we wait to see if Livejournal is ignoring my podcast posts.

Thu, 06 Jan 2005 22:15:31 PST - Link

Gear for Podcastication

Stop everything right now and go visit Podcast Rigs, a site dedicated to audio gear for podcasting. Paul has put together four systems, from entry level to pro. I'm totaly in lust with the entry level system. You know, with stuff like this already on the market, there's probably no room for a podcast appliance.

He also has a great blog with podcasts called The.Point. Loads of info on the rapidly changing world of computer pro audio hardware and software. The sound quality of his podcasts proves he knows what he's talking about. I also really like that he has "listen" icon buttons for his podcasts in the blog. In fact, I like it so much that I'm going to steal that idea!

Thu, 06 Jan 2005 21:20:54 PST - Link

Random Thoughts On My First Podcast

Driving while podcasting is driving with half your brain tied behind your back.

Podcasting while driving is podcasting with half your brain tied behind your back.

Talking for 18 minutes in a row is HARD.

I think differently when I think out loud.

I don't hate the sound of my own voice, I just like everyone else's better.

The "Item" field in the RSS feed is what's used at the title of your podcast when you ping audio.weblogs.com

Memo to self: Name future podcasts "Joseph Palmer - Words, Images and Sounds"

Note to self: That name is going to look really geeky in my blog. Think up a better one.

The Plantronics headset has great ambient noise rejection, but has no low end.

Note to self: Try out the de-esser in Audition. That Plantronics Headset sopunds a little too sibilant

For some reason, LiveJournal did not pick up my last entry. I wonder if they disliked the colon in the title. I think I'll remove it.

My first podcast was about — podcasting. That's like writing your first book about — writing.

The best podcasts come from people who've done it before. The More the better.

You don't need 'podcasting' gear to record a podcast. (Dang, I kind of wanted to design some.)

You don't need special hardware to play podcasts. (Dang, I kind of wanted to design some.)

Once your podcast is ready to go, it really really SUCKS if you can't get it to upload.

So far about 12 people have downloaded the whole podcast. About 5 took a partial download - perhaps they listened to a few minutes in a browser and gave it a pass.

Podcasting is addictive.

Thu, 06 Jan 2005 21:20:54 PST - Link

January 5, 2005

A Podcast

My first podcast recorded in the cockpit of my 2004 Prius.

I introduce myself, and talk about the hardware of podcasting, both playback and recording, responding to podcasting hardware issues brought up by Dave Winer and Adam Curry in their recent webcasts.

Show Notes:
[Dave Winer's Scripting News]
[Adam Curry: Curry.com]
[Danger, Inc. — Sidekick II]
[Bebox Zone — BeBox and BeOS]
(Be, Inc is defunct, The BeBox zone is a good place to learn about the BeBox)

Update: I'd posted this entry last night in anticipation of being able to upload the .mp3 file, but problems within Verio's backend caused me to have to take three hours last night, and two this morning of re-connecting and re-trying FTP in order to get the file in place. Needless to say, there is now a trouble ticket on this floating around inside Verio.


Tue, 04 Jan 2005 21:20:16 PST - Link

January 4, 2005

More Bad Blogging.

Just my luck, I had a podcast up and ready to go, but I can't seem to ftp the file to my server right now. I'll re-post the post i just unposted after the data is in place.


Tue, 04 Jan 2005 21:49:56 PST - Link

Bad Blogging Day

It started when I lost track of a link to a Social Security story. Then I tried to download the Latest Daily Sourcecode the URL was incorrect. (I'm linking it here so I can fix the URL for my own use.) So — since I didn't have a podcast to listen to on the way to work, I thought hey! I'llo try making one of my own. I couldn't get the mic to work on my laptop. NEVER buy connectors at Radio Shack. They're CRAP.

Tue, 04 Jan 2005 10:27:10 PST - Link

January 3, 2005



Mon, 03 Jan 2005 22:49:14 PST - Link

The NYT gets it right

It should come as no shock that individual investors might not do as well as hoped. The stock market's historical returns - some 7 percent a year - are predicated on a hypothetical investor who bought an array of stocks in the past, reinvested all dividends, never cashed in and never paid commissions or fees. That's not how investing works in the real world. An especially grave danger is that investors would withdraw their funds before retirement, a pattern that is pronounced in 401(k) plans. It would be politically very difficult to refuse people access to accounts that were sold to them on the premise that they - not the government - would own them.

New York Times [Emphasis Added — J.]

Please, please, please do not let this president do this. He lied about the threat of Sadam. He lied about WMDs. He lied about the cost of the prescrition drug plan. He's lying about this.

The real crisis is that he's lying about social security and the press is letting him get away with it. That's a crisis that could kill this noble experiment in freedom.

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 20:48:20 PST - Link

D'oh. Permalinks are back.

Sorry about that, I managed to muck up the permalinks during the transition between 2004 and 2005. I elected not to make that automatic when I wrote the back end. Bad idea ™. The good news is that the permalinks are back and working, and that nothing was lost, and I have 362 days to re-write it for 2006.

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 11:55:26 PST - Link

They Want Their Money Back — Well There's Your Crisis.

Some people of my acquaintance believe that this is a distinction without a difference, since the General Fund is the government and the Social Security Trust Fund is just a different bit of the government. But the two notional entities have different revenue streams — the SSTF is mostly financed by payroll taxes on the middle class while the GF is mostly financed by income taxes on high earners. When the GF borrowed from the SSTF America's middle class was lending money to America's rich with an understanding that the money would be repaid with interest. Similarly, I lent money to the Riggs Bank with the assumption that my money would be repaid with a (very modest amount of) interest. If the Riggs Bank proposed to just not pay me back, they'd be in trouble. Today, the agents of America's rich in the Republican Party are proposing that the wealthy default on their debt to the middle class. That this proposal exists is the only thing that Social Security must "reckon" with for the next several decades.

Matthew Yglesias [Ephasis mine]

That sums up the Social Security story pretty well, I think.

That's not to say we don't have real problems. Now if we only had real leadership.

Mon, 03 Jan 2005 08:01:01 PST - Link

January 2, 2005

I Hear Smart People

Take a listen to Bruce Schneier, security expert talk about his new book, Beyond Fear.

Sun, 02 Jan 2005 13:59:07 PST - Link

January 1, 2005

The Luxor

Luxor Hotel, Los Vegas

The Luxor as seen from the Mandalay Bay on a rainy night.

Sat, 01 Jan 2005 20:31:26 PST - Link

New Years Clean Up

2004 is a year I don't want to repeat, so I hereby banish it from my hompage.

Sat, 01 Jan 2005 20:05:43 PST - Link

Start of 2005