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2010 History

December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wow. This blog has really been gathering dust of late. I'm still pretty active on Twitter, but less than I was before I started my new job, which I can't talk about here or anywhere else. (It's a startup thing).

I resolve to do more posts here next year. I really expected to spend a lot more time blogging when I was between gigs, but that wasn't how it worked out. I expect once things fall into a rhythm at work, my urge to express myself here will return.

Fri, 31 Dec 2010 08:14:07 PST - Link

November 12, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Miko

Miko in the back window.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 10:07:14 PST - Link

October 22, 2010

www.josephpalmer.com - "Suppose it's opening day on the internet..."* This is a rerun from 2000!

Yes, it was ten years ago today that I moved my site to this domain. That makes this one of the older vanity domains. Here's the post from that day:

Welcome, and thanks for visiting. This site should look and feel a lot like the old location (though I did have to do a lot of re-wiring behind the scenes). If you run across any bugs, please let me know

I'm pretty sure that "www.josephpalmer.com" had been taken when I'd last checked a couple of years back, but now it's mine, all mine. (heh heh heh!) I'd thought of getting a domain name related to Ranma, or to writing, or to paper airplanes, but such a name just didn't seem to fit the mix of stuff that is this site.

*From a Hollywood story meeting

Ten years doesn't seem that long in the real world - I look pretty much the same, although my hair is little more grey.

The web has sure changed. 10 years ago the notion of a personal website (As seen by netcom.com) was a static page or two, minimum graphics, created buy a tool that they provided. The last ten years gave us the dot-com bubble, and the rise of the social networking sites.

You might have noticed the tumbleweeds around here of late, (and extra points for getting the Simpsons reference). I've been posting more on Twitter and from time to time on Facebook, but JosephPalmer.com will stick around - I still get dozens of hits per day on the paper airplanes, and there are even a few die-hards who still read the Ranma stories.

Fri, 22 Oct 2010 09:00:36 PDT - Link

October 20, 2010

Can Oil Production Meet Rising Global Demand? [No]

A pre-ASPO conference presentation from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute

This is pretty sobering stuff, as witnessed by some of the points from Dr. Robert Hirsch's presentation

- In the next 2-5 years, world oil production will begin to decline and will continue downhill.
- Oil shortages will deepen annually until mitigation takes hold more than a decade later. There will be no quick fixes.
- Annually declining world oil production will mean deepening economic distress for over a decade.
- Oil is energy / energy is not oil - It's a liquid fuels problem.

Wed, 20 Oct 2010 15:00:07 PDT - Link

September 6, 2010

Marchetti's Curves

This is a brief account of the Energy Substitution Model developed by Cesare Marchetti in the 1970s at IIASA. Using data from the latest BP Statistical Review the evolution of the energy market is compared with the model to understand why the Hubbert Peak of fossils fuels represents a problem today. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2746

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 17:22:18 PDT - Link

August 3, 2010

Anna Karenina Display At The MLK Library

Live and Memorex

Costume Shop Photo: Eric Wolfinger courtesy of Opera San Josť

Monday I spent the day helping San Jose Opera set up a display at the library for the upcoming west coast premiere of Anna Karenina

I happened to catch this image of Judy whipping a seam on the corner of the costume shop display. ^_^

Update: Please note that the marvelous poster sized image in my photo was captured by Eric Wolfinger. Please go to his website, his work is nothing short of spectacular.

Tue, 03 Aug 2010 20:26:16 PDT - Link

July 31, 2010

Saturday Bee Blogging

Clive the bee

This is Clive, in a butternut squash flower.

Sat, 31 Jul 2010 10:48:31 PDT - Link

July 30, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Miko

Miko enjoying some sunny snoozes.

Yes, this is a repeat of almost every sunny day.

Fri, 30 Jul 2010 17:10:35 PDT - Link

July 26, 2010

Lifemarking

Lifemarking is like bookmarking for your life. In this case I'm dropping a couple of items in my blog where I know I can find them later.

The 13" Macbook Pro joined the herd on July 20. Normally I'd have blogged this in real time, but lately I tend to tweet, and the tweeds are picked up on Facebook.

I re-installed Windows XP last Friday, after my DVD drive refused to work for no apparent reason. It took a couple hours to get back to where I could do CAD, but my full suite of music and photo software took nearly two days to install. The machine feels much faster, I expect there was a great deal of cruft in the registry from trying various softwares over the last year. Still, It's probably time to upgrade the machine to a nice 64 bit i7, but some of my essential software doesn't run on Win 7. I guess I'd better get in on that downgrade offer.

Oh yeah, Laser Alliance does laser cutting in Silicon Valley.

Mon, 26 Jul 2010 13:02:02 PDT - Link

July 11, 2010

I'm Not The Joe You're Looking For.

I've been seeing a number of hits from the Lincoln Center website, sending them here with the promise of a "Lesson: Joe Palmer teaches Swing and Lindy Hop". That's not me. I do cat pictures, grouchy blog posts, romantic fanfiction and paper airplanes. No Lindy Hop.

P.S. I'll put up the link to the Lindy Hop lesson here if you have it. I've already notified the Lincoln Center of their mislinkage. Maybe they like paper airplanes.

Sun, 11 Jul 2010 16:09:58 PDT - Link

June 24, 2010

FYI:

The U.S. Sankey diagram shows it all. About 85.5% of the entire energy consumed currently in the U.S. is based on fossil fuels (40% oil, 22.5% gas, 23% coal). Another 8% are nuclear. Everything else combined (hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass) contributes only 6.5% to our total energy. — Will Stewart

Thu, 24 Jun 2010 08:17:11 PDT - Link

June 18, 2010

Notes From The Prop 8 Trial

In the official Prop 8 trial transcript there was this exchange:

THE COURT: And people — I don't know whether they change their national origin, but on St. Patrick's Day everybody is Irish.

(Laughter)

MR. COOPER: I've experienced that change myself.

(Laughter)

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Fri, 18 Jun 2010 09:27:07 PDT - Link

June 12, 2010

Caturday Cat Blogging

T-chan

T-Chan: Hmmm...

Sat, 12 Jun 2010 12:13:20 PDT - Link

June 3, 2010

Amplifier Stand Project

Amplifier Stand

I really like the sound of my little amp, but it's way to small to leave on the floor. I thought of buying an amplifier stand that gets it off the floor and tilts it back, but that would have made the controls hard to see and use.

My solution was to locate the center of gravity of the amp, then add threaded inserts from the inside, then build this crude stand out of some left over oak. I probably could have made external brackets that attach with existing screws, but that would have been much more work, and it's not like this model of amp will ever be a collectors item.

As you can see, it tilts back to point at my ears, and is easy to tilt forward to expose the controls.

This one's the prototype, so it has some workmanship issues, but I'll probably just use it as is.

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 13:59:26 PDT - Link

June 2, 2010

It's Just Crazy...

When we moved into our new house one of the median trees was looking sickly, and we even had one gardener come by and say they were going to remove it for the former owners.

This spring it didn't leaf out, so we requested a permit via the city website, but no permit paperwork arrived. Hrmmmm. So I called and got a real person who told me that it had been sent. Okay. I requested a duplicate set, which came the very next day. I filled out the paperwork, and a couple of days later we found a notice printed on cheerfully bright paper posted on the dead tree giving neighbors a 14 day period to object to removing it.

Yup. That's the plan. Let's just wait 14 days with a dead tree looming over the sidewalk and street, so that any old random person could register a complaint about removing said dead tree - as if leaving the aforementioned dead tree in such a condition of being, well — really, very, quite dead, on the basis of a citizen complaint was even remotely a viable option. Did I mention it was dead? Well, it is.

Now, this once had been a nice tree, but it wasn't anything approaching a heritage specimen, either in species or size. On Google Maps it was already looking quite sickly in images taken before we bought the house. We love trees and are more than happy to pay to have it replaced.

It's just crazy that the city tree expert couldn't just hand me a replacement permit on the spot. Or better yet, our favored tree service is run by a state certified arborist. Why can't he do the inspection, and sign the permit paperwork, then replace it on the spot? It'd just a dead tree. There's no reason to wait two weeks and burn city resources on this.

Wed, 02 Jun 2010 09:59:34 PDT - Link

May 25, 2010

Resumé Update

I'm being poked from multiple directions, so I finally got around to updating my Resumé

I guess this means I'm officially back in the pool.

Tue, 25 May 2010 22:53:50 PDT - Link

June 19, 2010

Sat, 19 Jun 2010 18:29:17 PDT - Link

May 22, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Sunny Saturday

The boys find a little late morning sun.

Sat, 22 May 2010 11:20:41 PDT - Link

May 14, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Miko and Tory

Miko, using Tory as a pillow.

Fri, 14 May 2010 10:45:20 PDT - Link

May 4, 2010

It's Going To Be A Long, Hot Summer

Daily global average temperature at: 14,000 ft / 4.4 km / 600 mb (ch05)

Discover Technologies from the University of Alabama in Huntsville has this very cool and scary application that lets you look at the global temperature at different altitudes for different years. 2010 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. FYI it appears that the last 12 months are already the warmest 12 month period on record.

It's that kind of heat that raises enough moisture to drown Nashville with a 'once in a thousand year' rainfall.

Tue, 04 May 2010 11:49:05 PDT - Link

April 30, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

T-Chan

T-Chan sleeping off a long nap.

Fri, 30 Apr 2010 14:04:53 PDT - Link

April 14, 2010

Thoughts on Microsoft's Kin - Please Don't Call It A Sidekick

The way I remember the development of the Sidekick, we were building something each of us wanted to use. I still use a Sidekick 3, it's the last Sidekick that has any of my DNA in it, but I will admit it's getting a bit long in the tooth. I've been procrastinating for over a year about switching to a new phone because as much as I'd like the new features of an Android, iPhone or Palm Pre, each has different issues that are holding me back. I may end up staying with it until T-Mobile shuts down the Sidekick service, and since the Kins will not run on the T-Mobile network that may be sooner rather than later, but that's just speculation.

It was totally a surprise to me when the Sidekick became popular in Hiphop culture*. I didn't get it. As far as I was concerned, the Sidekick was designed just for me — a 40s something who cared more about web access - even with the limited browser that the Sidekick supported - than style. I wasn't a phone user. I hardly ever made phone calls. I didn't have an AIM account. Hell, the Sidekick was the first phone I actually carried with me, and only then because I had something to do with the design.)

*Love the dancing, but the music doesn't speak to me...)

Anyway, Getting back to the Kin, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft's approach of micro-targeting a group with a device that is dedicated to the flavor of the day of the "upload generation" will fly. The original Sidekick was just designed to be the best it could be within some very tight constraints. There was no budget to target a customer community - the Hiphop generation simply embraced it.

As for the hardware design of the Kin 1 and Kin 2, I think they are fine, and they will grow on us over time. This is counter to the bazzilion comments on gadget forums proclaiming the Kin 1 ugly and the Kin 2 Seen it before. These same comments are posted for every new phone. (BTW, I think the Kin 1 is cute, but it's Not. For. Me.)

I can assure you none of those commenters have ever been through the process of building a phone. They've never had to commit to making the insides fit - including unforeseen fixes - weeks before the electrical design was complete, so that a significant chunk of the company's treasury could be spent on tool steel and machining molds. Building a phone is hard. Building one in a shoestring budget is even harder. Of course Microsoft doesn't have the shallow pockets problem, and it was the fine engineers at Sharp (hi guys!) who were up half the night looking to shave 125 micrometers here and there to make it fit. (Been there - done that.)

On to the software design...

Clearly, the Application Browser screen was not designed for a 50-something who wears bifocals. I think that each of he tiles is individually a very nice graphic design - they follow that sort of zoomed in too close style that I use with cat photography - and I don't even mind the green color. Any one of those designs might pass for a company logo.

I haven't held a Kin in my hands, so I'm only going on the photos and videos, but the design of the application browser reminds me a bit of one of those plastic puzzles where you shove tiles around until you make the picture - and on the Kin that puzzle can never be solved.

I wouldn't say that I have OCD - well maybe a little. Just enough to be a productive electrical engineer and PCB designer, but but the Kin browser sets what little I have off like the self destruct alarm in a bad movie on Syfi, but I repeat myself.

I'm sure the Microsoft folks did user testing to find that the "upload generation" has no use for a Calendar application (until they do) or downloadable applications (until they do) or IM (until they do) or TTY (until they do).

It was always a thorn in my side that there was no IRC client for the Sidekick. Well, actually there was, running on development services within Danger, but T-Mobile didn't allow the infrastructure to make it work for the general public. Grrrr.

Speaking of TTY... I recently saw a young couple at the airport ignoring each other but banging away on their Sidekicks. It wasn't until one stopped to sign something to the other that I realized that they were deaf. The popularity of the Sidekick in the deaf and hard of hearing community was also a surprise to me - and I'm totally thrilled. It's also humbling that there is a sign (at least a slang sign) in American Sign Language for the Sidekick, which mimics the opening spin of the screen. I selfishly hope that the ASL Sidekick spin will remain in the language after the last of the flip top Sidekicks is obsolete.

It's sad but appropriate that the Kin has dropped the swivel hinge and the TTY application at the same time.

Anyway...

It's a little hard to put my finger on it, but the Kin just aren't relatives of the Sidekick.

Wed, 14 Apr 2010 12:27:50 PDT - Link

April 2, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Window Catz

L-R, Tory James, T-Chan and Miko. BTW, It's T-Chan's birthday tomorrow. Happy birthday, Koneko-chan.

Fri, 02 Apr 2010 10:22:50 PDT - Link


Recent Tweets

Perhaps it's just that the medium of Twitter resonates with my snarky side, but I've been posting there far more frequently than here. Here's a few selected tweets from the last three(!) weeks.

Oil's back up near $85 - but we know that $80 will tip the economy back into recassion. (Obama gets this...) http://goo.gl/o3CA

Will no one bring Obama a teleprompter? He's forgotten his talking points and is spewing facts.

O.M.G. Apple admits the iPad was just an elaborate April Fools joke!

Okay, I'll say it. I'm happy to have lived in a world with William Shatner in it http://goo.gl/E5uF

Excellent! - A US healthcare company has decided to get ahead of the curve and abide by the 2014 rules today. http://april.foolz

At present rates of consumption, the total US [Oil] reserves amount to about 1,000 days (3 yrs) http://goo.gl/wT0F // Last call, gentlemen.

Dear CNN. Clue time. Obama's offshore drilling isn't about politics, it's about Peak Oil — that story you're afraid to cover.

Obama opens offshore drilling - subtext is that he gets Peak Oil, and he's doing something about it.

"Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus have a sword fight." http://goo.gl/ycng // hilarious email thread

" the DoE is expecting a decline of the total of all known sources of liquid fuels supplies after 2011." - LeMonde.fr http://goo.gl/LIMP

McCain: "We're going to stop the Louisiana purchase..." John, that was in 1803 and you're you're still holding a grudge?

Pope turned blind eye to sexual abuse at deaf school. http://goo.gl/I46B

AEI "scholars" [...] "had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama wanted" http://goo.gl/Z0ip

So very glad Boehner gets one last chance to use his GOP talking points on the house floor.

I used to believe in reincarnation, but that was in a previous life.

Sin Or Crime? - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan http://goo.gl/bxMG

ATTENTION: The Tilt-A-Whirl was invented in 1927. That is all. http://goo.gl/bHjY

Tea Party? Coffee Party? Wake me when there's a Single Malt Scotch Party.

Dear Cakewalk, this SUCKS: "Password must be between 6 and 20 characters starting with a letter and containing only letters and numbers"

Douglas Adams: Parrots, the universe and everything | Video on TED.com http://goo.gl/nlxj // Funny and serious at the same time.

Marijuana Legalization Officially Qualifies for California Ballot http://goo.gl/ubyZ

Nightline Face-Off Does God Have a Future - ABC News http://goo.gl/SEGc // Illuminating.

Palin to get Discovery Channel show - contract states she doesn't need to appear in the second half of each episode.

BREAKING: Joe Biden's "This is a big f—-ing deal" was actually about Tiger Woods.

Dear Conservatives. I'm thinking I feel the same way about Obama that you felt about Reagan. Let's do lunch.

Senate Parliamentarian rejects GOP call for rejection of reconciliation over Biden's F-Bomb saying, "well, he was in fact correct."

There is a historic opening here for a new insurance company to step out ahead of the law and become the Google of health insurance.

@dsearls I was going to click your link, but then I realized it wasn't "Dirty Book Scanner." Feh.

Biden Drops F-Bomb While Introducing Obama At Health Care Signing Ceremony (VIDEO) http://goo.gl/9MvQ // Well... at least he's right.

Dear GOP. "Repeal and Replace" is a non-starter, but if you have ideas for making #HCR better, let's hear them. "No" is not health care.

@ebertchicago Review of "Rashomon." http://j.mp/9tHhcg // Ironicaly it's also a review of the #HCR process.

From 5 years ago tomorrow, the story that changed my life, and will change yours: The Long Emergency : Rolling Stone http://goo.gl/8yZ6

Study: high-fructose corn syrup http://goo.gl/vHM4 // Smoking gun of obesity?

F1 - How It Should Be | Sidepodcast : All for F1, and F1 for All http://goo.gl/H7Z2

GOP predicted disaster if #HCR passed. Oh well. I suppose in time I'll get used to the sun rising in the West.

Wall Street - up the day after #HCR passes. Dirty hippies.

McCain: Don't expect GOP cooperation the rest of this year. http://goo.gl/tyqo // Really John? Ya think?

Wow. It happened. It really happened!

I can has #PublicOption ?

Obama's next goal? 200 score in bowling. ^_^

So, did the motion to re-commit Rush to Costa Rica pass?

@GregMitch "baby killer" yelled at Stupak—Luke Russert was there and heard it from member w/ southern accent // Oh, no way.

Fail. Fail. Fail. Mr Fibuli !

Oh yes, we did.

Why are there non voting republicans?

Ya TA! (7:45 PM Mar 21st Senate Health Care Reform passed in the House.)

7:45 PM Mar 21st via web

The chair will recognize the representative from Minnesota - anywhere.

GOP blaming speeding Prius' on #HCR bill?

Volcano Erupts Under Eyjafjallajökull http://goo.gl/V2El // At least the scrabble winnings will pay for reconstruction.

I can't wait for the GOP campaign ads - "Bring back the existing condition restrictions!"

I stand to request unanimous consent to revise and extend my legs.

GOP's best chance of winning the vote would be to let the vote happen ASAP.

What is it with supermarkets? If I park my cart in front of bluing and enemas, the very next shopper always needs bluing and enemas.

@ezraklein: The task now: Convincing six or seven insured, wealthy congressmen to give 32 million uninsured people health-care coverage.

John Boehner says people will remember this vote in November. Oh—I hope they do John, I hope they do.

Ian McKellen: Hobbit Shoots in July | Entertainment News | Advocate.com http://goo.gl/obsY

Dear Cakewalk. Why can't my password be what I want it to be? Everyone else takes my favored password...

China in Midst of ‘Greatest Bubble in History’ http://goo.gl/G7F7 — When this shoe drops it will shake the world.

#CNNFAIL All this talk about employer supplied insurance, not one word on how insane it it to couple insurance to your employer.

@ezraklein Odd watching R's who didn't even *try* and pay for Medicare Part D attempt to spin this CBO score.

Think how much you could save with Geico if they didn't run so damn many commercials.

BREAKING! You know those Irish dancers? THEY DON'T MOVE THEIR ARMS!

Warm enough to open the windows today. Gotta love the weather in San Jose.

You're against 'Deem and Pass? Would buy a house "'As- is" and then negotiate seller repairs?

You know it's bad when the American Enterprise Institute calls the GOP on its "rampant hypocrisy" http://blog.american.com/?p=11467

@GreatDismal RT @killerswan: Regular London to Beijing rail is a million times more compelling than going to the moon again

People will do things for corporate profits they would never do from the deepest darkness of their own hearts.

So you wanna put the agency in charge of protecting citizens from banks in the organization that protects banks from citizens? Right.

The first .com was assigned 25 years ago today. Jeez, I feel old. (6:32 PM Mar 15th)

Dear Twitter: The only location I wish to report is "Directly over the center of the Earth."

Dear Syfi. Lighting every interior scene in blue does not make your movie scary or atmospheric.

You reject the IPCC report for small errors, but you believe every word in the Bible, even the bits about the unicorns and talking snakes.

It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, stuffed in a chicken, rolled in breadcrumbs with bacon. (@pdx: and deep fried)

@willmckinley Them! is great storytelling. Like pealing an onion, one layer at a time..

@ekimtiki I'd pay for 'Leonardo' style sketches of common inventions, like forks, or golf, or the lawn mower, or chia pets or the sidekick.

"I think I found the problem. seems to be a python error." Or maybe a zebra mistake? Or a mandrill miscalculation?

@BrentSpiner Airport? You must be an Eno fan. (I had a cat named Eno. but that's probably not related.)

Was the Runaway Prius Driver chasing balloon boy? http://goo.gl/iQkB

@cdashiell: If this bill really meant defeat for Dems in November, Republicans wouldn't be fighting it so hard.

@cdashiell: Massive deregulation since 1981. Finally, in 2008, collapse of financial markets. Coincidence? Of course.

I'm sore and tired from 5 hours of insulating the attic, and one of my cats is curled up in a sunny spot in the window. Cats are smarter?

Poll says Americans want Republicans to stop saying no and work on bipartisan #HCR http://ow.ly/1gDLw

Networks praying #HCR debate (and ad revenue) drags on until Nov. It's just business, unless you're sick, then it's personal.

@davewiner "Eric J. Massa Says He Tickled House Staff Member". I hope those words are in the right order!

@travelfootnotes I'm 5'6" as well, but I have gray hair, so they noticed me from two blocks away in Beijing.

Dear #DirecTV: Thanks for the letter, but no more PPV until you release the HD DirecTivo. Don't you make me switch to cable.

There is no faster way to get me to leave a website than a survey popup blocking the content, asking about my experience on the website. (I'm talking to you, Intel.)

@timoreilly: Sobering post from @nelderini about the demand curve as oil prices rise. http://bit.ly/9hO0T0 portends badly for the world’s #1 net importer

@timoreilly Thankful to see that you're peak oil aware, we need more viability. BTW, +$80 oil = recessions: http://goo.gl/o3CA $81+ today

Fri, 02 Apr 2010 10:22:50 PDT - Link

March 8, 2010

Monday Cat Blogging

Tory and T-chan

Tory and T-Chan catching some rays

Sorry about the delay, I've been trying to get a nice picture of Tory all weekend. It's his turn.

Mon, 08 Mar 2010 14:40:03 PST - Link


Recent Tweets

Here's some recent tweets of interest...

Looks like something out of Ghibli! Awesome ground effects Russian aircraft. "Лунь" проект 903 http://igor113.livejournal.com/51213.html

Dear Sen. Inhofe, The media has actually done a great job of promoting crackpots and energy Ind. shills to 'balance' real science.

Of course the GOP thinks government is broken. The 'Tax Cuts [Rich]', 'Deregulate', and 'Fear' buttons don't work anymore.

You want a drug test before a job offer? No thanks. I have no idea where you got those drugs. I'm not testing them.

The Austin IRS plane not 'terrorism" because there was no threat to repeat. What's keeping Wall Street from another meltdown? I'm terrified.

His was that quintessential American Silk-to-riches story...

I just set my Tivo to record the epic "Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus" off Syfy Sat 3/12 10:00. I've heard many bad things about it. =^_^=

Dear CNN, you don't have to call the shooter at the Pentagon "Gentleman".

quite popular.

The allegation that the 'public doesn't want it' is an artificial creation of millions of dollars in disinformation money

Yes, I agree. The tax code SHOULD be re-written. Preferably in c++.

"No climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra."

Leno’s Tonight Show Reality Hacking, adds Laugh Track to Sarah Palin Appearance:

Study: Arctic seabed methane stores destabilizing, venting I'm thinking, "We're those bastards, we finally did it."

Who doesn't pay $150 for haircuts? I do. That's what I pay for a 10-pack.

Q: How many Russian cosmonauts it take to change light bulb? A: Just one, but... why change? Is not broke bad — can Fix!

John Roberts is not stepping down. For some reason I feel no desire to spin this, or lie about it. Does that make me a liberal?

Palin is writing another book? Really? Another Book? She should do it live — like Milli Vanilli.

Pick one: [ ] No health care reform [ ] Imperfect but substantial health care reform.

CNN: Shorter Bill Bennett: Reconciliation may only be used to benefit rich Republicans.

Dear weather.com: Your local radar maps in California are time stamped with Eastern Time.

GOP says next election will be about health care... I'm okay with that.

If the House holds off passing the Senate bill until the reconciliation bill is ready to pass, both could be voted in the same hour.

Good artists copy, great artists patent obvious ideas and sue.

It's immoral to ask a barefoot person to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

Welcome to the story of the dozen families who live in one of Londons' oldest streets.

Antarctic spits out iceberg the size of Luxembourg - Times Online

Mon, 08 Mar 2010 14:40:03 PST - Link

February 26, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Miko

Miko: Jeez, Dad. Do you have to do this every Friday? Go bug Tory.

Fri, 26 Feb 2010 16:19:37 PST - Link

February 19, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Catz

Miko, asserting his alpha-cat dominance over T-chan.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 12:07:28 PST - Link

February 12, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Pile o' cats

Friday Afternoon Snooze

Fri, 12 Feb 2010 15:20:05 PST - Link

February 5, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Miko

Miko enjoying the heating vent.

Fri, 05 Feb 2010 14:48:21 PST - Link

February 4, 2010

Four Mile Island

Soon, we shall be facing an energy crunch that will hit the economy as hard as the banking crisis, except it will keep hitting, and hitting, a little harder every year.

Of course the first reaction is to reach for a band-aid for this sucking chest wound, and right there at the top of the energy first-aid chest is build more nuclear power plants.

I'm not thrilled with the idea, but I wouldn't oppose it either, as long as we face reality full in the face.

1) I am worried about what we are going to do about the waste—but that's a problem we have to solve for the wastes that already exist. The incremental wastes from new plants will not change the nature of that problem, only the magnitude.

2) I'm far more worried about the fuel situation. The industry guide Uranium Resources Red Book predicts about 85 years of uranium supply, and that's only at today's world usage, not a vastly enlarged fleet. There may be another 200 years worth available if lower grades of ore can be exploited, but there are issues. The current uranium mining infrastructure has been on hold for a decade because much of the fuel burned in reactors today was originally mined for military purposes decades ago. Those weapons are now being broken down and the cores diluted to make power plant fuel. This is a very good thing, but it leaves us without enough mining capacity to take up the slack when the time comes. It's not clear a weakened mining sector—facing a world of diminishing fossil fuel—will be able to get to the lower grades of ore.

So on the surface, it appears that we have enough uranium resources to keep the present fleet going to end of life, and enough to fuel a replacement fleet for their 40-60 year life, but not enough to make nuclear the foundation of our energy mix going forward.

Still, I don't think it's going to happen.

The present US fleet of reactors is getting very long in the tooth. They have been getting extensions to their operating permits to run up to 20 years past their original design specifications. They have control rooms full of gauges and equipment plants full of sensors that are hard to replace since the last US plant was started in 1977 and completed in 1997, and sometimes the companies that made these critical parts are simply gone.

These conditions are ripe for another Three Mile Island like event.

Assume one is directly hurt in the incident (but there will be anecdotal reports for decades afterwords). Assume the radiation release, if any, will be below allowable levels. Assume there was no malicious intent, no operator negligence, and the safety systems do exactly what they were designed to do. It won't matter.

For most of us, we'll become aware though a news bulletin over the radio, or a tweet, or "Breaking News" headline on a website.

Then the 24 hour news networks will kick in 24/7. There will be reporters standing outside the plant breathlessly reporting the arrival of each official looking vehicle. There will be press conferences, followed by endless panels of experts speculating as to what happened, and why. It'll spread to the weather forecast - wind directions!! - fallout patterns!! and to the legal analysis shows - who's suing who? - what's the liability? should someone go to jail?

Don't even get me started on talk radio.

The result of such an even in the 24 hour saturated news environment would be the end of revival of nuclear power.

FYI: The Three Mile Island accident happened on March 28, 1979. CNN began broadcasting June 1, 1980.

Thu, 04 Feb 2010 12:03:54 PST - Link

January 31, 2010

A Tax On Reason

Suppose you have friends who wish to get married and they ask if you can perform the ceremony for them...

You can do just that.

Here in Santa Clara County California you have two options. You can hop online, and if your printer is warmed up, become a minister with all the power to perform weddings in less time than it will take to finish reading this.

A Google search for become a minister online for free yields 50,300,000 results. The top result is from The Universal Life Church Monastery claiming over 20 million ministers ordained worldwide. They've been around since before the internet, and ask very little in the way of faith or dogma of their ordained clergy. I recommend them, they do good work. When my wife and I were married, our minister was from the ULC, and we've lasted over 20 years! No troubles right?

Now suppose your friends are atheists...

Yes, atheists, as in not believing in theism. (If the word atheist bothers you, you might find it more comfortable if you think of it pronounced like the word asymmetrical.) Your friends simply don't believe things without evidence, they base their decisions on facts and reason. This doesn't mean that they are all logic and no emotion. You've seen them shed tears to Mozart, and tremble before a van Gogh, and stare in wonder at the milky way. They are happy and loving people, and they are asking you, a friend, to join them, and they just don't feel comfortable (and perhaps a bit militant) that such a joining should not require that the word church be affixed to their marriage certificate.

There is another way...

Here in Santa Clara (and many other locals around the nation) you can become a One-Time Deputy Marriage Commissioner!

Yes, you can present yourself to the Clerk-Recorder's Office during Marriage License business hours, show your government issued ID, and pay a fee of $80 (it varies by jurisdiction) so you can for a 6 day period perform one (1) ceremony.

Or you could become a minister with the ability to perform as many wedding ceremonies as you wish. Online. Now. Free.

To say it makes sense that a non-religious person must go through these additional steps and costs to perform a wedding ceremony is not only an attack on reason, it is a tax on reason.

Sun, 31 Jan 2010 17:11:02 PST - Link

January 29, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Tory James

Tory of the jungle.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 10:55:05 PST - Link


Here's some selected recent tweets...

I don't think that the Republican offsite is quite following their script.


It's so cute when Republicans blame the lack of bipartisanship on The Democrat Party.


Things could have gotten really bad if we actually wanted more oil than the rocks are prepared to produce. Phew.


The only solution is that a 10 question quiz be attached to each ballot. Your vote will be multiplied by you test score. [Poll: Americans pretty clueless about politics, world | Raw Story] http://goo.gl/KKyN


It's so convenient that world oil "demand" happened to peak just as supply is starting to dry up.


Now that's what I call Spirit: http://xkcd.com/695/ (Make sure to hover your mouse over the comic and read the text that pops up)


Decrease of old Arctic Sea ice 1982-2007.Animated gif http://goo.gl/s85I


(During the SOTU)...

Repubs not happy that money passed through wall street might be passed through main street. Really?

Repubs sit firm in support of big co. that send jobs overseas

Repubs on their feet for Gas. (Glad I'm not there.)

"All this was before I walked in the door." Oh yeah!

Holy Crap! Obama just served the SCOTUS

End DADT- YES!

Yeah, he's good.

A real compassionate conservative? I could learn to like that.

RT @ranggrol The silence tells me that the adult is talking and the kids need to listen up


Energy has more to do with the recession & debt than partisan politics... http://goo.gl/o3CA


Maybe we should start funding a maned mission AFTER we have a rover last 6 years in the moon's abrasive regolith. http://goo.gl/RRJf


I'm old enough to remember when "iPod" sounded really stupid.


RT facingsouth Overheard: "If corporations are people, I'm going to marry a bank"

"Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing." — Judge Walker http://goo.gl/PND6


Dear UK terrorists: Your last guy - he was kicked in the nuts so hard that the kicker broke his foot. That was a taxi driver. Rugby anyone?


Fri, 29 Jan 2010 10:55:05 PST - Link

January 22, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

T-chan

T-chan enjoying a rare break in the clouds.

As for me, I've been in the attic, installing a layer of R30 on top of the R13 that was already there. Besides, the rain sounds better up there.

Fri, 22 Jan 2010 10:59:43 PST - Link

January 16, 2010

Catching Up

Wow, another week without any content here.

I had such good intentions, so many good ideas, then I came down with some 24 hour bug on Sunday, so I spent Monday recovering, avoiding the inane wall-to-wall coverage of talking heads babbling about something Harry Reid said, and following the Proposition 8 Trial on Twitter.

By Tuesday I was well enough to rent a 14" chop saw, and attacked the back patio, opening two 4' x 6' holes for planter boxes. My part was cutting and breaking by sledge hammer, while wife washed and removed the debris (Roughly 2200 lbs).

Needless to say, by the end of the afternoon I was weary, and particularly in tune with what it takes to deal with concrete. Then the pictures started to show up of he devastation in Haiti. Block after block of entire homes turned to concrete rubble. I could feel the enormity of the disaster in my bones.

After that, it just didn't seem like any of the subjects I was pondering for blog posts mattered very much.

I'm not a doctor, or a nurse, nor am I trained in rescue, so I gave money to Doctors Without Borders and The Red Cross.

Sat, 16 Jan 2010 10:26:47 PST - Link


Saturday Cat Blogging

Miko

Miko, enjoying a sunny Saturday morning.

Enjoy it, puss. This may be the last sun for a over a week, the weather service is forecasting rain for the next 10 days. As I'm typing this the high clouds are rolling in.

Sat, 16 Jan 2010 09:10:49 PST - Link

January 8, 2010

Friday Cat Blogging

Where is Cats and squirrel?

The Bermans stalk an unidentified Squirrel, who has better things to do.

Fri, 08 Jan 2010 10:01:47 PST - Link

January 3, 2010

Oh Yeah, That Was A Decade For The History Books.

Aughts were a lost decade for U.S. economy, workers

Well, there it is. All of those investment books that claimed that investments always go up have just been proven wrong.

Sun, 03 Jan 2010 11:12:24 PST - Link


U.S. media coverage of climate change certainly has been slanted

The most comprehensive review yet of newspaper climate change articles, performed in 2004 by academics Jules and Maxwell Boykoff, found that 53 percent of them offered roughly an equal balance between the view that humans contribute to global warming and that it's exclusively caused by nature. But the Boykoffs couldn't find a single peer-reviewed scientific study that supported the later view — out of more than 900.

mnn

Sun, 03 Jan 2010 08:43:35 PST - Link

January 2, 2010

I have to wonder if we'd have a strong public option if the savvy insiders press hadn't been so cocksure that we wouldn't.

Sat, 02 Jan 2010 11:35:02 PST - Link


Saturday Cat Blogging

T-chan and friend

I was busy yesterday, so to make up for it here's cat and squirrel. (Also, the website just looks too dreary without some images on the home page...)

Sat, 02 Jan 2010 11:15:25 PST - Link


2010 Website Rollover

Since my content management system is hand-rolled, and very, very basic, I never got around to the year-end roll-over as a feature. It's just been too much trouble to write and test code that would only get used once a year.

This year I've been a lot more careful in documenting what needed to get done, so at least I have clear instructions for 2011.

For those looking for recent entries, they are over there on the left, marked "2009"

Sat, 02 Jan 2010 10:24:58 PST - Link

2010