Saturday, January 31, 2009

So ...

... what do people think of the new background? Yucky? Worth keeping? Needs a touch-up or two?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cheaper LED's coming soon

LEDs now grown on silicone vs. sapphire wafers.
GaN, grown in labs on expensive sapphire wafers since the 1990s, can now be grown on silicon wafers. This lower cost method could mean cheap mass produced LEDs become widely available for lighting homes and offices in the next five years
Energy resources are going to improve in typically one of two ways. First is to find new sources of energy. Second is to find better ways to conserve. LEDs fall into the second category.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

First sign of the Apocalypse

Currently ...

Listening ToBest song on the album: Six Days (Soulwax Mix)

The song was originally sung by Colonel Bagshot back in 1971, under the title Six Day War, and was remixed by DJ Shadow in 2002.

Six Days
At the starting of the week
At summit talks you'll hear them speak
It's only Monday
Negotiations breaking down
See those leaders start to frown
It's sword and gun day

Tomorrow never comes until it's too late

You could be sitting taking lunch
The news will hit you like a punch
It's only Tuesday
You never thought we'd go to war
After all the things we saw
It's April Fools' day

Tomorrow never comes until it's too late
Tomorrow never comes until it's too late

You hear a whistling overhead
Are you alive or are you dead?
It's only Thursday
You feel a shaking on the ground
A billion candles burn around
Is it your birthday?

Tomorrow never comes until it's too late
Tomorrow never comes until it's too late
Make tomorrow come I think it's too late

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Netbooks and Linux

This article makes no sense to me. Rather, the opinions of the users of netbooks, makes no sense to me.
“Linux just isn’t a platform for the mass market,” he said. “All the early reports of lots of returns of Linux netbooks were because people bought them with that and didn’t know what to do with it.”
Say again? What's so difficult about Linux? I have an Asus EEE Pc (900 model) which has Linux on it. It's a sweet little machine. 20GB flash drive, with an additional 16 GB in the SDHC slot that comes standard on the side (the 16GB SDHC card cost me ~$16 dollars from Amazon ... not a bad price to effectively double the memory of the machine). Oh, and I haven't had a single problem with it, especially when all I'm doing is surfing the net, or taking down quick notes with the Open Office software which comes installed. Yes, it take a bit of brain power to get full functionality, but it really does come with time and use.

Are people just lazy, or do they rely on "Windows for Dummies" books more than I realize?

How are you going to spend your ...

... extra five months?
Between 1978 and 2001, Americans’ average life span increased almost three years to 77, and as much as 4.8 months of that can be attributed to cleaner air, researchers from Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health reported in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.
I guess this means we'll all live longer, allowing us to see global warming armageddon. w00t!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You said it Jack Cafferty!

Stimulus package is loaded with crap. The link is mostly about how Limbaugh is a loud-mouth, but read the last paragraph.
The stimulus package is not going to be a walk in the park either. Republicans are yelling it's too costly and doesn't stimulate enough. And they might have point. It's at $825 billion now and could go higher. Hundreds of millions for condoms and other contraceptives doesn't belong in there either, unless it's for what's about to happen to the American taxpayer.
So ... who's ready for "what's about to happen"? I'm not.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Synthetic Biology

I'm not a Craig Venter fan, but you have to hand it to him, he's motivated and doesn't back down from a challenge. Here is a talk of his on his quest to create life. It's a 15 minute video. The organism he plans on creating is Mycoplasma laboratorium.

Currently ...

ReadingThe best portable star atlas in production (IMNSHO).

Listening To

Nuclear Power

I'm not sure that many people actually consider this, but ... nuclear power is going to be as finite as fossil fuels are. Current estimates peg nuclear power as being capable of powering the world at current rates for the next 200 years. Then, that's it folks.
According to the NEA, identified uranium resources total 5.5 million metric tons, and an additional 10.5 million metric tons remain undiscovered—a roughly 230-year supply at today's consumption rate in total.
There are a couple more options though ...
Two technologies could greatly extend the uranium supply itself. Neither is economical now, but both could be in the future if the price of uranium increases substantially. First, the extraction of uranium from seawater would make available 4.5 billion metric tons of uranium—a 60,000-year supply at present rates. Second, fuel-recycling fast-breeder reactors, which generate more fuel than they consume, would use less than 1 percent of the uranium needed for current LWRs. Breeder reactors could match today's nuclear output for 30,000 years using only the NEA-estimated supplies.
That's a bit more comforting. The question is ... would future developers actually develop these technologies sometime other than the 11th hour like we're currently experiencing with oil?

If you talk to someone in the know ...

... when it comes to environmental issues, and you ask them what the next "Big Deal" is, they'll tell you "Water". Water is a hot commodity, and we totally take it for granted. I mean, admit it ... you literally flush drinking-grade water down the toilet every day without even drinking it. I've blogged about it before. However, despite our cavalier attitude about water, it really is a finite resource. One only need look at Atlanta of last year to realize that, and farmers in California this year are going to be squeezed very tightly thanks to new regulations.

So? We need more water, and we need is yesterday. And scientists may have stumbled upon something which may help us achieve that goal. Desalination done cheaply, also an item I mentioned in that blog entry I linked to earlier in this entry.

National Food Poisoning Death Toll At Seven

Salmonella is to blame.
A seventh death was linked Friday to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella associated with tainted peanut butter and paste sourced to the Peanut Corp. of America's plant in Blakely, Ga., authorities confirmed.

Although their exact causes of death have not been determined, all seven people have died after being infected with the bacterial strain Salmonella Typhimurium, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its Web site.
Actually, it's Salmonella typhimurium (note capitalization/italicization), but who's counting?

At any rate, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) agency has a FAQ sheet on salmonellosis. Here is a sample from the FAQ.
Q. What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
A. Most people experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 8 to 72 hours after the contaminated food was eaten. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually disappear within 4 to 7 days. Many people with salmonellosis recover without treatment and may never see a doctor. However, Salmonella infections can be life-threatening especially for infants and young children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, and older adults, who are at a higher risk for foodborne illness, as are people with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients).
As you can see, it can be a nasty bug, especially those who do not have a strong immune system.

The FDA also has Salmonella listed in their "Bad Bug Book". According to the chapter on Salmonella, the infectious dose is only about 15 to 20 cells, so this is a very contagious organism.

Unfortunately, with this case in particular, give its ubiquitous nature (found in a variety of non-cook ready-to-eat food items) it's very hard to suggest a method to ensure that if you eat some of this food, what you can do to avoid getting sick. In this case, just avoid these items for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Currently ...

Listening ToU.N.K.L.E. - War Stories

Burn My Shadow
I have burned my tomorrow
And I stand inside today
At the edge of the future
And my dreams all fade away

I have burned my tomorrows
And I stand inside today
At the edge of the future
And my dreams all fade away

And burn my shadow away
And burn my shadow away

Fate's my destroyer
I was ambushed by the light
And you judged me once for falling
This wounded heart will rise

And burn my shadow away
And burn my shadow away

An' I see the light, too light for love
An' I see the light, too light for love
An' I see the light, too light for love
An' I see the light, too light for love

An' I see the light, too light for love
Burn my shadow
An' I see the light, too light for love
An' I see the light, too light for love
Burn my shadow
An' I see the light, too light for love

And burn my shadow away
And burn my shadow away
Oh, how I loved you

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ok, now what?

According to this CNN article, we've finally come to the consensus that global warming is real.
Human-induced global warming is real, according to a recent U.S. survey based on the opinions of 3,146 scientists.
The study was produced by the University of Illinois and according to the article asked two major quesitons.
Two questions were key: Have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures?

About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.
A little late in the game if you ask me. We needed to be working on solutions years ago. It's also interesting to take note of who were the biggest doubters of global warming. Petroleum geologists and *drum roll* meteorologists.
Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.
Heh. Meteorologists can't even get the short term weather correct, what makes anyone think they're reliable in the long term?

So ... now what? This really is an issue that needs to be addressed NOW. Enough with these questionnaires, and onto some solid, workable solutions.

For my part, I work on greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural waste, so attempting to understand the microbial involvement (which is rather large) and how we can curb it, will hopefully be my contribution.

Perhaps ...

... we should have children write any complaint letters we ever need to write.
"Dear Mr. Claudet," the letter from the 7-year-old girl began. She described in four sentences problems at Southdown West Park, the small greenspace by her home. The plastic slide needed to be more slippery, she wrote, and an electrical panel near the tennis court was "dangerus."

When she mailed the letter, little did she know that she would set the parish's bureaucratic wheels in motion.

All her requests for improvements were met during the holidays after the letter landed on Parish President Michel Claudet's desk. He opened it himself, he said, and took the young girl's input seriously.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Edolphus Towns (D-NY) is a Moron

With all the problems our country is facing, you know what with the two wars we're fighting, an economy in shambles, the mortgaging of our future with almost a trillion dollars in bailout money with very little strings (or expectations) attached, this fool wants to hold hearings about the Bowl Championship Series because he doesn't think a "true #1" came out of the BCS.
"I think you really do not get a true No. 1 out of (the Bowl Championship Series)," Towns told the newspaper. "Nobody questions the Super Bowl. The team that wins is the best team that year. I think we can do the same thing at the college level where once it's over there is no questions about who is No. 1 and who is No. 2."
WHO CARES!?!?!!!!

This is all this fool can think about? Jimminy Christmas! Everyone who voted for this guy should be summarily slapped upside the head for picking such an obvious "winner".

At least someone speaks common sense at the end of the article though.
Former house Majority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri said he thinks Congress won't have time to deal with this issue with so many issues, particularly the economy, facing lawmakers. "I think this is something that colleges will have to figure out together," Gephardt told USA Today. "I'm not sure this is what the public wants Congress to be spending their time on."
And I repeat ...
I'm not sure this is what the public wants Congress to be spending their time on.
Damn Friggin Skippy!

So, while I think a playoff would be nice ... I don't think Congress should be wasting my tax payer dollars making it so. I can certainly live without a playoff. I cannot live without my government functioning properly and ensuring that the services I pay for actually work for me (now and when I retire).

So, Mr. Towns get your ass in gear and do something USEFUL and IMPORTANT! You damn fool.

I am not a number, I am a free man!

RIP Patrick McGoohan.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Listening ToCaravan is one of the best songs of all time.


If you haven't accepted it yet, perhaps think about this one as well.
One of the nation’s largest health insurers has agreed to pay $50 million dollars in a settlement announced today after being accused of overcharging millions of Americans for health care.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says Ingenix has been manipulating the numbers so insurance companies pay less. In a just-released report, he contends that Americans have been “under-reimbursed to the tune of at least hundreds of millions of dollars.” Although UnitedHealth Group and Oxford Insurance were the only entities investigated, other major insurers use Ingenix, including Aetna, CIGNA and WellPoint/Empire BlueCross BlueShield.
If you've been screwed, don't ever expect the screwer to say "Sorry".

Where I have been

I've visited 31 states (62%), and I've lived in 4 of them. Create your own visited map of The United States. I haven't been outside the United States (aside from Mexico and Canada) so I won't bother with that little meme. Oddly enough, I grew up in New York, and I've never bothered traveling up into New England.

h/t to Phil from DC Dispatches.

Anything but Normal, in Normal IL

Wedding in Taco Bell.
"We have the same brain, just in two bodies," Paul Brooks said.
No comment. Well, other than to say I guess that explains getting married in a "Toxic Hell". Having half a brain will do that to ya I suppose.

Lay off the VapoRub

So says new study.
The strong-smelling ointment often dabbed under noses or rubbed on the soles of feet can be an irritant, increasing the production of mucus and decreasing how fast it’s cleared, potentially causing dangerous breathing problems in infants and very young children.
I don't know why people even bother using that stuff. It stinks and it doesn't really do anything. If I'm feeling like crap, and I use Vicks ... I just wind up stinking AND feeling like crap.
Jessica Rosenberg, 32, of Santa Clara, Calif., said she rubs Vicks onto the soles of her kids’ feet to quiet nighttime coughs. The new study is interesting, she said, but not enough to make her stop.

Dear God. Why would rubbing menthol on your kids foot keep them from coughing? Idiocy abounds.

This urban legends site dispels the silly "menthol on feet is good for you" myth. Though this 1908 explanation is amusing, and so very very backward: "internal morbid processes may at times be relieved by creating external irritations". In other words, if you have a headache, hit your hand with a hammer. It'll make you forget all about the headache. Oh,the fun we could have with this one.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Requiescat In Pace

Reverend Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things.

I think ...

... I know how I'm going to make my money and get myself to early retirement. I'm going to steal a supertanker filled with Saudi oil.

Quote of the Day

Don't try to be happier than happy. - Colin Cowherd

As if there wasn't enough to worry about?

Now NASA is warning that solar storms could knock out a large portion of the world's electronics, and electrical infrastructure if we're really, really unlucky. And who can really claim to have good luck right about now?
Damage to power grids and other communications systems could be catastrophic, the scientists conclude, with effects leading to a potential loss of governmental control of the situation.
Hmm, if this happens perhaps that crazy Russian would be right. I don't really want to be a part of the EU though ... if they even still existed.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Boomer Sooner!

Thrash the Gators!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Nifty Agricultural Tool

Was at a Soil and Water Conservation meeting earlier in the week and saw a talk on compost. This product was mentioned, and boy is it a neat idea. Gardensoxx. Just place it where you want it, cut a slit to insert your seeds and Viola! within a week, you have the starting of a garden. These soxx are multipurpose, used for erosion control, agriculture, gardening ... and relatively inexpensive when compared to what you'd pay for a garden's expenses anyways.

Five Ways the World Might End

Here's a really chipper story for the new year. Good news? None of these are predicted to happen tomorrow.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Bureau of Communication

Funny stuff.

Currently ...

Listening To

Did You Make a New Years Resolution?

If it involves working out and/or losing weight, here is a handy tip chart for you. Me, I'm not into the whole resolution thing. I have been committed to losing a few extra pounds that I gained during graduate school, but I didn't feel the need to make a resolution on Jan 1st at 00:00:01 for it. I have found that losing the extra pounds can be done slowly but surely by two things. Exercise and portion control. No need for a fancy diet, or pay out the butt to have a company mail you food. Four to six ounces of meat at dinner along with a healthy salad and a generous helping of green vegetables works just fine.

If you're gonna go ...

... you might consider going in a National Park.
[At] least 33 people who chose to end their lives last year in a national park. The number is higher than recent years, although the National Park Service hasn't consistently tracked suicides.

"It's some place where, toward the end of someone's life, when they're feeling a total sense of despondency, they want to return to a place of natural beauty ... for their final moments," Suddath said.
Personally, I don't believe suicide is the answer. As they say, it's always darkest before the dawn. I truly believe that, and I hope I always will. Nevermind the terrible wake of psychological damage that is inflicted on those left behind.