jump to navigation

Do You Really Care About The Weather? February 29, 2012

Posted by Michael in News.
comments closed

I care a lot.  Even if I can’t understand the weather reporter, I want to see where there is a bulging warm front that could result in turbulence.

A Little Perspective on Those GDP Numbers February 29, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
comments closed

The BEA released its estimate of the GDP for the 4th quarter of 2011, showing a 3% annual increase. This has been played up as good news by the press, but I’d like to point out a little problem with the GDP reports of late.

They’re cheating.

You see, it’s easy to have economic activity if you borrow money. The more you borrow, the more activity you have, so everything seems peachy until the bills come due.

So what if we, in a very simplistic way, just adjusted the GDP values by subtracting off the federal deficit? That would give us an estimate of the GDP that is actually currently supported by our economy. And here’s what that looks like:

You can see that while the reported GDP is at its highest value ever, the corrected GDP shows that we haven’t quite made it back to 2007/2008. Pretty dismal.

I’m sure the President will be touting the 3% number later today. Just remember that with deficit spending from 2009 – 2011 alone, his vanity GDP cost your children $4 trillion.

Sobek’s Novelic Work in Progress, Part 1 February 27, 2012

Posted by Sobek in Travel.
comments closed


When Peter went to Italy to study art, they warned him not to get in trouble with the law. They explained how dirty and dangerous the prisons were, how Italians don’t really have due process like in America, and how the police don’t think well of young foreigners. But no one ever warned him that no matter what, if you are in Italy, do not get sick.

Unfortunately for Peter, the day after he got to Italy, he got sick.


The Beginning of the End of Land Lines February 27, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
comments closed

Just got a flyer in the mail today:

Your cell phone should never be your only phone
Keep your home phone line. Keep CenturyLink

The compelling reasons to keep your land line? Not very compelling:

  • “Works with 911 and when the power’s out, or if your internet goes down”
  • “Excellent call quality with no delays or lag time”
  • “Save your cell phone minutes for when you really need them”

I stopped the list there, since it was already getting pathetic.

When you’re putting out mailers like this, it’s a sure sign that the party is over. It was a nice run, but the land line is doomed.

No Wonder They Go to the Bathroom Together February 27, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
comments closed

Turns out that women are synchronized at the input end as well:

When two women are eating together, one is more likely to put food in her mouth when the other one is doing so too – while one’s food-filled fork is coming towards her mouth, the other one is more likely to do the same within five seconds, … Behavioral mimicry, the authors suggest, occurs unwittingly during a meal.

But I’ll bet the same thing is true of guys and beer. …and guys and building food catapults out of silverware. …and guys and mongo belches. …and guys and…

Is It Possible For a Hot Chick To Rock With A Ukelele? February 27, 2012

Posted by Michael in Music.
comments closed

Turns out, dang near anything is possible.

What the heck is that thing they are slapping at the keyboard to get some percussion?  Never saw that before. Looks like a cheap way to avoid hiring a drummer, which is probably a good idea according to Dave in Texas.

Also, I wonder why a guy would appear on a YouTube video with a towel on his head.  Don’t you think he could have washed his hair a little earlier? Or used a blow dryer?

Towel-head starts playing a bass viola onscreen at 3:18, and he’s really into it, so have some patience and wait for the good stuff at 3:18 when the bass line is no longer boring.

The Real Problem with Obama’s Algae Quote February 25, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
comments closed

President Obama has been getting some flak from the right for suggesting using algae to replace oil:

“Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17% of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America,” Obama said.

In his defense, a reasonably scientific study did claim just that: National Microalgae Biofuel Production Potential and Resource Demand, by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

However, there are a few leetle problems with it, which PNNL themselves pointed out:

  • It would take acreage equivalent to the area of South Carolina to generate that much oil
  • It takes 350 gallons of water for every one gallon of oil you produce
  • Meeting that water requirement would take 25% of our irrigation capacity
  • It takes even more water than that unless you use lakefront and oceanfront real estate

This was a very preliminary “what-if” type study that happened to use a better geographic database than earlier studies. There’s a long way to go before we can even start thinking about getting serious about significant oil from algae.

But this President doesn’t concern himself with those details – if it sounds good, why, that’s the plan.

A Little Saturday Morning Patriotism February 25, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
comments closed

In the midst of all our economic difficulties, foreign policy failures, and an awful Presidential campaign season, it’s easy to forget that we still, despite it all, live in the coolest country on the planet:

Autistic Man Gets the Giggles While Performing the Star Spangled Banner in Fenway Park. The Crowd Comes to the Rescue.

Helicopter, Meet Ground Resonance February 25, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
comments closed

Wikipedia provides us a brief description of Ground Resonance:

Ground resonance is a hazardous condition that can occur any time the rotor of a helicopter or gyroplane is turning while the aircraft is on the ground. Similar in concept to the behavior of a washing machine when the clothes are concentrated at one point during the spin cycle, ground resonance can occur with a rotorcraft when the spacing between blades becomes irregular or the damping system, including drag hinge dampers, landing gear oleo struts, or wheel tire pressure, is operating out of limits. Ground resonance occurs at three rotor rpm bands, the first at about one-third of normal rotor speed, the second at a range including normal rotor speed, and the last in a range above normal rotor speed.

But that’s probably not as informative as seeing it actually happen:

Of course, resonance is closely related to harmonic motion, a long-standing interest at this site (NSFW).

Obama Fail-to-Make-More-Jobs Scheme #632 February 23, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
comments closed

The President has a brilliant new plan to stimulate the economy:

The BioPreferred program — … — is intended to increase Federal procurement of biobased products to promote rural economic development, create new jobs, and provide new markets for farm commodities.

It’s part of his laser-like focus on jobs. In case you’re not quite getting it, here’s a paragraph a little later in his memo:

Biobased products are creating jobs across America. These innovative products are creating new markets for agriculture and expanding opportunities in rural America. Therefore, I direct the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare a report on job creation and the economic impact associated with the biobased product industry

Got it now, mouthbreather? The point of using taxpayer money to buy more biobased products is to create jobs, darn it!! What, you thought that creating jobs by spending taxpayer money just increases dependency on government? And that by processing the money through the government, you’re bound to get less bang for your buck?

Shut up, he explained.

But honestly this is business as usual for this administration – I wouldn’t even bring it up if it weren’t even more stupid than you think. Here’s exactly how stupid it is:

Yes, he’s planning on replacing products in the chemical and plastics industries with products made by the biobased products industry. I’ll point out the obvious: jobs created as a result of these purchases will be offset directly by jobs lost in the traditional industries.

Then, of course, there’s the magnitude of the impact. You can see that the biobased industry is dwarfed by the industries it’s seeking to replace, so even assuming the best-case scenario where the 50% increase in federal purchases will result in a 50% increase in jobs, the President is creating a paltry number of positions.

But that’s been the hallmark of the Obama administration: lots of fanfare and grandiose claims; ridiculous implementation and no results.

[Sources for job numbers: Chemical/Plastics Industry Jobs; Biobased Industry Jobs.]

Redneck Tug-o-War Fail February 22, 2012

Posted by Retired Geezer in Art, Gardening, Science.
comments closed


Hat tip to my childhood sweetheart friend, David, who is not a Redneck but a Red Head.

Preview of Coming Attractions February 20, 2012

Posted by Sobek in News.
comments closed

Hey all, I’m working on novel, and I’m going to publish it serially here (until Michael revokes my posting privileges).  It is a dark comedy, partly autobiographical about a few days I spent in an Italian hospital many years ago.  I have one short chapter ready to go.  The thing is, it’s not the first chapter.  This is the teaser-trailer, to see if anyone’s interested in following my wacky misadventures in socialist health care.