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Reminiscent of DinTX in His Larval Form February 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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For some reason this reminds me of what I imagine a young DinTX to have been like:

A ten-year-old Norwegian boy … who lives near Dokka, a town 110kms (68 miles) north of Oslo – put his 18-month old sister into the car sometime before 6am, while his parents were still sleeping and set off to visit his grandparents in Valdres, about 60 kilometres away.
He drove more than 10 kilometres before veering off the road, where he was found by a snowplow driver who alerted police.

‘The boy told the snowplow driver that he was a dwarf and that he had forgotten his driver’s licence at home.

Though if it were Dave, I would have thought some sort of conflagration would have been involved.

Missing Blackstone February 15, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

I miss some of our old values. Lately I’ve been thinking about William Blackstone’s prescription from the 1760’s:

“It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”

It’s a useful metric to keep in your head when you see these sorts of stories:

And of course there’s the infamous anal probe story, the cash confiscation stories, a zillion more no-knock raid tragedies, etc.

I think some of our law enforcement personnel may have inverted the Blackstone prescription.

Why a 27 Year Old Probably Won’t Buy In To Obamacare February 14, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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You all know that Obamacare is suffering from a very basic problem: the invincibles (young, healthy people) are not likely to incur significant health costs, so they don’t want to sign up for insurance just to subsidize old people’s health care. But Ironman at Political Calculations has actually crunched the numbers for a 27-year-old, and here’s what he’s found:

…we estimate that an individual would have to have an income above $285,200 before paying for a Bronze plan would more economical than paying the additional income tax. In 2016, when the additional Obamacare income tax will increase to be a maximum of 2.5% of an individual’s income, buying a Bronze-level health insurance plan with the costs we’ve listed above would only begin to make sense if their income was greater than $120,000.

So, unless a health insurance consumer has a reasonable expectation that they will have very high health care bills in the near future, it doesn’t make sense from a personal finance perspective for them to buy health insurance. And since the law mandates that they cannot be denied coverage if they do develop a costly medical condition, they can simply hold out until the next enrollment period when their situation might change, or take advantage of the alternatives that many people are using to avoid Obamacare and its taxes altogether.

So the Obama administration has to either hope that either relatively young people are incredibly altruistic (altruistic beyond their means, I suspect) or incredibly stupid. Or both.

Gender Proliferation vs. Dad the Dinosaur February 14, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

Had an interesting talk with my 14-year-old daughter the other evening, wherein she was horrified that her Neanderthal father wasn’t really buying into parts of the expanded gender options that are the rage in school these days. Cis- and Trans-whatnots, with kids deciding their sexual orientations & preferences on an hourly basis.

For example, one kid is “biologically male, but identifies as female, but he has a girlfriend,” she tells me. Hunh? Sounds like a horndog who learned to work the system to me. Another demands that you use their male or female name depending on how they’re feeling on that particular day.

My daughter pointed out that it was not a big deal to accommodate these people – you’re just treating them nicely, as any polite member of society should. And she has a point. But still…….

So what’s behind my Stone Age attitude? I’m still thinking through it, but here are some of my problems:

  • Part of it’s that I just don’t like being told what to do. I don’t like people appropriating words, defining new meanings, and then insisting that I use their self-promoting vocabulary. To me, gender is biological. Period. Preferences aren’t gender. Behavior isn’t gender. I was raised with Merriam-Websters definition: gender: the state of being male or female.
  • Part of it’s that I’m tired of being yelled at by the blurry gender cottage industry.
  • Part of it’s that it seems awfully precious and self-indulgent. Kind of vanity labels to make people feel special and important and cool. Reminds me of the old days when being a lesbian for a weekend was The Thing, or more recent times when every trendy girl had to have a token Gay Friend. I’ve always believed that people are made special or cool by their deeds, not by how masculine or feminine they feel.
  • And part of it’s the fact that these sorts of labels are divisive and often the first step towards the establishment of special programs and privileges that the government has no business providing.

Today we hear that Facebook has added 58 new gender options for its users. ABC News went through the trouble of listing them, so I’ve duplicated their list as the table below. Homework for all you troglodytes.

Agender Androgyne Androgynous Bigender
Cis Cisgender Cis Female Cis Male
Cis Man Cis Woman Cisgender Female Cisgender Male
Cisgender Man Cisgender Woman Female to Male FTM
Gender Fluid Gender Nonconforming Gender Questioning Gender Variant
Genderqueer Intersex Male to Female MTF
Neither Neutrois Non-binary Other
Pangender Trans Trans* Trans Female
Trans* Female Trans Male Trans* Male Trans Man
Trans* Man Trans Person Trans* Person Trans Woman
Trans* Woman Transfeminine Transgender Transgender Female
Transgender Male Transgender Man Transgender Person Transgender Woman
Transmasculine Transsexual Transsexual Female Transsexual Male
Transsexual Man Transsexual Person Transsexual Woman Two-Spirit

A little much, no?

On the Need for Improved Crocodile Escape Strategies February 13, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

What to do when a crocodile attacks?

Plan A: Run up the nearest tree!


As far as discoveries go, this is a somewhat terrifying one, assuming one has a healthy respect for crocodiles on the ground: They can climb and perch in trees, and really climb, with researchers spotting them more than a dozen feet from the ground.

Four species were identified as able to climb trees, and were spotted, in once case, as high as 13 feet above the ground—and as far as 16 feet down a branch.

Back to the drawing board.

Another Month of Uninspiring Exports February 11, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.
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Having seen the President’s lack of progress in employment and manufacturing jobs in particular, we can (as we do every month) turn our attention toward exports. Those obstinate, recalcitrant exports that are refusing to double despite the President’s clearly-stated directive. President Obama is running out of time; his foolish promise comes due in less than a year:


If it wasn’t for fuels & petroleum, two of the President’s favorite products to hate, the exports picture wouldn’t even look that good. Fortunately parts of our economy are still allowed to operate somewhat independently of the government.

Manufacturing Jobs, January 2014 February 10, 2014

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The number of manufacturing jobs increased again last month, representing the 3rd month since we’ve climbed out of the doldrums. Of course we’re nowhere near on track for meeting the President’s promise of adding a million jobs by September 2016:


All of these numbers have been updated per the BLS’s latest corrections, and they make the President look a little better than in previous charts. But again, nowhere near the pace he needs to be on to keep his promise. We’ve added 133K jobs since the Democratic National Convention in September 2012. To be on track, we needed to have added 350K jobs.

The American people, and the manufacturing sector in particular, deserved better than empty promises from a man who had neither the power nor the commitment to keep them.

Art February 9, 2014

Posted by Sobek in News.

I started this last Saturday.  I’m amazed at how much I’ve gotten done since then.  Part of it is that I haven’t hit “the wall,” but part of it is that this one is much, much smaller than my previous pieces.  This is only 12″ x 12″.  I feel weird trying to work in such a small area, but it’s nice to zip along like this.



Unemployment, January 2014 February 7, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

The employment report is out for January, and as usual I’ve plotted the number of full-time jobs divided by the civilian non-institutional population. Here’s how we’re doing:


This was actually a good month – the ratio is higher than it’s been since a few months after the President took office. Another few months and it might get to where it was when he was inaugurated.

You might be wondering how long it will take for the painfully slow Obama recovery to return this employment ratio to 52% (that’s the average value from January 1990 through January 2009).

July 2025.

But at least it’s going up.

Earworms in “Science” February 1, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

Let’s say you’re afflicted by an earworm. Say, for example, Baby Monkey (going backwards on a pig). Or Bananaphone. Or something really embarrassing like this.

I think if you were like most people, confronted by demons of your tympanic membrane, you’d do one of three things:

  1. Exorcise the demons by listening to another song. (Mrs. geoff says this one never fails)
  2. Ignore it until it goes away.
  3. Roll with it until it goes away.

Enter science, where real-live scientists with too much time and funding give you the real, sciency scoop on what you should do:

It happens to nearly everyone: A song — let’s say Abba’s “Waterloo” — is stuck in your head and just won’t go away.

Now science has not one but three ways to dig that dreaded earworm out. And none of them are too surprising, as researchers surveyed 18,000 residents of Finland and England and reported their findings in the journal PLOS One.

Researchers at the University of London found that earworm victims say you can listen to the complete song or sing it; you can just not let it bother you, or you can try using another song to shove out the offending tune.

You don’t say. Of course you can fault the Associated Press as well for deeming this useless work newsworthy. Especially when their closing sentence is:

“People get very annoyed about being made to listen to music that they find is not to their personal taste and that they cannot control,” Stewart said.

We live in an age where scientific miracles occur every day. And then there’s this.