Why the new F1 rules are dumb

F1 put in testing limits on cars in order to "make things more fair" by decreasing costs to smaller teams. Did it work? No.

Unable to give its drivers time in the cars, Ferrari built a monstrosity of a simulator:

It took two years to build, is 18-feet high, takes up two stories and received assistance from Moog, a control systems maker primarly known for its work wit the U.S. military's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The sim rests a base that, by itself, weighs two hundred tons, and on top of that are a platform and actuators that support the aluminum and composite driving structure. The driver watches his progress on five displays good for more than 180 degrees of viewing, and hears his progress through a 3,500-watt Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound system. It has ten microprocessors and 60GB of RAM.

Oh, and it puts out 130 kW of power. Some perspective: the average American home is said to use 25 kW of power a day. Ferrari will hope it helps power at least one of its drivers to the crown.

ER over EV

Extended range offers a number of benefits over pure electric vehicles.

One of the most compelling to someone like me (lives north of the 40th parallel, likes/needs to drive in winter and go skiing) is that batteries are terrible when it is cold out. On top of which, in electric vehicles, the heater is run off the battery (think a battery powered hair dryer - not exactly the best combo) whereas in a traditional engine the heat is waste/cooling heat.

Now, a er-EV does not solve all these issues, but it does give you a gas engine to make sure that you are never stuck out in the cold, and your car retains somewhat of the same range summer or winter. Get the car going, get the engine running if needed, and you can heat up the whole thing and make it to the mountain.

If only the Chevy Volt looked like the original Chevy Volt, not a Chevyfied Prius....



Cadillac Tax

I cant even put into words how incredibly stupid this statement is:

"The assessment proposed in the Senate is not a new tax; it is the elimination of an existing tax break that is provided to exactly these firms. Under current law, if workers are paid in wages, they are taxed on those wages. But if they receive the same amount of compensation in the form of health insurance, they are not taxed. As a result, the tax code has for years provided a large subsidy to the most expensive health plans -- at a cost to the U.S. taxpayer of more than $250 billion a year. "

Turns out the moron is a professor at MIT, so I emailed him.

Toyota to Hyundaify while Hyundia Toyotafies

Toyota just announced that they wanted to cut their supplier costs by 30% over the next three years.

Which means they told their suppliers to cut their prices by 30%...

Which means means that the suppliers, already notoriously efficient, will cut costs the only possible way: lowering quality. Or at least, that is where some of the savings will come from, because 30% is a big cut to reach on efficiency gains...

The result? I predict a slide in Toyota quality if they go through with this. And the thing is, the main reason that they are doing it, in my opinion, is to compete with lower cost companies, most notably the rapidly growing global powerhouse Hyundai.

But it is interesting because the way that Hyundai has been growing has been to vastly increase quality in ever generation of vehicle.

Remember how Mercedes was known for durability and quality back in the 80's? Then remember how they cut costs in the 90's and they became known for making completely unreliable luxo barges which competed with the old Jaguar for breaking down constantly? Watch out Toyota - the market knows cheap, and the car market has a long memory/lag effect (which is also why such initiatives often pay off in the 1-3yr timeframe).

tattoos - hilarious

Pulled from another site, the map is the best part:

Tattoos are reverse time machines: with time travel you can send a warning back to your younger self, with tattoos you send a mistake forward to your older self.

Just The Facts

  1. Tattoos theoretically could be thoughtful additions to your appearance. Unfortunately there are thousands of tattoo parlors (many open 24 hours) and people just don't have that many thoughts. So most are stupid.
  2. Tattoos are permanent. Your motivation/blood-alcohol level is not.
  3. Tattoos are now as edgy as a padded watermelon.

Who gets tattoos?

Tattoos are an excellent way to turn a single drunken decision into a lifetime of disfigurement and regret, which normally requires a car. Tattoos are associated with criminal gangs, the armed forces, and whiny white teenagers desperate for attention. Attempts to get all three to attend a common "Tattoo Conference" have unfortunately failed.

What Your Tattoo Says About You

Before you get a tattoo

There are some important questions to ask before getting a tattoo:

  • Have I wanted this for more than five minutes?
  • Am I, at this particular instant in sidereal time, drunk off my face?
  • Do the tattoo artist's past works resemble an art class for crash-helmet testers?
  • I meet the love of my life. I romance them for months, reaching a point where we can communicate our very deepest emotions and feel that we almost share souls (awwww). At this point, can I see myself naked and explaining this tattoo?

Logic Fail

I like a lot. I read it all the time. Its probably the one thing I read the most on the internet, followed by engadget and the WSJ.

But I call fail on this:

"Fuel efficient cars are slow, right? Just ask Jeremy Clarkson, who famously pitted a Toyota Prius against a BMW M3 around a test track to prove that the hybrid isn't very efficient when pushed to its limit. While it's true that hybrids and diesels have a reputation for being more than a bit poky in the name of saving a few gallons of gas, each generation seems to improve in that regard, and GM is hoping that the upcoming Chevy Volt will abolish that preconceived notion altogether."

What Jeremy Clarkson proved was not that a Prius was slow, everyone already knows that. He proved that at highway speeds, and in spirited driving, a Prius is LESS EFFICIENT than a M3. Not that it is a crappy car to drive. That's a given. I appreciate the JC reference autoblog, but ouch on the logic.

New Camera

Just bought the Pentax K-x to replace my broken and very very much loved and missed Canon Rebel EOS 300d. The shutter went on the Cannon, after many months of sounding a little off, and the estimate to fix it > the value of the camera.

So I went for a "next generation" camera - that is my opinion on these things. Specifically, I wanted camera-body image stabilization (James just got this on a point and shoot for $100 - Canon and Nikon refuse to put it on their cameras so you buy their stupidly overpriced IS lenses. Jackassery) and HD movie capability. These, in my opinion, are the next generation features which set the Pentax apart from my old Canon. The pixel count is pointless - I have printed off many pics from the Canon at 2ft x 3ft. If I start doing billboards, maybe pixels will matter again. Instead, it has features like high-dynamic-range burst mode, which I will be using a fair deal, rapid burst mode and a big ISO range. And yes - I got it in white.

Courtesy of my brother James, I also got a 500mm lens. Now, 500mm lenses come in three forms: crazy expensive ($2000+), mirrored (crap - but compact and cheap), and the telescope variety. The last is made by a number of different asian companies, and have the advantage of much better optics than mirrored lenses, but physically, they are awkward. The one I just got is over a foot long. And the closest focal distance? About 70ft. No macro here. It is a basic telescope with a aperture ring and a camera mount.

Now here is the cool part. The lens comes with a 2x converter, giving you 1000mm but reducing quality. I also bought a (universal) 2x converter for the Pentax, which gives 2000mm. Then, because consumer digital SLR cameras use the APS-C sensor size, you then multiply that by 1.6. The result? A 3200mm lens.

For reference, that is about 100x human eyesight, and thus would be roughly 100x on a point and shoot or camcorder. Even the 'regular' 500mm setup--which should have good optics--will be 800mm, or to put it another way, friggin ginormous.

Look for me this winter perched on top of a ridgeline with my white Pentax, 800mm lens shooting HD vids of my bros/friends ripping pow lines down the opposite slope. Going to be sick...

Jack Baur interrogates santa

I dont even watch 24... but this is hilarious.. Merry Christmas all = )

Schumacher is Back, with Mercedes

Schumi is moving to Mercedes, which is really Brawn GP, which is really Honda. Or was, a little over a year ago. In other words, the whole F1 world continues to be topsy-turvey, which I think is entertaining.

Button will move to McClaren to race along side Lewis Hamilton (winners of the last two years on the same team - should be interesting, also both are Brits!!).

The big losers here are.. Ferrari. Because Schumacher has been their global spokesperson the last few years, is most famously associated with the Prancing Horse, and has been the lead on development of a number of Ferrari cars, especially the track focused specials. Its kind of a Green Bay/Favre moment. Thing is though, every trophy Schumi has won has been under the leadership of Ross Brawn, who just proved that he could take over a team, win both titles (constructors/drivers) and generally be a badass while having a limited budget, few sponsors, and what was meant to be a weak team with washed up drivers. Which leads to Clarkson's question: "was it all the car?"

Ebay fail

I think this image is pretty funny... and speaks for itself..


I have been trying to avoid reading about Avatar. I hate knowing more than "its good" or "its bad" going into a movie. That said, I think this one-picture plot summary is pretty damn funny:

A BBC take on the Copenhagen fail

The BBC gives 8 reasons why Copenhagen failed. Here is #2


Just about every other country involved in the UN talks has a single chain of command; when the president or prime minister speaks, he or she is able to make commitments for the entire government.

Not so the US. The president is not able to pledge anything that Congress will not support, and his inability to step up the US offer in Copenhagen was probably the single biggest impediment to other parties improving theirs.

Viewed internationally, the US effectively has two governments, each with power of veto over the other.

Doubtless the founding fathers had their reasons. But it makes the US a nation apart in these processes, often unable to state what its position is or to move that position - a nightmare for other countries' negotiators."

All I can say to that is... THANK GOD. What the article is implicitly saying is that the US is a nightmare to deal with because it is slightly more responsive to the desires of its populace. And because it is much more difficult to enforce the will of the political elite. And the amazing thing? This criticism comes at a time when the "two governments" are more in line than they have been for decades, perhaps since FDR. We are getting Obamacare shoved down our throats when the majority of Americans oppose it. Thankfully, we were spared a white-mans-burden wealth transfer and massive national tax based on dubious and unproven science.

James Cameron

I cant wait so see Avatar. It has been a long time since I have said that about a movie. Being a little kid here, I am planning on seeing it at least twice, once in 3d IMAX and once on a regular screen. I think regular screen first.

All that said, here is an interesting quote from James Cameron, on Titanic:
"If I did Titanic today, I'd do it very differently. There wouldn't be a 750-foot-long set. There would be small set pieces integrated into a large CGI set. I wouldn't have to wait seven days to get the perfect sunset for the kiss scene. We'd shoot it in front of a green screen, and we'd choose our sunset."

In some ways, that is kind of sad. The reason it is kind of sad is not because of nostalgia, and it is not because films wont looks a good anymore, because they will look better. Is not even because movies wont be as "real:" it is because we wont believe they are real. To become really invested in a movie, you have to believe it is real. While we can suspend this for settings which are obviously not real (dinosaurs, aliens, space, etc etc) the same is not true of the things we expect to be real.

Or I could be making it all up. I think I might be wrong actually. I guess I just have to go see Avatar.

Obamacare - must read

The Democratic party, like Russia invading Georgia, Hitler in the Great Depression, and.. the Democratic party a couple weeks with their defense spending/raise the national debt bill, is determined to push through a unpopular and historically idiotic bill at a time when the nation is distracted.

They will, I kid you not, pass ObamaCare on Christmas eve. I will do my best to be among the many who ignore this gutting of America over the holidays, but I will be doing it intentionally, to avoid weeping into my eggnog or spending my time raging against a political machine which exists not for the good of the people but only for the expansion of its own power. If the Republicans had held one more seat, this country would have been so much better off.

Change Nobody Believes In

A bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve.

And tidings of comfort and joy from Harry Reid too. The Senate Majority Leader has decided that the last few days before Christmas are the opportune moment for a narrow majority of Democrats to stuff ObamaCare through the Senate to meet an arbitrary White House deadline. Barring some extraordinary reversal, it now seems as if they have the 60 votes they need to jump off this cliff, with one-seventh of the economy in tow.

Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world's greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new "manager's amendment" that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what's in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning. After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.

Even in World War I there was a Christmas truce.

The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.

• Health costs. From the outset, the White House's core claim was that reform would reduce health costs for individuals and businesses, and they're sticking to that story. "Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't read the bills," Mr. Obama said over the weekend. This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.

The best and most rigorous cost analysis was recently released by the insurer WellPoint, which mined its actuarial data in various regional markets to model the Senate bill. WellPoint found that a healthy 25-year-old in Milwaukee buying coverage on the individual market will see his costs rise by 178%. A small business based in Richmond with eight employees in average health will see a 23% increase. Insurance costs for a 40-year-old family with two kids living in Indianapolis will pay 106% more. And on and on.

These increases are solely the result of ObamaCare—above and far beyond the status quo—because its strict restrictions on underwriting and risk-pooling would distort insurance markets. All but a handful of states have rejected regulations like "community rating" because they encourage younger and healthier buyers to wait until they need expensive care, increasing costs for everyone. Benefits and pricing will now be determined by politics.

As for the White House's line about cutting costs by eliminating supposed "waste," even Victor Fuchs, an eminent economist generally supportive of ObamaCare, warned last week that these political theories are overly simplistic. "The oft-heard promise 'we will find out what works and what does not' scarcely does justice to the complexity of medical practice," the Stanford professor wrote.

• Steep declines in choice and quality. This is all of a piece with the hubris of an Administration that thinks it can substitute government planning for market forces in determining where the $33 trillion the U.S. will spend on medicine over the next decade should go.

This centralized system means above all fewer choices; what works for the political class must work for everyone. With formerly private insurers converted into public utilities, for instance, they'll inevitably be banned from selling products like health savings accounts that encourage more cost-conscious decisions.

Unnoticed by the press corps, the Congressional Budget Office argued recently that the Senate bill would so "substantially reduce flexibility in terms of the types, prices, and number of private sellers of health insurance" that companies like WellPoint might need to "be considered part of the federal budget."

With so large a chunk of the economy and medical practice itself in Washington's hands, quality will decline. Ultimately, "our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all," as Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey Flier recently wrote in our pages. Take the $2 billion annual tax—rising to $3 billion in 2018—that will be leveled against medical device makers, among the most innovative U.S. industries. Democrats believe that more advanced health technologies like MRI machines and drug-coated stents are driving costs too high, though patients and their physicians might disagree.

"The Senate isn't hearing those of us who are closest to the patient and work in the system every day," Brent Eastman, the chairman of the American College of Surgeons, said in a statement for his organization and 18 other speciality societies opposing ObamaCare. For no other reason than ideological animus, doctor-owned hospitals will face harsh new limits on their growth and who they're allowed to treat. Physician Hospitals of America says that ObamaCare will "destroy over 200 of America's best and safest hospitals."

• Blowing up the federal fisc. Even though Medicare's unfunded liabilities are already about 2.6 times larger than the entire U.S. economy in 2008, Democrats are crowing that ObamaCare will cost "only" $871 billion over the next decade while fantastically reducing the deficit by $132 billion, according to CBO.

Yet some 98% of the total cost comes after 2014—remind us why there must absolutely be a vote this week—and most of the taxes start in 2010. That includes the payroll tax increase for individuals earning more than $200,000 that rose to 0.9 from 0.5 percentage points in Mr. Reid's final machinations. Job creation, here we come.

Other deceptions include a new entitlement for long-term care that starts collecting premiums tomorrow but doesn't start paying benefits until late in the decade. But the worst is not accounting for a formula that automatically slashes Medicare payments to doctors by 21.5% next year and deeper after that. Everyone knows the payment cuts won't happen but they remain in the bill to make the cost look lower. The American Medical Association's priority was eliminating this "sustainable growth rate" but all they got in return for their year of ObamaCare cheerleading was a two-month patch snuck into the defense bill that passed over the weekend.

The truth is that no one really knows how much ObamaCare will cost because its assumptions on paper are so unrealistic. To hide the cost increases created by other parts of the bill and transfer them onto the federal balance sheet, the Senate sets up government-run "exchanges" that will subsidize insurance for those earning up to 400% of the poverty level, or $96,000 for a family of four in 2016. Supposedly they would only be offered to those whose employers don't provide insurance or work for small businesses.

As Eugene Steuerle of the left-leaning Urban Institute points out, this system would treat two workers with the same total compensation—whatever the mix of cash wages and benefits—very differently. Under the Senate bill, someone who earned $42,000 would get $5,749 from the current tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage but $12,750 in the exchange. A worker making $60,000 would get $8,310 in the exchanges but only $3,758 in the current system.

For this reason Mr. Steuerle concludes that the Senate bill is not just a new health system but also "a new welfare and tax system" that will warp the labor market. Given the incentives of these two-tier subsidies, employers with large numbers of lower-wage workers like Wal-Mart may well convert them into "contractors" or do more outsourcing. As more and more people flood into "free" health care, taxpayer costs will explode.

• Political intimidation. The experts who have pointed out such complications have been ignored or dismissed as "ideologues" by the White House. Those parts of the health-care industry that couldn't be bribed outright, like Big Pharma, were coerced into acceding to this agenda. The White House was able to, er, persuade the likes of the AMA and the hospital lobbies because the federal government will control 55% of total U.S. health spending under ObamaCare, according to the Administration's own Medicare actuaries.

Others got hush money, namely Nebraska's Ben Nelson. Even liberal Governors have been howling for months about ObamaCare's unfunded spending mandates: Other budget priorities like education will be crowded out when about 21% of the U.S. population is on Medicaid, the joint state-federal program intended for the poor. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman calculates that ObamaCare will result in $2.5 billion in new costs for his state that "will be passed on to citizens through direct or indirect taxes and fees," as he put it in a letter to his state's junior Senator.

So in addition to abortion restrictions, Mr. Nelson won the concession that Congress will pay for 100% of Nebraska Medicaid expansions into perpetuity. His capitulation ought to cost him his political career, but more to the point, what about the other states that don't have a Senator who's the 60th vote for ObamaCare?

"After a nearly century-long struggle we are on the cusp of making health-care reform a reality in the United States of America," Mr. Obama said on Saturday. He's forced to claim the mandate of "history" because he can't claim the mandate of voters. Some 51% of the public is now opposed, according to National Journal's composite of all health polling. The more people know about ObamaCare, the more unpopular it becomes.

The tragedy is that Mr. Obama inherited a consensus that the health-care status quo needs serious reform, and a popular President might have crafted a durable compromise that blended the best ideas from both parties. A more honest and more thoughtful approach might have even done some good. But as Mr. Obama suggested, the Democratic old guard sees this plan as the culmination of 20th-century liberalism.

So instead we have this vast expansion of federal control. Never in our memory has so unpopular a bill been on the verge of passing Congress, never has social and economic legislation of this magnitude been forced through on a purely partisan vote, and never has a party exhibited more sheer political willfulness that is reckless even for Washington or had more warning about the consequences of its actions.

These 60 Democrats are creating a future of epic increases in spending, taxes and command-and-control regulation, in which bureaucracy trumps innovation and transfer payments are more important than private investment and individual decisions. In short, the Obama Democrats have chosen change nobody believes in—outside of themselves—and when it passes America will be paying for it for decades to come.


Got stuck behind this dope on the drive in today. You could not see her brake lights, or indicators. Almost hit her when she turned left. And the thing is, this snow storm in Boston was light, low water-content snow. Honestly all it took was about 10 seconds of brushing to clean off the Tahoe. So.....


Copenhagen Fail

We all know that the Copenhagen treaty was a failure. Here might be some things you dont realize:

1) The smaller nations, the G77 bloc, dont care about the climate. They care about money. The EU offered to cut emissions 80% by 2050. The G77 ignored them. "Climate change" is a way to demand money out of the developed world. If anthropogenic climate change is accurate, and the exepected effects are accurate, then the developed world does owe the rest of the world for using up a common good. However, none of that has been proven yet, and all the developed nations want right now is money.

2) The NYT is so partisan and full of BS, I can hardly believe it. Reading this "news story" makes you think Copenhagen was some sort of success. It was worse than the expected worst case of a political agreement - there was no agreement. Developing nations simply "took note" of the accord, and have not agreed to it. Fail.

3) It represents a a shift in international institutional framework. As one delegate put it, Copenhagen was "a coup d'etat against the authority of the United Nations." The reason is that instead of the consensus building of Kyoto and the UN, Copenhagen was set up to be lead and organized by certain powerful nations to the detriment of the poorer/smaller nations. Want to talk to sub-saharan Africa? Talk to South Africa. South America? Brazil. South Asia? India. I personally think this is practical, but it is important to note the change and possible future implications.

Best car commercial of all time

Web 2.0 fail: Comments

Comments are one of the big innovations of web 2.0. They let users engage, give feedback, build a forum of ideas and diverse opinions. Yeah.

Reading comments is like staring into the sun. I try and avoid it. I know it will be painful and bad for my head. But every once in a while, you just have to do it.

For example, this article, then comment:

Majority of U.S. Cocaine Supply Cut with Veterinary Deworming Drug

Cocaine's a hell of a drug, and even more so when laced with another drug that's commonly used to deworm opossums. Federal agents have found that 69 percent of cocaine shipments seized entering the United States contain levamisole, a veterinary drug linked to serious weakening of the immune system in humans. Here's the real funny part: no one knows why.

Rest of article cut, go here if you want to read:

Then the comment:

It's cut with a drug that causes the immune system to shrivel up and die for the same reasons there's immune-system attacking chemicals in all the vaccination shots and why there's fluoride in our water(it's not for cleaner teeth, buddy).

The #1 agenda of the worlds super-leaders is de-population. That's right. Call me loony.

Google fluoride toxicity and do some research.

While you're at it, google vaccine squalene. Then google vaccine thermisol.

The only people who endorse this crap are "Officials" of our government and the World Health Organization. And the studies done do "de-bunk" these claims are FUNDED by the same people making the product.

If you see the word "Offical" it's a red flag for "BS"

Another comment:

Have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water? Vodka, that's what they drink, never water. On no account will a Commie ever drink water, and not without good reason. Water is the source of all life. Seven-tenths of this earth's surface is water. Why, do you realize that seventy percent of you is water? As human beings, you and I need fresh, pure water to replenish our precious bodily fluids. Are you beginning to understand? I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure-grain alcohol. Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation. Well, do you know what it is? No you don't! Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face. Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, I tell you, children's ice cream!...You know when fluoridation began?...1946. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it?....

This one goes on, gets even weirder and seriously off subject, head over to the page to read more.

Dont have time to write much this morning, but basically, its out there for all to see: comments lower the intellectual value and interest of the internet, not raise it.

RIP Saab, a sad day

This one really makes me sad. I have a soft-spot for SAABs, as both of my parents had 9000's growing up, and they were great cars. I almost bought a 9000 when the Expedition broke down, but the Tahoe just made more sense.

GM announced today that after 20 years of mismanagement and unable to complete a sale within the window they set, Saab will be shut down.

Anyway, as a small tribute, here are my all time favorite Saab models:

Saab 900 SPG

The 80's Saab 900 Convertible, supremely classy and as a friend of mine once put it: "the only car with a collar"

The Saab 9000 Turbo

The never to see the light of day 2010 Saab 9-5

And this gratuitously awesome Saab photo:

Al Gore, Green Investment, An Inconvenient Truth

So, had not really paid attention to this one before, but since 2004 Al Gore has been a partner in a private investment fund. The purpose of the fund? To generate returns by investing in companies which are positioned to benefit from a "green" economy.

Massive conflict of interest in then being a cheerleader for the effects of climate change? Not exactly from the goodness of his heart...

On a related note, a couple great excerpts from a editorial on Copenhagen etc:

"The raid on the Western treasuries is on again, but today with a new rationale to fit current ideological fashion. With socialism dead, the gigantic heist is now proposed as a sacred service of the newest religion: environmentalism.

One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it's an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man's guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale too."


"This naked assertion of vast executive power in the name of the environment is the perfect fulfillment of the prediction of Czech President (and economist) Vaclav Klaus that environmentalism is becoming the new socialism, i.e., the totemic ideal in the name of which government seizes the commanding heights of the economy and society.

Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet."

The sailing stones of Death Valley

This is a pretty amazing phenomenon - in Death Valley there are stones that slide along the valley floor, with no known cause.

Check out the article, mostly for the pics, then go here if you want more info:

The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley

Posted on 17 November 2009 by

It is one big mystery that a stone that weighs more or less like a man can move on its own. This has become quite a puzzle for the past decade. The mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley have been discovered to slide over valleys that people do not live in. These valleys are filled with dry cracking muddy ground during summer and ice during winter. Many geologists have gone to all the places in Racetrack Playa and its surrounding.

sailing stones 1

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sailing stones 5

The mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley slide on very smooth ground and leave a trail behind. Some geologists came up with the conclusion that the mysterious sailing stones of death valley move through the smooth ground when the mud is wet and the stones have little ice droplets on them with the help of the wind. This is however not entirely true because the stones move during the summer when the temperature is too high and even dries the stones themselves.The mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley not only slide on smooth ground but dig and leave shallow track in their wake.

sailing stones 7

sailing stones 6

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The mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley are a magnificent phenomenon in the sense that they can take different turns around each other. This is mind challenging because the mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley start moving in a parallel direction.

sailing stones 10

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sailing stones 13

sailing stones 14

sailing stones 15

As the years proceed, each stone takes its own different path. Some stones make linear turns others make oval turns while others create a wavy shape on their tracks. No one has ever seen them move and nobody knows the speed they move with. The mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley turn while they are sliding through the flat leveled valley and this leaves different tracks behind them. Some stones move further than others over two to five years.


I am very interested in Detroit, as one of the only modern, and certainly the largest example of a failed city.

I have written about this before, and will again, but in the meantime, there is this crazy before and after picture to show just how much Detroit has lost:


Smartphone Market Share

Yup, Windows Mobile is dying, Palm is breathing but not gaining much as Sprint only, Nokia barely exists in the smartphone world, Blackberry is a Juggernaut even without a useable browswer or fancy multi-touch screen based phones (how many Storms are in use? 15? 20?) and the iPhone is still gaining market share. The battle for the future of the portable computer is well underway, and Microsoft and Nokia (the worlds largest software and phone companies respectively) are way behind the pack.

2010, with Maemo for Nokia, a new Symbian for Nokia, and Windows Mobile 7, should be interesting to watch.

Worst Aston Martin

I love Aston Martins. Love them. Want to own one so badly I would consider renting out the basement apartment of my chateau on Lake Constance to pay for one.

But not this one.

Aston Martin decided to take a Toyota iQ, a little city car, and make the Cygnet, a little city car Toyota made to look sorta like an Aston.

This this is real. And they are going to sell it.

Now, for minor redemption, they are going to sell it only to those that own real Astons. Thankfully. So basically, what this is is a statement as your drive around the city that "my other Saab is a turbo Aston is a DB9" only this time, it is actually true. Probably. Until someone sells these things on the used market.

Also, if I owned an Aston, why the hell would I want to drive this? Then again I have a cousin who had a Porsche 911 GT2, and now a Maserati Quattroporte, along with a Smart Car... so I suppose there might be a market.

Worlds 10 largest oil companies (Exxon is 3rd)

Quick little list from a source we use at work. Interesting I think to point out where oil money mostly flows to, and the size of the industry.

Exxon, the world's largest public company and the record holder for the most profitable, is the third largest oil company:

  1. Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)
  2. NIOC (Iran)
  3. Exxon Mobil (US)
  4. PDV (Venezuela)
  5. CNPC (China)
  6. BP (UK)
  7. Shell (UK/Netherlands)
  8. ConocoPhillips (US)
  9. Chevron (US)
  10. Total (France)
I find it amusing that the oil majors get such bad press and general public anger, when it is really the state-owned national oil companies which finance anti-capitalist, anti-American, and anti-democratic policy, terrorism, and radicalism. The more production we can get from Exxon, and the less from PDV (side note: dont buy gas at Citgo), the better off we are.

BA Cabin Crew

The cabin crew union of British Airways has voted to strike over Christmas. Their union has told them they will get their pay, plus an extra 30 GBP per day. And they dont see negative consequences.

This is why I hate unions in the modern day. They dont lead to rational action in the best interests of their members. They lead to short-sighted irrational action which will eventually destroy their livelihood, or at least curtail it greatly.

The automotive industry in the UK? There is now Lotus, Rolls, Aston, and TVR. How many are owned by Brits? None. And they are all tiny.

The railroads in the US? Killed by featherbedding and union rules. Instead I have to be almost killed by a 18 wheeler every time I am on long drive.

The US auto industry? Peaked in 1972 (not joking - that's the year they made the most cars) and has been on the decline since.

Whats good for consumers is that someone else always steps in and picks up the slack. What is sad to see is when unions kill off otherwise good companies.

So I hope you make it BA, though you can be a pain sometimes.

Pelosi = POS

Anyone not following the truly underhanded tactics used by Democrats recently (actually, the Dems have generally been bigger proponents of sleaze, though both parties are guilty) take a look at how Pelosi is planning to increase the cap on US debt.

Instead of having any real debate about it, she announced they are going to tack the provision to allow about $1.5 trillion more in debt onto a must-pass military spending bill to pay for the ongoing wars.

This comes after things like splitting the health care bill to hide costs, using underhanded committee tactics and cackling with evil laughter when she demands a G5 private jet for her personal use EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND, probably to promote a carbon-neutral lifestyle... she even made the Air Force buy 2 more G5's than they wanted and cut stuff they did want, just to make sure one would be available for her. Ok, that last one was not legistlative at all, but I really cant stand Pelosi.

Obama takes TARP money for personal slush fund

While not exactly true, the administration has decided that the best way to take money "not needed" for the TARP program (more on that in a minute) should be well, spent. Rather than oh, paid back to the people it was taken from (taxpayers). And there is a difference.

The spending will focus on small businesses. Specifically, ones Obama things are what this nation needs to grow. In other words, he has now set himself up as the Investor in Chief, in his omniscience allocating assets from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs to areas which fit with his anti-capitalist and green agenda.

As a sidenote, I would like to point out that I am actually a fan of government lead industrialization for developing countries, it is what turned Japan, China, the Asian tigers, and Brazil into what they are today. At the same time, this works when you are a developing, not developed country. As has been proven time and again, the government is terrible at allocating resources in a developed economy (Japan anyone?).

The only positive aspect of this further Keynesian spending plan is a one year elimination on capital gains tax for small business investment. A step in the right direction, but actually kind of dumb when you think about it, because it would seem to me it would encourage sellout out this year rather than buying in... might not be the case, but it certainly cannot encourage long-term investment. There are a couple other small tax benefits for small businesses, generally related to accounting, again, some of the only good ideas here.

It just really galls me that money which was not allocated through TARP because the government was unbelievably slow at allocating and distributing the funds--other than to Goldman and the companies Obama bought--now is being used as a slush fund by the administration rather than being put towards the national debt.

I wish this country had a balanced budget amendment. It really needs one.

Tiger's Bad Taste

I speak of course of Tigers love of big fake gaudy round ornamentation totally out of proportion to the body. In other words: the rims on his car.

Yeah. Forget the 294,590 women who have had an affair with Tiger. Take a look at this thing:

Notice anything stupendously wrong about it? Look at those rims... not only are they huge and gaudy... they are well, just ugly. First, ultralight rims with low-profile tires on a SUV just look dumb. It means you bought a huge truck that you can no longer use as a truck. Stupid. Its the same as putting offroad gear on a sports car... like this:
(full disclosure - I think if I owned a shitmaro like the one above, I might just have to do this to it, because it would be hilarious)

Back to the original thread - the 'Sclade with dubs is just not a good look. It had its time. 10 years ago. Maybe 5 years ago. Today, if you want a truck, buy a truck, keep it as a truck. The big wheels are just tacky.

Bad form Tiger, very bad form.


funny pictures of cats with captions

Quote of the Day

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

Why woot is amazing

Hilarious.. read all the way through.. this is what makes woot so fantastic:

Thermor BIOS Home Weather Station

Thermor BIOS Home Weather Station


  • + $5 shipping
1 Thermor BW970 BIOS Home Weather Station
I Want One!

Got something of value to say about today's Woot? You'd be the first. Somebody, anybody, give us a quality post. We're dying here.

My in-laws, I love ‘em…

...but they sure are kooky sometimes

Let me just give you three examples. One, they’re always convinced the apocalypse is imminent. The Y2K thing freaked them out of their skulls. When it didn’t precipitate the total collapse of civilization, do you think they felt embarrassed about it? Do you suppose it inspired them to re-evaluate their thoughts on the whole End Times thing? No way. They were just like “oh, well, guess we should get at all those preserves.” By 6/6/06, they were ready to panic again. Anyway, their new and revised deadline for armageddon is 2012, though they’re certain it could happen whenever.

Two, they’re obsessed with the weather. Whenever they call, they ask “what’s the weather like there? Did you get a lot of rain? We got a lot of rain here. They say it’s supposed to cool down over the weekend.” Honestly, I don’t care that much about the weather from moment to moment. Sometime in the fall, I get out my sweaters. In the summer, I put them away. When it rains, I don’t cut the lawn. There’s not a lot more to it than that.

But we got one of those Thermor home weather stations anyway, mostly just as a conversation piece for when the wife’s folks come to stay. It keeps track of a bunch of different data, and I can put the the indoor receiver part on a tabletop, or hang it on the wall, wherever it’s easiest to see. It displays a dozen key weather conditions, so we always have something besides THE END OF THE WORLD to talk about.

Finally, they smell intensely like prunes. I don’t know if that’s pheromonal, or just the preserves. But it’s weird.

Anyway, last time they visited, we were up late, and I was getting kind of fed up with all the meteorological small talk, so I took a kettle of piping hot water out to the garage where I keep the leaf blower and took the kettle and the blower out into the yard where the transmitter from our weather station is. I dumped it the hot water over the temperature sensor and into the rain gauge and blasted the leaf blower at the windspeed instrument and started screaming “CASCADES OF BOILING BLOOD FROM THE SKIES! LUCIFER STORMING THE GATES OF THE KINGDOM! IT’S THE END OF EVERYTHING!”

Oh, man, you should have seen them! I had a perfect view through the sliding glass door. I laughed so hard. It was awesome.

And that’s basically how I came to be in this acrimonious divorce proceeding, right there.

Warranty: 1 Year Bios Weather

Pretty hilarious spoof video from The Onion.. the best line for me was this:
"the insecure Uggs boots over jeans girls union.."

YouTube Fail

In-line advertisements. Thats all I have to say. YouTube, you are dying to me...


Bling teeth - not excatly a modern phenomenon

Just an interesting note here, not much to actually comment on, good stuff from Nat Geo:

Ancient Gem-Studded Teeth Show Skill of Early Dentists

jeweled teeth (grills) picture

May 18, 2009—The glittering "grills" of some hip-hop stars aren't exactly unprecedented. Sophisticated dentistry allowed Native Americans to add bling to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago, a new study says.

Ancient peoples of southern North America went to "dentists"—among the earliest known—to beautify their chompers with notches, grooves, and semiprecious gems, according to a recent analysis of thousands of teeth examined from collections in Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (such as the skull above, found in Chiapas, Mexico).

Scientists don't know the origin of most of the teeth in the collections, which belonged to people living throughout the region, called Mesoamerica, before the Spanish conquests of the 1500s.

But it's clear that people—mostly men—from nearly all walks of life opted for the look, noted José Concepción Jiménez, an anthropologist at the institute, which recently announced the findings.

"They were not marks of social class" but instead meant for pure decoration, he commented in an e-mail interview conducted in Spanish.

In fact, the royals of the day—such as the Red Queen, a Maya mummy found in a temple at Palenque in what is now Mexico—don't have teeth decorations, Jiménez said.

Other evidence of early Mesoamerican dentistry—including a person who had received a ceremonial denture—has also been found.

Knowledgeable Dentists

The early dentists used a drill-like device with a hard stone such as obsidian, which is capable of puncturing bone.

"It's possible some type of [herb based] anesthetic was applied prior to drilling to blunt any pain," Jiménez said.

The ornamental stones—including jade—were attached with an adhesive made out of natural resins, such as plant sap, which was mixed with other chemicals and crushed bones, Jiménez said.

The dentists likely had a sophisticated knowledge of tooth anatomy, Jiménez added. For example, they knew how to drill into teeth without hitting the pulp inside, he said.

"They didn't want to generate an infection or provoke the loss of a tooth or break a tooth."

Chrysler slips below Honda in US sales, extends plant shutdown, starts work on autobituary

Chrysler is dying. Honda now has a 200,000 car lead to take over as the 4th largest US automaker. This means that the "Big 3" are now "Three of the top Five" with Chrysler quickly slipping into the rearview mirror of the leaders, and under assault from Hyundai and Nissan.

They also announced they would be extending their holiday shutdown, due the oversupply of cars.

They have also formally apologized for the PT Crusier, Dodge Nitro, Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Dakota, Jeep Compass/Patriot, Dodge Avenger, 2nd generation Dodge Durango (have you had your fugly today?), Dodge Journey, Chrysler Crossfire and Chrysler Sebring. Sebring... *shudder*

Ok, the apology is a lie, but as I was thinking about all the terrible cars Chrysler currently (or very very recently) makes, I realized I included, well, pretty much every car Chrysler makes. Exceptions are as follows: 300c, Challenger, Charger, Ram, Viper, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Wrangler, and amazingly the best car that Chrysler makes: The Dodge Caravan.

By best, I mean "best in its category" not whether I would want to own one. So basically, Chrysler has Jeep, a decent truck, an aging sedan and a decent muscle car, and its one class leader is in a dying class (minivans.) Yikes. Why again did Fiat buy this colander-ship?

Best Christmas Decorations

Forwarded from Frankie, this is pretty classic:

“Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after two days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down.

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn’t realize that it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of the many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn’t take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.”

World Cup Draws

The World Cup draw is out, and the good news is that the UK should absolutely advance to the second round, and the US should too, and they are in the same group.

The other two in the group are Algeria and Slovenia, both teams that just made it into the finals. The opening game of the group is the US vs. the UK, which I look forward to watching, and am confident the UK should win.

In other placements, France gets a pretty cushy spot, which really is BS given that they only are in the finals because of a uncalled handball that would have put Ireland in instead if the refs were not either paid off or suffering from sudden myopia.

Science Czar Ignores Climategate

Our Science Czar (whatever the hell that means) was implicated in some of the CRU emails. Along with other Democrats, specifically senators, he would like the whole thing to go away and is thus ignoring it.

To do so he came out and said that the disputed emails cover only a fraction of accepted climate science, completely missing the point that the emails point to a endemic problem of lies and manipulation. If we had more emails (go Anonymous go) then we would, I am quite sure, have more lies and fraud.

Interestingly, here are some other opinions held or previously held (as in published in a book) by Obama's top science adviser:

• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force.

Now these generally come from a book published in the late 70's. When confronted he quite rightly said that dredging up opinions from 25years ago is not all that productive. Fair enough, but it still shows a strong willingness to accept the most radical of opinions (amusingly enough, at the time the big fear was global cooling). When he went on to talk about population control he said (this year):
"The motivation for looking at the downside possibilities, the possibilities that can go wrong if things continue in a bad direction, is to motivate people to change direction"

He also tells us that
global warming could cause the deaths of 1 billion people by 2020. And that sea levels could rise by 13 feet by the end of this century when your run-of-the-mill alarmist warn of only 13 inches.

Honestly, where the hell does Obama find these guys? And why are they in power? The issue is not simply that we have a Professor in Chief who has no experience and a tenuous grip on reality, his whole team is the same way.

Bretton Woods Opening Day

This is a quick vid I made of last weekend, opening day up at Bretton Woods, where topher and I did a little hiking and a lot of ripping fresh tracks (people, thankfully, were sticking to the groomers). I was rocking skinny sticks, so could not go switch in the heavy snow, but topher shredded it on his new Elizabeths.

GM sells 1% of China Operations for 20% of the Value

At first, it seems like a good deal. Dig a little deeper, and it seems like a terrible deal. Dig a little deeper, and it seems like a loan.

Basically, GM has agreed to sell 1% of its 50/50 JV with SAIC in China - which has been a major source of growth recently - for 20% of the value of the JV. While this is a good way for GM to raise money, it means ceeding control of one of its most important development opportunities. But, the agreement also has a provision that GM can buy back the 1% in the future "at a premium price." In other words, this is just a loan.

GM is obviously hurting for cash, so this is not a bad idea. But specifically, they have been told that they cant use their US $ from the Govt. etc to prop up Daewoo, which went belly up with bad debt earlier in the year. So, the China money will be used for Daewoo, while the US money goes towards freeing the company from the jackheel of the administration, something GM wants done as soon as possible.

The Surgedrawl

"If we have clear command from the President, the nation will follow"
-Sec Def. Gates

The comment was made to back up Obama's recently announced surgedrawl. Which I find hilarious, because the command is anything but clear.

We are sending more troops, but have set a definite date for the Tailban to break out the champagne

We are meant to send troops as soon as possible and on a rush schedule, but Obama took 3-4months to make this decision

We are fully committed to winning the war, fully committed to bringing our troops home, and fully committed to handing the war over to the Afghan "army"

The plan is meant to cost $30 billion, estimated by congress to cost $40 billion, and Obama forgot to ask Congress for any funding before announcing the plan. Wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

We will start withdrawals in July 2011, but will review the situation in December 2010, and will not withdraw if we have not me our targets and Afghanistan has not met theirs. So we have a definitive date for the start of the end, unless things are going to hell in a handbasket, and then we are stuck there.

According to Clinton "I do not believe we have locked ourselves into leaving" but "what we have done . . . is to signal very clearly to all audiences that the United States is not interested in occupying Afghanistan." Regardless of the English language shenanigans going on there (occupiers get kicked out, "not locked into leaving" implies they want us there) these two statements dont make sense together.

So there you have it, another unclear, undefined FP F-up from the Professor in Chief.


Jesper Parnevik on Tiger

Pretty hilarious, even though this one of the first and only times I will comment on gossip, this was too good to pass up.

Jesper Parnevik set up Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods as she had been working as a nanny for Jesper and his wife. His comment on the whole debacle:

"I'm kind of filled with sorrow for Elin since me and my wife are at fault for hooking her up with him, and we probably thought he was a better guy than he is.

"I would probably have to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of a three-iron."

Double Standard

I find it hilarious that the media made such a big deal over Condi Rice and other Bush advisers not wanting to testify in front of congress on issues that were national security concerns and where Bush needed frank, honest, and direct advice without advisers looking over their shoulders the whole time. Remember the firestorm about them refusing to testify? It was a big 'ol constitutional battle.

Now, in the vein of expanding all of the worst traits of his predecessors, the Obama camp is using the same constitutional argument to prevent Desiree Rogers from testifying on how she totally F*ed up the White House state dinner for India with the party crashers. Because, you know, party invitations are an area where congressional oversight would leave the POTUS without effective and incisive opinion from advisers. Yeah... hilarious.

Sprint Hands out customer GPS data like candy

This from engadget, and very not cool. There is of course no mention of how many times the other carriers handed out data, so there is no comparison, but I have to say I am pretty bothered by this.

Sprint handed customer GPS data to law enforcement over 8 million times last year

Privacy advocates and career criminals alike are in a lather over reports that between September 2008 and October 2009, Sprint Nextel ponied up customer location data to various law enforcement agencies more than 8 million times. Speaking at ISS World 2009 (a conference for law enforcement and telecom industry-types responsible for "lawful interception, electronic investigations and network Intelligence gathering"), Sprint Nextel's very own Paul Taylor, Manager of Electronic Surveillance, lamented on the sheer volume of requests the company's received in the past year for precise GPS data for Sprint customers. How did the company meet such high demand? Apparently, his team built a special "web interface" which "has just really caught on fire with law enforcement." We're glad that Sprint's plans to streamline the customer service experience don't stop short of those who serve and protect, but as the EFF points out, plenty of nagging questions remain, including: How many individual customers have been affected? Is Sprint demanding search warrants? How secure is this web interface? Check out an excerpt from Taylor's speech after the break.