Koenigsegg to buy Saab

This is a kind of odd one, but the Swedish press is reporting that Koenigsegg is in the bidding to buy Saab. Which would be really interesting, keeping the party Scandinavian. However, I would be kind of impressed if a boutique supercar maker (which cant be doing that well right now) has the money to put up to buy a much larger car company.

For those not familiar with it, Koenigsegg is the crazy Swedish company which is based on an old military airstip, buids its supecards in coverted hangars, and then flies buyers in on private jets (well, clients take their own jets). Their cars have set all kinds of records, including (I think) briefly holding the speed record before the Veyron showed up (and then all the crazy stuff that came after, like the SSC).

Koenigsegg builds things like this:
http://top-10-list.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/koenigsegg-ccx.jpg

And this (which is actually "green" in that it runs on biofuels:
http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/images/koenigsegg-ccxr-special-edition-rear.jpg

I can only imagine what it would do to one of these...
http://image.automotive.com/f/future_cars/2008/6698939/0609_z_2006_saab_9_5+front.jpg


Lets all hope that Saab is bought by Koniggssessggsessgs - and we get to see Saabs that have some sport put back in them. Maybe even a factory tuner model, or two?

Great Phone, Wrong Time: the Nokia 6800

My first cellphone was a Nokia 6800. I liked it because it was a solid phone, about the size of other phones at the time, it had a nice color screen, and above all because it had a qwerty keyboard.

It actually did not sell that well, because at the time, the keyboard on a "dumbphone" (I think blackberrys were the only "smart" phones at that point anyway) was not generally deemed to be necessary. Fast forward five years, and my Samsung Alias has become incredibly popular, along with tons of other dumbphones with qwerty keyboards. When teenagers started getting blackberrys just so they could text, cellphone makers were quick to respond.

That said, I still think the Nokia did it better. Unlike the Alias or new Alias 2, the keyboard was larger and easier to use.
http://1800hart.com/picks/wp-content/8248.jpg

On top of that, the call quality was very strong (cellphones have different radio capacities - I have never understood why this was not a stated statistic of the phone - for example, I would buy a larger bulkier phone if I knew that it got better reception - but it is never talked about). One of the best things about the phone was also the battery - it would last 3-4 days of normal use, and a week on standby.

So while I thoroughly like my current Samsung - particularly because it has most of the same benefits, but is 1/2 the size of the Nokia - I just wanted to point out a great phone that was just a little bit before its time.

Norm Wants: Jag XFR

I love Jags. I used to love them so much I had a small library of books devoted to them. I could (actually still can) tell you every model from about 1960 to today.

But when it came to buying my first or second car, Jags were nowhere on the top 10 list. To be honest, probably not even the top 100 list. They became impractical, dated, mechanically unreliable, overpriced, and in the case of the X-Type, rebadged Ford Mondeo's.

And then, just as Ford sells the brand, out comes the XF. One year later, they release the XFR, with a new 5.0l V8 finally replacing the err.. venerable (its life began in the 1960's).. 4.2l V8 .

And it is meant to be amazing. Incredible. Fantastic. More refined and elegant than a M5, more sporty and less boat-like than a S6 or Mercedes AMG somethingorother.

And it has another thing I like: Q-ship appeal. In other words, it looks pretty much like the base XF. (British Q-ships looked like merchant ships, but were actually armed to take down German U-boats). This means in my mind the two most desireable cars today, for me, are the RS4 and the XFR. They are actually pretty similar on a lot of fronts.

I think I would have to get the Jag, because, well, its a Jag.


$30

On my way up I95 yesterday, I passed two vans, one seriously sketchy, the other only mostly sketchy. The seriously sketchy van had a couple low tires, and one tire which was out of line, heavily tilting inwards.

Both had big stickers on the back: $30

That was it, not explanation. No mention of what the $30 was for. A ride from Providence to Boston? Ulimited one-way transportation? A ride across the Mexican border? The price of the van?

Nothing more was said. They were simply "$30"

Folk Tales, Hobbits, Collective Memory

Turns out-and I dont know why this was not talked about more, because I find it very interesting-that there were folk tales on the Indonesian island of Flores, home of homo floresiensis hobbits, of a mysterious race of little people called the "Ebu Gogo," who abducted children and spoke in murmurs.

I find it amazing that knowledge, in this case fear and mistrust, were passed down for so long that the stories were still alive today. This is of course true in many other contexts and settings, it is however all to easy to forget that many of the stories that we know and take for granted as foundations of our cultural heritage may have had their origins in collective memories from thousands if not millions of years ago.

ISS will die, Mir2 to live?

ISS is scheduled to be taken offline in 2015. To everyone who thinks that is remarkably soon given just how damn long we have spent building the thing, I agree. In actuality, the ISS wont be "complete" until 2011. Which means there will be 4 years with a "complete" station. Even if this is extended to 2020 as expected (assuming that the huge loads of govt. debt dont cause a global economic impolosion), it is still a pretty short lifetime for the completed station.

Turns out, the Russians agree. They are going to take their sections of the ISS, mate them to a new central hub, and use it as their next space station. As they actually have the most experience with space sations, notably the long-lasting Mir, they say they can keep components alive for up to 30 years, and just replace all the internal systems as they fail. I tend to agree with them actually - you've paid the damn launch costs, now use the thing as much as possible. The idea would be to use the base as a launching/staging post for Moon/Mars missions.

The downside is that this totally screws NASA (something the Russians dont seem concerend about) as it is the Russian modules which have all the propulsion, thus leaving the largest manmade object in space to crash... er.. anywhere. One fix to this is use the ESA''s ATV supply ships, which have strong propulsions systems. The problem is they are designed to dock with the Russian modules.

Russia's answer to NASA so far has charitably been: "The ISS is your baby, you figure out what to do once we leave."

Interesting to see what happens here. Of course, my hope is that by that time, there are semi-permanent private space stations, but I would hate to see humanity be left with no outpost in space at all.

Totally gratuitous is this picture of a candle in space vs. a candle on earth. I include it only because I think it is pretty amazing:
File:Space Fire.jpg

Quote of the Day

"Our army and people are fully ready for battle... against any reckless US attempt for a pre-emptive attack,"

- A N. Korean propaganda message to the UN.

Yeah... thats like saying the Ford Pinto is prepared if Concorde challenged it to a drag race.

To me the time to actually strike is before the crazy isolationist state with an insane dictator has nuclear weapons. If that fails (for political reasons or otherwise), plan b would be to strike before said crazy dictator has a nuclear weapon on the end of a rocket, and that rocket is pointed at you.

At least Obama has it right on this one, with US diplomats stating at the UN that N. Korea will pay for the nuclear+missile tests. I half expected the policy of "we'll pay:" the continuously failed efforts to offer the carrot instead of the stick to Ill Kim Jong Kim Ill.

Times square closed to cars

In a move that seems tied to London, New York has closed off Times Square and another section of Broadway to cars, in order to see what the area would be like as a pedestrian plaza.

Right now, it is really just a test stage, with temporary orange barrels blocking the way and a few lawn chairs and potted plants out in the street.

Though I appreciate how incredibly annoying it will be to some drivers, and I will miss the awe of going through Time Square at night in a car, I agree with the move, as I think most cites are well served by a central pedestrian mall, something NY has always been lacking.

NIF

The National Ignition Facility is the current latest and greatest attempt to achieve fusion. Essentially a whole ton of lasers designed to hit a little grain of hydrogen all at once, it is nearing completion after 15 years and $3.5 billion.

This is actually one of the few areas where I think govt. research is needed, and spending is a good thing. The technology is pretty incredible, and while the chance of actually achieving the objective is probably 50/50 at best, I hope that they actually make this one happen: it would be a monumental achievement for mankind.

From Laser Light to a Miniature Star

Porsche in trouble

The latest car company to be possibly facing bankruptcy is actually Porsche. Which is a big surprise. Seems that its massive bid to take over VW has been too costly, even with the nice little moves they pulled as hedge-fund Porsche made billions on a short squeeze and some options.

Turns out the 'little' company (they make less than 100,000 cars a year, though for years they were the worlds most profitable car company), now has over $12billion in debt, and almost went bankrupt in March.

Special deal on a Cayman anyone?
(and just for clarification, this is a Cayman:)
http://www.partstrain.com/images/The_Auto_Blog/Porsche-Cayman-S-010.jpg

not one of these, the awful-because it is something that should not exist-Cayenne:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/24/Porsche_Cayenne-1.jpg/800px-Porsche_Cayenne-1.jpg

Not Everything in China is cheap

When I read about the new OPhone - the next generation of the HTC G1 sold here in the US - I was impressed to learn two things:
1) The phone will launch with China Mobile, and will cost.... $730. That is a lot of money, in the US, and to me seems to be a ton for a phone in copy-happy China. Granted, that is similar to some of the "non-subsidized" prices in the US - such as if you really wanted that Nokia no carrier has picked up or something like that. But.. there was nothing stating it was that price... meerly that it was the listing price for the phone. Which means it is pretty damn expensive, in China.

2) China Mobile has 415million subscribers. Yeah.

New CAFE Standards Explained

When the US govt. put out new CAFE standards that car makers would have to hit 42mpg avg. for cars by 2016, I was amazed that the manufacturers actually supported the decision.

Thanks to Edmunds.com, I now know why.

Turns out that the EPA and CAFE formula for MPG was the same... in 1975. Since then, because it really did not line up with reality, the EPA formula has been changed twice. I still think it reads high, but thats another matter. The EPA numbers are what you see on the window of your new car, or when you look up your car's stats online.

The CAFE number, using the old method, would actually be much higher. According to Edmunds:
"a vehicle that scores an EPA combined rating of 29 miles per gallon actually contributes 39 MPG to its manufacturer's CAFE average. There are 29 car models and 36 truck models that already achieve the new standard, and about a third of the cars and half of the trucks are produced by a domestic automaker."

In other words, it is really not half as bad as I thought it was for the domestics, or for anyone for that matter. Everyone should be able to meet the target, especially if consumer demand shifts to lighter/smaller/cheaper cars and hybrids.
russian victory day
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/05/russia_observes_victory_day.html

Obama to America: "You are not smart enough to do math"

He may actually be right...

New CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards were announced today, supported by all the major players. Car companies like them because they give one single standard instead of the EPA, DOT and California all giving out different regs.

The rule dictates 42mpg for cars and 26mpg for light trucks (consumer trucks) by 2016.

Obama told the nation this would actually save us all money, as "Drivers will, over the life of the vehicle, save $2,800, on average," even though it raises the cost of vehicles. In other words: "America, you are not smart enough to figure out what balance of up front cost, performance, and fuel economy is best for you, so I am going to make the decision for you." The cynic in me says he may actually be right, but I still am firmly for consumer choice.

Anyways, its not as though we would be looking at anything different with anyone else in charge: mpgs are the order of the day it seems.

Interestingly, while both manipulate the market, the European scheme of just raising the cost of gasoline probably makes more sense, but it would have been political suicide in the US (heck, I think it makes more sense, but it would really piss me off).

Hubble Saved

The seriously risky and highly important mission to save/rebuild the Hubble has been completed. I'm sure you have read about it by now, but basically it gave the Hubble three new/upgraded sensors to use with that big 'ol telescope and extended its life for another 10 years.

Bonus feature not much talked about? Attaching a hook to Hubble so that it can be recovered instead of burned up - because that is one very historically important telescope. It and the Mars rovers are probably the two most memorable space missions in my lifetime (sure, there has been the ISS - but it has not really done anything).

Tesla Worth more than Chrysler

Ok, this is actually not exactly a fair title, as we all know Chrysler is worthless. But the reason I say this is because Daimler just bought a 10% chunk of Tesla (the silicon valley car company - maker of the electric lotuses) for "double digit millions." This is far more than the $0 they give to their 20% stake in Chrysler.

It is interesting because it essentially guarantees that Tesla will survive, and that the much hyped Model S will come to market. Personally, I think Tesla has to be bought out or it will be a failure, but we'll see.

Obama To Restart Guantanamo Tribunals

After the epic fail of trying to find another way of dealing with the issue, Obama has fugdged on his campaign promise and started up the Guantanamo Bay Tribunal system again, with some changes to make the system "fairer." I actually agree with this one largely, as limiting hearsay, allowing defendants to pick their own lawyers, and reducing implications from "taking the 5th" are all reasonable moves. Any evidence gathered from waterboarding has been disallowed, which I think is a dumb move in terms of the trials, but is obviously a vital political move.

Either way though, I dont see this one winning Obama many fans. Sure, I agree with it more or less, but the majority of the democratic constituency are and will be really against this. We may see (well, the general "we" as the last time I watched cable news was years ago) Fox News defending Obama this time around - which would at least be amusing.

Trademark

The application for a trademark is typically cryptic and unusable. However, having to go through every entry for consulting and a bunch of other keywords did lead to these gems:

Consultation in the field of clandestine drug lab site decontamination

Providing a interactive holistic web site featuring health information and patient initiated, patient authorized, fee-for-service, holistic approach distance healing sessions based on the patient's specific set of symptoms, medical profile and medical record analysis; and patient benefit information concerning organic and holistic products and services

Chryslers Top Creditors

This is the list of top 11 Chrysler creditors:
Chrysler Top Eleven Creditors
Ohio Module Mfg. Co. $70,337,248
BBDO Detroit Inc. $58,055,133
Johnson Controls Inc. $50,312,511
Continental Automotive $46,995,802
Cummins Engine Company $43,912,930
Germersheim Spare Parts $36,231,566
Comau Inc. $32,069,462
Visteon Corp. $25,608,790
New Process Gear $19,636,149
Denso International $18,704,831
US Taxpayers $10,000,000,000

Intel hit with $1.45 billion fine

The EU has imposed a $1.45 billion fine on Intel, and it seems with good reason. It was shown in the case that "Intel paid computer makers to postpone or cancel plans to launch products that used AMD chips, paid illegal, secret rebates so computer makers would use mostly or entirely Intel chips, and paid a major retailer to stock only computers with its chips."

Thats a pretty clear case of abuse and illegal tactics.

Sadly, it still leaves AMD today battered and bruised, a mere shadow of what it was 5 years ago. I love AMD, loved their chips in the K7-thunderbird-athlon-XP halcyon days when their chips were better, faster, and cheaper than Intel's. Unfortunately, due to advertising and seemingly also illegal dealins' AMD always got the short end of the stick. It recently was forced to sell off its manufacturing business, has slumped in the consumer segment, and can no longer compete at the top end of the market. At least it actually had a pretty good last quarter.

So, screw Intel (even though they make great chips) and buy AMD.

Bad News for Chrysler

Two important facts:
1) The lawyers for Chrysler's bankruptcy are asking to be paid first, instead of along with the secured debt-holders as is usually the issue. This is because they think that with the UAW, US govt., Canadian govt. and Fiat gobbling up all the good stuff, what is going to be left is.. well.. nothing. Which means nothing for debt-holders, secured or otherwise. Aren't secured debt-holders meant to get assets first? Well, yeah. Except when the govt. does feel that way... Welcome to the age of arbitrary decisions based on a policy of "Obama Knows Best"

2) Because of the plant shutdown (Chrysler is not building cars during bankruptcy) it will be very difficult for the company to start making cars again. Apart from the difficult logistics of stopping and starting the giant machine (and storing stuff like paint in the meantime), there is the issue of suppliers: suppliers are being forced to stop work as well, as many are already owed by Chrysler. The risk is that some/many go under or stop working on what Chrysler needs. Just like the mighty Boeing Dreamliner which was delayed due to a shortage of bolts, the failure of a 2nd tier or 3rd tier supplier to Chrysler could further delay getting everything running again.

Photo of the Day: IR shot of the Atlantis Launch

Ferrari to Quit F1 unless rules are changed

With Brawn GP dominating the track with its dubiously legal though certainly innovative diffuser combo, it is already a screwed up season in F1 (this weekend, Brawn GP - the former Honda team that never won anything, lapped Lewis Hamilton - the defending champ in a McLaren).

However, in their continued push to totally screw up the sport, the FIA and Bernie/Max are looking to impose a $40million cap on spending next year, as well as making the cars crappier and less exciting. The point of all this is to make every team competitive.

Turns out the "screw Ferrari" policies of the last decade have finally gone too far, and the prancing horse may prance off to greener pastures: namely the LeMans circuit (which is pretty damn fun to watch, and which Ferrari has been involved in as long as F1 more or less). Being the poster child of F1 and the only team to compete every year since its start 60 years ago, Ferrari leaving would be a big blow.

But its not just them. All the major teams are threatening to leave to one extent or another. The only teams which will stay are the 3 independents (including Brawn GP) who would have nowhere else to go anyway.

With all the major teams leaving, there has been the threat of splitting off and forming a new series, reminiscent of the IRL/Indycar showdown that was such a disaster, but on a much grander scale.

One would hope that F1 would learn from NASCAR and their "car of the future" which standardized cars and made every team more or less equal. The fans hated it. NASCAR is down 20% in attendence and TV "eyeballs" since 2005, when it peaked.

Competition is fun, yes, but so is supporting and following one of the all time-great teams, when they are kicking ass or in a close rivalry with one or two other teams. This works well in soccer, football, baseball, basketball, just about every major sport. Why they think F1 should change I dont know, lets hope they get some sense knocked into them, perhaps in one Max Mosely's dubious recreational moments.

Obama = Spock?

A bunch of new editorials, including one in the NYT, are saying that Spock is a precursor or some kind of analogy for Obama.

Please.

Ok Maureen Dowd wrote one of them, which pretty much automatically puts in in this shit pile. You can read it here and it is pretty much one of the most illogical, mishmashy, poorly written articles every to be published, also DONT READ IT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE (dont say you weren't warned). She tries to say 1,000 things at once and manages to say nothing but impress a general feeling on the reader that Obama is a great and logical leader... who likes newspapers... and newspapers are threatened... ok it does not make a damn bit of sense.

But still, if there is one thing that defines Obama it is not logic and reason. Literary and movie criticism has made some large leaps of logic before, but to claim that there is some connection between Spock and Obama? I would have thought that only art-history professors took those kinds of magical bounds.

Seriously, I think there is more of a similarity between Chewbacca and Obama than him and Spock. Chewy has broad appeal across ethinic and national lines and has a way of delivering lines which really bring out emotion. Spock and Obama? They share somewhat similar facial features, and that is about it.

Why I love Dogs

I love dogs... and I think this is completely true, and funny = )


funny pictures of cats with captions

The Pirate Bay Rules: DDo$

This is why I love the Pirate Bay.

When they were forced to pay $30million SEK (about $3.5million) they came up with a very novel way of doing it, instead of a DDoS (denial of service) a DDos$ (denial of $).

They are asking internet users to each pay 1SEK ($0.13) to the lawfirm for the recording industry, using a Swedish online payment system. The bank account which funds are meant to be paid into gets 1,000 free transfers, after which, each transfer costs 2SEK. On top of that is the hassle and paperwork of handling the thousands of trasactions.

Looking at the numbers, it could end up costing the lawfirm 10-20million SEK instead of getting paid anything at all.

Why do I hate the lawfirm, the trial, and the recording industry so much? The trial was conducted in a heavily biased manner, with a judge who is a member of the recording industry assosciation. The Pirate Bay 'founders' should not be liable for what users put on their website - the is one of the basic tenets of the internet.

w00t w00t pirate bay... keep it up.

Big Brother Wisconsin Style

A Wisconsin judge has just ruled that it is legal for the police to track your car with a GPS unit without a warrant or even probable cause.

The legal argument is that the police could do this anyway by following you around, so it falls under the same category.

Of course, the ACLU is rightfully up in arms about this, and hopefully we see a new case or a appeal where sanity prevails.

Norm's Movie Review: Star Trek

I loved this movie. I think the biggest challenge it faces is people not going to see it because it is Star Trek and they did not watch Star Trek as a kid. The movie is fast paced, but still has good characters and a good plot. The special effects are great, but it does not really rely on them overly. The plot itself is good and does do a very good job of relaunching the Star Trek as a series/going concern. In other words, it is in my opinion this is a very well rounded, very good summer action movie. And on top of that, if you do love Star Trek, there are some moments which are hilarious or spectacular or hilariousspectacular. It is a prequel in the best way, where you see the young characters you know later in their lives, and they mesh very well with what comes later, while still remaining unique and interesting.

For me, the Next Generation was my Star Trek, and I never really watched much of the original. It hardly matters. The movie is entertaining all the way through and a special treat for anyone who watched the original or even The Next Generation.

German Hog

Nope, this is not some credible alternative to Harley coming out of Germany.

This is about hogs, the porcine kind. Turns out that wild boars are trying to take over Germany. Scientists think their numbers have expanded by 320% in the country last year alone. That is a lot of angry, unfriendly, intelligent and ugly pigs running around. The only upside is they are supposedly good 'eatin.


Turns out the population explosion is likely due to mild winters and an increase in corn cultivation - one of their favorite foods. What is not fully know is why German boar litters average 7-8 uncute-piglets, while other European litters average only 4-5, however the likely speculation is it is due to the large quantities of food around.

The boars have been reported attacking people, killing pets, and digging up corpses in cemeteries. Actually, it turns out that they are a big fan of cemeteries, which is really disgusting and fair bit disturbing. One word: zombies.

Germany is not the only country hit, with the American south (the hogs of the American south are descendants of the eurotrash hogs). Turns out that though there are no hard numbers on growth, it is widely agreed that the 4 million hogs in the south are rapidly becoming millions upon millions of hogs. Missouri has gone so far to put the following message to hunters on its Web site: "If you encounter a feral hog while hunting deer or other game, shoot it on sight." Hogs are known to carry the flu, anthrax, brucellosis, solanum, pseudorabies, and tuberculosis.

Further evidence of the hog/zombie theory comes from the Telegraph in the UK:
"Federal strike teams armed with machine guns stage aerial assaults while landowners in badly affected areas turn to a growing band of private trappers and hunters."

It always seems that hardy omnivorous animals do the best around humans. Hogs definitely fit the bill. It seems their time has come. Build your hog/zombie shelter now and prepare for the worst.

GM Bankruptcy Plan: Help the Govt. and UAW, screw the creditors

Is it just me, or is there a theme emerging here? A theme of screw Wall St. screw investors, and screw capitalism? The current plan for the expected GM bankruptcy will leave the govt. with 50% of the company, the UAW with 39%, creditors with 10%, and stockholders with 1%.

Fair? No. Russian? Yes. Well, not really Russian. More French actually.

I understand that a company has an obligation to its workers, but it also has an obligation to those who own the company (shareholders) and those who the company owes (debtholders). The current plan, as in all Obamasocialistfrenchanticapitalistidioticpopulistdumbasshitism plans screws over these latter two as they are they are the evil capitalists using their factories and wealth to enslave the proletariat and take away its humanity. Whoops.. slipped into a little Marx there.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone worked on what they wanted, owned the full result of their work-product, were paid according to their needs, and all helped each other out in a great circle of benevolence?

Budget Proposals

One of the biggest problems I have with political budget proposals--of any party or politician--is their treatment of real money and funny money on an equal field. To some extent, this is necessary to compute the "total cost" but it is also not exactly accurate.

A current proposal is to spend $1.72 billion over five years “to fight health-care fraud and reduce improper payments.” The budget then states this will save $2.67 billion and thus taxpayers will be better off to the tune of $0.95 billion.

Except they wont.

We all know that the money will be used unwisely, that issues such as health-care fraud are many-headed hydras, and the govt. throwing a huge amount of money at an issue is not likely to resolve it. In the end the taxpayer will have added one more line of spending to their list of supported programs and will see almost nothing for it. The money spent is real, but the money gained is an intangible, an imperceptible benefit. Who is to say how much was saved.

I wouldn't really have a problem with a private company doing the same kind of thing when they run projections, because they have an incentive to succeed. Govts. dont. There is no competition, no other goverments working to take their market share.

Perhaps there should be.

Quote of the Weak

“We cannot continue down the same dangerous road we’ve been traveling for so many years, with costs that are out of control, because reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait.”

I agree totally, but completely out of context. This was Obama talking after he received a commitment from the health care industry to cut costs... however, the cost cutting was largely expected to come in the form of reducing red tape and regulation. Good so far. However, Obama still wants public health care. Yes, this would "control costs" to the consumer, but what does econ teach us about govt. subsidies? Not a good thing, almost ever. And how about "controlling costs" for the US govt? Bush and Obama together will have left this nation bankrupt.

What amazes me is that at the same time they can realize the only way to cut costs for the industry is to reduce regulation, and then propose govt. involvement (the opposite of this) in order to further reduce costs. How can that possibly, in any way, make sense?

Stop the Swine Flu, Kill the Pigs?

In what is being widely regarded as a seriously dumb move, Egypt has collected and culled a large number of the pigs raised within its borders in an effort to stop the spread of "swing flu."

One would hope that someone inside the government would have the intelligence to realize (or to simply listen to the UN) that swine have nothing to do with the current form of the virus. The virus developed from a pig flu, but its current form infects and is spread by humans.

Egypt... where oh where did you go wrong?

Texting while driving... a train...

So the cause of the recent T crash in Boston has been figured out. Turns out the guy was texting and failed to notice the large parked train in front of his braincell deprived nogin. I hope the text was really really important, because there were a lot of people in the hospital who did not need to be.

Obama plans to save $17 billion in 2010

This may, at first, seem to have some real meaning. But it doesn't. The administration plans to spend $3.6 Trillion in 2010. So, the $17 billion cut equals... less than 0.5%. And most of that cut wont even happen, as about half are social programs that certain Democratic constituencies are a big fan of.

It seems the only major casualty will be the F-22. Which is blatantly, stupidly, idiotic. The reason? The F-22 has been proven to be extremely effective, a game changer in the air. It is so far beyond current (gen 4.5) aircraft that is often referred to as gen 6. It is an amazing piece of hardware we need to maintain a strategic advantage. And it is the one thing that will be cut. I'm pretty sure that out of the $3.6 TRILLION there are probably programs more deserving of cuts than one of the most successful new aircraft in history.

The ISS is big

The ISS is actually a pretty large hunk of metal floating around in space. I just watched the new Star Trek movie, and it got me thinking how close to that are we? Of course, we are not close at all... but still, the ISS is pretty impressive...

http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/gizmodo/2008/11/ISS-size-comparison.jpg

subs - china - big one

http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKTRE5400QF20090501?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

Chavismo Nationalization of Oil Service Companies

What do you do when your state-owned oil company is behind $13.8 billion on payments to contractors, your national debt is spiraling out of control, and you are falling behind your peers because your poorly run nationalized companies?

You nationalize the companies which service the oil sector, according to Hugo. Venezuela has now nationalized all oil service companies.

Sadly, it seems he has been giving lessons to Obama, as BoA is forced to take on capital from they dont want after being told last fall the board and CEO would be replaced if they tried to back out of the Merrill merger.

Uggs

I drove past Tufts a little earlier, and there was a girl walking along with her jeans tucked into calf-high furry Uggs. I looked down at my dash, and yep, it was 79 degrees. Am I missing something? Because to me, she looked like an idiot.

GM Kills Cobalt SS

One of the few really good cars made by the General was the Cobalt SS. It was not great at the start, but the changes for 2009 made it one of the best performance bargains this side of the 'vette. Of course, you would have to get over the fact that you looked like hick (because who else tunes cheap American econocars), but it would have been a sweet ride.

And, because of GM's near-deathness, it will be gone in 2010.

Mutemath

This is a good song and a sweet music video. I like it, because instead of spending huge money, they made a great music video in 12 minutes (how long it took to shoot, in total).


Real Hobbits

More information about the "real hobbits" has come to light, and it further proves that the Lord of the Rings is actually a historical text. The hobbits (found on the island of Flores) had abnormally large flat feet.

Along with being about 3ft tall, this is further proof that they are a distinct species, and not just a homo erectus who got shorter due to living on an island.

In other words, they looked something like this:
http://lilithlotr.ejwsites.net/2003calendar/hobbits-rivendell.jpg

Sweet pic of the day

This is WhiteKnightTwo in flight, and it looks sweet.

The "Big Three"

The "big three" future car companies are likely to be Toyota, Fiat, and VW (Porsche), if everything continues going as it is.

One guarantee of the current auto world is that it wont continue like it is, but still, it is interesting to think that the largest three automakers will all be non-US. A different world.

Get 'yer hot fresh windows

Want to know what your PC will look like in 2 years?

Didn't think Vista was worth the time and effort?

Like free stuff?

Then go here to download the official new release candidate of Windows 7.

I personally am pretty stoked for this, though sadly, I dont really have a second comp that I can try this on (its still just a release candidate, so it will be buggy and not yet ready for primetime).

The only downside is that your shiny new free OS will turn itself off at the end of July 2010. Which, all things considered, is pretty much a great deal.

full link:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/download.aspx

Crucifixion

To paraphrase from on of the greatest speeches of all time, it seems the overall Obama plan is to crucify this country on a cross of righteousness.

Every one of his actions is aimed at creating a system whereby the "deserving" are given the money of the "greedy," where the govt. arbitrarily rules in order to "protect those who cannot protect themselves," and above all, do what is "morally right."

The end result will be a crucifixion, a sacrifice of the most powerful nation on earth to the most base desires of man. This country will be punished for its long history of success and achievement. It will be torn down piece by piece to prove that no man is worth more than another, that the value of a company is in the number of people it employs, that to work for money is greed but to be valued highly for beauty or athletic ability is the pinnacle of achievement, that true value is only created in taking away, not adding to.

It is a crime, and a crime that few see and fewer oppose. It is a travesty of social evolution, a triumph of the mob, and a failure of the human spirit.

Obama's Tax Plan: Even Democrats Know its Dumb

The U.S. has “a broken tax system” that is “full of corporate loopholes that makes it perfectly legal for companies to avoid paying their fair share,”according to Obama....

Following on from what to do and not do in a recession is the Obama tax plan which will cut overseas tax breaks. I had to listen to an idiotic Irishman arguing this morning that this will not hurt American companies, instead it will force them to "compete on the value of their products." Supposedly he was actually employed at some kind of tax institute. I suspect this is where most orangutans retired from animal testing find employment. Actually, I really like orangutans... I dont think they would fit in there.

The facts are these:
The plan would end offshore-tax loopholes which allow US companies to close some of the gap with the competetive advantage the rest of the world enjoys. Yes they are "tax-loopholes," but loopholes that allow you to escape the most bloated and ridiculous tax system in the world.

The US is one of the only countries to tax all income, not just income inside the country. For example, the US taxes corporate revenues in Italy. Italy taxes corporate revenues in Italy, but not revenues in the US. Yes - Europe has a better corporate tax structure than the US. When Daimler and Chrysler merged, the land of the free Germany was chosen as the corporate headquarters to keep taxes down. This is now frequently a major concern in across-the-pond mergers, as European companies are afraid of becoming non-competitive if they are subjected to US tax laws.

The US is in the middle of a recession. Many of the largest companies will be hit hard by the proposal. Obama's take: this will be good for America because jobs will move back to the US and I can use the money to give to the downtrodden and disadvantaged who have never had a chance because of big evil companies (okay, I extrapolated a little.) Anyone who understands basic economics take: this is a fucking idiotic time to tax American companies more. Also, if we are going to reform the tax law, lets reform the tax law, not close a loophole that allows American companies to be competitive, drive companies overseas, and make the US economy even weaker in the long run.

Has Obama ever taken a history class? It amazes me the steps that he is taking. I wish I could transport him back in time to the early 80's in the UK, where he could get run over by a mob of "poor, disadvantaged" mine workers living in shitting conditions in the middle of a crappy economy.

You want more scary shit? Under the proposed tax law the burden of proof would be on the indivdual when the IRS claims you have offshore assets. In other words, you are guilty as charged until you can prove yourself innocent. Fucked up? Hell yeah.

The only decent thing to come out of this is that many Democratic senators think it is a dumb plan. If you read through the rhetoric of what they are putting out, they realize that it is the wrong step at the wrong time.

Bush may have been a "Cowboy," but Obama is worse: a College Professor running the country.

What to do in a recession

Things to do in a recession:
1) Repeal unnecessary taxes
2) Repeal restrictions on trade
3) Encourage free market competition generally
4) Cut govt. spending
5) Repeal regulations with undue burdens on corporations

Things not to do in a recession:
1) Spend like the dollar is going out of fashion (which it will be)
2) Nationalize any non-competitive company - threaten anyone who disagrees
3) Erect barriers to trade and promote buying "American" products
4) Protect special interest labor groups
5) Engage in multi-million dollar flyby of the Statue of Liberty in order to create new press shots

Chrysler Creditors

After being consistently scolded by the Obama administration for not giving up their debt and accepting a VEBA/Fiat/US Govt owned Chrysler, senior debt-holders are supposedly being investigated by local police and the FBI.

This is mostly rumor at this point, but the rumor seems largely confirmed.

A scary place we are living in today. What right does anyone have to stand up to the "needs of the people?"

An interesting question Frankie asked me at one point is "where is Galts Gulch?" For those who dont know Atlas Shrugged this wont mean much, but for those who do, it is an interesting question without a good answer, thoughts?

Lolcats goodness


funny pictures of cats with captions

White Knight Two in Flight

Virgin Galactic is going strong, and the 2nd gen White Knight carrier vehicle is flying around... and looking good.


Apple Squashes the little guy

It has long been known that while Apple positions itself as the plucky little guy compared to Microsoft, it is not really that good at actually pleasing people.

Because of design, because of desire, because of fanboy tech love, Apple has a very very strong following. But it has always treated people like crap. Its tech support is notorious. Its manufacturer warranty terms are draconian. And now, you can add to this its total screwing-over of developers.

While the iPhone app store has been a huge success, and one that now dominates all iPhone advertising, the actual developers are not getting paid. Supposedly, Apple takes 30% of revenues and passes the rest on to developers. This is meant to happen on a monthly basis. It is not. Instead, there are cropping up thousands of stories of developers getting nothing for months.

The sad part is these are often work-from-home out-of-a-tech-job types who are relying on this revenue to pay the bills. So Apple's either a) tardyness, b) cheap as way to get short term liquidity or c) both of the above is causing real-world pain.

Of course, as Apple is the Obama of tech companies (or maybe Obama is the Apple of politicians?) they are hardly catching any flack for this at all.

Long live Windows.