Director of the CBO on Cap and Trade, and Climate Change Truth

Follow this logic:

"a relatively pessimistic estimate for the loss in projected real gross domestic product [GDP] due to climate change is about 3 percent…by [the year] 2100"

"
Reducing the risk of climate change would come at some cost to the economy. For example, the Congressional Budget Office…concludes that the cap-and-trade provisions of H.R. 2454…would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) below what it would otherwise have been—by roughly ¼ percent to ¾ percent in 2020 and by between 1 percent and 3½ percent in 2050. By way of comparison, CBO projects that real (inflation-adjusted) GDP will be roughly two and a half times as large in 2050 as it is today, so those changes would be comparatively modest."

Yeah, and even more "modest" in 2100. The cost in 2050 is still $500billion, which is $500billion less to divide among American citizens - lower standards of living, less economic opportunity, less housing, less social welfare, less everything.

And why?

Read this excellent article from the telegraph. Unlike my usual modus operandi I will not just post it here because it is very very long. So be prepared to sit down for a good read that will change your view on GHG emissions and global warming.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/6425269/The-real-climate-change-catastrophe.html


One great quote from the article:
“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly exaggerated computer predictions combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.” - Prof Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy, one of the most distinguished climatologists in the world, who has done as much as anyone in the past 20 years to expose the emptiness of the IPCC’s claim that its reports represent a “consensus” of the views of “the world’s top climate scientists”.

Great Quote

I dont normally read comments on articles (it is one of the most useless aspects of Web 2.0 in my opinion), but fortunately the crowd at NewScientist seems to be better than most, so I read more of the comments.

And today, I was rewarded, coming across this:

"The FAA doesn't comission/build and operate aircraft, so why does NASA have to comission/build and operate space craft?"

While I think NASA should be involved on the science and research side, I dont think it should be building the rockets anymore. Let private companies do that, NASA can pay to fly, and we might actually be able to move ahead.

Proof "Sport" SUV Drivers Can't Drive

I usually spend time yelling at people in front of me to find the skinny pedal on the right. Often they are driving sport/luxury/SUV/crossovers. However, in this case, one such driver found the skinny pedal on the right at just the wrong time.. hilarity ensues.

535 New "board members" with agendas

The basic premise of a board of directors is that it is independent from the company and does not have conflicts of interest.

As the varied companies of USA Inc. are finding out, the 535 new "board members" they picked up when the government bought them out are heavily biased, have agendas, and have serious conflicts of interest.

I speak of course of the members of Congress, who right now are fighting GM, Chrysler, AIG etc etc to not close that office, reinstate that contract with a mine in their home state, re-open a dealership that was meant to be closed etc etc etc. In other words, business as usual for the conniving idiots who run this country (on both sides of the isle, in every corner of Washington, they all love their pork and bullshit).

The end result will of course be that those companies dont do very well. If you force companies to do things that are in your constituents "best interests" instead of the companies best interests and at the same time scare off most of the management by having some socialist pay czar, the end result is a lot of big failed floundering whales out of water.

Here is a great quote, pulled from the WSJ:

"Three days later, Rep. Rehberg (R, MN) called for a congressional hearing on the voided contract. GM, he said at the time, 'ought to be subjected to the same rigorous oversight we exercise over any other government agency.'"

The thing is, the answer to this, which we are already seeing, is to make it "unamerican" to compete with companies owned by the US Government. The govt. will then see the only solution as expanding the government's power to prevent "harm to the american people."

Let me give you another example of this... very hard to think of one... oh yeah, healthcare. The healthcare system is totally fucked in this country because of the US government. Medicare, in particular, is a broken failed system which is bankrupt should be completely rebuilt. Instead, we have a proposal which very well might pass which essentially extends medicare to the rest of the population.

How in the hell does that make sense? You have a totally failed and completely inept system, where most people have to buy supplemental coverage, where funding is inadequate, where the only way the damn thing works is if Senators lie ever year about cost increases by writing in lower fees and then always putting them off. Only a fucking government would think that the way to fix a failed system is to EXPAND IT.

So there we have it. At this point, I hope that GM is run into the ground, and that the American people, whats left of them, realize that what needs to be done is not nationalization, but free market reform. It will happen, it will always come around to that, but it will take some time. Hopefully not too long, as I dont feel like living in this country in the meantime.

NYT Blames Greenberg for "luring away" AIG execs "at cost to taxpayers"

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY?

This article, through its tone, its implications, it stupidity and its anti-capitalist, anti-competitive, fuck the principles and people that built this country premise pisses me off so fucking much I cant think straight right now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/business/27aig.html?em

Do people out there actually read this and think "wow, Hank Greenberg, he's really ruining this country because he is hiring away executives from a failed fuckup of a govt. bailout where a communist pay czar who was not elected and has no fucking legitimate powers at all just decided to cut their pay by 50% and completely violate their contracts, but still it's un-American to compete for talent with a goverment owned company."

The tone of the article is just so totally fucked. It keeps saying things like "exploit," "lure," and the line "While America generally loves stories of entrepreneurs making a comeback, Mr. Greenberg’s success may be at the expense of taxpayers." Clearly, the NYT is trying to show a shift in American thinking from "I like to be honest and compete" to "I would like to live in one of Ayn Rand nightmares please."

Honestly
http://bookofnorm.com/wtf.jpg

The best part of all this? Greenberg is the #2 shareholder in AIG, behind the US Government. He is fucking over the company which he owns a huge chunk of. And what do I think of that? I think he deserves a fucking Medal of Honor.

An Agressive Little Guy

Fiat has a hot little hatch they want America to know about: the 500. The original 500 is an Italian icon, this one is a popular, and very nice retrofuturistic remake. Fiat, now owner of Chrysler, has repeatedly stated that the 500 will be the first and perhaps the only Fiat badged vehicle to be sold Stateside. Interestingly, the first one to be brought over with be the Abarth - the factory tuner special:



I like the 500. I like the reviews I have read. But I dont think that the Abarth is really going to get Americans all hot an bothered. And let me give you two reasons why:

133hp
$19,000

Lets think about this. That is $142 per HP.

A Ford Mustang GT is about $83 per HP, with 300hp/$25,000
A Mazdaspeed 3 is also $83 per HP, with 263hp/$22,000
Even a Mini Cooper, which I have always regarded as expensive, is $127 per HP

Now, HP is not all of the battle. Neither is 0-60 times. To a degree, those are outdated ideas on performance, I will be the first to say. But they are outdated in part because most sports cars these days have enough power (depending on weight, between 220-300hp), and so arguing over more or less HP is a bit of a moot point. I still love me a good muscle car, but I bet you anything that an 1st gen WRX, my old S4, or a 99 M3 (three cars I have driven) all handle better and are more fun to drive than a Shelby GT 500, Challenger HEMI, or Camaro SS. Well maybe not the Camaro SS.

Anyway, all that said, 133hp does not cut it. You wont be able to get out of your own damn way.
The only competitor is the $18,500 base Mini. But lets be honest - how many of those do you see around? I would guess that easily 2/3 Mini's I see are Coopers. And for good reason: the base has 118hp, the Cooper 173hp for about $3,500 more, as well as better looks and suspension.

The Abarth already is the factory tuner, but the simple honest truth is that no American will buy a factory tuner special with only 133hp. I wouldn't, especially when I could get a Mazdaspeed three with almost exactly twice as much power, more room, and similar (very good) handling for $4,000 more.

Fiat expects to sell 20,000-30,000 of them in the first year.. which is not going to happen. So, one foot in the grave already for Fiat and Chrysler in this country. Lets hope their second effort comes out better. (or I could eat my hat and Americans suddenly like the idea of a small car with no power that you have to rev the stuffing out of with a manual just so you dont get run over claiming to be a sports car - but I dont think so).

In Mother Russia, Bailout Eats You

Turns out Renault made a bit of an iffy decision to invest in the Russian company behind Lada cars. Back in 2007, they got locked in a bidding war with GM and Fiat, and ended up buying 25% of the company for $1 billion.

Today, that stake is worth about $250 million, meaning it has already been a disaster for Renault. What they did not count on is the Russian version of "bailout." Turns out that Putin the Russian People own 25% of the company as well, and they Putin is demanding that Renault gives about $850 million in loans to Lada... or else.

In other words, in Mother Russia, the bailout comes not from the ever generous government, but from whatever foreign company had the screwed up idea to try and operate in Russia, and is now faced with the option of paying up or writing off the entire investment, and the Russian market overall.

http://images.icanhascheezburger.com/completestore/2008/8/30/inmotherrussia128645761604180936.jpg

Best Sports Recovery Drink? Chocolate Milk.

Want to recover 50% better than Gatorade? Turns out that Chocolate milk is just the thing: article pulled from an ultimate training website (as in the sport, ultimate):

A study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism earlier this year has shed some light on the best way for endurance athletes to recover after exercise. The study pitted fluid replacement (FR) drinks (such as Gatorade), carbohydrate replacement (CR) drinks (such as Endurox), and Mars Refuel (chocolate milk) to see which would help replenish muscle glycogen the fastest after exhaustion for cyclists. Participants were given the recovery drink immediately after and at 2 hours following cycling till exhaustion. The effectiveness was measured by a second bout of exercise 4 hours after the first where time to exhaustion was measured again.

chocolate_milk_in_glass.jpg chocolate milk image by coatlicue_2006

The results showed that those who ingested chocolate milk cycled 51% and 43% longer than those who ingested CR and FR, respectively. They concluded that chocolate milk could be used as an effective means of recovery from prolonged endurance exercise.

Nutrition during tournaments is a big predictor of how long one can last out on the field in top condition. Rapid nutrition replacement can make a big difference in performance for competitive athletes who work out vigorously once or twice a day, says Roberta Anding, a sports dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. For many players, money is also a big issue. What could be a cheaper way to replenish your body than with chocolate milk? Chocolate milk is almost a third of the price of Endurox and has shown to be more effective as a recovery drink.

The effectiveness of chocolate milk as a recovery aid is thought to be due to its carbohydrate to protein ratio (about 4:1, depending on the brand), which is very similar to the pricy Endurox. So how did milk outperform? The differing types of sugar in milk are theorized to be the deciding factor, as well as the higher fat content. In addition, the calcium, sodium, and vitamin D content are an added plus of milk. So ditch those expensive recovery drinks and do what your mother always told you: Drink your (chocolate) milk.

w00t off


IT'S A WOOTOFF

$4.99

  • + $5 shipping
Condition:
New
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I Want One!

Meatmarket

Saw this sign in Davis the other night.

The Origin of Life

Incredibly interesting article from New Scientist on a possible origin of life - one could help explain how cells which require so much to work properly could have developed in stages and in the right environment. Also, how eletrical energy not just chemical energy is the key to life. Read on:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427306.200-was-our-oldest-ancestor-a-protonpowered-rock.html?full=true

Quote Fail

Story on Sunoco closing a refinery and focusing instead on retail had this as a final quote:
"Most people are wrong. Personally, I'd would be investing in retail," Cheng said. "People still need a place to fuel their car. I don't care if you are using biofuel. You still need a place to recharge your battery."

Mmm yeah, those biofuel batteries...

Ok, extra dorky post, but you get what you get.

What is on Earth TV Tonight?

starmap

Ye Olde Shenanigans: Split the good from the bad, sweep under the rug

How is the new Senate bill going to keep health care "deficit neutral?" Well I have already written about how this is a sham to begin with, and the actual cost will be a couple trillion, its just a matter of who will pay.

But there is another devious plot afoot. In the Senate, Obamacare has been split in two. The best way for me to tell you about it is.. because I am short on time.. posting this whole article from the WSJ:


The Doctor Fix Is In

Adding lots of 'dimes' to the deficit.


President Obama has made serial promises that he will not sign a health-care bill that "adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future, period." This was never plausible, but now we can begin to understand what he meant: Democrats plan to make ObamaCare "deficit-neutral" by moving nearly a quarter-trillion dollars off the books, in the fiscal deception of the century.

Later this week, or maybe next, Senate Democrats plan to vote on a stand-alone bill that strips a formula that automatically cuts Medicare physician payments out of "comprehensive" health reform. Rather than include the pricey $247 billion plan known on Capitol Hill as the "doc fix" as part of ObamaCare, they'll instead make this a separate contribution to the deficit, without compensating tax increases or spending cuts. Majority Leader Harry Reid explained at a press conference last week that "All we're doing is wiping the slate clean by adjusting the baseline to what is current policy. This is not new policy."

Wiping the slate is right.

Getty Images
2sgr
2sgr

It's true that Congress likes to pretend that the "sustainable growth rate," or SGR, is real. Created in 1997, the SGR slashes Medicare reimbursements if costs rise too steeply, as they always do. In January, doctors fees are scheduled to fall by 21.5%, and 40% over the next five years. That would force many doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients, so Congress intervenes every year and temporarily overrides the cuts.

The American Medical Association's asking price for supporting ObamaCare is scrapping the SGR. House Democrats did just that, but it pushed the total cost of their bill above $1 trillion, a political red line. The Senate Finance Committee chose the subterfuge of fixing the problem for only one year, which is how Chairman Max Baucus could claim he had done the miracle-work of designing an entitlement that reduces the deficit over 10 years. The AMA wasn't pacified.

So now Democrats are simply going to "untether" this spending on doctors from ObamaCare, hiding even more of its true costs. At a meeting on the Hill last week, Mr. Reid and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made the quid pro quo explicit, telling the AMA and about a dozen specialty societies that in return for this dispensation they expect them to back ObamaCare, no questions asked.

It turns out the AMA is a cheap date. President J. James Rohack now looks ready to embrace whatever else Democrats offer up, even though the new bill only delays the SGR cuts for 10 years instead of doing away with the formula permanently. Never mind that the AMA's other legislative priority—tort reform—is dead on arrival. ObamaCare is stocked with other provisions that punish doctors, such as a Medicare commission tasked with cutting spending but barred from raising the eligibility age or reducing benefits. In practice, this means it will only be allowed to crank down Medicare's price controls on providers.

Like other industry lobbies, Mr. Rohack seems prepared to trade away his members for a sack of magic beans. We agree that the SGR is a farce that nonetheless has very damaging effects on physician practices, but the least the AMA can do is use its political leverage for something more lasting than a 10-year promise that is bound to be revoked when ObamaCare's costs run off the rails.

The press corps will mostly ignore all of this because it is complicated and boring policy, as opposed to the epic drama of Anita Dunn vs. Glenn Beck. This doctor maneuver is such a cleverly dishonest solution to their many contradictory promises that we're surprised Democrats didn't think of it sooner.

Windows 7 = Hot

Windows 7 tallied up more sales on Amazon UK in the first 8 hours than Vista has since its launch. If that was not enough, it broke the pre-order sales record set by the last Harry Potter book.

Impressive.

Windows 7 Whopper = Amazing

This thing is for real... in concert with the launch of Windows 7, Burger King Japan is launching the Windows 7 Whopper, with 7 beef patties. Available only for one week, it costs 777 yen (about $8.50). And oh my god do I want one.

超巨大バーガー『Windows® 7 WHOPPER®』

Why I love Fox News

I can't stand Fox News. I never watch it, it is clearly partisan, and I almost never even bother hitting the link when a blog or news article links to a Fox News page.

But, I love it because right now it is showing just how hypocritical and dangerous the current administration is. Obama et alia have decided they do not like Fox News, because Fox News does not like them. Now this is an interesting and rather dangerous and stupid step. Major news sources are allowed to like or dislike whoever they want. The government is not allowed (this is not a legal sense, rather a political sense) to dislike news sources. It shows weakness, it shows partisanship, it shows a lack of respect for freedom of the press and a lack of respect for democracy, all things that get you in hot water with the voters. The administration went so far as to call Fox News "a wing of the Republican Party." By that logic, the whole rest of the main stream media, except for the WSJ, would have been a wing of the Democratic party from 2003-2008. If you listened to coverage in the months before the 2004 election, you would have though Kerry was a shoe-in for President.


My point here is that Obama and his administration are up to something very dangerous. They think they are right. So right, that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. Not just wrong, but "standing in the way of progress," and such like. They event went so far as to call Fox News "not a legitimate news organization."

Updated quote, from Obama: "And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating ... as a news outlet, then that's another."

And their list of enemies is growing. You have Fox News, you have the Chamber of Commerce (those upstarts), you have the insurance industry, Wall St., and the one remaining independent US auto manufacturer. This is not a trivial list. And more to the point, much as the insurance industry and Wall St. have been getting a bad rap, it is important to remember that the underlying cause of many issues in those companies have been govt. regulation.

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER, R - TENN: "Well, this classifying people who disagree with you as your enemies. I mean, a boycott of Fox News, threatening to take away the anti-trust exemption from insurance companies, "Politico" reported that the White House wants the neuter the United States Chamber of Commerce, calling out senators who object to the czars in the White House. The president himself said he was going to keep a list of bondholders who didn't agree to GM or Chrysler. I don't think that's an enemies list today, but I saw the road that it took the Nixon White House down. I don't want to see the Obama White administration to go that way."

So here we are in a country where the administration has faltered on major policy objectives, has shown weaknesses in international relations, and has taken the step of blaming the enemies of change in order to try and keep its agenda rolling.

For example, check out this exchange between the "insurance industry" - actually an independent analysis by global accounting leader PWC, and the God King Obama:

"The report from PricewaterhouseCoopers states that "the proposal 'will increase premiums above what they would increase under the current system for both individual and family coverage in all four market segments from 2010-2019,'" said a memo from Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of AHIP.

The White House, which had been working with the insurance industry, blasted the report and its timing.

"This is a self-serving analysis from the insurance industry," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin. "It comes on the eve of a vote that will reduce the industry's profits."

Hopefully, the American people will see it for what it is: a dangerous step in the wrong direction.

Totally awesome but completely pointless: The Skiing Robot



And now for the blooper reel...

The McFarthest Place: 145miles to McDonalds

This is quoted from another blog, I thought it was pretty damn hilarious. And kind of amazing - given how just damn big and empty a lot of the western US is, the fact that anywhere in this country you are within 145 miles of a McDonalds is really impressive:

mcd_us_high_9_25

There are over 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the US, or about 1 for every 23,000 Americans. But even market penetration this advanced doesn’t mean that McDonald’s is everywhere. Somewhere in South Dakota is the McFarthest Spot, the place in the US geographically most removed from the nearest McD’s (*). If you started out from this location, a few miles north of State Highway 20 (which runs latitudinally between Highways 73 in the west and 65 in the east), you’d have to drive 145 miles to get your Big Mac (if you could fly, however, it’d be only 107 miles).

This map is the brainchild of Stephen Von Worley, who got to thinking about the strip malls sprawling out along I-5 in California’s ever less rural Central Valley: “Just how far can you get from generic convenience? And how would you figure that out?”

His yardstick for that thought experiment would be the ubiquitous Golden Arches of McDonald’s – still the world’s largest hamburger chain, and to cite Von Worley, the “inaugural megacorporate colonizer of small towns nationwide.” That’s not the whole story: like other convenience providers aimed at the motorised consumer such as gas stations and motels, McDonald’ses have a notable tendency to occur on highways and, specifically, to cluster at their crossroads.

This map moreover demonstrates that the spread of McD’s closely mirrors the population density of the Lower 48, the most notable overall feature of which is the sudden transition, along the Mississippi, of a relatively densely populated eastern half to a markedly less populated western half of the country. Some notable ‘dark spots’ in McDensity east of the Mississippi are the interior of Maine, the Adirondack region of New York state, a large part of West Virginia, and the Everglades area of southern Florida.

Out west, the Arches are fewer and further between, with the exception of the heavily populated coastal areas. To achieve identical density to the rest of the country, this sparsely burgered part of the country would have to be sandwiched between them so that southern California and western Texas would almost touch, and Seattle would be a day’s drive from Minneapolis. The blackest holes in the western McTapestry are the Nevada desert, some mountainous parts of Oregon and Idaho, and the plains of South Dakota – home to the aforementioned McFarthest Spot.

This map found here on Mr Von Worley’s blog, Weather Sealed

Got $65 million to spend?

This is just ridiculously amazing. A friend sent me the link to this...

My plan is to lowball them, put together a good financing package, invade Panama, and then threaten to blow up the Panama Canal unless I am given 1 trillion dollars. After I get the trillion dollars, I will pay down the rest of the debt on my Russian assault hovercraft, and probably retire at that point.

Alternately, this could be a wonderful plaything for Roman Abramovich. It even comes with a full armament.

Amazing to me this thing is being sold by a US brokerage...

http://www.iboats.com/sites/portlandyacht/site_page_9432/item_443366.html?listing_page=listing_sum_index_1.html





LOCATED IN RUSSIA �

MILITARY CLASS HOVERCRAFT LANDING CRAFT 90% COMPLETE AND READY FOR DELIVERY IN 4-5 MONTHS..........An outstanding opportunity for the right government agency to obtain a vessel which normally takes 4-5 years to complete. These vessels are proven in service with the Russian and Greek navies and their square-shaped pontoon structure provides a rugged, stable and seaworthy platform. The middle section accommodates the compartment for armored vehicles to be landed with the two outer sections housing the troop compartments, crew living quarters, life support and nuclear, biological and chemical protection areas.

Armament includes two (2) stabilized multiple rocket launchers, four (4) IGLA-1M portable air defense missile systems among others. She is complete with navigation and electronic systems.

LOA: 56.2 METERS
BEAM: 25.5 METERS
DRAFT: 1.6 METERS
SPEED: 60 KNOTS
RANGE: 300 MILES
CREW: 31
ENGINES: 5 GAS TURBINES M70
60,000 HP (total)

CAN CARRY 130 TONS.........3 TANKS T-80 AND 140 RANGERS

Call Portland Yacht Sales at 1-877-812-6220 for additional information.

Wienermobile

Found this guy hanging out in a parking lot in Woburn - a hotel right next to the movie theater there. Pretty hilarious to see in person actually, it is a ridiculous looking vehicle. Some guy drove up and asked me "what the fuck is that?" He had one of those Jeep Liberty's with the light bars on the top, so between that and hi-beams from the Expy, managed to get some decent lighting =)

Bringing Back the Wristwatch, And Social Faux Pas

Some people (those being really into gadgets and tech) will remember the Palm Foleo, which was a total disaster of a product which nonetheless is credited with helping start the netbook craze along with the OLPC XO. It was a mini laptop that worked off of your palm device instead of being a computer of its own. It cost as much as a computer of your own, and so was a really dumb product, but it did help lead to all the $250 10' netbooks roaming the wilds of international airports and Starbucks these days.


Blackberry has decided to go the other direction, and I kind of like it in an amusing, progress of technology kind of way, but I will never get one and it will fail as a product. It brings back the wristwatch (largely killed off in my generation by the ubiquity of the cellphone in your pocket - though honestly the golden era of that was when flip phones first had external screens that were small, greyscale, and always on. Its kind of a pain to check the time on the Pre honestly, and it was on the Alias too). But it brings back the wristwatch as a companion to your Blackberry, so you can always see who texted you, called you, emailed you, IMed you, wrote on your wall, tweeted you, poked you, commented on your comment, comented on your blog, linked you in, or let you know that your son had drawn a giant penis on the roof of your mansion country estate so that it would be seen in Google Earth.
http://www.power104.fm/powerblogs/Jasmin-Doobay/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/penis-roof.jpg

True story by the way.

The benefit of this little device is twofold.
1) You never need to go through the tiring, incredibly taxing and unbelievably time consuming task of taking your phone out of your pocket, looking at it, and putting it back in your pocket. The years of my life that could have been saved...

2) You can avoid what is either one of the biggest Faux Pas in the modern world, a totally commonplace part of life today, or your shining moment of glory where you show off how you shill out 3-5% of your income for the new sexy hotness (make about $50,000-$75,000/yr? Pay a third in taxes? Got an iPhone? There you go): busting out your phone wherever you are, whatever you are doing, all the time. In a meeting? Check the blackberry. In bed with your g/f? Check the blackberry. In a restaurant? Check the blackberry. Actually, leave the blackberry or iPhone or whatever on the table so that a) you can always see emails coming in, b) everyone knows you are important enough that your response is required to prevent capitalism from coming to a screetching halt, and c) you dont need to expend all that energy getting it in and out of your pocket. And finally, my favorite: out at a bar and feeling kind of awkward and trying to build up the courage to actually talk to a girl? Check the blackberry - someone has just sent you the funniest/most interesting email of all time. Thats why you are looking at your phone in a bar. Every 2 minutes. Really. I promise.

Solve all of these issues in one fell swoop with a watch that tells you whats happening on the phone inside your pocket.

Fail.

Obama the smoker

The President and his staff are very careful that almost none of these pictures exist. As they should be. As was referenced in Thank You for Smoking, the only people you see smoking these days in pop-culture are Bad Guys and Europeans (the two have a tendency of being the same character).

Definitely affects his image, hard to call that look anything but dumb at this point in our knowledge about smoking, cancer, etc.

We're All Felons, Now

Great article sent to me by my older bro James, of http://thefourpartland.wordpress.com/

We're All Felons, Now

Perpetual public fear of crime has turned us all into criminals.

"There's no way to rule innocent men.
The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them.
One declares so many things to be a crime
that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

Ayn Rand

Violent crime is down America, across the board, spanning two decades. Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that the incidence of reported rape had hit a 20-year low. Homicides are down, as are juvenile violence and crimes committed against children. Crime rates have been plummeting since the early 1990s to such an extent that explaining the drop has become something of an obsession among criminologists and sociologists.

Part of the drop can of course be explained by mass incarceration—America leads the world in the percentage of its population behind bars. Putting one in every 100 citizens in jail causes its own problems, and there's plenty of debate over just how much that incarceration has contributed to the fall in violent crime. But there's no question that we've put lots of people in prison over the last 20 years, the crime rate has fallen, and part of the public likely believes (with some justification) that there's a link betweent the two.

But there's something else going on too, picked up in the blogosphere last week by George Washington University political science Professor John Sides. According to Gallup, since 2002 the percentage of the American public who think violent crime is on the rise has been increasing, even as actual violent crime rates continue to fall. Sides notes that from 1989 to 2001, perception and reality somewhat went hand in hand. But 2002 to 2003 saw a 19 percent leap in public perceptions that violent crime was on the uptick, and the figure has been going up in the years since—to 74 percent today. What's going on?

From the time Richard Nixon made crime a national political issue in the 1970s, we've been conditioned by politicians and public officials to live in perpetual fear. Our baseline is that there's too much crime, and that we aren't doing enough about it. Despite that, there was an actually drop in public worry about crime that began in 1992 and continued until 2002. As noted, that drop corresponded with an actual decline in the national crime rate, something that hadn't happened in 30 years. That crime rates going down for the first time in a generation was something new, something worth noticing. The 1990s were also generally an optimistic decade. The economy was humming. We weren't engaged in any major wars. We didn't have many worries, period.

Post-2002, the national mood soured. Terrorism, obviously a form of violent crime, was all over the news. The economy slowed down. Illegal immigration once again became a national issue, along with the false assumption that undocumented immigrants bring violent crime. And so we returned to a state of fear, though the crime rate continued to fall.

These fluctuations in the Gallup poll are interesting, but it's worth noting that the percentage of respondents who believe violent crime is on the rise has dipped below 60 percent only three times since 1991. This, again, despite the fact that violent crime has been in decline over the entire period.

Fear makes for easy politics. It both wins votes and primes us to give government more power at the expense of personal liberty. And that's certainly true when it comes to crime. With the possible exception of an incumbent mayor, politicians only benefit from exaggerating the threat of violent crime. Senators, Congressmen, and even governors are rarely held responsible when the crime rate goes up. But they do win votes by proposing new powers for police and prosecutors to bring it down.

The result has been a one-way ratchet effect on crime policy. We're perpetually expanding police and prosecutorial power, a process only occasionally slowed by the courts. Congress and state legislatures rarely take old criminal statutes off the books, but they're always adding new ones. A 2008 report from the Heritage Foundation estimates that at the federal level alone, Congress has been adding about 55 new crimes to the federal criminal code each year since the 1980s. There are now about 4,500 separate federal crimes. And that doesn't include federal regulations, which are increasingly being enforced with criminal, not administrative, penalties. It also doesn't include the increasing leeway with which prosecutors can enforce broadly written federal conspiracy, racketeering, and money laundering laws. And this is before we even get to the states' criminal codes.

In his new book, the Boston-based civil liberties advocate and occasional Reason contributor Harvey Silverglate estimates that in 2009, the average American commits about three federal felonies per day. And yet, we aren’t a nation of degenerates. On the contrary, most social indicators have been moving in a positive direction for a generation. Silverglate argues we're committing these crimes unwittingly. The federal criminal code has become so vast and open to interpretation, Silverglate argues, that a U.S. Attorney can find a way to charge just about anyone with violating federal law. In fact, it's nearly impossible for some business owners to comply with one federal regulation without violating another one. We're no longer governed by laws, we're governed by the whims of lawyers.

Whatever one may think of Ayn Rand's political philosophy or ethics, her criminal justice prophecy has proven unsettlingly accurate: In our continuing eagerness to purge American society of crime, we've allowed the government to make us all into criminals.

Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

EIA Adult Content

Came across this one this morning doing some research on CAFE Standards. Check at the bottom of the search page... I wonder how much adult content the EIA regularly serves up?

Nothing to do with God

I believe in God. But thats about as far as I get. By the oft bandied about and frequently abused to the point its point is likely warped, rusted and dull these days, Occam's razor tells me that for all of the many times events exist well beyond the realm of science, there is likely a non-scientific explanation.

That does not mean however I believe in religion. Quite the opposite. I think religion is, by an large, a crock. It was made up by men, its rules were created by men, its organization by men, of men, for the control of hearts and minds. Funnily enough, I just watched the Invention of Lying, you would see how that fits in if you have seen it - entertaining movie by the way.

But, what actually triggered this was a new move by the Catholic Church to attract Anglicans. They set up some rules that will allow entire congregations of Anglicans to make the move. As a bit of a backstory, the Anglican Church (started by Henry VIII's split with Rome) has had a bit of schism itself recently over whether to be liberal and open-minded, allowing openly gay bishops etc, or to be reactionary and Catholic. The Catholic church is now looking to poach those felt left out by the more liberal Anglican Church.

Which is all very interesting, in a squabbling, Survivor - Religion Island edition kind of way. But it obviously does not have a damn thing do with God. The idiotic conflicts over doctrine really get to me and highlight just how damn pointless and useless organized religion is at this point.

Apple comes out with something I like... and actually want...

Usually, I have this to say about Apple "their products look great, but they are ridiculously overpriced." Then, if you pushed me, I would say that their arrogant snobbishness really gets to me. The iPhone is a great phone, but the price you pay? Absolutely ridiculous (however - I will grant that until just as good or better alternatives came along such as the Pre and the latest Android phones, the price was a little more justifiable as the only game in town.) My bigger problem with that phone and most things Apple is that you are forced to play by their rules and in their ecosystem. Fine, if you want all Apple and you want to be nickled and dimed for everything that should be free.

What gets to me most though were the desktops and laptops. They are now just IBM x86 machines with a different OS. Thats it. They come all in white, or aluminum, and they come with some nice software. Which is a good thing, because only about 10% of all software is actually available on a Mac. Yes, their designs were great, but only because Apple owners compare themselves against the guy who just bought a $500 Dell laptop. If I bought a Porsche instead of a Toyota Camry I would be damn sure it looked better. Speaking of which, when is Porsche or Apple going to actually update their design? Both are classics, sure, but we've seen it before.

But now.... they made something I want. A mouse. More specifically, a mouse with a name so cheesy they might as well described it as "gouda" in the press release: the Magic Mouse.

Why magic, and why does Norm want? Well, specifically, this mouse has one "button" but then the functions of the other button and the scroll wheel replaced by a touch sensitive area on the top of the mouse. Its a brilliant design, I have no problem admitting. As soon as I read it, it made perfect sense. Multitouch gestures, the benefits of a touch screen, but all on the mouse. A little while ago I wrote about mouse vs. touch screen and why touch is tricky on laptops and larger. This solves all of that by combining the best of the two input methods. I love it, and I want one (assuming it works the way it should.)

Breaking News

Norm's Appology

The BoN is not a window into my life. My name is not even Norm, though it is a name of mine.

However, I have not been on my best game recently for the BoN. I have been lagging behind in getting ideas of mine up here, and to be perfectly honest, I have not even followed world news, cars, gadgets, technology and the unusual that closely the last few weeks. I went through a breakup which thankfully was more a drain of time than energy, but still, has been a long process.

This is related to the fact that my ex decided a good time to cheat on me was two weeks after we moved in together (and use an unwitting friend of mine as cover, and lie to me about it etc etc). I hope she is having a wonderful time with her equally clingy, socially awkward, and tattooed on the outside but weaker than Poland on the inside co-worker (sorry for the Polish joke Frankie). Of course, he's practically married and living with his g/f, and I have been out at bars with him when he was looking for women (though, until hooking up with my ex, he insisted he had not actually cheated on his common-law wife). All in, pretty fucked up. I'm going to go ahead and give him and their whole thing, whatever it is, a Whatthefuckasaurus.
http://bookofnorm.com/wtf.jpg
The net result for me is a lot of time wasted and lost. I dont see any future for my ex and I, and I dont believe in trying to stay friends right after a breakup, so at least I have not fallen into that pointless trap. But regardless, a lot to get done and make up for over the next few weeks as the last couple have been mostly spent moving in, relaxing and enjoying not being in a relationship.

Interestingly, and this is why I bring it up, when I am writing a lot on the BoN is when I am at my most productive. Yes, I have to prioritize work and now applications above this, but the way that I work is that the more I am doing the better. When I am getting one thing done, I am more likely to be getting other things done. When I am writing a lot on issues that matter to me, I am more likely to be writing applications, finishing proposals and publications for work, and scaling Himalayan peaks while fighting off ninja yetis with lasers.

I really wish I had an image to go with that last line... freelance artists, give me a call. Actually, do give me a call, because I need one of you for the cover of my brother's book.

So, I am here today to tell you that good things are coming. A new mothership for this blog, www.bookofnorm.com is under construction. One of the things I am most excited about in that is sorting posts so you can look at them in chains, by theme. Whatthefuckasaurus will be one, along with NOBAMA, and a variety of others.

To give you a sneak peak of some big stuff I have on the burners, simmering away and giving off delicious aromas of capitalism, libertarianism, dorkism, and oregano are:

The story of the father of modern artillery who worked with the CIA and US Govt before building war machines for Saddam and attempting to shoot satellites into space with a giant Iraqi cannon.

The history of incredible canceled projects, and what could have been, including giant Canadian Ice Breakers, mammoth land trains and Soviet military space stations complete with .50 machine guns.

The analysis of the assassin's mace and China's military buildup targeted at defeating the US.

And much more: lakes supersaturated with CO2, Iranian military mafia, a short story by me, how the earth survived global warming 50 million years ago (it involves one very persistent plant), and the 10 best British Cars of All Time.

Good things are coming, and now for a Churchill quote:

"
There is no such thing as a good tax. "

All the Best,
Capt. Norm

REI Fail

I was looking for bindings to go on my new skis... and came across this.. which was pretty funny, well at least it was funny late on a Sunday night when you are looking for reasons not to face the work week yet.

http://www.rei.com/product/790676


I'm going to go ahead and say... you probably don't want to mount the heelpiece that direction...

Rossignol Freeski 110 XL Bindings - '09/'10
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Rossignol Freeski 110 XL Bindings - '09/'10

Item # 790676

$139.95

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3.

Free shipping with REI Store Pickup.
Shipping timeline, rates and more.

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Pic of the Day.. hilarious (credit goes to Jen)

The Cost of War: $400/gl

So you thought $3/gl was bad? Try this on - its costs the US military $400 on average for every gallon of gas consumed in Afghanistan.

The staggering thing is in some regions of Afghanistan it costs the military over $1,000 per gallon, while the US marines alone consume 800,000 gallons of fuel per day in the country.

So yeah - it means that the US govt is spending billions just to fuel up.

One of the ironies is of course that Afghanistan is in-between Saudi Arabia/Middle East, Asia, Russia, India and China. So the fuel supply should or could look like this:

But because of the way the US military runs its wars - it instead looks like this:


The thing is, I am sure most of those costs are not long-distance transportation. They vast majority of those costs I am sure are coming in-country.

But what this means is that the logistics department of the US military sucks. If you really think that the US could have won WWII if gasoline cost 150 times more at the in Germany than it did from pumps at home, you are crazy. The military needs to get its shit together and find a way to safely and at low-cost deliver fuel to Afghanistan.

An I have a solution. Drive to Saudi Arabia. There, fuel prices are pegged at about 65cents/gl. Which means that the US Marines alone would save $319,480,000 per day if they just bought their fuel from the gas stations... not counting the cost of driving the 1,200 mile round trip...

Norm Wants: Convertible Dodge Dakota

In my searchings of the odd, unusual, weird and wonderful of the automotive world, I had come across the 1988/1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible.

Yes, its a pickup truck. Yes, its a convertible. Yes, if you want to store anything valuable in your car, you need to buy something else.

Yes, it seems like a really dumb idea. But think of it as a more practical Jeep Wrangler and all of a sudden... I want one. Specifically, I want this one, which I found on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250512642710&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT

1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible
Rare & Redone 1989 Dodge Dakota ConvertibleResearch 1989 Dodge Dakota

Time left:3 days 10 hours (Oct 18, 200917:42:53 PDT)

Bid history:5 bids


Current bid:US $1,125.00

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Deposit of US $500.00 within 48 hours of auction close. Full payment required within 7 days of auction close.

Shipping:Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping.

Item Location:naples, FL, United States


Other item info
Item number:250512642710
Item condition:Used
Sells to:United States
This vehicle is eligible for up to $50,000 in Vehicle Purchase Protection

1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible

Title: Rare & Redone 1989 Dodge Dakota Convertible
Mileage: 193,000 miles
Location: naples, FL
Vehicle Information
VIN: 1B7FL69X2KS145228 | Get the Vehicle History Report
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Title: Clear
Condition: Used
For sale by: Private seller
Features
Body type: ConvertibleEngine: 6 CylinderExterior color: Red
Transmission: ManualFuel type: GasolineInterior color: Burgundy
Options
CD playerConvertible
Power options
Air conditioningCruise controlPower locks
Power windows