Craigslist Classic

http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/cto/1617671574.html

1990 300ZX (needs bodywork) - $1900

1990 300ZX car was MINT before it was hit. Blk ext/tan cloth int. Auto/w od , t~tops with fact sun shades. 108xxx orig miles, no rebuilt motor or trans they both are orig, still runs great. Car is 100% stock (except for real HID zenon headlights). Car runs and drives, all it needs is a front bumper cover, pass side fender, hood and minor susp work.

I dont know why stuff like this cracks me up, but the idiocy of saying "car was MINT before it was hit" is pretty much why craigslist is a great place for laughs as well as bargains.

Palm Pre the FIRST PHONE IN THE WORLD WITH FLASH!!

MUAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHA

ok.

enough of that.

But I am pretty excited that the Pre will be the first phone in the world to offer Adobe Flash 10. It will get it tomorrow.

suckas.

(actually - android will get it at some point.. as will windows 7 phone, and possibly blackberry now they are going to get a real browser.. but for now, the Pre rules the world.)

The bigger point here is that phones will soon be able to run the full internet - something they got half-way towards with webkit browsers (what runs in WebOS, iPhone OS, and Android - the only three really capable of browsing the web), but finally with full flash support you will be able to access anything on the web. Millions of flash games, online apps, stock trading sites, banking sites, youtube, any millions of variations on maps and tools and utilities etc etc. It is, to a certain degree, possibly also the death of the app? I think the "app" - may have had its day? Not totally sure on that one, but I will certainly be using flash games. Castle crushers, here I come.

Oh yeah - but if you have an iPhone, Apple decided to keep screwing you and never support flash. So yeah... you probably wont notice because you will be too busy waving it around at starbucks or blabbering about how amazing paying $110/mo the phone is.. but no flash tasty goodness for you.

Solar Powered Boat: kind of stupid really

Solar powered cars are cool. They show that someday, somehow, we will be able to go around slowly in overgrown peapods with bicycle tires. But really, I do actually think they are really cool, and in general I love the idea of solar power.

But this? This is just dumb.

Its the world's largest solar powered boat, with 5,382sqft of solar panels. It is all set for its maiden voyage of circumnavigating the globe.

You know whats really cool about that? It will be the first ship to circumnavigate the globe without burning fossil fuels...

Errr

I mean it will be the most eco-friendly way to get around on the open ocean, showing just what hundreds of thousands of dollars in exotic materials and rare earth metals mined and manufactured in China with no environmental controls will get you... whooops...

So..

It will look cool, and show off what you can do if you are a big floating doofus. Because really, there is this little invention called SAILING which might have something to say about just how idiotic a solar powered boat with millions of dollars in batteries is.



South Korea (Hong Kong?) wants some of Nigeria's action:

Pretty hilarious. I thought Nigerian princes had this market all locked up (or the Sudanese guy who wanted to "give power to your elbow" - which was also classic) but turns out south east Asia is getting in on the game:

Good Day To You My Friend.

It is understandable that you might be a little bit apprehensive because you do not know me but I have a lucrative business proposal of mutual interest to share with you. I got your reference in my search for someone who suits my proposed business relationship.

I am Mr. William Leung Wing Cheung a South Korean, happily married with children; i work as an Executive Director of Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Head of Personal Banking. I have a confidential business suggestion for you. I will need you to assist me in executing a business project from Hong Kong to your country. It involves the transfer of a large sum of money. Everything concerning this transaction shall be legally done without hitch. Please endeavour to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue.

Once the funds have been successfully transferred into your account, we shall share in the ratio to be agreed by both of us. I will prefer you reach me on my private email address below (williamcheung_jp@yahoo.cn) and finally after that I shall furnish you with more information's about this operation. Should you be interested, please forward the following to me urgently:

1. Full names
2. Occupation
3. Private phone number
4. Current contact address

Please if you are not interested delete this email and do not hunt me because I am putting my career and the life of my family at stake with this venture. Although nothing ventured is nothing gained.

Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Mr William Leung Wing Cheung.JP
Hang Seng Bank Limited
Hong Kong. {Asia}
Email: - williamcheung_jp@yahoo.cn

The Biggest Serial Killer In History

This is the untold story of the biggest serial killer in the history of mankind. Well, at least as I have been able to discover. And its kind of untold. I connected a few dots before others did, as far as I can tell.

It is the story of Tillikum.

Tillikum was born in 1985 near the beautiful coastline of Iceland. His early years are shrouded in a somewhat murky mystery, though the general consensus is that it was likely a difficult childhood. At the tender age of 6 he moved against his will to Vancouver, which is where the troubles began.

Tillikum is a killer whale. Quite literally. In 1991, soon after his capture, he drowned his trainer in front of spectators at Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia. In this effort he was assisted by two female killer whales. Keltie Byrne slipped and fell into the water, and then Tillikum along with the other two whales held her underwater until she drowned. The whale exhibit was closed due to the incident. Some said it was just the whales playing, not knowing how long a human could stay underwater.

Seen as not a wonderful candidate for training, Tillikum was bought by Seaworld in Miami as a breeding whale. In 1999 he was 14, the age at which orcas come to maturity (killer whales have roughly similar lifespans to pre-modern humans, living up to 80 or 90 but more commonly to 40 or so). At that point, a man with unknown intentions hid in Seaworld as the park closed. Perhaps inspired by Free Willy he jumped into Tillikum's tank after everyone had left. His body was found the next morning on Tillikum's back, seemingly unharmed in terms of an attack, but very much dead. Again, it was thought that perhaps this was just Tillikum playing around. There was no camera installed in the breeding tank and so there was no evidence one way or another.

Sometime in the last 10 years someone at Seaworld made the brilliant decision to train Tillikum as a performing whale, even with his checkered past.

Today, Tillikum struck again. He is now 29yrs old, 12,300lbs, and has added a confirmed homicide to the two possibles. This was not a drowning either, this was a full on attack. One eyewitness account from a viewing area: "The trainer was explaining different things about the whale, and then the trainer that was down there walked away from the window. Then [the whale] took off really fast in the tank, and he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing [her] around."

Killer whales at SeaWorld Orlando

Not sure why - but so far no one has seemed to put together the current attack with the two previous ones. The news articles do not mention the others. I found it because on a local Miami newspaper website it had automated links to the stories from 1999 and 1991, still up and archived on their site. I am sure those less intelligent than Norm (such as CNN) will pick up on it eventually. Crazy story really. You would think maybe the animal should be released to the wild? Or at least kept relatively clear of humans.

List of SUVs available with a manual transmission...

I put this up here because it is the second time in a couple months that I have been asked to put this list together for someone shopping for a car. To some - it is an odd idea. To others, it gives full control of the vehicle, better mpg, and more "fun to drive" quotient to cars that can otherwise be a little dull. I would love to have a manual for my Tahoe. Instead I bought a sports car.. but thats another matter.

-PT Cruiser - junk
-Jeep Patriot - mostly junk
-Kia Sportage - the new one is pretty good actually
-Chevrolet HHR - on norm's 10 worst cars of all time
-Jeep Compass - same as patriot, just looks dumber
-Hyundai Tucson - same as kia, looks pretty good
-Honda Element - do you surf? Skate? Snowboard? Smoke? If not, this is not for you.
-Mazda Tribute - see ford escape
-Ford Escape - great little SUV
-Suzuki Grand Vitara - they still make these????
-Didge Nitro - same as liberty but with macho Dodge looks
-Subaru Forester - great little SUV
-Volkswagon Tiguan - great little SUV, but damn expensive, and emphasis on "little"
-Jeep Liberty - very solid, and the new generation looks pretty good
-Hyundai Sante Fe - swoopy and feminine, but a nice SUV
-Nissan Xterra - the new generation is good, old generation is junk
-Toyota FJ Cruiser - macho, fun, kind of pointless but the 2nd coming of the old Bronco, I like
-Hummer H3 - not a bad little SUV. Need the manual because they are underpowered with the i5
-BMW X3 - overpriced and undersized
-Porsche Cayenne - base model is a VW Tuareg. GTS is first "real" Porsche. Ugly and pretentious

Academics and Obama with their heads up their asses

This is of course nothing new. But the following para from a NYT article about putting a special tax on soda really got me:

“What you want,” says Kelly Brownell, director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, “is to reverse the fact that healthy food is too expensive and unhealthy food is too cheap, and the soda tax is a start. Unless food marketing changes, it’s hard to believe that anything else can work.”

So - those who cant afford expensive food right now buy the cheaper, less healthy, stuff, and Yale's solution is to raise the price so that whole foods is the same price as Save-A-Lot? WTF. So with one hand we offer food stamps which are only accepted at no frills supermarkets and on the other hand we tax the less-healthy and more processed foods that those supermarkets offer. Seems like a great way to help people out. It is favored by the current administration.

Obviously, the argument is that the tax will cause buyers to substitute more healthy alternatives instead of soda - but I am not so sure about that. Also, this is the damn USA - when did we start legislating what people could eat? What really irks me is that as someone who is in shape and loves soda, I would get taxed. But alternatively, I could be a lazy fat lover of fruit punch, tang, and pocari sweat and not get taxed a damn bit. But it would be illegal to tax fat people (though much more equitable), not to mention political suicide, not to mention most politicians are out of shape, so instead the plan is to tax foods that can possibly contribute to obesity. We might as well start taxing the candy isle, frozen foods isle and pastry shop of every supermarket: that would be a much more effective means of achieving this goal.

The only link between soda and obesity is that soda has calories in it. You know what else has calories in it? Every damn food on the planet. Except celery, which has so few calories it takes more energy to eat it than you get out. We should tax everything but celery. Makes sense to me.

Want to be really scared? This is the last line of the article:

"It may be time to try something a little more forceful."

whatthefuckasaurus

And it all comes tumbing down

The man behind the hockey stick graph has admitted that there has been no significant warming for the last 15 years, and that the earth may have been warmer in the recent past (800-1300ad) than it is today. Basically, global warming as we know it is shot (please let this mean Prius sales have peaked - otherwise I am installing hella lamps and a truck horn on the Tahoe just to get them out of my damn way) and now it is time for something new:

Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995

By Jonathan Petre
Last updated at 5:12 PM on 14th February 2010


  • Data for vital 'hockey stick graph' has gone missing
  • There has been no global warming since 1995
  • Warming periods have happened before - but NOT due to man-made changes
Professor Phil Jones

Data: Professor Phil Jones admitted his record keeping is 'not as good as it should be'

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.

Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.

The raw data, collected from hundreds of weather stations around the world and analysed by his unit, has been used for years to bolster efforts by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Following the leak of the emails, Professor Jones has been accused of ‘scientific fraud’ for allegedly deliberately suppressing information and refusing to share vital data with critics.

Discussing the interview, the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin said he had spoken to colleagues of Professor Jones who had told him that his strengths included integrity and doggedness but not record-keeping and office tidying.

Mr Harrabin, who conducted the interview for the BBC’s website, said the professor had been collating tens of thousands of pieces of data from around the world to produce a coherent record of temperature change.

That material has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’ which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

According to Mr Harrabin, colleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’.

Asked by Mr Harrabin about these issues, Professor Jones admitted the lack of organisation in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, which he regretted.


But he denied he had cheated over the data or unfairly influenced the scientific process, and said he still believed recent temperature rises were predominantly man-made.

Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said: ‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be.

‘There’s a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data, so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more.’

He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.

He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.

And he said that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from settled.

Sceptics believe there is strong evidence that the world was warmer between about 800 and 1300 AD than now because of evidence of high temperatures in northern countries.

But climate change advocates have dismissed this as false or only applying to the northern part of the world.

Professor Jones departed from this consensus when he said: ‘There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.

‘For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

‘Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm than today, then the current warmth would be unprecedented.’

Sceptics said this was the first time a senior scientist working with the IPCC had admitted to the possibility that the Medieval Warming Period could have been global, and therefore the world could have been hotter then than now.

Professor Jones criticised those who complained he had not shared his data with them, saying they could always collate their own from publicly available material in the US. And he said the climate had not cooled ‘until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend’.

Mr Harrabin told Radio 4’s Today programme that, despite the controversies, there still appeared to be no fundamental flaws in the majority scientific view that climate change was largely man-made.

But Dr Benny Pieser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said Professor Jones’s ‘excuses’ for his failure to share data were hollow as he had shared it with colleagues and ‘mates’.

He said that until all the data was released, sceptics could not test it to see if it supported the conclusions claimed by climate change advocates.

He added that the professor’s concessions over medieval warming were ‘significant’ because they were his first public admission that the science was not settled.

-- Norm here: the sad thing about all of this, and something that I do actually believe in, is protecting the environment. Anthropogenic climate change ("global warming") has stolen all of the limelight the last few years. Now being shown largely as a collection of BS, we can all--hopefully--celebrate not being burdened with idiotic tax-and-trade legislation or being forced to drive a suppository to work. I also want to point out that this is the second time in two years that skeptics treated by the media as a crazy fringe came out to be proven more or less entirely correct, the other being the naked short selling hedge fund scandal - which was spot on.

What we have possibly lost though is the notion that we do need to be good stewards of the land around us. CO2 is possibly not that important - but land use, over-fishing, deforestation and overpopulation are threatening to irrevocably damage our small blue planet. Celebrate in the destruction of bad science, but keep in mind the fragile nature of earth.

$, oh $, where art thou?

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html?hp

This is a very impressive visual representation of where the budget goes. I know it was interesting for me to see where the big spending areas are, and often where those are versus the areas that are so often focused upon (NASA for example, which has a tiny budget). This was sent over to me from my brother at http://thefourpartland.wordpress.com/

fy2011graphic

Why I love Car & Driver

One of the best magazine publications of all time, Car & Driver I still love dearly, though I have defected to autoblog and jalopnik for my daily car news.

And this is why. A hilarious, informative and in my opinion accurate take on what exactly is wrong with Toyotas: the drivers.

Prius Next Up for Recall Hysteria, Could Corolla Be Next? [Editorial]

February 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm by Jared Gall

Prius

[An intro tallying the dizzying amount of previous Toyota recalls was here, but you already know what's going on, and we know you've had a hard day—Ed.] And now, the recall sharks are biting at the Prius, with approximately 133,000 2010 model-year cars being recalled to have an update performed on the anti-lock braking software.

The problem, it seems, is that “some 2010 model year Prius owners have reported experiencing inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of brakes on rough or slick road surfaces when the ABS is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction.”

Sigh.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is conclusive proof that nobody in a Prius has a freaking clue how to drive! What’s being described is, um, what ABS does. It senses individual wheels locking up and pulses those brakes. Assuming you are on a real road with real, inch-to-inch changes in coefficient of friction, that pulsing will result in real-time changes in the traction available to your tires and therefore inconsistent brake feel. Add in the fact that the Prius’s world-saving powers include a switch from regenerative braking to standard, friction-based braking, and you’ve got inconsistent brake feel. I’d guess this software upgrade Toyota is performing is going to remove every last ounce of pedal feel, making for the same complete lack of feedback during ABS operation as there is during regular braking. It seems that we’re really just trying to get these poor souls as far removed from the actual act of driving as possible. What, are they surprised, too, that turning that big round thing in front of them causes the car to change direction?!

I shouldn’t joke about that, actually. USA Today is reporting that some Corolla owners have now come forward (the brave, tormented souls that they are) with claims that their Toyotas “can wander when they drive on the highway, making it hard to stay in lanes.” Might I suggest putting down the bagel, the eyeliner, and the Danielle Steel novel? Perhaps steering with your hands, rather than your knees, might make your car more predictable.

USA Today says that Toyota has heard 83 complaints concerning power steering, most from owners concerned that the car can veer right or left at speeds over 40 mph. The claim is that this defect has caused 10 accidents and six injuries. My supposition is that those ten accidents were caused by drivers rooting through the glove box for a cell-phone charger while said phone is cradled against the shoulder, then dropping the charger on the floor (where, we might add, it would contact a floor mat. Blame the floor mat!) and continuing to dig for it. In those 15 seconds, our drivers have given only cursory thought—and not a single real glance—to the fact that they are piloting a 3000-pound projectile at 70 mph. [More like 60. And in the left lane in a 70 zone—Ed.]

The Corolla situation is compared in USA Today to “being buffeted by strong winds, sliding on black ice, or hydroplaning.” Those reporting the problem said that the car can overcorrect, and that it can require the driver “to use a tight, persistent, two-handed grip on the wheel to travel in a straight line.” Another called it “the most terrifying thing that ever happened to them.” That, we don’t doubt.

After all, we poor consumers have been the whipping boy for industry for decades, but now we can finally make Toyota take the blame for our atrocious driving habits. I say it’s time we ride this wave to its logical conclusion. Let’s get on LG to issue a recall for their big-screen TVs because the amount of time guys spend watching football; surely crazy microwaves emitted by the screen are slowly killing their brain cells. There’s no doubt that studies done by Nickelodeon scientists will turn up incontrovertible evidence of brain decay! (Meanwhile, anyone notice the ever-present Bud Light in hand?) Better yet, let’s all demand Pampers recall every single freaking thing they’ve ever made, because don’t we all just know the ugly truth? Diapers are causing our children to crap themselves! Think about it: Kids stop crapping their pants when we finally take them out of diapers!

Actually, maybe the solution is to put all these Toyota drivers back in their diapers, give them a pacifier, and tuck them in with the warm glow of a ladybug night light to put them to sleep.

Harry Reid - WTF

Harry Reid just slashed the "jobs" bill that was making its way though congress, and seemingly had bi-partisan support. Instead of a bi-partisan $85billion package it is now a very limited $15billion package.

They say the reason this is the case is he wanted to focus directly on "jobs"... well... a) $15 billion ain't buying a lot of jobs these days, and b) there was actually bi-partisan legislation on the table, why not go with it....?

(Jekyll snickers)

...ahh option b. I'll tell you why. Its because if we passed the bi-partisan jobs bill right now it would totally take the wind out of the only tiny gust filling the dreams of Democrat's reelection campaigns right now: that they will be able to portray the Republicans as the party of "no" who have blocked beneficial legislation. Now they say "We have four provisions that should under any circumstance enjoy broad bipartisan support" - trying to work the Republicans into a corner.

So far, the American public (hell, even the people of Massachusetts) have proven smarter than the Democrats and the current regime. Lets hope that trend continues, and we see true gridlock in the near future.

Quote Of The Day

"I think one of the most pernicious aspects of the modern environmental movement is the romanticization of peasant life. And the idea that industrial societies are the destroyers of the world. The environmental movement has evolved into the strongest force there is for preventing development in the developing countries. I think it's legitimate for me to call them anti-human."

-Patrick Moore, a founding member and former leader of Greenpeace
Hahaha blogger texting = FAIL. I guess I could use it to tweet. WTF is a tweet anyway? Tweet tweet.
(4 of 4) like, and wether this is a viable alternative. Too all the readers of the BoN, my apologies. Please know I do not, and never will, sell viagra.
(3 of 4) was struck down in the wake of a vicious attack. Or so it seems. This was sent from my pre, as a text, so I am intrigued what the formatting will look
(2 of 4) quite a fan of the feature. There is, however, no way to protect yourself from spam if they get the email address. Which they did when my poor laptop
(1 of 4) BoN hacked. The BoN was recently hacked due to a fwature which allows me to send emails to a specific address and them be posted automatically. I was

The Breacher

No, its not The Devastator from Transformers, though you would be easily forgiven for confusing the two, this is the latest in mine clearing to be used in Afghanistan and Iraq, found by Ranimal:

If you read nothing else, read this: one driver went over a 60lb IED. His quote? "I laughed and I drove on."
U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion ...http://sitelife.aviationweek.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/2/7/827f750f-6d53-4eea-b763-a3fbcb748193.Large.jpg
AP


Marines push 'The Breacher' against Taliban lines

SISTANI, Afghanistan – In comes "The Joker."

That's the nickname given by the crew to one of the 72-ton, 40-foot (12-meter)-long Assault Breacher Vehicles. Fitted with a plow and nearly 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms) of explosives, the Breachers, as they are commonly known, are the Marines Corps' answer to the deadliest threat facing NATO troops in Afghanistan: thousands of land mines and roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices, that litter the Afghan landscape.

The Breachers, metal monsters that look like a tank with a cannon, carry a 15-foot (4.5-meter) -wide plow supported by metallic skis that glide on the dirt, digging a safety lane through the numerous minefields laid by the Taliban.

If there are too many mines, the Breachers can fire rockets carrying high-grade C-4 explosive up to 150 yards (meters) forward, detonating the hidden bombs at a safe distance so that troops and vehicles can pass through safely.

The detonations — over 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms) of Mine Clearing Line Charges — send a sheet fire into the air and shock waves rippling through the desert in all directions.

Reporters watched the "Breacher" in action Wednesday as Marines edged closer to Marjah, a southern Taliban stronghold that NATO commanders plan to attack in the coming days in the largest joint NATO-Afghan operation of the Afghan war. Troops are expected to face a massive threat from mines and roadside bombs as they push into Marjah, 380 miles (610 kilometers) southwest of Kabul.

"This may be the largest IED threat and largest minefield that NATO has ever faced," says Brig Gen. Larry Nicholson, the commander of all Marines in southern Afghanistan.

Several Breachers — including "The Joker" and its twin "Iceman" — will be used in the Marjah assault. Commanders hope they will make a huge difference as troops pierce through layer after layer of minefields circling the town.

"I consider it to be a truly lifesaving weapon," said Gunnery Sgt. Steven Sanchez, 38, leader of a platoon from the 2nd Marines Combat Engineers Battalion.

A cross between a bulldozer and Abrams tank with a 1,500-horsepower turbine engine, Breachers are so valuable that they only travel outside bases along with a tank retrieval vehicle to drag them to safety if they are damaged.

Sanchez's platoon drove Breachers in their first combat operation in December, when Marines reclaimed a section of the heavily mined Now Zad valley farther north in Helmand province. "We made history, and the Breacher did well," says Sanchez, of Palm Desert, Calif.

"I'm happy to see that this monster is on our side," said Rahim Ullah, a machine gunner in the Afghan army unit that will fight alongside the Marines.

A few kinks are yet to be worked but before the Breachers are entirely up to speed. Two charges fired by "The Joker" and "Iceman" on Wednesday didn't go off automatically, forcing one of their crew to dismount and trigger the explosives themselves.

Developed by the Marines since the 1990s and costing US$3.5 million apiece, the Breacher still has room for improvement, Sanchez admits.

"It's not in the testing phase anymore, but it sure as hell still is in the deployment phase," he said, adding that all the Marines serving on his Breacher platoon are volunteers and intent on improving the new weapon.

"I'm convinced it's going to prove itself in Marjah," Sanchez said.

Many on his platoon believe the Breacher has already proven its worth. The Joker's vehicle commander, Cpl. Michael Turner, 21, of Provo, Utah, says his Breacher works even better than he'd thought during training.

"She's surprisingly easy to operate," Turner said. His vehicle can travel at 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour. When plowing for bombs, it can still move at 5 to 8 mph (8 to 13 kph), depending on the terrain — all the while digging up the dirt 14 inches (36 centimeters) deep.

"That's plenty enough to get the IEDs," said Turner, because any explosive buried deeper is unlikely to be triggered by a vehicle driving by.

The Joker's driver, Sgt. Jeremy Kinsey, 23, from Sunny Side, Washington, even triggered a live IED during his Breacher's first combat outing in December. The 60-pound (27-kilogram) bomb exploded on his plow, powerful enough to rip out a tire or an axle from a normal armored vehicle.

The Breacher barely registered. "It shook slightly," Kinsey said. "I laughed and I drove on."


QOTD

The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.

The Last Night Launch

Night Shuttle Launch A time-lapse view of the STS-130 shuttle launch, the last planned night launch of the Shuttle. kuyabic/Flickr

Ridiculous video of the day

Pointless? Yes. Amazing? Yes.

Toyota's Unintended Acceleration

Am I the only one who thinks that a little unintended acceleration for Toyotas is not a bad thing?

On the way home today, I got stuck behind:
2 Camrys
1 Corolla
2 Prisses Prii POSes Priuses

Seriously, I think most Toyota drivers would be improved by unintended acceleration, because they sure as hell never intend to accelerate.

IPCC FAIL Fest

The IPCC is completely shot. Turns out that their "research" and "consensus" on global warming is a scam and a farce, with research quality which would have gotten me pulled up for academic integrity in High School. There is both an upside and a downside to this. The upside is that the idiotic mindless belief that we are on the brink of disaster and have to sacrifice our economies and thus global development in order to "save the world".

Sidenote: think about it this way global warming believers. A truly "green" global agreement with a target of 450 or 350ppm would lead to millions (billions?) of people in poverty over time who otherwise would have been lifted out. You see it as limiting big evil companies, but its really cutting back on development for the people who need it most. Cutting back on growth in the US and EU is a direct attack on the lives, health, and safety of billions of people around the country. You always quote numbers based on pseudo-science about how many will be harmed by climate change, but never stop to consider how many will be harmed by trying to prevent a mirage.

On to the story:
The Great IPCC Meltdown Continues

It’s not just the threat of Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035.

Now another headline grabbing IPCC scare story is melting away. A report in Sunday’s London Times highlights new humiliations for the IPCC.

The most important is a claim that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020, a remarkably short time for such a dramatic change. The claim has been quoted in speeches by Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, and by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

There is however one teensy-weensy little problem. As Professor Chris Field, the lead author of the IPCC’s climate impact team has now told reporters that he can find “no evidence” to support the claim in the IPCC’s 2007 report.

There’s more. When the glacier story broke, IPCC apologists returned over and over again to a saving grace. The bogus glacier report appeared in the body of the IPCC document, but not in the much more carefully vetted Synthesis Report, in which the IPCC’s senior leadership made its specific recommendations to world leaders. So it didn’t matter that much, the apologists told us, and we can still trust the rigorously checked and reviewed Synthesis Report.

But that’s where the African rain crisis prediction is found — in the supposedly sacrosanct Synthesis Report.

So: the Synthesis Report contains a major scare prediction — 50% shortfall in North African food production just ten years from now — and there is no serious, peer-reviewed evidence that the prediction is true.

But there’s more. Much, much more. Readers of the Times and the Telegraph are watching the IPCC’s credibility disappear before their eyes. The former head of IPCC has publicly said the IPCC risks losing all credibility if it can’t clean up its act. The head of the largest British funder of environmental research has joined the head of Greenpeace UK in criticizing the IPCC. (At Greenpeace, they want Pachauri to resign.) The Dutch government has demanded that the IPCC correct its erroneous assertion that half of the Netherlands is below sea level. Actually, it’s only about a quarter. A prediction about the impact of sea level increases on people living in the Nile Delta was taken from an unpublished student dissertation. The report contained inaccurate data about generating energy from waves and about the cost of nuclear power (this information was apparently taken without being checked directly from a website supported by the nuclear power industry).

Getting so much better all the time

I love the vision of the idealized past. Or really the vision of the past as something more like The Lord of the Rings (the happy parts) or the world Pandora from Avatar. But the reality is different, and something that frequently annoys me is how little people understand how much better the world is getting. I have created the following movie to show how, according to live expectancy and income, the world is becoming a much better place.
video

Toyotathon - First Man to Stop Wins!

I have not yet commented on throttlegate or whatever the cool bloggers are calling it these days (I am not part of that crowd - more of the socially awkward corner of the blogoshpere - I like thinks such as "space," "gadgets" and "weird news" after all - and I believe in ghosts, aliens, capitalism, and the innocence of Milli Vanilli.. ok, not that last one)

So, toyota is pretty royally screwed in this country, and with good reason. Those of us who watch automotive news have seen these unintended acceleration claims for a while, but they were always pushed aside by the NHTSA. Turns out this was a pretty clear case of "agency capture" with ex-gov guys going straight to working for big T, and then lobbying to block investigations -- successfully.

The whole thing is covered so much elsewhere, I wont spend much time on it here, but a few thoughts:
1) I have never liked Toyotas and have never recommended them to anyone I know. Actually, no one that I am close to has one, which speaks to the quality of my associates. Actually, they are good cars, and I think this whole thing is totally overwrought, not to the same degree as the Explorer rollover BS of 10 years ago because this is not just driver error, but still, I think it is not that big a deal: there are very few cases reported, toyotas are safe reliable cars overall, and you can get it fixed in the next month or so. Statistically, it is barely a blip. The main reason I dont like Toyotas is because they are boring and designed by a committee, albeit a well functioning, efficient, organized and effective committee.

2) GO HYUNDAI GO!! WOOT WOOT. I have liked them for years - I called their rise to power when I was about 13. Ever since then I have been watching them with interest. And they build cars that are actually interesting, some of the time. The only Toyota I want to own is a MR2 - which was a total aberration for ToMoCo. Hyundai and Honda, not GM, will gobble up what Toyota looses. Hyundai is about to introduce the new and very good looking Sonata - watch the Superbowl for more updates - at what should be a very very good time to snag Camry owners.

3) Forget the rule of threes

4) Go buy a Subaru

Obama... says the right thing?

Obama has been saying a lot of the right things recently, in an effort to move towards the middle (and I am not sure that Republicans are responding correctly: refusing to meet in the middle is a risky strategy).

He has been pushing repealing the cap gains tax in a limited way (for small businesses - so really limited), he has been talking about freezing the budget, or parts of it, and trying to get spending under control, he has been discussing broader tax cuts.

And then we get this on energy: "Don't give up on that," Obama said. "I don't want us to just say the easy way out is to just give a bunch of tax credits to clean energy companies. The market works best when it responds to price. And if they start seeing, you know what, that dirty energy is a little pricier, clean energy is a little cheaper, they'll innovate and they'll think things through in all kinds of ways."

And the thing is... I completely agree with him. The issue seems to be translating from this thought process--which I agree with--through the Democratic party, and down to the ideologically driven and industry hating staffers (I have personally dealt with them) who actually write a lot of the legislation, and create true abominations of bills (like... Waxman-Markey, ObamaCare, the stimulus package...).

So, yes, this is the BoN fully agreeing with a statement from Obama.
http://www.k-state.edu/udguidesite/gx/flying_pigs.jpg

Ahh Nigeria

A never ending source of amusement, whatever job I seem to have (though this one gets more than the last - though less than selling large lots on eBay)...

From the Desk of: Sir. Jude Afam
Director,
Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources
Attn: Sir/Madam
It is with trust and confidence that I make this urgent and important business proposal to you. I am a Director with the Presidency, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources Nigeria. I have been assigned by my colleagues to seek a foreign partner in the transfer of the sum of US$4,500.000 (Four Million Five Hundred United States Dollars) only. This money arose from a deliberate over - invoicing of a contract and supply of Drilling Equipment / Earth Moving Equipments awarded by our corporation in 2009.
We have been safeguarding this money since then, waiting an appropriate time when the money can be transferred into a foreign nominated bank, pending our arrival for the sharing and utilization with the owner of the account. Now the new civilian government of president Umar Musa Yar'adua has ordered that all debts owed foreign contractors by the government be paid immediately, on the strength of this order, we wish to take advantage of it to present you or your company as the beneficiary of this fund valued US$4.5 Million.
Meanwhile, we have agreed that the money will be shared thus: 60% will be for us (my colleagues and I), 35% will be for you for collaborating and providing the necessary assistance while the remaining 5% has been mapped out for any incidental expenses that might be incurred in the course of this transaction.
Note, that the nature of your company's business is irrelevant to this transaction as all arrangements have been concluded for a successful and hitch- free transaction. You are required to forward the following information if you accept to assist:
(1) Your full name.
(2) Your company name
(3) Your Contact or Company Address
(4) Your Mobile phone Number
We have taken measures to ensure that this is executed in a legitimate arrangement. The supply and the contract amounted to over US$450M and if this US$4.5 Million is received by you as a co-contractor, it will give you the opportunity to work with the Federal Government of Nigeria once there is an opportunity for any contract or supply to the ministry which we shall personally facilitate in your favor.
This information is highly confidential and urgent. Further detail will be communicated to you as soon as I receive your acceptance response.
Best regards.
Sir. Jude Afam.
Director, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources
Federal Republic of Nigeria.



Roxxxy the $7,000 Sex Bot

This is hilarious. And creepy. And sad. And a vision of things to come. And very very odd. And I thought this is why we put up with Las Vegas. And I just am not sure what to say about it.

Roxxxy is a $7,000 sex doll robot. It (I refuse to call it a "she") has warm air circulating under its skin so it is warm and lifelike to the touch. It can talk. Kinda. It uses a preset list of words in order to respond to conversation - in other words, its ability to speak is somewhat, limited. One can only imagine what it is programmed to say. I dont really want to put up an image.. they are all creepy. Googly Roxxxy if you must, its... an experience (all pg-13 rated from what I saw thankfully so far, it just came out after all). But, here it is:

The more interesting part to me is where we are at in terms of possible changes to the social structure, acceptance of some rudimentary form of robot into society etc. Granted, Roxxxy is really for the early-adopter do-it-yourself technically inclined crowd.... yeah... think about that for a sec... ok moving on, but there will be future versions etc etc. Its not about a sex robot (or it is, your pick) its about the integration of robotics and artificially intelligence into society. This is the... erm... first wave? progenitor? inception? spring? launch? blastoff? rise? of a new product category and a new... feature... in society.

Sort of blend together blade runner, iRobot, GATTAGA, and a Roomba and that is what the future of robotics looks like. I hope Roxxxy does not figure in too prominently, but given the vast and largely unseen porn industry, it just might.

Comcast Rebrands as the Necromongers, I mean Xfinity

I once watched a truly bad movie, the Chronicles of Riddick. The story took the awesome Vin Diesel character (and essentially only person left alive) from Pitch Black and put him in a story that centered around Necromongers from the Underverse. Seriously.

Comcast is trying to compete with that level of idiotic naming. They are going to rebrand themselves Xfinity. Obviously they did not get the memo about the 90's ending,

I assume that they are going to then make the Nissan Xterra the only vehicle that company employees are allowed to drive:


They will only be allowed to go skiing on Salomon x-screams:

The movie eXtreme ops (which is truly truly terrible) will be played at every board meeting:

After which, they will then be fored to watch the X-Files from start to finish. Including BOTH movies.

The only shoes employees will be allowed to wear are X-trails, they will be forced to participate in eXtreme sports such as skyboarding (remember that one?) and inline skating (so damn eXtreme). They will only be able to buy gas from Exxon (ok... maybe not..), and have to spend every damn minute of free time gaming on their X-Box.

What do all of these have in common? First, they are all annoying (often annoyingly yellow - a color I assosciate with early 2000's X-treme) Second they are all no longer for sale, or at least were in their heyday back around 2002 (XBOX 360 not withstanding). When calling things X-something was, you know, cool. Kinda. If you thought that being xtreme involved driving on a dirt road, hiking the waterfall path that attracts a thousand people a day, and skiing blue runs slightly faster than you thing is safe!

Amazingly, the only X that has lived through and past all of this Xtreme stupidity is the X-Games, which are really what started the whole trend in the first place. Coming late to the party (after-party? drunken wreck of a hotel room the morning after the party?) Comcast is not going to fare so well.


Tractor Snow Machine from 1920... Amazing

No need to watch more than the first minute or so (I think - I have not watched the whole thing) but this is pretty damn amazing.... and I want one..

ebay




Saddest Thing Ever

Want to know what is wrong with this country? What caused the credit crises? Why we accept a $1.5 trillion deficit in the budget?

MONOPOLY Brand Electronic Banking Edition
Approx. Retail: $34.99

Item: 00114
Ages: 8 & Up

Wheel and deal your way to a fortune even faster using debit cards instead of cash! All it takes is a card swipe for money to change hands. Now you can collect rent, buy properties and pay fines - with the touch of a button! It's a new way to play the family classic that's been brought up-to-date with modernized tokens (including a Segway personal transporter, space shuttle, flat-screen TV, baseball cap and a dog in handbag!), higher property values and locations based on your favorite landmarks Gameboard comes with title deed cards, chance and community chest cards, 6 debit cards, 2 dice, 6 tokens, 32 houses, 12 hotels and instructions. 2-6 Players. 2 "AAA" Batteries Required (not included).

iGrowth


image














































































Ranimal's comment: "the 2014 version should be called the iMaxiPad"

Iranian Astronauts

Iran shot four astronauts into space yesterday.

A mouse, a turtle and two worms.

Seriously.

Tesla IPO - Time to Cash in

by going short...

I really dont believe in Tesla. Their IPO numbers are highly dubious, they have built less than 500 cars, and they are living on investors money. Lets be real here folks, this company is a joke that is supported by the fact that Obama likes shiny green things (the DOE $465 million loan is what is keeping the company alive).

So they filed for an IPO, to scam investors out of millions raise money for the model S
http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1318605/000119312510017054/ds1.htm

They had a gross profit of $7.7 million... but total operating loss of $31.5 million through 3Q 2009 for the year. In other words, in the first 9months of 2009 they lost a shit ton of money, and still think that they can go public. On top of this is the fact that the only reason they did not lose a hell of a lot more is because they cut way back on R&D spending, which is not a good thing when you are meant to be making the mainstream model S, and have recently announced the roadster will be dead by 2013...

I have one word for you (options traders):
put

Tebow Ad BS

First and possibly last time I base a post on a twitter comment, but it popped up on the side of a story, and I find it hilarious.

The story goes that there will be anti-abortion ad aired during the superbowl featuring Tim Tebow and his mom lying that when she was pregnant in the Philippines doctors recommended abortion, even though the practice has been illegal in that country since 1930.

The ad is obviously controversial on top of it being BS, but this was just hilarious:



txgardeningmom: @ 11:15 Dallas time there will be a group outside CBS in NY praying for the ad airing during the super bowl with Tim Tebow & his mom. TY CBS
2 hours ago ago from web

EPIC LOL

Bushbama?

Bush Obama recently announced diplomatic discussions with Iran a giant missile shield to protect US interests from Iranian missiles. The President, long a war hawk elected as an anti-war socialist, believes that Iran will not play nice with diplomacy and so is using hard assets to counter Iranian aggression. Known for his swagger and go it alone communist policies, the President sent the CIA director to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister to discuss the Iranian threat. The President believes in containing an Iranian nuclear threat, and will seek diplomatic means of doing so will do so through hard-nosed aggressive realpolitik.

In the wake of the surge in Iraq Afghanistan it seems the President has consistently hardened his military stance, refusing to put a definitive timetable for withdrawal and recommending certain detainees at Guantanamo be held indefinitely along with pushing through a major new arms sale to Taiwan in spite of Chinese protests. In addition, the new budget calls for increased shipments of arms to US allies in the Gulf, as well as record defense spending sold to Congress by General Petraeus and Sec Def Robert Gates.

Why I will never live in Germany

I like Germany a lot. Had a fantastic time there on vacation last fall. Beautiful country, great food, nice people, Munich is now one of my favorite cities and I would love to commute on the autobahn in a s4/m3/xfr/aston martin.

But I will never live there.

They just announced that they will BUY illegally obtained information on Swiss bank accounts in order to prosecute tax evaders. They already did this 2 years ago with Luxembourg.

Seriously. The equivalent of the IRS is going to PAY HACKERS for ILLEGAL records in order to prosecute people who MAY OR MAY NOT have broken tax laws.

Yes, the IRS pisses me off - but you would be able to shoot this down in court over here using a lawyer from Sonoma County Community College who failed the bar their first 12 times.

So in addition to making me not want to live in Germany, it makes me want to hack into bank accounts in tax havens and sell the info to Germany - or at least bankroll the effort. Seriously, WTF Germany? And yes, the wtfasaur has been getting a lot of action recently, but it is freaking justified.

whatthefuckasaurus

GM's Ed Whitacre out in 2 years

This is the way it was written up in Autoblog.. they dont get it...

"Also, the General Motors board only named him the permanent CEO when a search for someone to step in and take the job from Whitacre came up fruitless. The search yielded no one qualified that was willing to work for the pay restrictions put in place by Uncle Sam as a result of GM's Chapter 11 bailout.

Also, and you need to read between the lines for this one, Detroit for the most part dislikes and distrusts outsiders. Hence the fact that they are looking internally for a Whitacre replacement. Strange when you consider how much wood former Boeing-man and total Detroit outsider Alan Mulally's been chopping over at surging Ford. Still, "Whitacre and the board want the winning candidate to emerge from a new corporate culture based on decision-making and accountability.""

The real story here is that the board recognizes he is a tool. He was known as a tool and not very capable over at ATT, and he will be the same for GM. Hopefully, he wont screw things up, but he is not going to do very much. The real story is that no one was willing to step in and take over for what communism was willing to pay. No shit. Pretty soon it will look like Chavez's PDVSA (the state oil company of Venezuela, and main source of national income) where a used car salesman is now one of the top executives, all because of political connections.

The board realized they have a clunker of a CEO and want him out soon. My take is that they are hoping to find someone capable willing to work with the restrictions, or that those restrictions will be lifted one way or another.

CBS (not FOX) online poll

Looking at the results you might think this came from FOX, but nope...
http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/19/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry6116297.shtml?tag=pop

Grade Obama's First Year in Office


The Economy
A:
3.59%
B:
5.61%
C:
5.71%
D:
17.65%
F:
67.44%
Foreign Policy
A:
7.32%
B:
5.12%
C:
8.85%
D:
22.05%
F:
56.66%
Health Care
A:
4.01%
B:
4.26%
C:
4.45%
D:
9.27%
F:
78.00%
Afghanistan
A:
4.81%
B:
14.21%
C:
26.69%
D:
23.93%
F:
30.36%
Iraq
A:
5.87%
B:
11.47%
C:
26.36%
D:
23.30%
F:
33.00%
Threat of Terrorism
A:
5.58%
B:
5.88%
C:
7.86%
D:
18.49%
F:
62.19%
Energy and the Environment
A:
5.18%
B:
6.44%
C:
12.97%
D:
19.73%
F:
55.69%
Social Issues
A:
5.92%
B:
6.50%
C:
14.21%
D:
19.90%
F:
53.47%
Bipartisanship
A:
5.42%
B:
3.99%
C:
4.88%
D:
7.23%
F:
78.48%
Obama's Overall Job as President
A:
4.93%
B:
5.54%
C:
4.79%
D:
25.47%
F:
59.27%

NOTE: This is not a scientific poll. The results above are for information purposes only, and should not be confused with the results of the scientific polls conducted by CBS News.