Category Archives: Uncategorized

See where your tax money goes

I figure this calculator is fairly accurate, though I found their income estimates to be unhelpful. I was surprised at how much goes to Medicare.

So Much Win

It’s reality that’s wrong

It couldn’t possibly be the advanced statistical techniques. It stands to reason that not everything will be a loser when the climate warms. Adapt or die.

Is our children learning

Because heaven forfend we use brute memorization to learn our addition and multiplication tables. Why, that’s just white male patristic hegemony trying to make our kids smrt. Because it’s a much better idea to start them off with algebra, that’s the inclusive way.

I get that you want kids to know why math works, but first or third graders have, like, miniscule reasoning skills. Explain it to them later, in pre-algebra, when they can care about whys. In the meantime, it’s easier and quicker and more useful to just accept it on faith that 13-7=6. Or not faith because if you have 13 oranges and someone takes 7 you can count and see that you have 6 left

Wow. Actual tolerance.

Andrew Sullivan on the Mozilla CEO thing.

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

via Inoperable Terran

Although I’m sure early morning people are morally superior

Getting up earlier means you’re slimmer. I suspect this study needs further study, and it’s more like slimmer people tend to get up early. It sounds more like correlation than causation.

It’s The FUTURE!

I’ve read about this in, for instance, Memory , so it’ll be interesting to see if we really can freeze people and later revive them.

Forward Momentum

Why the relative power of the aggressor doesn’t matter in the beginning (see Russia vs. US). Qui audet adipiscitur, yo.

I really don’t think we should get involved in a land war in Asia. If it comes down to actual people in combat, I’m pretty sure it’s NATO’s turn  to step up and by NATO I mean not the US and some token Western European troops, but Western European troops and some US support. It’s their backyard, after all.

Oh lookee here

Roku finally responds to the Chromecast.

This just in

“Green” energy is less efficient than normal energy. Otherwise we would have been using the green stuff.

Take the Green Building Council’s Washington headquarters. Replete with the group’s top green-energy accolade, the platinum LEED certification, the USGBC’s main base comes in at 236 EUI. The average EUI for uncertified buildings in the capital? Just 199.

Stupid Klaus

Them: Why are you laughing so much.
Me: It’s a German work safety forklift video.
Them: o_0

I think that’s a Don Knotts cameo in there, too.

I wanted to hate this

It takes so many things that should deserve contempt and makes them awesome. There’s a lesson in that somewhere.

Are we seriously considering getting involved in a land war in Asia?

For pete’s sake, what are we doing threatening the Ukraine? Like Russia would let us. If I were Yanukovych, I would announce a crackdown (with no intention of calling in the troops), just to watch the US scramble.

Has the State Department not realized that there is civil unrest around the world every spring and not come up with properly pious sounding, but meaningless, platitudes for all the non-democratic countries. You know, like, “We support every person’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and every nation’s sovereignty. Good luck.” Or perhaps “We rely on our good friends and allies in the EU to deal with this problem, since it’s on their doorstep and not ours.” Or, “Russia is right there, let’s not start WWIII today.”

‘Murica

Awesomely over the top. And unfortunately, we might not be the only ones going back to the moon.

I want to believe

This guy aimed a radio telescope at the moon when Apollo 11 landed and recorded the results. He was mildly disappointed when what was broadcast on the TV was what he heard.

Ahem.

There’s a reason we weren’t using organic growing methods and green soaps, detergents, etc. before it became the cool thing to do. Because they are inefficient, ineffective, more expensive and not really hurting us.

Well, let’s start with apples, which the EWG considers the most pesticide-laden fruit or vegetable out there, and look at the pesticide that is most commonly found on them, called Thiabendazole. Winter and his colleagues found that, each day from conventionally-grown apples and apple-based products, Americans typically consume a dose of Thiabendazole that is 787 times less than the EPA’s recommended exposure limit. Put another way, you’d have to eat as many apples and apple products as 787 Americans eat in a single day combined in order to be exposed to a level of this pesticide that approaches the EPA’s exposure limit.

Granted, we’re exposed to pesticides through other means, too, and some pesticides may have cumulative effects—but Winter says that even so, Americans won’t be ingesting anything close to the EPA’s limits for any of the pesticides used in U.S. agriculture. (And if you ever did ingest a pesticide at or above the EPA’s limit, you wouldn’t suddenly keel over and die.The agency sets pesticide limits at least 100 times lower than the lowest dose that caused any sign of harm, however minimal, to animals when they were fed that amount every day for most of their lives.) “We have a tremendous amount of data showing that what we’re exposed to in the diet for pesticides is very, very low, and certainly much lower than what would be required to have any even minimal health concern,” Winter says.

Nice

Merkel rebukes US and UK over their spying.

Merkel said that Western powers sacrificing freedom in the quest for security were sending the wrong signal to “billions of people living in undemocratic states”.

*cough*Franklin*cough*

Words have meaning

If you are the head of any branch of the government of the United States of America, you shouldn’t declare that you’re going to go ahead and ignore the other branches. It’s kinda stupid. At least say you’re going to work with the others.

“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama boasted Tuesday as he convened his first cabinet meeting of the year.

I grant you, Congress has been mostly useless since about 1998, but that doesn’t mean you get to throw out the basis of our government in the name of “moving forward”, wherever forward is.

A good list

Stupid things people waste way too much time on.

Relevant cat pic:
good news

Meanwhile in Ukraine

Because if you’re going to make improvised weapons, they might as well be spectacular.ukraine

“The Ukraine” or just “Ukraine”? I vaguely recall one makes them angry, but don’t recall which.

Some say the next series starts February 2

Nordic countries ease right

Apparently, the social welfare model only works when the economy is booming. Eventually it runs out of other people’s money. And even with a small, homogenous population ideal for a social welfare state, everyone loves an income tax cut.

Should I care?

I’m not convinced that having more government than Rwanda or Azerbaijan is a bad thing. To be fair I know little of their governments, like if they have them. Not true, I saw in the Ewan McGregor bike across Africa thing that Rwanda does have a president.I assume, though, they are mostly lawless hell-holes that operate on a system of family connections and bribery.

I do think being ranked behind Canada, Hong Kong and Australia is a bad sign. But we are still beating out Europe, China and the other BRIC countries so we have that going for us, which is nice. These smaller countries aren’t going to threaten our economic livelihood like they could.

The problem with net neutrality

A clear explanation of the Net Neutrality decision last week and why the free market doesn’t demand it. I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusions, but not because their argument is wrong, they make a good case, but because in reality, it’s monopolies all the way down

There needs to be more competition in the broadband market before I’d be comfortable with “everyone set any price you’d like,” because my choices are Time-Warner Cable or crap speeds on DSL/satellite. We can talk about free market solutions when I see some fiber being laid down by Google or Verizon and there’s a possibility of a free market.

Harvard Lawyer, eh?

In an extensive interview with the paper, Davis said she had focused on general themes in her personal history, rather than being precise.

That’s what I look for in a lawyer and politician, someone who tells a good story and isn’t bogged down by, you know, facts.

Much bipartisan

It’s nice to see Dems and Repubs demanding transparency and accountability with Obamacare. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the upcoming elections, but then, that’s what makes America work.

Wah.

IMHO, the Little Sisters of Mercy should just fill out the exemption paper, but this take-down of the US News editorial show the hypocrisy of crying over the Sisters trying to impose their beliefs by the very people that actually have imposed their health-care beliefs on the rest of us.

And notice how every little health decision is now a matter of public policy and debate because the freaking government is involved. Yay.

The poor multi-billion dollar tech companies

How tech companies are dealing with their new-found distrust of the federal goverment.

At first we were in an arms race with sophisticated criminals,” says Eric Grosse, Google’s head of security. “Then we found ourselves in an arms race with certain nation-state actors [with a reputation for cyberattacks]. And now we’re in an arms race with the best nation-state actors.” Primarily, the US government.

It’ll be nice when the courts figure out that the internet counts as “papers and effects” and learns the definition of “particularly” doesn’t mean “all the things”.

And the poor, misunderstood NSA:

But they do not see any of those points as a reason to stop gathering data. They chalk all of that negativity up to monumental misunderstandings triggered by a lone leaker and a hostile press. NSA employees see themselves as dealing with genuine deadly threats to the nation, and it makes them crazy when people assume that spooks at Fort Meade are intent on stealing their privacy.

“It’s almost delusional,” Ledgett says. “I wish I could get to the high mountaintop to scream, ‘You’re not a target!’”

I’m not a target, great. But my information is (possibly? probably? see, I don’t know and that’s a problem) being scooped up too. Even if it unintentional and gets winnowed out later, it’s still being scooped up and I think that’s unconstitutional. But keep splitting those hairs. Let’s keep sliding into a police state. It’s for our own good!  Didn’t Franklin have something to say about that? Who cares, he’s dead and lived in a different world with different concerns! There were no anarchists and terrorists and splinter cells intent on the destruction of governments in his day! Carry on!

I shouldn’t have to engage security protocols to protect my internet stuff from my own government; criminals, sure, but not the government.

 

The irony makes me smile

The CIA supported abstract expressionism worldwide in attempt to make the US look more freedom loving.

The decision to include culture and art in the US Cold War arsenal was taken as soon as the CIA was founded in 1947. Dismayed at the appeal communism still had for many intellectuals and artists in the West, the new agency set up a division, the Propaganda Assets Inventory, which at its peak could influence more than 800 newspapers, magazines and public information organisations. They joked that it was like a Wurlitzer jukebox: when the CIA pushed a button it could hear whatever tune it wanted playing across the world.

The next key step came in 1950, when the International Organisations Division (IOD) was set up under Tom Braden. It was this office which subsidised the animated version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which sponsored American jazz artists, opera recitals, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s international touring programme. Its agents were placed in the film industry, in publishing houses, even as travel writers for the celebrated Fodor guides. And, we now know, it promoted America’s anarchic avant-garde movement, Abstract Expressionism.

Last year for me as reported by the internets

Last year on my blog was rather not that interesting. To be fair a lot of stuff goes on Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook these days.

What I read.

I need to link my WODs to something that will report it, because I did a lot of work this year with many gains. I got my unassisted kipping pullups, my back squat went from 130 ->140, Deadlift 170 -> 190, Cindy 9 +4 (assisted pullups) -> 10 +13 (unassisted pullups), my 400m run went from 2:23 -> 2:15.

What I listened to [Spotify link]: Continue reading

To sum up

This year’s pop hits are fairly depressing in tone…

Ouch

When former Stasi officials are jealous of your spying capabilities, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s been a good year

A good collection of the best of science pictures/videos of the year.

Seriously?

Banning cell phone calls during flights because the other people talking annoy you? I’m not convinced that’s sound legislating. Why not let social peer pressure do the work and leave us the freedom.

That’s nice

Microsoft is pushing back against government snooping.

We also will take new steps to reinforce legal protections for our customers’ data. For example, we are committed to notifying business and government customers if we receive legal orders related to their data. Where a gag order attempts to prohibit us from doing this, we will challenge it in court. We’ve done this successfully in the past, and we will continue to do so in the future to preserve our ability to alert customers when governments seek to obtain their data. And we’ll assert available jurisdictional objections to legal demands when governments seek this type of customer content that is stored in another country.

Sit back and enjoy the view

Should really be enjoyed in HD.

So much this

I don’t know the deets of Common Core, but the principle of this still stands.

You see, Common Core isn’t wrong because of the values it teaches. Common Core is wrong because it is an unconstitutional, federal usurpation of power. In fact, it’s not even directly from the federal government, but a private initiative from the Gates Foundation used by the federal government to coerce states. It is the very same “gun to the head” of the states that Chief Justice Roberts referred to in National Federation Of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Obamacare) with regard to the medicaid expansion coercion. Regardless, conservatives, libertarians, and moderates are all too in favor of such usurpation when it aligns with our values. This is not only wrong, it is extremely dangerous.

 

Not Cool, America

I’m not convinced that allowing other nations to spy on Americans online legally is worth preserving our “right” to do so to them. And by “right” I mean dubious legal standing that ignores our own political history and is far more in line with those of dictators, fascists and history’s monsters across the centuries.

The problem isn’t what the Obama administration will do with it

The problem is what two or four or ten administrations down the line will do with it when this is commonly used and everyone’s cars come with it standard. The government should develop some safety minimums and guarantee privacy for the car’s owner and then let the technology mature.

 

We learn nothing from books

Does anyone not see how this is going to end badly?

You can tell by the name

While the brown recluse spider’s bite is not a good thing, most of the spiders identified as brown recluses weren’t. And if you’re worried about spiders in the house, I recommend a cat.

“The truth is, bad things happen to us all the time, and it’s completely random,” said entomologist Gwen Pearson, author of the WIRED Science Blog, Charismatic Minifauna. But being able to blame a nasty skin lesion on a spider is more satisfying than acknowledging that a necrotic crater has emerged on your arm for no identifiable reason, she says.

What’s really awesome is the photo in the picture. “It’s not a recluse bite, it’s anthrax!” In a better world, those shouldn’t be confusable.

I’ve seen this before

Gaming consoles have come full-circle and now the most advanced console available lets you play… [spoilers] Pong [/spoilers]

Hurray!

Google’s scanning of books is considered fair use.

Oh Frank J.

You’ve done it again.

But when people point out things, like how with hundreds of millions of dollars and three years, the government couldn’t even get a Web site running …then American citizens start to wonder whether our government is even as capable as a stoned teenager earning minimum wage.

They even start to ask if the harshest punishment available for government employees — time off with pay — is enough incentive to give it the accountability needed.

Then people start to wonder if the officials who told us the Benghazi attack was because of a YouTube video, sold guns to Mexican drug cartels and have run up $17 trillion in debt while telling us not to worry about it are perhaps complete idiots with no idea what they’re doing.

Interesting read

Bill Clinton and Bill Gates on the state of the world and what they’re doing to make it better. Remarkably well-balanced answers from both of them.

Watch the sausage being made

A timeline of why healthcare.gov isn’t working.

There’s something to be said for steamrolling the other party when you need to get something done. Also, for funding something properly when you write the law. And letting businesses do business and not getting the government involved.

This is good news

Amazon is beginning to roll out Sunday delivery.

Happy N7 day!

Spoilers!
fc,550x550,navy

Thanks for a game that brings hundreds of hours of entertainment, laughter and tears.

Full disclosure: I liked the ending. Not everyone’s story ends well. Saren was right, Illusive Man was right or you are right about the Reapers: choose. And your choice has deadly consequences, no matter what.

I want a self-driving car

I would buy one even if I didn’t get a discount on my insurance.

Awesome!