Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wait, what?

The average Britisher is poorer than all the states but Mississippi in purchasing power? One of us, one of us. I suspect the math will be ripped up in the coming days. Some mention of better schooling and health care is bound to happen. Let’s see what happens.

More writing, less statistics here.

Britain’s welfare state, and the tax that goes with it, is so costly that it feels like we ought to have solved the problem by now. Instead, we have created the most expensive poverty in the world – and managed to hide it in houses that look nicer than America’s ghettoes.

Alberta gives up on stupid math tricks

And back to the memorizing times tables. The eights are so tricky. With bonus (Matthew Broderick) Music Man analogy.

Charmingly naive

Missouri lawmakers want to stop the flow of military equipment to local cops.

He and Rep. Lacy Clay (D) said the military-grade weapons and equipment donated by the Pentagon to local agencies were never intended to be used against citizens engaged in civil disobedience.

Really, what did you think military equipment used to take and occupy military war-zones was going to be used for?

“My concerns about the program is that it’s not being used for its original intent, which was to arm police forces for a terrorism act or a well-armed drug cartel,” Clay said in an interview Thursday. “In the last week, I have witnessed my own constituents who are peaceful protesters having this military equipment used against them.

Terrorism and drug cartels hit and run. They don’t sit around waiting for the police to gear up and roll out. I suppose I could see a drug cartel taking a neighborhood and the police could surround it and have an acutal war, but that’s just bad planning on everyone’s part.

It’ll never be in my area

Uber is experimenting with delivering stuff door-to-door. Oddly enough, not available in Idaho. Like Google Fiber. And Amazon Grocery. I could go on, but I won’t.

The More You Know

Wow. I guess Egypt’s a bit upset with Hamas

Be excellent to each other

Andrew W.K. has some solid advice for us all.

So we must protect and respect each other, no matter how hard it feels. No matter how wrong someone else may seem to us, they are still human. No matter how bad someone may appear, they are truly no worse than us. Our beliefs and behavior don’t make us fundamentally better than others, no matter how satisfying it is to believe otherwise. We must be tireless in our efforts to see things from the point of view we most disagree with. We must make endless efforts to try and understand the people we least relate to. And we must at all times force ourselves to love the people we dislike the most. Not because it’s nice or because they deserve it, but because our own sanity and survival depends on it. And if we do find ourselves pushed into a corner where we must kill others in order to survive, we must fully accept that we are killing people just as fully human as ourselves, and not some evil abstract creatures.


it really bothers me there’s no mic for him to sing into.

Very ecumenical of him

No one likes Richard Dawkins anymore since he applied his thinking to protected people groups.

I like the theory

Paul Ryan has a modest proposal on streamlining government aid. I suspect the end result would make sure the same bureaucracies are getting their cut of the pie and numbers would be fudged to ensure that it looked like people were getting help. Still, I like the idea of empowering states to try different stuff and while I’m sure it could be worse, that seems unlikely.

Weird Al makes the world a better place

Seriously, why is he not doing the Superbowl half-time show?

Private vs public

An explanation on why the left is so uptight about the Hobby Lobby decision. To sum up: positive and negative rights and the growing intrusiveness of government.

I feel safer

A government scientist cleaning out an old storage room at a research center near Washington made a startling discovery last week — decades-old vials of smallpox packed away and forgotten in a cardboard box.

It’s not the beginning of an apocalyptic novel, it’s just life. There was probably some old guy, ten years after retiring, sitting on the lake, fishing, “Maybe I should have mentioned I left the smallpox in that storage closet when I retired. Oh well.”  On the other hand, security through obscurity.

Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Research and Evaluation, said the discovery was unexpected but not a total shock. He added, however, that “no one’s denying we should have done a better job cleaning out what was there.”

I like him.

They do if they’re paying the bill

“Today’s decision jeopardizes women’s access to essential health care. Employers have no business intruding in the private health care decisions women make with their doctors. This ruling ignores the scientific evidence showing that the health security of millions of American women is strengthened by access to these crucial services,” Reid said. “If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will. We will continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room.”

This is why I think health care is broken at its very core. Health insurance should be paid for by the individual. This would require it becoming much cheaper.  I couldn’t afford the coverage I have if my employer wasn’t footing the bill. The person that holds the purse strings, controls the content. And whether it’s my employer or the government, I’m relying on their benevolence to provide me with a service. Either one could change their minds at any time and I have no control over it.

Something everyone can agree on

Keith Olbermann’s lovely takedown of soccer in America

Hurray!

The Supreme Court recognizes that we are entitled to some digital privacy and safety from unwarranted searches.

To demonstrate how cellphones differ from other items that you might be carrying in your pocket, the Court chronicled, in some detail, the many functions of cellphones – as “cameras, video players, rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps, or newspapers” – and emphasized their “immense storage capacity.”  Having all of this information stored in one place, the Court explained, collectively provides much more information about our lives than, say, a calendar or camera would, standing alone.  In fact, the Court posited, because of the different kinds of data that can be stored on a cellphone, searching a cellphone could provide police with even more information about your life than they could get from searching your home.

If this kind of aggregation is what it takes to stop the piecemeal destruction of the 4th amendment, then great. Go google. Maybe this can reverse the flow.

A list. On the Internet.

The 100 best movies as picked by the film industry.

It’s not as bad as you’d think. Although, I’d like to know the average age of these people. There are a lot more 70s films than I’d expect and a lot fewer from the last 10 years. And for no apparent reason A New Hope is ranked higher than Empire Strikes Back.

Dude, make up your mind

Some random Englishman is upset when Americans ape European soccer traditions and he’s upset when they deviate from them.

There’s the curious obsession with ‘tifo’—those enormous banners that are unfurled in stadiums before kickoff. They work at Lazio, Bayern Munich or Boca Juniors. At Real Salt Lake, not so much.

These soccer snobs are so intent on maintaining an aura of authenticity that when they make a slip-up or use an incorrect or ill-advised term, I feel compelled to pounce on them with all the force of a Roy Keane challenge.

There’s no such position as outside back! (It is fullback.) The rest of the world doesn’t call them PKs! (It is penalties. Just penalties.)

I hope it makes him feel better to know that the only thing I know about the World Cup is that Mexico’s goalie is a machine with crazy hair.

Srsly?

Regulating smartphone map apps use in cars. Is there anything too unimportant for our government to boss us around on?

Summer Reading list

Having taken the spring off to, basically, play video games, I present my Summer reading list:

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan. I’m already 40 pages in, but given its length, I don’t feel this is cheating.

A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire by Geoffrey Wawro. Because why did anyone fight? How was Europe ordered before the war? No one knows.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. Everyone raves about this.

The First Thousand Years by Robert Louis Wilken

Gardens of the Moon: Book One of The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson. I’ve heard great things about this series. We’ll see.

Three (Legends of the Duskwalker) by Jay Posey. I got this somehow, maybe an Orbit Book drop. Anyway, if I want a hardcore SF book this is where I’ll go.

Elective Affinities by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This is a maybe, if I get bored, addition.

Rogues edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Because look at the authors listed. LOOK AT THEM!

Here’s the one

Tis the season for commencement speeches and here’s the best of the lot. I’ve found that if you can pull of number one, the rest are nice, but non-essential.

OMG, this is my life

Oh wait, no I’m not living in an Austen novel. More’s the pity.

Except Mansfield Park. No one wants to be Fanny.

We know, that’s why we don’t like you

White House official jokes that they know everything about us online. It’s funny cause it’s true.

Truly useful information

Why has no one mentioned this to me before?

Wow

Electrical stimulation enables paraplegics to voluntarily move their legs.

Isn’t it ironic

The FCC’s internet provider throttles them to 28.8kbps until they pay up in protest for Net Neutrality.

Oh, Henri

The Future is Now

Bionic limbs. Finally. His belief that bespoke clothing and shoes will be economical is um, optimistic.

I await my bionic eyes.

Remember free speech?

About the Mark Steyn lawsuit. An enjoyable essay to read, if only for the thesaurus Conrad Black swallowed.

The Hugos

The latest in the Larry Correia versus WorldCon saga. He makes an excellent point about enjoyable reading. I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdom which is the right kind of book. It was okay. Well written, but non-engaging. I spent most of the time reading it watching from the outside thinking it was weird. I vastly more enjoyed my next book The Magic of Recluce which is nothing special, indeed formulaic, but an engaging read.

The  nice thing is I now have a list of stories to read over the summer.

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!

Apparently we’re just reckless

If you remove accidents and violent crimes from the life-expectancy equation, Americans live the longest.

Well, duh

Your young urban professionals are learning math and economics. And just how far social justice will hold out against self-interest.

Because, right now, it’s young, middle-class people just outside the subsidy range who are biting the bullet. Young, middle-class people who already bore the highest toll in the recent financial collapse, who have seen our wages sliced and our job prospects dwindle.

You can only ride our backs for so long before we’re going to tell you enough is enough.

Weird

Humans are surprisingly good at seeing snakes.

On why conservatives shouldn’t go all Jacobite

Insistence on idealogical purity in politics never ends well and, indeed, hands victory to your opponents.

This would work

What if the GOP didn’t just flail around blaming Obama, but instead presented attractive alternatives. Of course they can’t, they’re too deeply in the pockets of the insurance companies, but it’s a nice thought.

Happy Birthday Weird Al

The problem with the government doing more stuff

Everything the government touches becomes a matter for the public to decide. Don’t want your healthcare to be decided by the voters? Too bad, you got the government involved in it.

I think he’s upset

Mark Steyn on our fantastically useless government these days.

Problem solved. Next.

Instapundit nails it.

I did not know this

Because really, government finance is mindbogglingly un-intuitive. But America  legally and literally cannot default on our debt as a nation. Not that I thought we were going to, because I assume anything the media brings up for us to panic about is horribly mangled and overly-simplified spin from one side or the other.

NBC: Very quickly before I let you go. As you well know, there is a debt ceiling vote on the horizon. Will Republicans let this country go into default?

SEN. PAUL: I think it’s irresponsible of the president and his men to even talk about default. There is no reason for us to default. We bring in $250 billion in taxes every month, our interest payment is $20 billion. Tell me why we would ever default. We have legislation called the full faith and credit act and it tells the president, you must pay the interest on the debt. So this is a game. This is kind of like closing the World War II memorial. They all get out on TV and they say, we’re going to default. They’re the ones scaring the marketplace. We should never default.

I’m still convinced that borrowing 2.7 BILLION dollars every day is excessive and maybe we could just do without some mid-level bureaucracy (OMG, I spelled it right first try) or possibly an aircraft carrier. Sorry mid-level bureaucrats or aircraft carrierists.

A list on the internet is wrong!

The top 1o cartoons of all time, according to TV Guide. Who clearly never watch the TV.

First off, the Simpsons while brilliant back in the day, wins purely because of longevity. Of course if you’re on the air for 20 years you’ll have time to do all the funny. The Flintstones are not better than Looney Tunes in any way. The Peanuts, while having the greatest theme song, was not a particularly good cartoon.  Scooby Doo is barely tolerable, and certainly not top 5 material. Rocky & Bullwinkle is criminally low. Darkwing Duck is not on the list. Gargoyles is not on the list. Woody Woodpecker is on the list. Luckily they don’t rank most of them, because that would be a trainwreck, based on their top 10.

Ambitious, but rubbish

Oh, I’m shocked that the global warming feel-good targets are unattainable without horrific consumer energy price increases. At least you felt better when you signed them. I’m sure you enjoyed sneering at the US for not buying in to this incredible opportunity.

If the U.K. can’t find an affordable supply of natural gas via hydrofracking of its shale deposits, it might have to restart mothballed coal-fired power plants to keep the lights on in future decades. “One way or another, we’ll muddle through,” says George Day, economic strategy manager at the Loughborough-based Energy Technologies Institute, a partnership between industrial firms and the U.K. government. “Whether we’ll hit our carbon targets is another question,” says Day.

And I want a pony…

Those targets would slash greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. For the country to get there, the U.K. power industry would have to slash its carbon intensity from more than 500 to 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour by 2030, according to the quasi-independent Committee on Climate Change. Under that committee’s roadmap, 60 percent of new cars sold in 2030 should be electric, rising to 100 percent by 2035.

No one likes getting caught

“The president has said that he understands and regrets the concerns disclosures of alleged U.S. intelligence activities have generated in Brazil,” the White House said in part in a statement.

There’s no regret of the actual intelligence activities, of course. Of course he regrets the fallout. Though why Brazilians are concerned about it is beyond me. They don’t have a Fourth Amendment that is being folded, spindled and mutilated.

I might faint

Congress is actually legislating something reasonable and limiting the executive branch. I’m sure they’ll get back to steroid use in baseball soon.

Delayed Grat-if-ication?

Whoa.

The bacteria in your gut may seriously affect your brain function.

I’m glad you can afford your moral stance on GMOs

Shifting focus from condemning Africa to an extra century of malaria, now we’re going to condemn 2 million people a year in Asia to blindness and death from vitamin A deficiency.

You don’t want to eat genetically modified foods, fine, forgo your corn and wheat and well, all modern vegetative food, but why not let the people that are suffering decide if GMOs are worth the risk for them.

Fail

A college exit exam. Interesting idea. I can see how it would eat at the basis of college education, but given the shenanigans that go on these days, I wouldn’t blame employers for wanting to see proof of some sort of learning.

Poor Egypt

They tried something, it didn’t work. At least they’re willing to admit it.

I sometimes wonder what our military would do if our political organization broke down to that degree. I like to think they would stay out of it.

Make them all nervous

Like I’ve said before, while I don’t necessarily thing that a big-L libertarian would be a good president, I’m glad they exist to keep the other parties in check.

If Christie voices right-wing anxiety about libertarians’ rising prestige and influence on politics and culture, the think-tank Demos articulates the left-wing version. The group has just announced its “Gordon Gamm Initiative,” which is explicitly geared to roll back the tide of laissez-faire it feels has swamped a nation.

Also worth a read.

el-oh-el

It’s funny cause it’s true.

I should go

fc,550x550,navyFinished Mass Effect 2 last night. It went by quick. And despite the encouragingly named “Suicide Mission” only Legion and Miranda died. Well, the second time through. The first time through Garrus got swarmed because Samara was the weakest biotic justicar evar. That could not stand so the second time Jack came through for me, despite being the most annoying person in the galaxy. Yeah, no one cares about your troubled childhood except you, okay? Get over it. Buy a tshirt too, while you’re at it.

I was sad about Legion. He wasn’t there long, but I liked him. Miranda was zftncnothing but trouble though, creating a second line of command through Cerberus, good riddance. I mean, a noble sacrifice.

Onward to the DLCs and eventually, ME3.  Yay!calibratingfordummies

Full of win

(NSFW)

This comment wins the internets:

Gaiash Ketoji 1 week ago : It’s George RR Martin. Destroying the things you love is what he does.

Am I the only one who remembers this quote?

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/428327/august-05-2013/global-terror-warning

I’d embed this but wordpress.com isn’t cool like that.

I’m shocked, shocked

Oh look, the NSA is gathering more than just phone data without warrants. How is their very existence not unconstitutional again?

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

K@92Y2Zd)du

A good reason to change your passwords regularly. It’s rumor, but the sad thing is that it’s not so far-fetched that I’d reject it out of hand. The lack of respect for the 4th amendment makes me sad.

I want one

Chromecast. Finally doing what Roku and Tivo and all that stuff should be doing.

I will, however wait until they make enough that the price drops back down to MSRP, if not lower.

Really?

The NSA, overarching and incompetent. Yay.

But ask the NSA, as part of a freedom of information request, to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees’ email? The agency says it doesn’t have the technology.

“There’s no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately,” NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker told me last week.

The system is “a little antiquated and archaic,” she added.

I totally trust the federal government with this information

After all, they probably already have it.

That filing describes a new “system of records” that will store names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, taxpayer status, gender, ethnicity, email addresses, telephone numbers on the millions of people expected to apply for coverage at the ObamaCare exchanges, as well as “tax return information from the IRS, income information from the Social Security Administration, and financial information from other third-party sources.”

They will also store data from businesses buying coverage through an exchange, including a “list of qualified employees and their tax ID numbers,” and keep it all on file for 10 years.

In addition, the filing says the federal government can disclose this information “without the consent of the individual” to a wide range of people, including “agency contractors, consultants, or grantees” who “need to have access to the records” to help run ObamaCare, as well as law enforcement officials to “investigate potential fraud.”

This is good news

But here, too, the Supreme Court and public opinion are demanding the return of more powers to individuals and states. DOMA, pot legalization, the limits on the Voting Rights Act, and a rash of new state limits on abortion all point to a strong public interest in the decentralization of power.

The federal legislature, the Court, and state governments, both blue and red, seem to have adopted this principle of devolution as a strategy for dealing with the most politically toxic issues of our time. America is too big and its citizens are too diverse for one-size-fits-all solutions to some of our culture war issues. Some traditional American views seem newly relevant as we cope with these issues: individuals should be allowed as much freedom as is consistent with their not harming others; wherever possible, states should be free to settle their affairs on their own terms.

Because, clearly, the federal government can’t be trusted with the power.

“[W]e say as Americans that we are tired of seeing liberty sacrificed on the altar of security and having a handful of lawmakers decide what we should and should not know,” the ACLU writes in a statement circulated to grassroots supporters and addressed to Obama. “We are tired of living in a nation governed by fear instead of the principles of freedom and liberty that made this nation great.”

NSS

Not that there aren’t a lot of stupid wannabe terrorists, but no kidding the smarter ones use encryption.

Oh, I feel safer

More information on what information the NSA is keeping with utter disregard for the Fourth Amendment has been leaked.

Two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall – both members of the Senate intelligence committee – have been seeking this information since 2011, but senior White House and intelligence officials have repeatedly insisted that the agency is unable to gather such statistics.

Awesome

A billion pixel panoramic view from Curiosity rover on Mars.

History shows again and again

Trusting the government is a bad plan.

Ooo, that rhymes, write that down.

Google tries not to be evil

Which is a good idea for them, given that no one will use their products if they can’t be trusted with information.

Crikey

I would pay a reasonable amount of money to hear an entire game commentated by this guy.

The company you keep

Putin: not really who you want in your corner, eh?

Great

Without declassifying the incidents, his assurances are less than reassuring. Also, is 10 years long enough? 15 years? How long?

Rights, smights

I’m going to give Lindsey Graham the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s just too stupid to see the difference between a war with clearly delineated goals and end points (like World Wars I and II) and the “War on Terror” that has no stated end point and has moving goalposts designed to transfer as much power to the government as possible. See also: War on Drugs. Because the other option is that he’s a totalitarian of some sort.