Monday, September 30, 2013

Sod Off Congress

George Bush Jr shot this country in the foot, leg, ass, and anywhere else he could point at for 8 long years. The Tea Party is gangrene setting in. They actually made some sense and brought up some legitimate issues for all of 3 days when they first formed. Then they were taken over by extremists and corporate interests and now they're downright dangerous.

I mention this now, because if they have their way I don't have to work tomorrow or the day after or the day after. They'd rather see the government shut down than see people getting affordable health care. Much of the government already takes every Friday off because of their economic sabotage. Now they want to get rid of it all together. And even if they get their way and defund Obamacare 85% of it will still be in place.

Allowing people to stay on their parents' health insurance into their 20's lets more people got to grad school or take a risk and start a business.
Getting rid of pre-existing conditions allows people to change providers and change jobs without fear of losing what little health insurance they have.
If someone with insurance gets sick the insurance company can't drop them.
And only 20% of what you pay can go to administration costs like executive salaries and corporate jets.

These laws alone actually make health insurance worth having. But, this is the sort of thing that the Republicans and the Tea Party in particular are against. At least so long as Obama is pushing it. Funny how many of those opposed to this stuff included it in their own reform ideas years ago.

So great is their hatred for the President and so poor is their understanding of economics that they make the double mistake of trying to kill one of the most important bills of my life time while trying to cut spending when the economy needs more stimulus. I'm all for a balanced budget and reducing the national debt. But you do that when the economy is good and spend more when the economy is bad.

Luckily, most of the Republican party realizes that the government shut down is a bad idea and will vote against the shutdown.

What goes into effect tomorrow (Oct 1) is the groups that will help people pick their plans or help them afford their health plans. So what Republican politician and news organizations have been saying about job losses and closing businesses is nonsense. Because it hasn't taken effect yet. Oh, sure, there have been threats. You may recall the Republican leadership asking companies to make those threats before the last election. And there is a problem with companies cutting people to part time, but that has nothing to do with health insurance other than it being one of the many benefits they no longer want to pay for. No jobs have been lost to Obamacare, but an estimated 3/4 of a million jobs have been lost due to the sequester.

But watch, in a few years nobody is going to be calling it Obamacare. By calling it Obamacare they'll be giving credit to Obama for what will be a rather popular program.

If the government does shut down tomorrow you can blame me for not planning a trip to Seattle. The last few times we were promised a shut down I was packing to leave town when they announced that they wanted me in the office instead. This time it seems they don't have the votes to shut things down so I've got no plans. So naturally we're gonna get some time off.

If you have questions about the new marketplaces, national or state, you can go to to get answers. Not just an FAQ, but actual people you can chat with who will give you answers and clear up misconceptions brought on by wild and reckless accusations.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Links: September 27

A tiny house for two. [link]

Nuka Cola: Red Star - A Fallout fan film

Watson, the Jeopardy playing computer, learned to cuss. [link]

How chain link fence is made.

Dog playing is leaves.

The Laws of Stupidity. [link]

The next mass shooting. [link]

Work smart AND hard. [link]

Just creepy. [link]

Nifty microscope images. [link]

Ginger Cat vs Paper Army.

Where raccoons are legal pets. [link]

Live crab vending machine. [link]

Two proposed intros for Doctor 12

I wouldn't mind a 3:40 long version of this song.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Just in passing

I spent most of yesterday doing my work on the front porch while waiting for a package. Strange stuff kept going by.

First was a Navy zeppelin. I love those things.

Next a go-cart raced up the street.

Then a man walked by with his phone to his ear. Not making a call. Listening to music without headphones.

A game of dice broke out for 10 minutes, then went away.

Then my package came and I went looking for a more comfortable chair.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Solo ceiling fan

Have you ever installed a ceiling fan by yourself? It's a royal pain in the butt. They're good enough to give it extra long wiring so you can wire it up with the motor sitting on top of a ladder. But then you have to pull the wiring up, line up rods and holes and shove pins into place with one hand while holding up the rather heavy motor and case assembly with the other hand, all while standing on a ladder that you can't hold on to. It was not fun. Seriously, get another ladder and a friend if you have to install one. 

I also got some lath torn down and some dry wall installed. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a fusion bomb

Yeah, this is another post about super heroes.

So, Superman... he gets his powers from the yellow sun. His powers don't go away at night because he stores solar power. Just hanging out on Earth he can charge up enough to ... well, to be Superman. He can fly between star systems so long has he has a small tank of oxygen just on what he gets from hanging out on the third planet of a yellow sun. He defies gravity. He fires beams of energy from his eyes. He tosses around tanks. When he really needs a boost he flies into the heart of the sun. There was one storyline where that poisoned him, but typically it's either a place to get super charged or a place for him to hide from the noise of Earth. The point is that he stores a lot of solar power.

How does he store this power? How does he control it? What I'm worried about is that when Superman finally does die his containment system is going to break down. Last time he died he was really just in a really deep coma. When he really dies he may lose control completely. What happens then? I'm thinking the energy all gets released.

Worse case scenario: He releases all the energy in a flash that wipes out a city and possibly sets the atmosphere on fire.

Better case scenario: The energy gets released as his body breaks down. That still has him burning with an absurd intensity. If his cell structure is dense enough he may be a clean source of heat for some power plant for years. Or maybe he becomes a tourist attraction. A pyre that makes a city block uninhabitable. Come look at Superman's body and toast a marshmallow from two blocks away.

I'm beginning to think Lex Luthor is right. The alien is a menace.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Links: September 20

A frog with dreams. [link]

History of the Soviet Union set to the theme of Tetris.

Cat trolling a snake. [link]

Wolverine goes to the nail salon.

Treatment for monkey AIDS. [link]

A 4 dimensional universe could have it's own black holes. And along the event horizon of these black holes could our 3 dimensional universe. [link]

5 newish nifty materials. [link]

A brief history of diving suits. [link]

An insect with gears. [link]

World's most popular lasagna recipe. [link]

Poor college students pay more than rich ones. [link]

The soldier with the sword. [link]

The ugliest, or at least saddest looking, creature. [link]
The picture is unfair. How does it look in the water?

What those words on the nutrition label actually mean. [link]

For those of you who missed the picture of the frog at the rocket launch. [link]

The man behind Dolby sound systems died the other day at age 80. [link]

Festival clean up. [link]

Crime scene photos placed over current New York pics. [link]
I thought this was old, but it's really good work.

Putting time in perspective. [link]

I'm proud to say that I had no idea that GQ and Hugo Boss had an awards ceremony or that Russell Brand make a Nazi joke about Hugo Boss while there. But here's Russell's side of things. [link]

Rocky and Natasha's voice actress wins an Emmy. [link]

Scary clown loose in Northampton. [link]

11,000 years of temperature data. [link]

Ron Paul confirms my views that he's a loon. He's now coming out against schools. [link]
Have you met... people, Ron? People are stupid. We send people to school so that people somewhat smarter can teach the kids. Under your plan only the kids of really smart people or people with money for tutors would get an education worth a damn. Mostly we'd get feral children.

True facts about the frog.

Why is this not a show on TLC? Or at least between shows on PBS?

Productivity secrets from great historical thinkers. [link]

All the financial advice you need on one index card. [link]

The Stay Out of New York tourist leaflet. [link]

Women in aviation. [link]

A private study of Black Widow Spiders. [link]

Man is his own brewery. [link]

Drone watches German Chancellor and freaks security out. [link]

Minecraft if made with the Crysis engine.

What Isaac Asimov got right about 2014. [link]

All 56 original Star Trek episodes at once.

Aw. Robots are taking our dogs, too. [link]

Cartoon characters doing Lord of the Rings.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Movie Review: The Wolverine

I went into The Wolverine knowing almost nothing about it other than it had Hugh Jackman playing his most famous role and we'd see the late Jean Grey in it. For all intents and purposes you should consider this X-Men 4. Sure, there's just Wolverine, but it picks up some years after X-Men 3 and continues the story.

Having killed Jean Grey, one of his great loves, he heads off into the wilds of Canada to live as a hermit and torment himself with her memory. He's drawn out when a bear that he knows gets killed by some hunters. While going after the hunters he meets a young woman who wants to take him to Tokyo where a man he saved from the Nagasaki nuke is dying. Things start going hinky almost immediately as a major corporation is preparing to change hands within the family, but not the way anyone expected. The story follows the standard Japanese lore about a lone samurai falling for a princess and fighting ninjas and whatnot to save her. Only this time there's mutant abilities involved and the big samurai who must be confronted at the end of the story is a robot.

While I enjoyed the movie and am glad that I saw it, I'm not feeling inclined to buy the DVD. What you really want to see the movie for is the short bit that comes during the credits. I'm not sure if it's leading into the new First Class movie or another sequel to the original X-Men movies, but it should get you excited.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So, which was it?

Nokia was recently sold to Microsoft. It fell a long way in recent years. The question is did Nokia fall far enough for Microsoft to buy them because there was a problem with Nokia or because they were using a Microsoft OS on their phones? I actively avoid Microsoft powered phones because I'm adverse to pieces of crap. I'm not sure how Nokia is going to do any better when owned by Microsoft.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Breakfast at Tiffany's bothers me

Is it just me, or is "Breakfast at Tiffany's" a song about a sad little man grasping at straws in order to keep a woman who wants nothing to do with him. I feel there should be a sequel.

And I said - what about - Breakfast at Tiffany's
She said - What are you - doing in my house
And as I recall - I got - a re-strain-ing order
And I said - well then - where are the cops

You'll say, that we've got nothing in common
So I set fire to your garden
And shaved my name in your dog
You'll say Keep five thousand feet between us
A mile at least between us
I'm starting to think you don't care.

Or something like that

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wall panel 1

This is my wall. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
It is made of lath pulled from my walls and nails found in the basement.
It shall close the walls of my bedroom and hide my wiring until such time as it is torn down to install duct work.
I still need to cut holes for the light switch and power outlet. The stain could stand being touched up.
But that's for tomorrow.
Today I've got it standing and call it good.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday the 13th Links: September

The NSA build a poor Enterprise bridge replica. [link]
Yeah, part of our budget was recently taken to pay for someone's office, too.

Modern Shrinky Dinks. [link]
Made from #6 plastic. Does this mean I can just take my #6 plastics, draw on them, and shove them in the oven instead of fighting with the recycling guys over whether they take them or not?

Shrinky Dink science. [link]
Dang. Looks like it needs to be stretched to make Shrinky Dink plastic.

How to get attention for your decal company. [link]

Engl-ish. [link]

Pimp my skeleton or Bones of Bling. [link] [link 2]

Weird Al Yankovic's "UHF" with footage from MST3K.


Gas cloud to hit black hole in the middle of the Milky Way this year. [link]

Why was the old Doctor Who cancelled?

Really? Have you seen mid-80's BBC shows? The whole network deserved to be dropped. 

How has "don't make concave, reflective walls on your building" not become standard architect doctrine? [link]

Oh, look, we've figured out how to break light speed again. And this one is actually rather old (to me). [link]

Name that tune.

It's time for you to run a 5K. And then send me pics of your medal. [link]

August 10 - the day that news of American independence was published in England. [link]

Why are chemical weapons worse than conventional weapons? [link]

How (this guy) Outgrew Libertarianism. [link]
Short version: matured past the age of 6.

Underground home and yard for sale. [link]

Why you shouldn't post pictures of your kids online. [link]

Time capsule city. [link]

Cheap decorative jars. [link]
I may need a few in my new library. Just so I don't have to dust. 

Why can't we go back in time to kill Hitler? [link]

Kindle book stealing robot. [link]

A short audio recording of a fire fight in Vietnam. [link]

A short history of Syria in the last century. [link]

How to make a proper caesar salad. [link]

You've seen these circles from airplanes. We farmers know what they are and are familiar with this problem. [link]

Gangs have business cards? [link]

Can't get yourself deserted on an island? Rent one! [link]

Are sports ruining schools? [link]

It costs poor people more to access their money than it does rich people. [link]

Submersible ships that aren't submarines. [link]

A Georgian Stonehenge/Rosetta Stone. [link]

Simple 3D modeling from a photo. Then photo manipulation.

Video games are good for the mental functions of the elderly. [link]

Deceptive practices in interface design. [link]
iPhone users should have a look.

Evil prank. [link]

26 year old victim of WWI. [link]

Dynamic lines on a gym floor. [link]

The old Aperture Science computer system. [link]

Monday, September 09, 2013


My phone broke yesterday. I'd had it about 45-46 hours and the screen broke. The phone fell 1 foot onto a table. The case is fine. The glass is intact. The screen below the glass cracked. My old Droid 2 survived almost 3 years of being dropped, kicked, being driven over once, and general rough treatment. My Moto X didn't survive simple butterfingers while sitting at a desk. Apparently it's made of cobwebs, old china teacups, and pleasant dreams.

It was time to replace my phone. I liked my old one, but it was becoming defective. A strip of screen had become unresponsive to touch and then freaking out much later. Time to let it go.

I tried doing some research, but really, I have trouble telling them apart. The Moto X came highly recommended by some friends so I just went with it. And you're going to hear me complain about it.

I liked the physical keyboard. Some people don't like them, but I liked seeing the screen and being able to type at the same time. Moto X doesn't have that.

Google Talk has been replaced with Hangout. I tried the upgrade on my old phone and hated it. But there I could uninstall the update and go back to Talk. I can't do that now. So some other app is pretending to be Talk. Hangout just sucks. I've not heard from anyone who thinks it's an improvement over Talk. Talk takes the people who are available and clusters them at the top. Hangout just sort of mutes the colors on people who aren't available. So if you have more than a dozen contacts you have to go hunting to see if they're online and keep checking to see when they come online if you're waiting for them. I want them all clustered like in Talk. And so does everybody else who isn't Google.

It does make it easier to uninstall apps, once you figure out how.

I'm not sure if the GPS is on or off. Bluetooth and wi-fi I can at least still look up in the system preferences.

I'm told there's brightness control. I haven't seen it yet.

I had to reconfigure Gmail to make it useful instead of graphical.

It's only the first evening, but so far I'm struck more by what it can't do than what it can.

Stupid thought

Why is the word "small" bigger than the word "big"?

Friday, September 06, 2013

Lack of links

Sorry for the lack of links. Internet gets turned on later today.

Until then, just be happy.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Movie review: Despicable Me 2

Ok, so this movie has already left the major theaters and should be out on DVD in a month or two. I just saw it yesterday. And to think, five years ago I was telling you about movies before they hit the theater. Ah, well.

Despicable Me 2 is named after a similar movie that came before it called Despicable Me. And just like the preceding movie, it's really pretty funny. I had not just the theater, but the building to myself. Just me and the one staff member who was working tickets, concessions, janitorial, and the projector. And I laughed or snickered at some of the stupidest stuff. Some throw away lines were made funny just by the voice doing them. Some were genuinely unexpected. Some were just situational and almost background jokes. But the writers hadn't slacked off after the success of their first movie.

I was a bit worried at first. It really bothers me when they make a sequel just by taking characters from the first movie and making them spies. It's a common enough trope and it almost never works. Usually it means they were under pressure to make a sequel and had no good ideas. Kinda like when they want to make a TV show into a movie so the cast has to raise money in a hurry to save the lodge/orphanarium/school/etc. It worked for the Blues Brothers, but not for anyone else.

Maybe I didn't notice any gadget overload because Gru (our hero) is already a recovering mad scientist and wanna be world conqueror and is surrounded with gadgets. Or maybe it's just because it was actually funny and not a cruel distortion of liked characters.

Short version of the movie: Gru's lab has been turned into a jelly and jam factory now that he's gone straight. But his dad leaves because he loves being an evil genius. The neighbor lady keeps trying to set Gru, the single father, up with her single friends. An anti-bad guy organization wants to recruit Gru to go after a bad guy who stole a secret arctic research lab. Alas, they don't know who he is. Only that he spends time in this one mall. Presumably running a store. Gru and an energetic redhead spy are given a cupcake shop from which to scope things out.

OK, the figuring out who dunnit was a bit awkward. And the relationship between Gru and the redhead is a bit forced. But overall the movie was still pretty funny.

Monday, September 02, 2013

I'm thankful

I'm thankful that bread and mold are different colors. Consider the alternative.