Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gandolf inna tree

Gandolf happily perched in a redbud tree.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gandolf's travel perch

Gandolf is trying out her new car perch. It's 4 ft of rebar with the ends stuck in the holes for the head rest. Then some insulating tape and pipe insulation all secured with a tight wrap of string. I'll replace the string with zip ties, soon.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Links: April 18

Free clinics are shutting down. Thanks to Obamacare they're no longer needed. [link]

You can judge a book by it's cover. [link]

A map of the deepest cave in the world. [link]

Captain Janeway says she was tricked to narrate a "documentary" about geocentrism. [link]

Lawrence Krauss doesn't know how he got in the "documentary". [link]

Cardboard remote control tank. [link]

The pickup that insurgents everywhere prefer to use. [link]
Be sure to watch the Top Gear video. 

Most crosswalk buttons in NYC are only there for show. [link]

Kermit Christ Superstar - Songs from Jesus Christ Superstar done by a Muppet impersonator. [link]

I didn't get picked for the Mars One mission. This article is by the husband of someone who did get picked. [link]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boycotting the Kochs

If you haven't been paying attention, the Koch brothers are horrible, horrible business leaders who like to throw their billions of dollars at promoting pollution, denying health insurance, and generally promoting the sort of politicians that make the Tea Party look moderate. I don't want to give them my money and I'm betting that you wouldn't either if you knew them. But you never see commercials for Koch stores, so how exactly do they make money? Well, here's a depressingly large list of businesses and products that they own.

Koch Industry Gasoline:
-Union 76

American Greetings
-Angel Soft
-Angel Soft Ultra
-Brawny paper towels
-Dixie products
-Insulair cups
-Mardis Gras napkins
-Perfect Touch cups, paper products
-Quilted Northern
-Sparkle paper towels
-Vanity Fair napkins & paper towels
-Zee Napkins

Georgia-Pacific Products:
-Angel Soft toilet paper
-Brawny paper towels
-Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
-Mardi Gras napkins and towels
-Quilted Northern toilet paper
-Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper
-Sparkle napkins
-Vanity fair napkins
-Zee napkins

Georgia Pacific Building products:
-Dense Armor Drywall and Decking
-ToughArmor Gypsum board
-Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood
-Densglass sheathing
-G/P Industrial plasters
-Agricultural Plaster
-Arts & Crafts Plaster
-Dental Plaster
-General Purpose Plaster
-Glass-reinforced Gypsum (GRG),etc.

Georgia-Pacific Office products
-Spectrum paper
-Georgia-Pacific's enMotion paper towel dispenser
-Georgia-Pacific's engineered lumber

-INVISTA’s PET polymer is used in oxygen-sensitive packaging for food and beverages.
-ADI-PURE® Adipic Acid
-ANTRON® Carpet Fiber
-C12™ Intermediates
-COOLMAX® Fabric
-CORDURA® Fabric
-DACRON® Fiberfill
-DYTEK® Idea Intermediates
-FLEXISOLV® Solvent Solutions
-LYCRA® Fiber
-LYCRA HyFit® Fiber
-OXYCLEAR® Barrier Resin
-PHENREZ® resin
-POLARGUARD® fiber and
-SENZAA™ Additive
-SOLARMAX® fabric
-SOMERELLE® bedding products
-SUPPLEX® Fabric
-TACTEL® Fiber
-TACTESSE® carpet fiber
-TECGEN® Garments
-TERATE® Polyols
-TERATHANE® Polyether Glycol
-TERRIN™ Polyols
-TORZEN® PA66 Resin

Koch Fertilizer Company's AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabilizer fertilizer products are used around the world to improve nitrogen efficiency and enhance crop productions.

And, with that huge, impossible to memorize list I suppose I should point you to the Buycott app. You can pick your cause and it'll create a list of companies you should support or not depending on your pet cause. You can scan products in the store and determine if they're on your list.

Monday, April 14, 2014

House for sale

I've got a house for sale in Washington, DC if you're interested. It's not exactly move in ready. I mean, you could, but it's got a lot of half finished projects if you think you'll want to fix the house up yourself first.

The house is 12'x24', two stories tall, there's an attic, a deck, and a front lawn. It's ideal for one person or a married couple. You could have a kid, too, but for purposes of space and education you'll want to leave before the kid starts school.

It's only 3 blocks from the DC Metro. The Metro system is extensive enough that I went 9 years without a car.
Also 3 blocks away, the U st shopping corridor is full of restaurants, bars, furniture, and clothing stores. I'm really missing the easy access to everything.

I'm asking $350,000 for the house as-is. It's probably the cheapest house you're going to find in DC.

It's seen a lot of improvements since I moved in.
In October 2006 I replaced the back wall and bathroom
In November 2007 the roof had it's surface stripped and replaced. It has an estimated R-25 insulation value now and was painted silver to reflect heat instead of absorbing it. A new coat is recommended.
In January 2008 I finished work on the second bedroom/office. It has a bamboo floor, exposed and repointed brick, and is open to the roof. 
That was followed in February 2008 with me making the space over the main bedroom into an attic.
The deck was added in May 2008. It's made of composite materials that should last 50 years.
The furnace and tankless water heater were added in December 2008.
In August 2009 I painted the crawlspace with multiceramic paint. Additional insulation was added in November 2010.
I made the stones that make up the front patio in May/July 2010.

If you're just an investor, the neighborhood was rezoned a few years back to allow 3 story homes. Houses that have added the third floor have doubled in value. If I had the funds I'd do it myself.

If you're interested you can reach me via the comments or at

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Links: April 11

Why you shouldn't get a tattoo, but having a baby is fine. [link]

Why part of Canada is missing some gravity. [link]

Opt-out of a bunch of advertising trackers. [link]

"16 and Pregnant" is helping bring down teen pregnancy rates. [link]

Intact T-rex soft tissue found along with why it's been preserved this long. [link]

Switzerland is wired to self destruct in self defense. [link]

A high school prank using a tunnel that connects two parts of a school on opposite sides of the street.

The smell of rain on dry earth has a name: petrichor. [link]

Smooooooth Game of Thrones theme.

The making of the Doctor Who version of Guess Who. [link]

A cake that looks like The Luggage from Discworld. [link]

I'd display this art in my home. [link]

The oldest known message in a bottle. [link]

Doctor Zhivago was part of a CIA plot to undermine the Soviet Union. [link]

Charge your iPod in 30 seconds. [link]

Unprofitable valley. [link]

Game: Super Planet Crash - Crashing planets for fun and prof... for fun. [link]

Court stenographer writes "I hate my job" over and over. [link]

Sloth rescue. [link]

Libertarian Police Force. [link]

What do you get when you cross a goat and a sheep? This. [link]

Using quotes to make book titles sarcastic. [link]

Wrath of Kahn storyboards. [link]

The Navy is making gasoline from sea water. That or we've spilled more oil than we thought. [link]

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Gotham City may be worse than we think

What you see in the movies and comic books is Batman and friends stopping the smuggling of drugs and dangerous weapons into the city. That's some of the lower level stuff they show you. Nothing like stopping the Joker or breaking up the Penguin's latest scheme. They still break up muggings and car jackings and the like, but that's pretty basic for them. You can't keep an audience's interest with that. But it still happens. Think about that for a second. It still happens. You have a colony of creatures of dubious humanity who can swoop down on you at any moment, drag you into the shadows, beat the crap out of you, possibly cripple you for life, all for trying to steal someone's wallet or sell a bit of weed. And these people still choose to try to make a living that way. Which raises the question about how bad the economy in Gotham City really is. Sure, Bruce Wayne keeps opening shelters, funding free health care, scholarships, money for schools, creating jobs, and generally trying to turn things around for the poorest of the poor before they turn to crime. He works to elect politicians who will try to drive the city to do similar things with city money. But it seems to me that it's still a city with the density of New York with the economy of Detroit.

Pity the people of Gotham, for hungry African children send them money.

It doesn't help the people of Gotham, but you can give money to the Wayne Foundation. Their focus is on helping the victims of sex trafficking. []

Super hero shortage in a super hero world

As it stands in the real world, there's lots of people of all ages who want to be super heroes. Not necessarily with powers. Just someone like Batman or Green Arrow or the like who is perfectly normal but fights crime. Even those who train to be able to fight almost never go the way of the movie Kick-Ass and actually try to pull it off. Those people we see in the news who have made costumes don't get into the physical stuff. They're helping people carry their groceries and whatnot. At most they might perform CPR sometime.

Now step into a different world. One like that depicted in comic books. One of the more recent Batman movies showed Batman-wannabes fighting Scarecrow and friends in a parking garage. Batman himself showed up and broke it up explaining that the difference between him and them was that he wasn't wearing hockey pads. Nor was he toting guns, but he didn't mention that. The fact that he'd inspired copy-cats is sort of the point of my thesis.

Batman has to remain a myth that only criminals know about because otherwise Gotham becomes filled with wanna-bes who Batman then has to smack around and send home. He's trying to protect people and barely trained and funded are just putting themselves in the middle of minor skirmishes and getting themselves hurt or killed. But in Boston, where Bats can't patrol, there's going to be nearly as many Bat-pretenders as there are cops. Sure, it's illegal to be a vigilante and the cops will be arresting them when they can, but it's still going to be happening a lot because Bruce Wayne proved it could be done.

This comic book universe has proved something else. Aliens do exist. Meta-humans do happen. How many kids do you know who have tried to use the Force after watching Star Wars? All of them, right? Often doing it well into their 50s and beyond. It's hard enough to keep kids from wrapping a towel around their neck and jumping off roofs now. How hard would it be when there are actually people who really can fly? Because how do you know if you don't try? Maybe you do have laser vision and you just need to figure out how to turn it on? We'd constantly be exposed to ads by con artists claiming that they can help you unlock your secret super powers. We might all be mutants who just haven't activated our powers. Around Chernobyl and Fukushima they'd need intense security to keep out all the people who just want to get exposed to a bit of radiation in hopes of unlocking some powers.

My point being that the comic book worlds are woefully under vigilanted. Superman HAS to stop all these accidents because otherwise a dozen other heroes are going to appear like lawyers on an ambulance.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Movie Review: Captain America: Winter Soldier

Typically we can have faith that the Marvel movies will be pretty good. But if you saw Thor: The Dark World (not bad, but a B- in an A or A+ movie tradition) or the dubious trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy then you may have some doubts about Captain America: Winter Soldier. So let me reassure you now, it's a good movie and you'll enjoy it.

I was wondering what they were going to do for a story. I mean Captain America is still too tied to WWII in my mind. To do otherwise you'd have to make this movie an origin story for a new villain. From what I've seen of the trailers Marvel doesn't want to give you too much of the movie and I'm going to respect that... mostly. I'll just say that some of the old baddies and heroes are manifesting themselves in new ways. And this movie will fuck things over royally for the Agents of Shield TV series. This movie may explain why Fury wasn't taking Coulson's calls. Or they may be unrelated.

Cap and Black Widow have better chemistry than Thor and stupid human played by Natalie Portman and Cap and BW aren't supposed to be a couple.

There are two clips in the credits to watch for.

Since this is a short post I want to share a story. While filming The Avengers Chris Evans sent out a text to the rest of the main cast with the phrase "Avengers Assemble". And they'd meet at a bar and party all night. Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) said it was his favorite text he's ever received.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Friday Links: April 4

One of the greatest jugglers in history has turned to masonry. [link]

Chimps have better numerical memory than humans. [link]

Just roosters. [link]

Anita Hill talks. [link]

Find out what song that was in that one TV show or movie. [link]

Creepy tunnel. [link]

Talented dog. [link]

Detroit and other cities have tens of thousands of unprocessed rape kits just sitting there for decades. [link]

Alternative scene for Gravity.

Yellowstone isn't about to explode.
In this video you see buffalo running to leave Yellowstone National Park. Some theorized that they knew the caldera was about to explode. The first issue is that the video was posted weeks ago and filmed awhile before that. [link]

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan's tourist pics from New York. [link]

Ford puts Cadillac's ad in it's place. [link]

Albuquerque police gun down homeless camper. [link]

The first trailer for Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It's fallen so far since it's early days as a spoof of the superhero genre. 
I will not be seeing this movie. But that was established the moment it was announced.

Artistic dog grooming. []

Cupcake vending machine doesn't work like a high speed EZ Bake Oven. [link]

Besides their land and ships, Russia now controls Ukraine's dolphin army. [link]

I've played games on an Oculus Rift. It's awesome. I have high hopes for the technology. So I'm really mad that Facebook bought Oculus. If Mark Zuckerwhoozit bought it I wouldn't mind. But I seriously dislike Facebook and will put off buying a Rift as long as possible. [link 1] [link 2]

High quality time lapse foodage of slow moving sea life. [link]

"Why do you hate porn?" [link]

Painting letters on the street. [link]

Disaster architecture. [link]

Bird coffee shop. [link]

The pneumonic plague. [link]

Smiley face screws and screwdriver. [link]
Are you kidding me? I need to buy ANOTHER kind of screwdriver!?