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Have you ever heard that a dog knows when an earthquake is about to hit?
Have you ever heard that a dog can sense when a tornado is stirring up, even twenty miles away?
Do you remember hearing that, before the December tsunami struck Southeast Asia , dogs started running frantically away from the seashore, at breakneck speed?
I'm a firm believer that animals and especially dogs have keen insights into the Truth.
And you can't tell me that dogs can't sense a potentially terrible disaster well in advance.
Simply said, a good ol hound dog just KNOWS when something isn't right . . when impending doom is upon us . . .
Bill Whittle posted again and this time he has
I was wading through the comments when I stumbled onto this particular item:
You are going to save the world, Whittle! Whether you like it or not.
Posted by: Rachel Lucas | April 27, 2007 4:15 PM
An honest to god Rachel Lucas sighting? And a recent post by Bill Whittle? Crikey, it's like getting actual footage of Bigfoot playing badmitton with the Loch Ness Monster, although I'm fairly certain that neither critter possesses either Rachel's big smile or her incredible ability to use "asshat" as a a noun, adjective and a verb, all in the same sentence.
Yes Rachel, some of us still miss your blogging. A lot. Hopefully you're busy creating lots of little Republican voters.
If you haven't tried Ubuntu, the new Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn offers the PC user a chance to try out this open source software with little fear. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from ZDNet states that "Ubuntu 7.04 is by far the best and easiest version of Linux that I've used" and "a simple (and safe) way for PC owners to experiment with Linux." In addition, Ubuntu lightens the user experience with a desktop edition for those who don't want to alter their computers with a server install. With that said, Kingsly-Hughes admits that some "dark corners" still exist for Ubuntu users that only a true geek and open source advocate would understand.
With that thought in mind, we hope to pave some of the new Ubuntu user's rocky road with 17 apps that will make that Ubuntu transition smoother. Since Ubuntu comes packaged with all the open source apps that an average user might need (Firefox 2.0, Open Office, Rhythmbox, etc.), it might seem crazy to add more "clutter" to the situation. But what happens if you'd rather use the Opera browser rather than Firefox? Or, perhaps you'd like to add more sound and video apps to your repertoire beyond Rhythmbox. Since the server and desktop versions of Ubuntu support the GNOME 2.18 desktop environment, literally hundreds of additional applications are appropriate for Ubuntu users. But the following free software apps, listed in alphabetical order, provide the new Ubuntu desktop user with a logical beginning to an enhanced open source experience.
Some apps, like gaim (to be renamed Pidgin in its new release), provide a minimizing feature. If you're logged into gaim, you can click the "close" button and the app will disappear from the windows list and the icon will appear in the system tray. You then click the icon and the gaim window reappears. This feature provides users with a simplified workspace. Now you can dock any application without a native tray icon (like Ubuntu's email app, Evolution) in the AllTray system tray. The tool lacks a "drag and drop" feature, so you need to capture an open application to dock it in the tray. In addition to GNOME, AllTray also works with KDE, recent versions of XFCE, and window managers such as Fluxbox and WindowMaker.
amaroK is a music player that was built specifically for the Unix/Linux user, so its function and eye-candy interface makes this a must-have app for the music lover. A drag-and-drop playlist creation, 10-band equalizer, and automatic cover art download via Amazon all make Amarok a perfect application for album freaks as well as single-play aficionados. Ubuntu Feisty includes a new guided wizard for automatically installing multimedia codecs not shipped with Ubuntu, so you're in good shape here.
More notes for the new Ubuntu User: Ubuntu Feisty comes with a Windows migration tool that recognizes Internet Explorer bookmarks, Firefox favorites, desktop wallpaper, AOL and Yahoo! IM contacts and imports them all during Ubuntu installation. Utilize that tool when you decide to migrate. In addition, new users might remember to try to apt-get a program through Ubuntu's interface or check repositories before installing from a source. This practice helps to keep your system cleaner and everything more interconnected, making it easier to maintain and update any Ubuntu apps.
Pretty good list there, especially if you plan on embracing the Penguin.
Having two small children at home, I always appreciate new ways to find bargains which, in turn, save me money. Well, Paul Michael provides a link to a new Firefox gadget which will automatically compare prices from four pretty big sellers. Here's the scoop:
Anyway, recently my life was made an awful lot easier by those clever techno wizards at howtobewebsmart.com . They've come up with a cool Firefox Toolbar gadget that allows you to search for prices on 4 well-known sites at the same time. That's right. One search does it all.
"What are the four sites?" I hear you ask. Well, they're small. Tiny. Ebay, Amazon, Shopping.com and Shopzilla.com. I'm sure you may have at least heard of them, they've been around a while.
Saddle up and get shopping. Or buying, if you're a guy.
You'd better download Firefox 2.x because Mozilla will end it's updates/security patches of the 1.5x versions sometime in May. You have been warned.
Andrew Klavan details the perils of being a conservative.
The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace.
Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It’s not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are.
Still, mannerly as we would rather be, truth-telling continues to be both compelling and ultimately satisfying. There is, after all, something greater than courtesy. “Firmness in the right,” Lincoln called it, “as God gives us to see the right.” We find ourselves at a precarious moment in an endeavor of great importance: namely, the preservation of Western rationalism and liberty. It does mankind no good to allow so magnificent an enterprise to slip away merely for fear of saying the wrong thing.
When my friends and family want their egos stroked, they ask other people for their opinions. When they want the unvarnished truth, they ask me. I've never had problems answering the following question honestly: "Does this (whatever) make me look fat?" I realize that it's supposed to be the one question that men are supposed to lie about, but I think that letting my lovely wife go out in something unflattering does her a great disservice. Hence, I tell it like it is.
A good friend - someone I've lost touch with over the years- once criticized me as being "brutally honest". I wear that comment as a badge of honor. For the record, I understand the meaning of the word "tact". Being honest doesn't mean that you have to be a complete dick about things.
Link found via McQ.
The party's over.
Looks like California will actually try to ban regular incadescent bulbs. My guess is that people like Bill Quick will order truckloads of the damned things, just to eff with the legistlature.
Ever have to go but a new wallet, but thought that they were too expensive? Me neither. However, if you really want to go cheap, it's good to know that you can make one yourself using a sheet of paper and two little pieces of tape.
McCain-Feingold to take it on the chin this time? Excerpt:
The Supreme Court has taken up the WRTL case again and the real agenda of McCain-Feingold has been exposed. Senator McCain and the other congressional sponsors argue in their Supreme Court brief that broadcast ads would be “sham,” not “genuine,” if they “took a critical stance regarding a candidate’s position on an issue.” Thus they admitted that stifling criticism of public officials is at the “core” of the “electioneering communication” prohibition.
It is now apparent that the “electioneering communication” prohibition was misrepresented from the outset, that the arguments to justify it were shams, and that its real purpose is to silence criticism of public officials. This is irreconcilable with the First Amendment and with our form of government created by the Constitution.
But what will the Supreme Court do? Oral argument in Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. v. FEC is scheduled for this Wednesday, April 25, and a decision is expected by the end of the Court’s term in June.
I will be watching this case with interest. For the record, I will post whatever information about a candidate that I wish to, at any time. If our federal government elected officials disagree with my position, they have my permission to blow me.
I haven't tried either method shown here, but the videos look pretty cool.
How? By converting it to an external hard drive in minutes. Excerpt:
An external hard drive can serve countless uses: moving large files from one PC to another, backing up data, rescuing files from an unbootable drive, and, of course, expanding your available storage space. It can also act as a holding tank for your data while you perform a hard-drive wipe and OS reinstall. Here's how to turn any cast-off internal drive into an external drive with a new lease on life.
Choose an enclosure
Your hard drive needs a new home, a small case that supplies power, protection and a USB or FireWire interface. Prices for these enclosures range from as little as $10 on up to around $100, though I wouldn't pay more than $20-30 for one. (Some of the pricier models can connect directly to TVs for video and audio streaming, and even come with wireless remotes.)
The key consideration is size: If your hard drive came from a notebook, you'll need a 2.5-inch enclosure. Desktop drives require a 3.5-inch enclosure.
Next up, consider your interface options. Most enclosures are designed to work with IDE drives and supply a USB and/or FireWire external interface for connecting to your PC. However, some enclosures support newer SATA drives and include an eSATA interface--though not many PCs or notebooks have that kind of port. Thus, if you're relocating a SATA drive, make sure the enclosure includes a USB interface so you'll have a place to connect it. (Not sure how to tell an IDE drive from a SATA drive? It's all in the interface: an IDE connector measures about two inches wide and has two rows of pins; SATA connectors are much smaller and have only one row.)
That's really all you need to know about choosing an enclosure. If you're into eye candy, look for a see-through chassis or one with LEDs or other decorative elements. As for where to buy, I've found excellent selection and low prices at Newegg.com, though that is by no means the only place to shop. (If you have a favorite store for enclosures and other accessories, talk it up in the comments.)
Pretty cool stuff.
Then again, based on this ludicrous vote in the Vermont state senate, it's unlikely that any of Vermont's elected officials know how to read:
For its second story at the top of the hour (1PM Central time), NPR just reported that the Vermont State Senate has voted in a 'non-binding resolution' for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Great, now that they've voted for the impeachment, it's time for... umm, what exactly? The Vermont state senate has exactly zero power to affect the current power structure in DC, no matter how much the member might wish otherwise. The US Constitution clearly gives the US House of Representatives the authority to impeach the president. It also gives the US Senate the authority to vote to remove the president from office if he's impeached. Nowhere in my copy foes it say "unless the Vermont senate votes otherwise". Then again, my copy is simply dead paper, unlike the Doctor Frankenxerox creation, which both lives and breathes.
Sure, I know that it's simply poltical grandstanding. I also know that the Vermonters in question wear little cups under their collective chins to catch the drool sure to be dripping out.
Sort of, if you can classify getting it on with a prostitute as improving your social skills, that is. Excerpted in full because Ananova has a habit of dumping their stories:
A Dutch escort agency is launching a special virgin service for computer geeks.
Sociology student Zoe Vialet, who set up Society Service last year, says she has had a lot of demand from virgins.
She says most of them work in the IT sector and added: "They are very sweet but are afraid of seeking contact with other people. They mean it very well but are very scared.
"Every booking lasts three hours minimum. Longer is possible, shorter not. We take the time to take a bath together, do a massage and explore each others body.
"When the date is over, you will have had a fantastic experience, and you will be able to pleasure a woman."
Zoe and her colleague Marieke have specially trained five girls to look after the needs of virgins, reports De Telegraaf.
She added: "You better practise before having a girlfriend. Woman expect men older than 30 having had some experience.
"Some men need a little bit of help. But it makes them happy and they are glowing .There is nothing more terrible than dying as a virgin."
Oh really? What about a 20-sided die that consistently rolls a "1"? Because let's face it, the losers using this service are far more likely to actually hold a painted plastic polyhedron than the actually feel touch of a woman without paying for it.
Once Gspace is installed, it'll also add an icon to Firefox's status bar. You can click this icon to open a minimal Gspace panel showing the files that have been transfered to the Gmail account.
Before you can transfer files, you have to log in to your account through Gspace. The Manage Accounts button brings up a simple form with fields for your Gmail ID and password. Fill in your account information, click on Save, and you're done. If you have more than one Gmail account you can log in and transfer data to only one account at a time. If you are signed into a particular Gmail account, on launch Gspace will automatically log on to that account for transferring files. If you have separate accounts for email and for transferring files, to avoid confusion, sign out of Gmail before launching Gspace. Then, from the Gspace interface, select the account you want to transfer files to and click on Login.
With Gspace, by default, you can transfer files that are up to 14MB in size. You can change this limit from within Gspace's Preferences tab. Preferences are shared by all accounts. To avoid confusion, Gspace lists only files on your computer that fall within the attachment size limit.
The transfer procedure is simple. Locate the file or files or even a directory that you want to transfer in the left pane, then either right-click on the file and choose Upload, or just click on the arrow between the two panes that points toward the right pane.
The progress of the file transfer is shown in the bottom left portion of the Gspace interface. Gspace can transfer only one file at a time. You can select more files to upload while Gspace is transferring your previous selection. These will be added to a file transfer queue. If you've uploaded a complete directory, Gspace will create a directory of the same name to keep your files under. You can also create your own directories.
Once a file has been uploaded using Gspace, it's kept as an email attachment. The message's subject notes the name of the file, along with a few properties such as its size and the directory it resides in. Because of the long subject lines, messages that store files can be distracting; the Gspace FAQ recommends and has instructions for archiving them.
I use IE at home only when forced to. Yes, I know that Firefox has the IE add-in which allows you to view IE optimized pages, but I usually take the point of least resistance when I encounter a page like that. However, if you're currently using Linux, you probably do not have IE installed on your computer. You may not, in fact, know that it's possible to install and use IE within in Linux. It is. Here's how to go about installing IE if you're currently using Ubuntu:
2 Modify /etc/apt/sources.list
In order to install IEs4Linux, we must modify /etc/apt/sources.list.
2.1 Ubuntu Feisty Fawn
On Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, we must have the lines deb http://de.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu feisty universe and deb http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt edgy main (yes, edgy is correct because that repository doesn't have packages for Feisty yet, but fortunately the Edgy packages work on Feisty, too) in /etc/apt/sources.list:sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update
to update the package database.
3 Install wine And cabextract
Next we must install the packages wine and cabextract like this:
sudo apt-get install wine cabextract
If you are asked Install these packages without verification [y/N]?, answer y:
root@falko-desktop:~# sudo apt-get install wine cabextract
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
cabextract is already the newest version.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 90 not upgraded.
Need to get 9476kB of archives.
After unpacking 44.4MB of additional disk space will be used.
WARNING: The following packages cannot be authenticated!
Install these packages without verification [y/N]? <-- y
There's a lot more where that came from.
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Just try this...............
This will boggle your mind and you will keep trying over and over again to see if you can outsmart your foot, but you can't. It's preprogrammed in your brain!
1. WITHOUT anyone watching you (they will think you are GOOFY......) and while sitting where you are at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.
Your foot will change direction.
I told you so! And there's nothing you can do about it!
You and I both know how stupid it is, but before the day is done you are going to try it again, if you've not already done so.
I'm still waiting for a transporter to take me to and from work. In the interim, protection for space travelers will have to do. Excerpt:
For Captain Kirk and his crew, the starship Enterprise’s force fields were all that stood in the way of oblivion from Klingon lasers. Now scientists are seeking to build Star Trek-style shields for real, to protect astronauts on their way to Mars.
Though a manned mission to the Red Planet could probably expect to avoid any unpleasant alien encounters, researchers believe that magnetic fields could be crucial to shelter its crew from deadly radiation
Now scientists at the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire are proposing a Star Trek solution: to protect the spacecraft with a magnetic field like the Earth’s. A team led by Ruth Bamford, who will present details today at the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in Preston, has been awarded a £30,000 grant by the Science and Technology Facilities Council to start developing such a scheme. It will use technology originally developed for experimental nuclear fusion reactors to wrap a model spacecraft in a magnetic cocoon, so that harmful plasma bounces off.
“It’s no accident that Star Trek featured this sort of technology, as it had advisers who work for Nasa and it’s feasible,” Dr Bamford said. “The shields seem to be some sort of invisible barrier, which energy bounces off, and that sort of deflector shield is exactly what we’re talking about.”
Magnetic field generators, she said, could be critical to Nasa’s plans to establish a permanent manned base on the Moon by 2024, and to send astronauts to Mars around 2030.
It's a good start guys, but don't forget my transporter. Or the food replicator. That would be cool. No more ordering takeout.
Scratch everything I just said. Get the holodeck working and we'll call it even.
Again. And again and again.
Reprinted from Neal Boortz's website, albeit an entry that has disappeared into the bit bucket:
Message: APRIL 15th TAX DAY
From Neal Boortz
"Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed."
"There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man's needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means."
- Albert Jay Nock
The income tax is a vicious, inequitable, unpopular, impolitic and socialistic act. The crusade for an income tax is the most unreasoning and un-American movement in the politics of the last quarter-century.
Editorial - New York Times. 1894.
TAX DAY- FOR ABOUT ONE-HALF OF US
It's April 15th. That day is important for just about one-half of Americans; the one-half that actually carries the load for all of us. For the remaining one-half of income earners it's either just another day, or it's a day they revel in their ability to not only avoid paying taxes themselves, but in their ability to loot the pockets of those who do through such gimmicks as the rancid Earned Income Tax Credit.
April 15 is depressing ... and not just because your taxes are due.
OK , I know you've heard this before, but it doesn't do any harm for you to review the facts just once a year.
This is the day when a simple question can lead to the discovery that most people have no idea how much income tax they pay, though this is becoming less and less true as we go along. There is one group that does know how much federal income tax they pay every year, and this group is growing ever larger. It's that segment of wage earners who pay nothing. So, we'll revise this statement to read: "Most people who actually do pay federal income taxes have no idea how much they pay."
For proof, try this little test: Approach a friend or co-worker whom you actually suspect may pay federal income taxes and ask them what their tax tab was. You will get one of two responses. For the majority of taxpayers who actually get refunds, the response will be "I didn't have to pay anything! I'm getting some back!" Taxpayers who actually have to write a check on April 15 will quote the amount of that check as their tax bill.
This is all by design. Politicians know that if those who pay federal income taxes knew what they were really paying there would be an instantaneous and ugly tax revolt. To hide the ugly truth, these politicians have kept alive our wonderful system of withholding. With the magic of withholding, the money is gone before the wage earner even gets the slightest whiff of it. It's almost as if it was never really there in the first place ... so, what's to miss?
Not only do most people not know how much tax they pay, they don't even know what they make!
You've already asked your co-worker how much tax they had to pay in 2001, and they didn't know. Now, ask them how much they make! Most will tell you it's none of your business. Some will respond, though, and their response will begin with the words, "I take home ..."
If you wanted to be particularly obnoxious at this point, or if you fancy yourself to be a radio talk-show host, you could say: "I didn't ask you how much you took home. I asked you how much you made." Then, standby for the inevitable blank stare.
See how well this system of withholding taxes has worked! The majority of wage earners can't even tell you what they earned! Just what they "took home." It's as if they viewed their "take home" pay as their total earnings! No wonder they don't think they paid any taxes when they get that refund check from the IRS!
But --- if you happen to work for youself then it's a good bet that you DO know how much tax you paid. The owners of small businesses, the businesses that employ about 80 percent of the workers in this country ... you know. You are the people who have to sit down four times a year and write a check to the IRS for your quarterly tax payments.
WHY WE'LL NEVER HAVE A TAX REVOLT.
One word. Withholding.
Withholding was sold to the American wage earner as a purely temporary measure to speed up cash flow to the government during World War II. As soon as the war was over, things were supposed to return to normal and the wage earners would get their entire checks, just as before the war.
In case you haven't checked, the war has been over for about 58 years or so, but withholding is still with us. It's still with us because the proliferation of the "I take home ..." workers and the "I didn't have to pay anything, I'm getting some back" taxpayers are such a boon to our politicians. As long as the majority remains ignorant of the extent to which their paychecks are plundered, politicians will be safe.
Now ... get those tax returns completed and then completely forget what they say so that you can join the ranks of the unknowing.
I can't let this April 15th go by without reminding you of what a wonderful job politicians, especially Democrats, have done insuring that there will never be enough angry taxpayers to cost them their jobs.
Politicians pay attention to polls. Polls are indications of the presence or lack of job security. When politicians read a poll which says that the majority of Americans (a) don't think they're paying too much in taxes, and (b) don't see any need for a tax cut, they sit back and smile. Politicians, and especially Democrats, have been working for generations to shift the burden for the payment of federal income taxes to a small minority of high-income earners. They have succeeded marvelously. Today the top 10 percent of income earners pay over one-half of all federal income taxes. The bottom 60 percent of income earners, a majority, as you can see, pay less than 10 percent of all income taxes. Even someone educated in a government school can tell you that this leaves politicians free to increase taxes on the upper-income minority and then spend that money on the middle and lower-income majority in return for votes.
AND NOW --- TIME FOR SOME TAX AND SPENDING OUTRAGES.
We begin with a statistic that should jolt you right out of your seat. Have you ever stopped to consider just how many cumulative hours are spent across this entire country every year just handling the paperwork associated with the federal income tax? American businesses will spend about 3.4 billion man-hours doing tax paperwork this year. Individuals will spend another 1.7 billion man-hours. These figures represent 3 million people working full time all year just to do tax preparation work. Now --- get this. It takes more man-hours in this country to pay federal income taxes than it does to build every car, van and truck produced in this country during the same year. (Money Magazine)
Where does your tax money go? Try this:
Between 1986 and 1998 the IRS spent $5 billion of your money on a computer system that they were never able to get to work. Five Billion, that's with a B.
Taxes now comprise 31% of the cost of a loaf of bread, 30% of the cost of a hotel room and 43% of the cost of a bottle of beer. (Money Magazine)
The two major tax writing committees of congress are the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Money Magazine reports that seven out of ten members of these committees cannot figure out their own taxes. They have to hire professionals.
Your government recently gave $170 million to a group called PSI. PSI was founded by Philip Harvey. Philip Harvey runs a mail-order porno business called Adam and Eve. PSI wants to hand out condoms around the world. They now have $170 million of your money to fund their project.
At a series of employee retreats workers played children's games and sang We are family. They wrote Christmas carols, went on treasure hunts, dressed in cat costumes and talked to imaginary wizards and magicians. It was a team-building exercise for the U.S. Postal Service. Cost? $3,600,000.00.
There are 1.2 million paid tax preparers in the United States. That's six times more than the number of troops in Iraq. These 1.2 million people add absolutely nothing to our quality of life or standard of living.
Do you know what IRS form 8845 is? It's the form you fill out to get your Indian Employment Credit.
In 1969 the congress discovered that there were 155 taxpayers who paid no taxes because their deductions eliminated their tax liability. That's when congress passed the Alternative Minimum Tax, just to catch those 155 taxpayers. Today the AMT nails 3 million taxpayers. Within 7 years that figure will soar to 36 million.
The IRS still insists that the income tax is voluntary.ā€¯ If you believe that then you believed Bill Clinton when he said that oral sex isn't sex.
The solution is twofold.
First --- reform the tax system by getting rid of the income tax, repealing the income tax amendment and moving to a national retail sales tax. I've been promoting such a system for over 15 years. You can find out everything you want to know by studying the website for Americans for Fair Taxation at http://www.fairtax.org.
Second -- Government must be reduced to its constitutionally appropriate size. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are up to the task. That's why I'm a Libertarian.
This post at the Evangelical Outpost really hit home. Not because my wife and I are splitting up; we aren't. In fact, I couldn't imagine life without her now. But Joe Carter's post crystallized the fact that being a father isn't a weekend only gig. Excerpt:
I want to start with a basic premise: When your first child is born, your life stops being about what you want and starts being about what they need. If you disagree, then you can stop reading now. The rest of what I say will only make sense to those who understand that this is the foundation of fatherhood.
The problem, of course, is not with your kids but with your wife. You may be having a tough time in your marriage. You may be thinking that you no longer love or can live with your wife. You may believe that divorce is the only remaining option. I don’t know your situation. I won't pretend to be able to understand what you are going through. I only know this: you're children need you at home. Your sons and your daughters need your presence. Real fathers don’t leave their children
I'm fully aware of how unpopular such a claim will be. Our society tells us that you shouldn't "stay together just for the kids." Our culture tells us that progress has made fatherhood a vestigial artifact. Our hearts tell us that we deserve to pursue our own bliss.
Such an unpopular sentiment bears repeating: When your first child is born, you're life stops being about what you want and starts being about what they need. They need you at home. If you're a man and aspire to being a dad, that is all you need to know.
Every night before I go to sleep, I check in on each of my children. I usually give them a kiss, too. And I kiss them both before I leave for work each day. They're sort of fatherhood bookends to my days. I can't imagine going through days without them. If you can, in fact, imagine such a thing, I will posit that maybe. just maybe, you shouldn't have children.
Thanks to Vox for the link.
Some evil people opened fired at Virginia Tech, killing 32 people at last count. A couple of people I work with have children currently at that school. One person, who I will admit to not knowing well, just found out that his son didn't survive the attack.
I don't have the stomach for my usual brand of snark right now. My fervent hope is that the persons responsible for the massacre are currently, or will be soon, sucking the barbed cock of Satan.
The drinking age of 18, that is. I've hated and bitched about the federal drinking age since it was instituted. For what it's worth, I was 18+ at the time the law was implemented, so it didn't affect me at all. However, I find the law, as well as the strong-arm tactics of the feds, to be completely at odds with personal liberty. There are even some self-described conservative pundits who want to raise the drinking age to 25 or higher (Ross Mackenzie, I'm looking at you). My reply to scolds like those? Blow me.
Let's examine the things that you can do and are responsible for at the age of 18:
Radley Balko revists the drinking age in this article, which I highly recommend. Here's one of my favorite quotes:
The age at highest risk for an alcohol-related auto fatality is 21, followed by 22 and 23, an indication that delaying first exposure to alcohol until young adults are away from home may not be the best way to introduce them to drink.
Emphasis mine. Notice that the magical age of 21 isn't quite so magical.
Update: Not surprisingly, Bill Quick and I are on the same page.
From Dean Barnett:
8) What happens to Nifong?
It’s hard to imagine he won’t be disbarred. If he has any brains (admittedly a highly dubious notion), he’ll remove himself from the bar and pursue his lifelong passion of plucking the wings off live butterflies on a full-time basis.
That will have me chuckling for a while. Not as much as a verdict that would allow the Duke lacrosse players to work over Nifong with a tire iron for a few hours, but I'll take what I can get.
Or men either, for that matter. Excerpt:
Scientists say they have successfully made immature sperm cells from human bone marrow samples.
If these can be grown into fully developed sperm, which the researchers hope to do within five years, they may be useful in fertility treatments.
It seems fitting somehow that this headline appeared on Friday the 13th.
And I'm sweating a little. Want to know why? Check below the fold for the answer.
I swear that Jennifer Love Hewiit gets better looking each year. Follow the link for more evidence of her womanly charms.
And I still have no idea how she managed to play Audrey Hepburn. Physically, that is.
So James Doohan's remains will finally be blasted off into space on April 28. Cool.
Vaya con Dios, Scotty.
Would you like one lump of Sugar, or two?
I'll give it a test drive, just for grins. If I find anything worthwhile, I'll let you know.
Best of all, they're all available online. Excerpt:
The web applications we consider here range from simple photo toucher-uppers all the way up to Photoshop wannabes. But none of them can yet perform the truly advanced functions you'll find in programs like Photoshop or Gimp. We tried out five online photo editors that go beyond the basic rotate and red-eye functions:
In addition to letting you do things like resizing, rotating, and optimizing brightness, contrast, and colors, many of these will actually apply filters (blur, sharpen, etc.) and other weird fun effects, such as giving your image an old-fashioned border or making collages. So you can pick the one that fits your needs, from simple image correcting to elaborate artistic creations.
They're all free, and mostly in beta at this stage, but we didn't encounter any showstoppers—just the odd function not, er, functioning. Their interfaces vary from the cluttered and complex to the sleek and simple. We found that they all worked in both Firefox and Internet Explorer, though bugs would often appear in one and not the other.
We'd be remiss not to mention Adobe's plans for an online version of the big daddy of image editing, Photoshop. It's been reported that the online version of Photoshop will be free, with ads, but we have to wonder how much you'll get for free, with the exorbitant price ($649) for the installed software. What's more, the services here are working and available to try out now. Adobe's online Photoshop version is about six months out at the time of this writing.
The article continues for several pages, detailing the pros and cons of each of the photo editors. In any event, they might be worth keeping in mind if you're on the road and want to do a little bit of photo work.
Related update: Turns out that there are several free online storage sites that you can use, too. Pretty cool stuff.
I've mentioned before just how much I loathe cigarettes. However, what I despise even more are the nanny-state busybodies trying to control every portion of people's lives, especially when it relates to a legal substance. Case in point:
Anti-smoking groups have been pushing the MPAA to give any movie that shows smoking an automatic R rating.
According to the research of a group called "Smoke Free Movies", most PG-13 movies depict smoking, and that contributes to hundreds of thousands of kids taking up cigarettes.
The MPAA's new boss, Dan Glickman, sent a letter addressing the MPAA's concerns about smoking in movies and said the MPAA was turning to the Harvard School of Public Health for guidance. "My objective is to gain consensus among the member companies of MPAA on Harvard's pending recommendations, and then begin implementation," he said.
Dan, please feel free to go fuck yourself anytime that you feel like. Hopefully, you're feeling that way right now.
After the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA should control CO2 emissions unless it finds scientific reasons not to (crikey, that turns logic on its head), our elected officials have started to weigh in on possible solutions to the emission problem. Interestingly, former allies have started in-fighting over the prospect of more nuclear power plants. Excerpt:
The renewed push for legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions could falter over an old debate: whether nuclear power should play a role in any federal attack on climate change.
Congress, with added impetus from a Supreme Court ruling last week, appears more likely to pass comprehensive energy legislation. But nuclear power sharply divides lawmakers who agree on mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions. And it has pitted some on Capitol Hill against their usual allies, environmentalists, who largely oppose any expansion of nuclear power.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Boxer — Bay Area Democrats with similar political views — are on opposite sides.
Pelosi used to be an ardent foe of nuclear power but now holds a different view. "I think it has to be on the table," she said.
Boxer, head of the Senate committee that will take the lead in writing global warming legislation, said that turning from fossil fuels to nuclear power was "trading one problem for another."
[Editor's note: Like, say, electing one Bay Area brain donor instead of another?]
"I've never been a fan of nuclear energy," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has called it expensive and risky. "But reducing emissions from the electricity sector presents a major challenge. And if we can be assured that new technologies help to produce nuclear energy safely and cleanly, then I think we have to take a look at it."
The public's attitude toward nuclear power is more favorable when such energy is seen as part of an effort to fight climate change. Polls over the years have shown that a slim majority backs nuclear power, but a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey last summer found that a larger majority, 61%, supported the increased use of nuclear energy "to prevent global warming."
Legislation introduced recently in California seeks to repeal a 1976 ban on new nuclear plants in the state.
I predict that pigs will fly before that last statement comes to pass. San Francisco residents will garb themselves in human excrement to stay warm before they'll consent to using power generated by nuclear power.
On Capitol Hill last month, former Vice President Al Gore, who has become a leading advocate for swift action on climate change, said he saw nuclear plants as a "small part" of the strategy.
"They're so expensive, and they take so long to build, and at present they only come in one size: extra large," he said.
No article on energy policy would be complete without a comment from the Goreacle. However, he does make a valid point, albeit one contained in his usual inanity: nuclear power plants usually come in only the "extra large" size due to several reasons:
1) When a utility has to borrow several billion dollars to build a plant, it will want to generate enough energy during the plant's lifetime so as to ensure an adequate return on its investment.
2) Part of the reason that nukes were so expensive in the past was the ridiculous number of hearings, lawsuits, et al that the utility had to wade through before even breaking ground. A lot of that cost has been eliminated with the combined site permit and operating license process. Now, if a utility builds an NRC-approved design on a site that receives a permit, all systems are go. In fact, the company that I work for will probably attempt to build a monster plant sometime within the next 10 years. For the record, once the construction phase begins, the plant could be completed and go online within about three years, although normal construction delays could add a year or so to that figure.
3) All of the currently approved designs are pretty damned large. The Pebble Bed design has not been approved for construction within the United States. South Africa is working on one, and the US will gain lots of useful knowledge from its operation, which will -probably- lead to that design's eventual approval. You would then have a nuclear plant design that you could build in a modular fashion, where 300 Mw(e) plants would become economical.
We'll see where it all goes. For those of you who are opposed to the generation of power via the burning of fossil fuels, but are also opposed to nuclear power, I have this to say to you: you had better move south, because it gets cold in the winter. Just an FYI.
But the current cover of Rolling Stone magazine provides a couple of really good reasons to go see Grindhouse.
I swear that if I were single, Rose McGowan would be the future ex-Mrs. Physics Geek. Oh, and if I were good looking and ridiculously wealthy, too. Details, details.
Update: In keeping with my last point about the future ex-Mrs. Physics Geek, allow me to present some more photos of Rose.
Received via email:
A nice, calm and respectable lady went into the pharmacy. She walked right up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said,
"I would like to buy some cyanide."
The pharmacist asked, "Why in the world do you need cyanide?"
The lady replied, "I need it to poison my husband."
The pharmacists' eyes got big and he exclaimed, "Lord have mercy! I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband! That's against the law! I'll lose my license! They'll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!"
The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife.
The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, "Well now, that's different; you didn't tell me that you had a prescription."
I've extolled the virtues of Portable Apps before for a couple ofl reasons:
1) You can carry your favorite applications wherever your go
2) They're completely free
Let's suppose, however, that you have an application on your computer that you really want to take with you, and it hasn't been converted into a portable application yet. In fact, it may never get converted. I guess that you're screwed, right? Wrong.
A commenter on the Portable Apps forum, Klonk, has created a Portable Apps Template which, if used properly, will help you convert most applications to a portable format. Another commenter, Smithtech, has created several conversion scripts from the template, including ones for Photoshop 6 and Dreamweaver 8.
Have I done this yet? No, but I'm fairly certain that I will, and if I think that the software I convert would be useful to others, I'll post the script here.