Thursday, October 1, 2009

Words of Wisdom... True Then, True Now

I just got back from an extended trip back east for leadership training. The one thing that really stood out to me is all the lessons that we've learned collectively, but forgotten individually.

Here's one in particular that I wish our current political "leadership" (and some of the recent past ones as well) would have learned. The quote (with my emphasis):
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden, which we ourselves ought to bear.

The source of this apparently long forgotten wisdom?

The Farewell Address of President George Washington.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Beautiful, But a Bit Bothersome

Over at Astronomy Picture of the Day they have this beautiful picture of the Cosmic Microwave Background - Beautiful.

They point out that the dipole nature of the colors you see are due to us moving "600 kilometers per second relative" to it. See that's bothersome to me. To me it implies that there is a preferred "stationary" frame of reference. Such a thing is contrary to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity.

(For those versed in the theory, Yes, "contrary" is too strong a word. But certainly there is an implied preferred frame which is not supposed to exist.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Everythings Great, Go About Your Business

See it's like this.

The Vice President of the United States says "The Recovery Act is doing more, faster and more efficiently and more effectively than most people expected," and that the accomplishments over the past 100 days provide proof of promises kept when he and President Obama began rolling out the plan earlier this year. here for full story.

But see there's this problem...

The fact is that SOMEBODY did expect more, the President. See his folks put out data on how much better things would be (one could argue promised the improvement), and then it turned out worse than their worst projections for what would have happened without the orgy of spending. Here's the data.

Bummer for the Veep.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spectacular Einstein "Ring" Image

This image just blows me away.

If you want a description of why there are so many blue image that seem to form a circle around the center of this image go to the description at Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bucket List Item #6

Of the things I want to see with my own eyes...

Mt Rushmore (not necessarily at night).

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bucket List Item #5

No photo for this one. I want to see a baseball game in every Major League Park in the same year. This is number one on my "Once I'm Retired" list. I've even figured out the sequence to make the driving doable in a reasonable time. The hard part will be finding a time in the schedule when everybody's in town such that resequencing is not too great, then getting tickets (I hate to think about the scalper prices for a few of those places, but that won't stop me).

OK, I changed my mind, here's the home park... Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres

... Hey, I think that's me in the left field lower grandstand!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bucket List Item #4

So here's the fourth thing I really want to see with my own eyes before I die.

Yellowstone National Park.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bucket List Item #3

... that I want to see with my own eyes...

The Great Wall of China.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bucket List Item #2

The second thing on the list of things to see before I die...

A total eclipse

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bucket List Item #1

Over at Astronomy Photo of the Day there is this absolutely beautiful photo of an aurora from Alberta, Canada.

This is one of those things on my bucket list... See an aurora with my own eyes. Photos like this make me want it more. This is item #1 on my go see it bucket list.

I promise to add to this list over the next few days...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Angels Among Us

Sometimes in this world we need to stop and be reminded that almost all people are inherently good and would prefer to help one another. Yesterday I saw a story that slammed me up side the head with that.

If you doubt this go here and watch total strangers convince you.

As the father is quoted "There are angels all around us". Well said. Well said, indeed.

40 Years Later

A wonderful image of Eagle returning to Columbia 40 years ago after the first moon landing

Click on image for larger view.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Rest in Peace Mr Cronkite, you escorted me to the Moon, safely home on Apollo 13, through assassinations and riots, and Vietnam and Watergate.

A voice of reason, sanity, and reassurance. The likes of which we do not have today, and are not likely to see again.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Now That's an Overdraft !

If you hadn't seen the article, a bunch of folks found incorrect charges on their Visa accounts, with the biggest charge being $23,148,855,308,184,500. Yeah, you read that right, over $23 quadtrillion dollars. He also got a $15 overdraft charge. Seriously, $23 quadtrillion dollars and he couldn't cover it? Well then he deserves the $15 ping. That'll teach him!

I also couldn't help but think... Let's see Obama's managed to rack up a $1 trillion deficit for the first 9 months of fiscal year 2009. At that rate it will take him over 17,000 years to rack up a debt that big.

He must be so jealous...

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Chance to Re-Live History

For all of you who are too young to remember or, if like me, this represents one of those moments that helped to form your life's goals, or even if you'd just like to be reminded about the moment in history when humans first trod upon an object other than the Earth, there is a web site that will recreate in real-time the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

Visit here.

The fun starts at 06:32 AM PDT Thursday July 16th and runs through the lunar excursion.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Anybody Interested?

To all CA taxpayers...

The California Constitution (Article 4, Sec 12, part 3) reads
(3) The Legislature shall pass the budget bill by midnight on June 15 of each year
and further, later in Article 4, section 22 begins
SEC. 22. It is the right of the people to hold their legislators accountable.
Whereas we CA taxpayers we are being subjected to additional costs due to the legislature not fulfilling their constitutionally mandated requirement I believe we have legal standing to sue them in State court.

We could ask for the remedy to be removal from office and a permanent injuction against any of them ever holding any elected office.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Now I've Seen Everything

Hmmm... Knowing what's next, somehow that didn't come out quite like I intended.

Anyways, tomorrow is Naked Hiking Day.

And, seriously, Happy First Day of Summer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Something for Ray

I've been asked to post more pictures.

Here are three from a long ago trip to the San Diego Zoo with the family.

An Okapi through the trees

A colorful reptile (that's the best I can do as to species) and

Giraffe (Duh!).

Monday, May 18, 2009

What Star Trek Character Are You?

With a hat tip to Wolf.

My results:
You are James T. Kirk (Captain)
You are often exaggerated and over-the-top
in your speech and expressions.
You are a romantic at heart and a natural leader.

65% James T. Kirk (Captain)
65% Beverly Crusher
60% Worf
55% Geordi LaForge
50% Jean-Luc Picard
47% Spock
47% Data
45% Will Riker
40% Leonard McCoy (Bones)
40% Deanna Troi
35% Mr. Scott
35% Chekov
35% Uhura
20% Mr. Sulu
20% An Expendable Character (Redshirt)

Click here to take the "Which Star Trek character am I?" quiz...

Except for the Dr. Crusher at #2 I love the top of that list...

Friday, May 8, 2009

San Diego Photo

Over at the Scratching Post, KT has posted a beautiful photo of the San Diego skyline.

Reminded me that I have an older photo from back in January of 2004 from when we had a snow fall in the local mountains.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Try to Imagine The Reaction...

...if say Sarah Palin had said this.

That's right our wonderful, brilliant, supreme one, oratory master of a President said welcome to "Cinco de Quatro" when he was speaking on May 4, about the upcoming May 5 celebration of "Cinco de Mayo".

Now understand that I speak essentially no Spanish. I'm stumped beyond counting to about 6, ordering a beer, and asking where the bathroom is (those last two are a necessary combo). But even I know that Cinco is 5 and Mayo is not mayonaise, but May. So this poor dumb, conservative, mouth breathing, neaderthal of a Republican wouldn't have said that. I can only imagine if a Republican had said that.

Or for that matter imagine the reaction if some Republican had done this. I don't see Sen Kerry having his back.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Take a Ride That's Impossible to Return From

Here's a simulation of what one might experience if you could fall into a black hole.

When it's done you won't be quantum foam, and can go about your business. Something impossible if you ever went on the real trip.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The "Blob" Attacks - 12.9 Billion Years Ago

A report of an amazing blob. A 12.9 billion year old, 55,000 light year sized blob of something has been observed see full article.

Basically, the scientists have no idea what it is (although that didn't stop them from making some WAGs as to its identity).

The universe continues to surprise us.

Geek Heaven.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day

Today was opening day for the Padres. A 4-1 loss to the hated Dogers (not a typo or mistake, that's what they are Dog-ers). The first loss of what will probably be a great many this year.

The good news is winning and losing are not the keys to my enjoyment. A well played game is what I go to see. This one was almost in that category. A hideous stupid needless error that lead to a run in the Dog-er 3rd was the only real mar.

NCAA final four ended. My Spartans lost to a much better team. Congrats to UNC.

But, the baseball season is underway, and all is right with the world.

Physics Foolies

Yes Foolies, not Follies.

Seems there may be two new things that the all-knowing physicists didn't know (i.e., they've been fooled).

First, on March 17 Fermi Lab announces a new particle, dubbed Y(4140) - it's rest mass is about 4140 MeV. The Fermi Lab announcement on the web says
Physicists did not predict its existence because Y(4140) appears to flout nature’s known rules for fitting quarks and antiquarks together.

We will learn something new. Cool.

Speaking of cool, six days later at the American Chemical Society there was an announcement that maybe Cold Fusion is real after all. Sounds like they have a reproducible experiment and clear evidence. They even managed to publish in a peer review journal, Naturwissenschaften. It will be interesting to see if all those folks that were so full of themselves when they denounced Pons and Fleischmann 20 years ago have enough integrity to admit they were wrong.

In any case, sounds like there may be new things to learn about science after all. Isn't that what science is all about?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hurricane Season Finally Winding Down On Jupiter?

The (at minimum) centuries old Great Red Spot on Jupiter seems to be shrinking here.

Will it disappear completely, or merely shrink then re-grow. No one knows. Ain't that great?

Here we have an object, observed for over 100 years, and yet no one understands it.

So we all get to watch the science happen right in front of our eyes.

Gotta love it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy PI Day

Just in case you missed it, and no one already wished you a happy Pi day...

Well, Happy Pi Day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Night Sky We've Lost

If you've lived your life in American cities (like I have), then you've lost the night sky. Here are ten images of what we've all lost.


Oh, and if you happened to look up at the right time on Monday, you might have noticed the passage of a asteroid within only 38,000 mi. That's less than 10 times the radius of the earth. A fifth of the distance to the moon. On a cosmic scale, that's freaking close.

Not quite scary, no worth losing sleep over, but someting to make you think.

Those are the two sides of the same coin. Beautiful, but dangerous and untamed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sad Ending to the Best Named Satellite Ever

It's really the truth. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory was brilliantly named. It was designed to measure the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The acronmym is OCO. Not only is that CO2, but it's the line formula O=C=O.

Too bad the launch failed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This is a Must Read - OK Must Hear

Go over to Beers with Demo and read the article, but most of all, take the time to hear Gov Jindal.

There's a man who makes sense.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sometimes I Hate It When I'm Right

In a post back on Jan 18, the Maximum Leader posted about how the handouts would have to end in California due to the budget disaster (here).

I commented that that was not going to happen, as the legislature would not tighten their belts, they'd raise taxes and make us tighten ours.

Well, here's the latest from Bloomberg:
Lawmakers have a “common framework” in place... Under consideration are proposals to raise the state’s sales tax rate to 8.25 percent from 7.25 percent; increase the vehicle license fee to 1.15 percent from 0.65 percent of the value of the automobile; a 12-cent per-gallon excise tax on gasoline and a 0.25 percent surcharge on income taxes, according to a lawmaker briefed by party leaders who asked not to be identified because the presentation was confidential.
Like I said, sometimes I hate it when I'm right.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ohioans Are Not All That Stupid

I'm sure you've seen the story about the man who died today, because while he was out ice fishing on Lake Erie the ice broke up, stranding him and about 150 other people. Back when I lived in Ohio, it seemed that there was a story about rescue of ice fishermen every year.

I always thought that when someone got caught out there they probably got caught because they really didn't pay attention to the obvious, and must have been a bit careless, bordering on stupid. But it seems that here, someone actually used pallets to build a "bridge" from the ice attached to the shore to another section that was separated by water.

Are you kidding me? They built a bridge to get to the part of the ice breaking away?

I think I have to agree with the local sheriff who is quoted as saying, "I have no problem with people ice fishing, but these idiots should realize that when you see open water, you should not build a bridge and cross it... It's a shame you can't arrest people for stupidity."

While I'm on the topic of Ohioans, if you wonder if you could pass as an Ohioan go to the survey below.

You are 100%ohioan

WOW! You are a true Ohioan, you know everything. Well not everything but you know all I knew about ohio and that good stuff. Thanks you crazy ohioan! bye

Are You a True OHIOan?
Take More Quizzes

Monday, January 19, 2009

You Heard It Here First

I think I'll go out on a limb here.

If the soon to be President, and his chums in Congress, come anywhere near a trillion dollar deficit, I predict that the 2012 campaign slogan for the Republican party nominee will be...


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No Possibilty of Conflict of Interest... Right

During Sen Clinton's confirmation hearings yesterday she talked about how none of the contributions to the foundation of her husband, the former President, could not influence her, since she wouldn't know who was contributing until after they had done so. (the quote is about two thirds of the way through this clip: video here)

That's so stupid, and yet no one is calling her on it. Wait, what's so stupid?

Simple. OK, so she didn't know who was giving, and it didn't influence her. I can buy that. But now she knows who gave. And might it influence her in the future? Sure it might. In fact, shouldn't she FROM THAT MOMENT ON recuse herself from anything related to that person/group/country? Of course, she should. But she won't. And that my friends is at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Back From Hiatus

Been out of the on-line loop for a few weeks. Wasn't by choice. Let's put it this way, if I ever meet the author of that piece of spyware, I'm going to remove their spleen, through their ear, using my car keys.

Anyways, I'll try to get back to posting as I was.