What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

Chandeliering Ice

Filed under: Fun!,The World — Tags: , , , — dave @ 10:57 pm 2013/05/02

Here’s a weather-related phenomenon I had never heard of before today; chandeliering ice.

According to the NatureWorldnNws.com site, chandeliering “happens when warming temperatures cause a once solid mass of ice to splinter into fine, glass-like shards.”

That would be something to see. Too bad the video is a bit grainy, and there’s no close-up of what’s going on there. Very cool!

The Truth Can Set You Free

Filed under: Politics,The World — Tags: , , , — dave @ 10:31 pm 2011/07/07

And in the case of MSNBC’s Mark Halperin was set free — indefinitely — for speaking the truth about President Obama’s press conference performance last Wednesday.

Sitting on the set of “Morning Joe,” Mr. Halperin smiled mischievously as he disparaged Mr. Obama’s behavior at a news conference a day earlier. “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday,” Mr. Halperin said.

He apologized on the show a few minutes later and said he deeply regretted making the comment. Immediately after the show concluded at 9 a.m., a meeting was convened about the incident, and by 10:30 a.m., the channel said Mr. Halperin had been suspended “indefinitely” from his political analyst position.

Yeah; it probably wasn’t exactly appropriate to call the President a dick on national TV, especially on one of the bigger outfits like MSNBC. But if the shoe fits… After hearing bits of what Obama had to say in that speech, I can’t help but agree with Halperin’s assessment; he did sound like a bit of a dick. I’m no political analyst, but the intent of that speech seemed to be less of a “how can we work together to fix these problems” thing than a “who can I blame because I haven’t accomplished diddly” thing. Pure politics.

The strange thing is his ranting about what “Congress can do, right now” to improve the economy; true enough, Congress could be doing something more (I tend to think that especially with this Congress, the less they do, the better off we all are) but does he really think that insulting the people that he needs to work with is going to make them want to cooperate? I don’t. He chides Congress for not being the leaders they are supposed to be (check the mirror lately, Mr. Obama?) and their upcoming summer recess, saying he’s been in DC the whole time getting things done; but what I’ve seen is him spending time on the golf course, having celebrity parties, making television appearances, flying Air Force One all over the country for Democrat fundraisers (and nearly shutting down entire metropolitan areas in the process.) Is it any wonder that shortly after giving Congress that tongue lashing, Mr. Obama was off to yet another DNC fundraiser? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black… Some leadership.

I seriously doubt he had any thought toward solving any of the problems he complained about; his intent was more likely to make himself look better in the eyes of potential voters, and what better way to do that than beat down somebody else so he looks better in comparison. If this guy, with all he’s done to screw things up and all he’s failed to do to fix anything, actually manages to get himself reelected…

Physician, Kill Thyself

Filed under: Just Stuff,The World — Tags: , , — dave @ 8:19 am 2011/06/03

Jack Kevorkian died today at the age of 83, ironically, of natural causes.

It’s The Geeks’ Fault

Filed under: Geek,Just Stuff,The World — Tags: , , — dave @ 3:59 pm 2011/05/27

At least in Italy anyway…

Italian government officials have accused the country’s top seismologist of manslaughter, after failing to predict a natural disaster that struck Italy in 2009, a massive devastating earthquake that killed 308 people.

Enzo Boschi, the president of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), will face trial along with six other scientists and technicians, after failing to predict the future and the impending disaster.

The seven scientists were placed under investigation almost a year ago, according to a news story on the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — the world’s largest general-science society and a leading voice for the interests of scientists worldwide.

Alan Leschner, chief executive of AAAS, said his group wrote a letter to the Italian government last year — clearly, to no avail.

“Whoever made these accusations misunderstands the nature of science, the nature of the discipline and how difficult it is to predict anything with the surety they expect,” Leschner told FoxNews.com.

The case could have a “chilling effect” on scientists, he noted.

“It reflects a lack of understanding about what science can and can’t do,” he said. “And frankly, it will have an effect of intimidating scientists … This just feels like either scapegoating or an attempt to intimidate a community. This really seems inappropriate.”

Judge Giuseppe Romano Gargarella said that the seven defendants had supplied “imprecise, incomplete and contradictory information,” in a press conference following a meeting held by the committee 6 days before the quake, reported the Italian daily Corriere della Sera

In doing so, they “thwarted the activities designed to protect the public,” the judge said.

Can these people be serious? Do these government officials be so clueless as to think that the field of seismology is precise enough to predict accurately when major natural events like earthquakes will happen? Seismology, like much of science, is more of an exercise in observation and hypothetical correlation; watching what the earth does and making guesses as to what made it do what it just did. I would think that if the technology existed to predict earthquakes, wouldn’t it have been used in an earthquake-prone place like Japan?

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

A Clear And Present Danger

Filed under: Politics,The World — Tags: , — dave @ 11:48 pm 2011/02/15

In an interview, a San Diego Assistant Port Director Al Hallor confirmed that nasty stuff has been found coming into the country. I guess this really comes as no surprise; the surprise is that we don’t hear about it more. One day we may get complete disclosure on all of the potential disasters that have been put down because of the diligence of people like Al.

One thing about this story that really makes you wonder is why the major networks haven’t picked up on it. I heard about it on a talk radio show tonight, and the host — no fan of President Obama’s — says it has to do with the mainstream media outlets being in the tank for Obama and not wanting him to look bad. I don’t buy that; the successes of Homeland Security (in spite of Janet Napolitano’s denial about the southern border) ought to be feathers in Obama’s cap. If anything, the silence on the issue is being purposely kept quiet to keep people from freaking out. Like Kay said in Men in Black, “A person is smart; people are dumb panicky dangerous animals…”

Celebrating The Soldiers of the Sea

Filed under: Just Stuff,The World — dave @ 8:27 pm 2010/11/10

It was on this date, 235 years ago, that the Second Continental Congress resolved to create two battalions of Continental Marines for the War of Independence from Britain. Then in 1798, President John Adams signed the Act establishing the United States Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In the last 212 years, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, directed that November 10 of each year would be set aside to honor the Corps’ birthday. Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, issued by Lejeune, is to be read to every command on the day:

(1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name “Marine”. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

(2) The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world’s history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation’s foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

(3) In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term “Marine” has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

(4) This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as “Soldiers of the Sea” since the founding of the Corps.

Major General Commandant

Today’s Marine Corps is made up of more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve soldiers. Each of the three divisions has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks’ notice. The Marines’ expeditionary units are unique in that they have their own tanks, artillery, and air forces; truly the Soldier’s Soldier and the Jack of All Trades when it comes to war.

In my younger days I spent some time in uniform, but with the South Dakota Air National Guard. About a year of my enlistment was spent on active duty, mostly for training. During that time I rubbed elbows with a lot of Marines, and there were times we Airmen would scoff at some of the stuff the Marines would do. Down deep though I think we envied the sense of tradition and camaraderie the Marines showed; at least I know I did.

So to all the Jarheads out there, thank you. Semper Fi, Do Or Die! Yell “OOOHrah” and don’t forget to grrr your lids on Friday.

Caveat Emptor

Filed under: Home Life,Just Stuff,The World — dave @ 11:22 am 2010/10/29

The other day I noticed a couple of light bulbs in the family room light fixtures had burnt out and we were short on replacement 40W bulbs, so yesterday afternoon I stopped by the Menards store to pick some up. I usually just get the Sylvania packs of 4 bulbs; they work fine, give off good light, have a decent lifespan, and they’re relatively cheap. As I walked in the door I spotted a display that had 3 x 4-packs of Sylvania bulbs for $5.96, so I grabbed one. I also needed a couple of bulbs for the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, so I went to the bulb aisle & happened to spot the single 4-pack Sylvania bulbs for 99¢. What the…???

Then I noticed the packages on the shelf right next to the 99¢ 4-packs; a 2 x 4-pack for $3.94 and a 6 x 4-pack for $9.98.

4-pack — 25¢ apiece
8-pack — 49.25¢ apiece
12-pack — 49.67¢ apiece
24-pack — 41.58¢ apiece (but it comes in a really nice corrugated paper box)

Either someone wasn’t thinking when they set the prices, or they were thinking & counting on customers to not think when they pick up light bulbs; counting on people making the false assumption that buying larger quantities automatically is a better deal. Menards is a pretty successful chain of stores, so I doubt they’d make a mistake like that by accident. Thinking about it kinda torques me off, because it’s not the first time I’ve seen that sort of shenanigans at Menards; when I was building a shed at our old house, I needed a 5lb box of nails. While shopping at Menards at the time, a 5lb box was priced at $11.99, while a 1lb box was 99¢.

These two examples are pretty obvious, but it makes me wonder how many other not-so-obvious but similar scams are hiding on the shelves at Menards, and every other big-box store. Yvonne really hates shopping, and is one who doesn’t pay much attention to price tags; if she needs it, she gets it. The problem is that I know some of the Sam’s Club “bulk deals” are only deals for Sam’s Coffers. Buyer beware.

Put Away The Leeches Already!

Filed under: Cars!,Politics,The World — Tags: , — dave @ 9:21 am 2010/09/22

Here’s another good article from American Thinker yesterday…

There are two hypotheses, at least. One is the standard story of the government-as-savior crowd. TARP and other bailouts fixed the financial crisis and Obama’s stimulus stopped the economic recession that resulted. Without either one, things would have been worse, much worse.

Here is another hypothesis. We had a recession, just like the other ten times since World War II. As in every other such case, this recession would have ended in about a year if government had done nothing in particular. But this time, the extra costs and uncertainties caused by government “fixes” in fact prolonged and deepened this recession and threatened a double dip or stalling out of economic activity.

Neither hypothesis can be “proved,” since all we know is what government did and what happened. We do not know what might have happened had we done something else.

But here is my take. The times we let government do the most to “fix” a recession, meaning the Great Depression and our current Great Recession, were the very times the economy did the worst. When government let things more or less alone, the economy recovered fairly quickly and with minimal damage.

We also have the academic studies by, of all people, Christina Romer, Obama’s initial chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, that say fiscal policies (e.g. government spending or “stimuli”) did not get us out of the Great Depression or any of our postwar recessions.

The analogy is bleeding a patient. If the doctors bleed a patient and he gets better, they take credit. If the patient gets worse, the doctors say he was not bled enough.

I think, at this point, we have enough evidence for both bleeding as a medical cure and fiscal stimulus as an economic cure that we can stop killing patients by bleeding them to death.

We have two good pieces of advice in such matters, one from Hippocrates and the other from our space program. Hippocrates said, “First, do no harm.” Our space program’s rule of flight control was “If you don’t know what to, don’t do anything.”

I think we need people in Washington, DC, who follow the advice in that last paragraph. Lots of them.

The Geography Of A Recession

Filed under: The World — dave @ 6:43 pm 2010/09/03

The Decline: The Geography Of A Recession

This is a fascinating look at how the recession has progressed(?) And depressing.


Makes me wonder how much darker that map is going to get before it gets any better.

Let’s Follow Mexico’s Lead

Filed under: Politics,The World — dave @ 3:42 pm 2010/05/24

… At least on immigration policy. So many people have their underwear so incredibly bundled about Arizona’s new law giving police the ability to enforce existing US immigration laws. Those people somehow think it’s perfectly ok for the US to leave it’s borders wide open to allow illegal immigrants to flow back & forth across the Mexico/US border for any reason at all, and as long as they’re here anyway, it’s ok for those illegals take advantage of government-provided ‘entitlements’. After all, they’re just looking for a better life, right?

Although there are a lot of people thinking that way, I’m thankful there are a lot more who see the flaws in that kind of thinking, and they don’t all reside in Arizona. But Arizona, because of SB1070, has become the whipping boy for the open borders crowd. Everybody — from President Obama right on down to the foulest mouths in the blogosphere — is railing against Arizona, while not even understanding what’s in the bill. It’s like they’ve all heard that it’s awful and have no desire to learn any different. Heaven forbid they actually read the bill. The entire thing is only 17 pages long, and doesn’t take that long to read, yet even Attorney General Eric Holder admits he hasn’t read it, nor has Janet Napolitano or anyone else who says they don’t like the law, or so it seems anyway. It would take, what? 20 minutes to read it? I love how Holder claims he hasn’t taken the time to read it, but apparently formed a pretty definitive opinion of it based on what he’s read in the news about it. And this is the guy who is supposed to be briefing the President on this sort of thing; doesn’t give me much hope that Obama has much of a clue as to what’s in it either.

And things just don’t seem to be letting up on this subject; last week Mexican president Felipe Calderon visited Washington, DC, and did his share of taking shots at Arizona. But I wonder what Arizona’s critics would say if they were to examine Mexico’s immigration laws… Or if immigration laws in the US were modeled after Mexico’s?

Here’s an excerpt from an article that reveals some details about Mexican immigration policy…

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says,

  • “A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally.” (Article 123)
  • Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico instead of being imprisoned. (Article 125)
  • Foreigners who “attempt against national sovereignty or security” will be deported. (Article 126)

Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals under the law:

  • A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison. (Article 127)
  • Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into Mexico will be fined. (Article 132)

From what I’ve read of the Mexican justice system, enforcement is probably a bit of an issue, but a bit of cash applied to the palms of the right officials will likely get them to look the other way. Even so, it’s pretty hypocritical for Calderon to be criticizing Arizona’s law.

Another thing that gets me is how government officials all over the US are overreacting to SB1070; last week a Chicago-area girls’ basketball team had to cancel a trip to Arizona for a tournament because the school district’s assistant superintendent thought the trip, “would not be aligned with our beliefs and values.” Funny thing is, the school district has sent groups of kids to China and the Czech Republic, so apparently the policies of those countries are more closely aligned with her beliefs and values?

Yup, the name of the game is hypocrisy. Just doesn’t get much better than this.

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