Friday, February 26, 2010

Quote from LA Times Columnist

"Frankly, I don't know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I'm not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we're number one.

There's no getting around the fact that the last time anyone saw the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on Macbeth. The three of them are like jackasses who happen to possess the gift of blab.

You don't know if you should condemn them for their stupidity or simply marvel at their ability to form words."

--Columnist Burt Prelutsky, LA Times

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ah, so!

Confucius say,
"If you are in a book store and cannot find the book for which you search, you are obviously in the...

Woosh!

Never smash a very hot can of WD40 with a shovel!
video
Look at the can before he hit it. It was smoldering in the ashes of his little fire. I remember throwing my neighbor's hair dresser mom's hair spray cans in the leaf fires we used to burn. Luckily, we never had to initiate this! We were always very far away!

Tom

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Going after your retirement savings

"The state tends to expand in proportion to its means of existence and to live beyond its means, and these are, in the last analysis, nothing but the substance of the people. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state! Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity, all vanish."
--French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

"People unfit for freedom -- who cannot do much with it -- are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute of a 'have' type of self. It says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for power is basically an attribute of a 'have not' type of self."
--writer and philosopher Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)

"The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians."
--British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

From Investors Business Daily

You did the responsible thing. You saved in your IRA or 401(k) to support your retirement, when you could have spent that money on another vacation, or an upscale car, or fancier clothes and jewelry. But now Washington is developing plans for your retirement savings.

BusinessWeek reports that the Treasury and Labor departments are asking for public comment on "the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams."

In plain English, the idea is for the government to take your retirement savings in return for a promise to pay you some monthly benefit in your retirement years.

They will tell you that you are "investing" your money in U.S. Treasury bonds. But they will use your money immediately to pay for their unprecedented trillion-dollar budget deficits, leaving nothing to back up their political promises, just as they have raided the Social Security trust funds.

This "conversion" may start out as an optional choice, though you are already free to buy Treasury bonds whenever you want. But as Karl Denninger of the Market Ticker Web site reports: "'Choices' have a funny way of turning into mandates, and this looks to me like a raw admission that Treasury knows it will not be able to sell its debt in the open market — so they will effectively tax you by forcing your 'retirement' money to buy them."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chocolate weapons


Welcome to ChocolateWeapons.com! If you are looking for Chocolate Ammo, Chocolate Bullets, Chocolate Guns, or any other deliciously dangerous Chocolate Weapon...you have come to the right place! We carry a full array of Chocolate Weapons that will let you satisfy your sweet tooth, while reaffirming your Manly (or Tough-gal for the ladies) appearance. Get ready to have the best "Near Death by Chocolate" experience of your life!

Ex-bankers sign up as real-life James Bonds

MI6 is recruiting former bankers in the City of London as the intelligence agency seeks out a new generation of spies.

The financial crisis has proved fertile ground for the British Secret Intelligence Service, with some well-travelled and well-heeled individuals turning away from banking in favour of serving their country.

Despite the pay cut, the service is able to play on its James Bond image of glamour and sophistication and offers the opportunity to travel to far-flung destinations in its intelligence-gathering role.

MI6's head of recruitment, who likes to be known simply as "John," said there had been "a lot of people in the city applying to join us" in the past 18 months.

Vancouver Sun

Babo hak-seng!

Foul-Mouthed Math Teacher Earns Praises From Students

"If it were in the U.S., he would be probably in jail for doing so. But yeah, it's Korea. "

Economics, yo!

Keynes vs Hayek rappin'

Eggwatchers

The egg timer that entertains you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How to Fall 35,000 Feet - And Survive

From Popular Mechanics:

Things are bad. But now’s the time to focus on the good news. (Yes, it goes beyond surviving the destruction of your aircraft.) Although gravity is against you, another force is working in your favor: time. Believe it or not, you’re better off up here than if you’d slipped from the balcony of your high-rise hotel room after one too many drinks last night.

Or at least you will be. Oxygen is scarce at these heights. By now, hypoxia is starting to set in. You’ll be unconscious soon, and you’ll cannonball at least a mile before waking up again. When that happens, remember what you are about to read. The ground, after all, is your next destination.

Math is everywhere II


From Wired:

Most of us can’t tell our secant from our cotangent. But the forms are everywhere, and Nikki Graziano wants to help us see them. Graziano, a math and photography student at Rochester Institute of Technology, overlays graphs and their corresponding equations onto her carefully composed photos. “I wanted to create something that could communicate how awesome math is, to everyone,” she says.

Beauty in the roots of polynomials


from This week in Mathematical Physics

Candy Calculus

Visualizing structures in candy

Leonardo da Vinci applies for a position with Duke Ludovico Sforza

From Stone:

Before he was famous, before he painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, before he invented the helicopter, before he drew the most famous image of man, before he was all of these things, Leonardo da Vinci was an artificer, an armorer, a maker of things that go "boom".

And, like you, he had to put together a resume to get his next gig. So in 1482, at the age of 30, he wrote out a letter and a list of his capabilities and sent it off to Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Math is just everywhere!

Tectonic plates below Haiti


The Obama Administration will be honoring the 43rd President of the United States
by naming the gap between the tectonic plates beneath Haiti after him.

The area will now officially be referred to as "Bush's Fault."

An End to Operation Iraqi Freedom

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen on Feb. 16

STRATFOR has received word that effective Sept. 1, when U.S. forces, under orders from U.S. President Barack Obama, are expected to cease all combat operations in Iraq and transfer full authority to Iraqi forces, Operation Iraqi Freedom will officially conclude. The new name of the U.S. mission in Iraq will be Operation New Dawn, symbolizing a new phase in U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.

A name is but a name, but the semantic shift is nonetheless a message at home and abroad that the United States is committed to disengaging from the Iraq war by 2011. This means a number of things for a number of people. For the Iraqis — particularly the Sunnis and the Kurds — this means that their security guarantor is departing and other means of defense will have to be deployed. For Iran, this means that any efforts to keep the United States preoccupied in Iraq — and hostage to Iranian retaliation in the event of an attack on its nuclear facilities — will require enormous focus and resources. For Russia, this means the United States is freeing up its military, giving Moscow less time to consolidate influence in its near abroad. For other players around the world, the opportunities afforded by the United States’ distractions in Iraq will also begin to dissipate.

The United States has long outlined its commitment to extricate itself from the Iraq war and refocus its attention on other pressing issues, the most immediate being Afghanistan. While the shift in mission from combat to training was expected, the deeper realization of what it means for the United States to free itself from a seven-plus-year war is sinking in for many across the globe.

From Statfor.com

Math education fail

From The Buffalo News

At a recent informational meeting, the Amherst School District reaffirmed its support for the way children are schooled in math. The meeting was held, partially, in response to a small but growing number of concerned parents who question the 2005 decision to use the controversial Math Investigations Curriculum as the framework for elementary math. Apparently, parents are so confused by math homework that the district has sent home a parent math book to further inform them on how to do K-5 math.

Interaction was limited to a handful of prescreened questions. Parents distributing information that questioned the preachy salesman were swiftly confronted by district administrators in a bizarre fashion, who reminded parents that such heresy was inappropriate at an informational meeting.

This is going on all over the country. Meanwhile, others are beginning to discover the efficacy of the Singapore Math system.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hall of Shame

Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2009

  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
  2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
  3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
  4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner
  5. Attorney General Eric Holder
  6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL)
  7. President Barack Obama
  8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven
  10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Read the article at Judicial Watch

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Clunker Math

A clunker that travels 12,000 miles a year at 15 mpg uses 800 gallons of gas a year. A vehicle that travels 12,000 miles a year at 25 mpg uses 480 gallons a year.

So, the average Cash for Clunkers transaction will reduce an individual's gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

They claim the program turned 700,000 vehicles so that's 224 million gallons saved per year. That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.

5 million barrels is about 5 hours worth of US consumption. More importantly, 5 million barrels of oil at $70 per barrel costs about $350 million dollars.

So, the government paid $3 billion of our tax dollars to save $350 million.
Which means they spent $8.57 for every dollar saved.

I'm pretty sure they'll do a great job with health care though...

Terry Evans
Field Operations Manager-New Orleans/Shreveport-Monroe, Louisiana

Casa D'Ice Signs




Signs posted by Bill Balsamico outside his Casa D'Ice Restaurant in Versailles, Pennsylvania.

USCAP statement misleading

President Obama's cap-and-trade policy took another hit with the announcement that oil companies BP and ConocoPhillips and heavy equipment maker Caterpillar are leaving the high-profile United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) lobbying organization.

USCAP played a key role in lobbying for the Obama-supported Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill approved by the House of Representatives last year.

"The companies that bolted USCAP realized the organization was really a front group serving only the interests of GE and utility companies and their environmental allies. This became obvious when the Waxman-Markey bill gave the vast majority of free carbon allowances to the utility industry while GE reaped the reward of its lobbying muscle by securing federal mandates for electricity generation in a way that benefits GE's wind turbine business," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project.

"With the Waxman bill, environmental special interest groups and GE achieved their renewable energy dreams and the utilities took the free carbon allowances, leaving their coalition partners in the oil and heavy industry companies out in the cold," added Borelli.

For years, policy experts at the National Center have been harsh critics of USCAP, saying its lobbying goals are bad for the U.S. economy, low-income Americans, employment and the stockholders of affected companies, including those of several USCAP members.

On the eve of Caterpillar's 2007 stockholder meeting, for example, The National Center organized a letter to Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens signed by 70 organizations, companies and prominent individuals, including a former U.S. Attorney General, urging Owens to immediately withdraw Caterpillar from USCAP. National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour noted when the letter was released that the cap for which USCAP was lobbying would "cost the poorest fifth of Americans nearly double what it would cost the wealthiest fifth of Americans, as a percentage of wages, in added energy costs."

GE secured hundreds of millions of dollars from President Obama's $787 billion "American Reinvestment and Recovery Act" for its utility customers Duke Energy, Exleon and FPL Group - all USCAP members.

"USCAP has always been about GE, the utility industry, and environmental advocacy groups advancing their narrow cause at the cost of the other coalition 'partners' and taxpayers. It's only a matter of time until the other USCAP members, such as John Deere & Co., wake up and recognize that cap-and-trade legislation is toxic to shareholder interests," said Borelli.

National Center for Public Policy Research

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who's in YOUR wallet?

video

No, this is not "Presidents' Day"

"Washington's Birthday Eve"

by Ogden Nash

George Washington was a gentleman,
A soldier and a scholar;
He crossed the Delaware with a boat,
The Potomac, with a dollar.
The British faced him full of joy,
And departed full of sorrow;
George Washington was a gentleman.
His birthday is tomorrow.

When approached by fellow patriots,
And asked for his opinion,
He spoke in accents clear and bold,
And, probably, Virginian.
His winter home at Valley Forge
Was underheated, rather.
He possessed a sturdy Roman nose,
And became his country's father.

His army was a hungry horde,
Ill-armed, worse-clad Colonials;
He was our leading President,
And discouraged ceremonials.
His portrait on our postage stamps,
It does him less than justice;
He was much respected by his wife,
The former Mrs. Custis.

He routed George's scarlet coats;
(Though oft by Congress hindered)
When they fortified the leeward side,
He slashed them from the windward.
He built and launched our Ship of State,
He brought it safe to harbor;
He wore no beard upon his chin,
Thanks to his faithful barber.

George Washington was a gentleman,
His birthday is tomorrow.
He filled his country's friends with joy,
His country's foes, with sorrow.
And so my dears, his grateful land
In robes of glory clad him.
George Washington was a gentleman.
I'm glad his parents had him.

Ogden Nash
I'm a Stranger Here Myself
(Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938), pp. 155-156.

---------------

"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man."

-- Thomas Jefferson (on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter Jones, 2 January 1814)

An open letter to President Obama

Letter from Proctor & Gamble Exec to Obama

Please read, even if you are an Obama fan. It is legitimate, written by the respected, Lou Prichett, formerly of Proctor and Gamble. Lou Pritchett is one of corporate Americas true living legends - an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Proctor and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America' crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

TRUE - CHECK:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/youscareme.asp

This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it. (Big surprise!) Since it hit the Internet, however, it has had over 500,000 hits. Keep it going. All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing. It's happening right now.

"Who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?"
- C. S. Lewis

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."
- Samuel Adams

"Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are
the people's liberty's teeth.
- George Washington

Winning Free Drinks

Cool stuff they never show you in probability class.

An ode of English Plurals

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and
get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?

Crony Capitalism

Dear Mr. President: Why We Are Not Hiring

...when we have a president and ruling class who are clueless about and hostile towards business, the risk-reward equation shifts dramatically against further investment of time, talent, and capital. And that's where we are today.

...when I see you hold job summits featuring environmentalists and unions, lawyers, and poverty pimps, I am even more thrilled to be out of the game. When I hear you fantasize that the only reason businesses won't hire is that they can't get a loan, my decision is further validated. And when you say that small business is clamoring for you to pass health care, I know that you have taken total leave of your senses.

So again, thank you, Mr. President. Even without your teleprompter, you are convincing. You have convinced me I made the right decision and convinced others not to hire. I only hope and pray that the midterms of 2010 might reverse my decision. That is what every fiber of my being is hoping for.

Until then, don't blame George Bush and the banks. Feel free to blame me -- and all the other "Atlas Shrugged" entrepreneurs -- who are now on the sidelines, hoping Storm Obama will pass.

Read the full article here.