Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not science

From a letter to jonah goldberg at the corner, linked from the always
informative watts up with that?:

to be science something has to be testable and falsifiable. It must produce a predicted data point, interaction or outcome that is unique to the theory and can be verified or falsified. Would you bet your future on the accuracy of day seven of a seven day weather forecast? That is essentially what we are being told by the AGW proponents we absolutely must do without delay.

I agree wholeheartedly that AGW isn't science any more.

I use geological models to predict what will happen while drilling a well, once the measurements deviate from the model, if the measurements appear to be working correctly then I know the model is wrong. The AGW crowd has a model that doesn't predict what is happening now, and
their model is using data from temperature measurements that have bad data in them.
Global warming hysteria is nothing but chartmanship and pigs wanting to take their place
at the trough.

They should go back to doing science. Review the temperature record, make more measurements and come back in ten years.

The actions we should be taking should be rational and should have a different set
of priorities than reducing CO2:
- Energy independence
- prepare for the possibility of peak oil. (total oil production may or may not have peaked,
but the most important one, production in North America has peaked)
- assure cheap energy for the future
- minimize pollution and increase sustainability

Meeting those kind of goals will take planning, foresight and wisdom, and will
not be reached by sticking 300 pages in an already bloated bill at 2 am in the morning.
Unfortunately, I don't think the current government is capable of planning, forsight or

Sunday, July 26, 2009

'till the end of time

Mark Steyn on that Gates racism incident (not bill)

As Professor Gates jeered at the officers, “You don’t know who you’re messin’ with.” Did Sergeant Crowley have to arrest him? Probably not. Did he allow himself to be provoked by an obnoxious buffoon? Maybe. I dunno. I wasn’t there. Neither was the president of the United States, or the governor of Massachusetts, or the mayor of Cambridge. All of whom have declared themselves firmly on the side of the Ivy League bigshot. And all of whom, as it happens, are African-American. A black president, a black governor, and a black mayor all agree with a black Harvard professor that he was racially profiled by a white-Latino-black police team, headed by a cop who teaches courses in how to avoid racial profiling. The boundless elasticity of such endemic racism suggests that the “post-racial America” will be living with blowhard grievance-mongers like Professor Gates unto the end of time.

Kind of depressing but true. You'd think having a black president would demonstrate something, but in reality until a rapper singing cop killing lyrics is elected president,
we're all racists. oh well. down the hatch.

To the barricades!

TJIC links to a story about a man that spent 2 years in prison
for not following federal regulations regarding storing sodium.

Evertson, who had been working on clean-energy fuel cells since he was in high school, had no idea what he’d done wrong. It turned out that when he legally sold some sodium (part of his fuel-cell materials) to raise cash, he forgot to put a federally mandated safety sticker on the UPS package he sent to the lawful purchaser…

The good news is that a federal jury in Alaska acquitted Krister of all charges…

The bad news, however, is that the feds apparently had it in for Krister…

Two years after arresting him, the feds brought an entirely new criminal prosecution against Krister on entirely new grounds…

According to the government, when Krister was in jail in Alaska due to the first unjust charges, he had “abandoned” his fuel-cell materials
TJIC suggests a citizen's tribunal against the judge and prosecutor,
I think tarring and feathering needs to make a comeback. Something
that is an obvious mark of the community's scorn, doesn't cause permanent
injury and can be bought at the home depot then applied with a small
crowd. Maybe duct-taping them naked inside a roll of fiberglass insulation
or dying them blue would be a good modern equivalents.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Unexpected consequences

Meghan McCardle links to the news from the 1930's blog comparing
green shoots in the economy today to green shoots that seemed to be
appearing in 1930. Linked in the same day's WSJ was the story:

Hoover signs London Naval Treaty; now awaiting ratification by Britain and Japan. Under conditions of treaty US will reach naval parity with Britain by 1936; Japan naval building will almost stop.
In 1930 this must have seemed like a small story compared the economic crises
of the day, sort of like voluntarily canceling the F22 program is today. The london
naval treaty gave cover to the usa and britain that didn't want to build ships to stay
ahead of the japanese, when the earlier policy for britain was to stay twice as big as
the nearest competitors, post-treaty parity would be acceptable. Only problem being
what happens when you are fighting the germans and the japanese attack in the

I wish I had more confidence in the government that they were paying attention to things all around the world, what development will bite us in the ass in 2020 when Hillary is just starting
her 2nd term and Obama has just finished chiseling his own face on mount rushmore.

To me buying more F-22's is cheap at the price right now, as is another aircraft carrier
and strategic missile defense. In the 10-20 year timeframe that borrowed money will
either be paid back easily in inflated dollars, or the government will default. The option
where the economy grows it's way robustly at 4% and we pay back all the debts a little
at a time seems unlikely. Borrowing money to build things that will last 30 years is a good
idea (weapons systems, nuke power plants, space based solar power, x- prizes). Borrowing
money to pay welfare is the same as buying groceries on a credit card, you buy, eat and
crap it out, then you owe the money.

Hopefully some of the genius' in washington are looking for future ass-biters and thinking
what to do about them. Here's today's wsj headlines that I think could spell problems down the road:

Biden Says Weakened Russia Will Bend

Biden said Russia's economy is "withering," a trend that will force it to make concessions on national security, including loosening its grip on former republics and shrinking its nuclear arsenal.

California's IOUs: Latest Sub for Dollars

To creditors of California who got paid in IOUs, take it from historians -- things could be worse. You could be getting clamshells or plywood.


The movie "Avanti" with Jack Lemmon was on sky this morning, it's a pretty funny
movie with most of the comedy based on quirks that are seen in italy. The 3 hour lunch
when everything is closed with 16 kinds of pasta available was spot on, but I thought the funniest
was the scene in the morgue at 8:10 in the above clip as the coroner stamps all the forms
in triplicate, then sticks other stamps onto each form. That really captured the individual
style of italians while showing the omnipresent bureaucracy here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

St apollinare's day

Today is a holiday in Ravenna, for St. Apollinare
I took the day off from fighting with software and slept
late then read in a cafe for a while before eating some really
excellent lasagna. Then I went to see San Vitale because it is
open at night this month, but I forgot my italian id card, so I had
to pay 7 euros like any other tourist. doh!

From Oscar Wilde's "Ravenna":

But thou, Ravenna, better loved than all,
Thy ruined palaces are but a pall
That hides thy fallen greatness! and thy name
Burns like a grey and flickering candle-flame
Beneath the noonday splendour of the sun
Of new Italia! for the night is done,
The night of dark oppression, and the day
Hath dawned in passionate splendour: far away
The Austrian hounds are hunted from the land,
Beyond those ice-crowned citadels which stand
Girdling the plain of royal Lombardy,
From the far West unto the Eastern sea.

Ravenna is nice after about 3 beers in a cafe, with some nice old buildings, churches
from late antiquity and even the modern buildings from after the 2nd world war are
fairly artistic, and I'm sure it was even nicer before the walls were dynamited in the 19th century.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Round and round we go

There's an interesting article over on slate about the adoption of
roundabouts in the USA. Apart from Lee Circle in New Orleans, I can
only think of one other roundabout and it's a new one that was put in
5 years or so ago in Lafayette.

Here in Ravenna they are everywhere, from my house to the office there
are 6 of them in the route, with only 2 traffic lights. For low to medium traffic
intersections they are fantastic. On the way to work in the morning they allow
you to zip through intersections without much fear, while the two traffic lights I have
to cross are still blinking yellow lights when I go through and I must treat them as
possible collision points. If I had to pass thorough 6 normal traffic lights on the way
to work, it would take me twice as long to get there.

For the high traffic intersections they make life interesting, and it took me a while
to learn the pattern, a key thing to watch for being cars exiting onto the same street
you are entering from. When a car exits, he's in the right lane or crossing from the inside
lane to the right lane and he'll block off the traffic entering from the next street. This
is when you can go...and go go go.

Italian drivers are the most aggressive in the world, if you're not going when you should be,
they are on the horn. They zip around roundabouts like F1 drivers whether they are in
a smart car or a 20 ton garbage truck. I don't know if the plethora of roundabouts and small
cars made them aggressive, or if they started out aggressive when they took their first
chariot out of the garage. It will be interesting to find out as more roundabouts appear
in the USA, it's one thing to zip around a roundabout in a Fiat, but when you have to do
it in surburban eating a cheeseburger and talking on the phone it will be even more interesting.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


XKCD has been on
a roll the past week.

Change in strategy

Neptunus Lex links to an article about a briefing where our old
"two war strategy" becomes a "one war strategy".

Chambliss asked Cartwright "what is the military requirement for the number of F–22s?" The senator got much more than he may have bargained for in the general's reply.

"The military requirement right now is associated with the strategy that we are laying out in the QDR," Cartwright said. "And it is a departure from the two major theater war construct that we have adhered to in the past and in which this aircraft grew up. I mean, it grew up in that construct of two major theater wars, and both of them being of a peer competitor quality..

Gee, I hope no evildoers around the world read tom clancy novels. If two countries
that want to do the USA harm own something as complex as a telephone, they could
coordinate their ne'er do well activities and the outcome won't be as pretty as it normally
is in Clancy's novels if we don't have enough planes to get the job done.

I'm just a student of history and a tom clancy fan. If there is some 3 star general that
disagrees with this plan, now is the time to speak up publicly. Don't wait until you're a
cnn commentator in 10 years and say "I was against that policy". For me, if we're going
to waste stimulus money borrowed from the chinese, at least spend that money on something
useful like a bright shiney new F-22 Wing or 2.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Working from home.

I dragged my eyes open this morning with no bipping or beeping alarm
going off on the night stand, I grabbed the silent cell phone to see why it wasn't
beeping or at least see what time it is...dead.

The digital clock across the room steadily blinked the wrong time,
so I struggled to fight against the glare coming through the
plastic shutters outside the window to see if I could tell by the slant of the light
what time it was. It's bright and painful to the bleary-eyed is all I could tell.

My cell phone worked it's way through about 6 splash screens, yes it's a palm,
yes, i'm with vodafone, finally a pin, which I manage to enter without fat fingering.
Holy Heck! It's 11am!

I managed to flip back almost to new orleans time after fighting jet lag for a week.
Well, at least there are no missed calls, so I must do the coverup. Like a watergate
operative I log on and zip out a couple of mails, and download 40. Krap! someone
had asked for something this morning, problems with the data I sent yesterday evening.
Luckily a further email says it was their mistake, wrong file.

I have succeeded in playing hooky, even if it was a mistake. mwa muhahaha muhahahahaha
muhahahahahhdhahahahhahahahahaha. cough. I better get a cup of tea, my throat is

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not brave

A bad day here in rainy italy. A typical italian day in this strange
summer that hasn't seen much sun yet. I was walking to lunch with
coworkers, my hung-over taste buds starting to awaken at the thought
of some gnochetti, when I heard a !crack! from down the street and I looked
up to see a semi truck had hit a motorcycle. The motorcycle exploded off the
front of the truck and I didn't see where the rider went.

We stood in shock for a second, and since the accident was only about 100 meters
away I could see that the people getting out of the truck and a couple of cars were
still in shock as well. No one was rushing to the motorcyclist. I started to walk towards
the accident thinking that if no one else was going to help then I should, I had the weirdest
thoughts because I couldn't see anyone hurt, was the guy unhurt and walking around,
or was there no rider and just an empty motorcycle was crushed?

As I got closer I could see the victim. And I was glad to see that people were starting
first aid and speaking with the emergency operators. My italian isn't normally good enough
to offer first aid advice but I could not think of a single word in italian to say. I was so relieved
that I didn't have to try and give first aid that I felt nothing but guilt, all the first aid classes
and buddy care classes coming to nought. Relief and the knowledge that I would probably
be sick if I stayed made me back away then walk back to my coworkers trying to control the
shaking in my hands.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Great Lileks - bleat - July 9th

And so it came to pass on a weekend night that the entire crew was assembled upstairs at the Valli at 1:30 AM, waiting for pancakes. In my mind everyone’s there: Dime-A-Time, the goat-aroma math professor who always sat in B-8 and never tipped more than ten cents; the perpetually grinning and grizzly-faced bobble-headed idiot savant who would sit for hours during peak time working problems on napkins and graph paper; the couples in the private booths of A section, the regulars in B, where you could see everyone come in the door. The loft is open and full. The kitchen’s sizzling - orders shouted, dishes crashing, Springsteen coming from the cook’s radio. Sam’s on the grill; maybe it’s Mickey. (He was the local revolutionary; I saw him the other night on an old 90s episode of COPS. He was leading a protest downtown. There was a scene in which he exchanged words with an officer, but it was with the bounds of civilized discourse. At the end of the segment the policeman said the event went pretty well, but they’d had to arrest some people, and Mickey had bit a cop.) I’m with the Giant Swede and the Crazy Uke in B-5, probably. Probably Jack as well, working through his third pack of Marlboros. In A-4: Mike, and probably his girlfriend, and a couple others. Mike looks dark and drowsy.

In Brackets

{One thing that bothers me about this multi-culti world is when people say things that
make my blood boil like "jews are in control of the united states" usually uttered by someone
that lives either in in arabia, iran or north africa. How do you contest such a statement?

Then the next statement is that Iraq was invaded so the USA could have oil. Uttered by someone in the oil industry that should know that oil is sold on the spot market in an auction that gives the highest price that day. Assuming the money from the iraqi oil is going to the iraqi government...what was the big benefit of invading iraq for oil, when we could have just taken the several hundred billion dollars spent there and buy oil? ...but then the answer is that of course
the iraqi oil money is going to the usa. The number that I was too drunk to grope for was that
the iraqi oil production is only 2 or 3 million barrels per day. Even if the USA stole all of that it would only be 3000000*60*365= 60 billion per year. (sounds right but i'm too drunk to tell).
Versus the Trillion or so we've spent taking Iraq.

Note to overlords, next time steal a country with more production. Please.

close brackets]