Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunar eclipse tonight

Remember to take a nap this evening so that you can see the lunar eclipse. And wear lotion: you don't want to get a nasty case of moonburn.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quote of the day

Perl - The only language that looks the same before and after RSA encryption. - Keith Bostic

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Money, what a concept

The great news is that, despite borrowing more money in two years than all of the previous presidents in history combined, Pres. Obama has actually produced a balanced budget.

The bad news is that it isn't ours.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

San Fransisco Giants

I'd always thought that "too much information" and "baseball" were incompatible ideas, but it turns out that I was tragically wrong.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reductio ad absurdum Rex

The Democrats' message, in short, is that the Democrats are really lousy at delivering a convincing message. Since nobody finds this message convincing, it has a certain surface plausibility.
- James Taranto, Best of the Web Today

Monday, October 18, 2010

Economics

Thomas (age: 8): Mommy, when Santa brings us presents, does anyone have to pay?
Mommy: Yes, dear.
Thomas: How does that work?
Daddy: He sends us a bill.
Thomas: So did you send Santa his money?
Mommy: No, not yet.
Thomas: Well, that can't go on forever.

Chicago

Emma (age four): Uncle Jeff, have you ever been to Chicago?
Jeff: Yes, I have.
Emma: Did you go to the American Girl store?
Jeff: No, I've never been there.
Emma: You went to Chicago but you didn't go to the American Girl store?
Jeff: Nope.
Emma: What stores did you go to?
Jeff: I don't think I've ever been to a store in Chicago.
Emma: You went to Chicago but didn't go to any stores?
Jeff: That's right.
Emma: I think that must have been a different town.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

One for you, and one for me

A headline in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal reads Democrats Look to Cultivate Pot Vote in 2012.

That seems fair to me. The Democrats can concentrate on the pot vote, the Republicans concentrate on the human vote, and at the end of the day everyone's happy.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Speak up

Paul Caron notes that the IRS only answered 8% of 352,758 calls it got from deaf taxpayers last year.

Glenn Reynolds makes the predictable and scary corollary point: don't worry, government healthcare will be fine.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

To be thought a fool

Prof. Eugene Volokh describes why I don't blog very much.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Overheard in the men's room of an I-95 rest area

The southbound rest area off I-95 was full of college athletes of some sort tonight. I heard the following conversation in the men's room:
Athlete with camera: Hey, look at this great pic I took last night in Boston. I'm putting it on my Facebook page.

Athlete at urinal: We played in New York last night.

Athlete with camera: No, we're on our way to New York right now.

Athlete at urinal: Man, bars all look the same nowadays.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hartford vs. Bucharest

Lowering the Bar gives its take on the latest news from Romania:
Romanian lawmaker Alin Popoviciu is blaming fear for the failure of a bill he sponsored that would have imposed new regulations and taxes on witches and fortune tellers. He claimed that the legislation had failed because lawmakers were afraid they would be cursed if they passed it.

I'm sorry that Mr. Popoviciu wasn't able to pass his bill. Maybe he could send some of his country's witch lobbyists over here to curse a few members of the Connecticut General Assembly? I could send him a list if hexing works long-distance.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Yes, Ms. Althouse, this is too creepy

Gee, a girl sure plucked a lemon in
Being born so weak and feminine.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Google's animation today

Google's annoying unusual bouncing-balls animation caused some buzz this morning. In the Washington Post, it was suggested that it celebrates the 12th anniversary of Google's founding or the 15th anniversary of Javascript.

I wonder if it celebrates the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm/ Markov chain method? It looks like the location of each ball is being randomized and then bounces around its natural position. Towards the end, the x and y error (perturbation away from the natural position) of each ball would look like a fuzzy caterpillar if plotted against time.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Redecorating ideas

... assuming you have a very big office of course.

Quote of the day

Does the Left really cherish the rights of Islam, or is theirs but a short-sighted alliance with the enemy of their enemies?

- Andrew Klavan

Monday, August 09, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Never say I-told-you-so

"US warnings on Megrahi release have come true" - headline of a story this morning on the (Scotland) Herald's web site about the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

True daughter of old time

On Pajamas Media, Frank Tipler asks:
According the Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia, “science,” and indeed “scholarship” in general, is no longer an attempt to establish truth by replicable experiment, or by looking at evidence that can be checked by anyone. “Truth” is now to be established by the decree of powerful authority, by “peer review.” Wasn’t the whole point of the Enlightenment to avoid exactly this?

You silly mathematician. Don't you know that whole point of the Enlightenment was to provide Merchant Ivory actors with an excuse to dress up in powdered wigs and frilly dresses? Or was that the Renaissance? I forget. Which one starred Helena Bonham Carter?

State Department releases Lockerbie letter

From the State Department's web site, via Powerline:
August 12, 2009

Rt Hon Alex Salmond, MSP
First Minister for Scotland
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh
EH99 1 SP

Dear First Minister:

I have enclosed a copy of a communication from my government that was passed to the Scottish Ministry of Justice on August 9. I am aware that competence for the decision on the matter discussed lies with the Scottish Minister of Justice, but given the gravity of this matter, I thought it important that you receive directly and be aware of the views of my government as your authorities approach a decision.

I am at your disposal to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely,

Richard LeBaron
Chargé d'Affaires

Enclosure: as stated

BEGIN TEXT OF ENCLOSURE:

-- We greatly appreciate the Scottish Government's continued willingness to solicit the views of the United States and the families of its victims with respect to a decision on Megrahi's transfer. This issue is of great importance to the United States.

-- We understand that Scottish law permits the Scottish Government to release individuals in Scottish custody on license if there are compassionate grounds justifying the release, and that as a matter of practice such release is not granted unless the prisoner has a life expectancy of less than three months. We also understand that the Scottish judiciary has the ability to grant bail, and in the case of Megrahi the judiciary has indicated that it is prepared to entertain a renewed bail application on compassionate grounds if Megrahi's prognosis worsens and becomes more certain.

-- The United States respects that decisions concerning compassionate release and bail are reserved to Scottish authorities and are to be made in accordance with Scottish law and policy.

-- The United States is not prepared to support Megrahi's release on compassionate release or bail. We understand that Scottish authorities are ensuring that Megrahi receives quality medical treatment, including palliative care, while incarcerated. The United States maintains its view that in light of the scope of Megrahi's crime, its heinous nature, and its continued and devastating impact on the victims and their families, it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence. This was the understanding and expectation at the time arrangements were made for his trial in Scottish Court in the Netherlands, were he or his confederate to be convicted and their appeals upheld.

-- Nevertheless, if Scottish authorities come to the conclusion that Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the U.S. position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose.

-- If a decision were made by Scotland to grant conditional release, two conditions would be very important to the United States and would partially mitigate the concerns of the American victims' families. First, any such release should only come after the results of independent and comprehensive medical exams clearly establishing that Megrahi's life expectancy is less than three months. The results of these exams should be made available to the United States and the families of the victims of Pan Am 103. The justification of releasing Megrahi on compassionate grounds would be more severely undercut the longer he is free before his actual death.

-- Second, the United States would strongly oppose any release that would permit Megrahi to travel outside of Scotland. We believe that the welcoming reception that Megrahi might receive if he is permitted to travel abroad would be extremely inappropriate given Megrahi's conviction for a heinous crime that continues to have a deep and profound impact on so many. As such, compassionate release or bail should be conditioned on Megrahi remaining in Scotland.

-- Again, while we are not able to endorse the early release of Megrahi under any scenario, we believe that granting compassionate release or bail under the conditions described (i.e. release with a life expectancy or less than three months and with Megrahi remaining in Scotland under supervision) would mitigate a number of the strong concerns that we have expressed with respect to Megrahi’s release.

-- We appreciate the manner in which the Scottish Government has handled this difficult situation. We recognize that the prisoner transfer decision is one that the Scottish Government did not invite, but now must take. We hope that the Scottish Government would consider every available alternative before considering the granting of Megrahi's prisoner transfer application.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quote of the day

(pro se defendant cross-examining his accuser)

DEFENDANT: You sell drugs out of your house, don’t you?

WITNESS: No.

DEFENDANT: I know that’s a damn lie. I’ve bought weed and crack there myself.


- Overheard in Court, via Legal Antics.

Quote of the day

Kill them all, starting with the math teacher!
- Professor Farnsworth, Futurama (Season 6, Episode 5.)


FuturamaThursdays 10pm / 9c
Doomsday Machine
www.comedycentral.com
Futurama New EpisodesFuturama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quote of the day

Maintenance is a dirty word around a DVB sign.
- Jackie Lightfield, yourct.com

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Every compliance manager's nightmare

A British oil broker spent $520,000,000 of his clients' money while in a drunken haze. The drunken binge happened last June. Apparently, this caused world oil prices to jump $1.50 a barrel last summer. His employers' procedures failed to stop or even notice the half-billion dollar trades made late at night from his laptop.

Thank goodness things like this don't happen with medical devices.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spokeswoman: "it was something we decided to address and make the edit"

New Haven's high school grads are getting their diplomas Thursday.
Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo confirmed through a spokeswoman that this year’s diplomas were printed without the phrase “in the year of our Lord.”

“That was a complaint that came in from a parent last year and it was something we decided to address and make the edit,” said schools spokeswoman Michelle Wade.
(Abbe Smith in the New Haven Register.)


Monday, June 21, 2010

Erk

I've been sick all day, and learning about what women find attractive in men hasn't helped my mood much.

Magnificent quote of the day

.. the Church by the gang of liberticides and libertines that misrules this country ...

- Fabio Paolo Barbieri

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Blog post headline of the day

IDF Boards Another Flotilla Ship, Crew Amazingly Cooperative This Time

- Doug Powers

Friday, May 28, 2010

Quote of the day

Your views and mine are currently very much the same on the euro. . . . What most troubles me as it does you is that members of the euro have thrown away the key. Once the euro physically replaces the separate currencies, how in the world do you get out? It’s a major crisis. As a result, I would strongly agree with your view that the euro should be abandoned before January 1, 2002. At the same time, the odds are very great that it will not be abandoned. The defects of the euro will take some time to show up; nothing happens very rapidly in this area. There are fewer than three years to go. Even if difficulties deriving from the euro occur in those three years, the political system is unlikely to react quickly enough to end the euro. As a result, I think it would be very desirable for some systematic thought to be given to devising some way to get out of the straitjacket of the euro after 2002. The least Italy should do is to keep intact the plates which are used to produce lira.

-Milton Friedman, from a letter to Antonio Martino, in 1999 (!). Quoted by Christoper Fountain.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Quote of the day

Dr. Rekers, if you’re listening, I want to tell you two things: (1) I am, among other things, prideful, wrathful, slothful, and gluttonous, and (2) I’ve always wanted to take a three-week trip to Australia.
- Ken at Popehat (this post is NSFW)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Health care and the 27th amendment

Congressmen seem to be surprised that a provision of the kazillion-page health bill they voted for after a few hours debate ends their taxpayer-financed health plan. The Democrats might understandably want to get back their health benefits by quietly amending the bill after the election, or by bullying some poor bureaucrat into interpreting away that part of the law.

But the twenty-seventh amendment to the Constitution says that
No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.
So unless the twenty-seventh amendment means something very different than its plain text (*), it seems to me that Congress can't get fed to the wolves like the rest of us until after the 2010 Congressional election, and they can't vote to save their coverage unless they opt themselves out before the election.

(*) this phrase may a sure sign that I have scientific mind and not a legal mind. Hallelujah!

Friday, April 09, 2010

James Joyce lives on at the Connecticut Department of Transportation

Driving to Simsbury this morning, I realized that I forgot my laptop and had to go back. By the time I got on I-91 it was pouring so heavily that it was tough to see the car in front of me. Passing under a digital information sign, I noticed that there was a traffic message. I took my eyes off the road for a moment to try to read it through the rain.

It read:
Distracted driving kills.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Selling stolen property on EBay

Klaus, whose nom-de-eBay is "game_seller88", is selling a ring that his uncle plundered from Dachau. (He bills it as an "ORIGNIAL JEWISH Holocaust RING".) The Simon Wiesenthal Center reported this transaction to eBay 3 days ago; but they haven't canceled the transaction yet.

If the Simon Wiesenthal Center after three days can't get eBay to cancel an auction of property stolen during the most thoroughly documented crime in the history of mankind, then what chance does an ordinary person have of recovering their stolen I-Pods and cell phones when they are auctioned on eBay?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quote of the day

Yes, I'm a man possessed by many demons. Polite demons that would open a door for a lady carrying too many parcels: but demons nonetheless.
- Kevin McDonald, Kids in the Hall, Season 2 Episode 2.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How many communists does it take to row a boat?

Luo Yuan, a researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences, gave an interview with Reuters (via Best of the Web):
"Just like two people rowing a boat, if the United States first throws the strokes into chaos, then so must we."
(Note to self: never, ever row a boat with this guy.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Dealing with our government

February 3, 2010

Submitter

United States Patent and Trademark Office
Notice of Document Faxed Upside Down

Your request to record a document in the United States Patent and Trademark Office was received via electronic fax on XXXX.

The faxed submission was received upside down. We are unable to continue processing these images.

Please resubmit your document.

If you have any questions, you may contact our customer service center at XXXX.

Office of Public Records
Assignment Division

Source: Eric Sherman at Bnet.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Mel Gibson

On the New York Times' website, Neil Genzlinger writes about Mel Gibson's newest film. His little blurb begins
Despite the occasional foray into biblical interpretation or drunken anti-Semitic outburst, Mel Gibson has always been about fighting injustice, and his latest film, "Edge of Darkness," which opens on Friday, is no exception.

I presume that the "
foray into biblical interpretation" is Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. Thus it seems that the New York Times is a newspaper that thinks that executing convicted criminals in an injustice, but that the Crucifixion wasn't.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Groundhog day?

I just saw a school pass pass another school bus with its lights flashing. Does that mean 6 more weeks of winter?