31 Dec 2008 @ 11:59 PM 

Apparently, it is now time for people on my reading list (RSS aggregator, LJ Friends, whatever you want to be called) to make predictions for 2009, and review their past prognosticative abilities. I’ll play along, but I’m taking all sucker bets, so as to get a hit rate much higher than Sylvia Browne ever will.

  1. The WorldNutDaily and other extreme-rightwing nutjobs will continue to berate President Obama throughout the year, calling into question his patriotism, his citizenry, and perhaps even his sexual orientation, just in hopes that something will cause people to care about the right-wing again.
  2. Windows 7 won’t be the savior of all things computing in 2009.
  3. Netbooks will remain nearly impossible to find in retail channels anywhere with a population less than 5 million (like, say, where I live now).
  4. The economy will continue to suck.
  5. There still won’t be a single-sign-on system that anyone uses. Sorry, OpenSocial and Facebook API.
  6. There still won’t be a crypto system that anyone uses.  Sorry, PGP.
  7. The Digital TV changeover will be a complete goat-fuck.
  8. Our elected representatives will continue to play reverse Robin Hood, taking as much money from the middle class as they can and giving it to the corporate overlords Eisenhower warned us about.
  9. Weather will continue to be remarkable, which will cause climatologists to point out they predicted just such a thing. Denialists will claim that anything other than blistering heat in Alaska and seventy hurricanes reaching into Iowa is proof there is no such thing as global warming.
  10. Kit will continue to amuse and enlighten us all with her LE posts.
Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 30 Dec 2008 @ 08:21 PM

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Categories: Memes, Personal
 29 Dec 2008 @ 9:24 AM 

Since there was great hue and cry recently over the completely unprecedented level* of cold that great parts of the United States have experienced this year, it’s reasonable to assume the same people are following this week’s weather news as well.

Unseasonable warm weather is causing flash flood warnings through much of the midwest. Gee, if “winter” is now considered to be a disproof of anthropogenic global warming, is “warm weather” proof? See also, “weather and climate are not the same word.”

* – by “unprecedented” we mean completely precedented in every reasonable way

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 29 Dec 2008 @ 09:24 AM

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 29 Dec 2008 @ 8:40 AM 

When I was 8 years old, I had two chemistry sets.  I went through all sorts of experiments, producing acids that I used to clean/destroy small objects, color-changing things, etc. I’ve seen several times over the past few years stories about the new chemistry sets, which apparently don’t contain any chemicals more interesting than tannic acid (tea extract). We don’t want our young people to grow up curious about science, obviously.

And then there is the curious case of Lewis Casey, who was arrested on suspicion of making meth in his garage. When it was proven rather easily that his chemistry lab was merely a chemistry lab (he’s a college chemistry major), the Canadian government charged him with making bombs instead. Have you ever heard the term “chilling effect” before?

Casey is no longer allowed to engage in chemistry experiments except under supervision in school labs. 

That’s insane.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 29 Dec 2008 @ 08:44 AM

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Categories: Civil Liberties, Geek, Science
 25 Dec 2008 @ 1:00 AM 

Birthday wishes go out today to the following distinguished people:

Sissy Spacek
Jimmy Buffett
Barbara Mandrell
Ingrid Betancourt
Alannah Myles
Annie Lennox
Rick Berman
Cab Calloway
Humphrey Bogart
and of course,
Sir Isaac Newton.

It’s just not fair they get overlooked today.  🙂

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Dec 2008 @ 08:05 AM

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Categories: Random Thoughts
 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:52 AM 

Lou Dobbs (not the most unbiased fella on the tube) had CNN meteorologist Chad Myers on the other day, and the weatherman claimed that global warming is not man-made because that would be arrogant, or something of the sort. This has been one of the various anecdotes that are being touted as proving that global warming is not happening, and even if it is, the problem is not humanity’s fault and we can’t fix it so we should just keep fiddling.  It’s sad that this comes up so frequently.

The meteorological year, December 2007 through November 2008, was the coolest year since 2000, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis of surface air temperature measurements. It was the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements, which extends back to 1880. The nine warmest years all occur within the eleven-year period 1998-2008.

Arctic sea ice has not, in actual scientifically verified fact, improved extent over previous years. It was, indeed, 220,000 square miles more ice cover than last year in November. However, it’s still 260,000 square miles lower than the average 1979-2000 coverage. Furthermore, the extent of coverage has peaked and stopped its rapid growth. Look at the graph linked above – we’re now seeing that the sea ice extent will likely drop below last year’s already-sad numbers by the end of 2008. Air temperatures above the ice remain unusually high, and this will cause a slowing of the ice growth. You may be familiar with warmth and melting.

Yes, it’s a blizzard. No, that doesn’t mean the climate is cooling, it just means there’s a blizzard right now. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.”

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Dec 2008 @ 04:30 PM

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 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:14 AM 

I’m saddened that, of the 1900+ posts I’ve made in more than ten years of online presence, the one which has become the most-viewed is one with a half-nude actress.  I thought I was a better writer than that.  *sigh*

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:14 AM

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Categories: asides
 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:07 AM 

It seems the vast majority of military active duty and veterans I have ever met are vehemently opposed to socialized medicine for the country.  If you’re using socialized medicine, why do you want to deny it to others?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:07 AM

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 22 Dec 2008 @ 9:07 AM 

Mike Connell, the man who set up and maintained the invisible email system that the current administration used to avoid the Presidential Records Act, has died in a plane crash. A couple journalists are claiming that Connell was about to roll over and tell all he knew about various shady dealings. Obviously, the same people who believe that President Clinton whacked Vince Foster must also believe that President Bush whacked Mike Connell, right? Don’t be ridiculous.

There is a group that is calling for a full federal investigation of Connell’s crash. They even have a website devoted to what they are calling RoveCyberGate. Personally, I assume that Connell lost control of his small plane and crashed, but it’s always entertaining to see people try to impose a more interesting narrative on reality than is truly warranted.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 22 Dec 2008 @ 09:07 AM

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Categories: News, Political
 18 Dec 2008 @ 8:33 PM 

The woman who is known as the voice of the Enterprise has died, at the age of 76. She’ll always be Nurse Chapel to some, but I’ll remember her as Lwaxana Troi, that saucy lady. Majel Barrett Roddenberry is the only person to have been in every movie, even if only as a disembodied voice.  That voice lives on, in the next Trek film, which is a great tribute to honor a great actress.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Dec 2008 @ 09:08 PM

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Categories: asides, Entertainment, Geek, Video
 18 Dec 2008 @ 5:19 PM 

I would like to point out that not all fruitcake is bad.  Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake, for example, is yummy as heck.  And, unlike many fruitcake recipes, it only takes a week or two to age, not months and months.  Some recipes start with, “gather your ingredients in July…”  Not for me, buddy.

Of course, now my coworkers think that I only make desserts with a solid alcoholic base. In the past month, I’ve brought in Black Forest cake (kirschwasser in several places, as well as port wine), panettone bread pudding (rum), and now the fruitcake (rum and brandy). I am not a lush, honest.

Someone must think we are low on wine, because I came home to a ridiculously large box, containing a very generous gift basket and four bottles of wine.  Kat was heartened to see at least one bottle of white.  We have about ten reds but no whites until today.  Whoever sent this (the card was unsigned), thank you.  You rock.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Dec 2008 @ 05:22 PM

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Categories: Food, Home, Personal, The Woman
 15 Dec 2008 @ 7:09 PM 

I’m sure I can think of someone in the Frozen North who could put one of these trees together…

The tree has a MySpace page.  That’s just wrong.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Dec 2008 @ 07:09 PM

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Categories: Funny Stuff
 15 Dec 2008 @ 8:04 AM 

Remember the reason for the season – Axial Tilt.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Dec 2008 @ 08:04 AM

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Categories: asides
 04 Dec 2008 @ 6:04 PM 

President-elect Barack Obama is still under attack by the fringe far-right World Net Daily (no, I won’t link to that insane asylum), for not being born in Hawaii as he claims.  Their evidence?  Well, there’s this scanned copy of Obama’s birth certificate which looks funny.  As my coworker Tom says, his Hawaii birth certificate from the same year is pretty funny-looking too. Apparently, that’s the Hawaiian way.

The claim that the birth certificate is a forgery is backed up by no evidence of any kind, but countered by a mountain of it. For example, there’s the birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser. They must have been part of a conspiracy by Obama’s grandparents, who thought he might be president one day and so planted an announcement in the paper, even though Obama’s mother was then…where, exactly?

Furthermore, the birth certificate would have to have been used as prima facie evidence of citizenship at various times in Obama’s rather well-scrutinized life. The conspirators to assist Obama’s treachery would have included not only Hawaii’s records division and the aforementioned newspaper, but the Cook County Bureau of vital statistics in Illinois, the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, the US Senate, and many other government organizations that are not all Democratic Party shills.

The latest WorldNutDaily smear involves someone who knew someone who knew Obama, who claims that the “natural-born” requirement in the Constitution is silly and should be removed. First, many people make that same point. Secondly, so fucking what? I know someone who claims that the US Government is ceding power to some shadowy Law of the Sea Treaty cabal, that doesn’t mean I’ve become a John Birch Society loon myself, I hope.

Also, for those who don’t realize, the citizenship of your parents affects your citizenship as well. Since I was born abroad to American citizens, I get to fill out extra forms every time my security clearance is up for renewal. But, I am most assuredly an American citizen. So is John McCain, born in Panama. So is Barack Obama, no matter where he was born, because his mother was a citizen. No, it doesn’t matter how OLD she was, you silly knackers.

So, we have a vast conspiracy that covers five decades and involves government and private organizations in multiple states and the federal government, all trying to get this evildoer into office.  The exact reason why all these organizations would cooperate for someone who was unknown ten years ago is never explained, but there must be a reason. The complete lack of evidence for these claims is further proof of the conspiracy, of course.

Or, the alternate hypothesis, Obama’s birth certificate is legitimate.  Occam’s Razor…hmmm.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 04 Dec 2008 @ 06:11 PM

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