Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Back in business

Monday, March 10th, 2008

I’ve gotten a few comments (which means a message from just about every single reader of this blog) that things were messed up. Indeed they were. My hosting provider upgraded the servers and in the process changed a number of things that broke my website. What was noticable from here was that the posts were in the wrong order with the oldest posts first and the newest ones hidden in the archive.

I’ve managed to fix that problem and a number of other problems (leaving just one that only affects my other site and so am know mostly back in business.

What was most frustrating was that this all happened just as I was going to pick up where I left off on this blog. Expect a number of posts in the next few days…

Back online

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Sorry about that.

Let this be a lesson to any of you who forget to pay your ISP bill.

Been busy

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Sorry I haven’t been writing much.  Been busy.  I’ll be trying to write more in the near future…

Friday, January 27th, 2006

This is a complete aside, but I found out today about a very interesting website Where’s George?!. The idea is to track the path of US Currency. It does it through the cooperation of averages Joes who enter their current zipcode and the serial numbers of the money they have on them. When future people do the same thing, one can see where the money they spent has gone. In some cases it can be very surprising like this one that made it from Ohio to Kentuky to Tennesse to Florida to Texas to Utah to Michigan over the course of 3 years. They’ve tracked (at one point or another 76 million bills totaling $430 million.

Pretty interesting stuff if you ask me.

Comment spammer should be excommunicated

Friday, September 30th, 2005

OK, somebody got my humble blog in their comment spam list. Thankfully my spam detector is properly throwing them in the moderation queue, but I’ve gotten 40 in the last couple days.

My question is why they care to do this when they all get moderated. I know there desire is to up the number of links that reference them so that they’ll be elevated in search engines. But when those comments get moderated, they don’t accomplish their goal.

I guess they don’t check to see whether the comments get moderated.

Categories added

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Just a quick post to say that since this blog covers so much ground, I’ve decided to have categories and sub-categories. That way if you’re just interested in one or two topics, you can browse those.

Repairing and maintaining our levees

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

I was reading an article about the hurricane disaster in New Orleans when I came across the following quote:

“New Orleans, which lies below sea level, has 350 miles of hurricane levees built to withstand a Category 3 hurricane, according to the Corps of Engineers. The Category 4 Hurricane Katrina caused two levee collapses”

People need to realize that when things are designed for a certain set of parameters (like what category hurricane they’re designed to withstand) we can’t fault those things when they fail when pushed beyond those limits.

What really is to blame in this case is the failure to build levees designed for a higher category hurricane. I mean it’s just nuts to not pump the needed money into proper storm protections when there are so many lives and so much property behind those levees. I can understand not building really expensive levees when all that is being protected is 8 houses and 1000 acres of farm land. For those resources it is reasonable to have a levee breach every 50 to 100 years. But the ENTIRE city of New Orleans is behind those levees. Those levees should be built to withstand category 5 (isn’t that the highest level?) hurricanes. Sure New Orleans only gets hit with one of those every few hundred years (I’m just guessing), but the fact is that every few hundred years it happens.

And it makes sense from a purely financial perspective. I’m sure the relief effort in this case is going to cost several billions of dollars. I’m also sure that the cost difference for building and maintaining those larger levees can’t be 100 million (earth fill levees are surprisingly cheap). In the long run you’ll save a fortune by spending the money up front to protect the town.

Hell, just the human life lost justifies spending the money, even if you take a cold finacial perspective of it. A human life is worth several million dollars according to the courts and all the wrongful death suits that have been decided in the last couple decades (airplane crashes, OJ Simpson, etc.). So if you lose 50 lives from a hurricane because the levy broke, you’ll easily have justified the building expenses.

The worst part of what I’m writing is that when they patch up the levees, they’ll just restore them to what they were like before. Despite the fact that they’ll have just witnessed why better levees are vitally important for a town like New Orleans, they’ll be quick to forget and be a sitting duck for the next category 4+ hurricane that comes there way.

Stupid SF Chronicle polls again

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

OK, I’ve blogged about this before but today’s SF Chronicle poll was one of the worst. Here’s the question and options:

Would you buy a home behind a levee?

a. Yes, floods are just one part of the risk
b. No, New Orleans shows levees inherently unsafe
c. Only with a ton of flood insurance

Yet again, a complete lack of reasonable options. They need to just stop adding the commentary to the options. How about “No our California levees are old and damaged” or “Yes, but only if it is a newer levee or one that has been updated for modern standards” or “Yes, I have confidence in California levees”. And if I pick option ‘a’ in the presented poll am I saying I’m going to buy it without flood insurance because option ‘c’ exists?

Really, there should just be two options: Yes and No. Let the people answering the poll decide what there reasons are. Or if you just insist (and my question is why you insist, but I digress) on having reasons, you’d better have “Yes – for a different reason” and “No – for a different reason” options so that people can answer the poll without being trapped in the limited foresight of the poll asker.

It’s just part of their apparent policy to add their own opinions to just about everything. They can’t even take a poll without introducing their bias.

Personal ban of Carls Jr.

Monday, July 18th, 2005

I decided on this a couple of weeks ago. It was a long time coming and surprisingly didn’t come because of the Paris Hilton ad that people were upset about (although it is syptomatic of what bothers me). What did it for me was that they started re-airing a TV ad with a somewhat overweight groggy looking young man who is “on his own” for the first time and can’t even open a bag of cereal (and ends up spilling it all over the place). The ad has the tagline “Without us, some guys would starve.” (It’s part of a series.)

What I realized after seeing this ad is that I’m sick and tired of Carls Jr. treating us (the people viewing the ads) like stupid cattle. Every ad they do is demeaning to all people treating us like we’re oogling, naive, hormonally driven apes. It’s just disgusting. Just to list a few:

– “If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face” series
– “Without us, some guys would starve” series
– “GET OFF” (the freeway) billboards
– Sexy women riding bulls and cars (washing anyway) eating oversized burgers they can barely get in their mouth

And I really do mean EVERY ad. I challenged my brother last weekend to come up with an ad that they’ve done in the last five years that wasn’t demeaning. He was unable to name one.

So here’s the challenge: if you can tell me about an ad that they’ve done in the last 5 years that wasn’t demeaning, I’ll end my ban. I’m pretty sure I won’t be eating their anytime soon. And if you can’t think of an ad that isn’t demeaning, you should personally ban them too.

Formatting of blog still to come

Monday, July 18th, 2005

This is going to be a busy week so I doubt I’ll have time to change the look and feel of the blog to match the old one. But never fear! I’m going to be getting to it soon.