Month: August 2012

USA Basketball Women Win Gold!

You should have seen them play. The USA women’s basketball team exhibited total domination over France’s Women’s team. Of course, being the country hat invented basketball, we kind of expect our athletes to be better in that sport. These women brought home the gold, and the message that they are just better at every phase of the game.

Six of the twelve women on the squad played their college basketball at the University of Connecticut, two from the University of Tennessee, two from Louisiana State University, one from the University of Minnesota, and one from the University of Louisville. Of course, the USA coach is the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut. It is interesting how that works.

The men have yet to finish out their business in the Olympic games. We have to wait until Sunday for the USA vs Spain.

Paul Ryan – The Choice

Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney announced his choice of Vice Presidential running mate as Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan. Ryan is best known for his work as chairman of the House Budget Committee. This is particularly damaging to Democrats as they have not produced a budget in the last four years. The Democrats in Congress will not even vote for the President’s budgetary proposals.

Fiscal knowledge and acumen are a very weak are in the Democrat Party. They do not want the American public to understand their real agenda.

Compared to the Democrat Vice President, Joe Biden, Ryan compares more than favorably.

  1. Brain Power – Ryan has proven to be very intelligent. Biden has continually embarrassed the American people with stupid statements and an IQ level near that of concrete.
  2. Foreign Relations – Paul Ryan knows the locations of the southern and northern borders of USA. Biden knows the location of the nearest bar.
  3. Fiscal Issues – Paul Ryan has shown that he knows more about the current financial shape of the nation than either Obama or Biden. Ryan has proposed common sense, workable budgets, where Obama and Biden have done nothing.
  4. Regulatory Issues – Paul Ryan wants to take the regulatory shackles off American employers. Obama and Biden’s policies are shutting down US companies, and sending jobs overseas.
  5. Job Creation – Paul Ryan has proposed workable plans on how to turn the American entrepreneurial talents loose to create jobs and rescue our nation from the current mismanagement of Obama and Biden. Obama and Biden show no understanding of the economy and the job creation process.
  6. National Finance – Paul Ryan has the intellectual power and management expertise to create a common sense budget proposal. Obama and Biden have not had a budget, yet.

With the choice of Paul Ryan, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made it clear that the Republican campaign will be all about fixing our nation financially. Under the Democrats, there has not even been a budget, even when they controlled both the Senate and the House.

It is time to get our nation off ground zero and back into the stratosphere. By choosing Paul Ryan as a running mate, this is exactly what Mitt Romney is proposing.

It is time to light the candle of creativity, and stop suffocating our nation in government regulations.

Why Am I Watching Soccer?

Right now, I am watching the USA Women Soccer Team battle it out with the Japanese Women’s Soccer team. The score is USA -2, Japan -1. We are in the second half of play, and the Japanese are obviously being much more aggressive, challenging the American women.

This is the Gold Medal match.

Soccer has never held any appeal to me. I was never exposed to it as a child, and my children never showed any desire for the sport, or any other sport. My kids were all musical artists, their college educations were financed in good part with music scholarships. Bottom line, I had no love for soccer.

I am now riveted to my seat. These women, both American and Japanese, are keeping me fixed on a game that I don’t understand. What a game!

One of my problems is figuring out the game clock. Just what is gong on, here? We are down to the final few seconds and I don’t know what is going on, clock wise. What is a yellow card? Damn! The Japanese get another free kick.

What is this two minutes added on to the game? Now, Tobin Heath, USA, gets a free kick. Only a few seconds left. The Japanese foul with forty seconds left.

Japan attacks with ten seconds left. Unsuccessful. We have the two minutes, and the damned game is still not over.

Now, it is over.

USA wins the GOLD MEDAL!!!

I just may be hooked on soccer.

New Dell Laptop

My Toshiba laptop computer of three years has developed a flaky display. When the display  goes out, you lose your work if you are using a web-based service. Incidentally, I use the built-in editor in WordPress to write my blogs, and when the display would go out, it would dump the browser and all my work.

Bummer.

Now that we are approaching go-back-to-school time, sales abound in clothes and computers. Plus, if you are a legitimate college student, you can find some really good deals.

I am a legitimate college student for the last three years, taking courses at a local technical college. There are some very cool deals out there like the one at Dell.

At Dell’s website, if a documented student picks one of several laptop computers, Dell throws in an XBOX 360. Yep, I have my new Dell 15R computer, now, and the XBOX will arrive in a few weeks. I am making big plans for the game box and my grandson. Oh, the price was right, too!

I was busy all day yesterday getting familiar with the new laptop, and today, I will start moving files from the old Toshiba to the new Dell. The decision becomes, do I move all the data in my old Documents directory to the Dell at one time, or do I move it selectively, one document directory at a time?

I have data and programs from three years of technical college. This includes programs from three Java programming courses, PHP programs, Flash programs, and notes and assignments from many other courses. You never can tell what you will need. It is kind of like cleaning out your garage. How could you ever throw away those old car license tags?

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Ya’ll have a good day, and I will get busy organizing my new computer companion.

65% Of Democrats Favor Gay Marriage

From Pew Research:

Percentage of populations favoring gay marriage:

Democrats – 65% (2008 – 50%)

Independents – 51% (2008 – 44%)

Republicans – 24% (2008 – 19%)

The referenced Pew research polls show that favorability of gay marriage has increased substantially over the last four years (2008 to 2012).

The gap between Republicans and Democrats has widened, and so has the gap between Republicans and Independents. Politically, this would suggest that the Republicans suppress talk about gay marriage during the election, but I doubt that will happen.

One speculation in the Pew article is that the reason for the increased tolerance of gay marriage may have to do with a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality in general. This has apparently taken place over a long period of time, and not just in the last four years.

My purpose for publishing this information is not to get the same old arguments going about gay vs straight, but to ask the question, “Should Republicans make a big deal of the Democrats new policy of advocating gay marriage in the Presidential election?”

What do you think?

Not Your Daddy’s NASA

It was just like the old days at NASA early this morning. Mission control updates. Blow by blow operation of critical systems. The tension was palpable as the Curiosity approached the surface of the Red Planet, Mars. In reality the results of the landing were already accomplished, good or bad, because it takes almost fourteen minutes for radio signals to reach earth from Mars at its current relative location.

As each major stage was successfully accomplished, mission control employees would applaud, and then continue their tasks as the landing progressed. Mission Control was at the JPL facilities at Cal Tech.

When it became known that the lander had arrived safely, it was party time. People jumped up, clapping their hands, showing their total enthusiasm. It was after one-thirty in the morning in Atlanta at my house, and I was happy, but not quite so jubilant.

I am probably wrong, but I got the distinct feeling that NASA wants us to feel like we still have the NASA of the last century. My feelings were a bit different.

This is the nineteenth Mars program in NASA history. The project cost $2.5 Billion, and was $1 Billion over budget, taking two years longer than projected.

What were the NASA folks cheering about? They had broken no new ground getting to Mars because they had done that eighteen times in the past. The only thing new was finding a way to land an automobile size rover without destroying it. They had been doing that bit of arithmetic for decades.

This is not your Daddy’s NASA. This is a bureaucracy of technocrats who feel they are entitled to unlimited sums of money, and deserve accolades when they come in over budget and late.

In my opinion they are barely doing their jobs.

Waiting On The Curiosity Rover

About 1:30 AM Monday, the NASA Mars rover is supposed to land on the Red Planet. This is exciting. How many times have we heard about Mars landers working, or even getting close to the planet? I don’t know, but I bet it is tough to find. It is tough to hit a moving target millions of miles away.

Mars and Earth both orbit the Sun, but at different speeds and distances. Plus, it takes several months for the rover rocket to get to where Mars is going to be. Think of it like shooting a gun in a direction where, six months later, you hope your target will be.

There’s lots of anticipation, and for a wee hours show, I am sure there will be a large viewing audience. I hope to be up at that hour. It would be nice to record the event, but I don’t know exactly when the landing will take place.

There will be all-star journalists at every juncture of the event with team coverage on every network. I am looking forward to Fox News reporters to be on site at Houston, and on Mars at the proposed landing site.

Without a doubt, The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore will be on the Red Planet looking for any of those famous Martian dust devils, or red sandstorms. This kind of thing can really screw up a landing, and we will all be there waiting and watching.

Maybe there will be special editions of Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room, or Anderson Cooper’s canceled show might be resurrected for one night.

The View will be all agog how Barack Obama dreamed up the trip, and how many people will be employed on Mars. Do not tell them that Obama doesn’t have a clue what Mars is, or where it can be found.

 

UPDATE: The Rover Curiosity landed as planned, and the mission has been a huge success, to this point. However, Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel was nowhere to be seen. Where is Cantore? Did he miss the bus to Mars? What’s the story?

 

 

My Toshiba Up And Died

Well, not really. My Toshiba Satellite M505 laptop that I bought almost exactly three years ago has been crashing with a display adaptor error. If you have ever been typing along, happily blogging or doing real work, you know the absolute frustration of losing your work.

I remember going through this with a friend’s Hewlett-Packard laptop. It turned out that NVIDIA, the company that made the HP’s video adaptor, had a problem with a certain series of display chips. Neither HP or NVIDIA ever had a recall, and millions of HP computer owners were screwed, my friend included. Once the display chip goes south, you cannot even boot the machine.

My Toshiba had some problems a couple of years ago, and the hard drive failed. Fortunately, I had backups for the most critical data. I bought the Toshiba at Fry’s in 2009 along with three years warranty that didn’t cover much of anything. Warranty to Fry’s is just a cash-flow strategy.

Before I had the Toshiba, I had a Dell for about five years, and was very satisfied. The Dell warranty covered EVERYTHING, not at all like the junk warranty Fry’s sells.

It was time for a new laptop, and I went back to Dell.

Dell, and everyone else, is having back to school sales with special deals for students. If you are a verifiable student and choose a laptop from their selection, they will throw in an XBOX 360 game box, or a $200 Dell.com gift card. All this is on top of the various discounts.

My choice was a Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition. It has an Intel i5 dual core processor, 720 gb disk drive, 8 gb  RAM, upgraded video (1080p) and audio specs, 4 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, WiFi, Bluetooth, Webcam and microphone, a multi-format card reader, and two years of extended-everything-covered warranty.

I don’t know why it is called a Special Edition, except it is equipped for students. That’s me.

My wife chimed in on the sale, and added a Dell All-In-One color laser printer that operates on the WiFi system. The printer was at a forty percent discount to regular price.

The lessons I have learned when computer shopping are as follow:

1. Do not buy from local retailers unless the deal is unbeatable. Buy direct from the manufacturer.

2. Always get the manufacturer’s warranty as the local retail warranty is not worth spit, expecially Fry’s.

3. Get more computer than you need. As time passes, your software will eat up more and more computer resources.

So, the new laptop, printer, and XBOX 360 cost about the same as the Toshiba three years ago. Plus, I get a decent warranty.

Life is good.

Hey, Diddle Diddle…

NOAA and NASA have been diddling the temperature readings. This is not a surprise to anyone, but nobody outside science will understand what is going on. Now, there is research showing just how much bias the temperature data diddling at NOAA causes.

It is not easy to measure temperature. It takes a lot more thought than just mounting a thermometer outside your kitchen window, or even using one of those little consumer electronic weather stations. You see, when you are measuring temperature in thousands of places, you need to have a few rules on where the thermometers are placed, plus how and when they are read.

Anthony Watts, proprietor of Watts Up With That announced a new study in preparation, and posted it on the internet for comment and review. Some mistakes were discovered, and Anthony has pulled the paper back until he and his co-authors can get everything straight. It is a laudable process, and helps the authors perfect their hypothesis prior to publication.

Watts found that about half of the warming in the last thirty years is a mirage. The problem is with the data base being polluted by badly placed thermometers, and less than a third of the sites in the USA are capable of giving accurate temperature readings. Temperature stations in urban areas and at airports give readings so far from accurate that they are worthless.

When you take out the badly sited temperature stations, there is little heating to be seen in the raw data. Is there a conspiracy going on? Why does NOAA diddle the data? It seems that most of the their adjustments cause the world to look warmer.

Kool-Aide climate jockeys rely on the idea that the United States is only about two percent of the land area in the world. However, the US also has a very high percentage of the measurement stations, therefore a high percent of the data is from the US. Take into account that temperature history in other countries is not as good as that in the US, you have a pretty good case for throwing out all climate studies relying on surface temperature data.

The USA is not alone with government scientists diddling the temperature data. There has been a lawsuit in New Zealand about the same thing. Australia, too has badly augmented temperature data.

It’s all for the money. The Australian government recently enacted a horrendous carbon tax on their citizens, and it was this kind of diddled data that contributed to the government’s case. Aussies are being taxed because of the climate mirage. Our EPA is now regulating carbon dioxide emissions, and will fine those who are outside their recommendations. This, too, is a tax.

Remember, it is your government that is diddling the data. What do you think we should do about it?

Rain, Rain, Stay A While

Now that the Chick-fil-A crisis has blown over, we can get back to living our lives. Today is Saturday, and it is raining. To most people, it is a bad thing to have a weekend messed up with rain, but I am sitting here in my little office rejoicing that I don’t have to go outside and work in the yard.

You see, I have had to do yard work all my life, and I don’t enjoy it one bit. When I was growing up in Memphis, Tennessee my Dad refused to spend money on a gasoline mower, and we had to use an old-fashioned push mower. It is amazing how strong one’s arms can get using a manual mower in deep grass. We had to do that all the time. Plus, our corner lot was rimmed with hedges on three sides.

The lot was one hundred feet wide by one hundred fifty feet deep, giving a total length of hedges at about three hundred fifty feet counting walkways and driveway. Folks, that was a LOT of hedges to trim with hand shears. My Dad was too cheap to buy electric shears. My brothers and I were strong little boys.

If you have ever been to Memphis in the summer you know how hot things get. It is always hot, and the humidity is high, making it one of the most miserable places to play or work outside in the summer time.

Since I am older and wiser, I hire local kids to cut my grass. They don’t do a great job, and they don’t show up to work unless they need money. I pay the young man who lives across the street $25  to cut the front yard, and he never seems to trim up against bushes and flower beds. That’s the way kids are but it beats doing the job myself.

So, here I sit typing away, listening to the rain on the windows. Life is good.