iran iraq war
well, it seems iran has finally won the iran iraq war that started in the 80's. go us.
we decorated the house with christmas lights this year. that's a first for us. we didn't turn them on very often. maybe next year we'll put them on a timer. and yeah, i'm gonna call them christmas lights instead of holiday lights or winter lights. although i'm not religious i totally support religion. as long as it stays out of my science classroom. ;->
marketing types and scientists tout their solar cells as being 17% efficient. that means they convert 17% of the sunlight energy incident upon them into electrical energy. plants are only 5% efficient. science wins! right? wrong. the important number is the amount of energy output divided by the amount of energy input. for solar cells that's between 1 and 5. an oak tree requires the investment of a single acorn. yet over its lifetime it will produce millions of acorns. nature wins. we're not even in the right game.
yay! the judge in dover pa could tell the difference between fact and faith. both are very important. but they need to be separate. mixing them is bad for both of them.
the republicans need to cut bush loose. otherwise they risk losing not only the white house, but the senate, the house, the supreme court, state governors, and control of the electoral process. the last being their biggest loss.
so i took bennett and his broken leg to the bathroom at school. someone had left the stall empty and locked. ha ha. welcome to elementary school humor. fortunately, there was a kid there willing to crawl under the door and unlock it for us. i just assumed that everyone knew this gag. but apparently if you wore uniform jumpers to catholic school, the idea of crawling around on the bathroom floor to pull a prank requires an extraordinary amount of explanation.
heh. call me scrooge. the second paragraph is the text i originally wrote for christmas day about a week ago. i've included it just for fun. since then we've mostly recovered from our colds. i took alisa to a total girl movie. and i played ratface in the winter campaign. so i'm feeling much much better now. i still can't get bennett on his crutches to say his tiny tim line, god bless us every one. ;->
my son has a broken leg. we all have miserable colds. we're all stress cases. we're still at war in iraq. trade and budget deficits are records. global warming is still ignored. we still don't have honest elections here. nobody's developing the next green energy plants with the oil we have left. merry fuckin' christmas.
bush got credit in the press for taking responsibility for the war in iraq and the intelligence failures. that headline sure sounds like he's admitting it was a mistake. he did no such thing. he really said two unrelated things. one: i'm responsible for taking out saddam hussein. he goes on to insist that was a good thing. two: i'm responsible for fixing the intelligence fuckups. spin spin spin spin spin spin spin.
bennett's wheelchair didn't fit under any of the desks they have at school. so i made a desktop thingy out of scrap wood that attaches to the wheelchair arms. he can use it around home too. like for making cookies without dumping them on the floor. alisa had the flu so i had the boys. we sawed, hammered, drilled and sanded while she slept. i don't use the sander very often. i do what you would have to call rough wood working. very rough.
bennett was cast as the grinch for his 2nd grade class' winter program. now his leg is cast in a cast. the grinch part involved lots of running around doing things. up on stage. down in front. back on stage. down to the tree. the grinch was performed by the understudy. bennett got to do his line. maybe christmas doesn't come from a store. maybe christmas means a little bit more.
bennett's class had a party after their winter program. they decorated gingerbread men. bennett made a self portrait. it had brown m&m's for eyes, blue m&m's for a cast, candy canes for crutches. cute kid.
our wealth, or equivalently our standard of living, is ultimately related to how much time we have to spend taking care of the necessities: food, shelter, clothing. i've made the assertion several times that adding more people will lower our wealth. suppose we spend 10% of our time securing necessities. or looking at it a different way, 10% of our population grows food, builds houses, makes clothes. if we add 100 people then approximately 10 of them need to grow food. people can specialize so 10 people are more than 10 times as efficient as 1 person. so we need fewer than 10 growing food. but enter the law of diminishing returns. food production is also limited by available resources like arable land, fertilizer, fuel, etc. eventually the diminished return from limited resources overwhelms the efficiency gains of specialization. and we need more than 10 growing food. and down goes our wealth. how this applies to 21st century united states depends on where you think we are on the specialization vs resource curve. obviously i think we're racing along the brink.
do you live in a bubble? how do you know? how would you find out? ask everyone you know? everyone you know lives in the bubble with you. so how would they know?
ever wonder how house prices can just keep going up? when i first looked at buying a house the banks wanted my mortgage to be no more than 1/3 of my income. presumably my lifestyle would consume the other 2/3. now though incomes have gone up faster than lifestyle costs. my utility for more food, cars, toys, movies has effectively peaked at 1/3 of my income. but my utility for a house hasn't. so i'm willing and able to pay 2/3 of my income for one. lifestyle costs have gone down because of technological advances, cheap oil, and cheap foreign labor. how much higher can prices go? depends on how much lower lifestyle costs can go.
civilization pops up where there are enough free resources around that folks can invest in a few freeloading scientists. they invent a few things that improve the quality of life ie lower the death rate. this results in more people. but that's okay. the scientists figure out how to feed them until our birth rate can adjust. so now we have many well fed people ie soldiers with which to spread our way of life to our neighbors. their death rate goes down. but they don't make the same investment in education as we do ie their birth rate stays high. eventually there are so many of these dumb rabbits that they take over. but they can't maintain the technological advances our society needs to survive. so it collapses.
bennett had a little collision with a classmate at school. broke his leg. for some reason everyone thought it was his ankle. until the nice doddering old doctor insisted on x-raying his leg. lovely break. can't even call it a fracture. kinda lucky it wasn't compound. now we feel bad for letting him scream for 6 hours. sigh. gonna be a long 8-12 weeks. poor little guy.
i'm not willing to discuss my fantasies. but i will happily talk about my nightmares. got a few recurring ones. one of the worst is when i'm back in high school or college and i'm flunking out again. but in my nightmare i'm actually trying to graduate. the absolute worst are the ones with my high school band director. he usually dies horribly in the dream after i wake up enough to influence things. muhahahahahahah!
the beautiful and talented alisa asked me during pillow talk one night who i fantasize about. yee-ah! like i am EVER going to give a truthful answer to that one. i told lies until interest in the subject subsided.
in iraq, we're fighting an enemy of our own creation. what more can i say?
the circumstantial evidence of hanky panky during the 2004 presidential election is overwhelming. people had the opportunity to cheat without getting caught and they did it. surprising absolutely no one. the more interesting question is why can't we do anything about it? the answer is spirit breaking. the country is at war. a war for the noble cause of establishing a fair and just democracy in another country. how exactly do we do that when we don't have one in our own country? if we aggressively challenged the election we'd expose the corruption of which i speak for the world to see. bible says to remove the speck from your own eye so you can see clearly to remove the log from your neighbor's. ow.
major milestone on the trebuchet front. we finished the basket and the arm axle. now the only thing left to finish is the base. we still need to decide how much of it we want to be able to disassemble. clearly the lateral supports must come apart. but what able the axial supports? decisions decisions.
there are about 4 million births every year in this country. and about 1.3 million abortions. imagine we ban all abortions. now we have 5.3 million births per year. holy fucking shit. that birth rate puts us up there with india. it will send our standard of living through the floor.
people insist that bush is a very intelligent person. that assertion is very difficult to reconcile with some of the really stupid things he's done. today i read about the psychology of the bully: hothead, overly aggressive, imagine threats, think short term, need to dominate, target weaklings. such behaviour gets in the way of rational thinking. and they do incredibly stupid things. pretty much hits the nail on the head. doesn't it? saddam hussein was the perfect bully target. weakened by sanctions, unpopular littler bully, no one would defend him, mouthed off to a bigger bully, and had a whole lot of lunch money ie oil. too bad they couldn't go one on one instead of killing and/or maiming a hundred thousand people.
i've been married for 12 years. and i just learned that the most stressful part of making dinner is figuring out what to make. so now i plan the menu for the week and alisa cooks it. i'm pretty sure that's not a fair deal. but everyone seems happy.
the boys and i started building a larger trebuchet out of scrap wood in the garage. we made our first trip to the hardware store today. we spent the whole ride home making up an exciting story to tell mom. bennett had to ride in the trunk because the supplies were in his seat. dad ran into a police car which popped the trunk and bennett flew out. and it went from there.
ben and i built a trebuchet out of legos. it was kinda fun. he kept wanting to add more parts. ah well. it launched legos several feet. i'm sure with a little tweaking we could increase the range. but we have the attention span of a ... hey lookit! a cat.
two of my favorite things are the legend of zelda and mondegreens. so one day i got the giggles when garrett was singing: yankee doodle went to town riding on epona.
i need a new car. wonder if i can talk alisa into an enigma. it's a custom made hybrid that gets 80 miles per gallon of biodiesel. and goes 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds. drawback is it's a two seater. ah well.
bennett got a game for his birthday. the first time we played it two of us got into situations where we could not complete the requirements for winning. the game doesn't come with enough pieces to play a reasonable game. and there's a tricky gotcha that got us. it's really bad game design.
i wrote some mad tight code the other day. i really wanted some stroking but no one would tell me how cool i am. the old algorithm was o(n^2). the new one is o(n log n). big difference when n is on the order of a million. the task involved doing many different things. so making everything o(n log n) and keeping everything in a reasonable amount of memory was tricky. i ended up with a binary tree with two linked lists laced through each node. mad tight.
torturing your enemies poses a bit of a conundrum. on one hand, torture does not produce quality intel. and it's morally repugnant. our policy must be that we don't do it. on the other hand, we want our enemies to believe that we could torture them. president timmer's policy would be that we cannot legally torture our enemies. no matter how valuable their timely information might be. and we'd train people that way. however, soldiers in the field might decide to disobey those orders in order to save the lives of their comrades. they could get 5 years hard labor or be executed. it would be like jumping on a grenade. yeah, you saved your buds. but you've sacrificed your own life.