since 2003, veterans have been taking their own lives at twice the rate of the general population. that's some 3000 extra deaths per year. some 15,000 total deaths since the iraq/afghanistan war. their deaths don't show up in the daily body count. their deaths should be counted somewhere. their deaths should count. their lives should count.
somewhere my six year old picked up the expression ah fooey. whenever anything goes wrong he says ah fooey. it's really cute. and it's way better than say oh shit. or fuck.
after several months, we finally returned to lift the table top and place it on the legs. the table top is 180 cms by 70 cms by 10 cms. it weighs some 500 kilograms. it's really goddam heavy. i built a pair of dik4s. what's a dik4? ba dump bump. some jokes just never get old. anywho, they look like upside down bridge trestles. the plan is to teeter the table top back and forth and raise it up by the width of a 2x4 each teeter and totter. the dik4s securely hold two stacks of 2x4s while the table top teeters from one stack to the other and totters back. once raised to the appropriate height i fastened a yob to the table top. it's a piece of 1x4 that goes between the table top and the 2x4 stacks. now one end of the table top was lifted and rotated around the yob. then lift and rotate the other end of the table top. repeat until the table top is positioned over the legs. remove the yob and teeter totter the table top but this time remove 2x4s from the stacks to lower the table top onto the legs. voila! piece of cake. happy thanksgiving. let's eat. on the brand new table. woo hoo! joe and bob did some stuff too.
several more weeks later, the legs had cured. i added a little more dirt around the retaining wall where it had settled. we broke the molds off the legs. they looked great. they weigh some 250 kilograms each. the plan was to just lever them into position. but oops. second problem. we poured the first one too close to the house. so there was no room to operate a lever. whoops. no problem. we'll move the second one first and take it the long way around the tree. it was really pretty easy to move. the necessary levers were about a meter in length. my six year old could do it. well, sorta. anywho. we pertty much manhandled them into place. i had made a special wooden staircase which i placed in the hole at one end. we carefully maneuvered the first leg so half of it was free in space over the staircase. this was the first big engineering test. the teeth on the leg were supposed to line up with the steps on the staircase and the leg was supposed to just walk down the stairs and roll upright into the hole on end. in theory everything would be perfectly balanced and no real force would be necessary. the leg was carefully constructed so the center of gravity of the leg on its side on the ground and on end in the hole are at the same height. so in theory it should just need to be rotated. no lifting. in theory. well, it worked perfectly. like, damn. it was easily the most beautiful piece of construction i've ever done. the second leg went in just as smoothly. i broke up the retaining wall and filled the hole. now there are two cement blocks standing on end in mary's back yard. we could carve them so they look like easter island heads. heh. the last step was to pour the table top. joe did some stuff too.
several weeks later we returned to joe and mary's. the slab was set. and i had time to build a pair of fairly complex molds for the table legs. the legs were roughly 50 cms by 90 cms by 20 cms. but they had gear like teeth on one side. hence the complications. also at this time i built a plywood retaining wall for the inside of the grave. and filled the outside of it to be slightly higher than it started. i kept having to reinforce the wall because it wasn't anywhere near as sturdy as it needed to be. now we had a rectangular hole in the ground with a nice flat concrete slab at the bottom. and two table legs curing. so far so good. joe did some stuff too.
this summer i started construction of a concrete table for joe and mary's back yard. the plan was to pretend each of the pieces was a big giant rock and see if we could move it using only tools available during the stone age. kinda like stone henge. or the library at ephesus. or machu piccu. or the great pyramids. anywho, i had everything all planned out. on the first day i dug a hole in the ground. where we ran into the first problem. the chosen location was on top of the remains of a concrete septic tank. sigh. fortunately, mary said she'd rather have the table under the tree instead of breaking apart the buried wall and dealing with yet more smashed up bits of concrete. whew. when i was done it looked like a shallow grave. i built a frame and poured a nice flat slab of concrete sidewalk surface 180 cms by 70 cms at the bottom of the grave upon which the table legs will stand. joe did some stuff too.
the cub scouts made rockets out of cardboard tubes and water bottles. one of the scout dads bought the launcher kit thingy. it was a whole lot of fun not even spoiled by rain. garrett's rocket was nearly as tall as he. it didn't fly as high as other rockets for obvious reasons. i flew many model rockets when i was kid. so i know a wee bit of rocket science. b's and g's rockets made very pretty flights. they when straight up, arced over, and came straight down. they had large rigid fins and weight in the nose. many of the other rockets flew out of control. or floated back down sideways. the fun ended when the rocket with the last of the nozzles got stuck in a tree. ah well. ben and i spent quite a bit of quality time designing a rocket we'd name homesick angel.
got my teeth cleaned today. i didn't get the you need to floss more lecture. yay! hygienist finally got a clue. there are two types of dental floss. the satin waxy kind slips between teeth pretty easily but is fairly useless for actually removing tartar buildups. the industrial strength sandpaper kind doesn't fray or break and is really good at scouring away the tartar. the problem is my teeth are mashed so closely together that you have to use a whole lot of force to get even the satin floss between them. it's real easy to lose control of the floss and damage my gums. the hygienist noticed she was working up a sweat trying to floss my teeth and damaging the shit out of healthy gums. finally she gave up and suggested a few alternatives to flossing. which is what i've been saying to deaf ears for twenty years. sheehs.
got my vote
anita esterday for president. go babe go. happy turkey day.
what really killed the dinosaurs? the two leading theories are a giant impactor from outer space smashing into the coast of mexico. and/or massive volcanic eruptions in india. which for the geographically impaired is pretty close to the other side of the world. (i had to check.) today. 65 million years ago india hadn't yet smashed into asia. and was a whole lot closer to being exactly opposite mexico. which was under water. map
. hmm... suspicious. one could imagine that the impactor shattered the crust on the other side of the earth. kinda like shooting a pumpkin with a high powered rifle. anywho i'm proposing the impact caused the volcanoes. which spewed so much toxic crap into the atmosphere it killed off everything lucky enough to have survived the actual impact. i have such pleasant thoughts don't i?
hybrid technology isn't exactly new. porsche stopped building their 4 wheel drive gas electric hybrid in 1906. no, that's not a typo. link
. i'd prefer a diesel hybrid. mercedes won't catch up to that demand until 2010. sigh. link
. it's a station wagon. double sigh.
a great idea that you can't take apart, isn't.
some folks hope that tar sands will provide a nearly limitless supply of free energy after either middle east oil runs out or they start charging ridiculously high prices for it. sounds like a great idea. not
low energy prices are great for the us economy. unfortunately that trend looks like it's in a bit of peril. which is really bad for the us economy. at least for a while. until we adjust. which might not be until the end of the century. until then countries with the last of the cheap oil and natural gas will be able to dictate world policy. specifically, russia, venezuela, saudi arabia, iran. i have such pleasant thoughts, don't i?
when reagan swept into the white house he wanted to win the cold war. hot war wasn't really a viable option. peace treaties weren't doing very well either. so what's left? undermine the soviet economy. it's tiny compared to ours. yet they could afford to match our icbm buildup by selling expensive oil. so reagan convinced saudi arabia to flood the market with cheap oil. the soviet economy tanked. and ours went gangbusters. end of soviet union. end of cold war. and as a bonus reaganomics (ie tax cuts for the rich) looked brilliant.
positive feedback 2
how does a positive feedback loop end? they really can't go on forever. in yesterday's examples: one country goes bankrupt. or they negotiate a peace treaty. microphone: the speakers can't get any louder. or someone does something. climate: the sun dims. or interplanetary dust returns. or people intervene. technology: we bump into laws of physics. or we run out of cheap energy.
an arms race is an example of a positive feedback loop. i pick up a stick. you pick up a rock. i get a spear. you get a sword. i get a gun. you get a cannon. i get a missile. you get a nuke. i get 10. you get 100. and so forth. it doesn't really matter who picked up the first stick. both of us quickly end up with as many weapons as we can possibly build. there are more examples. everyone's familiar with that super loud screech when the microphone gets too close to the speakers. global temperatures are another. raise temperatures. evaporate more water from the oceans. which act as a greenhouse gas. which raises temperatures more. etc. technology is another. invent something. use it to improve the economy. now you can invest in more technology. and invent more things. which improve the economy. etc. positive feedback is fun.
what's the single deadliest threat facing us troops in iraq? roadside bombs made in iran placed by shiite militias. what happened at the end of august? that al sadr guy declared a surprise unilateral cease fire. what happened? us troops deaths plummeted. and? bush claimed his surge is working. hmm... maybe indirectly. i explain: perhaps sadr was so afraid those 30k troops were coming after him he decided to be good for a while. or maybe he realized his promotion of sectarian violence was going to rip his country apart. and then the invaders would win. we're two plus months into a six month cease fire. we'll see what happens in march.
so did the surge work? well, life is definitely different in iraq. there are many well publicized metrics which have improved. though the description of life there sounds an awful lot like living in a jewish residential district in 1938-ish poland. ie walls, travel restrictions, fear, death. except it's the entire frikken country partitioned into ghettos. 'course it's not that bad. there's no overcrowding. ghost town is more apt. and the u.s. is pumping dollars into the economy by the literal truckload. so yeah the surge worked. you should move there.
remember the surge proposal? i do. it went something like this: we need and want a drawdown in u.s. troops. bush: sure! others: great. bush: right after the surge. others: what?!?! wait wait wait. bush: give the surge a chance. others: sigh. heh. well this is how i thought about it. girl: this party isn't much fun. take me home? boy: sure! girl: great. boy: right after we have sex. girl: what?!?!
am i rich?
heh. if you find yourself wondering if you're rich... you're not. you're rich if your marginal total tax rate is lower than mine, about 20%. if you don't know how to calculate your marginal total tax rate then it isn't. and you aren't.
today's drive to work was novel. other drivers were flashing their lights at me. i'd never noticed this before. maybe i finally noticed. unlikely. maybe it was the fog. maybe one car started it and others picked it up. possible. maybe there was a dead body being dragged under my car. nope, i checked when i got to work. they all just wanted to pass. one lady flashed me and passed me three times. weird. all that rudeness and nothing to show for it. not that she noticed. can you say stupid cow?
a right wing nutjob buddy of mine recently praised bill clinton for putting the smack down on some disruptive 9/11 truthers. bill maher also recently got some free press from them. invariably some liberal weenie says first amendment. sheehs. it seems the 9/11 truthers aren't the only ones who don't understand the single most important document in their lives. i explain: the first amendment gives you the right to organize a political rally, a funeral, a tv show. it gives you the right to raise money to pay for such things. to build a soapbox and spew whatever drivel the masses will pay for. the first amendment does not give you the right to steal someone else's soapbox. that's a crime. punish the idiots. like maryland did to phelps's "church".
windows sucks. you can put lipstick on a pig. you can put a dress on a pig. you can take it to the prom and put a crown on its head. but you're still just kissing a pig. oink oink.
the statistics from abstinence only programs show you have more 14 year old virgins. which is good. and more pregnant 15 year olds with std's. which is bad. this is a lighthouse. your call.
where did you learn what about sex? school: it's for procreation. parents: go ask your mom/dad. church: don't. friends: put out or he'll take someone else to the prom. hollywood: sex appeal equals status. horrorwood: have sex, get killed. internet: it's business. government: it's a crime. with a childhood mish-mash like that, it's no wonder today's adults are so farked up.
season 1 was good right up to the fifth element ending. where it jumped the shark. the plot for season 2 seems to be completely missing. or maybe they're saving it for season 3. anywho. claire, the fire walking regenerating cheerleader has a flying boyfriend. so i was wondering, if they have sex, will her hymen regenerate?
ben came up with this one: what's the difference between broccoli and boogers? give up? answer: kids won't eat broccoli.
at least one reputable sounding group is quoted as claiming that peak oil happened in 2006. and that oil production is going to decline by 7% a year. hmm... sounds kinda alarmist. but if true it means the world is about to experience a bit of an economic downturn. hardest hit will be any industry that depends on fuel. like airlines, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, etc. less hard hit will be industries that rely on electricity. like world of warcraft. it's already what? the 60th largest economy in the world. your home computer will transform a bit. ain't sayin how exactly. only that i hold the patents. filed last week. so the old rules apply. i'm gonna be so rich.
the us tax system is a scam. i feel guilty participating in it because i'm reaping the benefits of it at the expense of nearly everyone else. the people who draw the short stick refuse to take that first crucial step of acknowledging that something's wrong. and they mope about and wonder why it's so hard to make ends meet. all i can do is tell the mark he's the mark. i can't make him vote for people who will raise taxes for the rich. guilt assuaged. sorta.