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Timmerov's Blog
Thursday, January 31, 2008
some folks think everyone else is an asstard. when in reality they're the asstard. and they're just redirecting their own asstarditude onto others. this is called projecting. lotta folks do it. like when your mother tells you to put on a coat cause she's cold. a projector could learn a lot about themself by examining their aggregate opinion of others. that is, if a person suffering from projectionism could even entertain the notion that they're projecting. yeah okay. so i'm howling at the moon. annoys or entertains you. but the moon is completely unphased.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
  escape pods
escape pods are for losers. seriously. if you lack the control over your own life to the point where you can't remove the stressors from it then you're a powerless schmuck who should stfu and gbtw. send me an email if you disagree or want to play ddo. i have characters on all servers at all levels.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
i like huckabee. let's get rid of the irs. and replace all taxes with a nice simple consumption tax. ie a sales tax on new items. and give every household a fixed rebate equal to the amount of taxes the poor would typically pay. call it the fair tax. brilliant. currently we pay taxes as the money comes in. on a progressive scale. at least in theory if not in practice. huckabeester's plan would be to tax money when it goes out. the pitch is that everyone eventually spends all of their money. so all accumulated wealth would eventually be taxed. rich folks would be all for this one. sigh. let's go over this again. if you have money it's easy to make more money. the fair tax would make it even easier for those with money to make more money. cause now they don't have to pay taxes on the money they make. only the things they buy. the new things. sheehs. there are so many ways to game this system i can't even begin to pick which one to rant about first. but it's a non-issue. it has two major problems. one is enforceability. and the other is what led to the 16th amendment. ie we'd need a 28th amendment.
Monday, January 28, 2008
  16th amendment
i'm not really a history buff. or a law buff. but i recently looked this up. the 16th amendment of the constitution is the one about income taxes. i never really understood this one long ago in civics class. the constitution specifies certain types of taxes must be spent on each state according to its fraction of the total population. prior to the 16th the government had the right to tax income. but the supreme court ruled that this would be one of those taxes that had to be spent proportionally. which apparently would have been an accounting nightmare. it was easier to change the constitution. which is what happened. the 16th amendment gives congress the right to tax income without regard to the aforementioned restriction on how the money is to be spent.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
  small bigness
human brains are wonderful things. they also have quirks. one of my favorites is how it handles big and small numbers. if all the inputs are big the human brain knows the output is going to be big. same for smalls. but when the inputs are both big and small the brain gets pretty random. consider lotteries. the prizes are huge. the probability of winning is tiny. combine them and what do you get? some brains are absolutely convinced everybody wins. other brains are equally convinced no one ever wins. who's right? neither. but don't try to argue the case. calculus just annoys the pig.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
  max safe dose
many substances have a maximum safe dosage. after that they become dangerous in a more/less linear fashion. like say water. you can drink lots of water. but at some point you exceed the msd. and it can do harm. the further past this limit you go the more harm it will do. in extreme cases drinking too much pure water while say running a marathon can kill you. some substances have a maximum safe dosage of zero. that means the chance of harm is proportional to the exposure. the proportion can be pretty small. that means you can tolerate quite a bit before the harm rises above the background level. examples would be: radiation and cigarette smoke. so when people say second hand smoke will kill you they mean there's no safe dosage. when they say it won't kill you they mean the risk from typical exposure won't exceed normal background levels.
Friday, January 25, 2008
  identity theft
you don't want to give out your social security number unless you have to. it's required for employment. and since we're happy to employ undocumented aliens at low wages and collect taxes from them and not give them some sort of id of their own... they borrow someone else's. in most cases they don't ruin your credit history. remember these folks are here illegally and want to maintain a low profile so they can escape detection and stay. when you pay social security taxes you earn credits to be paid back later in life. but when the social security computers notice that people are filing tax returns using mismatched names and social security numbers, what do they do? they could find the rightful owner and prosecute the infringer. or they could notify all parties and let them sort it out. but they don't. they just quietly keep the money and don't credit anyone. neat huh? tax return information is sacred. and will not be disclosed to anyone. and apparently the fact that someone else is using your ssn apparently is covered by this blanket of confidentiality. the only way to find out if this is happening to you is to figure out what your credits should be and check them against the form the ss people send you every tax year. but if you think filing taxes is difficult... yeah. let me know how that one works out for you.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
  little league
we signed up for little league this year. last year it was really stressful. the vp of the league was an ass. he wasn't around today. last year he demanded i put my social security number on the volunteer coach application. i tried to politely refuse. but he made an issue of it. i put down a random string of digits just to shut him up. i hate confrontation. at the time i wasn't sure of the law. only that giving out my social security number to people who don't really need it is a bad idea. this year the form clearly marked that it's optional but mandatory if requested. whatever that means. i looked up the law. it's not really covered. the law does not compel me to provide my ssn to anyone who asks. it also doesn't forbid them from asking. nor does it force them to accept my application without it. so there we go. and besides. they don't need it. if they can't do a background check using /just/ my name, address, date of birth, and drivers license number then they suck at their job.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
the superstitious rule of thumb is things always break in threes. if you're superstitious and believe in such nonsense. which i don't. just before christmas the washing machine stopped draining water. this is the second time it's had this particular problem. the day after christmas we bought a nice shiny new one. my digital camera started acting up during the kids' winter programs. it only sometimes took pictures that weren't all black. and the others had ruinous streaks going across them. the vacuum cleaner started spraying blue sparks out the side. somehow the beautiful and talented alisa thought this was bad. three. hm.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
my step father died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago. a good friend of good friends was also recently diagnosed. their stories are similar. they have pain. they lose weight. they get diagnosed with adult onset diabetes. they're given drugs. they have more chronic pain. for like a year. then they get a cat scan which finds massive cancer. but it's too late. their organs are failing. my step father was put on ever increasing doses of morphine until it killed him. but he didn't feel the pain. he pretty much wasn't aware of anything else either. tragic. this is what my friend currently faces. now, if either had had the cat scan at the time of the diabetes diagnosis they might have had treatment options. not necessarily good ones. but. you can believe if i ever get diagnosed with diabetes i'll be insisting on a cat scan. even if my insurance company won't pay for it. morphine's much cheaper for them, right? not that i'm paranoid or buy into conspiracy theories or anything.
Monday, January 21, 2008
  old v new
the old testament god and the new testament god are different critters. the father is of the eye for an eye camp. cross me and i'll drown your ass. the son's more of the hippie camp. love your neighbor enemy ass. lotta people mistakenly call themselves christians when they really cleave to the old testament ideals. not sure this is a great idea. the jews are still fighting the same enemies they were fighting some 4000 years ago. the christians on the other hand, run the world.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
some folks thought they'd make a big splash crashing the rose bowl parade. they carried a huge copy of the constitution and a tiny sign that said impeach bush and cheney. they were disappointed it was pretty much a non event. sheehs. get a clue. if you want attention you have to say something controversial. for cryin out loud. so how come they haven't been impeached? it's like the blue wall where cops close ranks and protect each other. even the obviously bad cop who's really a serial killer.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
my office was especially cluttered this past year for no particular reason. despite having been thoroughly reorganized. it made hiding christmas presents novel. i just set them on the shelf. or under the table. or in the pile with all the work related boxes. nobody ever saw a thing. the one present i actually tried to hide got found. go figure.
Friday, January 18, 2008
the ratio of useful stuff to junk this year was pretty high. the only junk thing i got can theoretically be exchanged. but i'd have to go to that particular store and shop around to find something i'd rather have. which is really unlikely. and i derive no pleasure from shopping. buying yes. shopping no. most likely it will join others like it in a closet somewhere. until said closet overflows. then all of it will go into a box for goodwill. am i an ungrateful bastard? no, don't think so. someone loves me enough to spend time thinking about me and what i might like. that's a wonderful gift i treasure. the object in the box is a trivial thing.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
  electric trains
the concept of vehicle to grid (v2g) goes like this: the grid has to provide excess power to handle demand that fluctuates wildly. and in case of an emergency where a large power provider suddenly shuts down. this power is wasted. if we plugged electric cars into the grid they could smooth out the fluctuations and charge themselves up when there's a surplus on the grid. in theory the power grid could be more efficient. and you could make money off your hybrid. well, if that's a good idea then electric trains are even better. caltrain runs from san francisco to san jose. some 50 miles. dozens of trains each direction each day. if they were electric they could hook up to a car full of batteries to make the run. switch battery cars whenever needed. slurp up the excess power from the grid. shut down the trains during emergencies. charge the batteries at night when demand is low. i'm gonna be so rich.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
  electric cars
i'm starting to think electric cars are a dumb idea. well, not completely dumb. cars are small. they don't carry much. there're really pretty inefficient. and we're trying to make electric cars smaller. but that's really the wrong direction. larger vehicles are more efficient. we should be making electric trucks, buses, and even trains. trail-blaze the technology there where it makes more sense. let it get cheap before we try to cram it into cars.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
  peak oil 2
there are people out there saying peak oil will be a non-event. well, sorta. after peak oil we will still have cars. we will still ship stuff all over the world. we will still have lots of luxury items. so non-event right? not really. it will take a hell of a lot of work to get there. but we will. some companies will go out of business. others will make fortunes creating the new reality. the alternative is for all of humanity to choose to do nothing and just starve. which is pretty much what the doomsayers are predicting. and is about as likely as uh well as my next poo being the reincarnation of marilyn monroe.
Monday, January 14, 2008
  peak oil
there are people preaching the end of the world when oil peaks. which might have been 2.5 years ago. or it might have been last month. or it might be uh real soon now. they're idiots. read my last post about the maori. a similar thing is happening with oil. oil is a yummy highly nutritious resource. the good times roll for as long as the oil lasts. after that we're just going to have to make do using energy sources that are not as tasty as oil. we're going to have to work really hard to produce energy. that's really not that bad. we already work really hard producing luxuries. like suv's, burgers, and election campaigns. the world will change after oil gets expensive. civilization might experience some discomfort. but it'll be more of a reorganization than a collapse.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
when people first arrived in new zealand they were pretty much the first predators. getting food was easy. just walk down the path and grab a yummy bird. they got fat and tall and multiplied. but eventually the good times came to an end. they started to run out of easy to catch tasty critters. so they started to go hungry. and became skinny short farmers. not because they wanted to. but because it was better than starving to death. it's a typical story. it's happened countless times all over the world and throughout history. putting modern terminology into the mix and you get a summary like this. the maori hunter gathers had a very high energy returned on invested energy (eroie). but they consumed their resources. the eroie fell to the point where the hunter gatherer life of luxury went away. and they were forced to scratch dirt for food. ie the low eroie solution. it's hard to say that's good or bad. it's a progression. they're working harder than ever before. but there are also more people and more food than ever before.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
  define bad
okay so there's a limit to how hot co2 can heat the earth. is this bad? well it depends on how you define bad. frozen tundra will become fertile farmland. at the same time, other areas become desert. best guess is it's a small net percentage loss. whew. won't affect us rich folks in the us much. a 1% reduction in available calories is no big deal. might even be good for us to cut down to some 2673 daily calories. however, that same reduction will push some 60 million people from marginal to starving. which would be a disaster hundreds of times larger than the asian tsunami. everybody panic. or not. means we need to grow food more efficiently. which is what we've been doing for uh basically ever.
Friday, January 11, 2008
  sky holes
there are two major holes in the sky. ie two transparent windows in the absorption spectrum of the atmosphere. one is where sunlight shines through. the other one is in the far infrared where the earth's heat radiates away. that's no coincidence. the sun dumps heat energy onto the earth. if the earth is colder than the window the heat is trapped. and the earth warms until the heat can get out through this window. obviously, things are a lot more complex than that. but that's the general idea. now add lots of co2 to the atmosphere. co2 has an absorption peak right smack at the cold end of the window. which effectively shifts the window toward higher frequencies. in other words, the earth has to get warmer before the heat can escape. omg everybody panic. well not yet. once the earth gets hot enough to reach the window the heat can escape. no matter how much additional co2 you add. whew.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
my niece athena wanted an ipod for christmas. so i got one for her. i also got one for my beautiful and talented wife alisa. i put alisa's under the tree christmas eve. she picked it up and put it in the box with all the other presents for my sister and her kids. she knew by the shape it was athena's ipod. we had coincidentally used the same paper. christmas day she found it in her pile again and still didn't want to open it. finally she peeled back the paper enough to see the trademark apple logo on the box. and she wouldn't open it any further. it was clearly athena's ipod. at last i made her read the card. then and only then did she overcome the resistance to opening someone else's present. my bad. i guarantee i will be more original next year. much more original.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
mom and i decided to try to salvage the trip by staying at joe's and finding a new real estate agent. as opposed to driving 3 hours home again and back again another day. even though mom was gonna be away from her diabetes medication and wouldn't be able to eat. so the next agent we found on joe's refrigerator. she was young and hungry and drove a crappy car. she dropped everything she was doing to find us some houses. and actually took us to see some two dozen the next morning. she was great. we found two houses my mom really likes. yay! success. this is where a buddy of mine would exclaim, optimal route. yep.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
a frog jumps out of hot water. but it won't if the water starts comfy and you slowly bring it to a boil. anywho. my mother wants to move to california from pennsylvania. specifically about 2-3 hours drive from where we live. so we found a recommended real estate agent made the drive and started looking at houses. or so we thought we would. this agent was not the right person for us. we said $300k to $500k. she didn't show us a single house under $500k. she loved gated communities. and malls. we said if we see another mall we're gonna puke. i fly airplanes upside down. but i was getting pretty carsick in her car. i didn't feel safe the way she drove. i saved her from an accident once. she locked the car doors when a homeless vet walked by. she kept promising to deliver what we wanted. but never did. after a few failures to communicate we stopped trying. let's go back to the office and find some homes to look at. okay, we'll just drive through yet another gated community neighborhood first. or maybe three. she couldn't believe it when we said we'd find a different agent. so she called my poor unsuspecting wife wanting to know why. looking back with the 20/20 clarity of hindsight it's clear we got boiled and could have jumped out at any time. but sheehs. ribbit ribbit.
Monday, January 07, 2008
  solar power
people seem to think the amount of energy from the sun is infinite. and yeah. it's a lot. some 10^17 watts. which is some 10,000 times more than people use. okay let's build some solar farms. the first thing that's surprising is that the efficiency per square meter of land surface is about 2%. that's because the conversion process itself is some 15% in the best case. which is actually quite rare. ie only when the sun is directly overhead with no clouds. anywho. we're down to some 10^15 watts. solar farms need to be built on flat land. most of which is already in use for other essential things. like food production. and cities. deserts are good. maybe some 1% of the earth's surface area would be available. which means the amount of solar power we can harvest is about the same as the total amount of energy we currently consume. hardly infinite.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
  second smoke
second hand smoke won't kill you. it's true. i read it on the internet. there are scientific studies out there paid for by the anti-smoking crowd supporting the position that have never been published. suspicious. to be fair i should put the qualifiers on that statement. the biggest study says if you were in your late 50's around 1975, a non-smoker, lived with a smoker, and they could find you... then there's no statistically meaningful increase in your chance of death. neat huh? other studies indicate it might be beneficial to live with a smoker. i got the beautiful and talented alisa a few cartons for christmas. she's still not speaking to me.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
friend of mine was screamin that global warming is a SCAM! heh. what a pumpkin head. it's quite obviously not a scam. it's a religion. who needs facts when you've got faith? amen.
Friday, January 04, 2008
photovoltaic solar cells are black. really black. blacker than anything i've ever seen. so i was thinking. the earth usually immediately reflects some 30% of the sun's radiation back into space. ie its albedo. not to be confused with its libido. anywho, if we cover the earth with black cells that reflection wouldn't happen. the extra radiation would be absorbed and used and released as heat. in other words... [wait for it]... solar cells cause global warming.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
  thank god
in my dream this morning everything was dark. there was a bang. and the sound of spray paint. when i could see, there was a dead lady by a busy street with a sandwich board sign that read: thank for dead soldiers phelpses.

now don't get the wrong idea here. the phelpses are big league dumbasses. and they should just stfu. but in no way shape or form does what they're currently doing justify the taking a life. so don't go kill somebody thinking i told you to. cause i most emphatically didn't.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
prayer is god's programming language - religion is a virus. i wake up in the morning with this kind of stuff in my head. i'm so glad i have someplace to put it. so is the beautiful and talented alisa. otherwise she'd have to hear all about it.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
heaven is a bad idea. at least for some people. let me qualify. first the good heaven. that's when your belief system is such that you have to be nice to others even when your life sucks in order to get to heaven in the afterlife. that's cool. then there's the bad heaven where the gates open wide for you when you blow yourself up killing as many of "them" as you can. even though 99.44% of the world can't tell the difference between "you" and "them". so all we gotta do for worldwide utopia is abolish heaven. no more heaven no more suicide bombers. simple, no? write your congressman.
most every day i wander the corridors of my mind and open a door at random.

blogs of friends
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freedom to tinker

web comics
casey&andy (complete)
cheshire crossing (complete)
middle age
order of the stick

doonesbury (sunday only)
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wizard of id

cool science facts (idle)
exploding unicorn
some ex-intern's
hyperbole and a half

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