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Timmerov's Blog
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
i read a bit by a guy who said the economy's shaky but it'll hold together until after the democratic president is inaugurated in 2009. then the pillars of the financial institutions will collapse with timing that'll make you think it was choreographed. it'll take four years to claw our way out of the impending recession. and every step along the way will be carefully planned to guarantee a republican takeover in 2012. heh. articulate conspiracy theory. not something you see every day. i'm not gonna say he's completely wrong. but... historically when the economy booms the republicans gain. and when the economy busts the democrats gain. not the other way around. this guy's credentials seemed to be that he predicted something a few years ago and it happened. just the way he said it would. therefore he's totally qualified to predict the future.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
alaska's national wildlife refuge is also the home of some ummy yummy oil. how much oil isn't known exactly. estimates of recoverable barrels range from 600 million to 9 billion. which would last the world somewhere between one week and three months. heh. should we drill it and use it? finite resource games are pretty interesting to play. the winner is the one who managed to consume his resources last. he gets to dictate the price. and ends the game with all of the money. if you start the game with the most resources, your best strategy is to maximize the rate at which the product is consumed. then raise prices as soon as the other players' supply can't keep up with the demand. they'll face intense pressure to consume the last of their resources. and you win. on the other hand, the strategy for everyone else is to hold their resources as long as possible. like a hostage. as long as the bank robber (the us) has a hostage (anwr oil) the police (opec) have to cooperate. as soon as the bank robber (the us) harms (drills) the hostage (anwr oil) the advantage shifts to the police (opec). clear as crystal (mud), right?
Monday, April 28, 2008
black and white. good and evil. left and right. hutu and tutsi. arbitrary divisions. not many things fit neatly into one category or the other. some of my little leaguers were stranded at the park after practice. i can't leave them there. but i can't take them home either. which rule do i break? the world is no longer black and white. the division is artificial. just as artificial as dividing the population of rwanda. that country ended up in a messy genocidal civil war. what will be the fate of our country if we keep reinforcing this artificial left/right division?
Sunday, April 27, 2008
  prez and veep taxes
bush and cheney published their taxes for 2007. well, most of them. cheney released his 1040 but no other schedules or forms. so i had to guess at what he might have paid in state and property taxes and mortgage interest. anywho, by timmer's method the bushes paid 26% and the cheneys paid somewhere around 24%. bush's rate was high because most of his income is his salary and they didn't have much long term capital gains. i read reports that the bushes had 220k in non-taxable income. either that's wrong or they decided to pay taxes on it. whatever. 10% of the cheneys income was non-taxable. both families made more than we did this year. and both paid a lower rate than we did. we are supposed to have a progressive tax system. if we really did have one cheney would have paid a higher rate than bush who would have paid a higher rate than we. say 32% for bush and 36% for cheney. do you think bush's lifestyle would be adversely affected if he took home $636k instead of $690k? be serious. cheney wouldn't even notice the difference between $2.2m instead of $2.5. but such a change would make a huge difference in say paying off our national debt and rebuilding our aging infrastructure and funding basic research.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
bush is concerned about rising food prices. the plethora of possible jokes there are just too myriad. let me just skip em. and get to the heart of the matter: there are too many people. everything was great as long as we could afford to water our plants with cheap oil. but now oil's expensive. the obvious solution is contraception. but that would mean people would have to admit that people have sex organs. and would have to talk about them. penis. vagina.
Friday, April 25, 2008
  gov't math
heh. i lied sorry. i guesstimated our tax rate would be 30%. it was actually 29%. sue me. although turbotax tried to tell me the effective tax rate was 14%. heh. only if you use adjusted gross income and don't count amt. so anywho, if you want to compare your tax rate to mine this is what you do. it's really pretty straightforward. in the income category add your tax exempt income (line 8b) to your total income (line 22). that's your real income before you get screwed on deductions and crap. for the tax category add your total federal tax (line 63) to the other taxes you paid (schedule A line 9). now just divide your taxes by your income. voila!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
usually i remove spiders from my office. technically, i suppose i remove the spider webs from my office. which pretty much takes the spiders too. so it amounts to the same thing. but our house is still infested with fruit flies. so i let the spiders live. they don't seem to let each other live. the rather extensive web under the shelf in the corner next to my desk currently has 24 legs and one body. apparently the spider that managed to keep its body connected to its legs ate the bodies right off the legs of the other spiders. glad i didn't have to watch such grisly sport. anywho. the web has many many fruit fly carcasses scattered about it. i stopped counting at 50. go spiders go. err uh i guess it's: go spider go.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
laika died!?!?!? sheehs. good thing i didn't know that when i was a kid. laika was the first creature to travel into space. the russians built her capsule in about a month. so there was no time to figure out that re-entry thing. so they were going to euthanize her after a week in space. she apparently lived a few hours before the heat killed her. poor dog. my son b told me earlier this week that she died back then. i didn't believe it until i looked it up on the web. so of course, it must be true.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
  h8 2 3jaq
designer license plates are a pretty neat idea. one of my favorites was seen coming home from skiing: isnbrd. "i snobbered"? heh. aw dude, bummer for you. don't think i'd advertise that though. my neighbor has a good one too: 4miswty, "am i sweaty?" heh. so today i saw: h8 2 3jaq. is that really "hate to ejaculate"? man. that would be a minority position. makes me wonder how he talked it past the plate nazis at the dmv. whatever.
Monday, April 21, 2008
  olympic boycott
bad idea.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
g is taking guitar lessons. i tried tuning the thing a few times. i broke two strings and decided now would be a good time to read the instructions. oops. the top and bottom strings on a guitar are both e. they are two octaves apart. there are six strings. most strings are 5 half steps apart. except one. cause 24 (=2*12 half steps per octave) isn't divisible by 5. sigh. so i was self tuning the guitar with the bottom two strings half a step too high. which oddly are the strings that produce the highest notes. damn fool instrument is upside down. anywho, in addition, i was tuning the b string to c. which is the one note i can pull out of thin air. which pretty much by dumb luck made the 3 through 6 strings be perfectly in tune. whoopee!. once we got dad straightened out the guitar actually started to sound good.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
  climate in vegas
if you go to vegas and study everyone there in a scientific fashion you'll find that close to half of them make money gambling. i'm not counting room, board, and transportation of course. just what happens at the tables. people invent all kinds of crazy whackadoodle systems that beat the house. and they work! just often enough to feed the illusion. and for some, no dosage of reality will budge them from their position. it's a system with lots of noise and very little signal. so are weather and climate. which are really the same thing over different time scales. scientists are generally polite to each other. they know they are just guessing when they put forth a hypothesis. and the next set of data to come along could show they're wrong. the media and that new fangled blogosphere thang can be pretty cruel. they feed on sensationalism. which sells subscriptions almost as well as sex. i, scientist, hate that shit. talking science is fun. it makes my brain grow. i'll talk science with you all day. even if we disagree. fact is, that's more fun than listening to some yes-dog. just leave the you're-so-stupid-you-should-commit-suicide baloney at home.
Friday, April 18, 2008
ben's hard working baseball team pulled off their first victory. they can't hit the ball worth a darn. so i taught them to bunt. that and a bunch of walks got us base runners. and i taught them to steal. that got us runs. we have one really good pitcher. he shuts down the other team for two innings. then we have three kids who can pitch on a good day. problem is figuring out which of them is gonna have a good day today. sigh. ah well. it's just for fun. if only the umpire didn't suck. he's just a kid. thinks that *any* movement of the bat in the direction of a bad pitch is a strike. in a previous season this ump called ben for swinging at a pitch that would have hit him if he hadn't been jumping out of the way.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
warning: unconventional possibly offensive thoughts ahead. bacteria happily gobble up all resources as fast as they can. then hibernate as spores when they're in danger of starving. until such time as conditions become good again. higher life forms don't really have that luxury. when times are lean the death rate's high. so fertility rates have to be high just to keep the species going. but times get good, death rate drops, and we start consuming resources. which is fine as long as the good times last. but generally they don't. so we need some way to lower the fertility rate. otherwise a big time boom could lead to an equally big time bust. which if big enough might take a very long time to recover from. even when the good times return. so here's what i was thinking. marginal individuals are those that would die during tough times but live during good times. suppose they had some sort of unspecified fertility limiting gene. they still contribute to the good of the species. but they either don't reproduce at all. or pass the limiter along. and as the good times continue the limiter gets wider distribution. so more of the population has reduced fertility. and when the inevitable bust comes it's not so bad. anywho, not so controversial. until you start listing what the limiters might be: obesity, impotence, intelligence, autism, homosexuality, etc.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
some people say "over the line". some people say "out of line". this could just be a semantic curiosity. or it could be a deeper philosophical/ethos/morality thing. i was raised with limits. i could do anything i wanted as long as i stayed within those limits. ie don't go over the line. ie the line is the limit. which is a bit different than being out of line. makes me think conga dance. the line can go anywhere it wants. even over the line. uh, the limit line. as long as everyone stays in the line. uh, the conga line. hmm. sorry. doesn't work for me. if my line of lemmings goes over the line and starts chucking rocks at cows, i am morally compelled to step out of that line. if i'm feeling particularly punchy at the moment i might even chuck rocks at the lemmings.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
  veil anonymous
a long time ago the thinking in the south was that racism was just fine. as long as it wasn't directed at a particular n*****. somewhere around the 1960s, some human beings got pretty sick and tired of that garbage. common sense more/less prevailed. or maybe this particular piece of stupidity just shifted focus. a buddy of mine posted some offensive comments about a class of individuals. i turned the tables onto his own family. pissed him off. my comments were deleted of course. he was feeling the pain of his own words. maybe after everyone gets over being mad at me they'll figure it out. the world would be a better place if every speaker, every author (myself included), always felt the pain of their own words.
Monday, April 14, 2008
  non-skeptic heretics
i read an article by a guy who called himself a non-skeptic heretic. he buys the ipcc explanation for human induced global warming. but doesn't buy their solution. he figures money would be much better spent adapting humanity to the coming changes than wasted trying to stop the inevitable. heh. great! go man go! only new idea there is the catchy name.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
  boundary conditions
a boundary condition is a term from mathematics. when you solve differential equations you have to apply the appropriate boundary conditions. if you don't you'll get the wrong answer. /wrong/ in this case could mean really completely wrong or your solution is an approximation that's reasonably good over some range. the basic equations governing climate change were written down some 80 years ago. the original derivation used the wrong boundary condition. they assumed the atmosphere is infinitely thick. made the math easier. and it's a pretty good approximation. given that the atmosphere really is quite thick. however it led to the obviously incorrect conclusion of infinite global warming. which clearly cannot be reality. the earth would have cooked to a cinder long ago. so anywho, someone recently added the missing terms and lo and behold, the infinite feedback thing went away. whew. the world has been changing within the error bars of the old climatological models. but there has been fairly consistently less change than predicted. i'm gonna go out on a very thick limb here and say the derivation will put things right on the money. so rejoice! instead of boiling the oceans temps can only go up a maximum of 7C. averaged over some 1m years. which is still really frikken hot.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
car trunks have been designed stupidly for as long as i can remember. there's this brace on the side that when you close the lid the brace comes down and squishes anything under it. the beautiful and talented alisa's subaru however has a wonderfully simple design. the brace is circular. so when the lid is closed the brace moves through the same volume of space. nothing gets squished. pretty neat. how come no one thought of this sooner? how old are car trunks? 100 years. heh. we are truly creatures of habit.
Friday, April 11, 2008
i always wanted to believe standers that make the messes on potties don't realize they're doing it. but at work we have potties that are for standers only. and potties that are uni-positional. the uni-positional ones are always clean. and they're used by standers. the standers-only potties are often a glazed yellow mess. so i guess the messy standers do know they're messy. and care enough to not mess up a combo potty. but not enough to keep a stander potty clean. weird. too much ego to sit? or to adjust to life's little changes? doubly weird.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
antarctica seems to be a bit of an enigma. the glaciers are moving faster than ever before. that's a pretty good indicator that it's warmer. at the same time the snow pack is getting thicker. at first blush one would think that means it's colder. but that's what's confusing people. more snow can mean wetter. not necessarily colder. antarctica is plenty cold that it can get quite a bit warmer and still be really goddam cold. so at second thought, what's happening in antarctica suggests a warmer wetter world. hm. so how come the arctic and the antarctic are behaving differently? probably because one is land and the other is water. water is darker than land and snow. so when the arctic gets warm and the ice melts, it reflects less sunlight and gets even warmer. that doesn't happen in antarctica. cause when the snow melts... you expose more snow. and even if you managed to melt all of the snow, you'd expose land. which will reflect more sunlight than water. and stay colder than the arctic. cool huh?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
i heard that the average mouthful of the american meal traveled some 1500 miles to get there. sounds like a long way. so i paid attention to what was on my plate. most fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat was local. or at least could be. the wine was from australia. which immediately makes me think that median distance would be a superior metric. at least less sensational. anywho, my meals are far from the typical american's fast food fare. i can easily believe that mickey d's buys its animal products from the cheapest part of the country. ships it to be processed at the cheapest place. then ships it to regional distribution centers. then ships it around a few more times before it ends up in your car. where it drives a few more miles before actually being consumed. so yeah. maybe 1500 average is not that unreasonable. $4/gallon diesel fuel might, just might, impact that way of life.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
we've become a culture of stupidity. that's pretty good for the non-stupid people in the short term. pretty much any scam the non-stupid run works great. at least until the stupid go completely broke. at which point they wise up or die.
Monday, April 07, 2008
  gas tax
a long time ago i proposed a gas tax to replace the bulk of our income taxes. i knew at the time it was wishful thinking. folks would never go for it. but, now we have one. the only difference is the new tax goes to some other government to pay for palaces for their leaders and schools for their kids. our kids don't get a dime. even better, we still get to pay all of our income taxes.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
i used to think the rich poor gap was growing because of our tax system. now i'm thinking it might be something a little more straightforward. when we bought our house the rule of thumb was to spend a third of your income on housing, a third on lifestyle, and a third on a car(!). the last seemed insane to me. so we saved it instead of spending it on something that depreciates. now our kids go to private school. anywho, back to the gap. relatively recently i heard of people spending half their income on a house, a third on their car, and a third on their lifestyle. huh. make up the difference refinancing your house and maxing out your credit cards. hmm... think i might be on to something here. the poor are the people who bought in to this housing pump and dump scam. and the rich are the ones who didn't.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
  little league
ben's playing on a minor league team this year. we were expecting to be on a farm team. kid pitch. interesting. sure doesn't help that this season started off like a train wreck. the "coach" was 18. never showed. his dad filled in for a couple practices. then quit. kept the gear. cause they lost the charger to their phone and didn't know there was practice. uh. right. so now i'm coach. wee. first order of business was to chase away all the self appointed helpers from the board and other teams. wee. first game is in one week. we are so not ready. can't let the kids know that though. some of em are pretty good. some of them might be pretty good by the end of the season. focus on fun.
Friday, April 04, 2008
email #1: "Based on your choice of hosting package and term of agreement, your Web site, timmerov.com, is coming up for automatic renewal. On or around 2008-03-21, an invoice will be created and your credit card or checking account on file will be charged:" on 2008-03-21 timmerov.com disappeared from the internet. email #2: "As per our records, your domain registration has expired. Do you want me to create an invoice? It will cost $12.95." creating the invoice will cost $12.95? damn. i should get into that racket. i'm gonna be so rich.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
  win pc
i have a macbook pro laptop. i run boot camp on it cause i shuffle it back and forth to work which is a fairly pc-centric place. except all of a sudden we're figuring out that much of our work really needs to be done in unix. anywho. that's a completely different rant. today's rant is about monitors. i plug my laptop into the same screen every time i go to work. yet windows acts like it's never seen this thing before. it's actually worse. cause i want it to remember the screen and automatically switch when it finds it. but it doesn't. then when i unplug the monitor i want it to go back to the no monitor setting. i don't want it to "remember" that i set it to use a huge desktop. it emulates one by scrolling pixels on and off the screen as needed. damn stupid thing. course that's clearly too much to ask. damn spoiled mac users. want their pc to do everything their mac does. actually os x goes one better. it remembers that at work the laptop screen is the second monitor to the right of the big screen. and at home it's to the left.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
apparently, i am a scumbag. it's true. at least according to the email computers at wow. one of several trial accounts was disabled for violating the terms of service. one email specified the catch all section: actions contrary to the essence of wow. whatever that means. i tried to get clarification about what i had done that merited termination. but gave up after 6 form emails. some computer there was basically repeating, upon review we have found the events to be unfortunate but true. the account has been permanently disabled. this will not be reconsidered. sheehs. i think if they want money from me they're gonna have to tell me what offended them so much. cause right now, i'm afraid i'll re-offend and they'll disable my paid for account and keep my money.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
it's back! yay! yay! yay! yay! andy of casey&andy has finally gotten off his lazy duff to finish a story arc he started 10 years ago. what's that? what's casey&andy? you unwashed heathen. click the link to the right to read the greatest web comic ever produced. no i didn't do it. if i did a web comic of course c&a would be the second greatest. anywho. go andy go. and oh yeah. quantum cop's a chick.
most every day i wander the corridors of my mind and open a door at random.

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order of the stick

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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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