i don't drink tea much. but every now and then i get the urge. usually when i've got a cold creeping up on me. you need boiling hot water to make tea. i've never developed the knack of pouring boiling hot liquids into my mouth without damaging myself. so my cup of tea usually sits on my desk until it's cool enough for me to drink. then i slurp it down pretty much all at once. cause the only thing that's worse than tea that's too hot, is tea that's too cold.
i like to play the literal game. i especially like to play the literal game during those really boring work meetings. here's how you play. people will often use the word literally when they mean exactly the opposite. for example, you have to work literally night and day for the next six weeks to achieve the arbitrary goals the company set for you and swears on a stack of financial bibles we must accomplish in order to stay in business. whew. now, about the time the blovinator gets to six weeks you jump up and say, (in a strong voice, you don't need to yell), literally night and day. say it several times emphasizing a different word each time. if they don't immediately thank you for your input, improvise. like this: no sleep, no shower, no meals, don't leave the building. literally do nothing but work. at some point they'll tell you to sit down, shut up, and go back to your phone game. now when someone misuses literally you raise both hands in double peace signs and claw invisible quotation marks in the air and mouth the word literally. you should be removed from all meeting lists in short order. and should be left alone to get real work done.
airlines have started charging $15 to check your bag. hrm. that's a pretty great scam. cause think about how little they actually handle your bag. you run the self check machine. it prints your boarding pass. they check your work. grab your bag. and put it on the conveyor. that's it. after that the airline never touches your bag again. the airport union people move it from the check in desks to the plane. and from the plane to baggage claim. the tsa people check it for whatever it is they check it for. hrm. pick this up. put it down 5 feet over there. $15. man. i want that job. i'm gonna be so rich.
so the other day i was pondering how much solar energy the earth sequesters as fossil fuels every year. good question. let's first do the order of magnitude. there are 1 trillion barrels of oil on earth. 100x as much coal. and another 100x just to shut up anyone who says i might have missed something. let's say we've only been saving fossil fuels since the age of the dinosaurs 100 million years ago. by them numbers the world saved 100 million barrels of oil per year. which is about how many barrels of oil humans consume per *day*. now take into account that the sun bathes the planet in 10,000 times as much energy as humans use and we get our result. the earth converts bloody little sun power into fossil fuels every year. so here we have an application of the big-little issue. how much oil is there? well, it's a tiny number (saved per year) times a huge number (the number of years). some human brains lock into the result being infinite. and some human brains lock into that being zero. reality is, it's infinite enough to support the exponential growth of human consumption. until it isn't. then it's zero.
the trip to camp was singularly uneventful. the trip home was unusual. okay, so here's some advice. never eat chinese in rural michigan. g spent the first part of the second flight sleeping while b yacked into air sick back after air sick bag. then finally spent he collapsed into exhausted slumber. just in time for g to wake up and start yacking.
wednesday at camp is batik and tie dye day. some years the "red" is pink. this year the red was a nice blood cherry color. oh yeah. i made a nice... well... we'll get to that later. be patient. very patient. it's not done yet. anywho, ben's i think is the best. it's a classic many colored spiral. came out really well. one of the boys did matching shirt and socks. alisa had an awesome vine pattern. went from tricep to neckline and disappeared under her arm. unfortunately they only had orc green. shouldn't have said that. it wasn't a nice emerald forest green. oh well. it's still a pretty shirt. my favorite airplane shirt got eaten by the old washing machine. it was recreated with the airplane flipped over. now it looks like it's in the middle of a loop-de-loop. yay! all in all. a very good year.
one of the faculty speakers at camp had started a company making batteries for electric cars. she was young energetic intelligent and did i mention beautiful? likely she could talk people into giving her millions. heh. more millions. batteries are kinda in the same boat as photovoltaics. they suck. currently. but they're improving on an interesting curve. it's like take your pick: one gallon of gasoline... or 100 pounds of batteries. and in five years it'll be 50 pounds of batteries. course it's not really a fair comparison. i figure you need some 5 doublings to be equivalent. 'course you don't need to be equivalent by weight to be better. the electric motor converts energy more efficiently. it doesn't need a transmission nor drive train. and we can live with quite a bit of extra weight. things get interesting after two more doublings. which if we continue tossing ever increasing amounts of money at battery r&d might be as soon as 10 years. though i wouldn't hold my breath.
eating at camp michigania is always a challenge with that stupid allergy to corn syrup that triggers a classic migraine. some years are better than others. this year i was stupid and ate the cookies and sausage. sigh. spent friday morning in bed. and saturday popping pain killers and anti-inflammatories. they don't do crap for the headache. but sometimes they stifle the prodrome. the flashing lights aura thing. several years ago folks were complaining because the mess hall was too crowded. so they started serving burgers on the beach for lunch. hey! hey! things got much better then. bacon eggs and plain potatoes for breakfast. burgers for lunch. and salad no dressing for dinner. which is kinda backwards for me. usually breakfast is oj. lunch is a snack. and dinner is the big delicious meal of the day prepared by the beautiful and talented alisa.
keen eyed readers will notice that i failed to post a few times last week. several reasons. work has been making me hop. it's more fun to play blood bowl than to re-hash topics i've already covered. but mostly we were at camp michigania in northern lower peninsula michigan all week. i've heard internet stories about people twitting about how wonderful their vacation is on the other side of the world. then come home and find their house has been burglarized of everything of value. so i kept mum and left the blank spaces. course now you know that if i miss a few blogs i'm likely out of town and it's perfectly safe to come steal my stuff. yup yup. no way i would know that either. and be at home. hiding. with a shotgun.
should you care about your carbon footprint? well, yes. but not for the reasons you think. consider haiti. it shares an island with the dominican republic. years ago haiti blew through its natural resources with reckless abandon. today they're one of the poorest nations on earth. the dr on the other hand set up strict rules for managing their resources. they're not what you'd call a rich country. but they're doing okay. now consider the world. we're currently consuming our resources with reckless abandon. the poster child here is oil. so do you want the entire world to follow in haiti's footsteps? i'm betting not. so we humans need to manage our footprint upon this earth. that's really a very tall order. so simplify. manage the carbon footprint. it's a whole lot easier to track. and it's a reasonable proxy for the whole footprint. carbon or otherwise. so by this logic sequestering carbon is a waste of precious resources.
if global warming is going to kill everyone how come this year/decade isn't as warm as last year/decade? heh. it's a big little thing. see previous post. human brains have a lot of trouble mixing little numbers (annual average temperature change) with big numbers (a century). unfortunately, we can't just work through the math. cause nobody knows how all the complex systems are all interrelated. so we take our best guess. and pray. if you're of that persuasion. and hope otherwise.
numbees are people whose brains go numb when they see numbers. heh. i just made that up. what's the difference between drunk drivers and gamblers? how they combine large and small numbers. human brains are really good at guessing. big number times big number is a big number. little number times little number is a little number. so far so good. what's a big number times a little number? hmm... hard to say. depends on the numbers. for the drunk driver it's a small number. ie the chances they kill someone is very small. the penalty however is an infinitely valuable human life. ergo they decide to drive. for a gambeler it's a big number. ie the chances they win the jackpot is very small. the payoff is a hundred bazillion jillion dollars. ergo they put the money in the slot. most people however use a different criteria. something like minimizing the worst possible outcome. ie don't drive drunk. and don't gamble. some people actually work out the math. most likely they do whatever they feel like doing. but knowing the "right" answer is at least an interesting exercise.
i am a red sox fan. yep. it's true. ever since i went to gdc in boston one year. met up with my buddy andy. and picked up a boston shirt. the beautiful and talented alisa wears it as a night shirt. yep. i'm a boston fan.
jerry larson thinks he found what might be a meteorite. but he's not sure. he might not have actually found it. his wife or dog might have found it. he's not sure. but he thinks it was indeed he who found it. that sentence was lifted from a photo caption on what looks like a news website. presumably by someone who should have taken grammer in grammer school. stoopidity is not okay. jerry larson found what he thinks might be a meteorite. sheehs.
an airplane and a helicopter collided over the hudson recently, killing 9 people. tragic. an npr host/guest asked if general aviation should be regulated more. heh. no. there are already a large number of regulations. the penalty for breaking an one is death. there is no appeal.
i feel really badly for the people who lost their jobs because of this economic downturn. sorta. productivity went up. that means the people who got fired were, statistically speaking, lazy fucks who weren't pulling their weight. bad news for you if you were fired. good news for you if you managed to keep your job. course it's not really that bad. the remaining employees are being more productive because there's the very real possibility they might be next. seems like this is long overdue. but don't worry about being fired you lazy fuck. before you were fired you were somewhat less productive than your coworkers. now you're getting paid to do nothing at all.
the boys and i are building a pergola for the beautiful and talented alisa. the obvious question is: what's a pergola? heh. it's what we're building. come see it. heh. it's some sort of wooden building structure thing that shades a garden. it's been educational. apparently, i'm getting old. well, i knew i was getting old cause my eyesight has gone to shit. but apparently, now i also need to eat breakfast before starting work on a project like this. it's been educational. i learned that concrete mix that isn't soppy wet will crack when it cures. i learned you can't apply a second coat of water sealer after the first coat dries. the second coat just sort of beads up. and leaves permanent ugly spots that look like dishwasher spots. oh well. apply the second coat before the first dries. anywho. the posts are in the ground. sturdy as anything. one is a little short. i think it settled some. yeah, that's it. the cross pieces are up. drilled a few extra holes. i'm blaming that whole lack of breakfast thing. next on the list is the roof.
i haven't checked the status of peak oil in a while. but it appeared in the news again recently. the prediction is oil production grows exponentially, plateaus chaotically, and falls off faster than it climbed. the problem is you can't tell if you're on the plateau until you're well into the decline. so when folks are saying peak oil was last year or will be 4-10 years from now, whatever. they're just guessing. looking at the production graphs... and sorta squinting a lot... i'm gonna make a prediction that's just as good as anyone else's. if you fit world oil production to a bell curve, we are already past the peak. am also going to predict the world will produce more oil in one year than it did in 2008. everyone panic right? heh. sure. why not? prices of everything will go up. and that'll make a whole lot of people unhappy. but it will mean we will (finally) make massive investments in new energy sources. and eventually the cost of energy will come back down. but it will take a while. i'm guessing 30 years to get back to where we are now. the problem is, there is no single energy source that's better than oil. or even has the potential to be. which means we'll need to develop multiple sources. which will slow things quite a bit. ah well. invest accordingly.
so the receptionist at work today wore a dress. not unusual. it was a really nice dress. kind of a dark silky blue. short. but not too short for the work environment. okay, maybe a little too short given that this building is full of geeks. she had put her hair up in a tight little bun. and wore heels. she looked for all the world like a flight attendant. a first class flight attendant. so here's my dilemma. how do i say you look great? cause she did. she'd immediately get suspicious of that implied *but*. and i'd have to spill the beans about how i've seen that dress on a galactic world virgin airlines seat belt video. and that might not go over so well. and she'd never wear that dress to work again. which would make 100 dorks very unhappy with me.
computer games will get better and more immersive. people will play more video games and less real games. some kid and his great grandfather will have this conversation. grampa, what did you do when you were a kid? i played football. what's football? it's like larping bloodbowl.
americans spend $34 billion on alternative medicine yet complain about the cost of medicine that actually works.
i read a summary of a couple of reports about traffic. the jist is that there are rule followers and rule breakers. and that for optimal traffic flow you want about 40% rule breakers. i guess by their definition i'm a rule breaker. the rule followers drive the same speed as the other cars around them and tend to form platoons of slow moving cars. the rule breakers tend to cut off the rule followers and break up the platoons. which allow everyone to get home more efficiently. so yeah. honk your horn at me buddy. i'll take it as what it should be, a thank you. anywho, they also said don't break the three second rule. oh no. can't do that. sheehs. makes me a bit concerned about the first result. the classic 3s rule assumes the only information you have available comes from watching the car directly in front of you. in reality, you can see several cars ahead. you can safely tailgate, ie break the 3s rule, if you watch the cars that are three seconds ahead of you. i know that and you know that. but does the guy on your bumper know that? really doesn't matter. cause he can break hard and stop in time. the 3s rule is there to keep the second tailgater from smashing into the first. so all you rule followers should not slam on the brakes to discourage tailgating. wait till someone's tailgating your tailgater. heh. be safe.
my tongue is two sizes too big for my mouth. makes it kinda hard to talk. i went to the dentist yesterday. i blame them. i managed to damage a tooth several months ago. i ended up with a sharp edge. got used to it. but it must have done some damage near a really old filling. it had to be removed and replaced. no biggie. now i have less mercury based amalgam in me. the worst part was getting the shot. the doc noticed my tension. and probably correctly surmised i was desperately trying to not beat the crap out of him. open your eyes. it's just my finger. lying sack of shit. you just injected a glob of poison into me. i can feel it like a big painful lump slowly diffusing into the surrounding flesh. sheehs. i wonder how long it's been since ol' doc got an injection hisself. maybe we'll find out next time. ha ahahahahah! actually, things weren't too bad. they've been a lot worse in the past. it wore off pretty quickly. and actually stayed reasonably localized. i was able to enjoy a double double, grilled onions, mustard instead, fries, nothing to drink, i won't be dining in my car, my total is $4.75, first window please. there's no use telling this guy i don't want ketchup. cause he's not the one who asks. in-and-out is the best thing for a medical establishment inflicted toothache. swear to it.
i think it's great that we as a nation give the less blessed a helping hand. however, i'm thinking we have gone slightly overboard. and by slightly i mean way way way overboard. here's why. when i'm in a parking lot, i make it a point to check the reserved blue handicap parking spots. you can't miss them. they're double wide and in prime parking territory. and most often they're empty. and worse, when they're not empty they're often in use by someone who doesn't have a handicapped placard. or by someone who you wonder how the heck they got a placard. this isn't true of all parking lots. apparently, crips like to go to movies but don't need to go to the grocery store. cause they're crips. and the rest of us are expected to take care of them.
i've bashed the supreme court ruling that news programs can fire reporters for refusing to report the story they want to be reported even when they know the story is false. it was pointed out to me that i hadn't actually read the court case. apparently, it's about employers having the right to fire employees who don't do what they're told. which is a perfectly rational position for a person who gets their news from fox. anywho, i'd agree with that position if we were talking about the brady bunch. sheehs. if marsha refuses to read the script, fire her ass. however, when i turn on the tube and a see a hot chick standing in the rain holding an umbrella apparently reporting the news, i do have this expectation that that person is not a member of the screen actor's guild. but someone who went to journalism school. and took classes in ethics in journalism. ie someone i should be able to trust. and yeah, i know all reports are going to have a slant. but not so much of a slant that the consumer draws incorrect conclusions. like this
what's the best type of health plan? let me try to simultaneously wear both the provider's hat and the consumer's hat to see if we can find some sort of maximum benefit for lowest cost. nothing can be free. otherwise the patient will sign up for treatments they don't need. i figure it's not too hard to budget some amount of money every year for medical costs. this should be the deductible. most years should be under the deductible. but a single year with large medical expenses could easily bust an already strained budget. and then your world of physical hurt puts you in a world of financial hurt. nice double whammy. this is where i expect the health plan to kick in. again it can't pay for everything or the patient will again demand the most expensive treatments. i'm thinking 50/80/20 plan. the provider pays nothing until you hit your deductible. then it pays 50% of everything over the deductible until you hit the 50/80 threshold. then the provider pays 80% of everything until you hit the cap. after which the provider pays only 20%. of course that's just one plan. providers are free to vary terms for whatever people will pay.