people are saying the deep horizontal spill is the worst in us history. they're right. this hole in the ground has spewed about twice as much oil as the exxon valdez spilled. and counting. at the rate of one exxon valdez every two weeks. depending on which estimate you use. i'm going with the more conservative "independent" estimates. i'm shying away from the estimate promoted by the company that has to pay the per barrel fine. something like $30M per day. heck of a way to balance the budget. the spill is bad. but it's not the worst in the history of the world. ixtoc wins. with some 3 million barrels. if deep horizontal isn't plugged by christmas then it'll be a shoo in for the dubious title of worst environmental disaster in the world. so how much oil are we actually talking about here? it's about 0.01% of what the world uses in a day. it's kinda hard to get too worked up about this sludge when we dump 10,000 times as much into the air every day. yar. such is the price for our 800 watt gamer boxes. and our 55" televisions. swim in it.
so the beautiful and talented alisa's insurance company sent her a birthday card. it was a strange card. i'm not quite sure what the message is they were trying to deliver. it listed the dollar value of stuff when she was born and the dollar value of the same stuff today. basically everything from bread to cars to homes have gone up by 15x. income on the other hand, only went up by 7x. hrm. i'm thinking it was sent by someone 65ish to say ha ha! you're totally fucked. you're half as rich as we were when we were your age. how's that social security thing working out for you? worked great for us. or maybe it was sent by someone our own age saying pretty much exactly the same thing.
bp is taking some heat for putting a price tag on human life. perhaps using the three little pigs is not the best way to approach the topic. or maybe it is. humans are pretty hung up on human life being worth an infinite amount of money. and it is, if it's your life. but really, how much of your money would give away to save the life of someone you don't know? $1m? $1000? right. i bet if your doctor said there's a homeless dude in the er who needs a $1000 operation or he'll die, most of you would say tough luck for the homeless dude. so the cold hard facts are human life is not worth an infinite amount of money to society. so the question is, how much is a human life worth? it's taboo to even talk about. hence the fairy tale metaphor. it's a secret number that companies have to guess. uncertainty makes things more expensive than they need to be. we should establish and publish a standard value for accidentally taking a human life. if you work in a particularly dangerous job, like say on an oil rig, you could negotiate a higher value of life as part of your employment contract. this would seriously simplify financial decisions and streamline court cases. even if it crushes your delusion that god made you the most important person in the world. timmer for pope.
following up on yesterday's post, here's a classic example of enforcing rules without understanding the why. cover your mouth when you cough. when i was a kid adults would get all in your face if you didn't stick your hand over your mouth when you coughed. jebus. i was a frikken kid and i knew that couldn't possibly be the right thing to do. you cough up a germ laden aerosol. if you point your mouth at the ground all those virus particles quickly fall out of harm's way. whereas if you cover your mouth with your hand all those germs get transfered to everything you touch - people, doorknobs, light switches, pencils, money, everything. and from there to other people. the rule seems to have been amended. now you're supposed to cough into your elbow. good. i guess. it's a better rule. but man, whenever you learn a new rule, figure out the why. and apply the rule smartly.
there was a bit of a flaming email exchange between the baseball board and coaches. it had to do with new safety rules. or rather, new interpretations of safety rules. the objective is to keep the kids safe. safe kids are cheaper to insure. but really it's about safety. of course. anywho, the debate was whether we should teach kids rules - don't swing the bat between innings while the other team is warming up. or teach them responsibility - don't hit anyone with the bat. it's one of those useless i'm-right-you're-wrong arguments. you need to teach kids both rules and responsibility. rules are certainly easier. but if the kid doesn't understand the *why* of the rule, someone's gonna get hurt when the kid's in a situation where there is no established rule. there's no rule against swinging the bat here and now. swish **THOCK**
b went bicycle camping with the boy scouts this weekend. except his sleeping ag forgot its b. hee hee. anywho, good thing he took two pairs of long johns, a jacket, a winter coat, two pairs of hiking socks, and an emergency blanket. sheehs. maybe he left it at home on purpose cause his packs were full and he didn't want to carry any more. he was warm enough. apparently bicycle camping is like car camping. except they dropped off the scouts and bicycles 35 miles from the camp site. a good time was had by all.
since i've been spending so much time recently unable to work or do puzzles, i got a book from the library. i was planning to read it while cuddling in bed with the beautiful and talented alisa. but i can't. someone read my book. can you believe it? now i don't have anything to read. guess i'll have to content myself with just cuddling. i can't sleep in the middle of the night cause i start coughing when i lie down. it's a real ugly kind of cough too. the kind that sticky gooey ick hacks just far enough up the ole wind pipe to trigger stomach wrenching gag reflex. sigh. and no book to read to distract myself. great. man, if i get my hands on the person who read *my* book. i am so going to make them pay.
okay i'm real tired of this disease now. today's gripe is about swollen lymph nodes. as far as i'm concerned this constitutes proof there is no intelligent designer. there may be a designer. but he's a fucking idiot. having glands in your neck swell up so much you can't turn your head or swallow food is dumb. i figure a designer with god-like intelligence should have been able to figure out a way to shed those bloated parts. like maybe you just cough them up. *HACCK* *HARACK* *ptooey!* and be done with it. the beautiful and talented alisa was thinking more along the lines of a zipper-like configuration. course a desiccated hunk of scab-like flesh that flakes off would work just fine too. maybe one of our kids will be able to genetically engineer a superior solution. till then, misery.
life doesn't come with an instruction manual. and since the old farts had to figure things out on their own they get revenge on them youngins by not clueing them in either. personally i think that's self perpetuating stupidity. so here's a summary of my collected wisdom on pregnancies that isn't traditionally passed along. zeroth, pregnancy is contagious. it's true. the women at work all caught preggers at the same time. or maybe they just wanted to make launch even more hectic. anywho. first, carry the baby with your abdominal muscles. you want everything to go right back where it was before the basketball showed up in your shorts. i learned this trick from a woman built like a barbie doll with a two week old infant. number two, the natural inclination is the baby goes out the same way the baby went in. well yes and no. you have two sets of muscles down there. one is for fun. and the other is for well, number two. the path the baby takes is the same as that daily function. you are not going to have an orgasm while giving birth. use the other muscles instead. third, is really for the fellahs. post partum depression is a really horrible thing. if it strikes your loved one will be reduced to a quivering blob of hopeless despair. it's also pretty dangerous. ie it can result in the death of mother and/or children. fortunately, the drugs for this are really effective. all you have to do is recognize the signs. happy parenting.
reading out loud to our boys has been a tradition in our family for some eleven and a half years. g's reading some of the same books his brother read 3 years ago. apparently, i did more of the reading then. cause i recognize the stories that the beautiful and talented alisa is reading now. or more precisely, i recognize the first part of the stories. b loves to read. and he was somewhat impatient. so he'd finish the books on his own. and i'd never find out how timmy got out of the well.
i often get in random conversations with my boys. the other day the topic was cannibalism. think one was calling the other a cannonball cannibal. or something. anywho, i checked to make sure they actually knew what a cannibal was. they pretty much had the right idea. then the fun questions came up. b tends to chew his fingernails. if he ingests any of the bits is he a cannibal? what about nose picking? hair chewing? blood licking? fellatio? okay that last one didn't actually come up. so to speak. i think we decided that eating bodily excretions wasn't cannibalism. you had to actually eat the flesh and/or bones.
man. i thought mother's day was bad. this weekend was worse. i missed a baseball game. now my throat is really sore. yeah, hurts. but the really sucky part is my taste buds are all screwed up. the beautiful and talented alisa made a cheese cake with chocolate joe-joes for the crust. yummy! i didn't want to waste it on my dead mouth parts. the rest of the family's been scarfing it down like crazy. it's almost gone. and i've had only one piece. it was good. though one small piece out of an entire alisa cheese cake has got to be some sort of record. usually i arrange for most of it to end up in my tummy.
one of the steam for mac games is portal. portal is a first person shooter except your gun shoots holes instead of bullets. a blue hole and an orange hole. you jump in one and pop out the other. you use this teleportation trick to solve puzzles arranged by a neurotic central computer obsessed with cake and delivering some of the funniest zingers you've ever heard coming out of a video game. which are really very distracting when you're trying to dodge laser beams and pools of acid. portal is awesome from start to finish and if you don't agree you must be fucking stupid.
i'm not really a gamer. i pretty much latch on to one video game at a time. and play it forever. so steam came out with a version for the mac. plus 60 or so games. way cool. i didn't recognize very many titles. which is sad. cause i'm like in the business. ah well. but let's talk about dragon age: origins instead. pretty much knew right away this wasn't gonna dethrone ddo. it is pretty. but the interface is clunky. and the motion of the characters stinks. it's apparent the designers didn't give things much thought. take for example the tutorial. one of the things you have to do is take off your clothes. sure. i'm out in the middle of nowhere. surrounded by enemies. i should get naked. doesn't anyone watch horror movies any more? sheehs. that's what the stupid people do right before they get killed. i have no interest in finishing the game. apparently you have a choice of ways to save the world. you can sacrifice yourself. or you can (literally) fuck your buddy and sacrifice the baby instead.
last night i was so cold. i was so cold i was shivering under the covers. i snuggled up to the beautiful and talented and warm alisa. but i was still cold. and the hours were ticking by. finally i pulled my legs up under my tummy. and i pulled the covers up over my head. ah. slowly, i got warm. i last remember looking at the clock at 3:30 am. the bread machine was going. but my legs were no longer so cold they hurt. later that morning alisa said at around 4 am she got so hot she had to kick the covers off. probably just a coincidence. probably.
as long as you have something of value, someone will try to steal it. if the something in question is a multi-million dollar cargo ship, and the someone in question is a dirt poor uneducated pirate, the real question is, what do you do with the someone when you catch them? i'm with russia on this one. though i think they should say, we executed them. instead of beating around the bush, we let them go. in a rubber boat. in the middle of the ocean. with no supplies and no navigational equipment. they didn't reach shore. they should take pictures of someone's dead sons. and air drop thousands of copies over somali villages known to harbor pirates. i guess that's plan b. plan a is to ask nicely. plan c is to raze the villages.
i have mixed feelings about immigration reform. as a business man republican, i really like the idea of cheap manual labor. it's especially good when the illegals use bogus social security numbers. cause then they pay social security and medicrap taxes. but since they're illegals they can't collect the benefits. which kinda makes the bleeding heart liberal in me sad. on the gripping hand, i don't have much sympathy for the legal american trash class whinin' and complainin' about how these illegals are stealing their jobs. sheehs. after all the money we've spent on your education and other entitlement programs. and you can't compete with some third world illiterate? jebus. seems like we wasted all that cash. we'd do better to spend all those tax dollars people willing to work for an honest wage. without regard to where they plopped out of the womb.
i don't like mondays. most people waste 1/7th of their lives on mondays. but i have a plan. a brilliant plan. you can live just east of the international date line. at 11:59:59 pm every sunday you can jump over line and poof! it's 12:00:01 am tuesday. you've completely skipped monday. well, pretty close. but hah. any fool can do that. i'm going to build a spaceship and live it. put it in a circular orbit so that it crosses the international date line every week at midnight sunday. voila! i will never have to experience another monday. ever. so here's an easy math problem for you. calculate the height of such an orbit.
suppose i had some sort of genetic defect that prevented me from perceiving money in any way shape or form. it's not that crazy of an idea. some folks can't perceive color, sound, race/sexism, reality, or the hand of god. so why not money? anywho, as i observe the world i see people working. making stuff. and getting stuff. some years they work a lot. and get lots of stuff. some years they don't work as much. and don't get as much stuff. i wonder why. there's not much different between the years. it's like people decide en masse to stop working. one could speculate that they want to take time to enjoy their newly acquired stuff. but that doesn't seem to be the case. people are significantly less happier when they are not working. seems like we should be able to identify whatever signal it is that tells people to stay home or go to work. and trigger it before a recession gets a chance to take hold.
the players on b's and g's little league team have been passing around some pretty wonderful diseases. i succumbed to one yesterday. unfortunately, it was mother's day. and i was totally useless. i felt a lot less useless after a threw up. violently and noisily. but i was prohibited from doing anything useful that involved touching anything or anyone. so i was still pretty much useless. sigh. then i slept for 12 hours straight. today much better. didn't go to work. skipped a meeting. figured i'd spare my coworkers that fun. altruism? nah. we're launching next month. want to keep them healthy so my stock is worth something.
the romans had some pretty horrible ways to execute people. crucifixion being probably the best known. but i was thinking. they are certainly horrifying by today's standards. but were they really as horrifying in an age before modern medicine? people died horribly naturally. like from disease, infections, injuries, starvation. and there really wasn't much anyone could do about it. so maybe bleeding to death because some roman soldier stabbed you nine ten eleven twelve times didn't seem like such a bad way to go. so in order to deter that pesky rebellious human spirit, the romans had to devise even worse ways of separating humans from their lives.
so to answer yesterday's question: which pieces cannot take which opposing pieces in a legally played game of chess? stop reading if you haven't thought about it yet. ready? okay. good. on we go. there are three parts to the answer. first, the bishop cannot capture the bishop that started on the other color. duh! second, no piece can capture the king. the game ends when the king is in checkmate. ie right before the king is actually captured. yeah yeah. technicality. call the foul. third, the pawns on the left cannot capture the pawns on the right. when they shift enough files by capturing pieces to be in adjacent files, they have passed the target pawns. there are six such combinations. the rook pawn cannot capture the opposite side rook pawn nor knight pawn. the knight pawn cannot capture the opposite side rook pawn.
g's started to take an interest in this game called chess. b got one of those electronic chess playing computers for christmas. so i posed em this riddler. which pieces cannot capture which other pieces in a legally played game of chess? answer tomorrow.
debt like most things is good in moderation. necessary even. but too much can be lethal. like say, water. us debt as a percentage of gdp hit a maximum after world war two. something larger than 100%. but since we were pretty much the only industrial base left standing, our economy boomed. oddly, we didn't actually pay off that debt. it sorta evaporated because of, in nearly equal measures, the gdp growth and inflation. the debt hit a low in 1980 of around 45%. when the reaganomics delusion swept america. and we spent what we should have saved to pay the invisible debt. ie the obligations we've made for social security and medicare. adding these to the books about triples our debt. now we're in trouble. cause that puts our debt at 300% of gpd. and we are not the only economy left standing like after ww2. and the cheap energy that drove that drove that explosive growth isn't there any more. we're going to renege on our promises to grandma. fortunately, she's got dementia and/or alzheimers. so won't have a clue.
credit is a funny thing. in some sense it inflates the value of things. i won't pay $3000 cash up front for that tv. but i will pay $100/month for three years. from the buyer's point of view, the value of that tv has gone up. cause i can have it right now. from the seller's point of view, the value of the buyer's future earnings goes up. which most likely are very similar to his past earnings. with which he was unable to save $100/month for *two* years to buy a state of the art television. it's really no wonder we're addicted to debt.