a friend of mine makes board games. which seems like a way cool job. if you can make any money at it. his games tend to be way more creative than most. a recent one is called acuity. there is a pool of square tiles. each corner of a tile has one of four patterns. approximately half of the tiles are laid out in an NxN grid. the rest of the tiles are put in a stack face down. they are turned over one by one. the players try to find the pattern in the grid. each tile is unique. so the trick is to find the tile pattern by overlapping adjacent halves of two tiles. or adjacent corners of four tiles. pretty simple so far. here's the twist. literally. you can turn one of the tiles in the grid 90 degrees. the first player to find the pattern in the grid claims the tile. optionally, makes the rotation. and drops the tile on the grid to prove they found it. then they get to keep the tile. whoever has the most tiles at the end of the game wins. there's one more rule. you can claim the pattern isn't there. the other players have 30 seconds to find it. if they don't then you get the tile. if another player does find it they get the tile plus a penalty tile from your stack. it's kinda fun. the beautiful and talented alisa is pretty good at it. so is b. one of the things i really like about nick's games is there's often an interesting math puzzle. in this case, how big is the grid?
my sister loves me. she works at a fru-fru grocery store in the rich part of town. she ordered me a case of mexican coke for christmas. which is way cool for two reasons. first, it comes in the old fashioned bottles. not the pop top cans. which are really pretty. second, it's made with real sugar instead of corn syrup. here's a few reasons to avoid corn syrup. one, corn is heavily subsidized by tax dollars. which just totally screws up a free market economy. thanks corn lobby. two, corn is usually a mono-crop. meaning it's grown on land that never grows anything else. so it has to be heavily fertilized and pesticized. which just totally screws up the local environment. and by local i mean everything from kansas to the gulf of mexico. three, corn syrup is often contaminated with detectable levels of mercury. which just totally screws up a person's nervous system. this is what i think actually triggers my migraines. people blame the mercury in thalidomide for autism. heh. the amount of mercury in thalidomide based vaccinations is trivial compared to the amount of mercury parents let kids guzzle in fruit flavored drinks and candy. no wonder autism and adhd are on the rise. sheehs. some people need to get a clue. in fairness, i think they've reduced the amount of mercury in corn syrup. which is good. fourth, corn syrup dissolves better in water than cane sugar. so they can pack more of a bad thing into your drinks. fifth, corn syrup seems to interfere with the message that says you're full. the brain never gets that message. so the body just keeps eating. and eating. and eating. which just totally screws up your healthy diet and makes you fat. and when you get too fat to exercise, you die. fatty.
monday tuesday wednesday suckday friday. thursdays suck cause windows decided that the early hours of wednesday is the day to index the hard drives. though for some reason the actual honest to god indexing happens after i boot up on thursday. which makes about as much sense and clicking start to stop the computer. anywho. i take an extra long shower while the hard drive exercises away. eventually it stops and my computer becomes usable again. wee. thanks guys.
super rich gap
some people say the ever growing rich poor gap is perfectly normal and no big deal. other people say it's a shocking embarrassment that will lead to economic collapse and civil war. who's right? well, they're both part right. which in my book makes them both wrong. i explain. let's say you're born poor. like live in a trailer park. you go to public school and educate yourself. learn some skills. work hard. by the end of your life you've accumulated a few million dollars. you die rich. yes there's a huge gap between the haves and the have nots. but it can be explained away by education determination and mostly age. ie you've had time to accumulate wealth. practically anyone can do it. so where's the problem? our hypothetical person has experienced ever increasing tax rate. which is good. lots of studies show progressive taxes the most fair in the sense that your wealth correlates with your productivity. funny thing happens when the kid is born with a $10 million dollar trust fund. this kid doesn't need to do shit. drinks his way through a private college. sits on the board of directors of a few companies. contributes nothing. but rakes in the dough. lives with a lavish lifestyle. and dies with a pile of gold big enough each of his kids start with a $10m trust fund. how does this happen? it's hard to believe, but his tax rate actually goes down as he collects wealth. anti-progressive. it's ever easier for him to collect wealth. which is really pretty un-american. i'm all in favor of the rich poor gap. i think that's a good thing. i'm all torqued about the rich super rich gap. that thing is really bad for all of us. even the super rich. heh. especially the super rich. cause it's their noble heads that feed the guillotine when the ignorant masses overrun the bastille.
every morning we can hear bandits at our bedroom door. they're as reliable as the alarm clock. it sounds like a whole posse. it's kinda hard to count them. if you count noses, there are two. if you count feet and dividing by two, there are four. if you count toeses and divide by ten, there are 3.6. which is a very strange number. even for a band of outlaws. they go away when we give them food. but it's kinda too late to just go back to sleep.
okay here's a question (eventually). one politician is promising jobs jobs jobs. ie he wants to make you do a fair day's work for a fair day's wage. another politician is promising increased aid for the needy. ie he's offering you a free meal ticket. which one do you vote for? does anyone see the problem here? in the long run, putting everyone on welfare makes us a communist state. worse actually. cause communist states expect people to work for their communism. whereas in our welfare state, we don't. in a sense, politicians are buying votes from an ever expanding group of non-working voters. put that way, the solution is obvious. if you partake of the social safety net, you give up the right to vote. it's a crazy idea in the sense that it would never be accepted. maybe we can sneak it in. create an elite welfare tier where you voluntarily give up the right to vote. and possibly give up the right to conceive children too. though i haven't thought that one all the way through yet. keep the standard tier where you keep the right to vote. i'm betting lotta folks would rather live like little kings than vote. which would decrease the power of that voting block. and shift power back to the productive people. where we can regularly cut back the cost and services of both tiers. a win for society all around. the only people who lose are the the politicians who used to be able to buy votes. sigh. timmer for chairman of the constitutional convention.
ho ho ho
talk santa. walk christ. the other way around is wrong. happy ho ho holidays.
apparently there's a christmas tree in a hotel in the united arab emirates that's decorated with $11M worth of gems jewels gold. wtf? why is there even a christmas tree there at all? christmas is a christian holiday. uae is a muslim country. muslims don't celebrate christmas. someone's really confused about the meaning of christmas. course i guess that makes sense.
i think it's terrific that time magazine named zuckerberg man of the year. tee double ee double are double are double eye double eff double eye double see see see. we had the pleasure of sharing an office floor with a very small facebook during their humble beginnings. clearly zuckerberg-man was radiant in the eyes of the young beautiful people he hired. though we all thought he was a low down rat that would soon be out of work. course we were right. or maybe i (and possibly time magazine) is confusing him with an eb white character. and yeah i know it's person of the year. even though the honor has been awarded to non-persons. i'm sticking with man though. political correctness be damned. mostly cause zuckerperson makes no sense.
beer v pot
ideally, we'd like to see drug use go down. and alcohol use has gone down. but marijuana use has gone up. ah well. i'll call it a partial victory. in terms of cost to society, alcohol is a 70 and marijuana is a 7. net win economically. if not morally. we will need to keep working on it.
the answer to some questions depends on who's asking whom. for example, a 2 year old asks god where the first people came from. god answers simply, i made them. which a perfectly fine answer. but not for a 5 year old. how did you make them? i molded them from clay then breathed life into them. another perfectly fine answer. but not for a 10 year old. i made you smarter and better looking than your dad. i made him smarter and better looking than his dad. and so forth and so on. your great great ancestor was really ugly and really stupid. at which point god can show the 10 year old a picture of an ape like neanderthal like human like creature. which is a perfectly fine answer. then with the 15 year old you can talk about dna and mutations and natural selection, etc. the 20 year old will want to know the details about meiosis and mitosis and rna and amino acids and the messy gory details of life. i'm 45 chronologically. but by this definition i'm about 17. the point is, all of these answers are good, if incomplete. and that's okay. what's not okay is for the 5 year old to be telling the 20 year old to shush. think about. you'd never put up with a 5 year old screaming at you that you're wrong and they're right. the moon is made of green cheese. don't be a spoiled 5 year old about teaching evolution in schools. or god will make your children uglier and stupider than you. and their children uglier and stupider. until your great great grand descendants are literally hairy little apes.
there are cars on the car lots again. i think that's a pretty good sign for the economy.
i'm sure that b's teacher is wonderful. he's just not the right student for her. b reads history books for fun. b reads biographies and auto-biographies of people who found themselves center of the world stage. like for example, the pilot of the surveillance plane that collided with the chinese fighter plane. she assigns a ton of homework. so now he does less of that kind of reading. one would think there isn't a problem. cause history is his favorite subject. except she assigns what b termed coloring projects. hours of coloring. his class is falling behind the other classes. the solution of course, is to assign more busywork. he got a c on one of his tests. he answered all the questions correctly. but he didn't color the pictures. i told b, he needs to make decisions about the best use of his time. the last time he stayed up all night doing busywork he came down with pneumonia and missed a week of school. i suggested he get the teacher a coloring book for christmas. tell her she has to have all the pictures colored by the first day of school after break. heh. i told him to set a timer. her work gets 15 minutes. which is how long the homework takes for each of his other classes. and whatever he gets done is what he turns in. yeah, his grades will suffer. but no one looks at middle school grades. i suggested he turn in a list of what he did instead of his assignment. for examples, i worked on an eagle scout project, went skiing, read a book about european history, went to a play, talked with my parents about macro-economics, worked on my non-profit web site, read ahead two chapters.
some people say we're about to run out of oil. others say we have enough for the next 50 to 100 years. who's right? they can't both be. well, they're both half right. and in my book that makes them both wrong. to illustrate, let's talk about beer. the best beer in america apparently is something called pliny the elder. and the worst is old english 800. apparently. i don't drink the stuff so i'll have to take google's word for it. in the beer world, pliny costs $10/glass and 800 $1/glass. which do you drink? well, it depends on your budget, your palate, and your thirst. some snobs will shell out the bucks for the good stuff. and others will get their buzz any way they can. both choices seem reasonable. okay, now compare and contrast with the oil world. prices are upside down. pliny is $1/glass and 800 is $10/glass. which do you drink? heh. everyone drinks the pliny. and nobody drinks the 800. and everyone is happy. unfortunately, it doesn't last forever. eventually we come to peak beer. the pliny is gone. and only the 800 is left. do you drink the piss or do you go thirsty? that's sorta where we are today with oil. the cheap good stuff is gone. which is the grain of truth to the running-out position. but there's lots of expensive crap left. which is the grain of truth to the lots-left position. i'll leave it to you dear reader to cogitate on what this means for the real world economy. hint: it ain't perty.
christmas makes people stupid. b and i went shopping to pick up both necessities and presents. we encountered no shortage of examples. we parked at the far side of the parking garage. pretty much surrounded by empty spaces. a car came up and waited for us to unload. as soon as we got out of the way he drove through the empty spots. the lane a non-stupid person would have used was 20 meters away. weird. then there was the lady pushing her cart down the aisle at ramming speed. we could hear her before we could see her. so g jammed on the brakes and stopped before she barreled into us. yeah i know that happens during the non-holiday season. but with all the extra shoppers milling about, one really needs a larger safety margin. then there was the guy spinning his cart and kid as fast as he could right in front of the only exit to the building. the next day b and i saw another driver driving through the crowded parking spaces instead of staying in the driving lanes. sheehs. this week i saw not one but two drivers driving the wrong way on a one way street. one of whom seemed to know she was going the wrong way and did it anyway. sheehs. i think christ in spanish is one of those amplifier words. like mas estupido means very stupid. christ-mas estupido means unbelievably stupid.
man sllergies suck. i think i have allergy induced asthma. so i guess technically, i should say asthma sucks. apparently there's a line of thinking that asserts most asthma is allergy induced. many sufferers might not know what the trigger is. i'll buy it. at least until there's evidence to the contrary. i hold a similar position on migraines. they're really allergic reactions. the trick is to figure out to what. in my case it's trivial. with this, i've taken to making sure i breathe through my nose when i'm in a cat room. the idea is to stop the allergens in my nose and keep them from reaching my lungs. it is difficult to breathe so the urge to mouth breathe to increase airflow is significant. i also make myself breathe slowly and shallowly. same reason. i also exercise. which hurts like hell. so why? increase the body's demand for oxygen. make sure the lungs get the message that we need the o2 more than we need to expel the foreign substance. i'm packing on the years. fortunately, i haven't packed on the pounds as much as other folks have. still though, a large meal literally fills me up. leaving less space for my lungs to do their lung thing. so i've been making myself eat less at any one time. so as an added benefit i should lose weight right? heh. i make up for it by eating more often. so maybe not.
a while ago i was listening to a discussion by a guy who had bought solar panels for his home. they were guaranteed for 20 years. which i thought was odd. cause i'm pretty sure the state of the art things really only last for 12. does this deal make sense? i think so. cause the industry is changing rapidly. the company could be out of business in 12 years. heh. photo voltaic cells are on a very interesting technology curve. they have been getting significantly better and cheaper every few years. so i'm guessing in 12 years, the solar panel company will offer the buyer a deal. we can replace your crappy solar panels. or for a low low price we can upgrade them to these greener more efficient panels. guaranteed to last 25 years. heh. works for me.
don't you hate it when you invent some cool new piece of technology that could save the world. and you show it to your boss. and he's all like meh. cause he's completely fixated on some other flaw that has nothing whatsoever to do with the new thing. and so it languishes on the back burner forever. and then some astronomer fails to discover the asteroid in time to keep it from smashing into the earth. and everyone dies. yeah? me too.
dang, computers generate a whole lot of heat. because teh kittehs are trying to kill me with their biological warfare agents, i've taking to hiding in my office with the door closed. and man, does it get hot. i closed the heat vent. and blocked it with clothes i'm not done wearing yet. that helps a lot. but it's still the warmest room in the house.
the cost of marijuana is falling because of the legal medical marijuana supply. this is good news for the user and the abuser, obviously. but it's also good news for the non-user. why? cause it takes money away from the violent gangs that trade the controlled substance illegally. less money for them means they have fewer guns. and less incentive to take over another gang's turf. usually by indiscriminately firing mass quantities of bullets where there's a high density of civilians. the actions of a few cities have cut crime more than anything else has. try for just a moment to imagine the effect on crime if pot were legalized at the federal level. i have a dream that some day we the people will grow some balls and enough spine to follow our brains and act like human beings instead of trail horses who stick their noses in the butts of the horses in front of them and mindlessly go wherever they went.
so my macbook pro started shocking me and then refusing to respond to any input on the keyboard or trackpad. the only option is to hold down the power key and force a restart. violent. since this is a company laptop i filed a bug with the IT department. a few days later i get an email from the bug tracking system saying the bug was closed with the comment, "provided solution. no further input from requester." um. wtf? okay IT is primarily composed of people whose first language is not english. so i'm thinking, the solution is that i can't input anything in my laptop. and this is okay? hrm. course this is the same department that insisted the company does not own any mac pro tower models. even though i've had one under my desk for the past 4 years. even though i could provide the company's id tag number. sigh. turns out it was a mail filter issue. one of my computers filtered the intermediate messages. so i didn't see them. the solution was to plug it in. wtf? it's a frikken laptop. like with a battery. sheehs. according to google, the problem is a known issue with the cabling that wanders through the battery compartment. i jiggled the ribbon and told it it was nice ribbon and channeled lots of positive energy to it. i haven't had problems with it since. i'm still going to get a new laptop from IT though. well, maybe. with IT, you never know.
allergies suck. apparently, i'm allergic to our new kittehs. i've always been sensitive to some pets. usually my body eventually figures out that this strange substance isn't actually trying to kill me. and my immune system calms down. though this time seems to be especially worse. the good news is my revved up immune system seems to be dodging the cold the rest of the family is sharing. well, good news for me. sunday was the worst. last night wasn't so bad. though i did spend most of the day at work. it's kinda like asthma. not painful. but breathing is just plain hard work. we'll see how this weekend goes. otherwise either they go or i go. i'm pretty sure *they* would go. but there's the odd worry gnawing at the back of my head.
the argument for a strong social safety net seems to be that the most prosperous countries have them. it's almost as if the thinking is that one could install a strong social safety net in a poor country and *poof* it will become a prosperous country. as opposed to the other way around. ie prosperous countries have expensive social safety nets because they can afford them. if it didn't work this way then communism would be the government of choice. whereas in reality communism kinda stinks when it comes to the prosperity department. ideally, we want the minimal social safety net that keeps people from turning to crime and stealing their neighbor's stuff. i think the problem here is that i've already made the mental shift to post peak oil thinking. ie we're not a rich planet anymore. we've spent the earth's wealth making lots and lots of people. we can't keep borrowing money from the future to finance the past's lifestyle. cause the future doesn't have any money to lend. we need to cut back the size of our safety net. timmer for president of a much smaller government.
patience is a virtue. so they say. and i mostly agree. though there's a very big difference between waiting for trees to grow, pedestrians to cross, wine to age, etc and waiting for someone's stupidity. like red lights when there's no traffic. like some dickless wonder who thought it would be a good idea to drive the wrong way in a parking lot. like a cashier who'd rather chat with her co-workers than ring up my fucking order. it's not impatience when i get angry when someone wastes my time. my time is *my* time. it's not yours to waste.
should the following c++ code compile?
const int x = 0;
if ( x > 0 )
int y = 1000/x;
the microsoft c++ compiler chokes on a divide by zero error. it's kinda nice that it checks for things like 1000 divided by 0. but why is it trying to compile that block of code at all? the if will always fail so it should just skip the entire block. dumbass thing. yeah it's definitely a compiler error. and by that i mean an error in the compiler. sheehs.
5 years ago the banks got their way with regards to bankruptcy protections. before, you could get a fresh start in life. now you can't. actually i guess you can. but it's a *lot* more difficult. some of us at the time said, this is a very bad thing. but our voices couldn't compete with the noise machine. guess what. we were right. the bankruptcy abuse prevention act clearly prevents the debtor from abusing bankruptcy procedures. but it made it very easy for the creditor to abuse bankruptcy. have you bought a house since 2005? better hope you don't lose your job. cause not only can the bank take your house but it can also make you pay the difference between what you owe and what the bank got for selling your house. and guess what. this debt will survive bankruptcy. you can end up paying for a house you don't own for the rest of your life. i haven't heard too much about banks fucking people over this badly. probably because they know they have a good thing with the current laws. and if they abuse it, they'll lose it. and then there's that pesky second amendment.
we adopted two kittens from the humane society. though really they're more like half grown cats. like most cats i've owned they have multiple names: vixen aka princess aka mouse and dancer aka bongo the magnificent aka bongo the bold aka trouble aka dog. i'm sure they'll earn more. she is in charge. all 5 pounds of her. the humane society was having a $10 special. an organization that processes strays gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. but... man, they sure made it tough to acquire a cat. first, the facilities are 10 miles from my home. second the building is new and expensive feeling. like i'm in an upper class people hospital. there really weren't that many animals to choose from. maybe i'm just naive but it seems like the process should take an hour. not three. and that was only the first day. fucking hell. there was more paperwork to sign than when we bought our house. but we plowed through it. whew. then the slow talking lady announced, now for the other cat. gah. after that was done she said we couldn't take them home until they were spayed and neutered. tomorrow. maybe tuesday. monday, no call. tuesday we call around 2pm. might be as late as thursday. minutes later we get the call from the medical desk. we must pick them up today between 4pm and 6pm. wtf?!?! how about tomorrow morning? no. do you know it's fucking rush hour. don't care. okay, the beautiful and talented alisa has a cub scout meeting then. i guess i'm going to skip wrestling practice which i love. to drive in traffic which i hate. my instructions were very clear. go to the door marked surrender. heh. wrong. i was supposed to go through the door marked cats and rabbits. the nice surrender lady walked me though the back way to the area for dogs. which i didn't know cause the sign was outside the door. so it took them a while to find me when they brought out the cats. sigh. anywho, the doped up cats traveled just fine. not a single yowl. they seem to enjoy their new home. i think though, they will be the last pets we get from the humane society. it made me twitch like some real estate agents. or a casino. all shiny. no substance. just too frikken many hoops to jump through. it's almost as if the pet loving volunteers really want to keep their animals.
so am i a liberal or a conservative? let's see. on the social safety net (red): i think we have way too much. on taxes (wash): i'm split. taxes are too low for the poor. they're zero. should be a painless token. too high for the middle class. too low for the rich and way way too low for the super rich. on role of government (blue): homeland security is way way too intrusive. business regulation is about right but needs to be shuffled around. more for banks and polluters. less for everyone else. on racial discrimination (red): i fucking hate seeing the race card played. on america's future (red): we should be less like europe. on ideals (wash): i'm not real big on the us-vs-them conservative mentality. yet i'm not real big on the everyone's-a-winner liberal position either. grand total: red by two. cool. i'm a conservative. so why do i generally vote blue? probably because the red candidates aren't like me at all. and aren't going to make my world more red. sigh.
i like conspiracy theories as entertainment just as much as the next guy. try this one on. where is wikileaks getting its info? it's obvious really. from the white house of course. think about it. obama promised a more open and transparent government. there's no way he could declassify so much material and stay president. much less alive. there are just too many people whose lives would be ruined. the kind of people who start wars for profit. however, if that information could be leaked by an anonymous source. hrm. how is it that the us can brief other nations on what's about to released by wikileaks. does wikileaks really give the us a sneak peek? or does the information go the other way? why isn't assange dead already? could a powerful entity be protecting him? how is wikileaks financed? could someone be paying for silence about the real sources? like i said, conspiracy theories are for entertainment value only. that said and resaid, go obamaleaks go.
you can go against the official papal position and be all anti-evolution if you want to. but chimps with alopecia
look pretty damn human.
teach a man to reason and he’ll think for a lifetime - phil plait, the bad astronomy guy. you can lead a man to reason but you cannot make him think - the amazing timmer. aka me.