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Timmerov's Blog
Saturday, December 31, 2011
  scroogonomics
this scrooge says giving gifts at christmas time is stupid. heh. his research says 20% of the money spent is wasted. he didn't even take into account the time wasted shopping for useless overpriced gifts. his suggestion was gift cards. but they have problems too. like 10% are never redeemed. and they can only be used at certain stores. in person. and may have other restrictions. hrm. why not debit cards or actual honest to goodness cash? or bitcoins! hahahahah. i'm a funny guy. course what's the point of you and me exchanging envelopes full of money? heh. how about holiday cheer? and seeing relatives you don't get to see very often. so anywho, i don't see the christmas tradition going away any time soon.
 
Friday, December 30, 2011
  gambling tax
here's another wack-job anti-capitalist who thinks we need to change the tax system. except this wackadoodle started vanguard group which is pretty much the largest fund managing company in the world. he calls speculation on wallstreet gambling. which sounds kinda familiar. and says profits from such gambling should be taxed at regular income rates. the trick is to distinguish between that and real capital investment in new corporations. which would still be taxed at the super low long term capital gains tax rate. gee, that sounds familiar too. generations of con artist scammer types have erased the distinction between earned income and unearned income. income is all the same right? except when it's your income from busting your hump and my income from sitting on my ass. in which case your income is taxed at more than twice my rate. totally makes sense. and totally fair too. /sarcasm.
 
Thursday, December 29, 2011
  ʇsɐoʇ
so the other day i was wondering... if a piece of toast falls off the table in australia, does it land buttered side up?
 
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
  elderly autists
someone did a bit of research a bit ago. published recently. they went looking to see how many older americans are undiagnosed as autistic. they found many. enough to be in line with current autism rates. which is kinda cool. it means we're not in the middle of an autism epidemic. autistic people have been around for a long time. it just wasn't widely called autism even one generation ago. autistic people got diagnoses of depression, schizophrenia, mental retardation, etc. many eventually figured things out on their own. many didn't. i'd like to see this study repeated on a larger scale. cause it would be nice to know the natural autism rate. before we go running around saying xyz causes autism. when there may or may not be a difference in the autism rates before and after xyz.
 
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
  "nice"
i'm real tired of people being nice. or "nice". i'm very happy that people are trying to be nice. i'm sad that they're failing so consistently and miserably. you being nice means i benefit in some way. and i appreciate it. no matter how small the benefit is. in fact, i appreciate it a lot more the smaller the benefit. but jeesum crow. you stop being nice the moment you cost me anything. like making me wait an extra few seconds at an intersection so you can be "nice" and let me go first when you have the right of way. you stop being nice when you discover i've made my selections and am heading to the cashier and ask me if i want a slip so you can get credit for the sale which you didn't help with. yeah. merry christmas. ho ho ho. maybe this is why i don't like christmas. people should practice being nice all year. so they can not fail so hard during the holidays.
 
Monday, December 26, 2011
  seconds
mac os comes with a clock in the menu bar. windows comes with a clock in the task bar. the mac clock can be configured to show seconds. the windows clock can't. stupid dumbass thing. stoic joker to the rescue. i don't know what a stoic joker is. only that it makes a nice clock for the task bar. and gives it away for free. here's the link. enjoy.
 
Sunday, December 25, 2011
  c v dc
so coke changed their cans. the regular coke cans are pretty much identical to the diet coke cans. which makes them easily mistakable for each other. which is bad news. if say, corn syrup triggers migraines. or say, you're diabetic. which was my co-worker's complaint. fortunately, a single can of liquid sugar won't send him into a coma. still though. you gotta wonder. what the fuck were they thinking?
 
Saturday, December 24, 2011
  sugar plums
it's the night before christmas and i thought i'd share the visions dancing in my head. yesterday i mentioned i'm lusting to get an electric car. in fact, i'm lusting to get a tesla s. hey, why not? okay. let's see if it makes sense. hrm. my current car cost some $23k new. it's 6 years old and is worth $11k. according to kelly blue book's annoying web pages. so basically $2k/yr in depreciation. plus $70/mo for gas is $840/yr. let's call it a nice even $3k/yr for my current car. the tesla s is $50k new. in 6 years it'll be worth $26k. depreciation is $4k/yr and electricity from solar panels is $20/mo is $120/yr is nothing. so a tesla s as in sugar plum would cost me an additional $1000 per year. hrm. what the heck. it's christmas. i can hear the patter of tiny hoofs on my roof. away from the solar panels. to all a good night.
 
Friday, December 23, 2011
  ecar
has anyone noticed that electric car abbreviated ecar is race backwards? anywho, a buddy of mine just got a nissan leaf. and loves it! heh. i think most people would like their electric car if they had one. especially two car families that drive often. i want to get one too. let's run some numbers to see if it makes sense. i drive about 500 miles a month. this costs $70 or so. my margin rate for electricity is in the $.33/kwh range. an electric car will cost about 20 kwh per 100 km. gawds. that's an awful unit. notice that it's upside down from the normal miles per gallon. ie smaller is better. you want your car to use fewer kilowatt-hours to do its job. course i'd argue kwh/100km is right side up and mpg is upside down. but whatever. that's a different post. anywho, 500 miles is 800 kms is 8 total recharges is 160 kwh is $53 ballpark. so an electric car would save me $17/mo is $200/yr. wee. now, if electricity was $.13/kwh, the car would cost $20/mo. and save me $30/mo is $360/yr. still not a lot. but hey. that's an extra nice christmas present for everyone.
 
Thursday, December 22, 2011
  ebills
i'm always amazed to hear about how much electricity other people use. and what their electric bill is. let's start with us. we use less than 17 kwh per day. our bill is less than $60 per month. family of four, mostly incandescent or halogen lights, 40" tv, replay tv, dvd player, old fashioned nintendo, onlive, electric oven, 1000 watt computer and monitor that's on a lot, hot tub, wireless phones, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, assorted kitchen appliances. gas heater, gas cars, gas dryer. no air conditioning, no pool. most everything is on hard power switches. but it's not like we're really trying to keep electricity usage down. okay. so buddy of mine just got solar panels. lots of them. to bring his bill *down* to $50 per month. sheehs. another buddy of mine uses 3x as much juice. but pays 3x lower rate. so his bill is the same as mine. i'm really kinda baffled. i work from home most days. so what are americans using this electricity for? do they even know? is electricity just so free that people don't even think about how much they're using? heh. when utilities raise rates people bitch instead of cut back. weird. i guess bitching is easy than flipping a switch.
 
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
  darwin
so b and i were returning from piano recital. and we passed this bus. he honked his horn. and i see a lady striding in front of the bus into the street. headphones on. looking at her phone. she didn't react to the honk. sheehs. if we'd have been 2 seconds later, i'd have been cleaning ick off my car. there was no way we could see her. she was behind a bus. and before you ask, we were doing less than the speed limit. i got a ticket on that road some 20 years ago. to this day i still never speed one little iota on that stretch of road. sheehs, people. i don't care if you don't give a shit about yourself. but man. have some consideration for the people who have to live with the fact that they've killed you.
 
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
  java sucks
well not all of java. just the auto update feature on windows 7. or rather, the fail to auto update feature. heh. but only on windows 7 when you do the right thing and not run as administrator. i've taken to treating the auto-updater as an obnoxious notification that an update is available. but don't try to auto install it. just go here. and manually download and install the latest java. which is a good idea. cause java kinda sucks. and by that i mean it's got periodic security issues. which are admittedly rare. but when one is exploited and you lose control of your machine. that really sucks. really i'm just posting this so the solution is found when i google for it. heh. hello future me. past you was a really funny guy.
 
Monday, December 19, 2011
  tax data
i'm going to open the taxes are too high or too low can of worms one more time. apparently i like the smell of these particular worms. anywho, here is a paper by a couple of libtard professors at berkeley. they're analyzing who pays what. one of my pet peeves is that the percentile brackets are too small. the irs publishes data in quintiles. ie the 80% are lumped in with the 0.01%. which makes a lot of sense. cause everyone knows the guys who make $80k have the same lifestyle as the guys who make $80m. anywho, pikkety-saez use a more timmer rant friendly breakdown. there are the bottom 4 quintiles. the top quintile is broken into the top 0.01%, the top 0.1%, the top 0.5%, the top 1%, the top 5%, the top 10%, and the next 10%. each bin as i've listed them excludes the bins above them. this makes a whole lot of sense because the income graph is pretty hockey stick shaped. another of my pet peeves is only including income tax. sheehs. the web is full of idiots ranting about income tax being fair or unfair. income tax is some 42% of the government's revenue stream. pikkety-saez use total federal taxes. including social security and medicare. they even assigned corporate and other taxes to individuals based on ownership. clever. timmer approves of this. they also did something novel. the interesting numbers are on page 6, the right most columns. they calculated each bin's share of the income pie before and after total taxes. damn clever. the bottom groups see their share of the income pie grow by 20%. the top groups see theirs shrink by 20%. the crossover point is around 92%. in other words, 88% are paying less than their fair share. 4% are paying just about exactly their fair share. and 8% are paying more. which actually, looks pretty darn good. so maybe the conservicans are right. the rich are paying their fair share. heh. maybe. there are a couple of caveats here. the first is a nit. the pie is adjusted gross income. so it's after deductions. if you add this in, it makes things look slightly better for the rich. there's also no adjustment for living expenses. if this phd thesis were submitted to me, i'd have them calculate shares of disposable income before and after total taxes. this makes things look more than slightly worse for the rich. but not much. another caveat is this data is from 2004. ie before the economic implosions. this hit the bottom incomes way harder than it hit the top. so again another shift against the rich. a 20% swing sounds like a lot. but is truly? the guy who makes $8k gets a hefty lift to $10k. but he's still living in poverty. and the guy who makes $10m gets knocked down to $8m. who the fuck cares? he's still rich beyond most folks ability to dream. so no, 20% really isn't as big as it seems. but still, these are all small potatoes. the big problem is the tax loopholes. which corporations and wealthy individuals use to hide their income. and/or lobby for tax breaks. and/or subsidies. some estimates put lost federal revenue at $1 trillion. yeah that's trillion with a t. enough to balance the fucking budget without raising tax rates. gee, wouldn't that be nice? so yeah, the conservicans are half right. that tax brackets look pretty okay. as long as you don't look to closely at the income that isn't counted. ie the cheating. for lack of a better word. but in my book, half right is entirely wrong. a rocket that gets half way to the moon is a complete and total failure. so hrm. i'm thinking we should talk less about tax rates and more about closing loopholes and ending subsidies that benefit the few who don't need it at the expense of the many who don't need that shit either.
 
Sunday, December 18, 2011
  le 1%
link. nicely put. i couldn't do it better myself. even though i tried. repeatedly.
 
Saturday, December 17, 2011
  tv politics
it's not real surprising that your political bent influences which tv shows you watch. apparently i'm apolitical cause i don't watch much tv. link. there are two pages. our most watched show is mythbusters, a conservative favorite. also watch dirty jobs, which liberals hate. i also watched a bit of dexter. which conservatives hate. the remaining show titles i recognize but don't watch are more less evenly divided between liberal and conservative. but far and away the largest category is the shows i have no idea what they are. also more less evenly divided between liberal and conservative. my tv watching is a bit right of center. which agrees with the way i see my political position. even if others disagree.
 
Friday, December 16, 2011
  blaspieme
so the other day i woke up with a silly blasphemous piece of detritus in my head. what really happened to jesus' body? so the followers of christ show up at the empty grave. scratch their heads. and ask two nearby guys what happened to the body? at first they were like what body? cause they were nearly busted. and they had to come up with a story. and come up with it quick. uh... he got up. he rose from the dead?!? uh, yeah. he rose from the dead. where'd he go? uh... he flew away. straight up and out of sight. he ascended into heaven?!?! uh, yeah. he ascended into heaven. then the followers ran off singing praises to and about the lord. meanwhile the two guys turn back to their stew. this is delicious. what is it? shepherd's pie.
 
Thursday, December 15, 2011
  cog
i often wake up with random ideas in my head. the beautiful and talented alisa calls it detritus. obviously, she's not very fond of the phenomenon. i've learned to keep it to myself. anywho, this morning i woke up with possibly *the* most offensive ideas i've ever had. and that's saying something. if i've ever had a more disgusting idea i don't know what it might have been. no, really. i mean it. you should stop reading right now.

idiot. okay, i warned you. so at work i'm kicking around the idea of creating a demo game to really show off what the onlive service can do. but what? no clue. so that thought was floating around in my head along with yesterday's post. they mated and produced this horror. it's a game called children of gaza. it's a free download with high production values. it's based on documented real life events. you play an idf soldier. you get missions just like any other first person shooter. go kill bad guys. in this case the bad guys are palestinian children. you get extra points for head shots. and for knocking out eyes by shooting them at close range with tear gas canisters. and for using rubber coated steel bullets that maim instead of kill. bonus multipliers if you can get bodies to land on top of each other. you shoot one of a crowd. most others will run. some will freeze in terror. easy pickings. some will soil themselves. some that fled will come back to try to help their wounded friends. after the mission you have to file a report by checking boxes. at 0900 three () children () enemy combatants were encountered. they were () playing () armed. they were () fed () dispatched at no cost to the idf. if you file a truthful report you get thrown in jail, tried and convicted. you're given the option to apply for a pardon. which you get if you promise to never file another report like that again. when you get tired of that you can do the side mission of bulldozing ramshackle houses. extra points if there are people inside. more if they're children. high scores for each level are uploaded and posted for the world to see. along with the approximate location of the player's ip address. there'd be a world map showing local high scores. and a hall of fame for people with the psychopathology to actually play to finish. and a web site listing the "missions" that didn't make it into the game. there'd be yearly updates with the latest events. anywho. it was just a thought. i don't think i have the intestinal fortitude to make such a game. and how would i get anyone to test it? probably would have to skin the kids so they look like zombies or aliens. or get different testers to qa missions individually. i'm gonna be so rich. but not from this. this lessens us all. and uh *this* is not the game.
 
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
  ivp
a while ago a i did a cute history of viet nam. i thought it might be fun to do a cute history of israel and the palestine. i was wrong. i couldn't do it. i just couldn't. there's really nothing funny at all about what's going on there. now, i'm sure that 90% of israelis are wonderful human beings. as are 90% of palestinians. like exchange students would get along just fine. however, the remainder are just absolutely horrible. google it yourself if you don't believe me. try: palestinian children head shot. many people want to frame this as a good versus evil thing. but jesus, where's the good? as near as i can tell, it's evil verses evil. and we seem to be blind to the crimes committed by our choice of the "good" guys. it'd be like you came home from work to find me squatting in your house. and the cops won't do anything about it. so you move next door. and throw rocks in impotent rage. and i shoot at you with real bullets. you hide in a shed. so i knock it down. you shoot at me. i hold your brother hostage. and it's all somehow okay because long ago and far away someone killed a bunch of my friends and family. they'd have killed me too if i hadn't fled to this "empty" house.
 
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  eclipse
usually lunar eclipses are in the middle of the night. when righteous folks are sound asleep. the last one was early in the morning. and by last one i mean literally the last total lunar eclipse for 3 years. anywho, it was only about half an hour before we normally get up. the skies have been nice and clear recently. so it seemed reasonable we'd be able to see it. in theory, we could see the setting fully eclipsed moon and the rising sun at the same time. in practice, we live in suburbia surrounded by houses and trees and streetlights. didn't even get close to seeing both. still, it was kinda pretty. oddly, it feels warmer before dawn than after it. this is actually a real effect. when the sun comes up it heats the dew. which evaporates. which cools the air. wait. adding heat from the sun lowers the temperature? really? heh. yep. not crazy. temperature is the average kinetic energy of a large number of molecules. there's really quite a wide distribution of temperatures. some molecules are very slow and very cold. others are quite fast and hot. so anywho, the average temperature of the air and dew are the same. until the sun comes up. and heats the dew. the hottest water molecules leap off the grass and into the air. undergoing a phase transition. which takes energy. so they end up being on the cold side. science is my bitch. and sometimes makes me shiver.
 
Monday, December 12, 2011
  trouble box
cats and boxes are funny things. maru is a fat japanese internet cat who has to get in every box there is. we don't have a cat carrier. so we use boxes. the mighty huntress was sweet little cat. you'd pick her up and take her to the box. and she's say, i don't fit. she didn't fight or anything. but you'd try to put her in the box and all four paws would land squarely on the edges of the box. you'd try to turn her and twist her and trick her into the box. but every time she'd just casually point out, see? katz don't fit in box. trouble on the other hand, is perfectly compliant when it comes to being put in the box. under absolutely no circumstances is trouble going to *stay* in any box. it doesn't matter how tightly you seal up the box. or how sturdy it is, trouble will come launching out of the smallest gap. like a saturn 5. or superman. cat. one day, trouble needed to see the vet for some shots. we finally gave up trying to keep him in the box. so we just threw the box and the cat in the trunk. slammed it shut and off we went. you can keep trouble in a box if you hold all parts of the box shut. which is just long enough to walk from the car to the vets. and someone opens the door for you. it's usually pretty easy to find such a someone. don't even need to ring the doorbell. the cat bouncing around inside the box like a flubber volleyball is making sufficient racket to attract a fair bit of attention. so anywho. set the box down on the counter. trouble leaps out. sees the dog. freezes for a moment. back in the box! quick quick. out of the way! desperate cat's gotta get in the box. the nice safe warm dog free box. stupid cat. i guess the next time we need to take him to the vet we'll invite the neighbor's dog over for a short visit.
 
Sunday, December 11, 2011
  plagiarism
i stole this from fark. a principal was in the news recently. a 2nd grader called a teacher cute. and the principal called the cops. to file sexual harassment charges. wtf? the principal is now an ex-principal. 40 years of service with a spotless record. and one little mistake. surely that should count for something, right? ha! zero tolerance sure is one nasty bitch, eh?
 
Saturday, December 10, 2011
  fire
okay. suppose you're a boy scout out in the middle of the woods with nothing but your wits. and your flashlight. can you start a fire? heh. yeah okay. man v wild aside. i was looking at parabolic mirrors for a solar oven. and one website pointed out that it does the opposite of what a flashlight does. and light bulb. i realized i already had a parabolic mirror i could play with. so i grabbed some matches and some dry tinder and some newspaper and headed to the backyard. i disassembled the flashlight and stuck a match in the hole where the light bulb used to be. i originally thought that the plastic lens cover would generate higher temperatures. something about keeping the heat inside. and not letting the wind take it away. but no. nothing happened until i removed the plastic cover. then fwoosh! the match head lit. and the parabolic mirror was all covered in schmootz. apparently the plastic absorbs significant amounts of non-visible electromagnetic energy. at least enough to make the difference between smoke and fire. unfortunately, the match was the only thing that would actually light. we could char everything to ash. but it never actually caught. maybe if our boy scout had a really big flashlight he could have a fire too. otherwise, he's gonna be rubbing sticks.
 
Friday, December 09, 2011
  solar power
so in australia they're having problems with too much rooftop solar power. gee, there's a shock. consider your heart. it pumps the blood. the arteries near your heart are big. as the blood moves away from the heart, the arteries split into smaller and smaller arteries. until the blood gets to its destination in the capillaries. then the blood goes back in your veins. which merge to make ever larger veins until some really big veins are plugged into your heart. well. not exactly. but it suits my purposes. the power station is like your heart. it pumps electrons into wires. big wires near the station. the wires split into smaller and smaller wires. until the wires get to your house. now suppose you put solar panels on your roof. that's kinda like putting a tiny little heart in your fingertip. the idea is to reduce the amount of work your heart has to do. the little heart pumps the blood for the fingertip. and your hand if it's got the extra power. wait. so the blood would flow upstream? well yeah the analogy breaks down here. but let's go with it just a bit more. electricity is like pressure. so we're imagining your cells run on blood pressure instead of the chemicals in the blood. the problem is, the tiny little veins and arteries aren't designed to handle the extra pressure when the fingertip hearts are running. you get too much pressure. so the hearts have to shut down. that's the problem they're seeing in australia. the rooftop solar panels are generating more power than is safe to put into the wires. there's not enough local load. so the panels have to shut themselves down to keep from creating an overvoltage situation. which is kinda sub optimal. it's even worse. there's no coordination from the central power station. they kinda go offline whenever they want. and sometimes they get synced up. like fireflies at night. so the voltage goes too high. the panels trip. and voltage goes too low. so they all click back on again. and round we go. one solution would be to upgrade the wires. but that would be expensive. another solution would be to allow only what the user is likely to consume. another proposal would be to put "your" solar panels on a big farm somewhere. a farm that's connected to big wires. connected to smaller wires. connected to smaller wires. connected to the little wires connected to your house.
 
Thursday, December 08, 2011
  spacecraft
pioneers 10 and 11 are not where they're supposed to be. or more precisely, they're exactly where they're supposed to be. they're just not where we think they're supposed to be. well, we kinda lost contact with them. so we really have no idea where they are now. exactly. but we have pretty good data on where they were. and they didn't go where we thought they should have gone. they slowed down a little faster than expected. maybe they were just homesick. and didn't want to leave home. ;-> okay. the most reasonable proposal is the heat from its power source was asymmetrically radiated away. which provided a very tiny force pointed mostly towards the sun. the pioneers are rotationally stabilized. that means their ass end is pointed directly at us and they're spinning around and around and around. so it doesn't really matter which direction the radiation asymmetry points. over one rotation it'll be averaged to point either directly towards or directly away from the sun. heh. hey! seems like we should take advantage of this effect to give our spacecraft a little extra push. instead of creating drag. heh. hrm. someone should patent this idea. oh yeah. i'm gonna be so rich.
 
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
  spanking 2
got more to say about spanking. my way of parenting is best. obviously. on the other hand some parents are horrible. and their life (and mine) would be improved if spanking their kid were allowed. case in point. we were at the airport. and there's this fat little girl throwing a screaming tantrum. and it went on and on and on. and the parents were doing token things to get her to calm down. and more than one person at the gate was thinking, swat the brat. she was way too old for this kind if misbehavior. finally she calmed down. and 2 minutes later, she gets a cookie. fuck. she only threw the temper tantrum to get the cookie. she didn't know any better. it's how her stupid parents trained her. i blame them for the over the top unpleasantness in an already unpleasant activity. sheehs. these parents are too stupid to realize they're rewarding bad behavior. and really, you gotta admit, in this case, the spanking technique would be superior. the kid certainly isn't well served by this false association. neither are its teachers. nor neighbors. nor society. nor fellow travelers.
 
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
  spanking
i see that spanking is in the news again. or rather, anti-spanking. and yes. i totally agree that the right way to raise a kid is first and foremost by being a good example. and secondly by rewarding good behavior and punishing bad non-corporally. ideally by simply withholding reward. one assumes this is how god raised jesus. but to say that a swat on the backside is always bad is pretty myopic. kids are stupid. they spend a lot of time in la la land, not connected to reality. and reality doesn't read the parenting magazines. it doesn't fear legal repercussions caused by a well meaning busy body neighbor. reality will smack your kid up side the head with a bus if it feels like it. sometimes you need compliance from your kid immediately. you don't have time to wait for them to get it. even if you have the patience. imo the swat can't be the primary method. and you still have to do it the right way after whatever emergency passes. ie you have to invest the patience and the time to talk to the kid about why they got a swat. and how things could have gone much better with different behavior. blah blah blah.
 
Monday, December 05, 2011
  lame
heh. a month ago i was a month ahead on posts. today i'm throwing down whatever.
 
Sunday, December 04, 2011
  depression 2
following up on yesterday's post, we can make a few predictions for the future. let me dust off my crystal ball. okay, ready. assuming peak oil is now, the stock market will crash sometime around 2020. and that will be the start of the next great depression. my kids will be 20 years old and looking for their first real jobs. great. assume we're going to switch to solar power. and we need a terawatt up and running before the depression ends. assuming the solar power industry continues to grow faster than any industry in the history of the world, it will still take 40 years to catch up to the current level of oil production. so we're looking at the end of the next great depression sometime around 2050. my kids will be my age. good grief. it's slightly better, because we can use coal until solar comes online. it's slightly worse, because solar isn't as good as oil. at least not as a transportation fuel. which means everyone will need to stay home and play video games. heh. i'm gonna be so rich.
 
Saturday, December 03, 2011
  peak coal
a hundred years ago the world ran on coal. peak coal in the united states was around 1920. 10 years later, the stock market crashed. as did the economy. the great depression lasted for 10 years. some people say fdr rescued us with the new deal. fooey. it was oil. oil production during the great depression doubled. the depression didn't end until we were using more oil and natural gas than coal. so think about that for a moment. after peak coal, the economy crashed and didn't recover until we switched to a new source of energy. so here we are at peak oil. the economy is going to crash and not recover until we switch to a new source of energy. so what the hell are we waiting for? we need to build solar farms and nuclear plants as fast as we can. starting right now. we *really* want to be the first country to recover from the next great depression.
 
Friday, December 02, 2011
  taxes
common knowledge holds that california is a high tax state. and it is. and it isn't. the *average* tax rate is the second highest in the nation. the *median* tax rate is the ninth *lowest*. strange but true. i recently had this discussion with my mother. she currently lives in pennsylvania. there they have a 3% flat income tax with no deductions and 10%(!) property taxes and 6% sales tax. mom's monthly outgo looks like this: $1000 property taxes, $800 mortgage, $300 utilities, $250 car, $150 meds, $150 food, $100 gas = $2850. her monthly ingo from social security and her minimum wage part time job is $1100. she has no savings. so she's going into debt by $1750 every month. but she can't afford to move to california where her children and grandchildren live because the taxes are too damn high! okay. let's take a look at that one. california has progressive income taxes. she'd be in the 0% bracket. property taxes are 1-2% on house values inflated by 2-3x. and 7.25% sales tax. wee. seems like a big win on property and income tax fronts. a person with no disposable income doesn't buy things subject to sales tax. so that one's irrelevant. sigh.
 
Thursday, December 01, 2011
  without hot air
this is a delightful read by a nice british chap. suppose the uk wanted to go green. what would it take? heh. the spoiler is, a lot. a whole lot. he cracks a few jokes. but for the most part there's lots of arithmetic. which will make it seem pretty dry to most yanks. to be fair the guy does work for the ipcc. to be fairer the guy wrote this online book thing before going to work for the ipcc. the whole 300 wonderful pages are a thought experiment. several actually. so it appeals to me greatly. the numbers lead us to a some inevitable conclusions. which are going to be rather unpopular. even for the greens. perhaps especially for the greens. at one point the author quips about getting the anti-nuclear crowd to get the anti-wind crowd to shut up. or maybe it was the other way around. the good news is, if for some reason the oil faucet was turned off, we could adapt and not just survive but thrive. life will be quite different of course. and it'll be a lot of work to change over. but it's on a par with some of the herculean tasks we've already accomplished. like the moon shot. which was way cool. course the level of pressure will go from a friendly, race the ruskies, to more and more people will be cold and hungry until you succeed.
 
most every day i wander the corridors of my mind and open a door at random.

blogs of friends
bad astronomy
freedom to tinker
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indexed
order of the stick
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exploding unicorn
flyingvan
phil's
ratface's
rob's
some ex-intern's
tina's
hyperbole and a half

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