a 17 year old girl spent a night in jail for missing school. apparently she works a full time job and a part time job cause her parents divorced and split leaving her to support her older brother and younger sister. she lives with one of her employers. her brother is off at college. her sister lives with someone else. hrm. something's fishy here. keep digging. there's more to this story than has surfaced yet. some internetties are screaming for the parents to be thrown in jail. parents? maybe someone should look at the holders of the contract for this indentured servant. child labor laws for starters.
b made his mother's day. he made a chocolate ice cream cake. with home made ice cream. sheehs. he worked all weekend on the thing. it was pretty good. it's nearly gone already. the rest of use were conveniently out of the house watching g play in a memorial day baseball tournament. i got her a radio. and an autographed copy of a william gibson book for $3 at the library. score and double score! now, if only we could get her over this stupid never ending cold.
we can't ban gay marriage. here's why. p is for penis. as per yesterday's post. p is also the symbol for proton. of which there are some 10^36 kg of them in the sun. the typical p hangs out for a billion years or so until it smacks into a like minded p in just the right way. and poof! they're joined together for probably the rest of eternity. course a helium-2 nucleus is pretty darn unstable. so they're only p-p for a very brief time. they eject a positron and now they're a deuterium nucleus. it really doesn't make sense to say which proton becomes the neutron. they're identical. so all you can say is two p's go in, one p one n come out. and a whole lot of energy. some tiny fraction of which finds its way to earth. warming it enough for ugly bags of mostly water to do amazing things like read or write this post. or debate whether marriage unions of two ugly bags of mostly water should be legally recognized when both bags have penises. course, unions of such nature are going to occur whether it's legal or not. so the debate is sorta moot. which is a good thing. cause if we did have and exercised the power to ban all p-p unions, fusion in the sun would stop. and we'd all freeze to death. the straight as well as the queer.
the letter p
has anyone ever noticed the letter p kinda sorta looks like a penis? and that the word penis starts with p. it makes one wonder, which came first - the letter or the word? curious minds want to know.
to the beautiful and talented alisa.
is day two of a three day baseball tournament. g's team played well last night. hopefully they can play just well today. twice. go sluggers! they have red shirts. the coaches have orange shirts. everyone has red caps. it's horribly uncomfortable to the eyeballs. ah well. after this i just won't wear them together.
no post today. swamped with work.
far and away the best way to view the eclipse is to surf the internet. there are some absolutely fantastic pictures out there. we discovered the second best way kinda by accident. long ago we replaced the single pane windows in the house with energy efficient double pane windows. it turns out the glass is only like 99% transparent. and 1% reflective. so when the sun hits the second pane, 1% is reflected back towards the first pane. 0.01% is reflected back to the second pane. most of which is reflected back towards the sun. and the observer in this case. the sun was far enough from perpendicular to the window that one could see several images of the sun. by carefully positioning oneself, the too-bright images would be out of view. and the just-right image would be at the edge of the window. was a pretty cool accidental discovery.
we thought about turning the boys room into a large pinhole camera. their window faces west. the setting sun shines right in. probably would have projected an image 3-4 cm in diameter. could have made the room pretty dark. which would have made a lovely image. however, we discovered the orange tree in the back yard imaged the crescent pretty well. most of the back wall was shaded. there were a few hundred spots where tiny points of light peeked through. normally they're just round spots. but during a solar eclipse they're a wall full of crescents. i think we have pictures. most with the flash off. duh.
yesterday's eclipse was pretty cool. it was like twilight showed up a few hours early. b made an eclipse viewer out of a plastic cup with a pinhole and a white piece of paper. i made one out of a long cardboard roll from long ago used and re-used wrapping paper. the image was pretty faint. so i put the screen inside a box to minimize the amount of ambient light and maximize contrast. it worked. i added a black garbage bag to block the remaining light. but it turns out that black garbage bags aren't very opaque at all. weird. anywho. it was good enough to show the sun was a tiny crescent. no ring of fire for us. we would have had to go a few hundred miles north to see that. ah well. maybe next may we'll find ourselves on a tropical island in the middle of the pacific. or in africa in november. or both. wouldn't that be nice?
or i will blot out the sun! it's eclipse time. we've got plans. party with friends in the city. and look at the cool pictures the professionals and "amateurs" took. twilight is my favorite time of day. so maybe we'll get an extra four and a half minutes of twilight today.
i posted a while about about using juvenile blood plasma to keep people young. apparently i've been playing too much plants versus zombies lately. and my brain put two and two together. suppose juvenile blood plasma isn't exactly the mythical fountain of youth. but is some twisted horror. yeah, you live a long time. but with grey skin, stinky flesh, limited ability to speak, etc. ie as a zombie.
we have a chalkboard in the kitchen. it's a convenient place to leave a note for the person going grocery shopping. how are they supposed to know that i ate the last of the ruffles? or am down to the last unit of frozen orange juice. so the other day b put vice cream on the list. not sure exactly what vice cream is. but it sounds kinda naughty. he's a teenager now. should i be worried? do we need to have a little talk?
i read an article recently that very clearly illustrates what's wrong with our political process. it was a nice feel good piece about this virtually unknown rancher winning the gop nomination in nebraska. that's nice. but what are her positions on issues? is she a teabagger? did she sign the norquist pledge to not tax anyone with anything worth taxing? is she one of the pragmatic republicans who made mitt-le of the road obama clone their presumptive nominee? gee, i'd really like to know. how hard would it have been to have included one lousy line with that information? or do people really just not care? and the only thing that's important is that she's not the incumbent. sigh.
when i started composing this post (composting? hrm) in my mind, obama hadn't been shoved off the gay marriage fence. nicely played biden. up until then obama and romney were pretty much indistinguishable. it's strange. with the rise of the tea party and all the noise the far right has been making, the rank and file republicans chose the candidate to represent them that's most like obama. would they vote for obama if he was a republican instead of a democrat? hrm. or is this a pragmatic choice? ie the best chance to put anyone other than obama in the white house. in my book, romney has a pretty okay record in massachusetts. however, bain capital terrifies me. they buy companies with good credit, cook the books, pump up the debt, pay themselves, and flip for a quick and massive profit. which would be a horrific thing to happen to the country. obama inherited a mess. when the previous coach builds a run and shoot strategy, you're pretty much stuck with it until you can remake the team. kinda like the second iraq war and the tarp program. we have to get spending under control. it'll be interesting to see what happens this summer when the bill from last summer's shutdown avoidance agreement comes due. will the automatic cuts to defense and social programs kick in? or will we be able to negotiate spending cuts that are a bit more nuanced? i'd prefer the latter. though the current political climate is non-conducive. currently, i'm leaning towards giving the guy a chance to call his own plays. and away from the worst possible scenario of massive plundering of our remaining credit by rich guys.
i found another dead squirrel in the yard. this makes what? 4? 5? a whole bunch. the cats might have dragged it here. but they didn't kill it. it died by noose. there was a loop of wire wrapped around its middle. apparently someone in our neighborhood is snaring squirrels. i'm pretty neutral about killing rodents. however, the corpses are ending up in my yard. and they can get pretty smelly before the next trash pickup day. i should find out who does have a problem with rodents. and leave the corpses for them to dispose of.
so what is the real value of owning the money printing presses? the dividend is by law 6%. but you get to keep the interest earned on the printed money before you have to turn it over. so like 10%? cause these are some of the savviest investors in the world right? heh. hang on. by the magic of fractional lending, when i print $100, i can loan $90 to you to buy a lemonade stand. the previous owner deposits $90 in my bank. of which i can loan $81 to buy a strawberry stand. the previous owner deposits the $81 in my bank. which i can loan out again and again and again. you can see where this is going. i'm collecting interest on nearly 10x the $100 i originally printed. so yeah i'm only making say 4% on each individual loan. and yeah, that's after the crap interest rate i pay you for your money. that 4% becomes 40% after the magic of fractional lending. neat huh? so the total return on printing money is 46%. even with the 94% tax rate. applying yesterday's argument, the people who own the printing press control 46% of the nation's wealth. so let me ask yesterday's question again. having a stable economy is a valuable thing. but is it worth nearly half of everything you own? so tell me again, why the fuck are we paying people to print money? put the job of the federal reserve up for auction. i bet we can get someone to pay the federal government $1.20 for every $1 they print.
suppose you and i own the federal reserve bank and control how much money gets printed each year. how much do we print? for the purposes of explanation, let's assume the return on printing money is limited to the 6% dividend discussed in yesterday's post. if we control less than 6% of the world's wealth, we print as much money as possible. it doesn't take very long until we own 6% of the world's wealth. if we own more than 6% then we don't print any money at all. the rest of the world works and builds and creates stuff. stuff with value. that we buy for dollars. eventually they whittle our share of wealth down to below 6%. at which point we start up the presses. the economy is stable. which is a valuable thing. is it worth giving up 6% of everything to an elite few who do nothing? apparently it is. but we should be thinking about it.
what's the highest tax rate in the us? hint: it's not 38%. it's 94%. i guess i should have asked, what's the highest "tax" rate. note the quotes. cause this particular tax isn't called a tax. though it's functionally equivalent. i explain. it may be a bit of a surprise to people, but the us government doesn't actually print money. neither literally print money nor less literally by editing its bank accounts. printing money is the job of the federal reserve. and they do both literally print money and edit bank accounts. at the end of the year, the federal reserve turns over the profits from all the money it printed. except for a guaranteed 6% dividend. which is sort of the federal-reserve-as-business way of looking at things. the other perspective is to call it a tax on profits made from the business of printing money. now, the federal reserve is composed of all of the wealthiest people in the world. seems like we could raise taxes on them to say 99% and they'd still be the wealthiest people in the world. the result would be a shift in wealth from the wealthiest elite to everyone else. and the norquist crowd shouldn't have a problem with it. cause after all, it's a cut to dividends, not a tax.
i've always kinda liked the governator. he's got some pretty good things to say about about the current state of the republican party here
why do homeless cats get better medical care than homeless people? steven king suggested an answer in the same rant i cited a few posts ago. it's because places like the humane society are funded by the donations of rich folks. whereas homeless shelters for people are paid for by tax dollars. i make fun of people who bitch about problems then fail to propose a solution. so how would one rid the world of this unjust inequality? well, the eat less and exercise more solution would be to raise taxes on people rich enough to donate amounts that pay for buildings. but nobody likes that type of solution. so maybe we make complicated rules about matching donations. or pro-rate the donation tax credit based on benefit to human beings. or we go the other way. cut taxes on people who donate buildings for cats so they have enough money to donate buildings for people too. course what'll really happen is the homeless folks will die. but then homeless cats will have plenty to eat.
a fairly moderate think tank recently published a think on the dysfunctionality of congress. it hasn't been this dysfunctional since the civil war. they blame the republicans. if you'll recall from american history class, during civil war times, the ruling class in the south owned everything. including people. and were willing to go to war with their brothers to keep everything they owned. including people. and they went to war. and lost everything. literally. sherman burned it. wounds which took a long long time to heal. almost as long as it took for the ruling class to get the message that the phrase, all men are created equal, applies to all human beings regardless of race or gender. does the republican party really want to go to war on behalf of the new ruling class because they don't want to pay taxes?
rich people would rather dip their dicks in lighter fluid, strike a match, and sing disco inferno than pay an extra cent in taxes. quite an image eh? amazing what one can do with words. they're not mine. i don't even pretend i can write something like that. they're steven king's words. he's another of those people who went from small time to big time. and knows from first hand experience how screwed the bottom half is and how pandered the top is when it comes to the tax burden. cut a check and shut up, is the response. well he won't. and neither will i. shut up that is. society's moral compass is all turned about. the rich guy is worshiped as the hard working job creator. and the workers are reviled as lazy good for nothings. i don't get it. why are people buying into this bullshit? why aren't we punching the faces of the people who mouth this garbage? it's sad that our civilization is falling for this crap.
a while ago i read a nice feel good piece about corporate raiders. apparently, they do really good things for the companies they acquire and flip for a profit. and maybe they do. at least some of the times. it sounded like the taken over company really was doing some things inefficiently. which were fixed. there were a few anomalies though. some of the employees went through the acquisition and efficiency process several times. and i'm thinking, why would that be necessary? as the article was winding down, the author noted that some of the efficiency things they put in place were already starting to slip. and some weren't. like the broom hanging in the spot clearly designated for the broom. i'm thinking, the things that impacted the employee's lives stayed improved longer. like no one wants to go hunting for the damn broom. but the things that benefit the bottom line, the employees didn't care. they only care about their paycheck. so apparently, the fundamental issues weren't addressed. it was a shine job. buy something cheap. shine it up so it looks all pretty. sell it for a profit. repeat when the shine wears off in a few years.
there's a study recently that associates local surface warming with windmills. that's an interesting result. and i can't wait for further research to come along and explain it. until then we can't realistically draw any conclusions. yes, science is boring. hype is exciting. and newsworthy. which is why you've probably already seen headlines like, windmills cause global warming. the leap from local surface warming to global warming is quite large. and while, it may be true, at this point is seriously unjustified. i can think of a few scenarios where it's just flat out wrong. first, sometimes a layer of warm air gets trapped between layers of cold air. windmills tend to mix the air downwind from them. this mixing might free the previously trapped warm air to move both up and down. the net result would be warmer surface temperatures and global cooling. second, wind speed is reduced downwind from a windmill. which may result in less evaporation of surface water. water vapor is a green house gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide. less greenhouse gas means less warming. that's just off the top of my head. i could be completely wrong. we are in the guessing stage. that's what makes it so interesting. to me if not the media consuming crowd. further study required.
game of prons
we got season 1 of the game of thrones from netflix. sheehs. what's with all the gratuitous titties? i mean, i like the jiggly bits as much as the next guy. but sheehs. is this pornography or literature? the beautiful and talented alisa won't watch it any more. not because of the nudity. but because of the overt objectivication of women. i assured her it gets better. heh. specifically, season two episode five. the online review starts with, no nudity! their exclamation point. not mine. seriously, i'd rather the industry put more resources towards shows like mash and firefly.
the boys went camping with the boy scouts. i think they had fun. even though it was a long drive. and they didn't get as much signed off as at least one of them would have liked. the best part was the beautiful and talented alisa was all mine for a whole weekend. we went for a hike. went to a girl movie. had a really nice dinner at da mario's. and did some gardening. and yeah i know that part doesn't sound like the ultimate date. but it worked out pretty darn well. am looking forward to the next camping outing.
by some creative accounting, apple paid the "horrifically" low tax rate of 10%. big deal. 10% isn't even low. -10% would be low. that's negative 10%. yeah. wrap your head around that one. i'd like a negative 10% tax rate please. so every time i make a house worth of profit, the government gives me a car. cause i'm such a great job creator. or something. in order for that to make sense, my product would have to be something we never want to have shortages of. like food. 49 or so of the fortune 500 companies get more in subsidies than they pay in taxes. and they don't grow food. they pump foreign oil and foreclose on homes. profitably. even without the subsidies, they'd still be the most profitable companies in the world. negative tax rate is really good work if you can get it.
this is old news. but it still gets mishashed around. so i'm gonna go over it here. when is oil not oil? answer when it's shale oil. shale oil is a black rock, like coal. it's mined with shovels, like coal. it's shipped in dump trucks, like coal. it's burned in a furnace, like coal. for all practical purposes, it *is* coal. so why is it called shale *oil*? i have no idea. apparently the term has been around for 100 years. so it's not a new conspiracy aimed at cooking our books or misleading people. though it's really good at the latter. some folks are making political hay out of the claim that we have more oil than saudi arabia and only the government's job killing regulations stand in the way of that free energy. heh. we have more "oil" than saudi arabia. and in case the quotes are too subtle for you, we have more coal than saudi arabia has oil. we have more apples than they have oranges. get the pictures? good. and it's not even good coal. it's mostly rock. which doesn't burn very well at all. the laws standing in the way are economic and thermodynamic. politicians can repeal them if they want. but the market and the physics well just ignore puny hubris man.
it's hot. how hot exactly? don't know. the fence between our house and our neighbor's house was repaired recently because it was falling down. the thermometer was removed from the old fence. the plastic covering the round dial-like face of the thermometer was yellowed to the point where i couldn't read the numbers. which made the thing kinda useless as a scientific instrument. so anywho, i cut the bottom out of a jumbo sized peanut butter jar. with a little trimming, i was able to jam the nice clear plastic into place. kinda like making a contact lens for a giant squid. b mounted it on the new fence. and now we know exactly what we knew before. it's hot.