Card Check

Continuing on the topic of unions, check out this anti-card-check ad I saw on tv the other day. Well done!

Unions - Still Classy

Check out the flier I was handed today on the streets of Brookline:

A local electrical worker's union was handing it out. Beth Israel is a fine hospital, and the tactic here is pretty underhanded. The back of the flier is a list of doctors at the hospital who have paid malpractice claims. This has nothing to do with hiring non-union electricians of course. It's just an intimidation/retribution tactic. The mad scientist picture is a nice touch.

It would be amusing if Beth Israel put out a flier of its own. Perhaps it could get a list of union members, and cross reference to public records for arrests and criminal convictions. Statistically, there are bound to be a few hits. "Is your electical contractor hiring criminals? Are there criminals in your living room? Or in your childrens' bedrooms!?!?"

Family History

Found this on the net (a pdf file about the history of Portage Wisconsin)..
.That's my great-grandfather August. Futher proof that everything is out on the net now.


Continuing from the post below, here's a graphic showing the total area of all the pavement in the USA. It's the red box in Texas, about 200mi on a side, likely an overestimate. Well, I think it's interesting. Does it seem like a lot to you, or not as much as you thought?

Solar Powered Reality

A message from my sister:

Steven Den Beste ran the numbers a few years ago on the absolute maximum amount of energy you can get from terrestrial solar harvesting. He looked at a simple fact: the amount of solar energy that hits a square meter in Albuquerque.
Assuming 100% efficiency (ha ha ha--a scientific impossibility) of the solar harvester, it would take an area of 89 square miles of solar panels to supply California with enough energy to merely replace its use of gasoline (based on 1998 data)--he did not calculate our current electrical or other energy usage. Assuming gas amounts to about half of our energy consumption, and assuming a 33% energy efficiency, you'd have to cover an area approximately 21 miles by 25 miles with solar panels to make up for California's energy needs.

525 sq miles, just for sunny California.

You can do all the nanotech and science experiments you want, but in the end, you can't make the sun send more energy down to the earth.

Indeed! Let's add a bit more perspective. According to the CIA, the USA has 4,165,110 km of paved roadway. Let's assume that the average width of a roadway is 50 feet, just a guess. Suppose that instead of paving all those streets, roads, highways and expressways we paved a big square in the middle of the desert. How big on a side would that square be?

sqrt(4165110 * 5/8*5280*50)/5280 = 157.0078
That square would only be 157 miles on a side. Think how much effort it took to pave that much. Think about how much effort it would be to cover that area with solar panels.

Green and Nanotech

I agree for the most part with Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) in his article "Green and Smart." Developing energy sources other than fossil fuels is a good idea, whether or not Global Warming is a threat. I think he undersells the potential of nuclear though, and oversells solar. Also, what is the reason for Instapundit's endless fascination with nanotechnology? I'll be more excited about nanotech when it actually exists. Ok, perhaps that's a bit harsh, but nanotech is mostly hype at this point. Even Wikipedia agrees.

Angry Renter

Sums it up nicely. Here's the Angry Renter Website.

World's Oldest Tree

I can't imagine standing there in the middle of nowhere for 10,000 years. I'm reminded of the opening of T.S Eliot's "The Wasteland"

And I saw with my own eyes the Cumaean Sybil herself, hanging in a bottle, and when the little boy asked her, 'Sybil, what do you want?' she answered 'I want to die' – Petronius The Satyricon

The gods granted Sybil eternal life, but she continued to age. Eventually she was so shriveled up they kept her in a bottle. Be careful what you wish for.

Global Warming and the Third World

Here is an excellent article on Global Warming and the Third World:

In other words, even if the most dire predictions about global warming come true, some of the poorest people in the world may still be better off tomorrow if they are able to enjoy some of the fruits of development, such as education, health care, electricity, etc.

The author is too kind. People here are concerned about the environment and global warming because they can afford to be. I'm tired of sanctimony from people who carry around a $3 bottle of designer water and buy $7/gal milk at Whole Foods.

WWII and Global Warming

Just after that last post, I saw this floating around the blogosphere. They really do think today's situation is more serious than WWII. Check this Time cover. As they say, "you can't make this stuff up."

Mankind's Darkest Hour

The Climate Change people are getting more and more desperate to be taken seriously. You can tell because their claims are getting more and more ridiculous. Check out the caption of Leonardo DiCaprio's upcoming movie. This is apparently "Mankind's Darkest Hour." Perhaps you hadn't noticed. Black Plague? That was nothing compared to today's situation. World War two? A relative picnic in the park.

It's difficult for me to believe this sort of approach is helping their cause.

The Truth Hurts

CNN Apologizes After Commentator Calls China a 'Bunch of Goons and Thugs'

The commentator says he didn't mean all Chinese, just the leadership. Seems obvious to me. I'm not sure what CNN thinks it needs to apologize for.

John McCain

I don't like his policies. His demeanor disturbs me. Of course, I respect his service to his country during the Vietnam War. But that doesn't mean I want him as my President. Come November, voting for him will be a tough pill to swallow, and I'm seriously considering sitting it out. What is it that sticks in my craw? The usual conservative complaints:

  1. McCain-Feingold. Hands down the biggest assault on our first-amendment right to free speech in modern history. Not only that, but it's been an unqualified failure in terms of what it set out to do, i.e. limit the influence of big money in politics.
  2. McCain-Kennedy. Another potential disaster, narrowly avoided. Is it too much to ask that we favor the immigrants and H1-visa holders who are here legally over those who are not? Is it too much to ask that we have an immigration policy that is generally fair to nationals of all countries, giving them an equal chance to emmigrate to the US?
  3. The lastest potential disaster is McCain's support of a journalist shield law. I agree with Instapundit in his analysis. I find the whole idea disturbing.
  4. His support of a housing bailout.
  5. His yammering on about "excessive CEO pay." As if it is the role of a president or senator to decide how much a company chooses to pay its officers. Yeeesh!

Then there is McCain's nuttery (vaccines cause autism???), and reported temper problems.... the bottom line being that I just don't trust him. Without some sort of unifying philosophy, you really have no clue what he is going to do one issue to the next.

Food Riots

The push to use ethanol as a fuel in our cars has begun to have serious repercussions. Who didn't see this coming? The Environmentalists have framed the Global Warming situation is such life-and-death terms that we have forgotten the importance of a *real* threat to life, i.e. adequate food production. Now riots have sprung up around the globe as food shortages push up prices. The morality of (what amounts to) burning food in our cars escapes me. Did the Environmentalists really think the world would love us for burning less fossil fuels? Idiots.

In fairness, much of the blame here has to be put on agri-business lobbies and Senators and Congressmen from farm states. Shame on them, and on us for allowing it to happen.

I also put some blame on the community of economists. Just what are they good for anyway? Is it too much to ask that they point out what should be obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of economics?

Lazy Me

I've been away for some time. The main reason was a major change in my life, i.e. the birth of my daughter Shivani at the start of the year. It's been a wonderful experience! Baby and Mom are doing fine. Shivani is a joy and changing every day. It's truly an amazing thing to watch.