Headline of the day

Stoned Wallabies creating crop circles

Subhead: Wallabies have been creating crop circles in Australia after getting as "high as a kite" from eating legally grown opium poppy fields.

Big Change Ahead

I haven't been blogging lately. Thanks to my sister for keeping it going around here. I hope to get back to it soon, but for now I am busy with some major changes in my life.

Currently, in my Brookline apartment, there is only a suitcase, an inflatable bed, a baby and me!

Obama celebrates France!

I hate listening to presidents speak, but I was walking past the TV during Obama's press conference and caught this bit:
We all know why this is so important. The nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century's global economy.
Considering there is really only one country currently leading the way in the creation of clean energy, and only one country which looks like it will continue in the lead for decades to come, and one country that is really far beyond any other in the creation of clean energy--because only one country has gotten past any nuclear squeemishness, Obama is obviously hailing the great nation of France! Tune up the Marine band and break out La Marseillaise.

Not all bookstores are created equal

A kids book came out today (Roscoe Riley #6: Never Walk In Shoes That Talk), and I walked over (in non-talking shoes) to Borders over my lunch hour to buy it for my nephew. But Borders didn't have it. According to a store employee, it wasn't due into the store until July 1.

Hmmm, I said, I guess I'll just have to Kindle it, because Amazon has it. That made him go check a second time and still said July 1.

When I got back to work, I double checked the websites: Amazon release date-June 23, Barnes Ignoble release date-June 23, Borders release date-July 1.

Huh? I thought when a book came out, that stores all got it the same day. Apparently, this doesn't apply to Borders.

I ended up both getting it on the Kindle and then picking up a copy this evening at a Barnes Ignoble.

P.S. This is the 501st post on this blog!

Fundamentally incompatible

Good grief, from Drudge:

Robust growth? You've got to be kidding me.

There will be no robust growth. Not when every minute of every day that the Congress is in session, bad ideas keep popping up to destroy, kill, and eliminate any possibility of growth.

Why would you create (or grow) a business, take the risk, dedicate 100 hours a week of blood and sweat, and the remaining 68 hours of the week to sleepless nights, if the government is claiming the right to come in and nationalize it? Sure, they're just talking about the "too big to fail" companies now, but down the line? When you hope to be a not-small company owner?

And what business person in their right mind, faced with this kind of political hurricane--not to mention Sarbanes-Oxley--would take their company public in this atmosphere? And why, if you are a company with 49 employees would you ever consider adding #50, when half of these new regulations and requirements kick in at the 50-employee level?

And how in the world did we get to the point where "nationalize" is a part of the American political world? South American I could believe, Central American sure, but US-American?

The end is nigh

I've mentioned before (and here) that I believe the next big bubble to burst--and one completely deserving of that bust--is college education.

Here's another article which gets to the heart of the reason why this one is ripe for poppin':
[ By Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association ] Here are some hard facts most colleges will never tell you and most parents could not tolerate hearing. The general requirements of the first two years at most colleges are what high school should have been. That is what junior should have learned had he not been busy getting high, getting drunk, and being socially promoted.

Better high schools frequently use the same textbooks for the mandatory requirements that are used in the first two years of college. If a high school draws from the upper end of the socioeconomic scale, the courses will be more demanding than the first two years of most colleges.

[...] My neighbor’s daughter was valedictorian of her class at an elite, private high school. She enrolled in engineering only to find that there were lots of valedictorians. School was demanding. At the computer center in the middle of the night, she could find her classmates designing programs or doing homework.

In contrast, a hundred yards away on the liberal arts campus, a valedictorian would have been as rare as a student who didn’t download a term paper from the Internet. Here most students were seeking majors that put no premium on analytical skills or cumulative knowledge. The equivalent of writing computer programs as a hobby would have been reading a good newspaper or journal of opinion. But few of these students read anything, including the class assignments.
The author's recommendation: If your kid is studying something real, like math, science or engineering, don't worry. If they're studying fluff, send your kids to community college for the first two years, then, if they get through that, transfer to a 4-year. That saves money, and makes sure that the kids who will never graduate anyway don't spend 4 years and $100,000 partying.

And, if that doesn't work out, here's more good advice from the author: buy the kid a franchise with the money you would have spent on college. Set them up in business and a career. It is far more cost-effective and a better learning experience than anything they could get in college.

My bottom line: college isn't worth the money anymore. All it is a 4 years of partying with a little social networking thrown in, and thrown up upon.

Cross posted at Square Dots.

Law of unintented consequences

I love this perfect illustration of the law of unintended consequences:
50% of the children hit by cars near schools are hit by cars driven by parents dropping off THEIR children because they’re afraid of THEM being hit by cars. So if everyone just quit driving their kids to school, we’d already see a 50% drop in injuries!

Lock Bumping

Wow. After all these years someone has come up with a new (?) and spectaculary effective (?) way to pick a standard Yale-type lock. It's called "Lock Bumping" You can see how effective it is in the last 15 seconds of the first video on this page. Wikipedia has an nice explanation of how it works. You may be familiar with the design of the Yale lock

and with "Newton's Cradle" a popular executive toy

The secret to the method is to tap on a special key somewhat like the first image above. The teeth of the key knock the red pins, which knock the blue pins. Like in Newton's cradle, the red pins stay in place while the blue pins shoot up for a fraction of a second. If the teeth of the key are short, the resulting gap between the blue and red pins will span the lock core, allowing it to turn. With some rotational force added, the lock is opened.

I find it amazing that someone is has only recently come up with this.


I found this at Watts Up With That

Not a chance

North Korea sentenced two American journalists for Current TV to 12 years in a labor camp.

There is no way that North Korea will let these two women ever see the inside of a real labor camp.

The last thing that North Korea wants is witnesses. NK has four choices:

1) Send them to a prison camp, give them lots of first-hand information about the inner workings of the most-repressive state on earth, then release them x-number of years from now with all of that juicy information.

2) Send them to a lock-down prison where they can not see first-hand the depravities and inhumanity of the NK system, then release them x-number of years from now with little juicy information, but still bad propaganda value.

3) Send them to a prison where they end up killed off, thus never providing a propaganda boon for NK's enemies.

4) Pardon the women to the acclaim of all, scoring a propaganda victory by showing the soft and cuddly side of their extreme dictatorship.

Which is most likely? Obviously #4. These women will not see one second of the inside of a real labor camp. No way, no how.


If it's the first Friday of the month, it must be employment day!!!

Here's my latest chart:

The blue shaded area is from Obama's election to present. The red is Bush's term.

Point 1: If you figure it was around September that Obama pulled ahead in the polls for good, and some time before that when it was likely he would be elected, a lot of this has happened during a period when employers knew he was the next president. There was great weakness in the employment situation for several years before Bush left office, and near the end, employment had begun to decline considerably. But the slope of the line turns into a nice, fast ski jump right around the time Obama's election was becoming certain.

Point 2: The Employment Survey is rapidly approaching the level when Bush took office. We should fall below that number next month according to the trend.

Status of Women in the Muslim World

Update: No need to blog when we have Charles Krauthammer!

Original Post
From President Obama's speech in Cairo today:
"Now let me be clear: issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world."
Is he serious? Does he really think that it is reasonable to compare the status of women in the US with their status in the Muslim world? Six of one, half a dozen of the other? The idea is preposterous and Obama's statement is obnoxious.

Twenty Years Ago

When protesters in the US pat themselves on the back for their "bravery," remember this guy.

David Carradine Dies

David Carradine has died.

Kung Fu. What a show!

Listened for… he cannot be heard.
Looked for… he cannot be seen.
Felt for… he cannot be touched.