Saturday, March 31, 2007
Dave Barry's 25 things I have learned in 50 years
I keep getting this emailed to me with different people's names on it. It was written by Dave Barry, and is in his book Dave Barry Turns 50.
25 things I have learned in 50 years
1. The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.
2. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight-saving time.
3. People who feel the need to tell you that they have an excellent sense of humor are telling you that they have no sense of humor.
4. The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.
5. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
6. A penny saved is worthless.
7. They can hold all the peace talks they want, but there will never be peace in the Middle East. Billions of years from now, when Earth is hurtling toward the Sun and there is nothing left alive on the planet except a few microorganisms, the microorganisms living in the Middle East will be bitter enemies.
8. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.
9. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.
10. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11.
11. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
12. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
13. There apparently exists, somewhere in Los Angeles, a computer that generates concepts for television sitcoms. When TV executives need a new concept, they turn on this computer; after sorting through millions of possible plot premises, it spits out, "THREE QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT," and the executives turn this concept into a show. The next time they need an idea, the computer spits out, "SIX QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT." Then the next time, it spits out, "FOUR QUIRKY BUT ATTRACTIVE YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN AN APARTMENT." And so on. We need to locate this computer and destroy it with hammers.
14. Nobody is normal.
15. At least once per year, some group of scientists will become very excited and announce that:
* The universe is even bigger than they thought!
* There are even more subatomic particles than they thought!
* Whatever they announced last year about global warming is wrong.
16. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
17. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.
18. The value of advertising is that it tells you the exact opposite of what the advertiser actually thinks. For example:
* If the advertisement says "This is not your father's Oldsmobile," the advertiser is desperately concerned that this Oldsmobile, like all other Oldsmobiles, appeals primarily to old farts like your father.
* If Coke and Pepsi spend billions of dollars to convince you that there are significant differences between these two products, both companies realize that Pepsi and Coke are virtually identical.
* If the advertisement strongly suggests that Nike shoes enable athletes to perform amazing feats, Nike wants you to disregard the fact that shoe brand is unrelated to athletic ability.
* If Budweiser runs an elaborate advertising campaign stressing the critical importance of a beer's "born-on" date, Budweiser knows this factor has virtually nothing to do with how good a beer tastes.
19. If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
20. You should not confuse your career with your life.
21. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.
22. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
23. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.
24. Your friends love you anyway.
25. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
-- Dave Barry
Friday, March 30, 2007
Grand Canyon skywalk
Thre Grand Canyon Skywalk is officially open for business today:
The skywalk over the Grand Canyon
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Some Thoughts on Early Polling
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I was searching out some of my favorite Jazz artists on YouTube, when I randomly stumbled across this video of Chet Baker. For those of you unfamiliar with Baker, he was a terrific Trumpet player who was later "discovered" as a wistful blues singer, specializing in ballads and love songs.
Chet Baker's vocal style is unmistakably unique -- my favorite description of his his voice is "at times, it seems like he's hanging onto the melody by his fingernails." He seems at times half a tone off where you might expect him to be.
There is a lovely melancholy, a gentle beauty, to the way he wraps his voice around a song. The soft, simple sentiment embodied in his lyrical approach to ballads can turn any song into a brooding lament.
The video below was rather unusual -- I was under the impression that YouTube uploads werew limited to 10 minutes. The following beastie clocks in at 40:30 -- Its a compilation featuring Chet playing and singing:
There's quite a few other videos at ChetBaker.net . . .
Either of these two CDs are good places to start exploring Baker's works:
"His vocals were absolutely distinctive, sung in a high-pitched, even fragile voice seemingly drained of emotion and yet possessing an inherent charm, a detachment that might be both the antithesis of style and its definition, whether it's heard as sensitivity or indifference. The singing is a double of his trumpet playing here, spare and barely present but achieving much through nuance and suggestion. Pianist Russ Freeman is an almost constant partner, supplying deft chords and harmonic daring, amplifying Baker's ideas. Their empathy is especially evident in the beautiful instrumental "Moon Love," but it's just as significant on signature Baker songs such as "My Funny Valentine," "Let's Get Lost," and "Like Someone in Love." --Stuart Broomer
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Explosively Formed Penetrators
"E.F.P.’s are one of the most devastating weapons on the battlefield. The weapons fire a semi-molten copper slug that cuts through the armor on a Humvee, then shatters inside the vehicle, creating a deadly hail of hot metal that causes especially gruesome wounds even when it does not kill.
Many of the E.F.P.’s encountered by American forces in Iraq are both difficult to detect and extremely destructive. Because they fire from the side of the road, there is no need to dig a hole to plant them, so they are well suited for urban settings. Because they are set off by a passive infrared sensor, the kind of motion detector that turns on security lights, they cannot be countered by electronic jamming.
Adversaries have used the weapon in new ways. On Feb. 12, a British Air Force C-130 was damaged by two E.F.P arrays as it landed on an airstrip in Maysan Province, the first time the device was used to attack an aircraft, according to allied officials. Allied forces later destroyed the aircraft with a 1,000-pound bomb to keep militants from pilfering equipment.
Over the course of the war, the devices have accounted for only a small fraction of the roadside bomb attacks in Iraq; most bombing attacks and most American deaths have been caused by less sophisticated devices favored by Sunni insurgents, not Shiite militias linked to Iran. But E.F.P.’s produce significantly more casualties per attack than other types of roadside bombs.
“They were a new type of threat with a great potential for damage,” said Lt. Col. Kevin W. Farrell, who commanded the First Battalion, 64th Armor of the Third Infantry Division, in 2005, when a penetrator punched through the skirt armor of one of the battalion’s M-1 tanks and cracked its hull. “They accounted for a sizable percentage of our casualties. Based on searches of the Baghdad environment we occupied and multiple local Iraqi sources, we believed that they came from Iran.”
U.S. Long Worried That Iran Supplied Arms in Iraq
MICHAEL R. GORDON and SCOTT SHANE
NYTimes, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Top 23 Most Used Engineering Terms
A friend emails this (I don't have the original)
1. A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT APPROACHES ARE BEING TRIED
We are still pi**ing in the wind.
2. EXTENSIVE REPORT IS BEING PREPARED ON A FRESH APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM
We just hired three kids fresh out of college.
3. CLOSE PROJECT COORDINATION
We know who to blame.
4. MAJOR TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH
It works OK, but looks very hi-tech.
5. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IS DELIVERED ASSURED
We are so far behind schedule the customer is happy to get it delivered.
6. PRELIMINARY OPERATIONAL TESTS WERE INCONCLUSIVE
The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.
7. TEST RESULTS WERE EXTREMELY GRATIFYING
We are so surprised that the stupid thing works.
8. THE ENTIRE CONCEPT WILL HAVE TO BE ABANDONED
The only person who understood the thing quit.
9. IT IS IN THE PROCESS
It is so wrapped up in red tape that the situation is about hopeless.
10. WE WILL LOOK INTO IT
Forget it! We have enough problems for now.
11. PLEASE NOTE AND INITIAL
Let's spread the responsibility for the screw up.
12. GIVE US THE BENEFIT OF YOUR THINKING
We'll listen to what you have to say as long as it doesn't interfere with what we've already done.
13. GIVE US YOUR INTERPRETATION
I can't wait to hear this bull!
14. SEE ME or LET'S DISCUSS
Come into my office, I'm lonely.
15. ALL NEW
Parts not interchangeable with the previous design.
Too damn heavy to lift!
Lighter than RUGGED.
18. YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT
One finally worked.
19. ENERGY SAVING
Achieved when the power switch is off.
20. LOW MAINTENANCE
Impossible to fix if broken.
We can't fix the bug so we've documented it and are calling it a "feature".
22. NEW RELEASE:
We're too cheap to beta test our code so we'll sell it to you as a new product and let y'all beta test it for us.
Management doesn't have a clue as to what this product is or what they are doing, so they're slinging buzzwords like there's no tomorrow. See also PARADIGM, REVOLUTIONARY and OUTSIDE THE BOX.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
She loves You (live)
Beatles (live in Sweden?)
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Leningrad Cowboys Red ArmyChoir - Sweet Home Alabama
Friday, March 23, 2007
States Grant Women the Right to Vote
Here's a map as to when the various states granted woman the right to vote
(Lets hear it for Missippi! -- yeah, March 22, 1984 -- 23 years ago!)
January 1, 1919
|Illinois||Jun 10, 1919;|
|Michigan||Jun 10, 1919|
|Wisconsin||Jun 10, 1919|
|Kansas||Jun 16, 1919|
|New York||Jun 16, 1919|
|Ohio||Jun 16, 1919|
|Pennsylvania||Jun 24, 1919|
|Massachusetts||Jun 25, 1919|
|Texas||Jun 28, 1919|
|Iowa||July 2, 1919|
|Missouri||Jul 3, 1919|
|Arkansas||Jul 28, 1919|
|Montana||Aug 2, 1919|
|Nebraska||Aug 2, 1919|
|Minnesota||Sep 8, 1919|
|New Hampshire||Sep 10, 1919|
|Utah||Oct 2, 1919|
|California||Nov 1, 1919|
|Maine||Nov 5, 1919|
|North Dakota||Dec 1, 1919|
|South Dakota||Dec 4, 1919|
|Colorado||Dec 15, 1919|
|Kentucky||Jan 6, 1920|
|Rhode Island||Jan 6, 1920|
|Oregon||Jan 13, 1920|
|Indiana||Jan 16, 1920|
|Wyoming||Jan 27, 1920|
|Nevada||Feb 7, 1920|
|New Jersey||Feb 9, 1920|
|Idaho||Feb 11, 1920|
|Arizona||Feb 12, 1920|
|New Mexico||Feb 21, 1920|
|Oklahoma||Feb 28, 1920|
|West Virginia||Mar 10, 1920|
|Washington||Mar 22, 1920|
|Tennessee||Aug 18, 1920||*|
|Connecticut||Sep 14, 1920|
|Vermont||Feb 8, 1921|
|Delaware||Mar 6, 1923|
|Maryland||Mar 29, 1941|
|Virginia||Feb 21, 1952|
|Alabama||Sep 8, 1953|
|Florida||May 13, 1969|
|South Carolina||Jul 1, 1969|
|Georgia||Feb 20, 1970|
|Louisiana||Jun 11, 1970|
|North Carolina||May 6, 1971|
|Mississippi||Mar 22, 1984|
|Ratified in 441 days|
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Mapping Baghdad's Violence
Monthly figures for civilian casualties are from Iraq Body Count which uses at least two media reports as the source for each death. We have used a mean number of IBC's minimum and maximum figures for each month.
click for interactive map
Baghdad: Mapping the violence