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:: Sunday, December 30 2007 ::

We made it to DC last night, and now we're having a nice relaxing morning with Fin and Misty. We've got several days until Sasha's conference, and no particular plans until then, though I'm hoping to do a few museums while we're in town. Otherwise, we're just chillin' until the conference (and in theory I'll be chillin' during the conference too - we'll see how that works out).
:: David (10:57 in Michigan, 16:57 in Paris) - Comment

:: Thursday, December 27 2007 ::

A website produced by a German camera testing lab explains why a digital camera with 12 megapixels may produce worse pictures than one with half that number. I really like the pictures they use to illustrate their points.
:: David (17:05 in Michigan, 23:05 in Paris) - Comment

I love hanging out with Sasha's great aunt and uncle. They're both 90, and Mac especially has some amazing stories from his youth, when the school bus was horse drawn, the alcohol was outlawed, and native American guides took you fishing in Canada. There's always another crazy element that reminds you how much things have changed in a century (or 90 years, as the case may be).
:: David (16:39 in Michigan, 22:39 in Paris) - Comment

I feel as though lotteries offer the perfect example of the dilemma of self-determination. On the one hand, they're a harmless game of chance. On the other hand, they seem to be a regressive tax, moving money from the poor to the state. The question of regulation and design is tough, to say the least. Now the cost to play is going up, as the New York Times reports that some tickets are selling for 50 dollars each. Does it matter? Wouldn't the money simply go towards 50 one dollar tickets otherwise? I would speculate not, or else these new tickets wouldn't be seen as increasing revenue.
:: David (9:30 in Michigan, 15:30 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Tuesday, December 25 2007 ::

We're having a touch of adventure this holiday season, as the heat in the living room seems to not want to comply with our wishes for a warm Christmas. But otherwise all is wonderful. Hope you are all having a great time as well.
:: David (17:33 in Michigan, 23:33 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Monday, December 24 2007 ::

Spending some time in New York - the view is, as always, quite nice.

The kitty cam is working well, and this time includes a calendar so we can see when folks have stopped by. We're going to have to call someone today I think, as the calendar is showing no activity at this time.
:: David (10:44 in Michigan, 16:44 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Saturday, December 22 2007 ::

Sasha and I are off to the wilds of upstate New York, and as one might expect we were forced to stop at a random restaurant for lunch. After a brief deliberation we decided the Pizza Hut was simply too scary to eat at, so Wendy's won the draw. Inside, I discovered they now have a menu item which can cover my entire bacon needs for a (week? month? year?) in one fell swoop - the Baconator. According to the Wendy's website, I consumed in one sandwich 830 calories and 51g of fat. Add the small fry and the small frosty (chocolate shake), and the meal comes to a cool 1500 calories and 75g of fat. So I guess I'm done for the day. Too bad about the veggies I didn't eat.

Sasha fared slightly better - 600 calories and 24g of fat for a baked potato and caesar side salad. I guess it's the sour cream that gets you.

:: David (13:18 in Michigan, 19:18 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]

:: Friday, December 21 2007 ::

This brings me pleasure: a photo gallery of kids who are terrified of Santa, sitting on his lap. Hat tip to Bitch, PhD for the find.
:: David (21:46 in Michigan, 3:46 in Paris) - Comment

That's the way you do it - the Lakota have seceded from the United States. I wonder if this will be an internal battle, or if another country will recognize them, which I think would up the ante.
:: David (15:44 in Michigan, 21:44 in Paris) - Comment

The BBC has a laundry list of 'medical myths' that are either untrue or unproven, including the fact that "turkey, chicken and minced beef contain similar amounts of tryptophan" and thus turkey doesn't make you particularly sleepy. Also revealed: "reading in dim light does not damage your eyes", and "studies suggest that adequate fluid intake is often met by drinking juice, milk, and even caffeine-rich tea and coffee", rather than eight glasses of water.
:: David (10:28 in Michigan, 16:28 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

Paul Krugman of the NYT adds to the growing list of people turning on Greenspan now that the economy is in the tank in the US:

Mr. Greenspan... [is] a disciple of Ayn Rand, the high priestess of unfettered capitalism... In a 1963 essay for Ms. Randís newsletter, Mr. Greenspan dismissed as a "collectivist" myth the idea that businessmen, left to their own devices, "would attempt to sell unsafe food and drugs, fraudulent securities, and shoddy buildings." On the contrary, he declared, "it is in the self-interest of every businessman to have a reputation for honest dealings and a quality product."

Itís no wonder, then, that he brushed off warnings about deceptive lending practices... In Mr. Greenspanís world, predatory lending ó like attempts to sell consumers poison toys and tainted seafood ó just doesnít happen.

I can't wait to see which of the things I did in my youth come back to haunt me. As for Greenspan, it's very difficult not to think that he should have seen this coming. But I wouldn't have wanted to tell the crazy speculators they had to stop, either.
:: David (8:00 in Michigan, 14:00 in Paris) - Comment

:: Wednesday, December 19 2007 ::

Guinness really is good for you, possibly as good as aspirin.
:: David (10:22 in Michigan, 16:22 in Paris) - Comment

:: Tuesday, December 18 2007 ::

Following on yesterday's bizarre series of posts, I give you:
I am amused by the concept, but I think it overestimates - the sheer mass of 28 five-year-olds would take me down.
:: David (9:58 in Michigan, 15:58 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[6]

:: Monday, December 17 2007 ::

While I'm not resisting, you might also take a look at Chairman Meow over at obey the kitty.
:: David (17:37 in Michigan, 23:37 in Paris) - Comment

I know I should resist posting things like this, but it's just so tempting:

A woman has put a mailbox at the end of her drive after postmen complained of being repeatedly attacked by her cat.
Just another reason to post those 'attack cat' signs. By the way, the subject for this one, 'pew pew pew', is courtesy i can has cheezburger.
:: David (17:07 in Michigan, 23:07 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, December 16 2007 ::

I spent Sunday doing something deeply geeky - I hacked my Networked Attached Storage server to run a more user-friendly operating system so I could use it as a server. The device, the Linksys NSLU2, has a whole community devoted to implementing various pieces of software on it. As it only costs about ninety dollars, it's a very attractive piece of hardware to hack. The biggest draw for me is that it only draws eight watts of power - significantly less than my current file server.
:: David (23:11 in Michigan, 5:11 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]

We got 8 inches / 20 centimeters of snow last night. It's pretty impressive. I wedged open the back door to show the cat, and she was like 'is this some kind of joke?' I don't know what this will do to our Sunday plans, but it sure is beautiful.
:: David (12:27 in Michigan, 18:27 in Paris) - Comment

:: Saturday, December 15 2007 ::

About once every other month or so I get this strange urge to download the latest version of joost and see if I like it yet. The idea is good - television on your computer. But for some reason I just can't pin down it ends up being the dullest 15 minutes of my month, and I turn it off until the next time insanity strikes. I wish someone would deliver something that didn't suck over the internet. Besides emule, who don't, I fear, count.
:: David (2:00 in Michigan, 8:00 in Paris) - Comment

:: Friday, December 14 2007 ::

A big long series of articles on online reputation, thin on meat, but fairly nice as an overview of the question, with some interesting tangents on personal privacy. I've been thinking for some time now about reputation management, and distributed systems for sharing reputation, so it's nice to see the pseudo-mainstream picking the topic up.
:: David (22:05 in Michigan, 4:05 in Paris) - Comment

I bet you're going to be hearing a lot of this in the coming days, so let me give you a heads-up now: according to the BBC, the IEA has said that Iraq is now producing more oil than before the 2003 invasion. This may be the case. But I would also draw your attention to the last line of the story: "The Paris-based IEA represents the world's largest oil consuming nations." I am not saying the results are falsified - I don't believe anyone over there would do that. They may, however, have been carefully chosen.
:: David (15:34 in Michigan, 21:34 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

I think if I'd trusted the signs in the Portland airport that assured me it was ok to buy wine now that I was past security, only to have it confiscated in LA when I had to pass thru security again, I would have been nearly mad enough to try what this guy did: chug an entire bottle of vodka rather than turn it over to airport security.
:: David (7:25 in Michigan, 13:25 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

:: Wednesday, December 12 2007 ::

Terry Pratchett brings a bit of humour to the very sad news that he has been diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer's disease. "I know it's a very human thing to say 'is there anything I can do', but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry."
:: David (16:10 in Michigan, 22:10 in Paris) - Comment

:: Tuesday, December 11 2007 ::

Too friggin' funny! I think some of you know my friend Jason. Here he is in a news report of a sit down lunch with presidential candidate Bill Richardson. For those that don't know him, he's the guy seated to the Governor's left (with the funky sideburns - Jason, what is up with that?)
:: David (9:24 in Michigan, 15:24 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[4]

Dean Dad has a subtle hint for how health care in the US might get out of the fix it's in:

If only (single payer) there were some way (single payer) to cover everybody (single payer) that has been shown to work (single payer) at lower cost (single payer) in other countries (single payer). Not to worry -- our best minds in Washington are hard at work!
The post is actually a list of thought provoking stories on a variety of topics, including health care, age discrimination, and gender. Have fun!
:: David (7:23 in Michigan, 13:23 in Paris) - Comment

:: Monday, December 10 2007 ::

Exams have started where I work, and that means crazy busy - more so because I scheduled a project to finish last week, which means bug fixing this week. Well, that's why we look forward to the holidays!
:: David (22:25 in Michigan, 4:25 in Paris) - Comment

:: Sunday, December 9 2007 ::

This was the last weekend before holiday nuttiness overtakes me, as we will be visiting my parents next weekend, and Sasha's after that. Then it's on to the AHA, for fun and games in DC. We watched a friend's cat (a much more involved process than you might think), a couple movies, and generally kicked back and relaxed, in anticipation of the weeks to come.
:: David (22:47 in Michigan, 4:47 in Paris) - Comment

Sasha pointed out to me that my understanding of the facts in the last story were incomplete. In following the story it seems there may have been an unknown 3rd party involved, as well as the daughter and her friend, etc. Making the community reaction, and the reporting of the story, that much more interesting.
:: David (22:44 in Michigan, 4:44 in Paris) - Comment

:: Friday, December 7 2007 ::

I don't know if you've all heard about the middle aged woman who stalked a teenage girl on myspace until the girl killed herself, but apparently the town has started taking matters into their own hands after it was decided nothing illegal had occurred. CNN stokes the fire with a story about how the individual is being hounded out of town, and other, darker possibilities are also noted:

"I just really hope that no one comes out here and does something insane," [next door neighbour Trever] Buckles said. "If they do, I hope they get the right house."
I'm sure the reporter that filed this story will be quite shocked when s/he is called back to report a crime has been committed.
:: David (16:59 in Michigan, 22:59 in Paris) - Comment

Unless I mishear, a girl in the computer lab is giving some guy the "it's not you, it's me" breakup speech. Whatever happened to the good old days of private conversations?
:: David (15:22 in Michigan, 21:22 in Paris) - Comment

:: Wednesday, December 5 2007 ::

A compromise solution to keep foreclosures from getting any further out of hand:

Congressional aides say the Bush administration has hammered out an agreement with industry to freeze interest rates for certain subprime mortgages for five years in an effort to combat a soaring tide of foreclosures.
It's an idea. It's not perfect. But it probably helps some people.

There's always a question with these sorts of things whether you are rewarding people who perhaps should be punished (people, for example, who simply bought too much house). But no solution is perfect, and this seems like it isn't the worst thing they could have done.
:: David (15:28 in Michigan, 21:28 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[1]

Jason pointed me to a post about today, December 5th, which is Repeal Day in the US - the day the 21st amendment came into force, allowing alcohol in the US.
:: David (11:32 in Michigan, 17:32 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[2]

:: Tuesday, December 4 2007 ::

I freakin' love it. George Bush really is the most dangerous man alive. The BBC is reporting he is trying to spin the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran (released yesterday, I believe), which all the media had been reporting as having calmed the diplomatic waters between the US and Iran, to say that it shows that Iran is a dangerous country that should be stopped.

"I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program," Mr Bush told a news conference. "The reason why it's a warning signal is they could restart it."

"Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the know-how to make a nuclear weapon," Mr Bush said.

Just this morning I was listening to the experts say there was a new tack being taken diplomatically. Shows how much they know about the Legion of Doomsayers.
:: David (11:39 in Michigan, 17:39 in Paris) - Comment - View Comments[3]

Home remedies FTW! The Consumerist pointed me to an article on a study by Penn State researchers showing that honey was better than cough syrup for treating a child's cough. Take that, Nyquil!
:: David (7:57 in Michigan, 13:57 in Paris) - Comment

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