Thursday, August 15, 2002

Poor Jesse...

Or was it Al Sharpton? Scott Koenig lives to tell.

Right on

You read everything Thomas Sowell writes, don't you? Here's some more wisdom from this column:
Imagine that a genie magically appeared and offered to grant you one wish -- and, being a decent sort, you wished that everyone's income would be doubled. That could bring down on you the wrath of the political left, because it would mean that the gap between the rich and the poor had widened.

Crossing Richard Bennett and Meryl Yourish

I was going to stick my nose in the Richard Bennett/Meryl Yourish exchange, but Diane E. has said most of what I had in mind here.

I don't agree with her totally - I won't say she trivializes abortion, but I think she takes it less seriously than I do.

Right idea, wrong issue

Frequently we see the spectacle of disgustingly rich people shilling for the govt to spend more money on their pet issues. Yeah, that's it - next time you see somebody who needs some money, send a check to Washington. Or the UN.

Andy Grove, the head of Intel, is taking a step in the right direction.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp. Chairman Andy Grove will donate $5 million to the University of California-San Francisco to boost studies in the controversial field of stem cell research, university officials announced on Thursday.
Embryonic stem cell research is controversial, and many would like to see it banned, especially when there are many research opportunities with non-embryonic stem cells. So why force people who disagree with this morally to pay for it too?

Besides, if Mr. Grove's $5 million donation went through the sticky hands of govt bureaucrats en route to the researchers, how much of it do you suppose would be left when it got there? And if he spent it to lobby politicians to spend money on stem cell research, he might get a huge payoff, but he might also get nothing at all.

Eliminate the middlemen, especially if they're the govt.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Good news and bad news

It looks like Ames is giving up the ghost, at the cost of 22,000 jobs.

But capitalism is dynamic, and new technologies lead to entire new occupational categories. For instance, think of the job opportunities that might arise with commercialization of this technology. They might not be the greatest jobs, but better than this

I suppose it would be unethical to replace the mice with humans. But we might get volunteers who might otherwise let these opportunities slip between their fingers.

Aside - if it's "linky love" to link to someone else's blog, what do you call it when I link to my own archives?

The latest version of a classic

from Souptree

Because it's good for you...

The Origin of Methane (and Oil) in the Crust of the Earth

Choose honesty

"Pro-choice", eh? Then why can't we choose our license plates?

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Alternative investment strategies

John Ellis has the answer.

Put your money where your mouth is

So you like renewable energy? This company manufactures solar photovoltaics, which convert sunlight to electricity.
"Spheral Solar(TM) Technology's first factory is expected to produce enough cells to provide 20 megawatts of power annually, which is roughly the total annual power requirement of 6,000 homes," said Mr. Woerner. "Quite frankly, we believe Spheral Solar(TM) Technology will spark substantial new demand for solar energy and we expect to support that demand by building more automated factories in the future."
Just to put this in perspective, modern nuclear power plant sites will have more than 20 MW available just for standby use (2 units, 2 diesel generators per unit at about 7MW each).

Jet exhaust affects weather?

When commercial jet traffic was halted by last fall's terrorist attacks, researchers seized upon the unique opportunity to compare the climate data for the clear skies on Sept. 11-14 against days of normal air traffic when jets streak the heavens with contrails.

Their conclusion: Without jets or contrails, the clear skies boosted the temperature swing between daytime highs and nighttime lows by about 3 degrees nationwide.

Not enough computer viruses?

Some think so.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Road rage

There was a time when I had a fairly hot temper, which is especially bad when you're bigger than most like I am. I'm pretty tame now, but there are still things that can get me going. One of them is the individual I've been calling Ex below, who alone would serve as a justification for mortality. A little fury came in handy in my wrestling days, and working up a lather can help if I'm not doing well in a racquetball tournament. But I'm at my worst behind the wheel.

I drive an SUV, and if you don't like it, my only regret is that I have but one ass to kiss. You roller-skate driving wusses had better get out of my way. And here's a clue - you don't have to pull all the way in to a parking space. Give the rest of us a chance to see your politically correct little deathtrap before we're halfway pulled in behind you.

As for you it necessary to bisect a full-sized parking place so you can't even share it with another motorcycle?

Another hint - either pass me or back off. Don't sit there locking me in a lane unnecessarily - I've seen some of the strangest crap lying in the road and recently lost two tires to something that fell off the back of some Beverly Hillbillies wannabes' trailer. Even if I don't try to dodge, if I blow a tire I might lose control and take us both off the road.

But the worst are deer, which I submit as proof that Satan copulates with rats. One Christmas Eve I was driving a 6 month old car on a stretch of I-74 between the Quad Cities and Galesburg, IL with woods in a deep median strip, a deep dropoff into a field to the right, and a road slick enough to force reduced speeds. Then out of the cover in the median a !!@#$ deer sashays out into the road, straddles the centerline and turns crosswise to the road. Ka-ching! - $4500 worth of work, and endless questions about what happened to the deer. And that's just the one I hit - I've had the stupid things hit me. (But I don't even have the bragging rights in the family, because a relative survived a broadside collision with a horse).

And finally, well, I'm not in the habit of picking on religious people, and I usually take their side. I don't send kids to Sunday school to ask "Can God make a rock so big he can't pick it up?" But I've seen one too many bumper stickers that say "Warning - in case of Rapture this car will be unmanned". If you believe that, shouldn't you be riding the bus?

Sunday, August 11, 2002


So who knows about last-minute financial aid for college students?

Somebody is playing dirty in a divorce, and a relative of mine is caught in the middle. She's about to start her junior year at the same school she started in, and for obvious reasons would like to finish there. She has done well and has been active on campus.

But her grants and loans could be held up, and apparently if Ex has his way, they will be. The amounts involved are substantial, and the cooperative parent could find it impossible to make up the difference despite best efforts. On the other hand, it might save Ex a couple of grand (and he definitely isn't broke) if he can force her into transferring.

Yes, he's violating the divorce decree, but in the meantime there very little time to intervene if she is to avoid transferring or missing a semester - classes start in about a week and legal relief will take longer.

And in the meantime if anybody knows an effective, affordable, merciless family law attorney in the SW Chicago burbs, I'll pass the info on to someone who can use it.