Saturday, May 21, 2011

Stay tuned, my friends (the most interesting analyst in the world)

I saw these advertisements on ESPN and I laughed out loud. First of all, I love the Dos Equis commercials, with "the most interesting man in the world." And for a hockey fan, like myself, these ESPN spoofs of those ads are pure magic. Watch for yourself and enjoy. From YouTube:

"Barry Melrose Sportscenter commercial - Dos Equis"

"The World's Most Interesting Analyst - Barry Melrose"

And, to top it all off, the most interesting analyst in the world runs into the most interesting man in the world:
"Barry Melrose | Most interesting Analyst In The World | XX Beer Parody"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Newt Gingrich is a spineless windbag

Was the title clear enough for you?

Newt Gingrich has sided with the Left on "global warming." He is pro-ethanol, a position no intelligent person would take unless they are personally benefiting from it. And he trashed Paul Ryan's budget plan. Three strikes and he's out. Actually, on the above subjects, it only takes one strike to be out in my book.

In truth, I've never liked the guy. He is a windbag. I actually went to one of his American Solutions events at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA a couple years ago. Some good content but some really bad speakers, too. I was amazed by the low quality people Newt was inviting to speak at his events. Newt is a guy who's good for brainstorming, throwing a lot of ideas on the table. But he is not a principled leader. You have to have principles for that.

You can find tons of articles on Newt, and all his positions. Here are some I found after a quick search.

Ethanol, from
"The Disappointing Gingrich-Ethanol Connection" by Richard Rider

Global Warming, from Fox News:
"Gingrich Feels the Heat for Appearing in Global Warming Ad With Pelosi" by Judson Berger

With regard to ObamaCare, and Gingrich's attack on Paul Ryan, check out this Fox News video, on YouTube:
"Iowa Voter Chews Out Newt Gingrich After His Paul Ryan Attack"

See Gingrich's comments at 0:57 of this video.

Listen to Paul Ryan's response at 1:10 of the video, on Laura Ingraham's radio show: "With allies like that, who needs the left?"

Here's the best part. Watch the Iowa voter chastising Gingrich at 1:35 of the video. That guy says it all. "What you just did to Paul Ryan is unforgivable. ... You are an embarrassment to our party. Why don't you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself?"

And Newt's shameless backpedaling, also from Fox News:
"Gingrich Apologizes for Medicare Criticism"

You can read more of Newt's lies at his website,

The sooner this guy is out of the Presidential race, the better.

P.S. What kind of name is "Newt" anyway? I understand it's short for Newton, and I can also understand why someone wouldn't want to be called "Newton." But "Newt"???

Tasteless and Juvenile Osama Humor

At the risk of (further) embarrassing myself in front of you, my seven* readers, I would like to share some extremely tasteless jokes.

Before I share them, I would like to say that I realize that my humor is an acquired taste--and by that I mean that most people never acquire it. Which is probably good for them.

I also realize that the recent killing of Osama bin Laden is a very serious matter. Yet sometimes in these situations I can't help but lighten the mood a bit, at least in my own mind (I've always been able to amuse myself, even if no one else is laughing). So, without further adieu...

Navy seals? I thought seals were black. Those seals must have been really special if they were NAVY!

What's the deal with the pornography found in Osama's house? The dude can have as many wives as he wants, much younger than he is, and he still needs porn? Come on, that's rubbing it in a little, don't you think?

* estimated

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trains to Nowhere

One of my biggest pet peeves in politics is the strange infatuation that some politicians have with trains. I have simply never understood it. Spend a ton of money for very marginal improvements and reduced flexibility. And, as I've discussed before (Why buses are better than trains, October 8, 2010), sometimes leading to INCREASED congestion. Even if congestion is not increased, the trains only save a few minutes compared to buses.

Nevertheless, the politicians continue to forge ahead with their ridiculous plans. Consider the following article from The Cato Institute:
"The Great Train Con" by Randal O'Toole

Long story short: When the government claims that they are building "high-speed rail" they're lying. From the Cato article:

"When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced this week that he was awarding Michigan nearly $200 million for high-speed rail, he claimed that the project would bring 'trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor, reducing trip times by 30 minutes.' But Michigan's own grant application says the $196.5 million will only increase average speeds from 60 to 64 mph — with the top speed remaining unchanged at 79 mph. That is, travelers will save a mere 12 minutes — not 30."

More information, from Newsmax:
"Insider Report from"
Specifically, Item 4: "Obama’s ‘High-Speed’ Trains Won’t Run at High Speeds"

This article pointed out many of the extremely questionable rail projects that are still on track (ha ha!).

"California is ready to spend $5.5 billion to build a high-speed rail line from Corcoran, a town about 30 miles south of Fresno known for the prison housing Charles Manson, to Borden, a ghost town north of Fresno. But trains on the line in the state’s Central Valley are not scheduled to stop at either Corcoran or Borden."

"Congress appropriated $8 billion for high-speed rail in Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill and $2 billion more in the 2010 appropriations bill."

"'President Obama’s dream of connecting 80 percent of Americans to a high-speed rail line appears to be dead,' Cato Institute’s Downsizing the Federal Government website declared. But the $10 billion already committed will go toward several questionable projects, according to the site:"
  • Illinois is spending more than $3 billion to add three trains daily to the current five between Chicago and St. Louis and increase the average speed of trains on the line from 51.6 miles per hour to 56.8 mph, saving travelers 30 minutes on the current 5 1/2-hour trip.
  • Washington State is spending $700 million to add two trains per day to the current three between Seattle and Portland, Ore., and boost speeds from 53.4 mph to 56.1 mph. That will save travelers 10 minutes on the current 3 1/2-hour trip.
  • North Carolina is spending $545 million to increase speeds between Charlotte and Raleigh by about 3 mph, saving travelers 12 minutes on the current 3.2-hour trip.

For a bit of good news, there are still some governors out there with common sense:
"But newly elected governors in Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin rejected rail projects in their state, and Congress declined to provide more funds in 2011."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's probably just a coincidence

Couple articles came across the wire recently, both discussing waivers to the new "Obamacare" legislation. Seems like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been active in securing waivers from the new law for their constituents. Of course, they claim they haven't, that this is all done in Washington in a transparent manner. Bullshit. Or maybe they're right, maybe it is just a coincidence.

Even if the waiver requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, what kind of bureaucracy have we created? Why would it be necessary to have so many waivers if this law really did what they said it would do? I've posted about this before (Waivers needed, despite what they told us, December 13, 2010), this is nothing new.

First the news from Nancy Pelosi's district, from The Daily Caller:
"Nearly 20 percent of new Obamacare waivers are gourmet restaurants, nightclubs, fancy hotels in Nancy Pelosi’s district" by Matthew Boyle

"Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district."
18.6% of the waivers from April. For one congressional district, or 0.2% of the country.

"Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers."

"Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare."

Here's one humorous example. You know damn well this guy and his clients voted overwhelmingly for Obama and Pelosi. And he now realizes how devastating this law is to his business.
"Tru Spa, which Allure Magazine rated the 'best day spa in San Francisco,' received an Obamacare waiver as well. Before hanging up on TheDC, Tru Spa’s owner said new government health care regulations, both the federal-level Obamacare and new local laws in Northern California, have 'devastated' the business. 'It’s been bad for us,' he said, without divulging his name, referring to the new health care restrictions. But, the spa owner wouldn’t talk about it or the reason his company sought a waiver. He hung up after saying, 'I’ve got clients on the other line, good-bye.'"

And the news from Harry Reid's state of Nevada, from the Las Vegas Sun:
"Nevada secures partial waiver from federal health care law" by Karoun Demirjian

"The Health and Human Services Department announced late Friday that Nevada had secured a statewide waiver from certain implementation requirements of the Obama administration’s health care law, because forcing them through, the department found, 'may lead to the destabilization of the individual market.'"

What? Obamacare would destabilize the market???
"For Republicans, the waiver is proof of what they’ve been arguing all along — that Obama’s health care law was never going to work and has to go."

Google's "Secret Sauce" for Data Center Efficiency?

Sorry for the bold headline. It turns out that there is no "secret sauce." Just rigorously following best practices wherever possible.

From Data Center Knowledge:
"Google: No ‘Secret Sauce’ in Recipe for Efficiency"

And if you want to hear it straight from the horse's mouth, here are some links from Google.

"Google Data Centers - Overview"

"Google Data Centers - Data center efficiency measurements"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Slower Does Not Mean Safer

Do you believe, as I do, that speeding laws are just another way for governments to generate revenue? No, says government, we're trying to keep you safer. Bullshit.

I saw a good article recently that discusses some facts. From the National Motorists Association:
"Speed Limits: Slower Does Not Mean Safer"

Before you dismiss this as just more propaganda from a group that opposes arbitrarily low speed limits, notice this study was done by the Michigan State Police:,1607,7-123-1593_47093_25802-87384--,00.html

Here are direct download links from the Michigan State Police website:
Establishing Realistic Speed Limits Booklet
Establishing Realistic Speed Limits Pamphlet

Back to the NMA article...
"As we’ve noted many times in the past, speed limits are the most safe when they are set using the 85th percentile speed. Numerous studies have shown that the 85th percentile is the safest possible level at which to set a speed limit..."

Why is this true? From the MSP booklet:
"Historically, before and after traffic engineering studies have shown that changing the posted speed limit does not significantly affect the 85th percentile speed. The driving environment, which includes other traffic on the road and roadway conditions, is the primary factor which influences the prevailing speed. The driving environment is reflected by the 85th percentile speed. The majority of drivers, consciously or unconsciously, consider the factors in the driving environment and travel at a speed that is safe and comfortable regardless of the posted speed limit."

"Unfortunately, most speed limits are set well below the 85th percentile speed. When speed limits are set too low, drivers are forced to travel at a speed that increases their risk of being involved in an accident. The alternative is to travel at the safest (85th percentile) speed and risk a speeding ticket. This is something that many drivers do everyday."

Wow, how about that? Some recognition of reality by the MSP! Unfortunately, this thinking doesn't translate into action. If you've ever driven on M28 between Wakefield and Bergland you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, back to the MSP booklet:
"Contrary to popular belief, lower speed limits do not necessarily improve safety. The more uniform the speeds of vehicles in a traffic stream, the less chance there is for conflict and crashes. Posting speed limits lower or higher than what the majority of drivers are traveling produces two distinct groups of drivers: those attempting to observe the speed limit and those driving at a speed they feel is reasonable and prudent. These differences in speeds can result in increased crashes due to tailgating, improper passing, reckless driving, and weaving from lane to lane."

I completely agree with the NMA's conclusion:
"The key to improving traffic safety isn’t slowing everyone down, it’s getting drivers to travel near the same speed. This is something that the 85th percentile accomplishes naturally. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A peek at Google searches around the globe

I've seen this before, but I hadn't seen a link to it until recently, when Google posted it to their blog. They also posted the code to add it to your own website, if you had a blog perhaps (I hope this works--if it doesn't you might not be using the right browser!). :)

This image is designed to show all the Google searches from around the world, the number of searches in each region and the number of different languages that people use to search. From Google:
"Official Google Blog: A world of curiosity: a peek at searches around the globe"

"Today we’re sharing the Search Globe, a new visual display representing one day of Google searches around the world—visualizing the curiosity of people around the globe."

"The Search Globe visualizes searches from one day, and shows the language of the majority of queries in an area in different colors. You’ll see a bright landscape of queries across Europe, and parts of Asia for instance, but unfortunately we see many fewer searches from parts of the world lacking Internet access—and often electricity as well—like Africa. We hope that as the Internet continues to become more accessible over time and people continue to ask questions, we’ll see this globe shine brightly everywhere."