Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Engineering etymology" or "How words are created" (depends how you want to look at it)

From The Feral Irishman:
"For the Engineers and ( . )( . ) lovers......"

Hilarious, I laughed out loud. That looks like something an engineer would do. And yes, I confess to being in both of the above-mentioned categories. :)

I first saw this drawing on Marooned (before going back to the original source):
"Mid-Week Humor..."

I mention this to plug this blog (I like it) and because it has some funny comments further down on the page.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Turns out men and women are different. Who knew?

Fascinating article about how men and women surf the web differently in the area of erotica. I know this will come as a surprise but ... men and women are different!!!

From the Wall Street Journal, of all places:
"The Online World of Female Desire"

The subtitle sums it up well:
"For women indulging their curiosity, Internet erotica is less about flesh than about finding Mr. Right"

"One of our most interesting findings was that women are very different from men in how they use these online services. All across the planet, what most women seek out, in growing numbers, are not explicit scenes of sexual activity but character-driven stories of romantic relationships."

"Women account for only one out of 50 purchases of porn-site subscriptions, but they make nine out of 10 purchases of romance novels."

"Men who are attracted to a particular actress may go online looking for racy photos of her. Women who are attracted to an actor are more likely to seek out personal details about his life or erotic stories featuring one of the characters he portrays."

"Some female readers might be thinking, 'This doesn't describe me at all!' And, in fact, somewhere between a quarter and a third of the visitors to the major pornography sites are women. Our data suggest that these women probably have a higher sex drive than other women and that they are more socially aggressive and more comfortable taking risks."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tax policies matter, no matter what the Left says

Here's a funny limerick, from LIMERICKS ÉCONOMIQUES by Dr. Goose (whoever he is):
"The $37 Billion Question"
The $37 Billion Question 
Said a Harvard professor of econ,
"That Google's got something unique on:
They have cash by the score,
Yet still borrow more;
This is something I've puzzled all week on." 
Said an expert in cross-border taxes,
"I should hope the professor relaxes;
As Google keeps cash
In an overseas stash,
'Til taxation here wanes and not waxes."
Why does that limerick amuse me? Because it shows that tax policies matter. Google recently borrowed $3 billion. My first reaction: Why the hell does Google need to borrow money when they have approximately $37 billion in cash? Research the issue a bit and see if effective tax rates in different countries didn't play a role. A big role.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quote of the Day: H.L. Mencken on rights versus privileges, and a prediction

Here are some great quotes from H.L. Mencken, as found on Nealz Nuze (Daily Program Notes of the Neal Boortz Show):
"That Mencken Quote"

Neal Boortz comments on some of Mencken's quotes, in a book he read:
"The comment begins with 'I just finished M.E. Rodger’s book on Mencken and I would like to share some of page 409' and continues thusly:"
By he mid 1930’s, thanks to the New Deal, all that self-reliance had changed prompting Mencken to declare: ‘There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them.’ Despite the billions spent on an individual, ‘he can be lifted transiently but always slips back again.’ Thus the New Deal had been ‘the most stupendous digenetic* enterprise ever undertaken by man …. We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, young or old, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time. The effects of that doctrine are bound to be disastrous soon or late.
Boortz continues:
"You just have to love that quote. Amazing stuff. But I’m really loving the answer Mencken gave to someone who asked him 'But Mr. Mencken, what would you do about the unemployed?' His answer? 'We could start by taking away their vote.'"

"Before we move on to the reading assignments … here’s another Mencken goodie. We will put this in bold type .. it deserves it."
As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Wow, Mencken sure called it! :)

"*Digenetic: of or relating to a subclass of termatode (worms) in which sexual reproduction as an internal parasite of a vertebrate alternates with asexual reproduction in a mollusk."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CHAMPIONS! Inside Edge, 2011!

Oops, we did it again! Just like the last time we won (Champions! Hockey Time, 2010!, September 28, 2010), we beat WTF for the championship in our Over-35 league.

First, let me note a couple things.

Our team has a new name. Our former sponsor, Hockey Time, closed its doors and we picked up a new sponsor, a great new hockey shop in the Atlanta area called Inside Edge. We were very happy to win the championship in this, our first session with Inside Edge as a sponsor. Thank you, Inside Edge! (Sorry, had to throw a few links in there.)

Based on my posts it looks like we're winning this thing every year. Not true. In the Over-35 League they set it up so that we have short 12-game seasons, then playoffs. So we get multiple seasons in a calendar year. We won in September 2010. Then in the winter season we didn't even make the playoffs (and 4 of the 6 teams make the playoffs). And now we're back on top. The league is very evenly balanced, very competitive. Any team can win on any given night. This season it was us. Of course I'm not going to post when we finish 5th!

This was an interesting season. Team Choad was the class of the league, finishing with an 11-1 record (and an 11-game winning streak after dropping the first game). They dominated us in our head-to-head games during the season, beating us 8-2 and 5-2. WTF finished second, with a 6-6 record including one overtime lose, which counts for a point. The Predators finished third, also with a 6-6 record including an over time loss. And we finished fourth, also with a 6-6 record, but not tied with WTF or the Predators because none of our losses came in overtime.

We had to work to get into the playoffs, winning our final two games and three of our last four. And then, as the #4 seed, we had to play Team Choad, 11-1 and winner of 11 straight. Not sure what happened when we played them in the semifinal game but we played the best game we have played in a long time, utterly dominating them 7-1. It was a complete blowout. One of their guys later told one of our guys that they picked a bad time to play their worst game of the year. But I like to think our play had something to do with their bad play. I've been on both sides, sometimes you just "on" and sometimes you're not. Well, our whole team was in top gear that night. It was a special game to be a part of.

In the other semifinal, WTF beat the Predators 3-1. So it was a rematch of two seasons ago for the championship. Like us, WTF missed the playoffs last session. Once again, despite great skating on the part of both teams, it ended up being a very close defensive game, very few mistakes by either team. We got a goal in the first period to make it 1-0, and it stayed that way for a long time. There were times when we felt like we were close to taking control of the game but they never let us do that. One mistake and they could tie the score. It wasn't until the third period that we added a second goal, and we held onto that lead.

As for me, I tried to play a conservative, solid, defensive game. No major mistakes, just solid defense. And when they did get a good shot, I helped my goaltender (who played a great game, obviously) by clearing the rebounds. Nothing special, just solid fundamentals.

I'm proud of the guys I play with. We all commented how we were able to raise our game in the playoffs. Hard to get "up" for games every Monday night. I mean, it's always fun to play but with the pressures of work and family you're not always in a position to play your best. We did well enough in the regular season to get into the playoffs. And then I like to think we showed our true heart as we marched to the championship.


Song of the Day: Pink - Raise Your Glass

"Raise your glass, if you are wrong in all the right ways!"

Pink - Raise Your Glass

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ray Lewis ought to know

Here's an interesting news item that I saw earlier today. Ray Lewis is warning us that if there is an NFL lockout this season crime will increase. According to Ray: "Do this research if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game."

Here's Ray, in his own words, courtesy of ESPN:
"Ray Lewis discusses lockout issues"

Gee, thanks Ray. Well, Ray ought to know. This is a man who beat a murder rap, by the way. Maybe he means that if HE is not playing football he'll murder a few more people.

Okay, that wasn't fair, I admit. He was not convicted of murder. But there sure is a lot of smoke. Just do a search on "Ray Lewis murder" and judge for yourself.

Here is a brief version, from the Ray Lewis Wikipedia page:
Arrest for murder

Following a Super Bowl XXXIV party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000, a fight broke out between Lewis and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Eleven days after Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were questioned by Atlanta police, the three were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges. The white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the killings has never been found. Prosecutors alleged that the bloodstained suit was dumped in a garbage bin outside a fast food restaurant.

Lewis claimed that the prosecution knew he was not involved in the murder but chose to go ahead with the case anyway, saying "You don't care if I'm guilty or not. You gonna make sure I go to jail for life."

Lewis' attorney arranged for the murder charges against Lewis to be dropped in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice.[12] Lewis admitted that he gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings. He was sentenced to one year of probation and was fined US$250,000 by the NFL, which was believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFL player for an infraction not involving substance abuse.

Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted of the charges in June 2000. No other suspects have ever been arrested for the crime.

The following year, Lewis was named Super Bowl XXXV MVP. However, the signature phrase "I'm going to Disney World!" was given instead by quarterback Trent Dilfer.

On April 29, 2004, Lewis reached a settlement with four-year-old India Lollar, born months after the death of her father Richard, preempting a scheduled civil proceeding. Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker's family.

Here are a couple more links:

"Did Ray Lewis murder anyone?"

And another view, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"Collier: A fumble in the Super Bowl murder"

May 24, 2011
P.S. It's a small world. Turns out I know one of the lawyers who represented Ray Lewis. He strongly believes that Ray was not guilty of anything other than throwing a punch, and stupidly driving away. He also said that Ray settled when he would have won at trial (if there was a civil case, for instance). Now this could be just his biased point of view. But I guess it just goes to show that it is difficult to find the truth in these situations. Maybe I shouldn't be so skeptical about Lewis.

Do environmentalists really care about pollution?

This may be a rather strong statement, but I have to say it. I don't believe environmentalists really care about pollution. They only care about who pollutes. They are perfectly willing to look past situations where government pollutes, because they support big government controlling our lives.

We've all heard about the Kyoto Protocol and how it exempts China. That is, it hamstrings western democracies and gives China a free pass to continue polluting.

Let me give a more specific example. When individuals or corporations pollute, even on a minuscule scale, they are prosecuted vigorously. But when government agencies pollute on massive scales, they are given a free pass.

First, a mountain out of a molehill. From the City of Milwaukee, a construction worker dumps a concrete slab into the river:
"Caught On Camera: Construction Worker Dumping Concrete Into Milwaukee River"

And the construction worker's side of the story:
"Fired Construction Worker Says He Was Ordered To Push Concrete Into Milwaukee River"

Meanwhile, take a look at what MMSD (Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District) does on a regular basis. Here's an example from 2005, where they dumped raw sewage for 13 straight hours:
"Rain Brings Lake Michigan Sewage Dump"

And some pretty pictures.

Disgusting, right? But perfectly legal. Not even worth mentioning. Not a peep from so-called environmental advocates.

Now let's go down the Lake Michigan coast, to Chicago. Have you ever heard of the Chicago River? Do you remember that the direction of flow of the river was changed around 1900? Do you remember WHY? They did it so Chicago could continue to dump sewage into the river.

Some history:
"The disinfection debate: How clean should the Chicago River be?" by Lea Radick

Another point of view, from the Chicago Tribune:
"Cleaner river = pollution?"

This says it all: "Chicago is the only major U.S. city that doesn't disinfect its sewage..."

In fairness, I shouldn't say that there are no environmental groups that give government a free pass:
"Environmental groups file suit against Chicago wastewater treatment utility"

Amazingly, the EPA finally decided to step up and require Chicago to disinfect its sewage. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"EPA orders Chicago waterway cleanup" by Dan Egan

It's about time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our future under socialized heath care

We have all heard the predictions about how Obamacare will transform health care in this country. Depending on which side of the issue you are on, it is either a magic bullet to provide health care to everyone while saving money at the same time. Or it is a step down the road to socialism, which will lead to much worse health care. I'm in the latter camp, as you know if you're read this blog for any length of time.

With that in mind, consider this report out of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Medical Society has done a study of how the new MassHealth program (thank you Mitt Romney, you worthless scumbag, you'll never get my vote) has affected health care in that state. Recall that MassHealth is similar to Obamacare, on a state level and several years into implementation. It is worth examining to see what our future might be under Obamacare.

"Massachusetts Medical Society Releases 2011 Study of Patient Access to Health Care"

The summary is succinct: "Longer patient wait times, continued difficult access to primary care physicians, and gaps in physician acceptance of government coverage."

And the first paragraph says a lot: "A 2011 survey about patient access to health care in the Commonwealth shows more than half of primary care practices closed to new patients, longer wait times to get appointments with primary and specialty physicians, and significant variations in physician acceptance of government and government-related insurance products."

Here is a key point, that politicians are too stupid to acknowledge. From the article:
"Alice Coombs, M.D., President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, said the survey results point out a critical characteristic of health care in the Commonwealth, one that physicians have known for some time. 'Massachusetts has made great strides in securing insurance coverage for its citizens,' said Dr. Coombs, 'but insurance coverage doesn’t equal access to care. We still have much work to do to reduce wait times and widen access. This has important implications for health care cost control, as difficulty or delay with routine access to care leads people to seek other options, such as the emergency room, which is much more costly.'"

Hmm, I wonder what else will happen? Another perfectly predictable result:
"Dr. Coombs cited a recent survey released in April by the American College of Emergency Physicians that showed emergency room usage in the state has risen, due in part to physician shortages."

The report goes on and on. More than half of physicians are not accepting new patients, reflecting physician shortages. You can pass any laws you want, but if you don't reward physicians those laws won't do any good.

The report also reports on wait times for new patients.
"The average wait time for an appointment for internal medicine is 48 days, five days shorter than last year, and the average wait time for family medicine is 36 days, up 7 days. Internal medicine was the only specialty reporting a shorter wait time, yet at 48 days it has the longest wait time of any of the seven specialties surveyed."

"Specialty Care All four specialties reported longer wait times: gastroenterologists, 43 days, up from 36 days; obstetricians/gynecologists, 41 days, up from 34 days; orthopedic surgeons, 26 days, up from 17 days; and cardiology, 28 days, up from 26 days."

Here is a fascinating point:
"The gap between primary care physicians accepting Medicare and MassHealth is striking. While most internists (85%) and family physicians (87%) accept Medicare, significantly fewer of both (53% of internists) and (62% of family physicians) accept MassHealth."

Why would they accept Medicare but not MassHealth? Why are wait times rising in Massachusetts? How will these these trends affect YOUR health care in the future? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I see a trend and I don't like it. Even if you would argue that the old system was just as bad, I don't think you can say that mandating universal health coverage solves anything.