Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Last Question

I don't even know how to classify this post. This is a brilliant short story that merges science fiction and religion, courtesy of Isaac Asimov.

So, what is "the last question"? Read for yourself.
"The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov, written in 1956

First of all, this story predicts the rise of, well, not exactly search engines, but something that is not altogether unlike Google. It further predicts the migration of the use of computers to small, hand-held devices (such as phones or tablets?). I wonder if the other predictions will come to pass (long after I'm gone)...

But on a deeper level ... Do you believe in God? Can science explain everything? Is there a difference, ultimately?

If that didn't work, you can Google it!
Seems like we still have a long way to go. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Obamanonics vs. Reaganomics

I can't say it any better, so I'm going to just post this article from the Wall Street Journal:

"Obamanonics vs. Reaganomics - One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn't." by Stephen Moore

"The two presidents have a lot in common. Both inherited an American economy in collapse. And both applied daring, expensive remedies. Mr. Reagan passed the biggest tax cut ever, combined with an agenda of deregulation, monetary restraint and spending controls. Mr. Obama, of course, has given us a $1 trillion spending stimulus."

"By the end of the summer of Reagan's third year in office, the economy was soaring. The GDP growth rate was 5% and racing toward 7%, even 8% growth. In 1983 and '84 output was growing so fast the biggest worry was that the economy would "overheat." In the summer of 2011 we have an economy limping along at barely 1% growth and by some indications headed toward a "double-dip" recession. By the end of Reagan's first term, it was Morning in America. Today there is gloomy talk of America in its twilight."

"My purpose here is not more Reagan idolatry, but to point out an incontrovertible truth: One program for recovery worked, and the other hasn't."

The Economy is So Bad...

Here's a little economic humor, kind of cheesy but kind of funny, too.  From The Disciplined Investor:
"Sunday Fun: The Economy is So Bad… How Bad is It?"

Here is the list:
  • The economy is so bad that I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail
  • CEO’s are now playing miniature golf. Exxon-Mobile laid off 25 Congressmen
  • Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America
  • Motel Six won’t leave the light on anymore
  • A picture is now only worth 200 words
  • They renamed Wall Street "Wal-Mart Street"
  • And, finally (drumroll), I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

Lots of serious content on this page, too. Including this story:
"Sunday (NOT SO) Fun: The Fictional Jobs Agenda"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Google, Facebook, and the Social Web

I've been meaning to post this for a while. IEEE Spectrum magazine dedicated an issue to the Social Web, focusing specifically on Facebook and Google (before Google+ launched, by the way).

IEEE Spectrum, June 2011, "Super Socialize Me"

Be sure to read the whole series of articles for a good overall discussion of many issues surrounding the social web.

The issue also seems to have a secondary theme: comparing Facebook to Google. Yes, they even discuss the food at both companies!

I happened to find this article in the series most interesting:
"Under the Hood at Google and Facebook - A peek at the data centers, servers, and software that keep us feeling connected" by David Schneider

Very interesting. Lots of good info but a lot of laughably wrong information, too. No, I can't tell you which information is good and which is completely wrong, sorry. Still an interesting article, though.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Say ya to da UP, eh!

Took a quick trip back home, to "da UP" (that's Michigan's Upper Peninsula, if you're not a Yooper) this past weekend. My girls had been up there for a week and a half already, at "Yooper Camp." What's Yooper Camp? It's kind of like camp, except I just send my girls up north to spend some time with my dad and his wife. They get to ride 4-wheelers, shoot guns, go fishing, go camping, etc. All the stuff you can't do in the city.

Here are some highlights from the short time I was there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Drove past the place where the Big Powderhorn Mountain ski lodge had been, until a fire this past winter, and saw the new lodge under construction.

And the place where the old lodge had been.  :(

Took some pictures of the old house that I grew up in.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trout Fishing at the Watersmeet Trout Hatchery & Fish Farm, Watersmeet, Michigan

Bond Falls, Paulding, Michigan

Swimming in the lake and walking near the falls.

(Yes, the girls made it up there with me!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Adventure Mining Company, Greenland, Michigan
Great tour through an old copper mine, learned a lot about the heritage of the area.

Bonus: We got to see a large number of bats!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday we drove to Minneapolis and flew home. Turns out our AirTran plan was painted with Falcons colors.  Oh well, it got us home.

We also saw a jet with the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings logos on the plane (same guy owns both teams). Yes, the Tigers were in town playing the Twins.

And a small private jet with the Dallas Cowboys logo on the tail. Yes, the Cowboys were in town to play the Vikings in a pre-season game.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ocassionally they tell the truth: "Economist" Paul Krugman

Did you hear that someone made a fake Google+ page in Paul Krugman's name? Well, here is Krugman's response. From the New York Times, Paul Krugman's blog:
"Identity Theft"

I love this quote from his post:
"So if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid or outrageous, and it didn’t come from the Times or some other verifiable site, you should probably assume it was a fake."

Probably, he says. Probably. As in, he knows he says really stupid stuff. So he can't honestly say "if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid, assume it was a fake." Because he knows that that simply wouldn't be true.

I love this part, too: "Apparently some people can’t find enough things to attack in what I actually say, so they’re busy creating fake quotes." Now that is bullshit. Krugman keeps plenty of people busy attacking the drivel that comes out of his mouth and his keyboard.

So what prompted Krugman to post this to his blog? The Fake Krugman, from the fake Google+ account, said this:
"People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage."

This is what he was objecting to. Funny thing is, the Fake Krugman said exactly what the Real Krugman believes. Don't believe me? Consider these links.

From Human Events:
"The Krugman Earthquake Stimulus Fakeout"
"A phony post that sounded too good to be false." by John Hayward

Lots of jokes to start off this column. I like this one: "Breaking: mountain of debt in Washington shifts slightly, triggering magnitude 5.8 earthquake."

The article presents the Fake Krugman quote and then makes some good points:

"The message sounds like self-parody, but Krugman is a big believer in the 'Broken Windows' school of economics, having apparently missed the part of Econ 101 where they teach you it’s a fallacy. He muses often on the fabulous opportunities for economic growth afforded by wars and the cleanup efforts from natural disasters. Less than a week after the 9/11 attacks, for example, he wrote: 'Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack - like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression - could even do some economic good.'"

And from Hot Air:
"Krugman(?): If only the earthquake had done more damage, the economy would have gotten a boost; Update: Not Krugman" posted by Allahpundit

"Is it real or just a goof? Kevin Williamson isn’t sure and neither am I, but given that this is the same guy who fantasized recently about the Keynesian awesomeness of an alien invasion, it’s at least a toss-up. All day long I’ve felt relieved that the quake caused only very minor damage, but now suddenly I’m bummed that the Brooklyn Bridge didn’t fall into the river. Maybe we can get DHS or the NYPD to blow it up? That’s a few thousand jobs right there."

"Here’s a bona fide Krugman original, published … September 14, 2001."

And now the Hot Air article quotes Krugman directly:

"It seems almost in bad taste to talk about dollars and cents after an act of mass murder. Nonetheless, we must ask about the economic aftershocks from Tuesday’s horror.

"These aftershocks need not be major. Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack — like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression — could even do some economic good. But there are already ominous indications that some will see this tragedy not as an occasion for true national unity, but as an opportunity for political profiteering…

"First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.

"Second, the attack opens the door to some sensible recession-fighting measures. For the last few weeks there has been a heated debate among liberals over whether to advocate the classic Keynesian response to economic slowdown, a temporary burst of public spending. There were plausible economic arguments in favor of such a move, but it was questionable whether Congress could agree on how to spend the money in time to be of any use — and there was also the certainty that conservatives would refuse to accept any such move unless it were tied to another round of irresponsible long-term tax cuts. Now it seems that we will indeed get a quick burst of public spending, however tragic the reasons."

Summary: Paul Krugman is stunningly stupid. Of course we believed the Fake Paul Krugman post on Google+! The real stuff he said is even more outrageous than the fake stuff!

Need more proof? Read on...

More from Hot Air:
"Krugman: You know what this economy needs? A space alien invasion!" posted by Ed Morrissey

Watch the video. Yes, I can't believe he can say that stuff with a straight face, either.

This whole loony discussion from Krugman came after Fareed Zakaria asks about the ditch digging example, where some people (Keynesians, actually, not smart people) believe that government paying some people to dig ditches and others to fill in the ditches creates jobs.

As Hot Air says, "Paul Krugman then doubles down on this idiocy by explaining that economic growth would be just around the corner — if only Space Invaders came to life." Seriously.

Amazing that sheep out there keep listening to him. Amazing.

Quote of the Day: Elayne Boosler on Relationships

I saw this the other day. I hate to admit it, and I'm not sure what this says about me, but I think there is a lot of truth to it.

"I know what men want. Men want to be really, really close to someone who will leave them alone." - Elayne Boosler