Monday, August 31, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

The new wonder drug!

Tell it to the American Indians

Idaho Republican gubernatorial hopeful, Rex Rammell, jokes about buying hunting tags for Obama at a Republican rally Tuesday in Twin Falls.
The GOP just doesn't get it do they. Their attempts to court the racist vote isn't going to work in an America growing less white every day. Jon Stewart addresses this nicely on a recent episode.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Reform Madness - White Minority
Daily Show
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Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Lately when ever something like this comes out, the right tries to dismiss its significance by treating it as a joke. Threatening to kill political figures in this day and age where it happens far too frequently isn't humorous. It never was.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Freudian slip

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a recent gathering in northeast Kansas that the Republican Party is looking for a “great white hope” to help stop the political agenda of the Democratic party and President Barack Obama.

Ahh, the big hood tent party.

The institute for human continuity

Sign up for the lottery before its too late!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mathematical modeling of a Zombie attack

Robert J. Smith, a mathematician from the University of Ottawa, along with others, have produced a serious look at the mathematical epidemiology of a zombie plague, which has been published in the journal "Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress."

A number of articles have interviewed Smith about the project which originated as a student class project, but the actual paper is available for download here.

Hawaii 50

The 50th state turns 50 today. I wasn't born in Hawaii, but spent time living there as a child. And while the place was in no way perfect during the late 60's, I have a fondness of the place that comes from childhood memories. So despite the state downplaying the anniversary, I want to wish Hawaii a happy five-oh.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Uselessness of Cats

The NYT discusses a scientific article that makes the claim that since Cats do not perform directed tasks, they have no use.

All the other species, in the authors’ view, were bred by people for their desired qualities. Cats, being without utility, were not. Instead, they domesticated themselves and chose their own mates without human interference.

They had the wits to notice that the first human settlements were full of uncleared garbage strewn about by their slovenly inhabitants and so were overrun with rats, mice and sparrows.

The cats decided to move into this inviting new ecological niche, even though the price of admission was to develop a disdainful tolerance of people.

Clearly, there is no accounting for the vast entertainment value provided by cats.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A modest proposal

Since the tinfoil hat brigade seems for exercised over any public involvement in health care, unless of course its the VA or Medicare which they are perfectly happy with, I have a suggestion. Since the ultimate goal is to reduce the cost of health care, or at least control the growth of its cost, how about encouraging private non-profit health care options. Lets see if taking the profit motive out of the insurance business can help control costs - it certainly has in elsewhere. Just as the Lutherans have their own investment company (Thrivent Financial ) to encourage their core values, what if major churches were encouraged to start non-profit health plans for their members. Its actually a very old idea. Then Catholics could have a plan that reflected their faith's core values. So could Lutherans, etc. And for the heathens out there, we could have a public plan. Then no one would have to be afraid of Obama's death board abortion farms! They'd only have to be afraid of their church elders.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tinfoil hat brigade

The election of the Carebear seems to have really unhinged a portion of the country in a way we haven't seen since President Johnson pushed through the civil rights legislation in the 1960's.

Even if everything they feared about Obama being a socialist were true, there is very little change that can be brought about in a single term. Certainly we could never enact the kind of society enjoyed by Canada and Europe, yet these folks are convinced that its the end of the country as they know it, and grandma will be turned into Soilent Green.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate
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Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

I mean really, Death Panels! We've had those for years - they're called insurance companies. Its not like the government can do any worse than the private sector has.

As for the screaming hysterics at the town meetings, it's ironic that the Wing nut talking heads can't seem to remember what they said about this just a few short months ago (see tape starting at 4:40 minutes).
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Healther Skelter
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

And that of course is if you take the past's protests from the left as equivalent to the current protests from the right. Humm I can't remember the last time a leftist protester came to a protest wearing one of these:

Of course the same sort of end of times hysteria was all the rage about thirty years ago in the land of cotton. Seems like some things just haven't changed.

These folks need to grow up and quit their whining. The rest of us suffered through eights years to disastrous right wind politics. Now its their turn.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Doggie IQ

Stanley Coren, a professor at the University of British Columbia, has adapted a language development test in order to test a dog's language abilities. He has found that the average dogs can learn 165 words (similar to a 2-year-old child), including signals and gestures. The dogs at the top of the pack are on par with a 2.5-year-old. He also found that the typical dog trumps a 3 to 4 year old in basic arithmetic skills.

A different study found that dogs are significantly better than cats at understanding cause-and-effect relations. Suggesting that this might explain why dogs are easier to train than cats.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My namesake

This is Marmot (I'm not certain the variety but I think its a Yellow-bellied Marmot) was up on Mount Evans last weekend. I've tried getting photos of these guys in the past, but they've been to shy to let me get close enough even with a telephoto. This guy was tame by comparison. Marmots look slothful and relaxed, but move lightning fast when they need to. They also communicate through high pitched whistles, witch is often the first indication of their presence.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Wild dog

Came across this little fox on the Oh-My-God-Road just outside of Idaho Springs tonight. The poor little guy looked like he'd had a hard winter and was a bit scruffy. We took this detour up Virginia Canyon to avoid the typical Sunday evening gridlock along I-70 back towards Denver.