Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome To The 'Dark' Side Howard...From Paris

Today, Howard Kurtz, veteran of the Washington Post, bemoaned the fact that "bloggers are scooping sleaze into the mainstream media."

"I didn't get into journalism to write about Brett Favre's private parts, and I suspect most of my colleagues would like that story ruled out of bounds." (Oh come on Howie.  We're all secret gwakers.  We can't help it; we instinctually glance over toward the commotion).

Howard continued his sniffy 'protest', writing arrogantly on the front page of the Style section of today's WashPost.  His article detailed how he DIDN'T get into journalism to write about something, then he rambled on in great detail about the Deadspin blog that "was propelled to the 50-yard line of MSM Stadium". .

Howard- I'm- too- good -to -sully- my- hands- in- blog- dirt confessed he is leaving the WashPost for The Daily Beast.

Welcome to the 'dark' side Howard!     

And on it goes

Jury Convicts Four Moslems in NYC Synagogue Plot

Four men arrested in an FBI terrorism sting are found guilty of plotting to blow up synagogues in New York City and shoot down military planes

The trial featured 13 days of testimony by undercover informant Shahed Hussain, who met Cromitie at a mosque north of New York City. Prosecutors also relied on hundreds of hours of video and audiotape of the men discussing the scheme at the informant's home, handling fake weapons -- even praying together.

Why is it that private sector (computers, phones, stock transactions, entertainment etc) the products get better and cheaper and schools cost more and more and produce less and less?

American schools

Philip Brand and his brother visited schools in every state in America. What Johnny Learned. A quote:

The contrast between New Heights (a charter school funded publicly but operated independently from the local school district) and New York City public school C.S. 211, two schools which Brand visited back-to-back, is stunning. At New Heights kids rhapsodize about the safety of their hallways; at C.S. 211 Brand witnesses a student screaming to her teacher that she had just been groped. At New Heights an enthusiastic young teacher is instructing her students in the basics of respectful adult interaction, how to shake hands while looking someone in the eye, how to listen with “eyes and ears”; at C.S. 211 a disengaged teacher assigns busy work to a bored class for an entire period.

Destroying Schools to Achieve Racial Justice. Weissberg begins:

I've long suspected that the federal government is consciously subverting American education. Deep inside the Department of Education, there must exist a top-secret Bureau of Educational Disasters (BED) whose mission is to concoct alluring but guaranteed-to-fail, academic achievement-killing policies whose sole benefits are more jobs and mindless paperwork. These would be the folks who recently bribed states to retain academically troublesome students whose behavior hindered decent students so as to make America "better educated," i.e., a nation of high school "graduates" barely able to read their diplomas.

How Allied Forces Used Tank Serial Numbers To Defeat The Germans

How Allied Forces Used Tank Serial Numbers To Defeat The GermansDuring World War II, Allied forces readily admitted that German tanks were superior to their own. The big question for Allied forces, then, was how many tanks Germany was producing. Here's how they reverse-engineered serial numbers to find out.

To solve the problem of determining production numbers, the Allied forces initially tried conventional intelligence gathering: spying, intercepting and decoding transmissions and interrogating captured enemies.

Via this method, the Allies deduced that from June 1940 to September 1942, the German military industrial complex churned out around 1,400 tanks each month. That number just didn't seem right. To put that number in context, Axis forces used "only" 1,200 tanks during the Battle of Stalingrad, an eight month battle with a total of almost two million casualties. So that number of 1,400 was likely way too high.

Obviously skeptical of the above result, the Allies looked for other methods of estimation. And then they found a critical clue: serial numbers.

Allied intelligence noticed each captured German tank contained a serial number unique to the tank. With careful observation, the Allies were able to determine that the serial numbers had a pattern denoting the order of tank production.

Using this data, the Allies were able to create a mathematical model to determine the rate of German tank production, and estimated that, during the same summer 1940 to fall 1942 time period, the Germans produced 255 tanks per month — a fraction of the 1,400 estimate.

And it turns out, the serial number methodology was spot on: after the War, internal German data put der Fuhrer's production numbers at 256 tanks per month — one more than the estimate.

California, you have enough problems

Gov. Moonbeam Pushes Free Tuition for Illegals

Jerry Brown Pushes Free Tuition for Illegals

The $60 light bulb

  • review image

LEDs have long been hyped as guilt-free, supergreen successors to squiggly compact fluorescents. One problem: They usually suck, casting a dim bluish light. Not anymore. The glow from the Philips EnduraLED is as comforting as Mom’s cooking, thanks to a special phosphor coating that absorbs the blue glare and transforms the light into a warm, golden hue — 2,700 degrees on the Kelvin scale. And using just 12 watts, the lamp matches the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent. Yet putting out all that shine exposes the LED’s kryptonite: heat. If diodes get too toasty, they’ll go supernova. So the Endura features cast-aluminum heat sinks to dissipate thermal energy from the LED panels. The result is a bulb that can screw into any socket, turn on instantly, and last 25 times longer than an equivalent incandescent, all while using 80 percent less power.

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Tea Party candidates getting massive cash infusion from small donors


What the Dems gave us

Gallup: Next unemployment report will be worse

Just How Lousy Is The Economic Recovery? “Indeed, when you compare the current recovery to the recoveries from the two previous worst post-Depression recessions — the one in 1974-75 and the one in 1981-82 — the picture is decidedly bleak. . . . The evidence from past recoveries shows that things could be — and arguably should be — much better than they are now. Which strongly suggests that, however bad the recession was, something the federal government is doing today is putting a drag on the normal recovery trajectory. Only by admitting there’s a problem will we ever have a chance of getting the current recovery back on track.” If you make it harder to create jobs, fewer jobs will be created.

Only the NYT and Libs can see an enigma in the Ft Hood murders.

Addressing the court via video link from Afghanistan, Spc. Megan Martin said she had been waiting to take medical tests when saw a man to her left stand up and shout "Allahu Akbar!" — "God is great!" in Arabic — then start firing a weapon.

Meanwhile the New York Times,  is still trying to figure out what might have motivated the Muslim terrorist Nidal Hasan:

[T]he gunman and his motive remain an enigma.


A Solar Power Breakthrough, Courtesy of the Guy Who Invented the Super Soaker

A Solar Power Breakthrough, Courtesy of the Guy Who Invented the Super SoakerLonnie Johnson did risk assessment for the Atlantis space shuttle. He helped get the B-2 stealth bomber off the ground. He gave us the Super Soaker. And now, with his latest invention, he might just make solar power viable.

Johnson, a "self-invented inventor," is profiled in the November issue of the Atlantic, and while his Super Soaker revolutionized backyard shenanigans, his latest project, a unique heat engine called the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Converter or JTEC, could revolutionize the energy industry. And that's got some important people very excited.

Today's run-of-the-mill solar cells convert around 20% of the solar energy they gather into electricity. The best solar systems we have can do about 30%. The JTEC, which has no moving parts and produces no waste, could double that efficiency, making it competitive with coal. Paul Werbos, director of the National Science Foundation, says "It has a darn good chance of being the best thing on Earth."

Now for something completely different

Pinching Earth

Created by Uysal Mehmet Ali, this clothespin pinching Earth is part of a contemporary art sculpture exhibit at the Parc de Chaudfontaine, Belgium.

Conn. Blumenthal is the candidate that said he served in Vietnam and did not.

“Dick Blumenthal Earned As Much As $250,000 Of Income In The Year Leading Up To His Senate Run From Investment Accounts In The Cayman Islands.”


Dems take in twice as much “foreign” money as Republicans

Not sure this is a compliment

Reid: Obama 'Like The Chilean Miners'...

MAN DOWN: Reid trails by 3 in latest poll...

Political Cartoon by Michael Ramirez

Taxes explained in Beer

A simple lesson in macroeconomics from ten beer drinkers.

Suppose that once a month, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all of them comes to £100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes and claim State benefits, it would go something like this;

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay £1. The sixth would pay £3. The seventh would pay £7. The eighth would pay £12. The ninth would pay £18. And the tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.

So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every month and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until, one day, the owner caused them a little problem. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your weekly beer by £20.” Drinks for the ten men would now cost just £80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free but what about the other six men; the paying customers? How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? They realised that £20 divided by six is £3.33 but if they subtracted that from everybody’s share then not only would the first four men still be drinking for free but the fifth and sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So the bar owner suggested a different system. The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing. The sixth man paid £2 instead of £3 . The seventh paid £5 instead of £7. The eighth paid £9 instead of £12. The ninth paid £14 instead of £18. And the tenth man now paid £49 instead of £59.  Each of the last six was better off than before with the first four continuing to drink for free.

But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings. “I only got £1 out of the £20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, “but he got £10!”

“Yes, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a £1 too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get £10 back, when I only got £2? The rich get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

So, the nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. Funnily enough, the next month the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him.

But when it came to pay for their drinks, they discovered something important – they didn’t have enough money between all of them to pay for even half the bill.

For when your college graduate returns home and needs that something extra for their ski trip.

Hurl Snowballs 150 Feet This Winter With These Jai Alai Scoops

Hurl Snowballs 150 Feet This Winter With These Jai Alai ScoopsI can understand not wanting to be the guy who brings a jai alai xistera to a snowball fight, sure, but if you want to start tagging up your enemies (neighborhood nine-year-olds) at distances of up to 150 feet, well...

...this is the way to do it. The 150 Foot Slinging Snowball Xistera, an important product from Hammacher Schlemmer, is modeled on the scoopy baskets used in jai alai, an intense sport you may know from that one Mad Men subplot

Worth warning again

85% of College Grads Move Back Into Their Parents' Home
CNN Money, Boomerang Kids: 85% of College Grads Move Home:

Getting a degree used to be a stepping stone to limitless career opportunities. Now it's more of a hiatus from living under your parents' roof.

Stubbornly high unemployment -- nearly 15% for those ages 20-24 -- has made finding a job nearly impossible. And without a job, there's nowhere for these young adults to go but back to their old bedrooms, curfews and chore charts. Meet the boomerangers. ...

"This recession has hit young adults particularly hard," according to Rich Morin, senior editor at the Pew Research Center in DC.

So hard that a whopping 85% of college seniors planned to move back home with their parents after graduation last May, according to a poll by Twentysomething Inc., a marketing and research firm based in Philadelphia. That rate has steadily risen from 67% in 2006.

Skiing News

If the idea of enduring Utah’s wintry chill in an ordinary ski lift is too much to bear, the Canyons Resort in Park City will be introducing North America’s first heated chair lift this coming ski season. Not only will your seat be warm, but you’ll also be encased in an orange bubble shield so you can finally understand what it feels like to be inside a pair of giant ski goggles.

Meanwhile, over in California’s Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, snowcats tricked out as food carts will help you take the edge off your appetite. And if you find yourself at any one of the five Vail Resorts in Colorado, radio frequency (RF) chips embedded in your season passes and lift tickets will track the vertical feet and runs you’ve skied.

If you want to avoid the hassle of shepherding all your ski stuff through the airport, a vacation package offered by the Inn at Lost Creek in Telluride includes home pick-up and delivery of your luggage. And if you find yourself in a relationship where one of you skis and the other never has, a deal at Capella Telluride includes ski instruction, starting with how to fasten your boots.

The Texas Model

More than half of the new jobs created in the past 12 months were in Texas. “What does Austin know that Washington doesn’t? At its simplest: Don’t overtax and -spend, keep regulations to a minimum, avoid letting unions and trial lawyers run riot, and display an enormous neon sign saying, ‘Open for Business.’ . . . At bottom, the struggle between national Republicans and Democrats is over whether the country will adopt a version of the Texas model, or of the Michigan, New York, or California model.”

Beware when you travel

Bedbugs Infest Lawrence Townhouse: “A 2-year-old girl is banned from her daycare because of bed bugs. The problem is spreading in the metro. Now, the country is facing a bed bug problem like it’s never seen before. The mother of a 2-year-old girl says they’ve been dealing with bed bugs for some time now and the property manager of the complex here will not provide a permanent solution. Experts say bed bugs are difficult to treat and for the metro, this may be only the beginning of the problem.”


OOPS: Dems take in twice as much “foreign” money as Republicans “Over the weekend, some Democrats began questioning the White House strategy of demonizing third-party groups for potentially using foreign-raised money in political messaging. Now we know why. Apparently, the shrieking over foreign influence was yet another case of projection.”

NYT Hit Piece on O

Yesterday I got around to reading Peter Baker's New York Times Magazine article "The education of a president" in hard copy. One comes away from the article with the uncomfortable feeling that Obama thinks he's just too damned good for us.

Baker's article made news in the middle of last week as a result of Obama's acknowledgment that he didn't know "shovel-ready from a hole in the ground (to borrow the formulation of Mickey Kaus). In other words, he wasn't lying to us when he sold us his trillion-dollar "stimulus" bill of goods. He just didn't know what he was talking about.

Bon Appetite

Compound in Celery, Peppers Reduces Age-Related Memory Deficits

ScienceDaily (Oct. 13, 2010) — A diet rich in the plant compound luteolin reduces age-related inflammation in the brain and related memory deficits by directly inhibiting the release of inflammatory molecules in the brain, researchers report.  Luteolin (LOOT-ee-oh-lin) is found in many plants, including carrots, peppers, celery, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary and chamomile.

News that you might use

Chest Compression-Only CPR Improves Survival in Cardiac Arrest Patients, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Oct. 14, 2010) — Heart attack patients whose hearts have stopped beating and who receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from bystanders fare better if their resuscitators skip the rescue breaths and do only chest compression, according to a study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Weekend Political News

Rasmussen Predicts Republican Gain of 55 in House...

ABCNEWS: 63 Dem House Seats in 'Serious Danger'...

Barone: Dems find careers threatened by ObamaCare votes...

WHAT RECESSION: DC 'oasis for jobs and growth'...

After a trillion

Palin pleads: 'Nobody tell Obama what number comes after a trillion!'...