I have made it to The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas. I haven’t done anything or met anyone or learned anything yet, but here are two quick shots of me and my temporary blogspot at the Tuscany hotel on Flamingo.
Well, it’s after midnight, and I’m preparing to fly to Las Vegas tomorrow, so tonight is just a bunch of linky doodles…
- The Bible – In 50 Words or Less
- Bono said the F-word
OK, well, here’s my take. People who are on live national television during prime time should not say that. Since we had our kid a few years ago, I’ve really tried to cut my swearing down to a bare minimum, and I seldom miss that particular word – it’s just not necessary. Now, having said that, he said what he said, and I think as far as any follow-up action is required, it’s no BFD-diddly-iddley.
- Duh! Award? Music Industry may need to explore downloads?
- MoveOn.Org’s Working!
- I think I had some slugs like these last spring…
- Bush admits it… is this bad?
- Amazing Transformation
- Logarithmic Map of the Universe
- Limecat is not pleased.
Here’s an interesting idea from idea-a-day.com:
Sell a range of Inaction Man and Inaction Woman figures and accessories, e.g. TV, couch, remote control, coffee table, bowl of peanuts, six-pack of
lager and a variety of classic Chinese, English, Indian, Italian and Turkish takeaway meals. For those who might question whether slothful, gluttonous, TV-obsessed lager drinkers are suitable role models for
children, the standard response would be to point out that:
(a) kids don’t get to choose their parents but they love them all the same; and,
(b) on reflection, knife-wielding, gun-toting, tank-driving action figures may
well have their flaws too.
P.S. They did not choose to publish my idea to have a section of dominos set up in a plastic base that would be loosely hinged at the bottom so they could fall over in the classic ‘domino theory’ sense. There would be a hooked mechanism in the base that could grab the back edge of the toppled dominos and set them back up en masse, then get out of the way. Each section would be about 18″ long, with 72 or so dominos, and there could be special colored or trick sections that would do all the classic tricks like making an American flag, or climbing stairs, and the sections would all hook together like a model train set or Hot Wheels™ track.
I never thought I’d have to say this, but I’m pissed off at PBS.
I was watching this great show last night about how Edison invented the first practical electric light bulb and brought electricity to the people, called Great Projects: The Building of America – Electric Nation, and they did a fine job of presenting Edison’s achievments, but they never mentioned Nikola Tesla! I mean, I learned all about the Samuel Insull scandal (kinda like the first Enron) – he was the guy that brought cheap, clean GE power to Chicago. They went into great detail about his trial for mail fraud after selling Edison General Electric stock certificates by mail, causing thousands to lose their life savings in the Black Friday stock market crash. They mentioned that DC wasn’t practical because it couldn’t be transmitted over long distances, and that AC was the answer. Then they flashed a nameplate from a GE generator that said “Alternating Current” on it, and went on to detail the Tennessee Valley Authority, and still never even mentioned Tesla.
That’s just not right.
In case you are unfamiliar with who Tesla was and what he did, he was a Serbo-Croatian immigrant who worked for Edison in the late 19th century, then was shafted by Edison and went to work for George Westinghouse. He invented pretty much every aspect of the power generation and distribution system we use to this day, including the polyphase AC generator, the concept of using step-up and step-down transformers to trade voltage for current, and an efficient, brushless AC motor. He was an eccentric weirdo who lived alone in a hotel with a bunch of pigeons, but he was also one of the great genius inventors at the turn of the century. If you want to learn more, here are some handy linky-doodles:
- Tesla at the World’s Fair
- Basic Tesla Bio
- The Battle of the Currents
- Another Bio
- PBS’s Own Show/Site about Tesla
These links are the tips of huge icebergs, and there’s so much more, like Edison inventing the electric chair for prisoner executions to prove that AC current wasn’t safe – if you don’t know about this stuff, please check it out.
OK, I have to admit that Mr. Bush may have accidentally done something almost right – I mean, even a clock that doesn’t run is right twice a day.
Now, I know that his new immigration scheme is designed to garner the Hispanic vote, and that it’s not quite fair to either workers or employers on so many levels, but having read the section in Reefer Madness on the sorry state of migrant workers who pick strawberries in California, I think its a genuine improvement in the plight of illegal workers/immigrants. Having said that, here is an interesting analysis with lots of relevant links: Citizen Smash. (via Critical Section)
I’d like to be excited about the Bush plan to go back to the Moon and onward to Mars, but I just can’t. I’ve been looking at these exciting new pictures from Mars, and I gotta say, I hope that we do discover some trace of life there, because that would be completely revolutionary and totally cool, but I’ve lived several years in Arizona, and Mars looks way, way, way too much like the worst parts of Arizona without any water. Oh, and there’s also that little issue of, oh, you know, like, the money. Manned missions are grandstanding for the benefit of others, and just plain don’t make sense.
So while I’d like to get all inspired by Mr. Bush, I just can’t.
I basically agree with Bruce Sterling, who’s been blogging that we should expect to settle on Mars way after we’ve successfully settled the Gobi desert, since it’s much cheaper, much closer, and much more accomodating. Bottom line? I think Dubya’s just trying to capture a little of the JFK bravado going into the election and more or less failing. (I never met Jack Kennedy, but I’m pretty sure this Bush guy ain’t him neither.)
On a lighter and much cooler note, here’s a link to ‘I.'(via Presurfer)
So I’m going to have some fun next week. I’m going to Las Vegas for a little mini-vacation and attend James (The Amazing) Randi’s The Amaz!ng Meeting 2. It’s a seminar thing for skeptics that has magic acts, debunking sessions, speeches on evolution, etc., and it promises to be exceptionally cool. I’m really looking forward to it.
Here are some interesting links that have caught my attention over the last few days:
- Working for The Man
- Garage Band
(Everyone was linking to Apple’s Garage Band tool, and I ran across an article that said they paid a bunch of money to GarageBand.com for the limited use of that name, and I thought that was another really lame example of where we’ve come with intellectual property rights, I mean, you actually have to pay someone a bunch of money to call something “Garage Band,” but at least the .com site is really cool.)
- Here’s a fairly entertaining humor site: Zug.com
- Virtual Etch-a-Sketch
- Copycat Jesus?
- 2004 Bloggies – Weblog Awards
(Please feel free to vote for Asparagus Pee in any category!)
Todays Duh! award goes to this article by Neal Starkman, with a great big thank you to Neal for saying what I’ve been thinking, and saying it so well. And I’m hoping ‘The S Factor’ nomenclature takes off.
Here’s a representative quote from the article:
It’s not merely that some people are insufficiently intelligent to grasp the nuances of foreign policy, of constitutional law, of macroeconomics or of the variegated interplay of humans and the environment. These aren’t the people I’m referring to. The people I’m referring to cannot understand the phenomenon of cause and effect. They’re perplexed by issues comprising more than two sides. They don’t have the wherewithal to expand the sources of their information. And above all — far above all — they don’t think.
Todays Doh! award goes to The Crocodile Hunter. I’m sure you’ve all seen this already, but this guy goes into the crocodile pit with his 1-month old son under one arm and feeds a crocodile! What point is there to having a Michael Jackson if we don’t at least learn from his mistakes?
Here is a cookbook that’s been in my wife’s family since circa 1957 – Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls. It’s really interesting to thumb through this and wax nostalgic over the good ol’ days, when you would make hamburgers by adding a half cup of evaporated milk and a teaspoon of salt, or ‘Saucy Hamburger Crumble’ starting with a tablespoon of ‘fat.’
My mom actually had a grease can that we kept in the ‘fridge well into my teens that was an aluminum tin about the size of a coffee can, with a strainer in the top that all the ‘good grease’ like bacon drippings went into. Mmmm… bacon drippings.
Someone told me recently that I should consider a career as a professional whistler. I know that sounds silly, but doggone it, I really am somewhat of a whistling master, a prodigy so to speak. I was hoping to have a sample of me whistling a Bach concerto or Stars and Stripes Forever, or some such, but in the meantime, here are some slackard whistlers that are still worth a listen: WhistlingRecords.com.
I’m about to drop the Da Vinci Code references now for awhile, but here’s an interesting link to the Opus Dei Awareness Network: ODAN.
Speaking of conspriracies, this stuff’s pretty sick, but I have to admit that sometimes I wonder… Stupid Conspiracy Theory?
Here’s a website that has sound samples of Presidents Dealing with People over the Phone.
Here’s a great tool for wordsmiths – kind of like a rhyming dictionary, a thesaurus, and a really powerful tool for discovering relationships between words: Lexical FreeNet.
And I’m always in the mood for a good Simpsons quotes page. (via Presurfer)
And last, but not least, here is the obligatory link to Google’s year-end Zeitgiest – it was worth looking into this if only to figure out why Yuko Ogura was the number one Japanese search for ‘popular women.’ Pretty cute.