Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Still Alive...Old...Friend!

Life's been crazy lately, but I'm still alive. Not the least of my worries has been the death of our computer. The power supply went out, and being both proprietary and out of production it would have been expensive to fix. Adding in the potential for additional damage beyond the power supply and the fact that the computer was old and slow, it just became easier to justify getting a new one.

Which we've done, and are still putting together. For now I've got the basics reinstalled, and then I'll see what we actually need before I install anything else. Retrieving all our old files was tricky enough. The hard drive from the old computer wouldn't come out of the case--at least not with the tools I have--so I had to use a power and IDE cable from the new computer to cross-patch the old hard drive into the new machine. The setup resembled two cars giving a jump-start with too-short jumper cables.

Then I had to call in a professional to figure out how to keep the new computer from trying to boot up with the old hard drive. Thank goodness for professionals--you know, those friends you have that you never call unless you have computer problems, and yet they still consider you friends. In my case it's St. Darryl of ASAssi.

Anyway, the up-side is we now have a flatscreen monitor. And a free printer which I've yet to install. :-P The downside is that I've got about $300 in rebates to file for, and the list of requirements reads like a Hogwarts potions recipe. I was out in the garage last night cutting UPC's off the old boxes--which I'm glad I kept. Today I have to make photo copies of the sales receipt, which of course is too long for the copier, so I have to use the reducing option to make it all fit.

Of course they want to make it difficult for you. And of course they want to take as long as they can getting your money back to you (they say 8-10 weeks--even the US Gov't doesn't take that long!). I understand the business reasons. But it's still a pain in the butt.

In other news, my mother in law is here for a couple of weeks. And my mother is in the hospital.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I'm one of those nuts who still doubts all the claims around global warming. And yes, I base much of this off of Michael Crichton's book "State of Fear." And under the relentless assault of media I've been slowly been coming to doubt what I remembered reading. Not that I am willing to take the plunge and become a true Believer in Global Warming, either.

Let me just step aside for a moment and go on the record saying I'm all for sensible measures for minimizing our impact on nature. Nature is complicated enough without our adding to its volatility. So I'm for pollution controls, recycling, reducing waste and reliance on oil, etc. So long as it's done fairly and sensibly.

Now then, back to the science. Orson Scott Card published an essay citing evidence that the "Hockey Stick Report" that much of the Global Warming crowd accepts as the basic tenet of their faith is actually faulty, if not fraudulent. He cites some references, but unfortunately they're from books that will cost you money.

On the other hand, I have found a few articles lately that, if not disproving CO2 as the primary cause of global warming, at least cast doubt on it being the only cause. It seems Mars is experiencing global warming, too. And all our Mars explorers are solar powered, so you can't blame that one on us:

An article on MSNBC Online, which references an article in
National Geographic, as well as another related article on

Add to that the fact that a few scientists are coming forward to challenge Al Gore's claims (though most say he exaggerates, not is outright wrong) , and I'm feeling a little more confident in saying "Wait a second, are we getting ahead of ourselves a little here? Do we really know what's going on, or are we guessing, or worse, twisting data to suit our own ideals? Is it really as bad as all that, or are we just trying to scare people into doing something that, while not necessarily bad, may not be for pure motives?"

So yeah, let's see if we can't do some real science first and make sure we know what we're talking about before we all jump on the bandwagon, eh?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Smart As An Eight-Year-Old

The New York Times has an article about an eight-year-old genius and the math quiz he took to identify him as such. I got them all right, though the 5th question took me awhile to wrap my brain around it.

Actually, it's not clear if I got them all right. Question 6 he identifies as not being possible, which I didn't catch.

Still, I did much better than I anticipated. And I did it while recovering from a migraine. Try THAT, genius boy!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Lileksian Juxtaposition

I was reminded yet again why I read James Lileks' blog. He has a gift for jarring, anti-contextual, yet completely sensible extrapolations. In today's entry he was describing being outside at 10 pm shoveling snow when some pedestrians walk by and say hello:

...and then the guy said "hey, you're James Lileks." That's always nice to hear from strangers, unless of course they're assassins. Turned out they weren't.

First smile I cracked in far too long.

Stomach Bug Redux

Wednesday night I was feeling a little achy. Thursday morning I was feeling a little uneasy in the stomach, but not bad enough to stay home from work. By the time I was halfway down the street from our house, though, the stomach cramps hit. I wisely turned around and went home. Two hours later I was locked in the throes of major stomach flu.

I'm feeling mostly better today, though my stomach still yells "Whoa! Whoa! Careful there!" anytime I even think of grabbing some food. Cream of Wheat, a bagel, and a banana are about all I've managed to eat today.

I had this same stuff, only milder, a couple weeks ago. I really, really hope this is the last time for awhile. A looooong while. More importantly, I hope no one else in my family gets it. Again. We just barely got the couch cleaned from the last go-round.