Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rumble in the lab!

Iran isn't the only place where a complacent theocracy is getting its shins kicked by an angry groundswell of rebellion. The American Chemical Society, a sort of related gang to my (former) crowd the American Physical Society, recently had an eruption of dissent concerning the editor-in-chief, a certain anthropogenic global warming editorial, and an enraged mob of chemists who very much resented the anti-science exhibited by the party of the first part in the pages of the second part. (h/t Watt's up With That, a great climate science clearinghouse). See, scientists of all flavors break out in hives when someone who should know better, like a fellow scientist, says silly things about "the science is settled" (it NEVER is completely settled) or that a "consensus view" has any validity or interest outside of deciding where to have lunch. One measly pile of data can, and should, refute any "consensus", because data is fact and consensus is opinion. Science != opinion. The consensus *used* to be that the earth was flat and witches rode brooms.

My bunch haven't been shy either. (from the blog post cited above ..)
On May 1 2009, the American Physical Society (APS) Council decided to review its current climate statement via a high-level subcommittee of respected senior scientists. The decision was prompted after a group of 54 prominent physicists petitioned the APS revise its global warming position. The 54 physicists wrote to APS governing board: “Measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th – 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today.”
The angry chemist letters are great. What they lack in profanity they more than make up for in icy pointed insults. Trust me, the translation into civilian-speak is something like "yo mamma".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A very small bleg

I don't have the chutzpah to put up a "Yay Snarkatron" PayPal button, since I figure my five (or six) readers repay me for my efforts simply by showing up. But this isn't for me. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is doing the Light the Night fundraising walk, and your Humble Snarkatron is taking part. One of my closest friends has lymphoma, and thanks to those guys that cancer has gone from Mostly Deadly to Mild Annoyance. If you can spare a latte's worth in these piping economic times (and with the threat of the Government Coming to Cure You in the wings) I would be very humble and grateful.

Push the button, Max!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary The elephant is an assassin!
-TwoLumps Humans are strange.
-Girl Genius von Pinn is in the basement and Gil is jealous.
-No Need For Bushido Should be a non-canon Ken story Monday. And a new day dawns for the brave defenders!

Not Updated, last I checked ...

-My Ninja Family
-Dresden Codak
-Gone with the Blastwave

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the Danger of Using Stock Photos

This is why your humble Snarkatron is not a good marketing demographic. We marinate in skepticism.

Here we have a standard before-and-after weight loss ad. Pretty girl, starts off in a red shirt and is, shall we say, zaftig. Then she finds the Miracle cure, and she's in a slender white tank top.

Apparently the cure didn't last, because here she is again, looking for someone who likes a woman with many, many curves.

The neat thing? Her white tank top expanded with her. And if you look closely, her hair curls exactly the same way as it did when she was thin! What are the odds?

I think the moral is clear. Photoshop makes you gain weight.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Schlock is bored with his desk job.
-TwoLumps Fat cat.
-Girl Genius Agatha motivates Gil and irritates Zola at the same time.
-No Need For Bushido New update Monday, and check out the non-canon Ken story!
-My Ninja Family Mommy is STILL gone!
-Dresden Codak has more strangeness.

Not Updated, last I checked ...

-LackadaisyGone with the Blastwave.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Meditations whilst waiting for the Apocalypse

There's only so many times you can read the owner's manual for the ACME Survive-O-Matic bunker before boredom sets in. Aside from peeking through the periscope to see if it is safe to go out yet, perhaps we should devote some time to thinking of how we could prevent a similar disaster from ever happening again. I'm talking about the current administration and all the associated fun and games.

-If Cabinet positions are subject to Congressional approval, then anybody wielding the equivalent power but without the formality of the title should *also* be subject to Congressional approval. No end-runs around confirmation hearings by calling someone a "czar."

-Either the requirements for the office of President cited in the Constitution are enforced in a verifiable way, or they should be removed. Proof of age and natural-born citizenship should be provided (perhaps to the Supreme Court?) before a candidate can be added to the ballot.

-All prospective presidential candidates are isolated in individual rooms and then handed the same identical set of questions. No advisors, no outside lines to call for help, no notes. The questions would be determined by a non-partisan panel, created new every election (both questions and panel). The results would be published as-is, with no edits. All spelling and grammatical errors right out for the world to see. There would be mandatory sections on Economics, basic math (with emphasis on the ability to balance a common or garden-variety checkbook), and Constitutional law, particularly the bits about who is allowed to do what to whom. Any candidate who then deviates from these answers will be stricken from the ballot for lying.

-All members of Congress will be required to swear (or affirm) before voting that they have read the entirety of the bill being voted on. Should evidence surface that they did *not* read the bill, they shall be prevented from voting on any other bill for a set time (perhaps one week for a first offence, one month for a second offense, and so on ..) and during this time, since they have nothing else to do, will be caged in a pit to be constructed on the Mall and non-fresh produce provided to ordinary citizens to throw at them. If requested, organic rotten vegetables will be made available.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Schlock is hearing voices. In the sewer.
-TwoLumps Twist-ties are not edible.
-Girl Genius Uh oh. Von Pinn has shown up, and she is bad news on a skewer.
-No Need For Bushido Ken appears to have slaughtered much of the enemy, by accident, because they got between him and the sake.
-My Ninja Family Mommy is gone!
-Lackadaisy Three delicious pages! Freckle is distracted by buttterflies, fancy restaurants don't serve pancakes for lunch, and other adventures.

Not Updated, last I checked ...

-Dresden Codak
-Gone with the Blastwave.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fun with Old Houses: Name That Circuit

My house was built in the 1930's. This means knob-and-tube wiring, and with the creative modifications of the prior owners on top of Depression-era field-expedient solutions one can never take for granted the path taken by any given circuit. In addition, there appears to have been some pruning *not* done at the circuit breaker end of things, resulting in some orphan circuits that still have a label like they are doing something useful. Prior owners all dead or gaga, nobody took notes, so one is reduced to electrical archaeology to discover the truth. I am (slowly) modernizing the wiring, one room at a time. I needed some open circuits in the breaker to do this. So, I called up some friends, dug out multiple strands of Christmas tree lights and anything else that could be plugged in for light, and we played "Circuit-Breaker Bingo" as I flipped breakers and people yelled out if their watch station lights had gone out. A good time was had by all, and I discovered that a) my kitchen outlets and lights are served by three circuits, and b) the entire upstairs (four rooms) was served by *one*.

I'm sure it made sense at the time.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

The eagle inside belongs to us. Hell yes.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Thoughts on the Palin resignation

I am not a wizened political analyst with deep inside connections to How Things Are Done, so this is purely personal opinion. (On second thought, nearly all the established political pundits irritate me with their inside-the-Beltway worldview just as much as Sarah Palin irritates them, so maybe I know something they don't.)

The sudden resignation from the governorship of Alaska doesn't make me happy, sure. I liked that Palin was doing such a kick-ass job there, and causing spastic eruptions in the MSM every time she crossed the 49th parallel. So, why now and why so suddenly?
  • I don't think it is a scandal. Unless she has ritually murdered a whole Girl Scout troop or ripped the tags off an entire warehouse full of mattresses. She faced down the baying hounds of the media as VP nominee with her daughter's unwed pregnancy, for heaven's sake. She and her family knew it would be bad going in, and they still did it.
  • I don't think she can't handle the pressure any more. See above. The Palin family is very strong and stable, and she talked before about getting buyoff from everyone in the family before she took highly public jobs. I really don't think she would quit in the middle of her term as governor just because someone was getting teased at school.
  • She *can't* work on a presidential run as governor. She's already had 15 (dismissed) ethics charges against her, brought by people who are quite willing to keep filing them as long as they aren't physically ejected from the courtroom. That won't stop. And the media will aid and abet this, since they and the Democrats are terrified of Palin (because she's so stooooopid, you see.) Given that she can't even use a restroom in a government building whilst wearing a "Palin for Overlord" button without a grand jury being empaneled, how can she run for president? If she has to quit her current position to run, when is the best time if not now? She got the pipeline deal signed, her big project. All the punderati keep saying she has to hit the books and become better-prepared on a number of topics to be taken seriously, so maybe that's what she's doing. But of course, they don't like that *either*.
  • Other little tidbits that make me go "hmm." She mentions her visit to the troops recently as a factor in her decision (they were saying "Ma'am, you should quit so they don't say mean things about you."? Or was it "Ma'am, I am not afraid to die for my country but I am afraid of being abandoned by it."?) Also the phrase "for Alaska and the country". That sounds like bigger plans than staying home with the kids. Speaking of the kids, they are reported as wanting her to do "something" about the attacks on Trig. The media appears to assume that "something" was quit. I don't think the Palins think like that ...
I don't know any more details than the newsies do. I will admit I want her to keep fighting and to run for president, and that may color my view. I think the Republican party and conservative leaders in general should check their jubilation at this news. I, and a lot of other people, like Sarah. We DON'T care much for the other Republicans in the field. Are you listening, RNC? That means I will not give you one red cent if you keep acting like Democrats. Or if you nominate Democrats. I *will* donate to SarahPAC. So either support her run, or nominate someone like her. You blithering idiots. If you had shown some spine when it counted we wouldn't have to deal with this mess.