Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category.

The Space Shuttle Makes Me Sick

I was wondering today, “What exactly is the purpose of the International Space Station and all those Space Shuttle trips for upkeep? Aren’t those flights really really really expensive?”

A pretty convincing answer comes from Maciej Ceg?owski. In short: government space-cheese. They could be doing potentially useful things, but instead “…the skeleton crew on the ISS has been fixing toilets, debugging laptops, changing batteries, and speaking to the occasional elementary school over ham radio.” I want my ten billion dollars back.

This is a really good article. Read A Rocket to Nowhere.

The Price of Yeast

Baking yeast packets at the supermarket: $3 for 3 0.25 oz packets. $64/lb

Bulk baking yeast: $2.29 for a 1lb brick. $2.29/lb

Packets cost 28 times as much. Yipe.

Smart and Final sells packets right next to bulk 1 lb containers. The packets cost $3 for 0.75 oz, the bulk costs $4 for 16 ounces. You do the math. Buy the bulk yeast. It freezes perfectly well after being opened for at least a year (I haven’t ever had to freeze it longer, I use it)

Costco, Sams Club and similar stores also have the 1lb brick of yeast. If you make more than 3 loaves of bread this year, it’s worth getting the large size. With my breadmaker, I make about 30 loaves/year.

Rainbow also has open bulk yeast.  Yeast generally lasts at least 1 year in the freezer… except for the yeast I got at Rainbow. I’m pretty sure it needs to be refrigerated and not frozen because twice now I got yeast there, made a loaf, froze the rest and the yeast was dead after. :-(

Superfund wouldn’t have saved Love Canal

I offer this in the spirit of a previous rant of mine, Megan’s Law Wouldn’t Have Saved Megan.

Remember Love Canal, that awful housing development where residents kept dying from Leukemia and shit in unexplainable numbers until someone figured out that the whole place was built on a chemical dump? This case was so serious that the government created a whole series of laws, commonly called “Superfund” to keep horrible things like this from happening.

The trouble is, it was –well known– that it was built on a chemical dump. Hooker Chemical had sold the land to the city under threat of the city just taking it by eminent domain. Hooker Chemical told them there were nasty chemicals down there and suggested that building a school and housing development on it wasn’t the best idea in the world. They even insisted on a disclaimer notice going into the bill of sale saying (I’m paraphrasing) “Dude, there’s some nasty shit down there. But you bought it so it’s not our problem any more.”

So the city turned around, poked some big leaky holes in the (previously) sealed and very dangerous landfill and had a school and housing development built on it, not telling anyone that there was nasty shit down there.

The purpose of Superfund is to clean up toxic waste sites where they couldn’t get the owner to pay for it. Well, we all know who the freaking owner is. There is a deed on record in (I presume) Niagara Falls City Hall. We know who the criminally negligent people are, why are they not in jail?

This originally pointed out to me by TJIC.

Youtube Hosted Video

Sure, it’s easy to upload your company’s videos and your friend’s videos to Youtube. It’s hosted for free and can stand virtually unlimited downloads. But I can do that right here at my web provider without giving my content to a third party… who -might- be around in 5 years and -might- keep the links to my content the same for 5 years, without selling out to Youtube’s advertising.

Yes, you’ll get more exposure by posting to Youtube. And using their limitless bandwidth for high-bandwidth applications is nice. But you should post locally and then consider posting to Youtube as part of your marketing plan or “emergency bandwidth plan”. Always link back to the original content. It’s just too easy to give the “keys to the store” to too many people.

Update 3-13-08: I just read this article about Youtube. It reminds me of Kozmo.com in the dot com era.

Rex Wong, chief executive of Next.TV (formerly Dave Networks)… says, it costs a provider about $2.50 for every 1,000 views of a user-generated three-minute video clip. But that clip will bring in just $1 or so in banner ad revenue, he says. In other words, says Wong, profit can only be made when clips are getting tens of thousands of views.

So let me get this straight: it costs $2.50 to serve 1,000 views… and that generates $1 in revenue. (1-2.5=-1.5) And if we do that a whole lot, we’ll make it up in volume! Yeah.

Why Cell Phones Kill Gorillas

At Burning Man, under the man there were a couple preachy signs. Here’s my favorite.cell-phones-kill-gorrillas.jpg

Sorry it’s hard to read. I lost my digital camera at the Albertsons in El Cerrito on my way to Burning Man so all I had was my emergency film camera.

I thought it was ludicrous at the time but it got me thinking a lot.
polar-bears.jpg The problem is: cell phones need a metal called tantalum to make their tiny capacitors, the largest supplies of tantalum are in the Democratic Republic of The Congo which is a fairly lawless place and gorillas and miners are treated poorly there.

Read it for yourself.

Overheard in my email inbox

Me at work:
>> Do you know how I can allow my Windows and Exchange passwords can be
>> different? If not, say so and I’ll go googling for info.

Him:
>I do not know off hand, I would need to research it.

So does that mean he -will- research it or he -could- research it? And why didn’t he take me up on my offer? Maybe he didn’t read my whole (2 sentence long) email.

Intelligent questions beg intelligent answers

This from an email that I decided not to send to a friend

Thank you for writing an intelligent reply to my question.

I’m not referring to you at all in saying that I find it terribly frustrating when when a question in the middle of a conversation is deliberately not addressed.

And I find it a pleasure to deal with people that -do- maintain the conversation.

(unfinished Rant)

What are “spices”?

No seriously. At the end of the ingredients list of tens of thousands of products it reads “and spices”. So what are they? Pepper? Nope, ’cause I’ve seen things that list pepper separately. Salt? No, they always list that. Oregano? Bug parts? Plutonium? Dirt? What?! I want to know!

Stop Saying “God Bless America”

[written 5-7-02, updated 2-14-03, put into my blog 8-15-05]

Stop saying “God Bless America” in response to September 11th! That is what got us in trouble in the first place.

Insert rant here. Discussion points:

  • Other, positive things that can be said
  • Religious separatism is extremely counter-productive for: our society,
    world productivity, burning personal hatred, long term personal recovery 

    example webring text: source
    Christians all over the world, please pray for America and for all
    those involved in the terrifying and horrible tragedy that took place there in
    the USA. Pray also for the service men and women who are in Afghanistan! We
    know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only one that can give everyone
    the strength and support…

  • Vengeful god vs. merciful god. Relate that to why we say "God Bless
    America"
  • Separation between church and state
  • Relate my personal internal pain. We’ve got to redirect the energy
    positively
  • They take their religion very seriously and literally (IE 72 virgins in
    heaven). We do well not taking ours as seriously. So let’s keep it that way.
  • How do you think it makes them feel when we say it?
  • sidebar: "Ground Zero" as unfortunate terminology for gestalt.
    Suggest "The Pile", "The Site".
  • Discuss the power that words and terminology have.
  • Conclusion: It’s bad for everyone involved. So cut it out!

I see signs all over spouting about how great God is. There is this truck that’s been sitting just off the highway in Mount Olive for several months. It has a sign draped over it with a large flag and it says “God Bless Us All”. Another volunteered sign is on Rt. 519. It’s an 8′ x 4′ piece of plywood leaned up against a telephone pole crudely spray painted with the message:

  Our Battle
Cry:

    God
    Duty
    Honor
    Country

That sign really freaks me out. Everyone is free to voice their opinion but
it really worries me to the core how caught up people are about their gods. And
I worry what terrible things my neighbors are capable of doing if someone or
something offends their sense of the infallibility of their god.

Look at that sign again… Look at the order he put things in.
"God" is first, "Country" last! So when the author refers to
Duty and Honor, that’s to his god and not to his country. It’s true that the
First Amendment of the Constitution refers to the freedom of religion, but he’s
forgotten that it’s an amendment. The Constitution itself (dry as the
text
may be) and the country founded by it comes before all of the
amendments!

I suppose the author of this sign is angry at my critical commentary. I’ve
probably offended his Honor and his God. What do you suppose Duty requires him
to do to me?

Bibliography:

  • God Bless America webring
    with 400 sites.
  • news agencies, CNN, NBC, CBS, etc

Don’t Rename Newark Airport

[written 9-25-02 updated 1-24-03]

I wrote to Governor James McGreevey on 8-29-02 about this. I wrote:

Please do not rename Newark International Airport “Liberty International Airport at Newark”.

– Newark Airport had nothing to do with the attack. They’ll name the new World Trade Center after the attack, that is enough of a scar for it to leave.
– It’s a bland name that doesn’t identify the purpose for it’s naming.
– The reason for it’s naming will be completely moot (and mocked) the next time a terrorist attacks the US. And that will happen, sooner or later.
– It’s an ungainly name that doesn’t indicate where it is. The word “Newark” got tagged on at the end like the name of a shopping mall…. “The Mall at Short Hills”.

“Newark Liberty International Airport” is a slightly better choice but it still sucks.

Please don’t.


On 9-17, the governor wrote back, writing:

As you may know, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently approved changing the name of the facility from Newark Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport. Through the new name, Newark Liberty International honors the memory of the heroes of September 11, 2001, and reminds us all of the principles upon which our nation is founded.


It’s good, at least, that he wrote back….


Great, let’s go on a renaming spree… Jersey Truth City, Hudson Freedom River, New Liberty York City, The Empire Justice State Building….

Also, after I thought about this a while, I really really don’t want to use an airport named after an airline disaster! Would you want to sail on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Iceberg Princess? Or how about working in the Towering Inferno Towers? Or working in the McVey Towers office complex? This is so sick, it’s funny! No, it’s just sick.

1-24-03 I recently got an email from a total stranger (now I suppose he’s an “acquaintance” :-) about this Rant. He gave permission for me to repost his comments here:

I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your website. What prompts me to write, however, is your Rant about the renaming of EWK. I’m from Jersey, born in Elizabeth, lived there for 22 years. Now I’m in Northern Virginia. Down here, the GOP recently re-named Washington National Airport, Reagan National Airport in honor of the Conqueror of Genada, the Pasha of Panama, and the B’wana of Bedtime for Bonzo, his imperial excellency, Mister Nancy Reagan. (Personally, I can’t wait ’til they re-re-name it Reagan Memorial Airport.) Courageously, our Metro system refused to budget money for new signs for the airport MetroRail station, and they remained unchanged until Congress provided emergency funding money to make the alterations. No one here (except political appointees) calls it Reagan Airport. In the people’s eyes, it will always be Washington National. But I know how you feel about the issue. Actually, “Newark Liberty” isn’t half-bad. Beats “Reagan”.

Winch

And here is my response to him about this:

That stupid Reagan airport thing too! Ugh! I followed that in congress while it was happening. I had to turn off CSPAN, it made me so angry! The argument was that he was a “great” president and should be honored as such. But there is no way that anyone could tell if his legacy would be “great” until 10 or 20 years after he left office! By their reckoning, a president that printed money and gave it to the people would be “great”… until the currency devaluation catches up with everyone. Oh wait, that’s what happened.

To followup on this story just a little more… Yes, the Governor renamed Newark Airport. The question is, will anyone acknowledge the name change? A quick search on Google.com on 1-24-03 is enlightening.

Google Search for: hits
"Newark Airport" 47,900
"Newark Liberty Airport" 112

After a year, no one has changed their websites to match the name change.

 

Google Search for: hits
-Reagan Washington "National Airport" 29,600
-Reagan "Washington National Airport" 11,300
"Reagan Washington National Airport" 11,000

After 10 years, the old name is still more popular than the new one!