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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

the knack

this has been making the rounds. considering what i do for a living, this is too funny. the line i find the most hilarious is " intuition of all things mechanical and electrical, and utter social ineptitude."

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engineroom upper level midwatch

"Hey Marty."
"Hey Nook."
"Long time no see."
"Yeah, it's been what, 6 hours since training?"
"I think we need a break."
"WHAT? you rackhound, all you've done for the last 8 hours is sleep."
"Yeah, well, i dreamed i was doing choloride titrations all night. I need a break."
2MC: "Salinity alarm, port main condensate"
"F**k. see ya later Marty"

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a second amendment firestorm

there has been a firestorm on the blogosphere about a gun writer that very very foolishly displayed a snobbery of unimagined proportions. as a "hunter", he thinks the only guns that should be out there are wood stocked hunting guns. period. boy did he step into it. read the whole post at the martialist for a roundup of what has been going on.
one of the paragraphs in that post really struck a chord in me. it has to do with what many of us see as an erosion of rights. the rosie o'donnells of the world can screech all they want about the Constitution being a living document that should be changed to reflect the times. but the cosmic joker help you if you try to change THEIR perceived rights. anyway, here's the paragraph. the only thing i hate about it is that the writer is trotting out the whole "we're victims" saw. yeah, things suck, but i don't see us as a persecuted minority of victims. i see us as a targeted group for annihilation by those elements of our society that simply can't understand. what they can't understand is our determination to keep our firearms. i won't go into the whole "to protect society" spiel that has been used by others. i will say that if the worst occurs and someone tries to harm me or my family, i WILL NOT wait hoping the cops get here in time. as has been shown time and time again, just the presence of a firearm often forces the "bad guy" to haul ass. many many "gun fights" have been resolved without a single shot. that option disappears when there are no firearms to brandish in defense of kith and kin.
too many think they are safe if they have a telephone. they/you are not. ok. i'll get off my soapbox.

The problem is, you see, that gun owners are a persecuted minority. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects the inalienable and natural right of American citizens to keep and bear arms, has been under attack for years, incrementally chipped away, suppressed, infringed, and circumvented by activist judges and left-wing pressure groups almost since its inception. Some of the earliest infringements on the RKBA had to do with restrictions on bowie knives, Arkansas toothpicks, and other tools of dueling, a tradition seen as barbaric by more "civilized" governing Americans. Some time later, "Jim Crow" laws included restrictions on firearms ownership, such as requiring permits issued by local law enforcement, in an attempt to disarm black Americans. The 1930s and the 1960s saw restrictions on firearms that were politically motivated by attempts (ill-conceived and ineffective attempts, I might add) to prevent gun violence, born of national horror at crime and political assassinations.

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inventing a solution to a perceived need

when i went to college, i was working full time as a nuclear shift test engineer, and raising a family. no violins please. that was just the way it was. so i had damned little free time to invent things. not so the case of the students that put this ingenious machine together.
college.... where fresh minds get dulled with alcohol. i think i'm jealous

i'm guessing they are engineering students. a liberal arts major would have just put the fridge next to the couch within easy leaning distance.
tip of the flathat to Right Mind for the lead

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Monday, February 26, 2007

a new means to detect lung cancer

now here's a pretty cool thing. they've known for a while that the
lungs give off a volatile organic gas when cancer is present. they
finally developed a
test
that is around 75% accurate in diagnosing lung cancer.
how cool is that? we had a very dear friend die of lung cancer last
year, and had the doctor used this tool early on, Karin might still be with us. since the test is inexpensive, i can't imagine whydr.s wouldn't use it as a matter of course for anyone with respiratory issues.
of course, if they were to sell this over the counter, the hypochondriacs still wouldn't be comforted, since there is only a 3 out of 4 chance of detection.

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some cleaning up to do, and a welcome aboard

seems there have been a few moves that i didn't update, so here they are.

myron moved from blogger to wordpress, and his new address is Myrons Random Thoughts

xopher dude moved to Snapshot tube 2. yeah, same name, new blogger address. dude's trying to confuse me.

i'm drydocking the 687net blog, since there hasn't been a new post since last july.

same with the foxhole. bummer. i liked this guy and his musings.

deep sixing submarinesailor.blogspot for lack of posts since august.

killing bubblehead.us for the same reason, page gone

zero bubble has moved to a new location at zerobubble

pulling haps ponderings up out of drydock, since he's posted this month. thank goodness, too, because the bubblesphere is getting a little thin!

before i forget, i'm adding a non submarine link chocolate and zucchini, probably the best food blog on the net. i visit most days, and if you are interested in food, here's a good place to wander and while away some time.

some additions in the bubblesphere:
dalejarrett4ever
Pop's page
right mind

be sure to visit the newbies and welcome them to the bubblesphere

i don't know where i found the new guys. some were from joel, i'm sure. i just email myself with the links when i find them, so reconstructing exactly where they come from is tough. so whoever found these folks, thanks! and if you know of other bubbleheads that are blogging and aren't linked, let me know
editor's note i forgot to include a good news/bad news item. Dan at Desert Periscope has completed his tour of duty in Iraq, and is now back home. he's decided to stop blogging, which is too bad, since the entries over the last year all point towards a smart and together dude. i'll miss his posts. oh, DAN... WELCOME HOME!

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Friday, February 23, 2007

bo's paltry attempt at movie reviews

during my hiatus from the internet, my wife and i went out to the movies. we saw three in the last couple of weeks, and here's my feeble attempt to illuminate, elucidate, and educate those of you who are interested in thought provoking movies that don't involve the usual testosterone laden fare found at the local cineplex

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen).
i'm so woefully incapable of writing anything that would give even a taste of how good this movie was. no big car chases, no grand buildings blowing up and collapsing. this is not the typical hollywood fare the whizkids think we americans would want to spend our hard earned dollars on. for my money, movies like this are the reason there are still movie theaters. i will generally ignore the "blockbusters" simply because they insult my intelligence. that so many others enjoy and spend their money to watch that tripe is just another sign that americans are going the way of the romans. bread and circus needs fulfilled, the masses stay placated.
this movie is food for the brain, and nourishment for the soul. heady words, but in my case, true. follow the above link to imdb and read the featured review. the writer posts a thoughtful and accurate description of the movie.
a taste:
The "operative process" against Dreyman is overseen by Stasi captain Gerd Wiesler, played by Ulrich Mühe, an actor from the former East who was himself once in the Stasi's cross-hairs. Captain Wiesler starts the film as a colorless, icy, tight-lipped professional who shows no mercy in fighting the "enemies of socialism": if he needs to interrogate a suspect for 10 hours without sleep to get a confession, he will do so -- and then place the seat-cover the suspect sat on in a vacuum jar in case the miscreant should later need to be tracked by bloodhounds. At night, Captain Wiesler returns to his tiny apartment in an grubby, anonymous high-rise. He settles himself among his inexpressibly drab furniture, eats a meal squeezed out of a plastic tube while watching reports about agricultural production, and then goes to bed alone.

i hope to see the actor that played Captain Wiesler, Ulrich Muhe in other works. i'll have to hunt a few up. great actor, very understated, yet expressive as hell.
this movie was in German, with English subtitles.

second movie (i'm working backwards from latest to earliest) that di and i went to see was a Spanish language movie by director Guillermo Del Toro (would that be Bill the Bull?). the movie: Pan's Labyrinth, or El Laberinto del Fauno, is a fascinating and moving story about a young girl forced into a life far different than the one she knew when her father was alive. there are many things in this movie to talk about, but i'll just touch on a couple.
first, the housekeeper Mercedes was played perfectly by Maribel Verdú, whom i first saw in Y tu mamá también, a brilliantly funny/sad movie from Mexico. her performance alone is worth the price of admission.
then there is the grey man. one of the best realized and depicted "bogeyman" characters in recent memory. when you hear the phrase "wrap my eyes around you", you will have a whole new visualization after this flick.
third, the Spanish Civil War in the late thirties and early forties isn't something most of us are too up to speed on, even having read Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls". the ferocity of that conflict in its waning days is well portrayed.
and last but not least, there is a scene where one of the characters is wounded, and that scene, along with the self-repair, is with little equal for squirm value.
this is not a kid movie, even though there is a lot of fantasy involved. there is a pervasive darkness throughout, and the ending is either completely uplifting or a total bummer, depending on your own interpretation of events. i love movies like this.
Spanish language with English subtitles.

and last, but no means least, is The Queen, an English movie about the turmoil within the English royal family at the time of Princess Di's death. one of my four or five favorite actors ever, Hellen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II with an astonishing understated clarity. her portrayal of the queen gives the woman a humanity that those of us on this side of the atlantic don't see. our only exposure is through the media, and what we experience is the packaged version. Helen Mirren gives this fascinating, real life person a human face. i've been a Mirren fan for some time. I think the character she played in the BBC's Prime Suspect series, Jane Tennison, is one of the absolute best portrayals of a flawed human being striving to keep moving forward. brilliant. and she brought that ability to this movie. her portrayal of the queen was completely convincing.
to steal a paragraph from IMDB:
Helen Mirren says transforming herself into the Queen came almost naturally after the wig and glasses, especially since she shares a default facial expression, a slightly down turned mouth, with the monarch. She also regularly reviewed film and video footage of Elizabeth and kept photographs in her trailer during production. The writer Peter Morgan says it was convincing enough that, by the end of production, crew members who had been accustomed to slouching or relaxing when they addressed her were standing straight up and respectfully folding their hands behind their backs.

there are two other points about this movie that i'd like to make.
first, the actor that played Tony Blair did a great job. Micheal Sheen hit Blair's cadences spot on. i've seen a lot of blair on the tube, and the physical resemblance is amazing. but i have to tell you, i saw him in a made for british tv movie a couple of years ago called Dirty Filthy Love. in that flick, he plays a man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Tourette's. his twitching and outbursts of "SHIT, FUCK" will forever be linked to him in my mind. i was kind of expecting his twitching to start and yelling SHIT in the queen's face. kind of an amusing mental exercise, eh?
the second thing about this movie was i couldn't completely get away from the feeling this was really a made for TV movie that i didn't have to sit through commercials to see. good movie, but the whole Princess Di thing has been hashed and rehashed in various made for tv drivel that seeing this gave me the feeling i was treading familiar territory.
English language, but you pick up on most of it after a while.

so, anyone else see these movies? what did you think about them?

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

boys. leave them alone for a couple of minutes and



sent to me as a video file by our buddy Cookie over at The Cook Shack.
i went to youtube to find the online version to share.
these guys are friggin nuts. but it does look kind of fun!

and cookie, i got your tag, but i'll have to work on it later.

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a killer audience

i'm baaaaack. i took a little hiatus from the computer, ignoring the entire blogosphere for a while, as well as most of my usual haunts. too damned much time on the keyboards at work, so the thought of sitting in front of a computer on my off time was just too tough to handle. it's ok, we all need those breaks. so if you've been posting and commenting on things i probably am interested in, i'll find it. it's just going to take a little time to get back up to speed.
anyway, for my return post, i thought i'd share a little tidbit from the bbc. seems that it's as poor a carreer choice to become a clown as it is to be an honest politician or honest cop in Columbia.
here's a snip from the above link:
"One clown was shot in the head as he performed on stage, about an hour into the Circo del Sol's evening show." and
"The second, named as 18-year-old Franklin Leal, from Cucuta, was then shot as he stood by the ticket booth" and
"Last year, a prominent circus clown, known as Pepe, was also shot dead by a unknown assailant"

my kids grew up afraid of clowns. don't know why, but it probably had something to do with that steven king movie IT that my ex let them watch when i was working swingshift. but i don't see them capping clowns. maybe the drug enforcement folks down in Columbia have cleverly, or now, not so cleverly, disguised their agents as clowns. hey, who doesn't trust clowns? besides my kids, that is?

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Friday, February 09, 2007

dayam. the things you find

i was reading an article in the paper this morning and came across a statement that the governator dances a political dance as smoothly as fred astair. soooo.. i wandered over to you-tube to see if there were any fred and ginger dancing. i found a couple that i want to post, not with ginger rogers, but with rita hayworth. after watching these, i can understand why American servicemen around the world had her picture pinups during WWII.
the second video has fred and rita dancing to a mazzy star song, and that's not a bad thing either!





and just to make sure you don't think i'm slipping, here's a fred and ginger with a SAILOR theme

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

life's hard lessons

for most of us, life has dealt us at least a couple of hard lessons. do this, this happens,and it's not good. there are a few annointed ones that have yet to experience this, but they are few and far between.
as we age, our lessons tend to become harder, and extract a heavy price for the newfound knowledge. but the lessons begin young.
we were talking about this, and the question came up: "What is the first hard lesson you remember?"
one of my coworkers: "Never use tweezers to get something out of a light socket"
mine: "Don't lick the goodies off of can lids". i imagine that if we were using tongue prints rather than finger prints, my distinguishing characteristic would be a scar line across my tongue.
how about you?

edit: another from a coworker: "Staple guns do not have to be pressed against something to get them to fire a staple. And 2 inches away isn't far enough to NOT stick"

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Monday, February 05, 2007

the voices against "global warming" are warming up

post source Canada Free Press

seems there are more and more actual real deal climate scientists voicing their opinions against the whole hysteria concerning global warming.
yes, i know there were many "scientists" that have backed the drive spearheaded by algore's editorial documentary. chicken little documentary? anyway... few if any of the names i've seen bandied about supporting algore's stance are climatologists. biologists, medical, social, etc PhD's abound. but you will notice damned few credible climate experts or atmospheric scientists on the lists. why? because they know this is all smoke and mirrors. if i want an opinion about bladder cancer, i'm going to an oncologist specializing in the field. i'm not going to see a podiatrist. that's what we've got filling out the ranks behind algore. podiatrists.
here is the entire article, because i don't know how long it will be available

Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide
Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?


By Timothy Ball

Monday, February 5, 2007

Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition.“Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.” . For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.

What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?

Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.

No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?

Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.

I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.

Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.

No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.

I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.

In another instance, I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?

Personal attacks are difficult and shouldn't occur in a debate in a civilized society. I can only consider them from what they imply. They usually indicate a person or group is losing the debate. In this case, they also indicate how political the entire Global Warming debate has become. Both underline the lack of or even contradictory nature of the evidence.

I am not alone in this journey against the prevalent myth. Several well-known names have also raised their voices. Michael Crichton, the scientist, writer and filmmaker is one of them. In his latest book, "State of Fear" he takes time to explain, often in surprising detail, the flawed science behind Global Warming and other imagined environmental crises.

Another cry in the wildenerness is Richard Lindzen's. He is an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT, renowned for his research in dynamic meteorology - especially atmospheric waves. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has held positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and MIT. Linzen frequently speaks out against the notion that significant Global Warming is caused by humans. Yet nobody seems to listen.

I think it may be because most people don't understand the scientific method which Thomas Kuhn so skilfully and briefly set out in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." A scientist makes certain assumptions and then produces a theory which is only as valid as the assumptions. The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise. It was then theorized that since humans were producing more CO2 than before, the temperature would inevitably rise. The theory was accepted before testing had started, and effectively became a law.

As Lindzen said many years ago: "the consensus was reached before the research had even begun." Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.

Meanwhile, politicians are being listened to, even though most of them have no knowledge or understanding of science, especially the science of climate and climate change. Hence, they are in no position to question a policy on climate change when it threatens the entire planet. Moreover, using fear and creating hysteria makes it very difficult to make calm rational decisions about issues needing attention.

Until you have challenged the prevailing wisdom you have no idea how nasty people can be. Until you have re-examined any issue in an attempt to find out all the information, you cannot know how much misinformation exists in the supposed age of information.

I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction.

Dr. Tim Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (www.nrsp.com), is a Victoria-based environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. He can be reached at letters@canadafreepress.com

hat tip to Drudge.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

i guess it's official... RIP Sheba kitty

our cat Sheba has been getting more and more frail over the last month or so. di and i talked about putting her to sleep because it was obvious she was starting to hurt. that was last saturday. she must have figured it out, because she disappeared that day, and hasn't shown back up. i've spent the last week waiting for her to show back up. i imagine she went off to a nice safe hidey hole, and used up the last tiny bit of her ninth life to get comfortable before heading off to kitty heaven, or where ever cat critters go when they die. i haven't found her yet, but there are a lot of crannies around here to climb into or under.
Sheba was 18+ years old, and lived a full and happy kitty life.







shebacat and the boombox