From Surprising Corners

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Posted on : 10/29/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

I was listening to someone a couple weeks ago.  This person is a hard core anti-socialist, pro-freedom individual.  They mildly chastised me once for suggesting that corporations should not be considered the legal equivalent of a person.

They were observing that some of the Occupy protesters were making a few fair points about their respective situations.  His concern was that the Occupy movement would be subverted by the minority that wants to impose socialism on the country.

The point?  This is someone that I would not expect to be giving any credence to any of the OWS arguments.

I have some further thoughts that I am working on and hope to have posted soon.  Given that I am writing this post a couple weeks in advance, you might have seen them by now!

Incremental Improvements

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Posted on : 10/28/2011 07:34:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Oil dependency.  Pollution...the legitimate kind.  Transportation problems. We need solutions. 

I do not have much faith in electric cars.  We would need a new electric distribution system and hundreds of new power plants if every car on the road today was to magically convert into a 100% electric vehicle.  The only thing that changes is that the pollution would be generated at a central power plant instead of at 100 million locations where ever a car or truck might be running.

There are many good ideas out there that would make small steps at improving fuel efficiency rather than a wholesale restructuring of society.  One such good idea would be to switch to diesel engines.  That change would create a 15-20% boost to fuel efficiency

Couple that with the use of a flywheel and we could get a further 20% improvement.  Used together and we could cut our fuel consumption by up to one third.

Care to see what happens to the price of fuel when consumption falls that far?  Care to see what America's economy does when fuel prices fall that far?

Boost Your WiFi With A Can Of Beer

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Posted on : 10/27/2011 07:25:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Or perhaps with a lowly can of Coke.  I am betting that this does not work with Pepsi.

I love a good hack, especially one that requires me to throw back a cold one before hand (or during). This simple wifi boost has actually been shown to increase signal strength by at least 2 to 4 bars. And, well, I will drink to that.

Religious Mathematics - "Jewish" Problems

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Posted on : 10/26/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Anti-Semitism from a likely source.

Back in the seventies, the mathematics department at the Soviet Union's Moscow State University (one of the most prestigious departments in the USSR at the time) used a special collection of math problems, informally referred to as "Jewish" problems or "coffins" ("coffin" problems translating roughly to "killer" problems in English), to keep Jewish students and other so-called "undesirables" out of the department.

Predictable Outcome Only Because It Has Been Predicted

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Posted on : 10/25/2011 08:13:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Fans of "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand are doubtlessly familiar with the process that led to a government that would attempt such a thing.  They are also familiar with the most likely result.


This week alone has seen a ratings downgrade for Spain as well as a threat by agencies to review France's AAA status -- and the markets have taken notice. Once again, it would seem, ratings agencies are making things difficult for European countries.


Now, the European Union is considering doing something about it.


European Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier is considering a move to ban the agencies from publishing outlook reports on EU countries entangled in a crisis, according to a report in Thursday's issue of the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.

Of course, that isn't good enough.  The EU also wants to put ratings agencies in a "no-win" position by:

The internal market commissioner appears to be taking a tough stance against the agencies. He is also pushing the 27 EU member states to take steps to ensure that investors can pursue civil action against agencies for "deficient ratings." He is also calling for addition ratings requirements for complexly structured financial products and steps that would create greater competition among ratings agencies.

Investors will find a place to invest.  If they cannot rely on ratings information for EU governments, then they will simply take their money elsewhere.  Given the need for financing and re-financing of government debt, this lack of cash will have predictable results.

Either the governments will start printing fiat Euros and thus begin a cycle of high inflation.  Or the governments will discover that dog catchers do not require 42 levels of supervision and a 1300 page handbook to catch dogs and cut their budgets accordingly.  Historically, the latter option has been the most effective solution as well as the most difficult to implement.

Ms. Rand provided the blueprint for the result of the former option.

An Unusual Source For Terrorism

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Posted on : 10/24/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Saturday Night Live writers??

h/t to the Blogfather....

Karma Doesn't Always Work That Way

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Posted on : 10/23/2011 05:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Courtesy of television impresario and executive producer, Chuck Lorre.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #329

I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. I see my doctor once a year and my dentist twice a year. I floss every night. I've had chest x–rays, cardio stress tests, EKG's and colonoscopies. I see a psychologist and have a variety of hobbies to reduce stress. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't have crazy, reckless sex with strangers.

If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I'm gonna be really pissed.