Posted on : 10/15/2011 10:20:00 AM | By : Dann

This David Horsey political cartoon was premature when it was created back in 2009.

Not any more.



Posted on : 10/14/2011 08:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

This story is from a couple weeks ago.  Hank Williams Jr. decided that he would make the comparison between President Obama and....

A Leak For Science


Posted on : 10/13/2011 12:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

They haven't perfected it yet, but it looks like we may someday be able to turn urine into rocket fuel.

Scientists on Sunday said they had gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel.
So-called anammox -- for anaerobic oxidation -- germs caused a sensation when they were first identified in the 1990s, but uncovering their secrets is taking time.

In a letter published by the British science journal Nature, researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands reported they had identified the by which the bugs do their fuel-trick.
Sort of makes renting your beer on Friday night seem as if it is almost worthwhile!

Sort Of Like A Matryoshka Doll


Posted on : 10/12/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

So we invented the PN junction.  In turn we invented transistors.  We figured out that transistors made great electronic switches.  They can be included in circuits so they are either on...or "1"...or off...or "0".  A basic, stable, two-state electronic circuit.  We miniaturized transistors until we had very complex circuits all present on a very small computer chip.

And thus the computer was born.  A computer is nothing more than a sequential command reader that looks at a row of data (1110010110001010) and seeing some positions on and others off, then changes holding locations known as registers.  Those registers can then do other interesting things.

Say for example, one register can identify a single pixel on your screen.  It can also determine the color of that tiny pixel.  In the beginning, pixels didn't have color.  They were either on, or they were off.  And they were HUGE!! By changing pixels, you could create the world's first video game. Pong!

After a couple decades, pixels had gotten a lot smaller and they had gained the ability to be any one of 64 colors.  And we developed cool games like Duke Nukem.

Then we took Duke into 3D land so you became Duke instead of walking him around on the screen.  That led to a bunch of other "first person shooters" like Quake, Halo, and on and on and on.  Surfaces became more detailed, and more granulated.  Colors shot up from 64 to millions of colors. 16 to 32nd power or some such thing.  A lot of colors!  And the pixels were getting pretty tiny, too!

But all that variation, all the attempts to mimic reality, are just too much for some folks.  Which is why the good folks at Mojang Studios came up with Minecraft.

In Minecraft, every element is a perfect square that is 64 x 64 x 64.  You can look up close and see Pong sized pixels.  Or you can back away and each dot on the face of a block becomes as small as a pixel on your screen.

Like Halo and other first person shooters, you can play Minecraft as the guy, or you can look over his shoulder as you make him run around and do his/your thing.

Now Minecraft has this stuff called Redstone.  Redstone is a magical sort of substance as it responds to input to cause other things to move, or light up, or darken, or close, or open, get the point.

It wasn't long before someone had figured out how to create a circuit to pass either a "1" or a "0".  Now it is possible to transmit one bit of information with your stable two-state circuit.  And if you have enough stable two-state circuits, you have the beginnings of the modern video game.

Redstone Television!
Now that isn't really a video game.  But I'm sure that someone, somewhere is working on assembling enough Redstone circuits so that two people can play a Redstone video game while playing inside the Minecraft video game.

Now THAT is entertainment!

Why Can You Roll Eighteen Double Ought For Strength....


Posted on : 10/11/2011 07:30:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

... but not for Intelligence?

Link love for The Order Of The Stick.  And yes, those of us that enjoy Dungeons and Dragons are an odd lot.


Who Is A Racist?


Posted on : 10/10/2011 07:35:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

After being subjected to two year's worth of slurs suggesting that the Tea Party is based in racism, the news of this weeks "Occupy" protest in Atlanta is spreading quickly.  The group that is/was protesting there refused to let John Lewis, civil rights stalwart and legend, speak.

Congressman Lewis (D, GA) was ready to talk to the group, but they didn't give him a chance to speak.
"I was going to say, I stand with you. I support you, what you're down," said Lewis to the media.

He said he wasn't disappointed he wasn't able to address the crowd. Several people CBS Atlanta spoke to were upset.

Michelle Williams was excited to attend the event and no longer wanted to be associated with the movement, citing how Lewis was treated.

"I am angry because this is not what democracy is all about. This is Marxist more Stalin like. Your movement, you're just riff-raff. You're an organized mob," said Williams.
I am prepared to be a bit might suggest more civil...than many left leaning polemicists by suggesting that the decision to not let Mr. Lewis speak was probably made by whatever passes for "leadership" in this movement and does not reflect the thoughts of the many participants.

I disagree with Mr. Lewis on a long list of issues.  But even I would be interested in what he had to say.

A side note to Ms. Williams.  The "leadership".  This "movement".  Marxist.  Stalinist.

This isn't particularly new.

As Dr. Wes suggests, this group isn't particularly gifted with "clue".

Where To Cut First?


Posted on : 10/09/2011 11:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

The GAO released a report earlier this year that identified $200 billion in wasteful spending.  Given our current annual deficits of roughly $1.4 trillion, cutting $200 billion in spending would represent a 14.3% reduction in the size of the deficit.

That is well short of 100%, but you take it where you can find it.

How many of those programs have the Republicans and Democrats in Congress cut?  None.

What agency was targeted to have its budget cut?  The GAO.