Saturday, October 22, 2011

More Deep-Frying

My parents went to Jungle Jim's, the region's food superstore/amusement park, and brought back some Uncle Bud's Deep Fried Peanuts.  As the label says, you can eat 'em shell-n-all.  Really, that is all that sets the deep-fried peanuts apart from roasted peanuts.  It goes to prove the point that you can deep-fry anything, but I don't know that in this case it is worth the effort. 

At this year's National Hamburger Festival in Akron, they deep-fried burgers:
The Deep Fried Cheeseburger is one of many unique treats visitors can expect at this weekend’s festival. Culinary creations such as Cheeseburger Soup, Black Bean Burgers and outrageous burger toppings join the lineup of festival favorites along with Funnel Cakes and Dippin’ Dots.
For two full days of fun, Lock 3 will be taken over by burgers, buns and more to celebrate the tasty concoction created right here in Akron more than 120 years ago by the Menches Brothers. The Original Burger has come a long way since then, affirmed this year by the debut of the world’s first Deep Fried Cheeseburger.
I'd like to try the deep-fried burger, but I don't know the veracity of the claim that the hamburger was invented in Akron.

Mr. Obvious Headline of the Day

From Forbes, yes Forbes! (h/t Ritholtz):

US Businesses Not Being Strangled By Regulation And Taxation, World Bank Says

With the economies of the U.S. and Europe sputtering along on fumes, politicians are quick to blame regulation and taxation as the main cause of a lackluster business environment. Yet, according to the World Bank’s 212 page “Doing Business 2012″ report, released on Wednesday, there is less red tape for setting up shop in the U.S. than there is in all of Europe, Latin America, Africa and most of Asia.
Who'd of thunk it?  I can only imagine that businessmen love China because the workers there have many fewer rights than workers here.  Oh, and that $200 a month wage.  I can't believe that anyone believes the U.S. is such a terrble place to do business, and yet, Republicans sell that crap every day.  Even Forbes reports on that fact:
 The U.S. economy is suffering because of a combination of historic deleveraging, lackluster support from fiscal policy makers in Washington, and a general, yet pervasive, lack of business confidence. The U.S. economy is not suffering because of taxes, energy policy, or Obamacare as data and polls have shown consistently.
It is astounding that one political party consistently attacks America, and yet doesn't get crushed in elections.

Dark Matter

Via Balloon Juice:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Off To Work

Time to sweep the chimney.  The weather brought a break from harvest, and now the wind and rain have let up.  I can get up on the roof without a 30 mile-an-hour wind, which I consider less than optimal for roof exposure.  It's getting close to time that I'll have to start heating the house, so I better get going. 

This Weekend In College Football

Syracuse will play West Virginia for the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy:

Photo: Cuse Connection

Illinois and Purdue will play for the Purdue Cannon:

Photo: Purdue
 Notre Dame and USC will play for the Jeweled Shillelagh.  Notre Dame loves playing for shillelaghs:

Finally, for a trophy a surveyor could love, but would argue with other surveyors about, North Dakota State and South Dakota State will play for the Dakota Marker:

  The Dakota Marker is a model replica of the quartzite monuments that were used to decipher the border between North and South Dakota when Dakota Territory was split into 2 states along the Seventh Standard Parallel. On June 4th, 1891, Charles Bates signed a contract and used quartzite monuments made in Sioux Falls to mark the boundary. Each monument stood seven feet tall and ten inches square at the top and were placed at half-mile intervals. The monuments were inscribed with the initials "N.D." on the north side and "S.D." on the south side. It took the Yankton, South Dakota man the summers of 1891 and 1892 to install the 720 monuments and finish the Dakota border marker project.
The trophy itself was the brainchild of Adam Jones, then President of the NDSU Chapter of Blue Key National Honor Society.
The trophy was unveiled to the public on April 21, 2004 at a ceremony just outside Hankinson, North Dakota, a small community that lies adjacent to the North Dakota/South Dakota border.
The trophy is sponsored by the NDSU chapter of Blue Key National Honor Society and the SDSU Student Association.
The Dakota Marker's inscription includes the following: N.D. to represent North Dakota, S.D. to represent South Dakota, and 190 M to represent the distance in miles between Fargo, ND and Brookings, SD.
I think some surveyors ought to dress up in period attire and use old surveying equipment to set a monument exactly in the middle of the field prior to the game.  Of course, the surveyors will be too busy getting drunk, just like the old-timers.

Former Skeptic: Global Warming Numbers Add Up

At the BBC, via nc links:

The project was established by University of California physics professor Richard Muller, who was concerned by claims that established teams of climate researchers had not been entirely open with their data.
He gathered a team of 10 scientists, mostly physicists, including such luminaries as Saul Perlmutter, winner of this year's Nobel Physics Prize for research showing the Universe's expansion is accelerating.
Funding came from a number of sources, including charitable foundations maintained by the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against acceptance of man-made global warming.
"I was deeply concerned that the group [at UEA] had concealed discordant data," Prof Muller told BBC News.
"Science is best done when the problems with the analysis are candidly shared."
The group's work also examined claims from "sceptical" bloggers that temperature data from weather stations did not show a true global warming trend.
The claim was that many stations have registered warming because they are located in or near cities, and those cities have been growing - the urban heat island effect.
The Berkeley group found about 40,000 weather stations around the world whose output has been recorded and stored in digital form.
It developed a new way of analysing the data to plot the global temperature trend over land since 1800.
What came out was a graph remarkably similar to those produced by the world's three most important and established groups, whose work had been decried as unreliable and shoddy in climate sceptic circles.
Someday, many of the skeptics, who are easily won over to the side of the energy lobby, will have to accept the actual data.  For many, though, this is more a religious belief than anything else.  No data will ever convince them that the earth is warming, or that people have something to do with it. 

Last Place Aversion

Scientific American, via Ritholtz:
We’ve also found evidence of last place aversion in laboratory experiments. In one, we created an artificial income distribution by endowing individuals with different sums of money and showing them their “rank”– with each rank separated by $1. We then gave them an additional $2, which they had to give to either the person directly below or directly above them in the distribution. In this income distribution, of course, giving $2 to the person below you means he will jump ahead of you in rank. In our experiments, most people still give to the person below them – after all, the alternative is to give $2 to a person who already has more money than you. People in second-to-last place, however, who would fall to last place when giving the money to the person below them, are the least likely to do so: so strong is their desire to avoid last place that they choose to give the money to a wealthier person (the person above them) nearly half the time. If Americans behave like people in our experiments, then it could be challenging to unite those in the bottom of the income distribution to support redistribution.
Interesting.  I think this also applies to the poor whites in the South who fought for the Confederacy, even though slave owning didn't benefit them.  They just wanted to keep somebody on the social order lower than themselves.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beer And Fried Chicken

NYT on the blame game in Boston after the Red Sox collapse:
After The Boston Globe published an article last week that said starting pitchers drank beer and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games, the identified players — Jon Lester, John Lackey and Josh Beckett — remained silent. In Boston, the main reaction to the article was disgust over the antics of the players and revulsion that the newspaper suggested Manager Terry Francona might have been distracted by marital issues and the use of painkillers. Francona emerged — and has remained — a sympathetic figure. He may be the only one.
The team owner John Henry, who normally corresponds by e-mail and Twitter, became so upset Friday while listening to the Sports Hub, another talk-radio station in the city, that he drove to the station and demanded to be heard, live, on the air. The delighted hosts complied and Henry said, among other things, that the hosts were “misleading the public” and, by the way, that he opposed the now-belittled $142 million deal for Carl Crawford.
Then Lester decided to make the news media rounds this week, admitting to enjoying an occasional “rally beer” in the clubhouse while his teammates were on the field and in the dugout. That, he concluded, was bad form. But he also suggested that the departed Francona was too soft and had lost the team.
Seriously, beer and fried chicken consumption during the game by starting pitchers on their off-day is a big deal?  There would be approximately a 0.125% chance that one of these guys would be needed during the game.  What was going to happen, Terry Francona send one in as a pinch hitter?  Give me a break, the sports media just needs something to talk about, and Beantown fans are nuts.  They've got the Stanley Cup, so maybe they ought to quiet down a little bit.

The Ideal Breast

From the Daily Mail, via the Dish:
Though it would be easy for cynics to assume otherwise, this was a serious study based on a series of scientific measurements and not on the opinions of Mallucci.

‘We used computer measuring tools to examine the dimensions and proportions of each pair of breasts, identifying four features common to all of them,’ he explains.

The features analysed were the dimensions of the upper and lower pole, medical terms that describe the areas above and below the nipple; plus the angle at which the nipple points and the slope of the upper pole.

‘The study revealed that in all cases the nipple ‘‘meridian’’ – the horizontal line drawn at the level of the nipple – lay at a point where, on average, the proportion of the breast above it represented 45 per cent of overall volume of the breast and below it 55 per cent.

‘In the majority of cases the upper pole was either straight or concave, and the nipple was pointing skywards at an average angle of 20 degrees. In all cases the breasts demonstrated a tight convex lower pole – a neat but voluminous curve.
Just thought you'd want to know.  Diagram after the jump:

Chart of the Day

From The Atlantic Cities story on Rust Belt baseball success this season:

I'd like to see Texas remain shut out.

Making a Good Soft Pretzel

LA Times:
It took a little trial and error, but I've found the process is surprisingly easy (well, except for twisting them in the air — like flipping pizza dough, that takes practice).

The secret? Lye.

The dough is simple; take a basic yeast-risen dough that can be readied in an afternoon. But the trick to great pretzels is dipping the pretzels in a liquid wash before baking — and not just any wash, but a combination of water and lye. That's what gives pretzels their terrific color, texture and flavor.

Hear the word "lye" and you probably think of commercial drain opener. A powerful alkali, lye (typically sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) is often used in heavy cleaning and soap making, and it can be highly corrosive.

But alkalies, like lye, are also widely used in the food world, a common one being baking soda (a mild alkali, the soda reacts with acidic ingredients to help leaven baked goods). Commercially, corn is often treated with alkali ("nixtamalization") to make hominy. Cocoa powder can be treated with alkali (Dutch process) to neutralize the acid, giving the powder a milder flavor and richer color. Lye is also used in the curing of olives, the canning of mandarin oranges, and in the preparation of Chinese "century eggs" and Nordic lutefisk.
I love me some soft pretzels.  This may be something I try.  I remember making pretzels in junior high, when we took 6 weeks of home ec while the girls took shop.  They were good, but not like the real thing.  This sounds better.

Natural Gas Leases May Conflict With Mortgages

NYT, via nc links:
But bankers and real estate executives, especially in New York, are starting to pay closer attention to the fine print and are raising provocative questions, such as: What happens if they lend money for a piece of land that ends up storing the equivalent of an Olympic-size swimming pool filled with toxic wastewater from drilling?
Fearful of just such a possibility, some banks have become reluctant to grant mortgages on properties leased for gas drilling. At least eight local or national banks do not typically issue mortgages on such properties, lenders say.
A credit union in upstate New York has started requiring gas companies to promise to pay for any damage caused by drilling that may lead to devaluation of its mortgaged properties. Another will make home loans only to people who expressly agree not to sign a gas lease as long as they hold the mortgage.
More generally, bankers are concerned because many leases allow drillers to operate in ways that violate rules in landowners’ mortgages. These rules also require homeowners to get permission from their mortgage banker before they sign a lease — a fact that most landowners do not know.
Hopefully, the bonus and royalty payments will help pay off such loans, and not get blown on shiny new John Deere tractors purchased as a tax dodge.  For some reason, I'm not very confident that people won't blow the money, then have trouble with the banks. 

If this is a "technical default" according to the banks, could the banks demand payment on the loans, and if the owner isn't able to pay up, can the banks forclose?  This would prove very interesting if there was a large natural gas find on the property.

Land Report 100

The Land Report 100 lists the nation's 100 largest land barons.  This year Liberty Media chairman John Malone moved past Ted Turner into the #1 spot, with his ownership of 2.2 million acres.  That is 3437.5 sections (square miles), which is a little smaller than 8 times the size of my home county.

Cincinnati Reds Are World Champions

Photo from Jockpost

October 20, 1990:
Two hours after Cincinnati won the World Series, A's pitcher Dave Stewart walked onto the semidarkened field of the Oakland Coliseum and yelled in his squeakiest voice, " Jose Rijo, where are you, you star?" Rijo, still in uniform, had not tired of the celebration. He was still grinning, dancing, holding his 11-month-old son, Jose Jr., kissing his wife, Rosie, and hugging his father-in-law, Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.
Stewart, the 1989 World Series MVP, and Rijo, the 1990 World Series MVP, met five feet in front of home plate, which is about where Rijo's devastating slider had exploded all night. Rijo had defeated Stewart 2-1 to complete the Reds' sweep, but the Oakland ace embraced his former teammate, whispered in his ear, gave him his phone number and said, "You better call me this winter."
"I told Jose I loved him and I was very proud of him," Stewart said. "He's been through a lot. When you get traded, it's not a good feeling. He made the best of it. If we had to lose, I'm glad it was Jose Rijo who beat us."
Beat them twice, in fact, and allowed only one run in 15? innings. Rijo pitched seven shutout innings to win Game 1, and in the clincher gave up just two hits, struck out nine and retired 20 straight hitters before giving way to closer Randy Myers with one out in the ninth. "You could see it in Jose's eyes," said Cincinnati catcher Joe Oliver. "He was on a mission. That's the best I've ever seen him throw."
Said Reds reliever Norm Charlton, "We'll always remember that in the final game of the World Series he beat the team that got rid of him."
Box Score here.  For me, this is one of those I-remember-where-I-was moments.  I was watching the game at my grandparents' house when Todd Benzinger hauled in that final popup.  Grandpa would only be alive another few weeks, while grandma would live until this January.  My other grandma, who died in 2008, made me a hand-drawn poster which said something like:

Cincinnati Reds World Series Champions
October 20, 1990
We're #1

with all the ribbons and confetti-type stuff that cheerleaders put on pep rally signs (I may still have it around somewhere).  A guy dad worked with had won world series tickets in the lottery, had used games 1 and 2, and told dad we could get game 7.  This created quite the dilemma for me, as I wanted so badly to go to the game, but I didn't want to take the risk of jinxing the team in the deciding game.  Luckily, the Reds eased my burden by completing the sweep in Oakland.

I have a hard time coming to grips with the fact that a child born the day Jose Rijo shut down the A's is now legally able to purchase alcohol.  That is, until I started looking for a video clip of the final out.  Unfortunately, Major League Baseball seems to vigilantly protect it's copyrights.  However, there was this clip of Marge Schott, paying tribute to the soldiers then participating in Operation Desert Shield (or at least I think that's what she means to do):

I somehow remembered it as her honoring our troops in the Middle West, instead of Far East. I think maybe I got confused between what she actually said, and possibly the only thing she could have said which would have been more confused.

I also came across the awful Reds Hot video, which is only redeemed by the audio clips of Marty and Joe, and Randy Myers demonstrating how not to dance at 3:12. I'm glad they get the anti-drug message in there:

If there were any doubts about the time frame, check out Glenn Braggs' outfit in this interview about him breaking his bat when he swung and missed:

Hopefully, the Reds won't fall into a Cubs-style drought, and can possibly win another World Series in my lifetime.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1961 In Pictures

The Atlantic features some fascinating pictures from 1961, including this:

A Freedom Rider bus goes up in flames after a firebomb was tossed through a window near Anniston, Alabama, in May of 1961. (AP Photo/File) #

As bad as things seem today, society wasn't all it was cracked up to be 50 years ago.

Minnesota Man Charged With Pig Rustling

Des Moines Register:
 Authorities say a Minnesota man has been arrested in the theft of several hundred feeder pigs from producers in Mitchell County in northern Iowa.
The Globe Gazette in Mason City ( ) says John Arndt, of Hayfield, Minn., was taken into custody on Tuesday in Minnesota.

He faces several charges, including ongoing criminal conduct and first-degree theft. He's being held on $47,000 bond in the Mower County, Minn., jail pending extradition to Iowa.
Previous report here.

What's Up With Ireland?

Michael Brendan Dougherty looks at the Irish candidates for their Presidency:
After Ireland’s incredible economic fall, the country has lost faith that politics can solve their problems. Hope has migrated to the possibility that Facebook, Google, and other tech companies will soon move their server farms from Asia to Eire. Until then, however, Ireland has the comfort of an Oct. 27 presidential election that contains all the intrigue of a referendum on the nation’s identity.
Consider some of the late drama. Sinn Fein’s candidate, Martin McGuinness, stepped down as first deputy minister of Northern Ireland to run for the Republic’s presidency. McGuinness is a former commander of the IRA, yet his popularity in the North has risen as quickly as it has everywhere else. But the man who held a Thompson machine gun on Bloody Sunday was recently confronted over his role in “the troubles” by David Kelly, the son of a soldier who was killed in 1983 while trying to rescue two businessmen who were kidnapped by the IRA. He accused McGuinness of knowing the names of the killers and having been on the IRA’s army council. McGuinness’s candidacy recalls the divisions and aspirations of one generation past.
Then there is the candidate of a more distant past, of a religious and emigrant Ireland. Independent candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon, who first came to prominence in her country 1970 by winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Scallon is a devout Catholic who moved with her family to Birmingham, Alabama in the 1980s and hosted religious programs on the Eternal Word Television Network before returning to Ireland and becoming a socially conservative member of the European Parliament. She has made Irish sovereignty her major campaign issue, brandishing the recently rejected European Constitution in her hands as if it were shrapnel from a distant war Ireland ought to avoid.
Some members of her family, feeling economic pressure, have recently emigrated back to America, eliciting questions about her commitment to the nation. She has offered to renounce her U.S. citizenship. In the first candidates’ debate she decried questions that painted her as a “mouthpiece for the Church”—a surprise to many viewers who believe that she rather obviously volunteered for that role.
And then there is modern Ireland represented by David Norris, the country’s first openly gay politician and campaigner for gay rights. He overturned the laws that condemned Oscar Wilde. Norris has given voice to Ireland’s frustration with the clerical abuse scandal, but he dropped out of the race when it was revealed he had defended a former boyfriend, an Israeli activist, who was on trial for statutory rape of a 15-year old Palestinian boy. Norris had also spoken previously in praise of “Classical pedophilia as practiced by the Greeks” and said he “would have greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, [and] lovingly introducing me to sexual realities.”
These candidates make the Republican primary look less crazy, but there is a hell of a difference between the Irish Presidency and the U.S. Presidency.  Whomever wins the Irish Presidency is a governmental figurehead with about 0.0001% chance of blowing up the world.  The same cannot be said for the U.S. Presidency.

The Last Republican Debate For A Few Weeks

Woo hoo. So if the American people decide not to re-elect Obama, one of these jackasses (h/t Ritholtz) is going to be President? Holy shit, nothing good can come of that.

Seven More Economic Lies

Mark Thoma highlights Robert Reich's Seven Biggest Economic Lies (my post here), and adds his own:
Seven more: tax cuts pay for themselves, regulation and uncertainty are holding back the economy, there are plenty of jobs but people don't want to work, Fannie, Freddie, and the CRA caused the crisis, CEOs deserve their high incomes, most unemployment is structural, and regulating the financial sector will harm economic growth. (And, for good measure, global warming doesn't exist and if does exits it wasn't caused by people. Even if it was caused by people, carbon taxes are still bad.)
I can't disagree with him, although I would probably change regulation and uncertainty to regulatory uncertainty, because I believe, and I'm pretty sure he does, too, that demand uncertainty is holding back the economy.  I don't know how Republicans claim these things with a straight face.

There's Never A Dull Moment In Ohio

Ok, there are a lot of dull moments in Ohio, but for the residents in the vicinity of Zanesville, this isn't a dull moment:
The owner of a wild animal preserve released dozens of animals from their cages before he shot and killed himself as officials Wednesday continued to search for a mountain lion and grizzly bear still roaming the area.
As daylight came to Zanesville, a rural area 55 miles east of Columbus, people were being told to stay inside. Officers with assault rifles patrolled the area looking for the two animals and a monkey. An estimated 51 animals ranging from tigers and lions to cheetahs and bears had escaped the compound.
"It's like Noah's arc wrecking right here in Zanesville, Ohio," said Jack Hanna, celebrity zookeeper and Director Emritus of the Columbus Zoo who attended a morning press conference with officials.
Zanesville Mayor Howard Zwelling said he got a call from the city's safety director around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday that Terry Thompson, the owner of the farm, had set the animals free and then shot himself.
No suicide note was left. Officials said Thompson cut the gates on the pens so the animals could not be put back inside their cages.
I'm not a backer of the Humane Society of the United States, but one of the planks they demanded when they decided not to pursue a voter initiative on animal care was a ban on the private ownership of wild animals.  As insignificant as it seemed then, today they appear somewhat prescient.  It provides the organization with another talking point and publicity:
The Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday urged Ohio to immediately issue emergency restrictions on the sale and possession of dangerous wild animals. "
"How many incidents must we catalogue before the state takes action to crack down on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals," Humane Society Wayne Pacelle said in a statement.
This was probably the worst case idea in the back of the sheriff's head when he fielded other complaints at this operation.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amateur Photography

A few pictures I've snapped in the past couple of weeks:

Sunset behind the highway at the home place.

Dad shelling corn
Hunter's Moon prior to sunset
Photo facing west, same time as previous picture.

Full moon, cloudy night. 
I need to look at the manual sometime, so I can learn how to override the autofocus and do some other things.

More Bad News For The Catholic Church

Babies were stolen from people in Spain and sold to better-connected families for decades (h/t Tim F. at Balloon Juice):
After months of requests from the BBC, the Spanish government finally put forward Angel Nunez from the justice ministry to talk to me about Spain's stolen children.
Asked if babies were stolen, Mr Nunez replied: "Without a doubt".
"How many?" I asked.
"I don't dare to come up with figures," he answered carefully. "But from the volume of official investigations I dare to say there were many."
Lawyers believe that up to 300,000 babies were taken.
The practice of removing children from parents deemed "undesirable" and placing them with "approved" families, began in the 1930s under the dictator General Francisco Franco.
At that time, the motivation may have been ideological. But years later, it seemed to change - babies began to be taken from parents considered morally - or economically - deficient. It became a money-spinner, too.
The scandal is closely linked to the Catholic Church, which under Franco assumed a prominent role in Spain's social services including hospitals, schools and children's homes.
Nuns and priests compiled waiting lists of would-be adoptive parents, while doctors were said to have lied to mothers about the fate of their children.
It is bad enough that the Church was so closely entwined with Franco in Spain, but this is pretty horrific. I hadn't heard anything about this, but it is another black eye on the Church.  Somehow, this seems like a moral perversion which approaches abortion in an end-justifies-means way.  In the same way that abortion is defended as preventing a childhood of suffering for unwanted babies, doctors, nuns and priests determined that children should be taken from some mothers and given (or sold) to "better," or more accurately, wealthier parents, to be raised.  Clearly, any human-run organization has flaws, but to me, the problems with the Church seem so much greater because of the secrecy and great effort with which they have been hidden.  Continually burying obviously immoral actions committed by members of the organization to prevent damage to the organization makes the damage that much worse.  This is one more destructive story to further marginalize the Church in the developed world.

Terrible 80's Sitcoms

The Awl features some really bad sitcoms from the Reagan/Bush 41 era:

Small Wonder. You fondly remember Small Wonder, but you are so very, very wrong. It’s unwatchable. A robotics scientist (Dick Christie) develops a humanoid servant-bot named V.I.C.I., short for “Voice Input Child Identicant.” But then, creepily, Ted builds V.I.C.I., or Vicki rather, to look like a little girl, and one that wears a Downton Abbey maid’s for some reason. Ted then takes Vicki home to live with his family so the robot can become accustomed to people, because that’s what robots do: they adapt and grow and need love. Vicki is portrayed by the allegedly human Tiffany Brissette, who had that monotonal robot voice down pat. Vicki, as she was essentially a slave, was also routinely roped into schemes by Ted’s son Jamie, played by Jerry Suprian, who did not, as the urban legend says, grow up to be Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins.
I highlighted this for the benefit of my sister, who loved this show.  Actually, Mama's Family also made the list, and we used to watch it all the time, too.  The whole article seems to describe television viewing in our house back in those days:
The Night Courts (watched it) were far outnumbered by formulaic, rube-baiting junk like Mr. Belvedere (watched it), Who’s the Boss?(watched it), My Two Dads (watched it), and Easy Street (can't verify that we didn't watch it)....
It (Mama's Family) was revived in syndication in 1986 (minus Rue McClanahan and Betty White, who’d moved on to the exponentially superior The Golden Girls (watched it)) and stayed on the air until 1990, where it probably aired right before or right after Hee-Haw (watched it) in most markets.
We can also claim to have watched The Tracy Ullman Show religiously, where we were introduced to, and fell in love with, The Simpsons.  I guess this indicates that we watched a lot of television in our household, regardless of the quality of the programming, or lack thereof.

Liquid Gold

The Atlantic Cities looks at a long-term development plan for the Great Lakes region:
The Great Lakes Century is a proposal to create a 100-year plan for the region focusing specifically on improving water quality, and harnessing its abundance to fuel industrial and economic rebirth. It’s intended to serve as a comprehensive vision for the region.
“We’ve found that there are a tremendous amount of organizations focused on the health of the Great Lakes. But there aren’t really any groups focusing on industry and agriculture and the overall sustainability of the lakes,” says Enquist.
He and his team have written up a vision document for what this 100-year plan would entail, which includes addressing the widespread infrastructure issues that lead to sewage overflows into the lakes, improving mobility across the region, and reducing agricultural runoff. While it has broad goals, the plan’s two central issues are the environmental and economic sustainability of the region.
“There’s a real need for new economic activity in the Great Lakes to strengthen these communities,” says Enquist.
While the lakes themselves make up a third of the region, only 4 percent is urban, according to the report. But it’s a region supporting around 50 million people. Water, Enquist says, can play a huge role in industry, and the region needs to focus on ways to bring water-based manufacturing back to the Great Lakes, but using new water technologies that will enable more sustainable use of the resource.
“I think many of the cities in the Great Lakes are interested in how to look at water as a developing industry. Taking water out, using it for industry, filtering it, then returning it. That’s different from now, where we use it, treat it like waste, and dump it into the Mississippi River,” says Enquist.
He cautions that environmental protection should be the guiding principle.
“China is a great example of where economic growth has outpaced environmental health,” says Enquist.
Other than Chicago, I can't think of any cities which take water out of the Great Lakes then dump it into the Mississippi River.  Nobody else is close enough to the watershed divide to do otherwise.  I think the proposal is a good concept, but it might not hurt to realize that every major city other than Chicago already recycles their water back into the Great Lakes.  When discussing a regional plan, try knowing a bit about the rest of the region.

Another thing to note is that at least they realize that economic development without environmental protection isn't a good idea.  The man must not be a Republican, or he actually has a functioning brain.  On the whole, the region sits in a much better place than Georgia, Texas, Arizona and California when it comes to water resources.  In the future, that will be significant.  Further development in areas which don't have much rain seems like a bad idea to this guy.

Update: Not Faster Than Light, Maybe.

PC Magazine, via Ritholtz:
Last month, a team of international researchers shocked the scientific world with the news that particles they had been firing for several years from the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland at detectors at the OPERA facility in Gran Sasso, Italy placed about 450 miles away appeared to be arriving at their destination faster than the time it would take light to get there.
The particles, traveling through air, water, and rock, shouldn't have hit the Gran Sasso detectors sooner than about 2.4 thousandths of a second after being fired, which is the time it would take light to travel the distance between the two points. Yet the CERN researchers reported that their neutrinos were getting to the target 64 nanoseconds faster—meaning that they were traveling faster than light, supposedly impossible according to the Theory of Special Relativity.
Now other scientists say that a failure to fully account for the effects of relativity is what caused the original researchers to supposedly mis-measure the time it was taking the neutrinos to travel using a GPS satellite, despite the CERN team saying they had factored relativity into their calculations.
A new paper by Dutch researcher Ronald A.J. van Elburg lays out the case that the GPS satellite measuring the neutrinos' movements was also moving relative to the CERN and OPERA facilities as it orbited the Earth. Briefly, van Elburg asserts that the effects of relativity as they pertain to the GPS satellite's measurements require two corrections to the perceived time of travel.
Lo and behold, it turns out that applying that double correction shaves 64 nanoseconds off the neutrinos' travel time, according to van Elburg, "[t]hus bringing the apparent velocities of neutrinos back to a value not significantly different from the speed of light."
I'm not surprised there might be a small measurement or correction error.  This has always been over my pay grade, but relativity may hold up.  Good, I didn't quite understand it anyway, and didn't have any new theory, so this keeps me from having to work at it.

EPA To Republicans: Quit Making Shit Up

Des Moines Register:
The Environmental Protection Agency notified Congress on Monday that it would not regulate the dust kicked up by grain combines and other farm operations in the Midwest.
The agency said the notification should put “an end to the myth that the agency is planning to tighten” its regulations on that source of air pollution.
The farm dust issue has been a major theme in Republican claims that excessive environmental regulations are slowing the nation’s economy.
It amazes me how often farmers, Republicans and lobbyists, like Farm Bureau push this tired crap.  Call me when they actually start writing draft rules. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

World Series

So it's Rangers-Cardinals.  I wouldn't have picked that outcome at the beginning of the playoffs, and I definitely wouldn't have picked it at the beginning of the season.  I'll predict Cardinals in six, but since I've been wrong about everything else, I'll probably be wrong about that, too. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Income Inequality In Charts

Via The Big Picture, the Economic Policy Institute:

Finally, my chart contribution:

NASA Photo of the Day

Carina Nebula: 14,000+ Stars

The Carina Nebula is a star-forming region in the Sagittarius-Carina arm of the Milky Way that is 7,500 light years from Earth and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has detected more than 14,000 stars in the region.

Chandra's X-ray vision provides strong evidence that massive stars have self-destructed in this nearby star-forming region. Firstly, there is an observed deficit of bright X-ray sources in the area known as Trumpler 15, suggesting that some of the massive stars in this cluster were already destroyed in supernova explosions. Trumpler 15 is located in the northern part of the image and is one of ten star clusters in the Carina complex.

The detection of six possible neutron stars, the dense cores often left behind after stars explode in supernovas, provides additional evidence that supernova activity is increasing up in Carina. Previous observations had only detected one neutron star in Carina.

Image Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn State/L. Townsley et al.

Division III Roundup

#1 UW-Whitewater defeated UW-Stout, 42-21
#2 Mount Union beat Heidelberg, 56-7
#3 St. Thomas shut out Hamline, 49-0
#8 Thomas More squeaked by St. Vincent, 20-17
Framingham St. thumped Maine Maritime, 42-14
John Carroll beat Muskingum, 33-14
Rose-Hulman beat Mt. St. Joseph, 20-14
and St. Olaf beat Carleton, 28-7, to win the Goat Trophy and the Cereal Bowl Trophy.

The rest of the scores here.

Prophet Says World Will End Quietly Next Friday

When we last heard from Harold Camping, the Family Radio broadcaster was conceding he'd been wrong about The Rapture beginning on May 21 — a prediction that had some folks selling their worldly possessions and traveling the nation to warn that the end was coming soon. His calculations had been off, Camping said, and it was looking to him like things would really get going (or start stopping?) on Oct. 21.
That's next Friday.
Now Camping, who says he's recovering slowly from a stroke he suffered in June, has posted a new audio message. He's sounding a little less than definite, but still convinced that the end is coming soon. And he's also predicting it will all sort of happen with a whimper, not a bang.
I'll call Shenanigans.  Read updates here next Saturday, if I'm right.

Chart of the Day

Jared Bernstein, via Mark Thoma:

While small businesses may create most of the new jobs, they also shed many jobs, because small businesses fail much of the time.  It is untrue to say that most people work for small businesses, though, even though the spokesman for the NFIB did recently claim that.  It is unfortunate that Republicans hide behind small businesses in trying to cut taxes for the wealthiest people in the country.  Keep this graph in mind next time you hear Republicans talking about small businesses.

52-year-old Exonerated Inmate Wins First, Last Pro Bout

The Ring (h/t mom):
Dewey Bozella, who was released from prison in 2009 after serving 26 years of a wrongful conviction, has won his pro boxing debut by beating Larry Hopkins by unanimous decision in a cruiserweight bout on Saturday night at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The 52-year-old Bozella, who received a call of support from President Barack Obama on Thursday, passed a physical administered by the California State Athletic Commission on Sept. 29 allowing him to face the 30-year-old Hopkins (0-4) of Houston.
The victory satisfied Bozella's dream of fighting as a professional boxer on the undercard of the light heavyweight bout between RING and WBC titleholder Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson on HBO Pay Per View.
During his post-fight, in-the-ring interview with HBO's Max Kellerman, Bozella was asked what his next fight would be.
"My next fight is to work with kids. The Dewey Bozella Foundation. That's what I'm trying to get started," said Bozella. "To work with kids and to keep them off of the streets and to let them know that through boxing, they can turn their lives around. That's what this was all about."....
In 1983, at the age of 23, Bozella was convicted for the murder of an elderly woman in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and given a sentence of 20 years to life, of which he served 26 years before being exonerated in 2009 by new evidence. While incarcerated, Bozella became the prison's light heavyweight champion.
On July 13, 2011, Bozella's life was chronicled in ESPN's annual ESPY Award show in the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, where he was honored as the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
It is nice to have a feel-good story like this sometimes, and it is really nice for boxing to have one.