Saturday, October 26, 2013

Might start raking this weekend................

Nat King Cole...................................The Autumn Leaves

The 50 greatest breakthroughs since the wheel....

Compiled and ranked by the nice people at The Atlantic.  Let the arguments commence.  Part of the back story is here:

In short, these scientists and creative types decided to answer the question they wanted us to ask, rather than the exact one we posed. We have new sympathy for people attempting to manage universities and R&D labs. But in the end we had enough comparable and overlapping suggestions, from enough people, with enough spelled-out explanations, and enough force of experience and insight behind them, to be comfortable presenting The Atlantic’s survey of humanity’s 50 most important technical breakthroughs since the wheel. 

The Things to do...................























"The Things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done. Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done — that no one else has told you to do or how to do it. This will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors induced or imposed by others on the individual."
-Buckminster Fuller, as excerpted from a letter to "Micheal" (16 February 1970).  Micheal was a 10 year old boy who had inquired in a letter as to whether Fuller was a "doer" or a "thinker".

cartoon via

This could get ugly...........................

" I suspect that the technical problems are mere symptoms."
-Arnold Kling, weighing in on the "glitches" with healthcare.gov

Fifty years ago.................................

An underground nuclear test was completed in Fallon, Nevada on October 26, 1963.  The video is brief, but very instructive.  "...the Atomic Energy Commission takes all reasonable precautions........"   Wow.

Finding something beautiful....................

Jeff posted this artwork last week.  I meant to e-mail him to ask how he did it, but got distracted and then forgot.  But, all things come to he who waits (well, maybe sometimes).  Here is the art and the explanation:

Oranges                 ©  Jeff Kopito





































Ever been confused by.................

......................the pricing of airline tickets?

Friend Bilbo is on the case.  His easy explanation is here.  Wee excerpt here:

"Then there are the surcharges, the ma'am charges, charges for carry-ons, charges for luggage, charges for more desirable seats, charges for preferential boarding, etc, etc. And no matter what you pay, there is no one else on board the airplane who is paying the same amount you did."

Rotozip........................................

Carving pumpkins......................................Part 3

Friday, October 25, 2013

An angel of the first degree.......................

Van Morrison (with Pee Wee Ellis on sax)......Tupelo Honey

Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're not......

















"By 2000, politics will simply fade away. We will not see any political parties."

"The politician is someone who deals in man's problems of adjustment. To ask a politician to lead us is to ask the tail of a dog to lead the dog."

"Politicians are always realistically maneuvering for the next election. They are obsolete as fundamental problem-solvers."

"While no politician or political system can ever afford to yield understandably and enthusiastically to their adversaries and opposers, all politicians can and will yield enthusiastically to the computers safe flight-controlling capabilities in bringing all of humanity in for a happy landing."

-R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983)


cartoon via

Good question.......................

“When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” 
-Chuck Palahniuk

Fun with the language................

Does this pronunciation guide help.............?

Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk (/ˈpɔːlənɪk/;[1] born February 21, 1962) is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction.

via

Side effects....................


















"There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory, and I forget the third."
-Timothy Leary 


"Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government."
-Milton Friedman 


"Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects."
-Arnold H. Glasow 

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools."
-Herbert Spencer 


cartoon via

Fifty years ago.........................

Dee Dee Sharp............................................Wild

Hi-Def please................................

















“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” 
-Eleanor Roosevelt


cartoon via

That vision thing........................



















"In the midst of this ObamaCare chaos, I want to see a concise, well-articulated, detailed GOP health-care reform alternative. I want to see sharp messengers on TV clearly presenting that alternative every day."
-as excerpted from here via

cartoon via

...another common household tool...................

Carving pumpkins.................................................Part 2

Thursday, October 24, 2013

About 100 songs in five minutes..........

Axis of Awesome.......................4 Four Chord Song




thanks maggie

One cranky iceberg...................
























............and 74 other fabulous photos.

Brain Pickings...........................................

If you are not a reader of Maria Popova's fabulous blog, well, you should be.  Brain Pickings, just by its existence, makes the whole blogosphere a better and more worthwhile place.  Anyway, Maria is celebrating her seventh year as a blogger and she offers 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years.  Do go read it.

Trifecta..................................

Early returns from the "Show Me" state portend more turmoil in the wide, wide world of health care insurance.  Uh-oh.

Fifty years ago..................................

Johnny Cash.......................................The Matador

Certain............................























"For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future."
-John F. Kennedy

Trivia question of the day...............

Where, and what, is the Sargasso Sea?

Those of you who followed the link now know that the question was one of those posed by Thomas Edison to "test the mental mettle of incoming job seekers."   Seems Edison was dissatisfied with the knowledge base of college graduates of his day, so he created his own 150 question pop quiz to probe the breadth and depth of their learning.  Out of more than 500 testees only some 35 answered nine out of ten questions correctly.

Here of late, I've come across several accounts of how the brilliant inventor Edison conspired with the brilliant investor J. P. Morgan against the brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla.  Not a very pretty picture.  Thinking of demoting Edison from "Hero" to merely "an amazing human being."

Fun with the language.........................

Last week, your faithful blogger presented 23 hot tips, attributed to Frank L. Visco, on HOW TO WRITE GOOD.   

This week it is William Safire's turn.  Safire (1929-2009) may be best known for his "On Language" columns in the New York Times Magazine.  People of my age may remember him more for his stint as a speech writer for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.  Safire was responsible for Agnew's famous "nattering nabobs of negativism" quote (see #31 below).  The first 36 of these self-contradictory rules for writing were collected from Safire's columns.  37-54 seem suspiciously close to Visco's rules.  We just report.  You decide.

  1. Remember to never split an infinitive.
  2. A preposition is something never to end a sentence with.
  3. The passive voice should never be used.
  4. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
  5. Don't use no double negatives.
  6. Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.
  7. Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.
  8. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  9. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
  10. No sentence fragments.
  11. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  12. Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
  13. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  14. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  15. Eschew dialect, irregardless.
  16. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  17. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!
  18. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  19. Hyphenate between sy-
  20. llables and avoid un-necessary hyphens.
  21. Write all adverbial forms correct.
  22. Don't use contractions in formal writing.
  23. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  24. It is incumbent on us to avoid archaisms.
  25. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  26. Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language.
  27. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  28. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  29. Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  30. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  31. If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole.
  32. Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
  33. Don't string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
  34. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  35. "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'"
  36. The adverb always follows the verb.
  37. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.
  38. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  39. Employ the vernacular.
  40. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  41. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  42. Contractions aren't necessary.
  43. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  44. One should never generalize.
  45. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
  46. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  47. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
  48. Be more or less specific.
  49. Understatement is always best.
  50. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  51. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  52. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  53. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  54. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  55. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with a point

Enjoy............and learn..............

Pumpkin Carving....................................




thanks mark

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If it keeps on rainin'.........................

Led Zeppelin................................When The Levee Breaks

A Noachian deluge......................

Between the late summer of 1926 and the following spring, enough precipitation fell on the forty-eight United States, by one calculation, to make a cube of water 250 miles across on each side.  That is a lot of water, and it was only just beginning.
     On Good Friday, April 15, 1927, a mighty storm system pounded the middle third of America with rain of a duration and intensity that those who experienced it would not forget in a hurry.  From western Montana to West Virginia, from Canada to the Gulf, rain fell in what can only be described as a Noachian deluge.  Most places received six to eight inches, and some recorded more than a foot.  Now nearly all that water raced into swollen creeks and rivers and headed, with unwonted intensity, for the great central artery of the continent, the Mississippi River.   The Mississippi and its tributaries drain 40 percent of America, almost a million square miles spread across thirty-one states (and two Canadian provinces), and never in recorded history has the entirety of it been this strained.
    A river approaching flood stage is an ominously fearsome thing, and the Mississippi now took on an aspect of brutal, swift-flowing anger that unnerved even hardened observers.  All along the upper Mississippi people stood on the banks and mutely watched as the river paraded objects - trees, dead cows, barn roofs - that hinted at the carnage farther north.  At St. Louis the volume of passing water reached two million cubic fee per second - a phenomenal rate, double the volume recorded sixty-six years later during the great flood of 1993.   All along the river armies of men with shovels and sandbags shored up flood defenses, but the pressures were too overwhelming.  On April 16, on a great bend of the river in southeastern Missouri at a place called Dorena, the first levee gave way.  Some 1,200 feet of earthen bank burst open and a volume of water equal to that at Niagara Falls burst through the chasm.  The roar could be heard miles away.

     By the first week of May, the flood stretched for five hundred miles from southern Illinois to New Orleans.  Altogether and area almost the size of Scotland was underwater.  From the air, the Mississippi Valley looked like - indeed, for the time being was - a new Great Lake.  The statistics of the Great Flood were recorded with chilling precision:  16,570,627 acres flooded; 203,504 buildings lost or ruined; 637,476 people made homeless.  The quanties of livestock lost were logged with similar exactitude: 50,490 cattle, 25, 325 horses and mules, 148,110 hogs, 1,276,570 chickens and other poultry.  The one thing that wasn't carefully recorded, oddly, was the number of human lives lost, but it was certainly more than a thousand and perhaps several times that.  The tallies weren't more scrupulous because, so many of the victims were poor and black.

-Bill Bryson, as excerpted from One Summer:  America, 1927
     
Next time you hear about all the catastrophes coming our way because of climate change, just remember your history.  Catastrophes have a life of their own.  You can read the cliff notes on the Great Flood here.  A more in-depth look can be found here.

Carlos..................................























thanks Todd

Feeding time...............................











via tail feathers

Fifty years ago..................................

Elvis Presley..........................................Witchcraft

Nurture your nature................

But do remember, most of us are born generalists.  There are prodigies of course:  those are the bell-curve extremities.  In any field they exist:  tax management, rock n' roll or being a cool town guide:  those whose gene combinations create something pretty rare.

For the majority of us though, we need to regularly remind ourselves that it's not nature or nurture.  It's nurture of your nature.  Work at stuff.   Work at everything until passions, loves and talents are revealed.  They won't be easy to decipher and despite exhortations to 'follow your passion' they won't be easy to identify amongst the smoke and mirrors of what you are paid to do, have to do, fancy doing and what is currently cool to do.  So work and work hard at everything you do because you are one of the few in your field who are astoundingly good at what you do:  you simply have to find that field.  And when you do, you receive the highest and most just reward for hard work and accomplishment of mastery.  Freedom.

-Nicholas Bate, as excerpted from You, Only Better:  Find Your Strengths, Be The Best And Change Your Life

Rules..................................










courtesy of swissmiss

Ultimately true..................................
















thanks jessica

HOW ON EARTH DID I MISS THIS??????

YESTERDAY WAS INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY!  MY APOLOGIES FOR NOT BRINGING IT TO YOUR ATTENTION SOONER.  PLEASE FORGIVE ME.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reasons why I like living in Newark and Licking County......

Reason 93:   The Ohio State Marching Band

Newark is a scant thirty miles away from the Horseshoe.  We make the pilgrimage once or twice a season to catch a Buckeye game.  The half time show with TBDBITL if often better than the game itself.  Here is some of the evidence.  The video covers the whole half time show from last weekend's game.  If you want to watch a band properly tribute Michael Jackson and  "moon walk" - and you should - fast forward to about 4:00.  Amazing stuff.  And the crowd goes nuts.

Meet you half way..............

The James Gang......................................Walk Away




Opening paragraphs..................

Ten days before he became so famous that crowds would form around any building that contained him and waiters would fight over a corncob left on his dinner plate, no one had heard of Charles Lindbergh.  The New York Times had mentioned him once, in the context of the coming Atlantic flights.  It had misspelled his name.
-Bill Bryson,  One Summer:  America, 1927

We've been gerrymandered........................

"...a key part of the problem is a lack of accountability within our entire political system, and maybe even our entire society. Politicians in gerrymandered districts aren't accountable because they only have to appeal to a carefully selected set of voters who already agreed with the incumbents. (This is democracy inside-out: Instead of broad groups of voters selecting their political representatives, we have career politicians drawing district lines in order to cherry-pick the voters they want)."
-Stephen M. Walt, as excerpted from this blog post - "Can Anybody Run This Country?"

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

This one falls under the heading, "What can't go on forever, won't."   Heads up, kids!

"Math doesn’t care about fairness or good intentions. Spending vastly more than you have isn’t good when done by a Republican or a Democrat."























chart and quote via

Fifty years ago..........................

Lloyd Price.................................................Misty

...the unfussy ease of a good tradesman...

                    The Outlaw

Kelly's kept an unlicensed bull, well away
From the road: one risked a fine, but had to pay

The normal fee if cows were serviced there.
Once I dragged a nervous Friesian on a tether

Down a lane of alder, shaggy with catkin,
Down to the shed the bull was kept in.

I gave Old Kelly the clammy silver, though why
I could not guess. He grunted a curt 'Go by.

Get up on that gate.' and from my lofty station
I watched the businesslike conception.

The door, unbolted, whacked back against the wall.
The illegal sire fumbled from his stall

Unhurried as an old steam engine shunting.
He circled, snored, and nosed. No hectic panting,

Just the unfussy ease of a good tradesman;
Then an awkward unexpected jump, and

His knobbled forelegs straddling her flank,
He slammed life home, impassive as a tank.

Dropping off like a tipped-up load of sand.
'She‟ll do,' said Kelly and tapped his ash-plant

Across her hindquarters. 'If not, bring her back.'
I walked ahead of her, the rope now slack

While Kelly whooped and prodded his outlaw
Who, in his own time, resumed the dark, the straw.

-Seamus Heaney

This is one ugly chart.................................

Our crystal ball, way back in the dark times of 2008, suggested that single-family home construction would not pick up again until 2011-12.  Wow, were we ever wrong.  A reading of housing construction history would suggest that there must be significant pent-up demand.  Hope springs eternal.
















The blue line represents single-family housing starts.  The red line represents "builder confidence."   Back story is here.

On ethicists and the honour system....

It appears their ethics are just run of the mill........

"Thus, professional ethicists seem no less likely to free-ride in this context than do philosophers not specializing in ethics. These data fit with other recent findings suggesting that on average professional ethicists behave no morally better than do professors not specializing in ethics."


thanks mungo

Laughter..............................























courtesy of

Yep...........................................






















thanks

Monday, October 21, 2013

Feeling fine.............................

The Doobie Brothers......................Take Me In Your Arms
  (as always, please click on through to YouTube Central)

This is interesting.....................

M78:  Stardust and Starlight
















The wondrous Astronomy Picture of the Day web site has been restored to functionality.  You may recall it was unavailable during the "government shut-down."  Taking a scroll, it seems like posts and photos were added all through those dark days, we were just not entitled to see them.  Wow.

From around the dial....................

Stuart Schneiderman:  The Glory That Was France

"Now, the French are discovering the hard way that they have sold their future and their nation’s future for the promise of a free lunch, paid for by the rich."
 ----------------------------------

Michael Wade:  Dangerous Assumptions

-----------------------------------

Matt Ridley:  The net benefits of climate change till 2080

"Good news is no news, which is why the mainstream media largely ignores all studies showing net benefits of climate change."
-----------------------------------------

The Strategic Learner:   Six Steps to Aaaahhh

----------------------------------

Samizdata:  The Quote of the Day

"Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money, only for wanting to keep your own money."   
- Joseph Sobran
----------------------------------

Jeff Kopito:   The presence of hope

"she does admit to the reality that 'the best doctor in the world has never succeeded in making anyone immortal.'
"But she also adds that 'the overwhelming presence of hope isn’t denial – it’s part of our DNA as humans.  And it’s time our health care system started accounting for the power of that hope.' "
---------------------------------
Lest we forget, things were not all that rosy with the health care system pre-Obamacare. 
"Republicans will need to recognize that repeal of Obamacare should not be their obsession, because they would then be leaving the nation with a dysfunctional yet still highly government-oriented health care system, not some lost conservative paradise."
-----------------------------------------

Ray:  Eleven tips on How to Stay Young

9. Don’t take guilt trips.
Take a trip to the mall, even to the next city, county,
to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

Finding something beautiful........
















thanks David

Hey, some of my best friends are......

Examine the latest budget stand-off to shame Washington and embarrass America, and lawyers are everywhere.
-Lexington, from this Economist essay

Fifty years ago.........................

Bonanza................................Hoss and the Leprechauns

More local chain saw art........................

The black bear down the street................






































A blank canvass.....................................?



































other examples of tree stump art are here and here and here.

When I become king.................

............................this stuff is going to stop:

"In America today we have an appearance of partisanship and polarization when the cameras are running; behind the scenes there’s a bipartisan commitment from all sectors of the political class to cash in."

"To gain office and rise in the Washington hierarchy, politicians must grandstand for the cameras, highlighting their fidelity to conservative, liberal or moderate ideology as the case may be. But to cash in, at some point they have to leave all that stuff behind, and join the general back scratching and hand washing of the permanent political class."

Both quotes excerpted from this Walter Russell Mead essay.

Master of my fate: Captain of my soul.........


















































































cartoon via

heading via

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Live from the adult funny farm................

Henry Phillips.......................The End of the World

Now is greater..............................

R.E.M..............................................She Just Wants To Be

Verse.........................

        All under heaven say that I am great,
           great but unconventional.

Now, 
        precisely because I am unconventional.
          I can be great;
        If I were conventional,
          I would long since have become a trifle.

        I have always possessed three treasures
          that I guard and treasure.
        The first is compassion.
        The second is frugality.
        The third is not daring to be ahead of all under heaven.

Now,
        Because I am compassionate,
          I can be brave;
        Because I am frugal,
          I can be magnanimous;
        Because I dare not be ahead of all under heaven.
          I can be a leader in the completion of affairs.

If, today, I were to
        Be courageous while forsaking compassion,
        Be magnanimous while forsaking frugality,
        Get ahead while forsaking the hindmost,
          that would be death!

-Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu
Chapter 67

Opening paragraphs...............

Once upon a time in Paris, in the courtyard of the Palais de Justice, there lived a young boy whom nature had endowed with the quickest of wits and the most wilful of dispositions.  His soul - if he had one - was written on his countenance.  He was quite sound in his judgement, and he had the most straightforward of minds.  His family nicknamed him Zozo:  he later called himself Voltaire.  While he believed in God Almighty, he none the less considered that there was still work to be done.  "God created man free," he wrote at the age of seventy-three: "and that is what I have become."  This is the story of his extraordinary life, the story of a search for freedom.



















It is fairly apparent that Voltaire, nee François-Marie Arouet  (1694 – 1778), had authority issues.  His willingness to use his intelligence, wit, and quick pen to express those issues made him familiar with both prison and exile.  Neither would keep him from writing.  For the cliff notes on Voltaire, go here.  To just scratch the surface on some of the neat stuff he wrote, read these:

On parle toujours mal quand on n'a rien à dire.
One always speaks badly when one has nothing to say.

Les anciens Romains élevaient des prodiges d'architecture pour faire combattre des bêtes.
The ancient Romans built their greatest masterpieces of architecture for wild beasts to fight in.

L'homme est libre au moment qu'il veut l'être.
Man is free at the instant he wants to be.

La vie est hérissée de ces épines, et je n'y sais d'autre remède que de cultiver son jardin.
Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden.

Le préjugé est une opinion sans jugement.
Prejudice is an opinion without judgement.

Tous les hommes seraient donc nécessairement égaux, s’ils étaient sans besoins. La misère attachée à notre espèce subordonne un homme à un autre homme: ce n’est pas l’inégalité qui est un malheur réel, c’est la dépendance.
All men would then be necessarily equal, if they were without needs. It is the poverty connected with our species which subordinates one man to another. It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence.

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur.
Love truth, but pardon error.

Il vaut mieux hasarder de sauver un coupable que de condamner un innocent.
It is better to risk sparing a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

Si Dieu nous a faits à son image, nous le lui avons bien rendu.
If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor.

Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort.
It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.

Les opinions ont plus causé de maux sur ce petit globe que la peste et les tremblements de terre.
Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours.

Les hommes seront toujours fous; et ceux qui croient les guérir sont les plus fous de la bande.
Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.

En général, l’art du gouvernement consiste à prendre le plus d’argent qu’on peut à une grande partie des citoyens, pour le donner à une autre partie.
In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.

Ils ne se servent de la pensée que pour autoriser leurs injustices, et n'emploient les paroles que pour déguiser leurs pensées.
Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.

Le doute n'est pas un état bien agréable, mais l'assurance est un état ridicule.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.

Un bon mot ne prouve rien.
A witty saying proves nothing.

Il est défendu de tuer; tout meurtrier est puni, à moins qu’il n’ait tué en grande compagnie, et au son des trompettes.
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Laissez lire, et laissez danser; ces deux amusements ne feront jamais de mal au monde.
Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

Fifty years ago................................

Hank Snow........................................I've Been Everywhere




thanks kurt

The evolution of consciousness......................?


Uh-oh..........................

Heads up Starbucks.....................

"Kitchens are just factories we haven’t automated yet."

"An army of robot baristas could mean the end of Starbucks
as we know it."












Some days...................................


Getting smarter all the time................