Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
A Scientific Analysis of Santa
According to a number of references, the world's current population stands at something just over 6 billion.
For this analysis assume only Christians believe in Santa and he, therefore, only visits Christian households on Christmas Eve. Several census and survey reports put Christianity at about 33% of the world's population, or roughly 2 billion people.
Figuring 4.5 people per household, there are approximately 445 million Christian households distributed around the globe. Thanks to different time zones and the earth's rotation, traveling east to west Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with.
With 31 hours to visit 445 million homes, Santa must visit 3,987 homes per second. So for each Christian household with good children, Santa has about 2/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, back into the sleigh, and move on to the next house.
Assuming that each of these 445 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about 0.17 miles per household, or a total trip of about 75.5 million miles. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, or 3000 times the speed of sound.
For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second; a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium size Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa who is invariably described as overweight.
On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine reindeer. No, we need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload-not even counting the weight of the sleigh-to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison, this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.
353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance, which will heat the reindeer, sleigh, gifts and Santa in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will each absorb 14.3 QUINTRILLION joules of energy.per second! In short, they will burst into flame instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them to the same fate. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths (0.00426) of a second.
Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500 times gravity. A 250 pound Santa, which seems ludicrously slim, would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,375,000 pounds of force per square inch just before, like his reindeer, he too is vaporized.
In conclusion, if Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas, he's now dead.
40 years ago, humans saw the first earthrise.
sadly, this breathtaking view of the isolation in space of our home planet has not reduced our capacity to kill each other, eradicate poverty and easily preventable diseases.
nor has our new view of the world we live in lessened our ability to treat this planet like we have somewhere else to go...
perhaps we need to see another snaphot, but this time when the polar ice caps have melted...
Friday, December 19, 2008
been to sears lately?
had to go to the one in falls church, VA to pick up something i ordered over the 'phone, and it took over half an hour to not recognise my gmail print out confirmation number, the credit card used in the transaction, or even to acknowledge i was even in their system.
the merchandise pick-up area was staffed by a machine that spat out instructions too loud, but failed to provide a working system, a screen that told me my order was completed in 3:53 secs despite us being there for 45 mins, and lobotomized employees.
sears, rearranged reads Arses...
much more appropriate.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday night abandoned efforts to fashion a government rescue of the American automobile industry, as Senate Republicans refused to support a bill endorsed by the White House and Congressional Democrats.
it's somewhat strange that we didn't hear anything from them with regard to wage & other concessions from Wall St. when they voted to approve a wide-sweeping financial bailout of the nation's banks and investment houses to the tune of $700 billion.
i like the way that they're blaming the UAW for their vote against the bill. i didn't know that the UAW had a vote in the senate.
.. of course, we'll have to wait and see if george bush met with any republican members of congress letting them know he would support use of the TARP money, in order to allow the republicans to publicly stick it to the UAW, vote against the measure, all the while knowing that a bailout would be approved without them having to vote for it.
i mean, it seems crazy to apply any Troubled Asset Relief Program money to manufacturing industry.
shouldn't it only be available to Wall St.?
or am i just cynical?
wall st. is under there somewhere.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
here's an image took a while back - not quite the same as an orbiting space telescope...
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
climateprediction.net current credits: 500,877.24
USA Rank: 129
i just want to say a big "thankyou" to John.C.Flood, Inc. for arranging to come out between 1pm-5pm, and the 'phone call i received at 4:58pm letting me know they were running late (this was after we 'phoned them just before around 3:45pm and were told we were their next job)
my response was to tell the caller that unless someone showed up at my door in the next two minutes, i was canceling the job and would find someone else.
when it comes to contractors, you DO NOT have to take it up the 'ain.
speaking of which, gives me plenty of time to read 'joe the plumber's next great literary work...
it includes advice on 15 mins of fame, fashion, not paying your taxes, and lying.
perhaps they should change the title to encourage readership among all the far-right republicans...something along the lines of:
Cunt, I am
bugger me! (metaphorically speaking)
even nutty (not a large woman) weighs less than that.
don't bother reading the book.
it just tells you to eat, eat, don't exercise, try & look fabulous so more people you don't know can love you more, eat, eat, eat...
...and don't forget to eat and not exercise.
Monday, December 08, 2008
sure, Detroit's Automakers deserve to die, but the truth is the country can't afford to let them.
what is less clear is exactly why congress is grilling all these CEO's without mercy, making them beg, when they just handed out vastly bigger sums of taxpayer cash to the financial industry (without any concessions or talk about business models).
i didn't hear much about what citigroup had to give up for its $45 billion it has received from the government...
or as the Citi ad says:
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
anyone looking up at the night sky yesterday managed to see a rare conjunction of the moon, venus, & jupiter.
venus is the brighter of the two points of light (jupiter is hugely bigger, but venus is close to the sun).
for those who missed it, you'll get another chance to see it in 2013.
although the three objects appear close together, appearances in astronomy are deceiving.
the Moon is only 252,000 miles away, less far than you may have driven in your lifetime.
right now Venus is 370 times farther away, at 94 million miles. and Jupiter, at 540 million miles, is nearly six times farther than Venus.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
56 million people voted for john mccain.
i wonder how many million were african american?
i wonder how their ancestors would feel about that.
and why is it that it is extremists and other whackos choose the republican party?
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
barack obama has done what no democrat has done before - given african americans in all 50 states a sense that their votes actually count.
the republican party, the party of choice for extremists and whacko's alike, has become the party of intolerance, using fear and division to further its own political power.
we should not forget that the republican party bitterly opposed the following:
• The 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865
• The 1866 Civil Rights Act.
• The First Reconstruction Act of 1867.
• The 14th Amendment in 1868 that made all persons born in the U.S., including former slaves, U.S. citizens.
• The 15th Amendment in 1870 that give every citizen the right to vote.
• The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 which was to stop Republican Klansmen who terrorized white and black Democrats.
• The 1875 Civil Rights Act.
• The 1957 Civil Rights Act.
• The 1964 Civil Rights Act.
• The 1965 Voters Rights Act.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Text: President Bush's Acceptance Speech to the Republican National Convention
FDCH E-Media, Inc.
Thursday, September 2, 2004; 11:20 PM
AUDIENCE: Four more years. Four more years. Four more years.
I believe in the energy and innovative spirit of America's workers, entrepreneurs, farmers and ranchers, so we unleashed that energy with the largest tax relief in a generation.
I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people.
BUSH: If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward
I am running for president with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world and a more hopeful America. I am running with a compassionate conservative philosophy: that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives.
I believe this nation wants steady, consistent, principled leadership. And that is why, with your help, we will win this election.
BUSH: The story of America is the story of expanding liberty, an ever-widening circle, constantly growing to reach further and include more.
The times in which we work and live are changing dramatically. The workers of our parents' generation typically had one job, one skill, one career, often with one company that provided health care and a pension. And most of those workers were men.
BUSH: Today, workers change jobs, even careers, many times during their lives. And in one of the most dramatic shifts our society has seen, two-thirds of all moms also work outside the home.
This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, support your family, and have a rewarding career. And government must take your side.
Many of our most fundamental systems -- the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training -- were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow. We will transform these systems so that all citizens are equipped, prepared, and thus truly free to make your own choices and pursue your own dreams.
BUSH: My plan begins with providing the security and opportunity of a growing economy. We now compete in a global market that provides new buyers for our goods, but new competition for our workers. To create more jobs in America, America must be the best place in the world to do business.
To create jobs, my plan will encourage investment and expansion by restraining federal spending, reducing regulation and making the tax relief permanent.
To create jobs, we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
yeah, you've really delivered, george.
tomorrow, america gets to a chance to personally express their gratitude toward george bush, and show the world that it has a collective average IQ greater than that of room temperature.
sadly, i believe that 4 out of ten americans will still vote republican.
...they'll soon forget what the republicans actually HAVE done, and instead, we'll scare them with ads about what obama and the democrats MIGHT do with their money"
McCain: " thanks george, me & sarah will drill that fucking arctic wilderness, and put crosses on all the oil wells."
W: "god moves in mysterious ways. you're lucky the religious right hate obama so much"
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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Saturday, October 25, 2008
ST. LOUIS — In her first policy speech of the presidential campaign, Gov. Sarah Palin vowed Friday that a McCain administration would allow all special-needs students the choice of attending private schools at public expense, a controversial and potentially costly proposal likely to be welcomed by many parents and bitterly opposed by many school districts.
…she omitted to say anything about the $22,500 her makeup stylist received from the RNC, or indeed anything about charging Alaskan rape victims for their own test kits.
Women for Sarah Palin? Which Ones?
Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin: under her mayoral leadership in
A rape kit is a sexual assault forensic evidence kit, used to collect DNA that can be used in criminal proceedings to assist in the conviction of those who commit sex crimes. The kit is performed as soon as possible after a sexual assault or attack has been committed. It is usually humiliating and uncomfortable for the victim.
A $1,200 bill, just so that the criminal who assaulted you might be caught.
One of the services that almost every American can agree on is that our government should provide policing and investigation into crime, especially of a violent nature. Rape, one of the most difficult to prosecute, disproportionately affects young women.
Not only does she neglect to support women who were raped in getting the evidence they needed to get justice, but she doesn't believe they should have the right to choose what happens with their bodies after they've endured such violation.
…how very presidential.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In an interview posted online Wednesday, Sarah Palin told Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family” that she is confident God will do “the right thing for America” on Nov. 4.
Dobson asked the vice presidential hopeful if she is concerned about John McCain’s sagging poll numbers, but Palin stressed that she was “not discouraged at all.”
“To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder,” she told the influential Christian leader, whose radio show reaches millions of listeners daily. “And it also strengthens my faith because I know at the end of the day putting this in God’s hands, the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on Nov. 4.”
what like poverty, disease, & starvation?
...it also won't matter how people choose to vote.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
hello christian freak, can you please get a few more giant american flags at your rallies...?
...oh, while you're at it a few more white people.
The Anchorage Daily News writes: "Add up the couple's 2007 income and the estimated value of their property and investments and they appear to be worth at least $1.2 million."
...yes, i'm sure that relates very closely to hockey moms and joe six pack.
as the freak herself said "God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,"
pray to get a gas line built...obviously god saving the earth by helping man destroy it.
so i guess if obama wins, then god doesn't think too much of sarah palin or mccain?
i mean what better chance are they going to get to further the religious right?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
and the best bit is that he owes Ohio back income taxes :)
he's a plumber that has never taken an apprenticeship.
he's not licensed to be a plumber (that means he isn't one).
he's not even licensed to be a contractor.
he's not registered to vote.
...and he's obviously NOT getting ready to buy a business that nets more than $250k a year.
...oh, and his home telephone number is unlisted.
and this is what john mccain holds up as his blue-collar, best small business bet to attack barack obama's tax policy...
of course, we must not be too fast to judge someone who makes more than $250,000 a year.
(as a plumber).
you are 'twat of the week.'
Thursday, October 09, 2008
just when will america recognize that this is the collapse of the deregulated, free market model?
the right wing pundits and conservative republicans - knocking government until it's time to bail out their flagship institutions with taxpayers' money.
can't have it both ways.
Remarks by Chairman Alan Greenspan
At the 2003 Conference on Bank Structure and Competition, Chicago, Illinois
May 8, 2003
Benefits of Derivatives
Although the benefits and costs of derivatives remain the subject of spirited debate, the performance of the economy and the financial system in recent years suggests that those benefits have materially exceeded the costs.
Over the past several years, the U.S. economy has proven remarkably resilient in the face of a series of severe shocks--the collapse of equity values, terrorist attacks, and geopolitical turmoil. To be sure, economic growth has been subpar for some time, but we seem to have experienced a significantly milder downturn than the long history of business cycles and the severity of the shocks to the economy would have led us to expect. Although no single factor can account for this resilience, one striking feature that differentiates this cycle from earlier ones is the continued vitality of most U.S. banks and nonbank financial institutions.
In past cycles, economic downturns often produced credit losses that were so severe that the capacity of those institutions to intermediate financial flows was impaired. As a consequence, recessions were prolonged and deepened. This time, the economic downturn has not significantly eroded the capital of most financial intermediaries, and the terms and availability of credit have not tightened to such an extent as to be significant factors in deepening the contraction or impeding the recovery. The use of a growing array of derivatives and the related application of more-sophisticated methods for measuring and managing risk are key factors underpinning the enhanced resilience of our largest financial intermediaries. Derivatives have permitted financial risks to be unbundled in ways that have facilitated both their measurement and their management.
Because risks can be unbundled, individual financial instruments now can be analyzed in terms of their common underlying risk factors, and risks can be managed on a portfolio basis. Concentrations of risk are more readily identified, and when such concentrations exceed the risk appetites of intermediaries, derivatives can be employed to transfer the underlying risks to other entities. As a result, not only have individual financial institutions become less vulnerable to shocks from underlying risk factors, but also the financial system as a whole has become more resilient.
Individual institutions’ portfolios have become better diversified. Furthermore, risk is more widely dispersed, both within the banking system and among other types of intermediaries and institutional investors. Even the largest corporate defaults in history (WorldCom and Enron) and the largest sovereign default in history (Argentina) have not significantly impaired the capital of any major financial intermediary. Likewise, record amounts of home mortgage refinancing and accompanying declines in mortgage asset durations have not imperiled the principal intermediaries in the mortgage markets, in substantial part because these institutions were able to use derivatives to transfer a significant portion of the convexity risk associated with prepayments of fixed-rate mortgages to investors in callable debt and issuers of putable debt.
Risks Associated with the Use of Derivatives
If derivatives and the techniques for risk measurement and management that they have facilitated have produced all these benefits, why do they remain so controversial? The answer is that the use of these instruments and the associated techniques pose a variety of challenges to risk managers. Inevitably, risk-management failures occur, and in two instances--the highly publicized cases of Barings and Long Term Capital Management--they proved destabilizing.
Those that question the net benefits of derivatives see daunting risk-management problems and thus foresee catastrophic outcomes. In particular, they fear that common deficiencies in risk management will result in widespread failures or that the failure of a very large derivatives participant will impose heavy credit losses on its counterparties and yield a chain of failures. Others, like myself, who see the benefits of derivatives exceeding the costs, do not deny that their use poses significant risk-management challenges. But we see ample evidence that the risks are manageable in principle and generally have been managed quite effectively in practice, at least to date. Indeed, credit losses on derivatives have occurred at a rate that is a small fraction, for example, of the loss rate on commercial and industrial loans.
Market discipline in the largely unregulated derivatives markets has provided strong incentives for effective risk management and has the potential to be even more effective in the future.
To be sure, there undoubtedly will be further risk-management failures. But the largest market participants have such diversified businesses that a risk-management failure involving a single product line is unlikely to be a threat to solvency. Furthermore, risk-management failures are more likely to be idiosyncratic than to reflect common deficiencies in procedure or technique among market participants. In the case of the management of market risk, our bank examiners observe significant differences in approach across the largest U.S. banks, even in the measurement of such a basic concept as value-at-risk.
On March 17, 2008 Alan Greenspan wrote an article for the Financial Times' Economists’ Forum entitled “We will never have a perfect model of risk“, in which he argued: “We will never be able to anticipate all discontinuities in financial markets.” He concluded: “It is important, indeed crucial, that any reforms in, and adjustments to, the structure of markets and regulation not inhibit our most reliable and effective safeguards against cumulative economic failure: market flexibility and open competition.
... i would have to disagree.