After much discussion, hundreds of emails and quite a few long nights learning new software, we’d like to invite you to come discover, debate and demonstrate at SMILT.
We hope to see you there.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Well...not a rant per say...just a guarded reaction to news that might be good and might not: the Pirates have hired Neal Huntington to replace Worthless Dave Littlefield as General Manager. Just like the new president they hired a couple weeks ago, Huntington is saying all the right things so far, and he comes from the Cleveland Indians--pretty much exactly the franchise the Pirates need to emulate.
However, it's not a slam dunk hire. For one thing, he was recently demoted from Cleveland higher-up to...well, less-higher-up. He basically went from GM Mark Shapiro's right hand man to being an advance scout. They say it was by choice--scouting's his #1 skill, and he requested the move--but...yeah, that's a bit strange. However, I will make no judgment until Spring Training. Needless to say, he's got an infinite amount of work to do in the meantime, and we'll see pretty quickly what he's made of. He can't be worse than Dave Littlefield, can he?
(And yes, when Littlefield was hired, everybody was saying "He can't be worse than Cam Bonifay, can he?" He was.)
Monday, September 24, 2007
...what's the more perfect example of "I Know You Are, But What Am I?" politics:
a) The White House saying Obama is too "intellectually lazy" to be president, or
b) Chris Wallace asking Hillary Clinton why she and her husband are so "hyper-partisan"?
I'm going with (a) simply on originality points.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I actually planned a long, Pulitzer Prize eligible piece to end my blogging career on this blog, complete with citations to Paul Kennedy, Jared Diamond, Barbara Tuchman, the latest books by Fred Pearce on water crises and on the speed of our warming. I was going to list all the areas, from corrections to infrastructure, from habeas to imperial, from debt to fiscal paralysis, from Iraq to China, all the areas that we have demonstrated ourselves incapable of dealing with effectively and which will require far more than any of the announced candidates (notice I left out Gore) will be able to get done even if our election "system" manages to produce the right outcome in 2008. I was going to tirade on the sold-out media, the main-streaming blogworld (you were right, Billmon), the general breakdown of our major institutions, and, of course, the unforgiveable and monumental failure of the Democratic Party at this key moment in time.
But usually it's the little things that finally push you over the edge. I'm not a member of MoveOn, don't really care that much about them. But the fiasco that was the Senate resolution to condemn them--which should never have gotten to the floor, which should never have received a Dem vote, which came when all the other things above are stalemated, simply epitomized everything wrong with our media, our blog world (good god, bloggers saying Petraeus didn't deserve it, it was harmful to our side????), and most of all, the one institution that once again caved to people who barely represent the views of a third of the public--well, it said it all.
I appreciate all the people saying not to give up or even those who condemn those of us walking away. But they're wrong. I've been watching this happening for 35 years, and hearing responses change from "it can't happen here" to "it's not happening here" to "we can stop this" to "good god, people, get off your asses and get out there." Please. There are times when nations lose control of their fate. The US has. And only external events and perturbations have forced those nations off the courses they were on, through trauma, yes, but that's where we are now. We do not have the personal or institutional capacity to right what has been made wrong. That's not giving up. It's what any outside realist or any unvested observer would fairly conclude. It's time to wait for the swirl of the uncontrolled to open up opportunities for change. Working within this decrepit and corrupted system is a fool's game, and the old methods of taking communal action have been effectively shut off and obstructed. Our hope is from without, not within.
So I'm moving on. No point in the daily depressions anymore. Just watching and planning my options as the events unfold. For the weather, water, energy stuff, hit Terra Daily or Grist or Climate Progress on a regular basis. Erik Loomis at AlterDestiny has been hitting some nice riffs lately. For the politics, well, I haven't had much to say because, really, others have better fire. For the reviews and such, I may be turning up elsewhere at some point in the future. For those who have checked in regularly, thank you very much. There will still be good stuff here supplied by the others, so don't give up on the blog. They will keep your humor stoked, your interests peaked, your thoughts provoked.
And just so you don't think I have no hope at all for the future: Salma (!!!!) has just had a baby. And it's a girl!!!!!
Posted by berlin niebuhr at 8:50 AM
Friday, September 21, 2007
...might as well post the clip that had me screaming "JUST STOP TALKING. PLEASE STOP TALKING. DO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD IN PUBLIC UNTIL YOU'RE OUT OF OFFICE. MATTER OF FACT, DO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD IN PUBLIC EVER AGAIN," around 10:05 last night. Seriously, I do not expect anything of any quality out of this man, but I was still very much taken aback by this remark...
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Okay, if you lose your cocaine and panic that the guys you work with are going to think you ripped them off, it’s still probably not the greatest idea to call the feds and ask them to say publicly that they had seized the drugs. See, when the drugs later turn up (discovered by Boy Scouts!!!), you’ve, like, confessed, dude.
about how Barry Bonds still deserves to be considered a record holder because steroids couldn't make him a better hitter.
Steroids can help batters hit 50 percent more home runs by boosting their muscle mass by just 10 percent, a U.S. physicist said on Thursday.
Calculations show that, by putting on 10 percent more muscle mass, a batter can swing about 5 percent faster, increasing the ball's speed by 4 percent as it leaves the bat.
"A 4 percent increase in ball speed, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, can increase home run production by anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent," said Tobin, whose study will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physics.
It works for pitchers, too, but not as well.
He calculated that a 10 percent increase in muscle mass should increase the speed of a thrown ball by about 5 percent, or 4 to 5 mph (6.4 to 8 kph) for a pitcher who throws a 90-mph (144-kph) fastball.
That could translate into one fewer earned run every other game.
"That is enough to have a meaningful effect on the success of a pitcher, but it is not nearly as dramatic as the effects on home run production," Tobin said.
"The unusual sensitivity of home run production to bat speed results in much more dramatic effects, and focuses attention disproportionately on the hitters."
“If I want to teach someone how to properly kneel or crawl on the floor, I can do that. I don’t have the desire to do that professionally anymore.”
Melyssa Donaghy, an Indianapolis dominatrix accused by the city of operating a basement “dungeon” in her home, who agreed to shut down the business to end a lawsuit brought by the city
At least one Australian has sense about global warming. The redoubtable Tim Flannery, of whom we’ve spoken before, and who was actually named Australian of the Year (can a nation really do that?), is sounding the alarm we’ve been screaming here. The warming is happening faster than the models and experts have been predicting. Here’s his major point: Flannery said predictions in a 2001 UN report, warning the atmosphere was likely to warm by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius (2.5-10.4 Fahrenheit) from 1990 to 2100 now appeared conservative. "In the six years since then, we've collected enough data to (check) whether those projections are valid or not," he said. "It turns out they're not valid, but in the most horrible way -- because for the key performance indicators about climate, change is occurring far in advance of the worst-case scenario," he said. "Carbon dioxide's increasing more rapidly, sea levels are rising more rapidly (and) the Arctic ice cap is melting away more quickly than were projected in 2001." His rec? Flannery said nations needed to "de-carbonise" their economies by 2050, increasing reliance on geo-thermal, nuclear and renewable energy. . . . New Zealand is apparently listening, even if Flannery’s idiot PM isn’t and the US is playing autistic like its leader [sic], coming up with a major climate change initiative. . . . Hmm, only takes three years from the mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants to get into the fish we eat. Nice. Would have thought it would take longer. And it adds really good texture to the meat. . . .Nice summary of the global warming policy strategies, such as they are, of the major players here if you want a cheat sheet. . . . CO2 concentrations in the oceans will soon get to the level at which they kick in EPA quality criteria. No worry. They’ll just change the criteria. . . . Over at Scientific American, a couple of interesting energy articles, one on efforts to reduce the tremendous amount of energy burned up by our computers and one on a massive solar scheme that may have promise (while using up water!!!). . . . The UN calling for more investment in climate monitoring tech. Of course, we all remember that Bushnev is cutting funding here in the US, right? . . . New and faster methods of evaluating the health of wetlands being developed, obviously important for the future, if we decide to care about those things. . . . The Busheviks playing word games with clean water projects at the worst possible time, cutting fed support and laying another unfunded mandate on state and local governments. You say you’re not surprised? Well, try this—it’s so bad even Inhofe is critical of Bushnev. Get up off the floor now.