Thursday, May 29, 2008

Modern cable is insane.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

100 Posts!

Actually, this will be the 103rd post on my blog. In the traditional internet spirit, here is a relevant picture of a little kitten. here's to 100 posts!
Image is credit of whoever owns it. I have no idea who this is.... if its yours (and the chances of the owner stumbling upon my blog are in the billions to one range.) please let me know.

Homeschoolers need not apply.

This is greatly annoying. Subway is holding a contest for students grades k-6 to write a short story. They specifically exclude home schoolers. (See the bottom of the page. )

Everything from college admissions, test scores, average income, polls of lasting relationship with parents, and mine and many of my trusted friends life experience shows that home school's ultimate one on one classroom experience is EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE for many children. Further, people with strong religious or political convictions have almost no choice in some situations but to home school. This comes up over and over again. For example, by law schools must teach concepts about abortion and Sexual relationships (including views on gay marriage) that are incompatible with the respect necessary for a teacher or establishment. That is, even if parents provide a counter example, your still putting your child in a bad situation because even if they believe you over their teachers (which sadly is not always the case.) They now have authority figures that they have a legitimate reason to not trust or respect.

So I feel strongly that homeschooling is not only a good idea in many cases, but a necessity. Why should these kids be excluded from a great creative writing contest subway?

From the email I received:

"NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.

Subway's Web site promotion not only misspells "Untied (sic) States," but offers the grand prize winner a "Scholastic Gift Bastket (sic) for your home."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Great answer to common car question.

What is the least expensive way to speed up my (Insert car make and model here)?

"The easiest way to speed up your (care) is to choose music that fits the RX­7 experience. There are a number of excellent suppliers for driving music. ZZ Top has been providing excellent driving music for over twenty years. Start with their now­classic Eliminator and ZZ Top's Greatest Hits. For more fun, check out their latest album: Antenna. If you are more of a classical listener, try Wagner's "Walkurenritt (Die Walkure)". In fact, many parts of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" is appropriate for high speed driving. For the MetalHead, Megadeth's Rust in Peace works very well. If you are a member of club Xanadu, try Robert Palmer's Addictions Vol. 1. The all time best song to drive to has been scientifically proven to be I Fought the Law (And the Law Won) by the Bobby Fuller Four."

-Taken from Team3's Rx-7 FAQ (

Can you guess which video game character this is?

I want a pet robot.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

liquid death anybody?

Some people who read my notes about corn syrup last month were confused as to how its worse than cane sugar.

From this article:

"Research is beginning to suggest that this liquid sweetener may upset the human metabolism, raising the risk for heart disease and diabetes. Researchers say that high-fructose corn syrup's chemical structure encourages overeating. It also seems to force the liver to pump more heart-threatening triglycerides into the bloodstream. In addition, fructose may zap your body's reserves of chromium, a mineral important for healthy levels of cholesterol, insulin, and blood sugar."

Ah, Hyperbole, the great bane of modern existance ;)

The title has absolutely nothing to do with what I wanted to post about.

I was just posting to say how happy I am that Fine Cooking is making the (new) "Cooking without recipes" section a regular. I'm not a big fan of recipes (outside of cooking classes I have used maybe 5 despite the fact that I cook all the time.) I don't like them because they make people think theres some sort of magic necessary for cooking. There isn't. Experimentation and simple flexible rules are what I think people should use.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's all geek to me.

First off, I apologize for that pun. I realize it is truly awful. Probably you shall all need therapy.

Now, to be a little anal retentive.

It's Geek... Nerd is a pretty mean thing to call somebody.
I appeal to Merriam-Webster:

1 : an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.
3 : an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity

Wrist computer

decided it has been far too long since somebody tried to make a wrist mounted computer. towards that end i present to you:


yes, that is a sock. obviously it needs more work... its currently about 1.2 CM thick and weighs way way too much with the battery hooked up. also i need longer cords because currently everything has to be right next to it.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Prince Caspian

For now, I'm just going to say that I was REALLY disappointed. The first one gave me a fair amount of faith in these movies but this one was dismal. Poor scripting, painful overuse of nauseatingly bad slow motion scenes, ABSOLUTE deviation from the book's plot, weird (and annoying) camera angles, no discernible moral message (and complete destruction of the beautiful symbolism in the book). Pretty much it was everything I had feared the first one would be and worse. Don't waste your money. I'll edit this with particular complaints later maybe.

Edit: ok, I just had to give you this quote from the New York Post's review. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian doesn't quite equal the first film, but some may find this one a less-insistent piece of pure entertainment because it isn't so overtly Christian"
So its not as good, but thats ok, because they got rid of all that nasty christen stuff.

Edit2: Just so you know some particulars of what I'm talking about in case I haven't persuaded you not to waste your time and money.

  • Prince Caspian has an under developed character. For some reason somebody thought it would be a good idea for him to have a heavy spanish accent and long hair. for that matter... harry potter has more acting skill than this movie.
  • There is a dramatic falling scene during the last battle but the character is only falling about 3 feet. why is this dramatic? because of the next point.
  • major overuse and misuse of slow motion. especially right at the beginning of Peter's duel. What the heck, that looks like stop motion animation.
  • Why do the narnains have rapid fire everything? rapid fire (gas powered?) crossbows. Rapid Fire spiny trebuche, rapid fire 5 high ballistas? this might be cool in another movie, here its just distracting and gimicky.
  • What was wrong with the storyline from the book? I thought it was pretty good. they could have included some of it...

Monday, May 12, 2008


Go learn Esperanto!

What is Esperanto you ask? obviously you have not spent enough time around me. From Wikipedia:

Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language.[2] The name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book of Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. The word esperanto means 'one who hopes'. Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.

Esperanto has had continuous usage by a community estimated at between 100,000 and 2 million speakers for over a century. By most estimates, there are approximately a thousand native speakers.[3] No country has adopted the language officially.

Today, Esperanto is employed in world travel, correspondence, cultural exchange, conventions, literature, language instruction, television,[4] and radio broadcasting.[5]

Some state education systems offer elective courses in Esperanto, and in one university, the Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj in San Marino, Esperanto is the language of instruction.

There is evidence that learning Esperanto may provide a good foundation for learning languages in general. (See Propaedeutic value of Esperanto.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Mother

Well, I was driving and packing earlier or this would have been up this morning. I wanted to post a thank you to my Mother.

My Mom is, of course the best Mom ever. Thanks Mom. Happy Mothers Day.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Days 5 and 6

I'm DONE!!!!! The philosopher final took a little over an hour. It was a good final, very strait forward (but not to the point of boredom, which plagued my lab final, because it essential just asked us to repeat what the text said.)

During my philosophy final somebody mentioned something about how many philosophers it takes to screw in a light-bulb. This clearly needed to be contemplated so:

How many philosophers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A light bulb requires either 0, or as many as there are in existence, or an infinite number of philosophers to be screwed in. For:

  • The philosopher will realize that the end of every worthwhile activity is truth. In the case of light bulbs the illumination of proper objects of truth is the only real end without which the screwing in of light bulbs is more properly left in potential. Sometimes truth is best contemplated in the dark, as when there is modern art in the room. So in this case it would take no philosophers to properly screw in the light bulb.
  • Additionally, philosophers will realize that there is some good in screwing in a light bulb this good is found in as much as it is more being in the activity (sometimes called, having a life, or actually doing something) than simple existence. In this case, as many philosophers as have no better thing to do would be required to fill as perfectly as possible the end, or goodness, of screwing in the light bulb. It is well known that philosophers have no life, and having no life is a lack of being which is improved by any being, so screwing the light bulb would further actualize all philosophers in existence. Thus screwing in a light bulb would require all philosophers
  • The philosopher will realize that the light bulb’s screwing partakes in the circle, the most perfect shape. The circle is most perfect because it has no beginning and no end. Thus the philosopher will realize that in order to be most perfect the light bulb should be screwed in continuously. No single man can screw in a light bulb continuously. To do anything that cannot be done by one being indefinitely, indefinitely, required an indefinite number of beings, therefore there must be an infinite number of philosophers to screw in the light bulb.
Thus, screwing in a light bulb requires either 0, all in existence, or an infinite number of philosophers.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Finals Day 4

Math is done! Woot! I stayed up till 4:00 AM but I had all 8 props down. The final was not at all what I expected. It wasn’t that hard, but it was not on the questions I thought it would be on. I think it went well though. I left my teacher a note on the front (Apollonius begins his second book of conics with “if you are well, well and good, and I too am well. We have send you our son Apollonius bearing our second book in conics.”) my note read “Mr. Bear, if you are well, well and good, and I too am well, we send you our little blue book bearing our second final in sophomore mathematics.” I hope he remembers the introduction so that it makes sense. Lol. Otherwise it would be very odd.

So now I have Seminar tomorrow, lab the next day, and philosophy the day after.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The best t-shirts ever
(warning, geekhood is assumed)

OCR (Optical character recognition)

This is one of the many times when I think it would be nice to have a tablet pc (yes, I know most of you are thinking “how many devices can one person use?” my answer..... many).

I guess I should explain. Object character recognition is when a computer analyses a picture and tries to make words out of it. This comes in two forms, handwriting recognition as is used on most palm pilots, and scanned document recognition. It comes up because one of the oldest and best math study guides on campus is slowly diminishing to a couple of copies of copies floating around. To prevent the eventuality of this piece of wisdom becoming extinct our dear friend Ian Larson scanned it into a series of jpeg files. Unfortunately these are unwieldy large (20 MB) , contain all sorts of artifacts and in general are cumbersome to read and print. So I decided to step in and convert them to digital text. My tool of choice is simple OCR which is free to non commercial use ($1250.00 for commercial licenses, ouch). So then comes the tablet pc. A computer can do a decent job of recognizing a character if its really a character, unfortunately it freaks out and tries to recognize eraser marks and underlines as character too, this is gotten around by highlighting areas that you want the computer to ignore, unfortunately this is hard to do with a mouse, with a tablet (if anybody doesn’t know, this is like a laptop where the screen can go completely flat against he top and drawn on with a stylus) this would be vastly easier to highlight ignored areas and clean blemish’s from the scans. In any case, the end result of this was that I “entered” 15 pages of text in 2 minutes. that’s 3500 words per minute J

Finals Day Three

Theology was delicious. I had such a blast writing the essays.

The final consisted of three questions:

1.) According to St. Augustine what is the relationship between the city of God and the City of the earth? According to this how should a Christian live?

2.) Anselm says “you must first believe so that you may understand, for if you do not first believe, you will not understand” How does this statement reflect the argument in the Proslogion?

3.) (this is a quote from one of the more modern encyclicals but I can’t remember which) (well, not really a quote because it’s off the top of my head and thus not exact) “Christ in his perfection showed man mans own nature and its ultimate end” in what way do St. Augustine and St. Thomas show this in their writings?

I would try and recreate my answers but it would just take too long. Cool questions though. Only took 2 hours too so that’s good (we had 3 if we needed it.)

Now to study for math like crazy till tomorrow, after that I can relax a little bit. Seminar is always fun and there really isn’t much in the way of studying one could do for it. Lab shouldn’t be too much of a problem for me since its one of my better subjects. So that leaves philosophy but three days should be more than enough time to study for it. If I survive learning 8 props that is.

Thank you to Lucas and Nicole for the good luck wishes.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Finals, day 2

Day one consisted of latin. Which was alot easier than i thought it would be. Studying 2-3 hours 4 times a week first semester paid off. I can more or less read martin of denmark or thomas aquinas in latin. well, read at about the level i could read english at in 4th grade, but that is sufficiant. I think ill learn esperanto now that im done with latin. (oh yah, IM DONE WITH LATIN FOREVER!!!!) [unless i failed somehow...]

tomorrow i have theology, im about to go study that further with paul but i already put in over 4 hours on my own and four hours with brain hong so im pretty good for that.

the next day however, is math, and before then i need to learn 8 props, remember everything keplar proved about the heavens and come up with some encompassing thesis as to what a conic section is, and lots of little things about the proportions of their parts and the squares on them. evil.

Thomas Aquinas had a Blog

I was reading a part of the Summa Theological the other day and though "wow, this is the same format as a blog" Thomas would write a thesis or ask a question, list the objections of others, answer those objections and then write a summary. this closely matches the modern blog. Post a post, people write comments, reply to the comments and if theres alot to say, post a follow up.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


A little advertisement for a product I approve of. Soda in never really healthy but Jones' soda uses cane syrup instead of corn syrup. This is a big deal. Corn syrup is really extra unhealthy both in itself and in the habits it forms (its a appetite enhancer for starters). Its used ubiquitously only because the USA levies heavy tarrif's on cane sugar and cane syrup to support local farms (a move which is absurd to maintain considering we could use all our corn to make ethonol and still not have enough.).


Thanks again for the comments. I just wanted to say that from now on unless I think a really great new point has come out I will post any reply that I have to a comment in the comments section of a post.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Some of my friends know I have been avoiding starbucks intentionally the last two years. There prices are ridicules, their coffee really isn't better than anywhere else's (unless you count mcndonolds. Those two have always been the case. The tipping point for me was when I read that a single one of their frapacinos (i forget with kind... something with brownie in the name) had more than a days saturated fat in a single cup. Nobody should allow that kind of thing outside of fairgrounds.

I guess I'm not the only person who is appalled because starbucks announced a 21% earnings decrease from last year. One of the things they cited in their own companies report was that people have realized how unhealthy their drinks are:

"Among many changes Mr. Schultz is expected to unveil in coming months, in addition to cutting costs, is the addition of a line of fruit smoothie drinks, the start of a broad effort to offer healthier drinks and expand beyond coffee beverages."

Consumer power at work. w00t!

Re: Comment

First off, thanks so much for the comments. Now to address two of them:
"P.S. We all know you flout copyright law on a regular basis so don't go telling us about the virtues of following laws cause they're laws."

There are two distinctions to be made here. The first I already said in my post. "If the U.S.A is a legitimate government" now the longest standing idea behind out government, found in its officially endorsed and distributed textbooks, is as a "governing body, for the purpose of undertaking economic endeavors too great for individual companies (phones lines, roads) and the general protection of all." Now making roads, and making rules for the protection of its citizens on those roads is clearly within that definition. Driving laws, therefore, are acts of a legitimate government over its constituents. real ground level good old laws. Copyright law just isnt. Copyright laws may be legitimate. I'm not sure. I'm not really sure. In any case, as you said, my flaunting of copyright law is just that, flaunting, I spend a lot more time actually talking about it and trying to change it than I do abusing it. (i have watched three movies in six months.) It's my own little form of civil disobedience and I hope to affect a change. If you think you can show that driving above the speedlimit is safer and we would all be alot better off for doing it by all means, go for it, convince the people and it will happen. that brings me to the second distinction. there are some laws that have inherent corruption in them. not to say all of these laws are corrupt, just that there is a place for somebody to benefit from them unrightfuly. speed limits are not these laws. nobody anywhere benefits by making you drive slower. the speed limit was set after a careful examination of how it would affect human life (ok, fuel efficiency comes into the question but the people making the laws do not benefit from that) Driving faster kills people. thats the basis for a very legitimate law.
"getting there on time is not a smaller convenience! It is the only purpose of driving! Otherwise I'd walk, cheaper and healthier."
Getting places on time is obviously not an argument for breaking the law. If you leave on time you can get anywhere on time while following the speed limit. if the other case worked you could just as easily argue that stealing money is legitimate if you need it to buy food. working is the responsible way to get money. managing your time is the responsible way to be punctual.

And i suppose it is true that stealing is an acceptable way to get food (a necessity) when no other option is available and you steal from somebody who will suffer no abject harm from it (aka, has more than enough food) although it would still be better not to steal food. on the other hand the only case i can think of where necessity is a motivation for speeding is when life is on the line. by all means, if you have a woman with birth complications or a person bleeding to death speed away. other than that, i think the argument is false.
" you've got way too much time on your hands...."

The funny thing is that I don't. I wrote that blog last night (well this morning) at about 3:30AM. I just find it easier to just write these things down and then be able to sleep. Really i think i just think about useless things too much.

Look to the right

I added links to friends blogs. which is fairly limited right now.... because i dont read much online.


Ive been saying that this would be awesome since the first preview came out almost a year ago. But ironman is out and its the best reviewed movie of the year.
Nick saw it last night and said that the audience was applauding in the middle of the movie.

Followup to Random thought #1

Wayne Gerdes can get 180.91 mpg out of an insight.

Yes, I’m shamelessly using this mans hobby to vindicate my relentless endorsement of FOLLOWING THE DRIVING LAWS. Because, I suspect that the fact that I have pointing out to people that breaking the driving laws (For example: exceeding the legal speedlimit) is

  • illegal. And, if the USA is a legitimate government, immoral

  • endangers human life
has had absolutely no effect. On the other hand, I suspect that if I can convince people, even just hint to their subconscious, that they might save money, then they will change their driving habits.

For those of you who don’t get a chance to read that article here are the highlights.

The author of the article gets DOUBLE the standard MPG on almost any car.

Here are a few thoughts from me, either found in this article or others, on how to save gas:

1.) Drive slow (the author of the article never exceeds 50mph but just following the speedlimit would help a lot (not to mention its safer, and LEGAL). The faster you go (and especially the faster you accelerate) the less efficient your engine gets with its gas. Also, when you go faster you waste more fuel slowing down for curves and other cars.

2.) Don’t leave junk in your car. one heavy item in your car over the course of a month (say a case of water that you don’t need, or a 50 pound bag of dog food you just haven’t taken out yet...) can add up to a lot of extra gas. (Weight*amount driven=gas loss) Try to minimize the weight, if you cant, try to minimize the amount of driving you do with it.

3.) Don’t try and rush a light, just time yourself. Stopping kills mileage. If the light is red try slowing down as early as you can and as little as you can so that you don’t have to stop before it turns green again. The article cites a study that found quick acceleration and fast breaking on average only cuts drive time by 4%, that is really not worth it considering how much fuel you shoot out the back of your car uncombusted when you slam on the gas.

4.) Sadly, air-conditioning and driving with your windows down both guzzle gas. Either one is about the same. Air-conditioning pulls power off the drive-train of your car, sort of like having extra weight. but driving with the windows down isn’t any better, it turns the nice millimeter honed areo dynamic exterior of your car into a big hole-filled drag fest, end result is that it costs you gas either way.

5.) Treat your car nice. Late oil changes, underinflated tires and poor engine maintenance hurt mileage.

6.) Lastly, Hating that big truck driver in front of you is just plain silly. big trucks like that make a positively huge rift in the air, basically you can "draft" (ride in the slipstream behind them) from a much longer way back than normal cars. Which is very good news, because tailgating is a flagrant disregard for human life. In any case, driving behind a big truck lessens the amount of work your car has to do, saving you gas mileage.

7.) Acceleration takes the greatest amount of gas, so if you can park downhill you can save noticeable amounts of money just by letting gravity take its course. Also, think about this, if accelerating burns the most fuel, and backing out of a parking space involves accelerating, breaking, accelerating, breaking, accelerating breaking ect... parking so that you can just pull forward could really add up over the course of a month or two. Think of it this way. If you can park so that you can get in the car and roll down hill when you want to leave every day (at work for example) and you manage to do this five days a week, saving maybe 5 cents a day (1.25% of a gallon of gas.) over the course of a year you would have just "earned" 13$. the people who really save are the ones who find dozens of things they can do each day like this imagine having $150 a year more money for driving just a little differently.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Random Thoughts

My mind, as my blog might indicate, usually doesn't run in what would be considered a strait line. This usually manifests itself in the completely unrelated nature of most my posts. Tonight, its going to come out in the unrelated nature of these five bullet points.

  • This guy is crazy:

  • People spend way to much time celebrating Christmas (don't get me wrong, Most of my fondest memories of family and friends involve the times around Christmas, i mean as a religious holiday) Not that Christ's birth is insignificant but we boil it down to nice comfortable societal symbols of worldly good.... quaint little towns, young spouses working hard through there early years, laughing babies. These may be iconic, they even have their own special "good" attached to them, but we missed the part about the incarnation. if were too busy thinking about Christs arrival in terms of human things, parents, birth, ect... what happened to the absolutely amazing unhumanly human nature of the incarnation? God becomes man... and we focus on where he was born.
  • Replies on my blog are always appreciated (emails are too, but its nice when you can post something on here)
  • There is a critical flaw in our concept of "protecting" our laptops. We throw them into a nice big cooshy bag. While this does a decent job of protecting them from scratches and especially those little jostles that walking always entails, it does another very undesirable thing. It insulates them. Heat is probably your batteries worst nightmare. Li-Ion batteries especially (and there is a 99% certainty that this is the kind you've got.) can't stand heat. one high heat minute (aka, use your laptop for an intensive task on battery power, like watching a video, throw it into your bag and zip it into the nice little insulutive bubble.) and your battery life will almost certainly suffer. I want to see designers take this into account, its not hard to incorporate mesh into a laptop case, even padded mesh. If not, at least a warning would be nice, most computer users have no idea how there battery works.
  • The dignity of running away is proportional to how scary the thing is behind you.
And thats more or less my thoughts for the evening. Valete.