Saturday, December 01, 2007

Didja ever hear the one...

About the mule between two bales of hay? He was so dumbfounded over his choice, he starved to death.

It would seem the eco-idiots are in the same fix--again. Sort of like "Paper or plastic?" "Cloth or disposable." "S**t or go blind."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Was Ben Franklin wrong?

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." So sayeth Benjamin Franklin, at least. However, the eco-fools who work for the Canadian government disagree:

The government-commissioned study says the old, inefficient "beer fridges" that one in three Canadian households use to store their Molson and Labatt's contribute significantly to global warming by guzzling gas- and coal-fired electricity.

"People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles," British environmental consultant Joanna Yarrow tells New Scientist magazine. "Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people — let's hope it has an effect."


OK, we can argue whether or not a beer fridge is a "frivolous luxery", but I can sort of see their point--you Canadians just need to have more efficient beer fridges. Not a problem, right?

University of Alberta researcher Denise Young, who led the study, suggests that provincial authorities hold beer-fridge buy-backs or round-ups to eliminate the threat — methods that Americans use to get guns off the streets.

OK, now we have a problem. I guess you have loonies in other places than on your currency, huh?

Damn speculators

Will someone explain to me how a pipeline fire justifies a run-up in the price of crude oil? Yeah, yeah, I know the argument that the financial geeks will trot out--it has a negative effect on the supply of oil, and that will tend to increase prices.

I call BS on that. The pipeline is a transport mechanism. The supply of oil is the same now as it was this time yesterday. The only thing that has changed is that our ability to transport a smallish fraction of the total we use in a day has been disrupted. Even that isn't as bad as it was last night--the fire is out and 2 of the 3 pipelines shutdown have been restarted. At the worst, this should cause a blip in the price of refined goods somewhere down the line.

In Shakespeare's Henry VI, there is a famous line, uttered by the character Dick: " The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.". Dick was wrong. The first thing we need to do is kill all the speculators, as least metaphorically. These people are, IMHO, the proximate cause of many of the drastic price increases we're seeing these days, as well as the unrealistic run-up of the stock and bond markets. They may (or may not, I'm not convinced of it) serve some useful purpose in the markets, they need to be reigned in--fast. Otherwise, we're all going to be in the poorhouse, while they laugh all the way to the country club.

Those of you who are better educated in the financial world feel free to correct me or otherwise take me to task. But I'm sick and tired of this transfer of my hard-earned coin to these bloodsuckers who add no real value to the market process that I can detect.

Now there's an idea...

A 400-year-old book covered in a sheet of wrinkled human skin is going under the hammer in a bizarre auction.

Now, believe it or not, that isn't what I'm thinking of here. Admittedly it's unusual, but here's what I found really interesting:

The practice, known as anthropodermic bibliopegy, had a novelty value hundreds of years ago. The most popular were court reports of murders that were covered in the skin of the perpetrator. (emphasis added)

I doubt the practice would serve as a deterrent to those who would commit a capital offense in the short term, but long term, I just have to wonder....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sometimes progress...isn't

OK, time for some computer geekery, and a little helpful advice from The Freeholder.

Long-time readers know that I work in the computer industry, doing things I can't mention for a place I can't name. As a part of my work, knowledge of Windows is one of my stocks in trade.

When Windows Vista came out about a year ago, there was what I felt was the predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth. I wrote this off as typical end user resistance to change, with a side order of Microsoft bugs. However, as time has passed and I've had the opportunity to work with Vista, and I've listened to others who have worked with Vista, I've come to a conclusion: Vista is not a worthwhile upgrade. You don't want Vista. Stick to XP, or go buy a Mac.

The thing that really got me into posting mode on this was this piece on News.com where Windows XP was benchmarked as running twice as fast as Vista on the same tasks. (You can get somewhat more gory technical detail here if you need it.)

So here's some free advice from The Freeholder. If you have an older, non-Core 2 duo machine, stick with XP. You can run XP along with a good security suite such as Trend Micro Internet Security on any Pentium 4 with 512 MB of RAM and get acceptable performance for all everyday tasks. (Of course, a faster processor and more RAM won't hurt. I'm running that configuration of a 3.0 GHz P4 with 1.5 GB of RAM, and it hums along pretty quickly.)

If you buy a new machine, depending on the model and the brand, you may get a choice of XP or Vista. If you get a choice, take XP for now, but be sure to get at least 2 GB RAM installed (4 would be better), and be sure that you can upgrade to Vista for free at a later time if things should change for the better with Vista.

If you decide on a machine that only comes with Vista, then get the fastest processor, the most gee-whiz video card and the most RAM (up to 4 GB) that you can afford. Be sure all your peripherals (printers, scanners etc.) are either new or have Vista drivers available from the manufacturer. Be prepared to change or upgrade a lot of your software, and work on your patience. You're going to need it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Brother, can you spare a dime

OK, fellow gunnies, time to put our money where our mouth is. Everyone knows that Heller v. DC has made it to the Supreme Court. What many of us don't realize is that this sort of fight has some significant dollar costs, not just for the plaintiff and defendant, but for those who do such things as file amicus curiae briefs.

A group of pro-Second Amendment academics are doing just that, and they need some financial assistance. Go to their site Academics for the Second Amendment, and hit the PayPal button. Or if you can't bring yourself to use PayPal (and I can't blame you), you can send the donation to:

Academics for the Second Amendment
Post Office Box 131254
St. Paul, Minn. 55113

They don't suggest an amount, but I think it would be a nice touch to make it what a box of ammo for your favorite gun would cost.