Sunday, November 29, 2009

 

Windows Experience

I bought a Gateway laptop in October that came with Windows Vista installed and a free upgrade to Windows 7 upon it's release. The DVD package arrived in the mail last week. My brief experience with Vista was fine except for a wireless networking issue and some research suggested a few possible fixes due to a problem Vista has with older routers.

I could not solve the problem and decided I would go ahead and try out the Windows 7 upgrade. The DVD package was specifically designed for my Gateway notebook which probably influenced my decision in taking the chance.

So far I am happy with Windows 7. It seems faster and does not have the router issues.

 

Have home prices have already bottomed?

If not then we are nearing the bottom. I don't predict a huge rebound in the next couple of years, the economy is very fragile, however if you need a home now is a great time to look for bargains. (Yes, I am talking my position.)

First, the Case-Shiller index is up five months in a row–a sign of substantial strength.

Second, pending home sales are up eight months in a row–the longest streak since measurement began in 2001.

Third, the inventory of new homes at the current sales rate was 6.7 months in October, the lowest since December 2006. As Mark Perry observes, that’s “just slightly above the average inventory of 6.13 months, based on new home sales data going back to 1963.” Perry provides the following chart:

Fourth, the number of new housing starts is at a 50-year low. (At least. Records don’t go back further than 1959.)

Fifth, mortgage rates are at a 38-year low. (At least. Records don’t go back further than 1971.)

Sixth, exuberant demand and limited supply in many post-bubble cities are leading to bidding wars, especially (but not exclusively) for low-end properties. In San Diego, prices are up 14 percent in the past eight months. In Las Vegas, where bidding wars are the norm, buyers are “going crazy.” Some California cities, like Bakersfield, report unsold inventory of just two months. San Diego reportedly has just a 1.5-month supply of low-end homes, despite a steady stream of foreclosures.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

 

Russia train crash 'caused by bomb'

If this is terrorism then whoever planted the bomb hit Russia in an extremely vulnerable place. Russia has an extensive rail system and Russians are much more used to rail travel than travel by plane. I have taken this train and it is one of the nicer, and quicker, trains. I traveled a few times from Moscow to Saratov, about 600 miles, and that trip took 20 hours. Of course, it was a sleeper but it was pretty tiny by my standards.

A plane crash can slow down travel but it won't completely stop travel between two cities. Terror attacks on rail can. This is a nightmare for Russian security.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

 

That look is from the guy you alert the flight attendent about collection

Twilight gets the MST3K treatment.


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

 

Zombie Outbreak Stimulator

You can fool around with different criteria (fast vs. slow Zombies) to see which scenario is likely to produce a zombie apocalypse or a Sean of the Dead happy ending. Go ahead, see if a well armed population can stop the super fast zombies. Either way it makes a good case for second amendment rights.

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Thanksgiving Bingo

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

 

Gizmodo: The Best Gadgets of 2009

I will be buying one of these two mice in the next month. The rest will have to wait...

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Monday, November 23, 2009

 

Movie Night

I went to a birthday (spouse's coworker) gathering for drinks at a bar Saturday night. Someone had brought a DVD and it was displayed on the TV during the evening. What a weird movie. I think I'm going to watch it in its entirety sometime. It looked like a combination of Disney, The Wizzard of Oz and some kind of other strangeness.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters:



A reviewer at IMDb calls it "the holy grail of weirdo kiddie movies"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

 

Yeah, it's getting annoying.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

 

The amazing trampolines of Cirque Du Soliel


Friday, November 20, 2009

 

Experience and Education

Victor Hanson:

In other words, I would trust the judgment of someone with Palin’s background on matters of Iran or Honduras or Putin far more than I would someone of Obama’s resume. I would trust my neighbor who farms 180 acres more than I would a chairman of an academic department. I know, I know, there are extreme binaries, but they are reflective of the lack of autonomy and physicality today and the undue emphasis on elite schooling as prerequisites for success. We know now that you can do nothing and still finish as the head of Harvard Law Review, or win a Nobel Prize, but if you miss an antlered moose, or run out of gas in the tundra, or fall overboard on a salmon boat, there is no Norwegian committee or Harvard Law Dean to bail you out.

Such is not an argument for anti-intellectualism or a dismissal of in-depth scholarship and research, but rather a reminder that Palin has led a full life than can be enhanced by more formal investigation. A chatty, rarified Obama misses dearly a concrete past, where he had to succeed or fail on his own merits, in a competitive unkind environment, where the muscular world often conspires against the intellectual.

Emphasis mine. I have a favorable view of Sarah Palin but I am not now suggesting a run for President. I hope her influence grows however as I see her as an asset for advancing conservative ideas. Among liberal friends and others I keep hearing about Palin's inexperience. She did not run for President yet there is a sense of relief among them that she is not in office. Ideology aside this is strange as Obama has even less experience and an incomplete resume.

I suggest you read the whole thing.


 

Mayor Daley Gets the Concept

But can he apply it elsewhere, like taxes?

Daley blames the media's criticism of Oprah for her decision to leave Chicago: "So you keep kicking people, people will leave, simple as that."

There has been a lot of kicking going on in Chicago.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

 

Kids who don't get enough sleep are prone to obesity

I remember being constantly tired my first two years in high school. I was waking up before 6 am to catch a bus that took an hour to get me to school by 8.00 am. On the weekends I would try to sleep in but it never worked out because of obligations (church). I put on a lot of weight during that time.

Most children averaged just over nine hours during school time. But a significant proportion got less than eight hours a night.

When researchers looked at weekend and holiday sleeping patterns, they found those that caught up on their sleep on their days off managed to stay slim. But those that didn't lie in were more likely to have expanding waistlines.

They believe the weekend snooze is crucial for school-age children to catch up on the sleep they miss out on during a busy week.

The extra sleep helps to regulate calorie intake by reducing snacking during waking hours.

When I came home from school at 3.30 I would be starving but had to wait for dinner until 7 pm. As a consequence I raided the fridge most days for whatever I could find. In junior and senior year I started exercising and I had more say about when I could eat dinner and I lost the weight. Weight gain from lack of sleep makes sense to me, if you are tired you need the extra calories to stay awake but you are not necessarily more active during those extra waking hours. Later in life I gained a lot of weight when I started working a night shift. Again, more sleep deprivation.

Diego adds: I always tried to get 13 hours of sleep on the weekends to make up for the 5-6 hours a night during the week. I was told by the famous 'they' that 'catching up' on sleep was not possible and that you really needed a daily amount but that was never my experience.

People at any age who don't exercise are prone to obesity too. More so for those who consume large quantities of food and don't move around much. Playing sports, working out, or even just walking helps.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

 

The Chicago Way Out

Losing convention business at McCormick Place:

The International Plastics Showcase moves it's convention to Florida:

"At the end of the day, when I talked to the folks in Chicago, it really came down to one major issue… and that's the cost," he said.

Plastics Showcase officials (say) the organization may save $20 million by moving to Orlando.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems says it is done in Chicago:

"Our costs were about $200,000 more," said Lieber. "So it went from $40,000 to $240,000 for the electrical work alone."

I'm not sure how much of the excessive cost of hosting a convention in Chicago is due to unions. Laborers have the right to organize to protect themselves from being exploited but the unions and the city of Chicago need to realize that consumers would also like to protect themselves from being exploited.

 

Credit Belichick For Going For the Win

With two minutes to play do you hand the ball over to Peyton Manning and the Colts or try and run the clock out? Some calculations have been made here (via Hot Air):

With 2:00 left and the Colts with only one timeout, a successful conversion wins the game for all practical purposes. A 4th and 2 conversion would be successful 60% of the time. Historically, in a situation with 2:00 left and needing a TD to either win or tie, teams get the TD 53% of the time from that field position. The total WP for the 4th down conversion attempt would be:

(0.60 * 1) + (0.40 * (1-0.53)) = 0.79 WP

A punt from the 28 typically nets 38 yards, starting the Colts at their own 34. Teams historically get the TD 30% of the time in that situation. So the punt gives the Pats about a 0.70 WP.


This is the right way to approach this decision. Your assessment of the percentages may vary and yield a different conclusion (the numbers above are NFL averages, you have to consider the two teams on the field) but I believe that calculating the odds in this manner is a key component to Belichick's success.

The Patriots failed to convert on 4th down and the Colts moved 30 yards to the goal line in just two plays. They then let the clock run down and didn't even use their time out before scoring a touch down. I think Belichick knew his defense would have a difficult time stopping the Colts no matter where they started so he let Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense try and end the game.

I think he made the right decision. Failing to convert on 4th down did not hand the Colts a TD, they still needed 30 yards for that. The Patriots defense could not stop the Colts so Belichick tried to keep the ball away from them.

 

Spending money I don't have

The question is why am I agonizing over smart phones when I have no intention of buying one. Really, what use could a smart phone for someone who works from home? None.

But what if we have a bad winter. I can agonize over that considering how bad our current car handles the snow.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

 

Paragliding

Put this on my list of things to do when I lose a ton of weight. I would love to get a decent, but rugged, camera and take some photos above the Indiana Dunes or Warren Dunes state park. I bet that would be amazing.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

 

Why are the Democrats in trouble?

Conservatives believe they are in trouble because they are proposing a leftist agenda with health care reform, cap and trade, etc. But liberals progressives think they haven't gone far enough.

Cantor is also right that the people want change — still. They trusted Democrats to deliver. The Democrats haven’t, not yet at least, and pleas for patience come at a price. If voters’ thirst remains unsated, they will change politicians until politicians change policies.

The party that wins the White House generally loses Congressional seats in the midterm, but this Democratic-controlled government has particular issues. Its agenda has been hamstrung by a perfect storm of politics: the Republicans’ surprisingly effective obstructionist strategy, a Democratic caucus riddled with conservative sympathizers and a president encircled by crises and crippled by caution.

I don't know how Mr. Blow can cite Republicans as obstructionism considering the majorities Democrats hold in the House and Senate. If Democrats were untied they could pass whatever they wanted. Of course, Democrats are not united and the reason is that Democrats cannot put up a bunch of Nancy Pelosi clones in suburban districts. The same suburban districts that Republicans used to hold before they imploded in 2006. The progressives think the country buys into progressivism, but we don't. The country voted against the Republicans as much as they voted for the Democrats and the Democrats continue to overplay their hand. The blue dogs understand this and I imagine that the Democratic leadership does but the loony leftist don't and that is just great.

Well, keep up the delusional thinking. Conservatives have a good chance of making a come back over the next two election cycles just as long as the Republican party gets out of the way.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

 

Keynes is Not the Plan, It Is an Excuse

Eirk Voorhees: "Keynesianism is a farce (akin, almost ironically, to alchemy) - yet its preeminence remains firmly endorsed by an organization desperately seeking any excuse to control the lives of its subjects, and its gaping fissures remain unexamined by a public inculcated in the very schools funded by the same organization."

William Jacobson: "In addition to all the other problems with highly subsidized, income-tested health care benefits, will come an even more permanent underclass which, being economically rational, will choose not to earn another dollar rather than lose more than a dollar of benefits."

The link above is from TigerHawk who comments: "If people on the dole give up more when they go to work than they can possibly earn on the job -- an implicit marginal tax rate of more than 100% -- they will become permanent constituents for the welfare state."

(Emphasis mine). Yes, that is the plan.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

 

12 reasons unemplyment is going to 12%

Should have been subtitled and why the Democrats are going to lose congress.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

 

Home Airport

I used to think mine was MDW but I now consider it ORD.

I've seen a trio perform this several times but I've never seen it done solo. Fine work, especially the footwork.




As Neil Peart said: "It is always a happy day when YYZ appears on our luggage tags."

 

Crazy stupid girlfriend

Been there, done that. He has a lot more sense than me, he dumped her.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

 

Creepy Obama Cultists Top 11 Hits

My favorite is Nobody is as Irish as Barack O'Bama.

But this pegs the needle for sycophancy.



There's going to be a lot of disappointed children in 2012.

Diego adds: That depends on how many of these kids are voting in 2012. I'd like to think The One will become The One Term but there is too much time before the election to make any predictions.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

 

Gay marriage fails in Maine

Divorce is the biggest threat to marriage and the state has made divorce too easy.

People would be better protected by partnership contracts, where property and child access would be decided and agreed long before problems appeared in the relationship, and leave marriage to the churches, which are much better suited to protect the institution. Divorce is a much bigger danger to marriage than gay marriage ever will be, and the dissolution of the nuclear family a much bigger threat to the fabric of society than gays and lesbians living together. Everyone would be better off with government out of the bedroom and the chapel — and so would marriage.


If Gay marriage activists want to help remove state intrusion in the marriage contract then I will be marching with them. Unfortunately, too many "special" interests want the marriage contract to be easily dissoluble.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

 

Scozzafava endorses the Democrat

Arnold, Burr, Rosenberg, Hiss, Farve, Dierdre Scozzafava has joined the list of American traitors. Unfortunately, there are a lot of "moderate" Republicans who have followed in her footsteps. I think it is about time that there be some sort of punishment for this type of behavior.

In Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, conservative Tim Walberg challenged the very liberal Joe Schwartz in the 2006 Republican Primary and won. Walberg went on to win the general election.

In 2008, Schwartz endorsed Democrat Mark Schauer and Shauer used that endorsement to squeak out a win in this +2 Republican District.

In Maryland 1, conservative physician and state senator Andy Harris ran in the Republican Primary against Wayne Gilchrist. Harris defeated Gilchrist only to see Gilchrist throw his support to Democrat Frank Kratovil, who won with 49.12% of the vote.

In Arizona 5, conservative David Schweikert won the Republican nomination, but then lost to liberal Democrat Harry Mitchell. Why? Schweikert’s primary opponent refused to help him and sat on his hands rather than help Schweikert pick up his opponent’s primary support.

In Alabama 2, Jay Love beat Harri Anne Smith in the Republican Primary and ran against Bobby Bright in an R +16 district. Smith endorsed the Democrat and Bright went on to win 50.23% of the vote.

In New York 23, the liberal Dede Scozzafava drops out and instead of supporting the guy the GOP crawls on bended knee to, she endorses the Democrat.

All the time we hear “conservatives can’t win the general” and “conservatives should play nice with moderates.” The record shows that the moderates cannot take losing and conservatives don’t win the general because the moderate GOP stabs them in the back.

If we are a team, it can’t just be the conservative players in trouble for not passing the ball.


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