Archive for April, 2009

…showing the decreasing size of the Grande Armée as it marches to Moscow and back with the size of the army equal to the width of the line. Temperature is plotted on the lower graph for the return journey (Multiply Réaumur temperatures by 1¼ to get Celsius, e.g. −30°R = −37.5 °C)

I thought Jake might like this. Click on the link for the larger image. Information on the march at Wikipedia.

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Why “screw that?” Because sometimes you read something so ridiculous in recipe that you have to curse.

We will be signing a lease on a new house that has a ceramic glass stove top. I have heard anecdotaly that you cannot cook using a cast iron pan on one of these stove tops. So of course I google to see what types of pans are appropriate on this type of stove top. It may be interesting to know that in America if you are purchasing a new stove and it is an electric stove the glass stove tops are the only options. Have a coil stove now? You have to special order the coils as they are widely out of circulation.

Here are some of the limitations of this “advanced” technology that I found on a dizzying comment thread regarding this topic.

Do not “slide” pots or pans around on the ceramic top, you must pick up the pots or pans and place them where you want them. Sliding them can cause cuts or scrapes on the glass.

Always use proper pan size for the cooking area you are using…to determine proper pan size, it would be the size of the pan compared to the size of the cooking area, always try to match the pan as close as possible to the size of the burner.

Never operate the cooking areas without having a pan on them.

Always keep utensil handles turned inwards towards the stove, not outwards where they can be bumped.

Pans that have a uneven bottom or are warped or “grooved” do not work as well as smooth bottom pans, and will tend to cook slower and in a uneven manner.

Do not taunt happy fun ball comes to mind. Are freaking kidding me? What’s the point of having a stove that you’re afraid to use. There are countless stories of people (gasp!) having their food boil over in the pan and the stove top is irreparable. Who makes this shit? Words do not describe how scared I’m going to be to cook. I’m going to have to buy plug-in electric burners to do canning or any of the other tasks which may taunt the cooktop. Screw it!!

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David Horsey on the GOP

It’s a beauty.

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My Bloody Valentine: Soon

Just saw them last night.

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1.    Seattle Sounders FC. Well I really had to choose that as my favorite. We kept the name from our previous soccer team and added an FC just to make it new.
2.    San Jose Earthquakes. Nice and appropriate for the area.
3.    Houston Dynamo. Anything with the word “dynamo” is fun.
4.    New England Revolution. I probably would like this name better if it weren’t for the New England Patriots.
5.    Chicago Fire.
6.    Colorado Rapids.
7.    Chivas USA.
8.    Los Angeles Galaxy.

9.     Columbus Crew. (I don’t like the logo either)
10.    All the following are tied: D.C. United, Toronto FC, FC Dallas. Just boring.
11.    Real Salt Lake. Doesn’t really make any sense even if it they are Europhiles.
12.    Kansas City Wizards. This is kind of an embarrassing name.
13.    New York Red Bulls. I didn’t even have to think before naming this the worst MLS name. Naming your team after your number one sponsor is tacky. What’s next New York Pepsi Colas?

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No really, don’t. Remember Nietzsche, Marx? Not a good idea.


Besides, lack of government intervention is what got us in this mess.

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That’s what it’s called on Youtube. I think it’s neat.

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There is so much going on in this story; it’s hard to keep track. An art collector is suing Louis Vitton and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art for selling him what he thought was original art, but was actually leftover material from LV handbags. If he knew that the $6,000 he paid for the art was really a $1,000 handbag he would have prudently purchased the handbag and mounted it in a frame himself.

Can we really feel sorry for a man who buys a logo mounted in a frame and then is disappointed when he finds out it isn’t “art”? Can we really feel sorry for anyone who buys an LV handbag for thousands of dollars full stop? And perhaps more importantly why on earth is the LAMoCA selling handbags mounted on frames anyway? Read about the ridiculousness here.

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Via AmericaBlog.

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Great, the people with the most incentive to not have children can actually control whether or not they have children.


I’m getting the idea that national security had nothing to do with opposing the release of these memos; they were trying to save their asses.


Umm, yeah. Couldn’t have said it better.

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Visions of Edinburgh

I enjoyed this video if only to see my favorite city.

Via Rumproast.

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What a smile

I don’t think I’ve seen any pictures of this guy without him smiling. Weird.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “LOON WATCH: Right-wing bets against U…“, posted with vodpod

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I’m learning guitar currently and this is the song I’m learning. I guess I never really appreciated this song before, but now I realize it’s quite lovely. And very popular for beginning guitar players.

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Quote for the day

I’m not sure whether this quote was Hayden’s or Mukasey’s.

Disclosure of the techniques is likely to be met by faux outrage, and is perfectly packaged for media consumption. It will also incur the utter contempt of our enemies.

Perhaps you should have thought of that before you tortured people.

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I picked up a copy of the magazine Essense because Michelle Obama and her mother Marian Robinson were on the cover. I’m really impressed with this magazine. I’m not really sure what the non-ethnic specific magazine’s counterpart would be, but it’d definately not Vogue, Cosmopolitan or Vanity Fair. Maybe Womens World? I can’t say because I never read Womens World.

What I found that I liked about the magazine was that it was very empowering. Most of the articles deal with issues for self-improvement of some sort, but that self-improvement is really focused on Black (which they always capitalize) women — not how improving oneself can benefit your man or some other person. The health articles aren’t particularly vain which is one thing that I detest in so-called “health” magazines like Self where the whole magazine is how can I spend hours a day making myself beautiful for othe vain people.

Let me give you a selection of what this May 2009 edition includes:

1. An article on women entrepeneurs and what they did to get ahead.

2. 9 Ways to go Green. Here’s an excerpt. “Though many of us don’t fully relate to the green movement, we stand to benefit the most from it. More than 70 percent of Blacks live in counties in violation of federal air pollution standards.”

3. Our News. Witty humor about current event issues that deal with the Black community.

4. The Good Fight. An article bout Reverend Roy Malveaux fighting an oil refinery in his neighborhood.

And of course there’s that Michelle Obama/Marian Robinson interview. Good magazine.

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And quite convincingly. If you’ve been riveted by the story of the artist who created the iconic Obama hope portrait who is now being sued by the Associated Press then you need to see this. There is a PDF link on the this web site which takes you to the counterclaim prepared by Fairey’s lawyers. The following excerpt is followed by numerous examples of the AP attempting to sell photographs of artists’ works without permission.

Defendant’s counterclaims are barred in whole or in part by the equitable doctrine of unclean hands. Specifically, The AP claims copyright ownership in, and makes commercial use of, many photographs that consist almost entirely of copyrighted artwork of Fairey and other artists without permission. Copies of these photographs are offered for sale and licensed for use by The AP through its image licensing database available at http://www.apimages.com. These photographs include, but are by no means
limited to, the following examples:

a. The AP’s image database includes the following photograph of Fairey’s Obama Hope Mural. The AP did not obtain a license to use Fairey’s work in this photograph.

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Where pilots sleep

I like reading the “Ask the Pilot” column on Salon. I think my fear of flying makes me completely fascinated by anything to do with a plane. Today’s column is about the problem of pilot sleep deprivation. While the picture below is not typical of all aircraft, that is the problem says the author, it does look really snug. There are loads of more pictures linked in this column that I think you’ll enjoy.

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I’m not generally a person who reads true crime books, but I am very tempted to purchase this book about Columbine.

The first lesson is really one that we have unlearned, which is that there actually isn’t a distinct psychological profile of the school killer. Pre-Columbine, teachers, parents, journalists, and the general public were pretty clear on where we thought the danger lay: loners and outcasts, troubled misfits who could not figure out how to fit in. Harris and Klebold were mistakenly tagged with all those characteristics in the first hours after their attack. Every characterization of them was wrong, both in their case and for shooters generally. The FBI conducted a ground-breaking study to help teachers assess threats in their classrooms. Oddballs were not the problem, the FBI concluded. Oddballs did not fit the profile, because there was no profile. In a surprisingly empathetic report, the bureau urged school administrators to quit focusing on the misfits. These were not our killers, and weren’t they having enough trouble already?

The Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education studied every American school shooting from 1974 to 2000—37 separate attacks—and reached the same conclusion. Shooters came from all ethnic, economic, and social classes. Most had no history of violence and came from solid, two-parent homes.

They had a few things in common. All were male. Ninety-eight percent had suffered a recent loss or failure. It could be as minor as blowing a test or getting dumped, yet they perceived it as serious. But they didn’t lash out in a fit of passion: That notion is another insidious myth. Ninety-three percent planned their attacks in advance.

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With United Airlines announcing they will charge extra-wide passengers with an extra seat (if it’s available), William Saletan comes up with a pretty good solution.

Two days ago, I spent seven hours on a United flight to London. The passenger in front of me was reclining the whole way. To stretch my legs, I had to angle them diagonally.

But if your legs don’t fit, United doesn’t ask you to buy an extra seat. It offers you a deal. On Monday, I’m going to fly back to Washington. I’m sitting here looking at my return flight online, and United is inviting me to buy “Economy Plus” (“the comfort of extra legroom near the front of the Economy cabin”) for “as low as $69.00.” That’s about one-fifth the price of the ticket.

How much leg room would I get? “Up to five extra inches,” says the company.

Why shouldn’t fat people have a similar option? Most of them don’t need two seats side-by-side any more than we long-legged guys need two seats front-to-back. Like us, they just need a few extra inches.

If United can swap out a row of three normal coach seats for two wide ones, two fat people should be able to buy those seats for an extra 50 percent instead of an extra 100 percent.

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Well you’re required to stay in your seat at least. I’m contemplating going to tonight’s Mariners game at Safeco Field where I know no one gives a damn if you are in your seat during the National Anthem. Hell most people are still arriving and grabbing hot dogs from the vendors.

A baseball fan says he was ejected from Yankee Stadium for leaving his seat to use the bathroom while “God Bless America” played.

Bradford Campeau-Laurion filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against New York City and the Yankees.

The lawsuit contends he was made a victim of political and religious discrimination on Aug. 26.

It says two police officers who ejected him were enforcing a Yankees policy that keeps spectators in their seats during the song.

Maybe I should excercise my right to wear a “Yankees suck” t-shirt.  I’ll have to find out their SLR policy before I go.

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Feeling lazy

Perhaps I will write a piece on just what laziness is. Perhaps.

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Natalie MacMaster

Please enjoy some Scottish fiddle music.

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I went to Qwest Field or Xbox Pitch or whatever the sponsor is for the day to see the Seattle Sounders play the Kansas City Wizards. This is the first year Seattle has had a Major League Soccer Team in quite some time, and amazingly we appear to be the most rabid fan base in the country. The MLS owners are scratching their heads right now as to why they didn’t get here sooner. Now they’re scrambling to profit from this unique part of the country where people like soccer. Either that or we’re Anglophiles.

I brought in my camera as usual and displayed it prominently during bag check. It’s a Pentax K100D and I had a 28-300 zoom lense on it. I was able to get the pictures you see below before some security person yelled at me if I could take my lenses off. Of  course I can, I said. Then she yelled “Put it away.” Learn how to say SLR lady. If you can’t even call a camera what it is what business do you have telling me to put it away.

I wish I could have assured them that they needn’t have worried about my photographic skills taking over the sport, but I could tell any effort would be wasted. Some people enjoy criminilizing another person’s innocent actions. I don’t think you’re going to get many professional shots with a lens that goes to a mere 300. There’s always Photoshop I suppose. What I really wanted to do was wave my ticket which I purchased from TicketBastard, I mean TicketMaster, where 50% of my ticket’s money went to for a convenience fee. Paul Allen, owner of Qwest Field and part owner of the Sounders owns TicketBastard. I wanted to wave it and say I have a right to take pictures during my life and I paid just as much for the convenience of purchasing this ticket as I did for the services of said usher and the game combined.

How can that be legal? Surely I am allowed to take my camera anywhere I damn well please. I wish there was money in it and then someone could start a class-action law suit about how unfair it all was.

Anyway, Keller our goalie was thrown out of the game with a red card and his backup was injured. The backup’s backup did a pretty good job although we did lose the game by one. Enjoy this photo of Qwest. It may be the last time I visit.

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Glad I didn’t program that

As a computer programmer, I occasionally make mistakes that get noticed. Those mistakes are bad as opposed to the ones I figure out before anyone knows about it. I hate to be this guy at Amazon who caused a Twitter fiasco by un-rating all Amazon products that had gay/lesbian themes.

In the comments to my earlier post about the Amazon Gay Glitch, monologuist Mike Daisey (who knows a thing or two about Amazon), comments:

[The following is another block quote from the Stranger penned by Mike Daisey]

After hearing from people on the inside at Amazon, I am convinced it was in fact, a “glitch.”

Well, more like user error—some idiot editing code for one of the many international versions of Amazon mixed up the difference between “adult” and “erotic” and “sexuality”. All the sites are tied together, so editing one affected all for blacklisting, and ta-da, you get this situation.

The CS rep who responded that this was Amazon policy was just confused about what they were talking about, and gave standard boilerplate about porn.

The dumbest part is saying it was a “glitch”. A “glitch”? Just say that it was one of your workers making an editing error. Really dumb PR move, that one.

Let me know if you actually want more details on how it went down, but it’s pretty boring and technical.

I asked Mike for more details, and according to his inside sources, the story is that a programmer at Amazon France was editing the site to filter porn out of some search results, and he “mixed up ‘adult,’ which is the term they use for porn, with stuff like ‘erotic’ and ‘sexuality.’ The system he was working on is universal, so the change he made propagated across Amazon’s sites worldwide.

Amazon’s systems are notoriously idiosyncratic so it’s not hard to imagine a change like this getting into their worldwide system, though it’s certainly interesting that it would be so difficult to correct the problem.

When Mark Probst received his reply from customer service, the rep misunderstood the problem and sent him a boilerplate response on how they deal with “adult” content.

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