Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beware the Church of Climate Alarm

A while back, a friend referred to me as "the guy that doesn't believe in Global Warming™". This kinda hurt coming from a friend, I felt it was belittling, kind of like them saying, "hey, look at Mike, he's stoopid". (I spelled stupid wrong on purpose...) I forgot about it until I read this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Beware the Church of Climate Alarm

In regards to the religion of Global Warming™, I realize that no, I don't believe in it. I'm now fine with that, just preface it with the 'religion of' or say it in front of me so I can defend my thoughts.

What I believe, is that the earth is constantly in flux. There are many variables that affect it. I believe that we humans do have a part in it, just infinitely smaller than some want us to believe.

I believe that carbon dioxide is not a poison. Sure, if you put me in a box with no air and just carbon dioxide, I will asphyxiate and die, but last time I checked, the same happens with water... CO2 doesn't kill you because it's CO2, you die because you aren't getting oxygen. See the 1986 Lake Nyos disaster. BTW, plants love CO2.

Contrary to what the followers of Global Warming™ want you to believe about us 'non-believers', I do think we need to continue to push to be 'green', to lesson our impact on the earth. I'm all for efficient transportation, recycling, and etc. I just think it is a mistake to cram it down our throats.

Regarding transportation I am not a fan of 'hybrids' just yet. I've yet to be convinced that the batteries are good for safety/environment/resale. I'm am a big fan of diesel. VW and others are getting great mileage out their diesels, rivaling hybrid cars. If you figure in a non-stop and go commute like I am able to have in the morning, and they surpass a hybrid. And no high voltage batteries adding weight, voltage, and nasty chemicals.

What really excites me about diesel is bio-diesel, specifically bio-diesel from algae. In simple terms, you can grow algae in saltwater, no de-salination needed, feeding it fertilizer runoff from farms, even human waste (poop). As it can be mixed in with your standard crude-based diesel, the infrastructure to distribute the stuff is pretty much there (gas stations). Theoretically with continued development of vehicle efficiency and bio-diesel production the US could "grow" all its fuel... Greater minds are working on it.

Back the the Sydney Morning Herald article, two of the most interesting bits to me were these....

There was much more but essentially Plimer's message is that the idea humans cause climate change has become a fundamentalist religion which is corrupting science. It is embedded with a fear of nature and embraced principally by city people who have lost touch with nature.

It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

You heard it when hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans in 2005... We had ton of named storms that year and people screamed that Global Warming™ causes more storms! Because there were more big Atlantic storms that year than in many previous seasons it had to be true, right? Compare 2005 to 2006 and 2007...

I think Global Warming™ is just the replacement for the Y2K paranoia. Yes, precautions need to be taken but it isn't quite the 'emergency' that some want us to believe. Global Warming™ is just a ploy to gain power over us.

My vote for the next big issue... Pirates. Many think modern piracy on the high seas only recently started. It is just the new sexy story.


Fried Turkey Report

I was successful in not burning down the house. ...And the turkey didn't turn out half bad either!

We had some anxiety though. The fryer that I bought is a 'safety' fryer. It has a few features to prevent you from maiming yourself, and house fires. The good was the flared top section to prevent overflows and the high cradle that hugs the pot so it is basically one piece with the burner. The bad was the safety control that was supposed to shut the burner down if the oil got in the range of 300°-390°. The turkey is cooked at 350°. Great idea, poorly implemented. Mine shut off at 300°. The first time it happened it almost gave me a heart attack. Some fiddling and it came back on (it has a pilot light). The second time, my heart raced, again some fiddling and it was back on. The third time and many following we let it do it's thing, and it kept the oil at 300°.

Because of this temperature issue we gave the turkey a little more time to make sure it was done. This was a mistake as the turkey was a bit overdone. Thankfully not 'Christmas Vacation overdone', it was still good, just a bit dry for my tastes. My guess is that the sensor on the burner wasn't off as much as the cheap thermometer that came with the thing was. I'm boiling a pot of water as I type (multifunctional) to see what it says. We'll probably fry another turkey next weekend at its prescribed time and it should be perfect.

All in all I give the process of frying a turkey a thumbs up. The big positive, in my opinion, is that it gives the men that primal 'stand around the campfire with a beer in hand' time. All you men reading this know what I mean, the women are probably just rolling their eyes.

This just in... The thermometer does read low by around 10° at 212°.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

At the moment I am high on orange cinnamon rolls and coffee with the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on in the background. We are hosting both families this year because the Hawks are playing and we have a great football viewing room.

Today we are breaking from the usual and going to ceremoniously boil a turkey in oil. I plan to fill the pot to the brim with Castrol 10w-30, crank the burner to 11, and once the oil is to it's flash-point drop the bird in with a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky hook.


Seriously, when we bought the fryer I also picked up two fire extinguishers. One smaller kitchen model, and one large industrial type for the garage. That one is rechargeable so it isn't a throw-away after my first turkey fry. I don't want to burn down my house, easily in the top five of things that I am thankful for. The other four are my wife, family, friends, and dog.

Regarding the dog, I am now off to the dog park to tire the big guy out before we have a group of 9 over at the house.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Metal Heart from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

More tilt-shift fun from the guy that gave us this

Carrie... A good gift idea for Mike....


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Video Game Used to Train Amputees to Use Artificial Limbs

Very cool stuff... Researchers are using Guitar Hero to motivate patients in the process of calibrating artificial limbs. It is used not only to make the process more interesting and engaging for the patient, it also gives better results. In the game of Guitar Hero a player has to hit specific keys (frets) in time with a song. As you can see in this video, it can be pretty intensive. For the patients they wire up electrodes to them and analyze the signals from the remaining muscles. Instead of long days responding to commands like "open ring finger" they can rock out to Rush old skool style.

I love it when people think outside of "the box" and come up with stuff like this. Who says video games are bad for you?

[h/t Kotaku]


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Test Post

Hey y'all! I'm standing here in the produce section as Carrie runs around filling the cart for our Thanksgiving extravaganza.

Edit: I accidentally hit send on the phone when I was typing that and wasn't able to finish. The reason I was just standing there was I was on purse-security duty... Carrie was on a mission and all I would do was slow her down (that's my story, and I'm sticking too it.)


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Beautiful People

It is common knowledge that television is generally horrible for our self-esteem. You hardly ever see a 'normal' everyday person, it is always the 'perfect' person. One giant marketing boob-tube and we are all the lemmings. It suckers us into the latest fashions, hair care products, make-up, etc, making us think that if we buy it, be happy. When that fails to work, the pharmaceutical companies jump in with their ads for the latest drug to solve all our problems (may cause diarrhea).

I have been simmering over this for years, but finally last night something Carrie pointed out something to me that put me over the edge. During a lull in a football game the camera panned the crowd and focused in on a dude so good looking, he makes Brad Pitt look like Gary Busey.

Sickening. Young boys growing up will never be able to match this guys rugged good looks. The guy just stands there stoically with his arms crossed in his trendy away jersey. I'll bet he was a plant by the NFL to try and sell more jerseys for a team that is down on their luck.

Sadly people will spend millions to look as good as this guy, but will never be successful. They will most likely end up depressed.

Again, it makes me sick.

I took a few screenshots to show you just how blatant this is...

They start with an inconspicuous wide shot and then zoom in on the fella. Look for him in the white jersey with his arms crossed and a look of steely nonchalance that is oh-so-hip...

See what I mean? Nobody can possibly look as good as this guy. It isn't even worth trying.

BTW, I bet you didn't know that Santa Claus was a Hawks fan. Probably his last 'me-time' getaway until after the busy season.



I'd like to think that I had a part in this...

Meh chosen for 30th anniversary of Collins English Dictionary

Some of my loyal readers (reader) will remember that 'meh' was my word of the day for March 2, 2008.

Yep, Mike D is still a trend setter...


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Check This Out

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Check this video that I came across during my daily visit with Google Reader. Very creative, weird, cool, creepy and fascinating at the same time.

I think being creative is to the brain as doing sit-ups is to the abdomen. My brain BTW, is in much better shape than my abdomen (gut). Seeing stuff like this gives me ideas, most that probably won't be used, but just the thoughts are good exercise.

I need to get out shooting pictures....

(h/t f/1.0)


Monday, November 03, 2008

Lewis Hamilton Wins World Championship

Fantastic! Probably one of the most exciting races that I have witness. The world championship literally came down to the last corner.


So close that at the finish, both Ferrari (Massa) and McLaren-Mercedes (Hamilton) were celebrating at the same time....

With less than five laps to go, Massa was leading, and Lewis was comfortably in fourth (he needed to finish fifth or better to clinch). A hard charging Vettel was behind him, but there was no reason to fight and chance a spin, because fifth would still get the WC and Kovalainen, his teammate was in sixth. There is no way that Kovi would pass him.

Then it rained.

Oh boy, this could be bad for all players. Luckily for Massa it didn't seem to rain too hard, he was able to circle around and trade his drys for wets without relinquishing the lead. Hamilton was not so lucky. Because the rain was light Timo Glock in the Toyota chanced it and stayed out on dry tires, Leap-frogging quite a few places while everyone (including Lewis) pitted for wets.

No problem yet.

Lewis exited the pits in fifth place with Vettel right on his tail. The WC was still his on the track. Then, out of nowhere Robert Kubica in his BMW caught up to the two drivers like he had an extra gear. I would guess that as rain was threatened all weekend BMW took a chance and set their cars up for it. He blew by Vettel and when he took Lewis, he forced him wide, leaving Vettel the opportunity to get by as well... With two laps to go!!! Hamilton, now in sixth, was going to lose the WC to Massa. I couldn't believe it, how could this happen to him two years in a row. Lewis was making no progress with Vettel, in fact, Vettel was pulling away...

Until the last corner.

As they came to the last corner, in traffic, was the red and white Toyota of Glock, floundering with his dry tires on. His tires had cooled with the water on the track and he just couldn't put the power down. Lewis blew by him to regain fifth and become world champion! Amazing!

I don't think that I have ever been so excited! You couldn't have scripted a better finish. Formula 1 is my favorite sport, but I may have to stop watching if the seasons keep ending like this... My heart just can't take it!

I get a kick of all the haters of Lewis. The dumbest thing I hear is, "He doesn't deserve it". Why not? He scored more points. Simple as that. We can debate if Massa is a better driver (cough, Silverstone, cough), 'til be are blue in the face. Lewis scored more points (even with the gift of five to Massa at Spa...). The people thinking Kubica deserves it more are nuts. To win the WC, you need to be a fantastic driver, AND have a great car. Kubica is a great driver, but at the end of the year, his car just wasn't there.

Then we get the people that thin Timo sandbagged to let Lewis by. Please. If Timo or Toyota was going to do that, they would have pitted at the same time as every other team did. Timo would've had to do the final lap five seconds faster than his more than capable teammate, in an identical car, with the same tires, in the same conditions, with the same fuel load. No, Vettel and Hamilton blew by him simply because the track was wet, they had wet tires, and Timo was on drys.

Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel would be my vote for most impressive at the end of the year. They were right there with the rest of the not-Ferrari-or-McLaren teams. I think that Vettel is going to be one of the greats when he is done.

Next year cannot come fast enough... The new aero, taking away a bunch of downforce and the new kinetic energy recovery system should make things really interesting. Will Honda get back in the hunt? Will Renault continue to improve? BMW? ...I don't know how I wil make it until March!!!


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