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Archive for September 15th, 2008

Drunk on their own juices and stale farts, investors on Wall Street faced a harsh reality today – some for the first time – as they came to grips with the fact that a DJIA of 14,000 might just be unsustainably high and correct itself.  Harshly.

Whaddya mean, the market can go down?  – an anguished investor

Ex Chairman Greenspan spoke up today and told us pretty much nothing that we could not have figured out for ourselves.

First of all, let’s recognize that this is a once-in-a-half-century, probably once-in-a-century type of event…  former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan

I’m just shocked.  Of course, the DJIA isn’t the cause of the problems, it’s just a symptom.  A symptom of extreme terror brought on by a rather rash run of hedonism on the part of investment bankers – which allowed the system to get far more momentum than it ever should have.

Ah well, that’s what capitalism is all about, right?  It’ll all correct itself and move right along, right?  Yes and no.  Bailing out Fannie and Freddie was necessary, as much as it chokes me to say.  Bear Stearns was a warning shot – if you stayed the wobbly course after that warning, you pretty much tied your own noose.

What is totally unknown is how many of these remaining lending institutions will be bailed out with money taken from taxpayers to save their money.  Got that?  Ultimately your money and livelihood is in danger, so we’re going to take some other money of yours and paint certain institutions of our choosing with rainbow colors to make it all work out right in the end.  Maybe.  If no one panics about it.  Trust us.

The latest word I got was that the fed may make it so an institution that has both mortgages and private financial branches may be allowed to lend money from the private savings part to the risky mortgage side.  But what happens if it goes wrong?  All go boom, fed steps up and gives people their money out of a pool of… their money.

We have politicians crying for infusions of money for local economies, companies crying to be bailed out, other politicians asking for extensions on unemployment benefits, and over here we need tax credits to stimulate business in this area… everybody is piling on with their needs.  Has anyone stopped to ask where all this $%*^&#@ money is going to COME FROM?

Well, apparently it is not coming in an equitable fashion from ill-performing top execs with golden parachutes.

Sort of related… in The Scotsman.  Actually really related.

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Really fun photoshop.  Invisible things that are sort of there.

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Injure a child in the commission of a crime… fry him.  Throwing a baby out of the car?  The kid was only 4 months old, you pig.

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Al Qaeda imploding due to worldwide Muslim backlash?  Excuse me while I hold my breath.  Well, ok, I guess I can see how other terrorist organizations (Hamas, for example) are providing frills – bags of peanuts, pillows and blankets, in-explosion movies, etc. – and making it a real festive affair to kill infidels instead of just suicide-suicide-suicide.

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I like this bicyclist’s discussion of problems faced by bicyclists in this country.  It is done in a non-whining analytical way, and a lot of it makes sense.  At least it does from this bicyclist’s viewpoint.

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A while ago I linked a site that sold underwear that looked skid-marked, and they were actually made that way so they could act as a “Uh Hands Off” money safe.

Now, protect your sandwich from the lunch-stealing twits from work… with culture-bags.

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Huh.  How about that?  Laser induced transmutation of radioisotopes.

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[Note:  I had originally put in an article about devil worshippers who killed, cooked, and ate their friends, but it was just too damn dark.  Yes Virginia there is such thing as Evil.]

Zero tolerance run amok.  Boy suspended for using broken pencil sharpener.  Apparently it had a sharp blade in it.  It’s good thing they caught the little bastard before he used his shiv to dead somebody.

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Update: Shades of Cryptonomicon!  Cryptonomicon is Neal Stephenson’s awesome book addressing cryptology and control of information flow.

So while the idea is not new (it’s been done in distributed systems for a while), it is the first I’ve seen it done by a major entity.  Google is making quite a statement here.

Update #2: As you might know, I have an interest in seeing MESSENGER succeed (it’s one of those things that looks great on your resume if an instrument on the mission package that you worked on succeeds… or if not… you just let it die quietly and a year of your life disappears).  Here’s a really really cool 3D pic from the MDIS instrument.  Click to enlargify it.   Instructions on making the 3D glasses are here.

Here is the info behind that image:

Date Acquired: January 14, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): NAC image from 108830230 resampled on a topographic map made from more than 80 NAC and WAC images.
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) and Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Scale: Sveinsdóttir crater is about 120 kilometers by 220 kilometers (75 miles by 140 miles).

Of Interest: This graphic shows a portion of the fault scarp Beagle Rupes cutting through the highly elliptical crater Sveinsdóttir in a three-dimensional (3D) representation. Standard 3D glasses (which can be assembled at home), with a red filter in front of the left eye and a blue filter in front of the right one, can be used to view this picture. By combining information from multiple images of the same portion of Mercury’s surface taken under different viewing angles, the topography of the surface was determined. A high-resolution image was then overlaid on the topography map, resulting in this 3D image. In total, over 80 MESSENGER images were used to create this 3D view of Mercury’s surface. As the MESSENGER mission continues, many more images will be acquired, and these additional images will provide views of Mercury’s surface from a variety of illumination conditions and viewing geometries. These myriad views, anchored by topographic profiles to be acquired by MESSENGER’s laser altimeter, will enable large portions of the surface of Mercury to be studied in 3D.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/Planetary Science Institute

Update #3Greenspan talking again.  He makes mention of banking institutions failing and whether it is a bad thing.

“It depends on how it is handled and how the liquidations take place. And indeed we shouldn’t try to protect every single institution.”

But here’s the part that bothers me:  Who should we protect and why?  Is it Capitalism if we aim to protect certain institutions?  Fannie and Freddie kind of made sense but you need to answer those questions still.  Given the serious nature of the problem if those two were to default on their secured loans, yes, it was imperative (would have made the Wall Street Crash look like a church picnic and the global economy would come to a screeching halt).  But does this mean we have given up on market forces and capitalism favoring the strongest?  Are we socialist already or are we taking that long downhill slide?  Do we stop protecting additional companies?  If so, why, and if not, why?

Update #4:  Who says education cures “stupid”?  Wall Street Journal is finding out that it doesn’t, when it allows reporters to attack Palin out of emotion rather than fact.

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Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy.

That’s the name of the show, I think.

So, plague-carrier #2 (the boy) decided to share his disease – The Plague™ – with the rest of the family.  Nice.

When you are sitting up late at night, can’t sleep because you feel unwell, and your ears are ringing perhaps because of massive infusions of Nyquil (or perhaps not) you notice that the world has sort of a surreal timeless quality to it.  Part of it is because you are watching old Star Trek re-runs and thinking “Gosh, that Mariette Hartley sure was hot” and then you’re exposed to old grainy commercials with Lindsay Wagner selling mattresses from a company you don’t recognize.  Another part is because there are ads for singles and you realize that they all look like they are twelve years old.  And they keep showing ads for those damn three-pound roto-tillers, nose-hair trimmers, insulin and diabetes ads, oxy-clean ads, super-putty ads, bad credit ads, and term-life insurance ads.

And the Nyquil.  I mentioned the NyQuil, right?  The corners of the room appear wispy and there’s a light haze in the room, which softens the fact that it all looks like it is tilted somewhat.

Oh, did I forget to mention that the in-laws are here?

So anyway, there’s this totally bitchin’ serving of whacked-out surrealness going on, and then comes an ad for a show that you just aren’t prepared for:

Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy.

Used to be when we were kids, we were interested in mummies (Go… Tut!), we were interested in dinos… who wasn’t, right?   Well now we have to stack them to get anyone to even so much as twitch.   In the not-to-distant future…

Hot PIck-up Secrets of the Rabid Schizophrenic Joan-Crawford-Channeling Fossilized-Bigfoot-Snarfin’ Leisure-Suit Dinosaur Shark Mummy on the Love Boat (guest starring Adrienne Barbeau, David Hasselhoff, and Ricardo Montalban)

That almost sounded normal and pretty good.  Where’s my damn Nyquil…?

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Drudge posted a pic right above a caption “Obama supporters ready for a fight”.  The pic:

Shown here is the CNN Headline News story room, apparently.

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I like it when crazy people have the grace to know it and embrace it.  Man rides out hurricane on his porch.

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