Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Completing the Census

I must say that the advertising for this year's Census has been either inept (snapshot of America) or offensive (get your piece of the pie). But we still filled ours out and sent it in this week. Unless you're a reality show family, this decade's form is thankfully quite brief. It sticks to the standard name, sex, race statistics that have been present on the form since 1790.

One question I was surprised wasn't on the form was whether each inhabitant was a US citizen or not. It would seem to me that you would want representation to be based on the number of citizens in an area, not merely the number of inhabitants. But I don't think this has ever been the case, going back to the 3/5ths compromise the founders themselves created.

Offshore Drilling!

Obama seems ready to allow drilling off of new portions of the US coastline. This is a good thing. Of course the specifics of the proposal seem to indicate that it will be saddled with extensive environmental roadblocks and require local state approvals. Which means that at this point it is all talk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Divider Not A Uniter

I spent most of today running around doing errands. I spent a fair bit of it waiting for various things and people. This allowed me to sit and observe or as we say in my household "people watch."

For instance while in Walmart I watched two African-American men arguing quite loudly about the relative merits of Obamacare. One was for it, citing the need for easier access to medical care for the poor. The other was against it because he knew that as responsible adults they were going to have to pay for it. And in his opinion he was already paying enough taxes for lazy good-for-nothings without picking up the tab for their medical care as well.

Once again I learned not to assume. And once again I am amazing with how divisive some policies can be even within demographic groups that are amazingly one-sided in their political support.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

An economist wrote my wife's cookie from tonight's dinner:
The value lies not within any particular thing, but in the desire placed on that thing.
Or in other words, something is only worth what someone will pay for it. This is one of the foundational principles of free market economics.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Worth of a One-Liner

Comics jokes from IMAO that really tickled my funnybone this week:

If Jim from the Office is going to play Captain America, then Dwight should be the Red Skull.

Wolverine’s self-healing ability was evolved in response to Canada’s government run health care.

An Engineer Does Good

Starting in 1947 and working into 1948, automotive engineer Norman Timbs built his dream car out of steel, aluminum, and spare parts. The result was the '48 Timbs special. It's a steel space frame with an aluminum body, independent front and rear suspensions, and no doors. The mid mounted Buick V8 pumps power to the rear wheels. It also has a full spare. I'd say that they don't make them like this anymore, but frankly they never really did.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Not Fitting the Narrative

Let it not be said that bloggers can't do this too. Mainstream Baptist is heavily invested in the principle Separation of Church and State and lead a post with the title "Supreme Court Affirms 10 Commandments Decision" this week. The problem? They didn't.

The Supreme Court denied cert. That's legalese for refusing to hear the case. The Supreme Court does this to the vast majority of cases that petition them for appeals because they just don't have the time to hear everything. Denying cert allows the lower court ruling to stand, but does not imply that the Supreme Court agrees or "affirms" it.

Funny how I posted as much in his comments, but that one never came through his review process...

Training for the Zombie Apocalypse

Cheaper Than Dirt's current e-postal match is zombie themed and emphasizes headshots. Looks like fun and I may print those targets out for my next trip to the range. Of course I have to question the idea of not shooting the humans. They're in the middle of zombie mob, they're almost certainly infected. HT: SayUncle

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Awesome Trivia

The four spikes at the end of the stegosaurus's tail are call a "thagomizer." This is not some sort of obscure technical term derived from latin or greek. It is a reference to a Far Side cartoon Gary Larson drew in 1982. Thanks to Irregular Webcomic for another cool piece of trivia.