Thursday, May 31, 2007

Carbon labeling

What if, companies were required to display carbon emissions due to production on their products? It'd be much like nutritional info... perhaps in the same box. A federal mandate could require this sort of labeling, which would empower the conscience customer to make a more educated decision.
The basic idea for the number:
-A figure representative of carbon emissions required for the product specifically. The sum of all products would equal the amount of carbon emissions because of the plant. Because I don't want to type carbon emissions 50 times, I'll call it the CER (carbon emission rating).
I am talking about emissions created by the creation of the product, not just extra carbon emitted during production. The CER would have to include emissions of the coal-burning power plant whose energy you used to create your product. I don't think this figure would be that hard to obtain:

*Yes, I'm a nerd and typed that in Microsoft Equation editor.

For this idea to truly bring about change, you'd also need companies to include the emissions due to their administrative usages (ie. carbon emissions due to office lighting, etc.). It's of utmost importance that the sum of the products adds up to the total for the company.

Two questions that pop out at me:
-What if you just buy the products from a warehouse, in better terms, how far down the supply chain do you take this figure? The carbon emissions rating (CER) should be inclusive of everything from the beginning up. Theoretically, if the CER were international, the sum of all the CERs would equal the global carbon emission due to non-natural sources.
-How do you include transportation of products? Tough question, in a utopia, that information would be avaliable to the customer at each possible purchasing location (or based on delivery for remote purchasing). In reality, that's a very difficult task, and I'd never vote to require business to do that. Transportation does need to be included.

If it was shown that a CER would actually affect any significant consumers, businesses everywhere would be scrambling to install motion sensors that turn of their newly installed compact fluorescents. They'd be pressuring those down their supply chain to do the same. If consumers actually cared, even just a little bit, the corporate fighting of global warming would be much more profitable (For the record, I work as an auditor for the Industrial Assessment Center, and I can tell you for a fact that a lot of energy saving policies are extremely financially justified, it's just a matter of management realizing it).

Businesses that sell products without packaging would be required to have the information avaliable (like the little fliers in fast-food restaurants). You can bet if there was any response in consumer trials you'd see great "who can be the greenest" corporate competition, combined with smear campaigns agaisnt the heavy carbon hitters (fast food would have to change a lot, except for In-and-Out burger, who buys materials locally).

Would it actually work? You speculation is as good as mine, but I think a big part of the answer is how the information is displayed (is it on the front in red, or tucked in between Thiamine and riboflavin?
Why stop with carbon? That would give an unfair advantage to companies who happen to get their power from a nuclear energy plant right now. Perhaps, it'd be better to have a nutritional informationesque rating for the most popular non-sustainable sources... Wind solar, and hydro power would bear no penalty; would burning trash (even though highly inefficient and rarely used) be counted as a plus or a negative?
Would you pay twenty cents more for a tube of toothpaste that was twice as green as it's competitor?

Should the CER be based on a quantity? That way a 4 lb jar of peanut butter's CER wouldn't look menacing compared to much less environmentally friendly single serving packages?

And NO, companies would not be allowed to buy carbon credits from goat farmers in west Niger. That's a really stupid idea, and I can't believe any governments are acutally supporting it.

I think this idea has about 0.00001% chance of being realized. When I started this post I didn't think it was a great idea, but I'm started to convince myself.

Monday, May 28, 2007


You know what makes your brain hurt? An English speaker going to a German class in Portuguese. Wow. So in German class today, I understood everything the professor was saying, perfectly. I could not responsd, except in english or "not english." In this case, "not english" means a combination of Portuguese and German. It was pretty funny for the German teacher because he really understood what was going on. Most of the Brazilians just thought my German wasn't stellar, when it's really the best in the class. Only the professor, who speaks both languages, was able to understand (after some explanation) what was going on inside my mind. Effectively, I was improvising a pidgin, and was doing so with great ease. This was not as cool as it might sound, it might have been had there been some one there to converse with me and understand me, but hey, if I want to talk in tongues with an interpreter, I'll just go to a Penecostal rally.

Imagine, somebody who looks Chinese walked up to you and said in Spanglish: "De onde is el baño? Me excuse, yo nesseceited ir before vamos." That's what I was doing; looking American while mixing and switching German and Portuguese words and grammar. Let's look at my answer to the question: "Why don't you want to live in Jamaica" (yes, my professor asked me this, in German... my task was to respond in German).

Porque, as Volke fummen zu viel... the desired response was "Weil rauchen die Volke zu viel" I don't want to live in Jamaica, because "the people smoke too much." This is the highest level of humor I command in my pidgin tongue. I used Portuguese grammar, and the first two words are portuguese. Words 3,5,6 are german... but the real beauty is ol' number 4. Let me break down fummen for you:
To smoke = fumar (port) = rauchen (ger)
fumar X rauchen = fummen
I know how to say headache in 3 languages.
A note to those curious on the lack of stories about Brazil: I am having a great time in Brazil, but I've never liked posting about normal everyday things on my blog, and well that's a lot of what's happening. These normal everyday things are mostly educational for me, but they don't really make great blog droppings. I could bore you to death talking about the tiny differences I notice, but in reality I rarely know how cultural a difference is (the difference could just be the individual or the event, not necessarily representativ of Brazilian culture). To exacerbate the lack of exciting brasilian blog deopsits, I have really been chilling out down here. Not partying much, just studying, running, and researching (usually reading, but with minor forays into the world of numbers). Today is a good example, I went to the University from 10AM -8PM, I had 6 hours of class, worked on a group project, and in my downtime read the first two chapters of a text book on cartography that I found in the biblioteca. When I got home, I ran 4K did some sit-ups, push-ups, and core strength, then settled down to create this digital gem. I'm loving life down here, but in general, I feel In God We Trust demands more articulation for my personal growth.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Holy crap

Sony made a paper thin TV that is all bendy-like.

The technology is so far out there they aren't sure what exactly they're going to do with it. Simply fantastic. They said to make it marketable they have to get costs way down... I wonder how much it costs now? I bet this will change.

How awesome would it be to have a palm pilot that fits in a credit card slot of your wallet?
Maybe our generation's kids will turn in assignments on paper TVs.

Now, if they can just get some good programing or objective news on TV we will be leaps closer to a utopia. Assuming, we can also eradicate the world of disease and war.

Science Rules.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fatties part 3

Just kidding. I'm done with that rant for at least 12 hours.

In my post about the presidential debates, I compared Mike Gravel to some of the infamaous "worsts" on America Idol, while doing this I'd heard William Hung, but decided to check out Sanjaya to see how bad he really was. Here's the bad part...I kept clicking afterwards. My Idol time eventually landed me on a Melissa Doolittle video (one of this season's competitors).

So I'll blow it for you, she's been eliminated, but essentially took 3rd place. Continuing on past her are a 17 year old girl that has weak pipes and a dubious ruffian looking to bring down the biz (Gou-let!). I'm not a music prodigy, but I've seen a lot of concerts in many genres (during 4 years working), I play a few instruments, and back in the day was even in the district honor choir. For whatever it's worth, this Melinda Doolittle woman is top-notch. My ear isn't that great, but I can hear the top two contenders making errors of pitch (finale was tonight). All 3 judges have only praised Melinda's vocal abilities. She has the pipes that made Aretha Franklin, and KoKo Taylor what they were/are (I've seen KoKo live, amazing). She is humble and appreciates (rather than expects) compliments. To top it off, Idol has been bringing in celebrity guests to work with the finalists, their (Tony Bennet, Diana Ross, Gwen Stefani, Mr. Bon Jovi) comments speak loud and clear about her abilities. It doesn't hurt that she sang one of my favorite jazz standards and nailed it.

Now I also hate it when people tell me what's good in music, so check her out yourself I'm not going to beg or demand that you do such... that would be projecting my anger from similar incidents involving me and so many pimple faced Radiohead and Flaming Lips fans (both of which I like, but I had to get over their evangelical fans before I could even give the music a chance).

So if you care, or are bored:
-Melinda: audtion, Funny Valentine, I've Got Rythym
And the top two who beat her:
-Blake Lewis: His crown jewel (Bon Jovi), original, hip, showman...
-_____ Sparks: Stormy Weather, Heartbreaker, good for her age, I guess the fans of the show identify with her or something.

Melinda Doolittle is good enough I may have actually called into the show to vote had I seen it sooner. Simon said it all in the audtion, most of the people on the show have tons of attitude and only a little talent, she has no confindence but an amazing voice. I think she needs to hit the road or the studio with Michael Buble, that would be hot. If she puts out a CD, I may have to give it a try.

Sorry, I posted about American Idol. I'll stick to fat people from now on (there could be a joke in there).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fatties part deux

This video has been creating a bit of a ruckus in the digital world. It's worth a watch if you have 8 extra minutes.

What I learned in the video is that average individual has a different connotation classification “fat”. When the average woman says fat she might be talking about a woman who by my standards is "a little overweight", or "not skinny." When I randomly hate a "fat" person I see on the street, they are probably, technically "morbidly obese." Both connotations fit correctly within the denotation. The discrepancy is a shortcoming of popular usage of the English language. I still hate fat people.

My motivation for hating the morbidly obese has nothing to do with appearance. I hate the morbidly obese because they are unhealthy (they can be identified by appearance, but that does not affect my underlying motivation: the egg came first, not the fat chicken). I don't care how much you like fat people... there is no way a person with 50% body fat or more can be healthy. I hate all unhealthy people. When it comes to being unhealthy, I'm an equal opportunity hater...I hate chronic smokers; drug addicts; alcoholics; and skinny, sedentary people with horrible diets. What's that? You say these people need mental help? Well fuck yeah they need mental help, and in many cases people are just too chicken shit to confront that person, and the individual is too spineless to go looking for help. It's a vicious cycle of worthlessness. As many readers of this blog know, if I have a problem with my friend's behavior, they will know about it; this doesn't mean I am right and they are wrong, or that they have to change, but I sure don't beat around the bush. I expect the same treatment, and am disappointed when I find that a good friend has avoided a conflict with me strictly on the basis of not wanting to offend me.

Bringing it back to fat people.... Weight is not important, but health is... and weight is a part of health. [insert freshman logic bullshit about paradox and revealing a higher truth] We need to develop a better metric for health. I don't have one to propose, but it's definitely not weight, BMI, body fat percentage, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, resting pulse, metabolic rate, personal income, or car/penis size.

Monday, May 21, 2007

One nation, under Dog... damn dyslexia.

One nation, under God... in the Pledge of allegiance: upheld by Supreme Court decision in Elk Grove New Unified School District vs Newdow - Decision was that the "under God" was simply acknowledging historical beginnings, and therefore the Pledge is a secular act.

The pledge was originally written in the late 1800s and before WW2 was recited with hands outstretched towards the flag kind of like in the picture at left. I wonder why they changed it? The pledge was originally sans deity. One site, that looks pretty bonafide, says the original pledge read as follows:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The author thought about putting the word "equality" in the pledge, but knew his fellow education committee men were opposed to equality for women and blacks. I don't even need to make a joke about that. "My flag" was changed to "the flag of the United States of America" in the 1920s...

In '54 Congress and Ike federally mandated "under God" be squeezed in to the ass end of the pledge. If I had to represent that graphically I would do so like this:

I have troubles buying this addition to the PoA simply as historical, the major lobbying force for the change was the Knights of Columbus (unless wiki is wrong, they aren't a club of history buffs). More importantly, when Dwightron signed the pledge and recitation into law he said, "From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." That doesn't sound too historical.

In context, the '54 legislation violated Lemon vs Kurtzman.
Lemon vs Kurtzman summarized:
-The government's action must have a legitimate secular purpose.
-The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion.
-The government's action must not result in an "excessive entanglement" with religion.

Let's talk about a secular purpose.... take God back out, because all the faith in the world can't prove he exists, and put equality in. 120 years late is better than never. The pledge would then return to a completely secular event. Much like the event pictured below.

*Reciting PoA in 1892

Also, in case you were wondering: For the PoA and IGWT: the establishment clause is not violated; anyone who says otherwise is simple taking the establishment clause out of context. The Supreme Court and history agree.

The pros of me checking into this IGWT and PoA stuff is that I now feel I can make an educated opinion... and also feel knowledgable enough on the subject not to eat up some evangelist's or hippie's bullshit. The downside is, it's really lowering my opinion of Eisenhower and the supreme court (I guess they are people after all). Perhaps this is my mid-west upbringing, but I'd always kind of held Eisenhower on a little bit of a pedestal... now I'm curious to know if old people like Ike just because he was big on God, or if it was because of the other things he did, or both. This is really neither here nor there.

Stay classy San Diego, and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Holy national currency Batman!

Here’s one possible scenario: In God We Trust will be removed at the federal level when the Christian majority decides that America is too wayward to deserve being associated with “God.” Once the Christian right comes to the opinion that retaining the deity’s name on our coinage is comparable to a prostitute wearing a Jesus Saves shirt, they’ll decide the coinage and motto is blasphemous. Just think about it, when they decide that officials who have extra-marital affairs, support abortion, etc… are only giving God a bad name by association, we’ll see IGWT stripped faster than a bisexual at a bondage party. This is making the assupmtion that the politicians will change their values faster than the church, a gap in beliefs is necessary. Definitely not synonymous, but not a far cry from what Teddy Roosevelt's belief, that IGWT on currency “cheapens” the motto (quote at bottom).

Switch gears...
IGWT usage is upheld by Supreme Court decision Aronow vs United States - "It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise."

It seems the supreme court evaluated the case in today’s setting rather than evaluating the validity of the legislation. Historically IGWT was added to coinage and as our motto for less than secular reasons. Effectively, they have supported the tenet that if you do something wrong long enough, it becomes ok. Luckily, history is on my side; most of these things eventually are overturned (and then heralded as conquests of progress by the same people that prevented the change). There’s a lesson about how to change people’s minds packaged in there somewhere.

A popular argument is, “it’s history.” One problem with IGWT being truly historical is that it's printed, therefore implying validity, in present tense... those who say it's strictly historical are effectively making a stance that In God We Trust = In God We Trusted, this is simply errant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we change IGWT to IGWTed… that would just be silly. However, IGWT as our national motto is always going to be in the present, it's our national motto now, not our national motto for some times other than now. Ike really brought God to the Nation during the Red Scare... I guess that's why we ended up winning the Cold War (Ike added God to Pledge of Allegiance in ’54 and IGWT as motto in ’56).

IGWT on coinage, I think it’s wrong. I feel more strongly about IGWT as a motto that needs to be changed. Let’s get back to the “out of many comes one” days. IGWT on coins is something I can easily ignore for exactly the reasons Teddy foresaw, the national motto is something that encompasses me as a proud America, and I don’t trust.

Coming soon... Ike's Pledge of Allegiance

Lemon vs Kurtzman and the Lemon test
IGWT wiki
Well referenced history of United States mottos
-TR's 1907 quote "My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege...It is a motto which it is indeed well to have inscribed on our great national monuments, in our temples of justice, in our legislative halls, and in building such as those at West Point and Annapolis -- in short, wherever it will tend to arouse and inspire a lofty emotion in those who look thereon. But it seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Beat to the punch

Not talking about the Heaven's Gate punch here, talking about my post on sunday.

there was a post on the Freakonomics blog today about Global Warming. Two jokers at some local periodical called BusinessWeek used Pascal's Wager for the global warming predicament.

This was in Feb. so I guess I have two choices:
A: Not ever buy BusinessWeek and remain 3 months behind.
B: Read BusinessWeek so I know what I'll be blogging about in 3 months

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Those who cannot remember the past...

... are condemned to hear about it from somebody they don't know. History is cool, it teaches me neato shit. Usually, my complaint with history is that "eloquence belongs to the conqueror." I also often also ask, "Really, how do they know that?" I.E. This tiny shard of clay came from a messenger bag used by the village shaman once every year, in between the 2nd and 3rd moons of summer, on his trek to harvest eagle dung from the top of Mount Buhari so he could return and smear it on the leader dude's face (dramatization below). For some of these times I like to picture Steve Irwin giving the same line... add a funny accent (I think German/Austrian), and some non-colloquial catch phrases (Crikey!, Revelation!, Son of a Vondruke!, Head of the Penis!) , and I think we could make history popular for teenagers.
So there's this one theory... and it challenges most of modern history... and I think it is pretty interesting. The current world history didn't begin compilation until the 16th century and was completed much later. The idea is that the generally accepted chronology is way wrong. In fact, as the accepted chronology was being established there was plenty of big name opposition (most notable is Isaac Newton, a former WWF wrestler). The methods for the new chronology rely heavily on mathematical techniques developed after the Renaissance. The proposed implication is that several points in our world history are actually repeats of the same events. Below is the picture that did it for me, On the left you have the Emperor's of the Roman Empire contrasted to the Jewish Kings on the right. The point's distance from the center line is indicative of time served.
Hmmm... they're nearly identical, too identical. I can tell you as an industrial engineer, if I pulled two samples , that were this identical, I would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that something was stinking in the back of the cupboard; stated again, statiscally the chances of these similarites are comparable to winning the lottery. Am I sold? No... but definitely intrigued.
Right or wrong? Do I think this changes anything? No, in my opinion the largest point of history is to learn from it, referring back to today's title. Do I think it really affects me if the pyramids were built in 3000 BC or in 300AD, nope, not at all, but it's a neat idea to think that maybe all the pre-Renaissance history books need to be re-written.

In other news:
-Cut the Mohawk... it was getting long again, and I don't want to spend money on haircuts
-Shaved the beard.... new man
-Michael Moore still doesn't understand that the end doesn't always justify the means.
-I like Fred Thompson's attitude, but not his beliefs.

Full size picture:
Wiki on New Chronology (labeled as controversial)
New Chronology - Site with a lot of borderline conspiracies theories (they all have scientific backing), perhaps many great subjects for Dan Brown's next book. The site credits a group whose credentials I cannot find online... hmmm.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I didn't check my sources, but in doing some more reading tonight I found an error in my blog (public rites post). So to prevent the spread of misinformation which I dislike so very much: IGWT was not added to our coinage in 1956.

IGWT first started to appear on coinage in 1864 on the two-cent coin. Over time it spread. IGWT has been partially removed from currency over the years, but has always returned. The "one nation under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance was signed into effect in 1954.

More on all this later, I'm tired. The FAT post seemed to spark some interest perhaps more on that later too, maybe without pictures... I've had some complaints about the visuals.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Acqueciemento global

Blaise Pascal.... smart guy, drove around in a van and solved mysteries:
Pascal's Wager ( a little refresher on Christian apologetics):
You believe in God.
-If God exists, you go to heaven: your gain is infinite.
-If God does not exist, your loss is nothing.
You do not believe in God.
-If God exists, you go to hell: your loss is infinite.
-If God does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing

There are plenty of holes if you use Pascal's wager as a reason to be Christian; Pascal intended his wager as an argument promoting exploration of Christianity. This quote of his sums it up:
I find it necessary to point out the sinfulness of those men who live in indifference to the search for truth in a matter which is so important to them, and which touches them so nearly.
Although, I believe global warming is real, I believe we are causing it, and I believe we need to do something to stop it; it is important for me to ask the question, "What if I'm wrong?"
Simply answered, enter Pascal's slightly modified wager.
We combat GW.
-If GW exists, everybody lives happily ever after.
-If GW does not exist, we create a more sustainable earth before is necessary.
We do not combat GW.
-If GW exists, earth becomes a bad kevin costner movie, your loss is infinite.
-If GW does not exist, you gain nothing & lose nothing immediately, you simply delay answers to the inevitable question of what happens when we run out of fossil fuels.

Sure, that's not the whole picture, combating GW now will likely hurt many businesses... but do you think those businesses won't be hurt even more when we get to the point that fossil fuels are actually running out? I'd say the economic losses will happen eventually whether GW exists or not. In nearly all manufacturing settings, it's better to attack the problem preventatively (notice, "manufacturing" is not spelled "Iraq"). My limited knowledge of economics suggests it is better to attack problems preventatively as well.

While all scientific evidence points towards GW and towards it's negative effects, I think it's important to remember that historically science is only bested in arrogant blunders by the catholic church (end pontification). I think it's pretty clear that science can tell us humans are the major cause of rising CO2 levels... I do question the ability to know exactly that will affect the globe; that's a big step that is reaching, if not extending, the bounds of modern science. The large range of predictions backs up my doubt. Either way, I don't think it matters. We should combat global warming as if it exists, because right or wrong the world will be a better place afterwards.

Not surprisingly... I want to dig in the archives a bit. I had forgotten until now... don't you all remember the early 90s when global warming wasn't really mainstream, but people frequently talked about how quickly we were going to suck the earth dry out of oil? What happened to that argument, if it was right... it should surely be used in a pro-change climatologist's arsenal.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Public rites

This stems from the emails I get from my grandmother. In grandma's defense, she's very loving and realizes that she's "old school," but she uses that exactly phrase as a way to hide in her comfort zone. I did actually send her an email and disagree. I received no verbal response... but rather a wonderfully passive aggressive digital onslaught. I thought grandma forwarded all the chain letters she gets... well I was wrong, and now she's turned the filter off. One night last week I found 6 forwards from grandma in a 4 hour period. "Passive-aggressive grandma," sounds like a bad Adam Sandler song.
The latest had a scarry picture of Jesus... how scary? Exactly this scary...
Now, I think we can find a better picture of Jesus than that, can't we? To answer this question, I called on the infinite power of GoogleFight. Yep, definitely better pictures out there (Results). Anyway, this email was wonderfully misleading and I think it came from a Michael Moore of the Christian Right. Here's the synopsis:
-Subject: FW: Surprise to NBC
-American flag background with "GO USA"
-Big Scarrrrry picture of Jesus
-Statement of NBC poll results that suggests 86% of American's believe in In God We Trust in the Pledge of Allegiance... 14% against
-Later it says 86% of American's believe in GOD, but doesn't reference a source... is this a convolution of the original poll or a coincidence that needs a source?
-"Why is the world catering to this 14%?AMEN!"
I did actually laugh aloud when I read this. It's just so misleading and so wrong in so many ways... when looking for the actual poll, the first google hit is a site that addresses this specific email; it's caused enough misinformation to be garner space on an urban legends page. Too funny, just another example of the ignorant sect of the Christian Right. I will be happy to foward the email to anybody who'd like it.
It comes at a time when I've been thinking a lot about related issues... rather than spout off in my prolix style... I'll just give you guys a run down, and welcome your opinions.
-Public posting of 10 Commandments: Great for business owners/homeowners... not great for government property unless there is historical merit. In public elementary schools no, in public high schools, questionable except in classrooms where religion is taught. Sunday school is for Sundays... religion is not one of the 3Rs.
-In God We Trust on currency: No
-IGWT as our national motto: No. This was changed in '56 when IGWT was added to currency... the founding fathers used E Pluribus Unum... and that is much better.
EDIT: WRONG! The motto is '56, IGWT first appeared on coinage in 1864. details here
-God removed from pledge of allegiance: No, but do we have to say it every day? Also no. If we are going to say it every day, then yes remove it.
-Confederate flag at SC capitol: No, I agree with Obama here, "it belongs in a museum."
Any thoughts? Anyone? Bueller?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sunscreens... serious business

Since I'm in Brazil, since summer is just getting into gear for most of you, sunscreen seemed like a good topic. It seems that many people don't really understand the SPF system. The Sun Protection Factor is mathematically derived. In layman's terms, SPF is the factor by which your bathing time is reduced... i.e. bathing for one hour with SPF 15 protection, is the equivalent of being in the sun for 4 minutes = 60 minutes divided by 15. Get it? Here's 1000 words. Notice, the decreasing returns as SPF increases exponentially. Also notice, my SPF 20 glistening body; my white skin attracting much attention on the Brazilian coast... I know. With that background, how can you possibly concentrate on diminishing returns? Here's a picture to help: I think we can see anything over SPF 30 is a rip-off, unless you are Powder, and that there really isn't too much difference after #8. We can also see the brilliant gleam of coolness that irradiates from my mohawk, leaving only a pert backside in it's wake, complementing a pelvic region that protrudes ever so slightly outward. No really, don't look at that. Instead look at the prices*.
Did you know you could buy sunscreen on Yeah, apparently you can get a lot more than books there; I'm pretty sure you can actually schedule regular purchases too. Just think, every week you could have a fresh bottle of Jack and a jar of crazy pills delivered to your doorstep! Who says money can't buy happiness? Can money buy increased sun protection? Well, yes of, course... but once you go past SPF 8 you get diminishing returns. I would like to take a minute to comment on the units, "percent of sun's rays blocked per dollar"... my life has reached a new low. Nonetheless, if you can use SPF 15 without any problem, next time you buy sunscreen, save yourself a buck and try out the #8. Sunscreens, serious business.
*In case you were wondering.... all the sunscreen data was for NO-AD sunscreen, because that's what grandma always used at Beaver Lake. They used to have SPF 2, but apparently that was discontinued (at least I couldn't find any online).
Things I learned that no human should ever know:
-The actual formula for SPF is:
where E(λ) is the solar irradiance spectrum, A(λ) the erythemal action spectrum, and MPF(λ) the monochromatic protection factor.
-In a report from the University of California at Riverside, I learned that leaving some sunscreens on for more than one hour without reapplying can worsen the burn from then on... due to the free radicals that are left on your skin after the sunscreen does its job.
-Sunscreen was kind of invented as a necessity for the soldiers during WW2

Monday, May 07, 2007

Survival of the thinest

Just a factoid tonight:

I saw on today that obese women may have a harder time getting pregnant (der), even if they are actually having sex (oh), and being fat gives you a whole other set of problems that may complicate pregnancy. There... I summed up in one sentence what they took 2 and half minutes to tell me.
Yes, I hate fat people. I don't believe I'm racist or sexist... at least I try hard not to be, and correct my behavior and thoughts when I notice discrepancy. However, I openly discriminate against the obese, especially the obese who claim it as a disability. If the government can pay for some fatty to be on disability, the government should just pay for the drugs to correct those hormone imbalances. Yeah, it can be a psychological too, I know. Obesity is a problem in 'Merica and I really don't understand what government thought making obesity a legal handicap would promote healthy eradication of the epidemic (I don't feel I've used that word errantly). I don't hate fat people I see at the gym. That 400 pound woman sweating her ass off on the treadmill? No, she's trying, that's cool, nothing but support here. It's the "I only own sweat pants" chick that you see at in the gas station that loads up on Cream-filled Cherry Delights by Mrs Freshley... or perhaps is sampling the palatable wares of Mrs. Freshley's cousin, Mr. I Make Products so Pumped with Preservatives They Hardly Require Packaging. These are the type people I think would make great human body shields... both due to their girth and the worth as a human. In case you're wondering, yes, I hate fat men as well, but I'm only talking about women because even skinny guys have a hard time getting pregnant.

Anyway back to cnn. This is fantastic news for me. First off, the chubbies aren't spawning effectively. Nature has decided to agree with me, that fat people are inferior individuals. Other good news, I can now coax drunk friends into super-sizing their evening because, "listen man, we all look the same in the dark, and dude, she's fat so she can't get pregnant." This could become a new fad for horny highschoolers, they'll call it "not making more bacon."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dead elephants and distribution of wealth.

Did anybody else watch the debates? The election is 19 months away and both parties have already had debates... For a historical perspective I'll ask this blog's oldest reader: Mom. Has the presidential campaign ever started this early? By the way mom, you look great for 80.

I hope the rest of America watched these debates (optimist + reality = misanthropist). They were pretty interesting because it's obviously too soon to narrow the field down much so the Dems. and Reps. had 8 and 10 master debaters respectively. Links to the full debates on youtube are at the end of the post. There are some veritable candidates you may not have heard of, also some candidates who are the political version of William Hung or Sanjaya. I'll let you decide which candidates those are...
In the Republican debate: It’s interesting to me that many candidates tried hard to connect themselves with the image of Ronald Regan (before he started hating on pancakes). I guess they need a dead actor’s endorsement because they can’t win on their own name. Obviously, it is political suicide to support Bush part duex. For a number of possible reasons, none of them are seeking the approval of daddy Bush. So they all appeal to the constituency’s fond memories of the last dead president. That's all fine and dandy Mr. Snufflufflagus, but it tells me nothing about your voting record, experience, and competency in general. Much in the style of Regan, they support tax cuts, with larger cuts for the wealthy. I was somewhat surprised to see the majority claiming support for a flat tax. Half of them want to get rid of the IRS when they push a flat tax through; that would be interesting (at least the theme parties following would be).How would a flat tax affect the people and the federal government ('cause let's face it in the words of Will Ferrell’s Harry Caray “when that thing burns out, we’re all gonna be dead”)?

A flat tax would immediatly benefit those with highest incomes the most. It could largely restrict the budget of the federal government (would it restrict deficit spending? Is the glass full or empty?) At this point I'd like to call on the experts... no not mom again:

The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest
-Albert Einstein (dead science dude)

Ultimately, we are interested in the question of relative standards of living and economic well-being. Thus, we need also to examine trends in the distribution of wealth, which, more fundamentally than earnings or income, represents a measure of the ability of households to consume.
-Alan Greenspan (robot)

The simple point that we all know but often forget when talking about taxes and distribution of wealth: The rich (in wealth) make so much money from investments; they can just relax and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, because to them that sounds a lot like their net worth growing. The Reagan tax cuts empowered many to enter this world, once you're there, barring catastrophe or "rapper inspired" money management, it's a life long membership. For the top 5 or 10% tax increases won't affect their ability to grow. In the perfect world we would tax net wealth on a time depreciating scale...but that's much easier said than done.

I think we'll see major tax reform become part of the presidential race. I hope one of the candidates I like will propose a tax plan that accompanies a flatter income tax with a sliding tax on profits from interest and investments. Let's face it, chances are slim to none you're going to make a million in the stock market unless you had 10 million to invest (especially now that the bubble has come and gone). Let's shoot for taxes that give the federal government power to eliminate the deficit/do their job while still giving up-and-comers their paycheck so that they can build wealth. This candidate also needs to bring up using that tax-reform to help balance the budget. Clinton got us on the right track, Bin Laden derailed us, and W. has exacerbated the problem.
Here's my perfect candidate: tax reform-tax more based on wealth than income, balance budget - eliminate debt, supports Roe vs. Wade, education system improvement - against No Child Left Behind. I don't mention health care or Iraq; those fires will undoubtedly be fought by our next President, and I can see both sides of those issues.

Screaming Asses: i.e. democratic debate
Grizzly Old Protestants: i.e. Republican debate
World map on wealth equality: Gini coefficient-> 0= equal, 1 = one prince, many paupers.
A few related graphs: From some group in Boston
Distribution of wealth: Poorly designed, with no references... I give it a 2 just as a comparison to wealth distribution