Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cab Thoughts 3/16/13

I have naturally expressed my statements so that I am also right if the opposite thing happens.-- Marx

Impeachment, Italan style:
March 15, 44 BC, one month after he was appointed dictator for life, Caesar was assassinated. He was not assassinated by Brutus alone nor with the cry of "et tu, Brute," -- a line penned by Shakespeare -- but by twenty three dagger strokes from a crowd of sixty led by Tillius Cimber, a victim of the harsh rivalries and merciless political maelstrom of ancient Rome. Only one of the twenty three strokes was fatal. Caesar's dead body lay where it fell on the Senate floor for nearly three hours before other officials arrived to remove it. The ancient historian Suetonius wrote of it in his Life of the Divine Julius Caesar. Having mentioned the unfavorable omens that had been observed in Rome and the prophet Spurinna's personal warnings to Caesar, he recorded the scene as follows:
'As a result of these warnings and poor health, Caesar hesitated for some time whether to stay at home and postpone what he had planned to do in the Senate. Finally Decimus Brutus persuaded him not to disappoint the Senate, which was in full session and had been waiting for him for some time now, and at about ten o'clock he set off for the House. As he went, someone handed him a note about the plot on his life, but he merely added it to the bundle of petitions in his left hand, which he intended to read later. Several sacrifices were made, but despite consistently unfavorable omens, he entered the House in defiance of the portents, deriding Spurinna as a false prophet on the grounds that the ides of March had come and he had suffered no harm. Spurinna replied that they had indeed come, but had not yet gone.
'As soon as Caesar took his seat, the conspirators crowded round him as if to pay their respects. Tillius Cimber, who had taken the lead, came up close, pretending to ask a question. Caesar made a gesture to put off his request to some other time, but Cimber caught hold of his toga at both shoulders. 'This is outrageous,' Caesar exclaimed, and at that moment one of the Casca brothers stabbed him from one side just below the throat. Caesar grasped Casca's arm and ran it through with his stylus. He was leaping up when another dagger caught him in the chest. Confronted by a ring of drawn daggers, he drew the top of his toga over his face, and at the same time with his left hand drew the lap of his toga down to his feet, so that he would die decently, with the lower part of his body covered. Twenty three dagger thrusts went home. Caesar did not utter a sound after the first blow, though some have recorded that when he saw Marcus Brutus coming at him, he said 'kai su, teknon' [Greek for 'you too, child']. " (From Julius Caesar by Christian Meier)

Bumper stickers are already made up endorsing Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama as running mates for President and Vice-President in 2016. Apparently the order is secret. The Republicans could counter with Tom Brady and his wife. Wait, she's not a citizen so that is unreasonable.

A day care center is plagued by parents who pick their kids up late so they develop a "fine system" to encourage parents to be more prompt. So for every fifteen minutes late a parent is, they pay extra. The result? The tardiness rate among parents increases. Why? Of course, there are only guesses but one prominent guess is that the parents are really trying to be on time and are driven by guilt to do so. When fined, their motivation to be on time drops as they feel they are paying for their error.

4,500 members of medical academic faculties were surveyed and 25% said they were strongly considering leaving the academic world. The commonest reason was they felt there was something wrong with the culture and they were suffering "moral distress."

RedEye On Demand, a rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing service, and its parent company Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS) today announce a collaboration with KOR EcoLogic to produce URBEE 2, the first road-ready, fuel-efficient car built using 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, technologies. Targeted to hit the road in two years, URBEE 2 represents a significant milestone in the world of traditional assembly-line manufacturing. (from Product Design and Management)

Olauduh Equiano was a slave who bought his freedom and became quite famous in exploring the Artic, merchandising, and in the Abolition movement in Britain. He has a very disturbing quote on slavery that needs serious thought because it is unsettling, has a broad application if true and he deserves being taken seriously. According to Equiano, a crippling aspect of slavery is the loss of honor. He says, "To be able to recover his honor, a slave must necessarily adopt the rules and standards of the society that surrounds him, and this means that, in practice at least, he cannot absolutely reject the institutions that de­prived him of his honor in the first place." He seems to be talking about honor in respect to context. Honor is the thing that must be restored and it needs a context to see itself and grow.

Who was... Harriet Beecher Stowe's father?

The Department of Homeland Security has purchased 1.6 billion bullets, 7,000 Ar-15s and 2,700 armored vehicles. What for?

To make a 1 kWh lithium-ion battery totals 472 kWh equivalents of fossil fuels; more energy goes into making an 85 kWh battery pack for a Tesla Model S than the car will consume in 150,000 miles. ( Barnhart)

The Bible, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, scored 13.1 million viewers and 4.6 million adults 25-54 during its premiere. The 10-hour miniseries became the new year's no.1 cable entertainment telecast.

In an article recently about Abe Karem, a man responsible for much of the advancement of drone technology, it is casually noted that "drones are being built by hobbyists". Nice to know. Karem has moved on to Karem Aircraft which aims to bring the A160’s variable-speed rotor technology to fixed-wing passenger planes. AeroTrain is an aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing. It is intended to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, the workhorse narrow-bodied aircraft that dominate commercial aviation, great for small countries and small airports.

John Maynard Keynes helped create the Cambridge Eugenics Society.

“Gammon’s Law” is named after a British physician named Max Gammon, who noticed that with healthcare socialism in England, increased “inputs” in the form of massive amounts of money spent always seemed to disappear “as though through a black hole” with little or nothing to show for it in terms of health care.

Bus driver Alexei Volkov, aka 'The Punisher,' is famous in Russia for exacting revenge on the rude drivers in the city of Zelenograd by simply not slowing down when they cut him off. Volkov claims to have been involved in more than 100 accidents in his career and the clips from his dashcam documenting them are on YouTube.

Russell Gold of the Wall Street Journal reports that BNSF, Buffett's railroad, is working to begin switching all of its 6,900 locomotives from expensive, dirty diesel to cheap, cleaner natural gas, starting next year.

North America a few million years ago had giant sloths, Mastodons, Nine-foot saber-toothed salmon, dire wolves. And, now, camels. Camels originally arose in North America 45 million years ago and lived there until human migrated into the area around 16,000 years ago.

For millions of years, the Amazon River was a vast inland sea that covered the central part of the continent. Finally, during the Pleistocene epoch, which began approximately 1.6 million years ago, the rising waters broke through the continent's eastern escarpment and poured into the Atlantic Ocean. In their wake, they left behind the world's greatest river system and the former inland seabed -- a vast basin of rich sediments and fertile lowlands perfectly suited to sup­port an array of plant and animal life almost without parallel on the face of the earth. It is a river so vast that by itself it accounts for 15 percent of all fresh water carried to sea by all of the planet's rivers put together, and so long that it travels a distance equivalent to that from Bangor, Maine, to San Francisco, California. The river's mouth is so large that the is­land in the middle of it, Marajo, is nearly the size of Switzerland.

An earlier classic of "quantitative history," Time on the Cross, was a controversial study that purported to show the economic efficiency and relatively benign conditions of slavery. Time on the Cross appeared as two volumes in 1974, one for general readers and a second for data-minded scholars. The authors were Robert Willian Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman.

In the early 1400s Rome had shrunk. A million people had lived in Rome during the height of the Empire, but the city's population was less than that of Florence. The Black Death of 1348 had reduced numbers to 20,000, from which, over the next fifty years, they rose only slightly. Working and living Rome had retracted into a tiny area inside its ancient walls and its great monuments and art had declined in disrepair. partly because the Christians had disrespect for them.

The Japanese had a 15%+ savings rate in 1990. It is now down below 1%. And the trade deficit has recently turned negative. It is assumed the Japanese will support their bonds. But, since savings are no longer available, the question is whether that will be financed simply by printing more yen. In that situation the bond will not decline but the bond will buy less. This seems to be a laboratory for what the U.S. is doing and will predict our future.

Keynes believed that classical economic theory, which focused on the long-run was a misleading guide for policymakers. He famously quipped that, “in the long run we’re all dead.” His view was that aggregate demand, not the classical theory of supply and demand, determines economic output. He also believed that governments could positively intervene in markets and use deficit spending to smooth out business cycles, thereby lessening the pain of economic contractions. Keynes called this “priming the pump.” (Minard)

In one of a series of studies done by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, we spend more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. After President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, the House Ways and Means Committee predicted that the program would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost by then was $110 billion. It is likely to be nearly $600 billion this year.

The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute is over a very small chain of five uninhabited islets and three rocks in the middle of the East China Sea. They are located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, and west of Okinawa Island (the largest of the Ryukyu Islands). Chinese discovered the islands in the 15th century. The Japanese nationalized them in 1895. After WWII, the US administered them but gave control back to Japan in 1971. Everyone not Japanese is pissed because everyone has an historical claim--that same wonderful human drive that makes Jews want Israel, Palestinians want Israel, Mexico want Arizona and California.....on and on and on. Oh, by the way, there may be oil there.

The British blockade in the Revolutionary War cut off the American supply of bibles so Robert Aitken, a publisher from Philadelphia, published a bible to make up the slack and presented to the Congress for evaluation. The Aitken Bible of 1782 was reviewed, approved and authorized by the U.S. Congress. The bible was reviewed first for accuracy by the Congressional Chaplains White and Duffield and they reported on its accuracy. Then the Journals of Congress for September 1782 records on page 469, "Resolved. That the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitkin, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an influence of the progress of arts in this country and being satisfied from the above report (by the congressional chaplains), they recommend this edition of the bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation."

The Hedge Fund universe is made up of 10,600 funds that manage $2 trillion. 1600 funds manage 99% of the money; 350 funds manage 60%.

Golden Oldie:

A Mr. Updegraff in the 1800's dismissed the history of Christianity as mythological and was arrested. He defended himself on the Freedom of Speech claim and was imprisoned anyway because blasphemy was a crime against the state as part of common law.

Black holes that are as large as a billion solar masses can be found at the heart of most galaxies.

The German winter averages 160 hours of sun. Less than 100 hours of sunshine have been recorded so far over the course of this year's meteorological winter. It the gloomiest winter in at least 43 years. The winter of 1970, with an average of just 104 hours of sunshine, was the bleakest since records began in 1951. But if the sun fails to show itself much more this year, the winter of 2012-2013, will "probably reach a new all-time low," National Meteorological Service spokesman Gerhard Lux told news agency AFP.

AAANNNnnnnnddddddd.......a graph:

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