Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cab Thoughts

"I am just going outside and may be some time." Lawrence Oates, leaving his tent to die on Scott's return from his doomed South Pole expedition.
A government document released on February 14, 2013 shows that the contract for V.P. Biden's one night stay in the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand came in at $585,000.50.

Illness has interesting subsets. In a submarine, the work is so specialized that if 15% of the sailors get the flu the sub must go to base.
John Delaney, who launched Intrade’s parent company in 1999, died on Mount Everest in May 2011. Other investors: Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller.

A college team (Cal Bears) in Nancy Pelosi's district is in the March Madness tournament and Pelosi was asked who she wanted to win. She replied she did not want anyone to lose. She said she would root for everyone.
Anhydrobiosis (“life without water”) is a wide-spread phenomenon in all major groups of lower organisms. Anhydrobiotic organisms often contain as little as 2% water content. They persist in the dry state for lengthy periods, but when they are returned to water they rapidly rehydrate and resume active metabolism. The key seems to be Trehalose, a suger, which has the ability to stabilize dry membranes and proteins, and, it is emerging, intact cells in the absence of water. Recently, these findings have been applied to mammalian cells, and it is becoming possible to reduce these cells to a dry state, with excellent recovery, findings that are likely to have applications in clinical medicine. In the dry state, anhydrobiotic organisms show an arrest of metabolism, during which they appear not to age. When the cells are rehydrated, they resume active metabolism, but the life span is not shortened by the length of time spent in anhydrobiosis. The same appears to be true of mammalian cells dried with trehalose. From CROWE, J.H.*, CROWE, L.M., University of California, Davis. Anhydrobiosis: a unique biological state, who add, "We suggest that such an effective extension of the life span should have profound ecological and philosophical implications."

Cyprus’s population is 1.1 million, about the size of Dallas. The Cyprus banking system is around 8 times the size of the country’s GDP. I wonder where all that money comes from and who the tax is really aimed at.
Bob Dylan is the first rock and roll star to win the Medal of Freedom, the same award won by the apparently esteemed anti-American Dolores Huerta. B.B.King and Arethra Franklin also have won it. Odetta, a folk singer (but classically trained), was said by Dylan to have been one of the major influences in the development of his musical style. The '60's were filled with these singers singing folk songs, some really old. Many of the older songs of the time known to academics as "Child ballads," songs cataloged by Harvard professor Francis Child, originated in the British Isles and were still sung by descendants of immigrants, partic­ularly in the isolated communities of the Appalachian mountains.

Ben Carson, the Hopkins neurosurgeon said this at the C-PAC: “Let’s say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation,” Carson postulated in remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now.”
This guy better hire someone to start his car for a while.

Golden Oldie:
Julian Jaynes published only one book, in 1976, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, which tells the story of how mankind learned to think. The American Journal of Psychiatry called Jaynes “as startling as Freud in the Interpretation of Dreams.” Drawing on evidence from neurology, archaeology, art history, theology, and Greek poetry, Jaynes captured the experience of modern consciousness—“a whole kingdom where each of us reigns reclusively alone, questioning what we will, commanding what we can”—as sensitively and tragically as any great novelist. The field of psychology, he wrote, was little more than “bad poetry disguised as science.” In 1988, when Life asked Jaynes and several other thinkers to comment on the meaning of life, he responded that he had no answer. “Words have meaning, not life or persons or the universe itself,” he said. “Our search for certainty rests in our attempts at understanding the history of all individual selves and all civilizations. Beyond that, there is only awe.” He concluded that consciousness had no location in the brain. Instead, it was a function of language. “There is no such thing as a complete consciousness,” he writes. “All about us lie the remnants of our recent bicameral past.”
He has a cultist following, especially with the evolution of the computer. There are small societies devoted to him. But his insights, while interesting but vague, are somewhat sad. And it showed. He became an alcoholic. He held the same job, never gaining tenure, for the rest of his career. He lived alone in a single room on Princeton’s campus, a bachelor all his life. He gave lectures around the country but complained that there was “something wearing about them, as if I should have to try to interest anyone.”
The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox vaccine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment of it last week. An interesting debate has emerged on its price. Somehow a government that generally questions nothing gets concerned over lifesaving drugs. It has a inherent problem: There is only government and its fear of terrorism that creates this market and, consequently, the science behind it. There is no private market. So there must be some balance. These research companies have a monopoly, but so does the buyer. Without a buyer to pay, there is no technology. It is like a company that builds aircraft carriers. The other option is to sell it exclusively to an enemy, an equally bad alternative.
North Korea should convince everyone in the world of the danger of the state. Here is an organization whose sole function seems to be arming itself and threatening its neighbors--as well as anyone it feels, however dimly, might be opposed to its existence. Any benefit to its citizen victims seems coincidental. Yet these lunatics must be taken seriously. One would expect to see states across the spectrum from dangerously homicidal to calmly benevolent but, no; belligerence and citizen abuse seem to be remarkably common threads, almost to the point of being a characteristic. Seeing the state as a tool for good is like having wolves as housekeepers.
Lance Armstrong said in an interview that the public will soon forget about him being the biggest dope cheat in cycling’s history, just like they did former president Bill Clinton for his affair with an intern.
Controlling for socioeconomic status, race and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single mother. A study back in 1990 by the Progressive Policy Institute showed that, absent single motherhood, there would be no difference in black and white crime rates.

Lux Research is forecasting that start-stop systems alone, not including full hybrids, will be found on eight million new vehicles by 2017, which would be four times the number of hybrids on the road today. Johnson Controls expects that by 2015 more than 35 million vehicles worldwide would employ start-stop systems. But stop-start requires specific battery capabilities. The lightest one, the most common, least expensive current solution is to use AGM batteries. Unfortunately, there is a big scandal brewing there, as AGM batteries fail in their start-stop function within just a few months.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has cancelled the book tour for his autobiography, Finally Free, after "protests escalated into threats of violence," his publisher told CNN.
“We are spending money we don’t have,” Mr. Bloomberg says. “It’s not like your household. In your household, people are saying, ‘Oh, you can’t spend money you don’t have.’ That is true for your household because nobody is going to lend you an infinite amount of money. When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money.… Our debt is so big and so many people own it that it’s preposterous to think that they would stop selling us more. It’s the old story: If you owe the bank $50,000, you got a problem. If you owe the bank $50 million, they got a problem. And that’s a problem for the lenders. They can’t stop lending us more money.” ( This is quite a remarkable view from a respected businessman and politician.
William Zinsser lamenting the state of writing--and language--in America: “Toddlers have sandbox issues. Issues are what used to be called the routine hills and bumps of getting from morning to night. They have been around a long time; Job had issues. By calling them issues we wrap ourselves in the palliative language of therapy. We no longer phone or visit friends who are in trouble; we reach out to them. That way we can find closure.”
Eleven states have welfare benefits that are higher than the minimum wage.
Who--or what--was....Jeanie Johnston?
"Electricity generation in Norway is almost entirely from hydroelectric power plants. Of the total production in 2005 of 137.8 TWh, 136 TWh was from hydroelectric plants, 0.86 TWh was from thermal power, and 0.5 TWh was wind generated. In 2005 the total consumption was 125.8 TWh.
Norway was the first country to generate electricity commercially using sea-bed tidal power. A 300 kilowatt prototype underwater turbine started generation in the Kvalsund, south of Hammerfest, on November 13, 2003." (Wikipedia)
American skiing. American Lindsey Vonn won the world downhill championship despite skiing only 4 of the 7 races. It was a record sixth straight World Cup downhill title. She suffered a significant injury her last race. Vonn's downhill trophy gives her a World Cup record 17th crystal globe, overtaking Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell. The 28-year-old American has won four overall titles and 13 in individual disciplines. Dominating. And American Ted Ligety capped his huge season in giant slalom with a sixth World Cup win Saturday, fueling comparisons with the best GS skier in history. The American skier joined Ingemar Stenmark as the only men in the 47-year World Cup history to get six GS victories in a season. Stenmark's 10-race sweep in 1978-79 is the record. What is going on here?
“It is an asset in the sense that it embodies a future economic benefit that will be realized as a reduction of future cash outflows.” This is Bernanke talking about Treasuries the Fed has overpaid for. He is saying that, in the future, they will be worth less. I.E. the rates will rise, the values will diminish. Who will pay for those losses? We will.
ENN Group Co Ltd, one of China's largest private companies, is quietly rolling out plans to establish a network of natural gas fueling stations for trucks along U.S. highways.
AAAAANNNNNdddddddd.....a graph. This is from Mauldin, a graph (in German) noting the decline in the Argentine peso since the 30's. Every horizontal bar is a devaluation of 90%. Ninety!

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