3.31.2012

Nintendo lives

8-bit Google Maps debuts.

(And somewhere in the world it's probably April 1.)

They may be cold but they're unbearably sensible (although some demur)

In Canada, the penny's about to drop into history - Yahoo! News

TORONTO (AP) — They clutter your dresser and cost too much to make. They're a nuisance and have outlived their purpose.

Meanwhile the American zinc lobby, etc.

Does poisonous nut beat mythical bird?

AP
AP INTERACTIVE: Natural Selection: What #FinalFour mascot would win in the wild: http://t.co/HF2g6krY #MarchMadness
3/31/12 11:18 AM

Deals you can't refuse

News Desk: The Next President Needs Your Help : The New Yorker

Dear Supporter,

As you know, our candidate, Newt Gingrich—despite the consensus among historians that he will be more effective than all previous Presidents combined—has recently run into some fundraising difficulty. Therefore, we are announcing the following changes to campaign policy.…

Or maybe you can.

Lamp


Lamp, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

3.30.2012

Yes, Bunky, terminal performance

Undernews: Homeland Security is more than a little worried: it's buying 450 million bullets

Business Insider - The Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement office is getting an "indefinite delivery" of an "indefinite quantity" of .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK.

The high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer "optimum penetration for terminal performance."

Kayaks


Kayaks, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

It looks warm out there, nice and sunny and everything…

…but it lies. It's friggin' icy cold. Where did we go wrong? We want hot.

Those R's are such a huggy bunch

Paul Ryan embraces Mitt Romney

And BTW, how did this guy Ryan get to be such a big deal anyway? What is it with Wisconsin politicians? They're, like, from Wisconsin. Wisconsin is just a flatter Vermont. Plus the Packers. Of course.

Who says the IRS doesn't think of everything?

From our ever-vigilant tax department (and just in time), this IRS bulletin (it's a PDF): See page 4.

Maybe we should have a chat, Yahoo

Found on the Yahoo News page listed under "News for You":

'Dancing's' Melissa Gilbert Reveals The Inspirations Behind Her Tattoos - Yahoo! News

Life on the road with your Rolls, your caravan, and one really bored-looking woman

"A drawing room on wheels": The 1920s caravan the wealthy used to explore the countryside | Mail Online

Nearly almost somebody maybe: We nominate the most useless statistic of the hour

Obama approval ratings near milestone - POLITICO.com

Nearly every incumbent president with a rating of 49 or higher has won reelection while nearly every one rated 48 percent or lower lost, according to New York Times number cruncher Nate Silver.

Or…

Commentary: Case is not about Trayvon Martin's hoodie - KansasCity.com

One month later, some of us fail to understand what this is about.…

…to paraphrase (but not very much) Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Controversy equalizes fools and wise men, and the fools know it.

3.29.2012

Vent


Vent, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

Who's this Allison?

U. of C. grad hunts for nerdy graffiti - Chicago Tribune

She also has concluded, after careful "statistical analysis" of the more than 1,700 pieces of graffiti she has documented at the Reg since September 27, 2007 — and judging by the words and doodles she has found scrawled — that a University of Chicago student is 63 percent more likely to be happy than sad. How does she know this? Because she categorized student graffiti into a handful of topics such as sex, school spirit and advice; transcribed and interpreted each piece of graffiti; converted her findings into spreadsheet data; then, using simple math, she crunched and considered her data. But in general, according to their scribblings, students hate chemistry, finals, themselves, the University of Chicago, everyone, Obama — and that's about it.

They love Milton Friedman, chemistry, silence, Allison, the University of Chicago, tiramisu, life, chocolate cake — and tons more.

Broke


Broke, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

Looking up


Looking up, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

But still not exactly without a paddle

Shrinkage: Navy Won't Build as Many Ships as It Planned | Danger Room | Wired.com

According to the new shipbuilding plan (.pdf), released Wednesday by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the Navy won’t build any new ballistic missile submarines until 2021. It won’t build any big-deck amphibious assault ships, key for the Navy and the Marines to fight as a team, until 2017, when it will build… one more. After next year, the Navy won’t fund the construction of ships above replacement levels until 2018. All told, the Navy’s downgrading the total number of ships in 30 years it wants to maybe 300, a drop of at least 13 ships. And all this will occur as the Navy surges in the Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific.

Also points out kettle is black

China tells Apple to ‘care for workers’ | The Raw Story

The man tipped to be China’s next leader has told Apple that foreign firms should protect workers, state media said Thursday, as the US giant fends off criticism over factory conditions in China.

Holy crap, Globe columnist writes "for goodness sakes"

SCOTUS-ACA Watch: Well, That Was Interesting - Health Stew - Boston.com

Second, could someone explain to me how the U.S. Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli Jr., could have been so unprepared to defend the ACA? For goodness sakes, he was unprepared to answer the questions on broccoli and limiting principles -- two issue everyone knew would come up.…

Maybe it's true what they say about Boston.

Crime pays

Gangster Banks Keep Winning Public Business. Why? | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

The settlements out there with banks like Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and UBS cover hundreds of localities in virtually every state in the union. The sheer number of cases suggests that this activity is epidemic and systematic – in other words, that it’s simply the way to do business in America.

In Madrid, things get serious

Madrid escorts declare sex war against bankers

Madrid - Spanish banks have come under fire recently for many reasons, including foreclosures on thousands of homes. Madrid's high-class escorts are getting revenge.

The ladies have taken it on themselves to regulate the Spanish banking sector by withholding sexual favours from bank employees.…

But what was the song?

Assorted Stupidity #36 - Lowering the Bar

In the latest case of karaoke rage, last week a Florida man reportedly knocked out an Applebee's manager who asked him to stop singing after other patrons complained.…

Ewwww

New Google tool lets you PROBE YOURSELF • The Register

3.28.2012

Game on

Undernews: A national food mandate?

George  Healy, Washington Examiner-  Ronda Storms, a Republican state senator in Florida, introduced legislation to bar the use of food stamps to purchase "salty snack foods" and sugary treats. She's nicknamed the legislation the "No Twinkie Left Behind Act."

New York Times' food columnist Mark Bittman praises Storms for raising the important question: "How do we regulate the consumption of dangerous foods? ... The government isn't doing its job," he argues.

Once upon a time (last week) it was Spring



Once upon a time (last week) it was Spring, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.


Now, not so much. But we hope on.

This is the smell of panic in the morning

From an editorial in today's NYTimes:

In ruling on the constitutionality of requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance, the Supreme Court faces a central test: whether it will recognize limits on its own authority to overturn well-founded acts of Congress.

There appear to be indications the Supremes (including at least two of them who really should be recusing themselves from this deliberation) are about to bat down all or part of the so-called Obamacare law and all the usual suspects are running for cover just as fast as they can. The D's, meanwhile, even at this late date, seem totally incapable of defending or even explaining with any conviction any of the health care law in any public place. Alas.

A lot of people don't like the health care law in question, and not all of them because they think it overreaches. Many, myself included, don't like it because it doesn't go far enough (and the proverbial nose under the tent will be soundly smacked every time). What we need to do is grow up, join the company of respectable nations, and establish a decent national health care plan.
But of course we won't.

Is this really necessary?

I got hailed on on the way home from the grocery store. Not huge hail, just little grainy stuff, but enough to bounce around on the sidewalk and bunch up in low spots, not to mention seriously confuse two robins on the lawn. Luckily I was wearing the hat for it, a big wide-brimmed western-style hat that's perfect for times when things might otherwise drop down your neck. Or, more to the point, mine.

And now the sun's come out so we just have rain. And it may be a little chilly, but it's still spring.

3.27.2012

The vent


The vent, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

Photo puzzle

As a guy who once owned the kind of field camera you have to mount on a tripod and put your head under a black cloth to use (a 4x5 Super Graphic) I can appreciate the insane weirdness of building a camera into an iPad. I'm not talking about the front-facing camera (or is it rear-facing?), the one you use for video chats and the like, but the other one, the one you would actually take a picture with if you wanted to, say, bring your iPad to shoot the 4th of July parade. They say it's pretty good. I'm thinking, why?

True, there are other things I don't understand about the state of photography today, too. Like, why is it, now that people have the technical means to take a virtually perfect picture virtually every time, has there suddenly developed a craze for pictures that look like they were taken in 1960 and have been sitting in the sun ever since.  We used to go to great lengths to avoid that (archival papers, UV-blocking glass, Cibachrome), but now there are all sorts of apps to do it, and do it instantly. I can understand how that might be fun once or twice (I've done it myself once or twice), but Instagram? Really?  

Oh well. Maybe I should see if I still have that dark cloth around somewhere. And would an iPadTriPod be the product of the year or what?

Cool!

Mitt Romney's four-car fantasy home - Reid J. Epstein - POLITICO.com

SAN DIEGO — At Mitt Romney’s proposed California beach house, the cars will have their own separate elevator.

I suppose if he goes to Washington and lives in the White House the cars will just have to take the stairs.

In fact, why don't we just forget the whole thing

City avoids placing taboo topics (that kids may actually know about) on public school exams - NYPOST.com

In a bizarre case of political correctness run wild, educrats have banned references to “dinosaurs,” “birthdays,” “Halloween” and dozens of other topics on city-issued tests.

That’s because they fear such topics “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”

Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism.

Even “dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet.…

Words that suggest wealth are excluded because they could make kids jealous. Poverty is likewise on the forbidden list.…

3.26.2012

It's the Canadians doing this; it's all their fault

Really. They have a great big H up there and it's leaking cold air all over the place. Wind too. Lots of wind.

Of course, cold is 40 now, not 10. Still. What was the matter with last week, I'd like to know. I liked last week just fine. Let's go back to that.

Out back


Out back, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

Chilly morning


Chilly morning, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

3.25.2012

Blush


Blush, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

Shed door


Shed door, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.

The end of everything

Or at least…

The End of the World as We Know It

Morning


Morning, originally uploaded by Ted Compton.