The dream, oh, the dream

It's really pretty amusing to read this stuff (from The Atlantic)…

"It's probably the case that in 50 years, technology will be so seamless, we won't really notice it," Google's Executive Chairman explains.…

While at the same time finding people with no power – millions of people with no power – all through the southeastern states and back at least as far as Ohio. When we lost power in the storm here last autumn, it took six days to get it back. That's a long way from seamless, it seems to me.

Blue view

Blue view by Ted Compton
Blue view, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

Now we're really screwed

Reuters Top News (@Reuters)
6/30/12 1:06 PM
Video: Robot developed in Japan never loses when playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors" against a human reut.rs/LGY0qp

Oh oh, sloshing molten core

The Earth's "sloshing molten core" is one of the reasons given by some for the non-uniform slowing down (oh oh) of said Earth's rotation, resulting in the need for a leap second — that's right, one extra second added to the last minute of June, which is tonight. This very night. 

So how are you going to spend your extra second?

Leap Second on Saturday Will Cause 61-Second Minute | Space.com

…try preparing a seconds pendulum by hanging a small weight on a string about 39.1 inches (99.3 centimeters) long. Adjust the string length beforehand until the swings exactly match the time signal ticks.  If the beeps denoting the start of each minute occur at the left extreme of a swing before the final (UTC) minute of June, they will be heard at the right extremes thereafter. (Although the swing amplitude will be steadily dying down, this does not affect a free pendulum's oscillation period.)

Or, you could just tuck in and get an extra second of sleep. How geeky are you, anyway?


What's the matter with Other anyway?

Where Do the World's Tweets Come From?

I don't think I need to know anymore about that, thank you

Mathematicians produce their best work at about the same time they produce their children…

Dyson, Turing's Cathedral

Follow the money

The fact is that we've never heavily relied on Persian Gulf oil, and if we had chosen to, we could have cut Middle East imports to zero based solely on our drop in consumption over the past few years. Far from trying to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, we've made a conscious decision to keep buying it.

Mother Jones



Detail by Ted Compton
Detail, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

You're welcome

The trouble started early for CNN. Congressional correspondent Kate Boulduan read out part of the Court's ruling, which said that the individual mandate could not be upheld using the Commerce Clause. Disastrously, though, it failed to pick up the other part of the ruling, which said that it could be upheld as a tax.


Charles Blow in today's New York Times

A couple of good graphs (noted by our Midwest bureau):

"The Romney message is that he is the amorphous economic messiah come to save us all from the flailing of the inexperienced and ineffectual president. He can create jobs and make the economy grow, somehow. He can cut government spending and cut taxes, somehow. He can fix immigration and education, somehow. He can do a better job of dealing with the healthcare system and our entitlement programs, somehow.

But how, specifically? Just make him president and all will be revealed, too late for voters to rebel, leaving time only for regret. That is the Romney strategy: Obfuscate and delay. Stay loose and elusive. Hide in the fog until the search party passes."


We are lost, lost, I say

Two-Thirds of Americans Think Barack Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion Than Mitt Romney

My guess, for the record…

…based on zero knowledge and very little thought, is that the Court, tomorrow, will split the baby on healthcare, upholding the so-called mandate by calling you [it] a tax. This will please no one, and everyone will do a victory dance. Among those of us who constitute "the public," those who like the healthcare deal will continue to like it, those who don't won't, and no one will understand what it means.


"in March 1953 there were 53 kilobytes of high-speed random-access memory on planet Earth," writes George Dyson in Turing's Cathedral (more about which later). Fifty-nine years later we have Facebook.

Everybody's all rejoicey over three dollar gas

As someone who doesn't drive, and someone who remembers gas costing two bits a gallon, I'm not quite as excited as, say, CNN Money, here. But if you are, you can drive on down to South Carolina and get you some. Or maybe it will come to you before you get to it. There is nothing more American than the open road.


Prince Charles is paying tens of thousands of pounds a year for Kate Middleton's glamorous outfits.

From the Daily Beast

1) Who cares?

2) Not me.


There is a patch of blue sky up there, but not enough to make a Dutchman's trousers. So of course it will rain in just a while. Meanwhile, however, it is an excellent air-conditioned day – 68, a slight breeze, no direct sun – and so downtown to get a chili dog from the vendor there. This guy's dogs would get laughed off even the meanest block in Chicago, but he is the only street vendor in town of any kind. One takes what one can get. Besides, there is something grand about strolling along on a perfect summer day munching a hot dog. As luck would have it, just as I finished my dog I was passing a Wendy's (well, the Wendy's) and so I stopped in there for a bag of delicious fries. This broke all my dietary resolutions. Yet I do not regret it (I do not regret it yet).

It is raining now.


"The biggest oil spill you've never heard of"

Water from the usually tame creek had inundated his yard, the way it often did after heavy rains. But this time a black goo coated swaths of his golf course-green grass. It stopped just 10 feet from the metal cap that marked his drinking water well. Walking on the tarry mess was like stepping on chewing gum.

The last (and practically the first) word on Obamacare

The law isn't popular -- because, inexplicably, the administration has made no effort to sell it.


iPhone abstract: Phil Compton


Antonin gets all worked up

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday ripped President Obama’s new deportation directive when he offered his minority opinion on the Arizona immigration ruling.…

…Scalia questioned the administration’s motives, arguing that it didn’t make sense for the U.S. to sue to prevent a state from implementing partial immigration reform, while unilaterally enforcing another set of partial reforms.

“But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforce­ing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind,” Scalia wrote.…

The Hill

Easy there, Antonin, easy.

Dueling tweets

HuffPost Politics
BREAKING: Supreme Court invalidates most of the key portions of Arizona immigration law
11:18pm Mon Jun 25 via TweetDeck

Reuters Top News
6:17am Mon Jun 25 via web

Mermaids avoid work at Coney Island

2012 Mermaid Parade - Mermaid Parade heats up Coney Island for 30th year - NY Daily News



Watching paint dry

Watching paint dry by Ted Compton
Watching paint dry, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

They said it couldn't be done: Obama makes the Times' Doohat guy look good

What was outrageous under a Republican has become executive branch business-as-usual under a Democrat.

An op-ed in the New York Times

How long, O Lord, how long?

George Bernard Shaw's savage diatribe on hypocrisy, pious and political, St. Joan, is a play to be re-read from time to time. Perhaps your time is now. If it is, the book is on our reading list.

Miraculously (perhaps) the book does not appear on Guttenberg. The Nook version, linked here (and undoubtedly available elsewhere), is somewhat flawed (missing punctuation marks, stray mark-up) but readable nonetheless and worth every penny.