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End the subsidies on big oil and gas now! March 29, 2012

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So today the Senate had a fillibuster against ending oil subsidies. The Rachel Maddow Show is explaining it right now.

What I find highly offensive is that the oil industry made $32 Billion in profit last year. Let me explain in accounting terms:

Revenue – Expenses = Profit. $32 Billion. So explain to me why the oil companies still need subsidies from the government?

I’ve written before about why gasoline costs so much. It is because the entire system from exploration  to extraction, to refining is all tightly controlled by just a handful of companies.

It’s time we the people take our country back.

 

TuneIn – For Android an IOS March 28, 2012

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I love this application. Yes, I have my music loaded up on my phone but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else drive the music flow.

Sure I have Pandora on the phone too but I like TuneIn more. You can browse by music genre, location, etc.

Here are the stations I love:

GotRadio – Jazz

House Channel

Party Hitz Radio

Y! Mowtown

WHUR 96.3

181.FM Old School

88.1|Power 88 (Hip Hop)

WRNB 100.3 (R&B)

106.3 |WWKX|Hot 106 – Hip Hop

Fullasoul Radio

Right now I’m listening to WHUR 96.3 – their Quiet Storm program is on.  OMG, Roberta Flack – The Closer I Get to You, the song also features Donny Hathaway.

 

Food: Watching Cupcake Wars March 27, 2012

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Wow, I never knew you could do so much with the simple cupcake. But then the different cakes, frostings, and other treatments make sense.

We were watching an episode where one of the cupcake contestants was doing a completely Vegan cupcake. That includes no salt, processed sugar, or fat. Now let me tell you, when I worked for a company doing nutritional scoring we noticed a pattern. Anything with salt, sugar or fat got a lower score than the same item without those three items. For example, broccoli scores really high, but add fat and salt and the score plummets.

So with the above in mind, I knew the Vegan chef wouldn’t cut it and I was right. The judges even laid into her about how flat they tasted, how awful.

Look, we humans evolved to have the cravings for salt, sugar and fats. This is evident when you buy  a steak and cook it. The lean cuts of steak are pretty awful, tough, not very good steaks.  But get a cut with a little fat in it, like perhaps a top loin steak, or my other favorite, the rib eye steak. They have nice streaks of fat through them. And when seasoned and cooked properly by searing for  3 to 4 minutes per side, then into an 400F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how you like your steaks.

Note the above violates the no meat, no fat, no salt rules. But I don’t care. I’m an omnivore, meat, vegetable, fish, fruit you name it.

Food: Polenta March 27, 2012

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So I’ve never made it before because it’s pretty available at the food emporiums nearby. But I thought what the hell, time to expand my culinary skills a little bit more.  I use fine cornmeal for it, but you can use medium cornmeal.

I used a basic recipe for Polenta:

8 cups of water

10 oz.  fine grain yellow cornmeal

3 tsp. salt

Combine water and salt, bring to a boil. Let  a stream of cornmeal into the boiling water and whisk until all the cornmeal is consumed.  Set the heat to med-lo and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Number one, it’s delicious. Straight out of the pot it has a creamy texture. But here’s where it gets versatile, put it in a container and refrigerate it.  Then pop it out of the container, slice and sautee in some butter, or chunk it up and use your favorite tomato sauce.

I haven’t deep fried it yet, I need to get fresh peanut oil before I do. Probably see how much the 10 gallon jugs at Five Guys costs. Yes, they sell the potatoes and the peanut oil, all has custom UPC codes on them.

 

Favorite Movies: The Horror Edition March 25, 2012

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I have touched on my appreciation of all things Zombie in other posts. But I also should mention, I love 1970′s based horror too.

Let’s start in no particular order:

1) The Shining – Classic mind fuck movie. It’s the horror of the unknown, the manifestations, just a fun movie all around. And all work and no play do make Jack a  dull boy

2) The Exorcist – My favorite line “Lick Me!” as little Regan is trying to shove her mothers head to her crotch, and then the levitation bit. Oh yeah!

3) The Omen movies, all of them. You get to see the Devil grow up, how cool is that.  And when daddy-o figures out that his ‘son’ is the devil, he tries to kill him but fails. It’s awesome.

4) Carrie – a telekinetic teen causes some major trauma for folks. And Carrie’s momma, oh bat shit insane Christian. It just gets too good.

5) ObZombie – Dawn of the Dead. Come on, a Mall and Zombies. Easy pickings!

 

When your ‘fans’ post derogatory comments March 24, 2012

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If you look at my post about the murder of Trayvon Martin, you’ll see a block of three comments from seemingly different people but they all occur in the five minutes between 2:01AM and 2:06AM.  So I looked further and noted that they ALL came from the same IP address, a Cox address in Las Vegas.

Lets see, who do I now in Las Vegas? I can think of a couple of people, is that you Mike? No, you’ve NEVER commented here before.  Could it be someone spoofing an IP address? Possibly. All I know is that it is definitely someone that doesn’t like me.

 

 

Reading: The Idea Factory by Jon Gertner March 23, 2012

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I am currently reading “The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation” by Jon Gertner.

I’m only about a quarter of the way through the book but it has already covered the founding of Bell Labs, the invention and development of the transistor,  and now I’m at the part of the book where the mathematical section takes over and from the theorists there such as Claude Shannon, Harry Nyquist, and a host of others develop theories such as Information Theory (Shannon).

What I like most about the book is that you learn about the men behind the names. For example, Claude Shannon after delivering his profound Information Theory (ObNote: My B.Sc is in Information Science) he began getting into game theory. He was a guy who rode a unicyle, or even a pogo stick through the halls of Bell Labs. A guy who after fifteen years left Bell and went to work at MIT as effectively their Professor Kronotis. He was a character, no doubt. But his work in Information Theory and Game Theory are heavily in use today. The communication networks we use depend on the former, while the routers and pieces of the net connection owe a lot to the latter.

The book is easy to read, in non technical jargon. But the brilliance of the players, and their foibles are amusing.

For example, John Bardeen, one of the co-inventors of the transistor, was a man who was very quiet, until you got some beer into him. He was so quiet that when he actually spoke, everyone went quiet because it was likely to be profundity that he issued forth. He was the one who figured out how to overcome the  surface states as the obstacle to effectively using a silicon or germanium microscopic  slab to amplify a signal.

Like I said, I’ve read a lot on the Bell System from their internal documentation and books to external treatises. But this book is the best analysis of the people behind the greatest innovations foisted by the Bell System.

You can buy the dead tree version for $17.61 or the Kindle version for $14.99.  I do note the dead tree version dropped from $29.99. This is one I might get both versions.

What do dinosaurs taste like? March 23, 2012

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This started off as just myself and Keryon goofing around. I like going barefoot in the house particularly when it’s getting warmer and the floors don’t feel like ice cubes. Going barefoot is also a good barometer of the need to scrub the floor.

But this went into our  discussion, I’m a nature boy to some degree.  I’d love to raise chickens, I love growing things, hell if I had a little bit of land I’d keep a cow or two for the milk.  Yeah, I know.  So Keyron suggested that I would be right at home iving in a cave, and I chimed in “With a dirt floor” and then he mentioned dinosaurs.

That got me to thinking,  what would  dinosaur meat taste like? For example, it has been discovered recently that some dinosaur species had feathers. Imagine T-Rex with feathers, kind of a ludicrous beast but feathers on dinosaurs mean our many birds are descended from the fearsome creatures of millions of years ago.

So with that in mind, I think they probably had a taste not completely unlike chicken. Think about all the birds we eat – they all have a slight chicken like flavor, even Turkey.

So what do you think?

 

 

Electronic devices on aircraft March 23, 2012

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Go and read the WSJ piece first. I’m going to pull out a couple of items in there just or explanation.

The Federal Aviation Administration allows pilots to use iPads and other electronic devices to replace charts and manuals in the cockpit, powered up during takeoff and landing. But the FAA says it can’t test all the different gadgets passengers may bring on board. The agency worries a multitude of devices could pose more danger than a single iPad for pilots.

So they can use iPad’s and “other electronic devices” in the cockpit. That’s interesting because they must be shutting off the RF chips on those devices when they board the aircraft. Every cell phone, touchpad and the like has the ability to disable to disable the Broadcom or Qualcom RF chip inside the device and you can still read documents, play music, etc. that’s stored on the device.

Cell phones run around 1.8GHz to 2.0GHz. WiFi is in the 2.4GHz range, right in there with microwave ovens. Not to mention most radars are in that range too from around 20cm down to 10cm.

But here’s the thing, with any RF transmitter you have harmonics, parts other frequencies where there is resonance but is suppressed by filtering and tuning. They’re usually down anywhere from 30db to 70db, and they are divisible, so 2.4GHz is 2,400Mhz, with harmonics at 1,200MHz, 600MHz, 300Mhz, 150Mhz, and so on. If we do the same for cell phones, 1,800MHz, 900Mhz, 450Mhz, 225Mhz, 112.5Mhz.

That last one in each series is what could potentially interfere with aircraft communications that run around 127MHz AM, those being 150MHz and 112.5MHz

You also have to understand the difference between amplitude modulation and frequency modulation. Aircraft use mostly Amplitude Modulation which makes it MORE susceptible to interference.

Picture a sine wave.

In amplitude modulation (AM)you vary the height of the peaks and valleys, the time period stays consistent, i.e. there is a complete varied wave every x seconds.

In frequency modulation (FM) you vary the time period while the peaks and troughs remain the same. There is a complete wave on a variable time basis. The animated graphic below demonstrates:

So it is possible that mobile devices could interfere with communication and navigation gear.

Below is a basic list of all the radio frequencies applicable to ILS:

Instrument Landing System (ILS)

Localizer: 108.1-111.95 MHz
Glide Slope: 329.15-335.0 MHz

VHF Omnidirectional Range (VOR)

108.0-117.95 MHz

Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)

Air: 1025-1150 MHz
Ground: 962-1213 MHz

Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN)

Air: 1023-1152 MHz
Ground: 960-1215 MHz

Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR)

Primary Surveillance Radar: 2700-2900 MHz
Secondary Surveillance Radar, Transponders, ADS-B and Univeral Access Transcievers
Transponder (air): 1090 MHz
SSR (ground): 1030 MHz
UAT (air & ground): 978 MHz (USA only)

Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR) 1215-1350 MHz

Do you notice any frequencies in that list that might be 2nd, 3rd or 4th order harmonics of the frequencies used by mobile devices? Uh huh.

And the admonishment not to use cell phones is interesting. At speeds up to about 200MPH cell service can hand off fairly well. But once you start moving faster, it becomes more of a trick. So your phone would have to use more power because the towers are more distant.

So you’re probably better off turning the radios off on your mobile devices when you’re flying.

Trayvon Martin: Police chief temporarily steps down March 22, 2012

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I predicted this one, the chief of Police in Sanford, Florida has now temporarily stepped down.

What I find interesting in the article is that he’s only been on the job for a year, replacing a prior chief who went down in flames.

I think the problems with the Sanford Police are deeper than just the chief. I think it has a serious lack of leadership.

That Lee said he was interested in keeping out people who didn’t belong there, I had read all I needed to know. It is embedded racism.

But I knew the chief would have to fall on his sword. With the DOJ, FBI and FDLE all breathing down his neck it is no wonder.

And now you even have the original authors of the Stand Your Ground bill saying that Zimmerman, the shooter, had forfeited his claim to self defense by pursuing Martin. It took all of this to light the fire under the prosecutors behind in order to move forward with indicting Zimmerman.

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