Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Beer Summit at the White House

According to the news, there will be a beer summit this Thursday at the White House. All three of the protagonists, Obama, Gates, Crowley have substantial Irish ancestry.

Now any time you get three Irish together drinking, a fight is bound to break out. OK, so Obama has a longer reach, Crowley has police training, Gates is a little guy. This suggests that Gates could be the big loser in event of fisticuffs. His best strategy would be to take sides with one of the other guys.

So, if you were Gates, who would you side with ? The cop would likely know a lot of judo, but Obama has a longer reach plus has literally an entire army as a backup. Take your pick, but in the short term I bet on the cop, then after the noise of the row becomes obvious to the Secret Service, Obama will obviously win in the longer term. So, if you were Gates, a good strategy would be to first side with the cop, then switch sides.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Trapping Pythons in Florida

Non-native pythons are becoming a problem in Florida. The state has now authorized capture by professional herpetologists, but not using guns, or traps. How they are going to wrestle a 26 foot python is beyond me. It doesn't seem possible. In any case, only 10 hunters are currently allowed.

Here is an idea for catching them. Create cages that are warm. In the winter the pythons will seek warmth. It is already the case that in winter they go to asphalt roads to sun warm themselves. That is how the herpetologists find them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

No Sunspots for 9 days

After picking up some sunspot activity after a long lull in spots, the sun has gone spotless again. This is all very unusual behavior. The solar cycle should be in full upswing now, but it isn't. This could very well have a cooling influence on the climate.

Any such change would take a long time, but, for what it is worth, the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows that there is a good bit of ice left in the Arctic. Ice cover has definitely increased 2009 over 2008 and it now appears some of it will last into 2010.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Born to Run

I really like books that turn your whole thinking upside down like Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I didn't even know it was possible to run 100 miles at a clip but the people in this book do it. The big revelation for me was that running shoes are actually bad for your feet! It turns out that studies show that foot impact forces are actually lightest in bare feet, heaviest in Nikes. A doctor is quoted in the book: "If I put your leg in plaster, we'll find forty to sixty percent atrophy of the musculature within six weeks. Something similar happens to your feet when they're encased in shoes." The fancier the running shoe, the worse it is! Putting support under the arch weakens the whole structure and padding, especially under the heel, causes the extra impact as the feet push through the sole in search of a hard stable surface. Some runners in the book are sold on running barefoot but a good compromise is to run in cheap old fashioned unpadded sneakers. I've been doing this for about a week and my feet feel better than they've felt in a long time. The naked toe manifesto is presented:
Shoes block pain, not impact!
Pain teaches us to run comfortably!
From the moment you start going barefoot, you will change the way you run.

This is all good stuff and it isn't even what the book is really about. It reads more like an adventure story that culminates in an ultra race in Mexico's Copper Canyon against the indigenous Tarahumara indians, the fastest long distance runners on earth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Foods poisonous to dogs

I recently learned that Lynnis and Brian's dog Runcible Spoon is quite ill with liver failure from eating onions. Hopefully, Lynnis will keep us updated on that. I looked up foods poisonous to dogs and they include:
  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol sweetener
  • Mushrooms
  • Grapes fresh or dried (raisins)
I'm always learning something new.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Did you really graduate from Law School ?

Copied from elsewhere:

These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm and quiet while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY : When is your birthday?
WITNESS : July 18th.
ATTORNEY : What year?
WITNESS : Every year.

ATTORNEY : What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS : Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY : This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY : And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS : I forget.
ATTORNEY : You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY : How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS : Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY : How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS : Forty-five years.

ATTORNEY : Are you sexually active?
WITNESS : No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY : What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS : He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY : And why did that upset you?
WITNESS : My name is Susan.

ATTORNEY : Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS : We both do.
ATTORNEY : Voodoo?
WITNESS : We do.
ATTORNEY : You do?
WITNESS : Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY : Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS : Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY : The youngest son, the twenty-one year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS : Uh, he's twenty-one.

ATTORNEY : Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS : Would you repeat the question?

ATTORNEY : So the date of conception of the baby was August 8th?
ATTORNEY : And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS : Uh....

ATTORNEY : She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY : How many were boys?
ATTORNEY : Were there any girls?

ATTORNEY : How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS : By death.
ATTORNEY : And by whose death was it terminated?

ATTORNEY : Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS : He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY : Was this a male or a female?

ATTORNEY : Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS : No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY : Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS : All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

ATTORNEY : ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY : Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS : The autopsy started around 8:30 pm.
ATTORNEY : And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS : No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY : Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

As for the last!!!
ATTORNEY : Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY : Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY : Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY : So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY : How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS : Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY : But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS : Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.