Thursday, June 29, 2006

Evolution denial as the legacy of slavery?

I saw this article linking evolution denial and slavery, thought it was interesting: The Panda's Thumb: Evolution denial as the legacy of slavery

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Power to the Baby

I've been pestered for more pictures of Simone. These are from my camera, so the quality isn't real good.

This first one was taken hastily, so you can't see her face. She's got her head turned to the side, but her eyes are on me, and the expression on her face is, "Why? Why's it gotta be like this?" Unfortunately, this is my only picture of this expression and she's not making it very often any longer. How fast they grow up....
Mary and Simone taking a nap.

Simone in a cute outfit:

Simone, looking like she's auditioning for the next Rocky movie:

Simone is tired, time for bed:
Here's a good example of Simone's "Power to the Baby" stance - with one arm raised high in salutation:

Mmmm... strawberries

I picked a quart of strawberries this morning from our patch in the back yard. I do like fresh berries on my granola (home made of course, Mary makes some grubbin granola).

It got me to thinking, what is my favorite fruit?

I realized, that's kind of a dumb question. Sure, you can have a favorite, but would you have an over/under-ripe one of your favorite, or a perfectly ripe strawberry/peach/nectarine? Probably the ripe fruit.

I think that a perfectly ripe fruit of whatever kind trumps all other fruits. These strawberries are good, really good, but, in a month when I can get local peaches, the peaches will taste better than any strawberry I'll be able to find.

Granted, there are some fruits I just don't care much for - or am indifferent to. But, chances are, I've not had one at its peak of ripeness.

Which lead me to another thought. I think we don't directly taste most of the fruit we eat. Instead, when we eat a fruit of a particular type, it reminds us of the select few we've had that were awesome. When I eat a nectarine now, it tastes good, real good, but I think I'm half-remembering the really good ones I had when they were in season.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Tell Tale Fart

I just thought that phrase was clever (I came up with it myself).

It's the phrase I use when Simone farts while I'm changing her - it almost always precedes some poo. So, if I'm quick, I can cover her up and contain the mess. Unfortunately, not all poo follows that clear signal, sometimes she's in stealth mode.

People were right - when you have a baby, you just talk about bodily functions.

It's kind of like I'm hanging out with Sam and Ron.

EvolutionBlog : What is Infinity?

I took a math class at Cornell the second semester of my senior year. I had to choose between taking it, the 2nd class in very popular history series (the half I really wanted to take), and some other class I really wanted. The math class (408 - a senior level undergraduate course) was supposed to be a good way to wrap up a major at math.

Long story short, the course was a joke. Half the people there were education majors (with math/science emphasis) who could only argue emotionally, not mathematically. And so we spent 2 weeks "arguing" whether or not .9999... = 1 or not. Heck, during the final presentations one of the students was having mental orgasms during her presentation because her realizations (what she was presenting) was in fact the culmination of her 4 years at Cornell. The only problem was that these amazing revelations were basic geometrical facts that (I imagine) most of the math majors realized freshman year.

Anyway, this guy's blog entry brought all of that rushing back .EvolutionBlog : What is Infinity?
I do find infinity fascinating - I've got a book on it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Spray-Right All Angle Sprayers and Plug-ins

This is a plug for an amazing new product that's out there - a spray bottle that works no matter what angle you hold the bottle. I'm gonna pick one up next week when I drive by the shop near work that carries them.

You see, I know the guy who invented this - he'd been talking about it for a long time and it's cool to see him getting it off the ground. Hopefully he'll get a big contract with CostCo or Home Depot or something, but until then, he's just going to local shops.

In the next week or so you'll be able to order them on-line.

Seriously, check out the web page:

Spray-Right All Angle Sprayers and Plug-ins

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Living Rivers

I've had a running debate with a guy at work over whether or not dams are a realistic source of power for the country. I think they're not.

But it made me think of the Glen Canyon Dam. There used to be an ice cream shop in Moab that sent its profits to help get rid of the dam. I think it was the Living Rivers folks. They've got a web page full of good info. One particular article is a little alarming - that Lake Powell is going to go dry in 2007. I think that's a bit early (just next year? - it's currently at 40-50% of capacity), but still, the trend is not good. Living Rivers Grand Canyon Campaign

Considering how beautiful Arches/Moab/Zion/Brice Canyon are, you know that there are many awesome canyons that are currently inundated. It'd be neat to see them again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

dope kid


That was Sam's response. I think she looks like she's all dressed up in desert garb. Simone - princess of Arabia.

Ann Coulter is just nuts

Not that I figured I'd ever be a fan of Ann Coulter - I read one of her books on the media (my Republican friend welshed on the deal - he was going to read Al Franken) and it was completely skewed - but it wasn't outrageous. However, her newest book seems to be pretty far out there. It appears that Ann thinks the problem with evolution is all them women and biologists.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

best mojito recipie - Google Search

Turns out if you don't know how to spell recipe (I often spell it recipie), and you search for

best mojito recipie - Google Search

My site comes up in the top 3 (it just came up as #1 for me). boo-yeah!

Book Review: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D Ehrman

I read the book Misquoting Jesus by Bart D Ehrman right after Simone was born (the timing was not on purpose - that's just when the library had a copy available). I'd been looking for a book like this for quite some time and was excited to get my hands on it.

It's basically a book that relates how Bart Ehrman undergoes a transformation from a born again Christian to whatever he is right now (agnostic I believe, but he didn't say in his book), and why. The "why" is the interesting part. (Note: Bart Ehrman is a big-wig at Princeton, so he's not just some hack dissing the bible.) He lays out a quick history of the scriptures and how they arrived from their original form to what we have today - copies of copies of copies of copies of copies (of copies). He talks about how the scripture has changed over time, and methods scholars use to try to determine which versions of the old copies of scripture are closer to the "original" (if that even has any meaning). Pretty good stuff.

Actually, to get a quick overview of the book, listen to the Fresh Air interview with him. It's actually a decent summary of the book, you don't even have to read it.

In the book he goes over several key passages in the bible ("this is my body, broken for you...", Jesus and the leper, the story of the two women finding Jesus' body missing after his resurrection, Jesus dying by God's grace or apart from Him, the story of casting stones at the adulteress, and mothers), and he shows you why he thinks a particular version is more original. He does, however, say that many scholars disagree on various passages, and that you should not necessarily take his word - but to read as much as you want/can and make up your own mind. So I give him credit for that.

I did look for some reviews to see what others thought of his book. I found this long review (here's a shorter version) of the book. The long version goes into detail refuting a couple of Ehrman's points, and simply dismissing or minimizing Ehrman's other points. And then at the end he slams another work that Ehrman contributed to (the fourth edition of Metzger├é’s Text of the New Testament) for no apparent reason. Oh, even better, at the end of both reviews, the critic offers readers of the review to check out a soon to be published book that has a better (supposedly more accurate) view of the scripture. Of course that is a plug for a book the reviewer has helped write (he's one of the authors).

I may or may not read this critic's book. While it might have some good information and contrasting opinions, I really didn't care for the tone of his review. He tries to paint it as though writing the review was difficult, "It gives me no joy to put forth this review." But there were a few cheap shots in there.

But maybe I didn't get the message of Ehrman's book. What I took from it is that the following truth changed Ehrman's life: the bible has changed over time, sometimes by mistake, sometimes by intentional changes (motivated by theology, societal pressures, or to clear up/clean up the wording). That's it. The book was well written, very easy to read, and chocked full of interesting and thought provoking ideas.

And to think, I liked the book and I'm not even a believer.

Friday, June 16, 2006

This is reassuring

We let North Korea develop missiles (not that I think they'd be stupid enough to fire them at the U.S. itself), and we build a system to intercept the missiles that just doesn't work: Fledgling US missile shield largely unproven.

It's been years, and they've only had 5/8 success rate? That doesn't count the number of times they had to scrub the tests. And they don't point out how easy the tests probably were set up to be.

Just a waste of money. Talk is a hell of a lot cheaper, and would probably work better.

Michael Pollan versus Whole Foods

Michael Pollan wrote a book I'm intending on reading, The Omnivore's Dilemma, which traces aspects of four different meals (ranging from a hamburger meal at a fast food restaurant to a meal he hunted/gathered himself) that cover the span of available options to us.

Oh, and you can listen to an interview with him on Fresh Air here: Dinner: An Author Considers the Source.

Anyway, sounds like a neat book. In it he gives Whole Foods a hard time, in part because they talk a lot about how local they are, when in fact, very few local farmers provide food for Whole Foods - most of their stuff is gotten from two, large organic growers. Evidentially, the president of Whole Foods wrote an open letter to Michael Pollan, defending Whole Foods' practices.

Here's Mr. Pollan's response, I found it very enlightening: Michael Pollan's response.

Another first

Today I exercised - I went on a jog. Which is about the first exercise I've had since she was born.

I've been using Simone as an excuse not to exercise, but it's not a good excuse considering my diet lately. Anyway, it hurt, but I'm sure it'll hurt worse tomorrow.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Funky Keyboard

I've seen this keyboard in the past, but just came across a good review of it: ATPM 7.05 - Review: Datahand Professional II.
I'd like to try the keyboard out, but $1000 is a lot of cash (though they're currently selling it at 50% off, but $500 is a lot of cash).

BBC has a live map of popular stories

Slick. You can click on a portion of the world (think continents) and see which headlines are the most popular now. It gives you an easy way to see what is popular in different parts of the world. Most notably, soccer was high on every continent other than ours. BBC NEWS | Most Popular Now | Live World Map

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Neat free running video

There's a pretty good free running video on Google here. I'd seen some other videos, but this is one of the better (ignoring the dorky 30 seconds or so about a minute into it where there is no action, just camera movement).

Watching this definitely reminds me of some of Jackie Chan's moves in his movies, and my immediate conclusion was that big-budget movies are probably going to start using more and more free running in their chase scenes.

Of course a little bit of research led to finding parkour - the name for the original physical discipline from which free running has grown. Parkour is the minimalist approach to getting through obstacles as efficiently as possible, whereas free running is more artistic (free-form) that doesn't necessarily care about efficiency.

And, I also found out some of it is going to be used in the new James Bond film, Casino Royale. cool.

Monday, June 12, 2006

DMCA article

This is a good article on what affect the DMCA has had on the electronics industry. I especially like the last paragraph:
Hollywood is good at telling stories. The one it has been screening in Washington—that music and movies will perish if the regulators don't kill the dangerous gizmos first—is powerful drama but has about as much basis in reality as Lord of the Rings. Killing off gizmos and subjecting technological development to the whims of federal regulators will ultimately hurt not just consumers but also tomorrow's creative industries—both technology and entertainment.
The article in full: IEEE Spectrum: Death by DMCA by Fred von Lohmann and Wendy Seltzer.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

6 down, 1 to go

We just finished season 6 of the West Wing (needless to say we're hooked). Now we have to wait until September 11th to get a look at it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mmmm.... strawberries

I've got to say, strawberries from our own garden trump any strawberries we'll ever find in the store. They are light years ahead of the huge, colorful, tasteless berries from California, and tons better than the organic ones we get at the co-op.

I picked a pint of them tonight, and put them over some Julie's organic vanilla ice cream. It was nirvana.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

So True

A wonderful rant written by Jon Carroll: check it.

Annoying Forest Ads

There have been ads on TV for a while talking about how wonderful the Oregon laws are for protecting forests. I find them condescending because it very obviously is showing a one-sided view of the state of things (pro-industry).

Well, a few seconds on the web page, you can clearly see that the board of directors is only staffed by people in the logging (forest) industry.

This is just annoying as all get out. Our tax money is going to a state-sponsored organization that is just a mouthpiece for the industry.

But this should not be a surprise when the same government decides that a paper that shows industry practices damage the environment is unacceptable because it is "political." You see, because papers that show the industry is doing good isn't political, but bad things are political.

Throat Surgery

So I had my throat surgery today. The goal was to relieve the narrowing in my esophagus right above the sphincter to the stomach. It's a real quick operation - they don't even sedate you very much, they give you a narcotic that makes you forget the procedure. So, I don't remember anything about the operation.

The surgeon did some looking around while she was in my GI tract. She found no hieatal hernia, but did find a new-looking ulcer in my small intestine, and said she was worried about my esophagus (it was inflamed or prone to bleeding or something). Long story short, she was full of bad news and didn't have any real answers as to why things might be they way they are.

But it's not all doom and gloom. Mary and I both agreed that the surgeon was very happy to diagnose problems, but offered no information as to how things got this way, how bad any of it was, or what could be done to prevent any of this from happening again.

What she did do is double my super-antacid prescription, and gave me some stuff to help heal the ulcer. Ironically, the ulcer is possibly new enough that might have been caused by the antacid medicine I used to get ready for this surgery. The surgeon did in fact take a little biopsy of the ulcer to see if the ulcer was caused by bacteria. And if it's the case, I'll get some super duper antibiotic to treat it.

Anyway, my hiccupping should go away, and I'll probably go see some other doctors for a second opinion, probably a naturopath to see what I can do about my GI inflammation. Stupid M.D.s never look at the big picture.

Heh, the surgeon even asked me (mere minutes before my surgery) if I wanted to remove my gall bladder. I said, "no" and she warned me that it was a ticking time bomb. Gotta love that bedside manner.

So now I just finish my 24 hours of a liquid only diet (which followed the 18 hours of fasting prior to the surgery).

Monday, June 05, 2006

What I Learned Today (11th day of Simone)

Simone likes pooping in clean diapers.

Oh, and most of the "small" cloth diaper wraps are woefully large, which leads to bad fits (i.e. leaks).

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Mystery Solved

Ever wonder why aluminum foil is glossy on one side and not on the other?
Check out the article: Tin, Aluminum, Chromium

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Slick (gapminder)

Check out this cool visualization: http://tools.google.com/gapminder/

ps. Happy 300'th entry to me.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Things I Learned Today

Well, I probably learned them over the last week, but at the 1 week anniversary of my daughter's birth I realized:
  • I've got a kid. I knew that before, but I ran an errand today and saw some little kids hanging outside of the post office (presumably waiting for their parents to finish up inside) and I realized, "I've got one of those." And just this evening I realized, she's gonna be a teenager soon.
  • Simone knows Tai Chi. You should see it. She's got all the hand and foot movements mastered - she just needs to stand up and do the same thing. One thing that's gonna put her at the top of her class is her facial expressions - way beyond what I've seen people do in the park.
  • Infant clothes are horribly sized. She's small (6 pounds 10 ounces now), and the 0-3 month outfits just hang on her like the Talking Heads big suit, and the premie clothes are just too short. Luckily Grandma (nanna?) embroidered some little body suits that fit just right, so she's wearing those and some socks.
  • Change diapers often. This is just a good investment, because when I'm old and in diapers, I want her to make sure my diapers are changed often.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Slew of Visitors (even more)

Well, these aren't necessarily visitor pictures, just pictures of Simone while people were over.

This is one of the first pictures of Simone, I call it her nostril shot.

In this photo, Simone is posing as some movie star from the 40's, I'll let you guess who.
She's just cute as a button in the next two.

Here she is in Grandma's lap (Mom isn't sure what she wants to be called yet, so I'm using Grandma).

She's got the typical cute baby feet.
Several people have said that she looks like me. I'm hoping she doesn't get my unibrow.

Simone Rose in front of a pink rose plant.
Simone's first outfit.

Lastly, when she gets tired of all the photos, she lets us know.

A Slew of Visitors (cont)

More pictures from the past few days.

First is Sam, talking to his new niece.

And Simone's summit pose (check out those guns)
Paula came down to meet her niece in between finishing up the state track meet and heading back to school. Such dedication for Simone - but she's worth it.

And Gin and Bob raced over the day they got back from their wine tour of Italy.


I even got into a few pictures. See, there's proof that I change diapers.
Note the crooked horizon - something my Dad always gives Sam a hard time about. Well, this one was taken by dad.
Here I am admiring our beautiful daughter.

A Slew of Visitors

Wow, a bunch of people came by to check out our newborn Simone.

But first, a quick note about her name. You don't pronounce it like I have been doing (Sah-mOn) but instead say (si-mOn) - that's si as in sit, and mon as in moan. You see, I've just always pronounced it the other way. Of course people on the phone think it's spelled "Samone" when I pronounce her name incorrectly. Jeesh. Of course I mispronounced my friend Megan's name for a year and a half. It is Megan as in 'egg'. But of course on the east coast they pronounce 'egg' differently than we do here. sigh...

Anyway, lots of people came by, and we took pictures. Lots of pictures.

First we have two of my dad and Simone, both turned out very nice. For some reason, all the photos of my dad came out in focus, but everyone else had some blurry pictures.

This next one is of our midwife, Lisa.


I took a bunch of photos of my mom from this angle - I'm not sure why. Simone looks good in all of them, but mom's head is a bit too close -so it appears to dwarf the rest of her body. Sorry mom.

The next three are of my darling wife and Simone. We took Simone outside for a little tan and to enjoy the nice weather.