Thursday, May 31, 2007

Scientists create new crop of genetically modified crops

A depressing report showing how the short-term profits are leading to long term problems. We'll soon have weeds we have no way of systematically getting rid of. It's kind of like the overuse of antibiotics.

Scientists create new crop of genetically modified crops | Gristmill.

jan von holleben - dreams of flying

Neat photos.

jan von holleben - dreams of flying

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What Is Junk Food?

Here's a little quiz you can take to see if you know what junk food is (according to USDA standards). It's pretty shocking: the junk food quiz

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two Weeks

I just gave my two weeks notice at work. In a short time my 11 years at Intel and will start a new career at Mentor Graphics. I'll be working on the GUI for the Calibre suite of tools.

Tis an exciting time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Plastic or Paper?

I came across this article, it has an interesting breakdown of the energy used in producing plastic versus paper bags. It determines plastic is better.

Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment

Of course the real way to reduce the impact is to reuse bags over and over, both plastic, paper, and cloth. That's what we do.

Something to be ashamed of

Richest country in the world, worst health care. Oh, and it's the most expensive to boot. Study: U.S. care lags industrial countries

iBike WW21 (1)

A beautiful ride this morning toward Fitton Green with Simone. We stopped when the Burley got stuck in the grass (the trail got more and more narrow).

Stats: 8.96 miles, 26mph max, 49min, 10.8mph average. On single speed 32:18.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Koppel on NPR

Two weeks ago I heard Ted Koppel on NPR, he talked about how the Democrats Can Revel in GOP's Troubles, for Now. Basically he rails on the Democrats for not supporting Bush, mostly because they're gonna inherit the war and it'll be "their" problem at that point. What bothers me is he takes the (Republican) party line of "provide a better solution or get behind the President."

Why does that bother me? Well, for one, 65% of Americans want us out of Iraq, and the Democrats have only put together bills that would withdraw fighting forces (but no contractors, no "training" forces, and none of the support folks. So, even following the bill that got vetoed, the U.S. could have still have something like 80,000 troops over there. Lame Democrats, lame.

The second thing that gets me is that he's implying the Democrats are sitting on some master plan that could solve the mess in Iraq. Wake up and smell the IEDs, Iraq is a mess and there is no good way out. It's like losing a bunch of money in Vegas, there's no graceful exit, you just have to get out. Following the Bush "surge" is just throwing more bad money into the pot. The difference between Iraq and Vegas is that someone (the house) wins in Vegas, in Iraq there are only losers.

There's always the rumor that NPR is liberal, but studies have shown that NPR is conservative. Koppel is just furthering this trend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

iBike WW20 (1)

Simone and I took the single speed out for a spin this fine morning. It'd had been a while since I had taken a long ride and vacation seemed like a good time to start back up.

We biked past Bald Hill and out to the Oak Creek entrance to the forest. Simone slept for quite a while while I biked up and down the fire lanes in the forest (no single track towing a Burley).

The lower gearing (32/18) did make the hill climbs a bit easier, and it was low enough that I spun my rear wheel a couple of times. I only had to walk once (and that was a really narrow and steep section after a long climb (I didn't want to disturb Simone who was sleeping).

I put the Burley through its most rigorous tests to date. First, I biked about 40 minutes on gravel roads and it held up just fine, Simone remained asleep even while flying down forest roads at 26+ miles per hour. Also, Simone can attest to the sturdy construction of the roll cage. While weaving through some narrow foot bridges near Bald hill, I cut one of the corners a little too sharply. The left tire hit the rail and Simone rode the Burley like she was trying out for the Dukes of Hazard. The Burley flopped on its side, and Simone remained snugly fastened in place in the middle of her seat, only looking a little confused because she had just woken up. Bravo to the Burley, keeping my little girl safe from my maniacal driving.

Stats for the ride: 1h52 min, 17.94 miles, 27mph max, 9.5mph average.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day 2007

We had the grandparents over for a Mother's Day brunch. Mary came up with the menu (I just nodded my head and drooled in anticipation). On Saturday, Simone and I did most of the shopping (while Mary had a chance to look at some fancy fibers spun by local women), and Mary did all the cooking. Well, almost all - I decided when to take the salmon off the grill - and I must say, it was perfect. I don't think I'd ever cooked a 3 pound fillet before.

Everyone enjoyed the food (salmon with yogurt dill sauce, eggs with cream cheese and basil, fresh (local) strawberries with a little Cointreau, applesauce spice muffins, and roasted asparagus). Afterwards we all took a walk around the duck pond.

Dad (grandpa) carried her a chunk of the way - she liked being up high.

"Who is this guy?"

I'm a ham for the camera.

And memere carried Simone nearly as high - on her shoulders (a first for Simone).

mmm... hair...

Single Speed Baby!

I finally finished. Way back in 2004 I changed my old mountain bike into a single speed. But it was just a poor-man's single-speed - still having the original hub and a whole bunch of spacers.

For X-mas, Sam got me the fancy ENO hub, which allows you to convert a bike with vertical dropouts into a true single speed. And for my birthday, Mary got me a very nice rim and spokes. I built up the wheel a few weeks ago, and just today I put it all together. I just bought a vanilla BMX singlespeed freehub and 1/2" chain, and after a little cleaning, I assembled it with some help from Simone.

Here is the finished product in all it's glory. Note the lack of a derailer, it' just like the BMX bike you rode as a kid:

And here's a crummy picture of Simone helping me wash the bike:

Here's what Simone looks like if you zoom into the grainy photo:

I took it for a spin only to find out the rear brakes sounded like they were a flock of angry geese being slowly crushed. A quick brake tune-up and everything is good to go. I'll probably take my first full ride tomorrow.

Note: the new gearing is 32/18, as opposed to the 32/16 it was before.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Greenbelt Land Trust

This group is dedicated to "enhance and protect open space" in the Corvallis area. They've got a run coming up in June I think I'll do. It's at Bald Hill (it'd be my first trail run ever).

Greenbelt Land Trust

Saturday, May 12, 2007

iBike WW19 (1)

Biked down to the farmer's market with Simone. Kind of a cloudy day, but we had a blast. 30 minutes worth of biking, a good hour of walking.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Just Sad

A vegan couple gets life over the death of their baby. This is sad for so many reasons.

The first is obviously that a baby died.

The second is that the parents ignorance/stupidity did it, the death was completely needless.

Third, if the quote is to be believed "I loved my son - and I did not starve him" just shows that the parents are still clueless, even after this tragedy.

Vegan couple gets life over baby's death - Crime & Punishment -

Where was their prenatal care? Where was their postpartum care?

If you're a vegan, you know that paying attention to nutrition is important because your diet is very restricted. If you're going to have a baby, you have to know that it is going to need special nutrition.

I was going to accuse the couple of taking veganism too far and not feeding their baby the obvious breast milk (breast milk isn't vegan), but after a quick searchi I found a slightly longer article here

They did feed the baby some breast milk.

It does sound like they starved the baby. It appears they do not feel they are to blame in the baby's death. It is sad, and they should be punished.

Note: breast milk has everything a baby needs for the first year of life. Oh, and it's free you cheap bastards!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dilbert on working at home

Given all the stuff that's going on at work, this was pretty funny. It's just a collection of 4 Dilbert strips regarding working at home. - Special Reports - Work at Home

Note: I'm not blogging about the work situation b/c my boss reads this blog sometimes, and I don't want to put him in an awkward position. Needless to say, upper management is taking its sweet time coming up with any clarifications on the policies that have sent me and my family into a quagmire of uncertainty.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wedjaget That Bottled Water?

Ironic, do you know where your bottled water was bottled?

A brief note on some of the bottled watter (it's really just tap water, you're wasting your money) Wedjaget That Bottled Water? (TreeHugger)

Simone Update

It's been a while since I've had a Simone update. She's nearly a year old now. What's she up to???

She loves to stand - can't get up there on her own, but she'll hang on to your leg or the ottoman for a long time. She still doesn't want to crawl but is starting to do the butt scoot (she goes backwards, kind of like a squid). Simone is getting more and more ticklish, and loves being thrown in the air. She's also beginning to play hide and seek - actually hiding herself.

Today Mary went walking with a friend, and Simone and I tagged along. We were walking in a new neighborhood that had a pretty cool looking playground, so Simone and I went off to investigate. It turns out, they had an infant swing set. Swing Simone, Swing!

Here are some of the pictures - she loved it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fun With Math

I saw the following question raised in a blog today:

1% of women at age forty who participate in routine screening have breast cancer. 80% of women with breast cancer will get positive mammographies. 9.6% of women without breast cancer will also get positive mammographies. A woman in this age group had a positive mammography in a routine screening. What is the probability that she actually has breast cancer?

The scary thing is that only 15% of doctors get the answer right. That's not very comforting if you're the one getting a mammography (or whatever screening).

The same problem applies to all these "security" measures that have been put in place, they may catch 80% of the actual terrorists (unlikely) but the policies also yield false positives. The problem is, if you screen 10 million passengers and have 1% false positive rate, that's 100000 false positives you have to sift through - wasting time and money, and not to mention, making 100000 folks very irritated.

Now I'm sure you're all wondering, just what is the answer to the breast cancer question?


Here's an explanation: An Intuitive Explanation of Bayesian Reasoning