Now gluten-free!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

End Daylight-Saving Time Now!

I've been telling you all along that daylight-saving time is an idiotic exercise in futility. A recent study backs me up:
For decades, conventional wisdom has held that daylight-saving time, which begins March 9, reduces energy use. But a unique situation in Indiana provides evidence challenging that view: Springing forward may actually waste energy.

Up until two years ago, only 15 of Indiana's 92 counties set their clocks an hour ahead in the spring and an hour back in the fall. The rest stayed on standard time all year, in part because farmers resisted the prospect of having to work an extra hour in the morning dark. But many residents came to hate falling in and out of sync with businesses and residents in neighboring states and prevailed upon the Indiana Legislature to put the entire state on daylight-saving time beginning in the spring of 2006.

Indiana's change of heart gave University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor Matthew Kotchen and Ph.D. student Laura Grant a unique way to see how the time shift affects energy use. Using more than seven million monthly meter readings from Duke Energy Corp., covering nearly all the households in southern Indiana for three years, they were able to compare energy consumption before and after counties began observing daylight-saving time. Readings from counties that had already adopted daylight-saving time provided a control group that helped them to adjust for changes in weather from one year to the next.

Their finding: Having the entire state switch to daylight-saving time each year, rather than stay on standard time, costs Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills. They conclude that the reduced cost of lighting in afternoons during daylight-saving time is more than offset by the higher air-conditioning costs on hot afternoons and increased heating costs on cool mornings.

"I've never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this," says Mr. Kotchen, who presented the paper at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference this month.
It's time we ended this daylight-saving nonsense once and for all.

Rise of the Machines

We humans have never had much trouble coming up with easier, more convenient ways to kill each other. In 1991, for example, when the U.S. launched Operation Desert Storm against Saddam Hussein, we witnessed a conflict that was fought like a child's video game. The average person was able to maintain a safe and impersonal distance from the horrors of war.

That was nearly two decades ago, and modern warfare has since seen a growing reliance on "smart" killer technology. But some people think that because of this technology, we may not be able to escape the horrors of war after all. From the AFP:
    Increasingly autonomous, gun-toting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.

    "They pose a threat to humanity," said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey ahead of a keynote address Wednesday before Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

    Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world -- from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones -- can already identify and lock onto targets without human help.

    There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours.

    The first three armed combat robots fitted with large-caliber machine guns deployed to Iraq last summer, manufactured by US arms maker Foster-Miller, proved so successful that 80 more are on order, said Sharkey.

    But up to now, a human hand has always been required to push the button or pull the trigger.

    If we are not careful, he said, that could change.
Suddenly, movies like The Terminator and The Matrix have newfound relevance. Is it possible this technology could be turned against us, or is this much ado about nothing?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't Bother Voting

According to this shocking news report, Diebold, the company responsible for distributing electronic voting machines throughout the country, has accidentally leaked the results of the 2008 election early:

I knew it was all a sham!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wife-Saving Technique for Husbands

We've all had basic CPR and first aid training in junior high. But here's a life-saving (or, more accurately, "wife-saving") technique they don't teach you in school.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, a 28-year-old wife and mother was awakened from a two-week coma when her husband gave her "a bloody good rollicking." When he was told by doctors that they may have to switch off his wife's life-support, he started nagging her to wake up, saying later that she "never liked getting told off."

"You start fighting, don't you dare give up on me now," he said. "I've had enough, stop mucking around and start breathing. Come back to me." She started breathing on her own just two hour later, and within five days, her ventilator was able to be shut off.

Husbands everywhere, take note. You should practice this wife-saving technique often. Don't wait until your lovely bride is at death's door. Start practicing today. Sure, she may not understand. She may even get angry. Just explain that you're only thinking of her, and that your harsh words and brusque tone are for her own good.

(By the way, wives, this technique will not work on husbands. For all husbands, comatose or not, the sense of hearing is the first sense to go.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Fight Against Global Fattening

You just can't make this crap up:
    Obesity needs to be tackled in the same way as climate change, a top nutritional scientist has said.

    The chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce wants world leaders to agree a global pact to ensure that everyone is fed healthy food.

    Professor Philip James said the challenge of obesity was so great that action was needed now, even without clear evidence of the best options.

    He also called for stricter rules on marketing and food labelling.
These sniveling, sycophantic traffickers of tyranny won't rest until government agencies control every single aspect of our lives. Well, in my humble opinion, the nutrition Nazis who think they can tell us what we can and can't eat should be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

Yeah, I'm hungry right now. What about it?!

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Happened to Good Ole Reliable Suicide?

Former student kills 6 at Northern Illinois University, sparks 'chaos'

I don't mean to be callous, but if you want to kill yourself so badly, can't you just kill yourself? What is with this trend of mass murdering classmates and others first? I truly don't recommend suicide as an answer to one's problems, but I would far rather someone take their own life than to SHOOT 21 people before doing so. Wasn't there just a school shooting LAST WEEK, too? Seriously, what is wrong with these people? I guess if we knew that we wouldn't be seeing these things in the news so often.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Out with the Old, In with the Old

It has been reported this week that Polaroid is ceasing the manufacture of Polaroid film. Perhaps the real news was that Polaroid is still in business! Their CEO says they're now re-tooling to focus on the new digital camera technology that he's recently started to notice on his bus-tour vacations. I remember when my grandma's Polaroid camera was the coolest piece of technology I'd ever seen. That was around the time that my dad's 2-inch thick calculator with the red LED display and a square-root function was nearly as cool. Last I knew, the Polaroid was still my mother-in-law's camera of choice, though I think she may have just recently got comfortable with a digital camera. She just slipped in under the wire.

On the other hand, I also read this week about the come-back of vinyl LPs. They've never gone out of fashion with certain audiophiles who have always been convinced they can hear the negative artifacts of digital sampling on CDs. But now there's actually a manufacturer or two that are re-launching the production of vinyl LP recordings. Besides marketing to audiophiles who still like that allegedly "warmer" LP sound, and to people who just into the throwback "kitsch" of owning LPs, the LP is now being promoted as a format that's more secure against digital piracy. They can't be copied without a fair amount of inconvenience and a some analog generation loss. I still have quite a few LPs in a closet somewhere from my high school days. But I haven't had a working player since college. I guess I better get with the times and find one. Just think what I've been missing. I haven't heard the "Imperials" in almost 20 years.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Small Is Tall

This is why I don't go to Starbucks very often...

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