Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Today's Animal: The New Guinea Singing Dog

It's been a long time since I featured an animal. I like to present links to animals that you've never heard of. I'd never heard of this one. I wonder if it takes requests?

Lioncrusher's Domain -- New Guinea Singing Dog (Canis lupus familiaris dingo) facts and pictures

Monday, September 29, 2003

Consumer Reports Petition to OCC to reject state pre-emption of predatory loans

Consumers Union

Friday, September 26, 2003

The Apollo Alliance

Hey AFSCME 3357 fellow brothers and sisters, you know what! Our parent union is a member of the Apollo Alliance. So is the UAW.

What is the Apollo Alliance?

As I understand it it is a coalition of organizations that are calling for a massive investment in alternate energy and energy efficiency technology in a coordinated effort with the national priority of the original Apollo man on the moon project. I think that's a wonderful idea. A great idea. The question is, is anybody doing anything about it - really?

The UAW lobbies against fuel efficiency increases. When was the last time that you heard about AFSCME getting involved in any public issue?

I recently tried to buy compact fluorescent lightbulbs for my house. I could find hardly any lamps designed to use them. I was eventually able to buy $200 of CF lightbulbs. All the CF lightbulbs that I could find were made in China. As for the future of lighting LED lights - Oh please!

As for EnergyStar appliances - hardly any of the appliances that I saw had the stickers on them.

Judging from press reports I've read, the Bush Administration has raided funding (which was only in the tens of millions of dollars to begin with) for the EnergyStar program to pay for other programs. We apparently have enough money to fight a war for oil, but we don't have enough money to make sure your refrigerator doesn't cost you double to run every month. Man, that's an energy policy.

I think the Apollo Project is on to something. I don't know how to get there from here, and it doesn't look like they do either. I think first we need to say that before we need a space policy, we need a science policy. When we set our national Science policy, we need to weigh government sponsored science projects in relation to important goals. Environmental preservation, energy independence, long term employment security and public health.

Bill Gates has done this with his Gates Foundation, and he appears to be on the right track in terms of putting the money to a good civic use.

Apollo Alliance : Apollo Alliance: Ready for Lift Off
Oh, Ok, the Unified Theory of the "Wesley Problem"
Better Living Through Blogging!: "Problem"

I still have two questions:

1. Do have to be a dweeb to evolve into a more advanced lifeform?

2. Did Wesley Crusher wear turtlenecks to cover up hickeys?
The Wesley Problem - It's a Neck and Neck Race

The Googleteer(tm) compares with this search

"Wesley problem" "Wesley Clark" (10 hits)

Wesley problem" "Wil Wheaton" (11 hits)

Something tells me that Wil Weaton's going to have to do something drastic like run for Governor of California if he wants to stay in the lead.
Just what was that cliche anyway?

Here's an interesting site, The Phrase Finder can help you find the "meanings and origins of phrases and sayings."

Phrases, sayings, quotes and cliches, with their meanings and origins.
Just what was that cliche anyway?

Here's an interesting site, The Phrase Finder can help you find the "meanings and origins of phrases and sayings."

Phrases, sayings, quotes and cliches, with their meanings and origins.
Google Toolbar
E-bay Fraud

Every now and then we get cases involving EBay fraud. Usually the ones I see involve somebody getting suckered into sending money outside of the normal e-bay security processes. I think the biggest problem with EBay is not the fraudulent transactions, but what a giant timesuck that it is, and that it causes people to buy stuff that they don't really need and wouldn't buy otherwise. (I could say the same thing for COSTCO and the HOME SHOPPING NETWORK.)

Here's a link to an MSNBC story on an EBay scammer.
EBay thief reveals tricks of the trade

Blogger Toolbar

I installed the google 2.0 toolbar - it has the option to link to Blogger.com. There's now a spell checker - a needed addition.
If you've been around the net awhile, you've probably run into the corporate rumor site F***edCompany.com. I just checked it out to hunt for information for my cases against Household Finance. I was surprised to find that you have to pay good money and get a gold membership now to get anything useful. I have to take it off my bookmarks list.

FuckedCompany.com - Official lubricant of the new economy

Friday, September 19, 2003

Low Cost Cruise Missiles & Anti-Missile Technology

A couple news events are intersecting in an interesting way.

The Bush Administration wants to put anti-missile countermeasures on all commercial aircraft. This will cost billions of dollars.

A guy in New Zealand, Bruce Simpson, is putting together a low-cost cruise missile just to show that it can be done.


As it stands today, the threat to commercial airliners isn't cruise missiles. It is shoulder-mounted heat-seeking SAMS. Simpson's conjecture is that the trend in technology is to reduce component costs that would make cruise missile technology accessible to the do it yourselfer.

The primary technologies are powerful, compact off-the-shelf jet engines, or easily fabricated pulse-jet engines, GPS systems that can be modified for navigation purposes, and computers and sensors to put it all together.

This means in practice that Terrorists can put together in a garage the equivalent to a V-1 buzz bomb, except more accurate. They can put together a bomb that can fly a hundred miles or more and land within 30 feet of its target. Who needs to steal an airplane? Who needs to blow one up with a cruise missile.

Further, if you want to blow up an airplane, this technology is obviously adaptable to the purpose and can defeat the countermeasures envisioned. If the enemy puts in thermal countermeasures to defeat heat-seeking missiles, then the smart terrorist puts in a $2.00 radar chip, or in the alternative, programs an optical recognition guidance system.

Once the countermeasure is in place, it is a fixed target and easily evaded. It is the general nature of terrorism to go for the weak link. For this reason preventative defenses against terrorism are rarely cost-effective.