Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What do YOU do when you get in trouble?

When you're a kid, and you get caught doing something, and you get in trouble, what do you do? You straighten up and fly right. We don't need a six-month ban on offshore drilling, and that's exactly what the white house wants (even when Louisiana itself does not want it!). Who's going to pay all the workers for the six months they're out of work? I saw it said, "This is already an environmental disaster, let's not make it an economic disaster, too."

My point is twofold:

  1. When one child (or group of children) in a neighborhood does something bad, you don't ground the entire neighborhood for half a year.
  2. In the wake of BP's disaster, don't you think that offshore drilling will be handled with excruciating vigilance by the people doing it so they're "not the next one"?
There's really no need for this insane ban on drilling. Yes, we need to investigate, and yes, there are likely lessons to be learned. However, shutting down an entire economy - at the whims of one individual (the President) - is not the correct answer. When a tanker turns over on the interstate and dumps oil or gas or some poisonous substance all over, we don't shut down the entire interstate system, or stop all tanker-related shipping. We may shut down that one section of road during the cleanup (similar to the ban on fishing: that is something directly affected), but not every tanker truck and every interstate in the surrounding area. That would be silly.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

New layout?

New layout on my blog - what do you think? ( PS: I've "gone green" with my blog! :} )

Brilliant (no pun intended - well, ok, maybe...)

Wicked Lasers, out of Hong Kong, makes lasers (really, they do). Now they've created a monster of a laser, the Spyder III Pro Arctic Series. What's so "monster" about this laser? Well, check out this image:

And the warning on their website (this is a direct quote, hence the misspellings):

Warning: Extremely dangerous is an understatement to 1W of laser power. At close range, this Class 4 beam will cause immediate and irreversable retinal damage. Use with extreme caution and use only when wearing proper safety goggles with an O.D. of 3+ is required and 4.4+ for longer exposures. Customers will be required to completely read and agree to our Class 4 Laser Hazard Acknowledgment Form.

Yeah, that's right: this laser WILL CAUSE immediate and irreversible (i.e., permanent) retinal damage. This isn't your garden variety laser pointer (which, kids, you still shouldn't point at someone's face, or at a reflective item like glass or a mirror or anything shiny - only at cats, or the floor in front of the cat, rapidly moving it towards an immobile object like a wall - that's for the cat's benefit, of course: exercise, and collision avoidance training). In fact, this laser is so powerful that it can burn skin, light fireworks and cigarettes, and cause vision damage even reflecting off diffuse surfaces (in other words, the reflection off a non-shiny wall can still cause permanent blindness or blind spots). Serious laser, and only $200 plus shipping (and that includes one set of laser safety goggles so you can go blind all your friends permanently while retaining your own eyesight - what a great gag, huh? NOT!). (I can think of a great dad's day present... although likely it'll be a late one.)

If you want more info about lasers and laser classifications (and damage they can cause), check out the Wiki laser safety article. In the meantime, let me get to torturing exercising my cat using my garden variety laser pointer.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Environment, child dangers, and other goodies

First, have you checked out the live BP ROV feed lately? Fun to watch, although I have no idea what's on there at the moment. I like this guy's take on why we're even drilling out a mile under the surface of the ocean, anyway: environmentalists. They don't want us drilling where it's easy to do so and easy to "fix" when there's a problem (on land) and where it's not as likely to impact major ecosystems and "way of life" for many, many people (like remote, unpopulated areas of Alaska). Not even where it's reasonably accessible (both for drilling and in the event of a disaster) like shallow coastal waters. No, we have to go drill WAY OUT in the DEEP waters of the gulf, where, if something goes wrong, it's not so easy to get to to fix (and where we have to push the envelope of technology in order to drill there in the first place). Way to go, environmentalists!

Also, did you hear about government wanting to tell businesses how to run themselves (oh, wait, that's not that new)? Some senators want BP to suspend its dividend to its shareholders. Isn't it enough that those who have money invested in BP have lost, what, closing in on half their investment value already? Now these senators want BP to not pay the dividend on that stock. Wouldn't that require some sort of SEC filing, and/or be a violation of SEC shareholder rules or something? Seems like that sort of thinking runs along the lines of "government with unlimited power" - which this article warns against. That article is a very interesting read - I recommend you take the time to give it a gander (and I don't mean an adult male goose!). Seriously: go read that article (but come back here afterward).

Now, if you're having trouble paying your rent, don't worry about it. According to that article, it'll be over a year before you're evicted if you stop paying. Apparently that's become the new "in" thing to do - quit paying your mortgage, but keep paying everything else. After all, it's the bank's fault that you're in over your head, can't make your mortgage payment, and your house isn't worth what it used to be worth. Nothing at all to do with your own bad decision making.

If you have children, take heed of these warnings:
  1. "Sack tapping" - a "game" where boys try to punch each other's testicles - boy, doesn't that sound like fun? - which can lead to ruptures, bruises, and other serious damage. Talk to your boys about this - it's more serious than you might think.
  2. "Silly bandz" - those cute little bracelets in animal shapes. Yeah, they're of the devil, he wants to take your kid's arm. OK, probably not really of the devil, but they can cause circulation issues, especially if worn in great numbers.
So, there you go. Lots of fun things for this blog post! Stay tuned next time for my plans to solve electric vehicle range issues (to make it where an all-electric vehicle can have an essentially unlimited range) and nuclear waste storage issues.
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