Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cyborg Moths? You Bet.

I just wanted to quickly flag a really cool (albeit poorly written) article from the Register on the new cyborg moths being developed by DARPA.
"This is going to happen," said Mr [Rod] Brooks. "It's not science like developing the nuclear bomb, which costs billions of dollars. It can be done relatively cheaply."

"A bunch of experiments have been done over the past couple of years where simple animals, such as rats and cockroaches, have been operated on and driven by joysticks, but this is the first time where the chip has been injected in the pupa stage and 'grown' inside it.

"Once the moth hatches, machine learning is used to control it."
Soft, chewy insect on the outside? Delightfully crunchy robot on the inside? Sounds delicious! Of course, the intelligence-gathering ramifications of this technology can't be overestimated. It's about time we put our six-legged friends to good use.

By the way--DARPA must be the absolute coolest place to work. Ever.

Look At Me!

I'm sure everyone has heard by now of the nifty new feature offered on Google Maps. Basically, it gives you a 360ยบ, street level view of certain areas of the map. Once they expand it to include more cities, it should be awesome.

Of course, this raises privacy concerns among people who don't want the world seeing where they are when the roving Google camera catches them in action.

So I thought I would create a daily feature, "Look At Me," dedicated to these hapless bystanders immortalized in the Google online database.

Today's entry features Toby, who is visiting Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. His backpack is full of chocolate confections he bought for his overbearing aunt, with whom he lives. Don't worry, buddy. She can't keep you under her iron fist forever! And go ahead...sneak one of those chocolates for yourself.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mitt Romney Signed Photo

mitt romney
Originally uploaded by Senor Velasco
After four months of waiting and eager anticipation, I finally got my Mitt Romney signed photograph! I suppose I've done enough stumping for Mitt here that it's the least he can do for me.

I wonder what the chances are that I can collect signed photos from the other 9+ presidential candidates. Let's find out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The New Amnesty Bill: A Must Read

If you need to know anything about the "immigration reform" bill being tossed around be the political cowards in Washington, know these 10 provisions. They are 100% condemning. And they amount to a major disaster - not a solution. Truly a must-read.

tacked cherry

tacked cherry
Originally uploaded by Senor Velasco.
I took this picture yesterday, and it turned out quite nicely. What do you think? Log on to flickr and let me know!

Streisand, and What People Will Pay For!

I'll always be the first to say Barbara Streisand is a sorely misguided citizen of leftist Hollywood La-la-land. That's why she'll never see a penny from my pocketbook. Nevertheless, I completely support anyone idiotic enough to pay money to see her sing. Even if the tickets cost over $1,000. Like they do in Italy:
Italian consumer groups want authorities to cancel Barbra Streisand's concert in Rome next month because of excessive ticket prices.

The ticket prices, which range from just under $200 to more than $1,200, are "absurd and shameful," the groups said in a statement Monday.
We're not talking about people going hungry here. It's Barbara Streisand. What business does any consumer group have complaining about the price of concert tickets? And what government that supports a free economy has any authority to dictate otherwise?

If the rest of Europe is anything like Italy, no thanks, you can keep it.

Jobs: Gore for President

Surprise, surprise: yet another reason to dislike Al Gore and Apple. It's like the two entities self-perpetuate their inanity. Basically, the story is:
"We have dug ourselves into a 20-foot hole, and we need somebody who knows how to build a ladder. Al's the guy," Jobs also told Newsweek. "Like many others, I have tried my best to convince him. So far, no luck."
I'm speechless. I am without speech. So I'll let these other comments from readers suffice.

Phil said on Wednesday, 23 May 2007

How can a guy as smart as Jobs back a guy as stupid as Al Gore? Al's only claim to fame since he was beat by President Bush, is polluting peoples mind with the human caused global warming scam. Perhaps Al Gore has never heard that Mars is also warming and will lose it's polar icecap. Duh!

Terry Hill said on Wednesday, 23 May 2007

I think Jobs has a loose screw in his brain if he thinks "Hoot" Al Gore would be elected President. Al, Hillary, and Barak should all run for president of some Island in the Pacific that only has room for their overstuffed egos.

Former Apple Employee said on Wednesday, 23 May 2007

I respect Steve in many ways, but his choice to have Al Gore on Apple's board is NOT one of them. Al Gore is a raving lunatic and should be in a straight jacket. Steve should stay out of politics or resign from Apple -- the two do not mix.

FredP said on Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Steve... You're out of your domain.

DJH said on Wednesday, 23 May 2007

IS this the same Al Gore who would like to completely devastate the US economy by signing the joke that is Kyoto? Even the former first philanderer wouldn't sign Kyoto, but ol' Al doesn't mind putting 2/3d of the country on unemployment due to business and factory closures as a result of Kyoto.

Or, maybe it's the same Al Gore who fielded a film chock full of inaccuracies, lies and blatant exaggerations to scare the American people into digressing lifestyles back to the stone age while he takes a caravan of 9 SUVs 500 feet from one building to the next. Is Jobs support Michael Moore or Al Gore?

BILL SCHNEIDER said on Wednesday, 23 May 2007


Amnesty Idiocy International

Okay, so Amnesty comes out and says that the War on Terrorism is divisive. But somehow it failed to mention the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children by Islamic terrorists. Condonation by omission? I suppose what they mean to say is, "As long as you allow yourself to be murdered, peace will prevail." Wait, what?

Congrats, Apollo & Julianne

Just wanted to say great job to gold medalist Apollo Anton Ohno and Utahan Julianne Hough on winning Dancing with the Stars last night. You were my faves all along!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Gore-Apple Update

A reader has kindly left a comment pointing out to me that Al Gore is on Apple's Board of Directors, and so of course he has a Mac. Now that I think about it, I remember hearing about that a while back. Either way, that fact makes Mr. Gore all the more reprehensible. Ewwww!

I did reject the comment because the reader wasn't erudite enough to avoid foul language, to which I don't care to subject others.

Why is it that attacking Macs and liberals causes their followers to fly off the handle and make personal attacks? It's like they can't handle the criticism. I'll accept criticism gladly--just don't make it foul and personal. That never solves anything.

Starcraft II: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome

I don't know a whole lot about it, but Starcraft II is in development. One of the greatest PC games of all time, in my opinion.

This screenshot speaks volumes.

I need to get me a new video card.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Gore a Mac Fan

As if I needed another reason to dislike Al Gore, here we see him in front of his Macintosh computer. He's not just a hip, caring, carbon-conscious environmentalist. He's also a hip, trendy, do-my-thinking-for-me Mac fan.

At least now we know what platforms go hand-in-hand.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Senate: Let's Put This Messy Immigration Issue Behind Us

immigration_dc 006
Originally uploaded by mattdailey.

Amid the self-congratulation the Senate is giving itself about its immigration bill compromise, appears that the claim of bipartisanship has trumped reason as well as effective legislation. Let's quote South Carolina senator Jim DeMint:
"According to reports, the bill contains a new 'Z Visa' that allows those who entered our country illegally to stay here permanently without ever returning home. This rewards people who broke the law with permanent legal status, and puts them ahead of millions of law-abiding immigrants waiting to come to America. I don't care how you try to spin it, this is amnesty."
Thank you, Senator, for calling a spade a spade.

Immigration is one of those issues that legislators wish they didn't have to deal with, because no matter your position, you're going to make a lot of people angry. What's unfortunate is that few have the cajones to take a real stand, and instead take a watered-down position and call it a glorified act of bipartisanship.

Know which presidential candidate isn't getting caught up in the sweep-the-problem-under-the-carpet routine? Yep, it's Mitt.

"I strongly oppose today's bill going through the Senate. It is the wrong approach. Any legislation that allows illegal immigrants to stay in the country indefinitely, as the new 'Z-Visa' does, is a form of amnesty. That is unfair to the millions of people who have applied to legally immigrate to the U.S.

"Today's Senate agreement falls short of the actions needed to both solve our country's illegal immigration problem and also strengthen our legal immigration system. Border security and a reliable employment verification system must be our first priority."
No other major presidential candidate has taken as strong a position on immigration reform, which is anther reason that Romney is the clear choice for '08.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Michigan Governor Granholm Disgusts Me

Michigan must raise taxes – by a LOT – or "people will die." That's the message from our ineffectual, gutless leader in Lansing. She's referring to proposed cuts to Medicaid to help balance a bloated state budget with a $700 million shortfall. It's the basest, most incendiary rhetoric in the book--and she uses it with abandon in every declaration du jour.

"Cut welfare spending, and PEOPLE WILL GO HUNGRY AND DIE."

"Cut education spending, and PEOPLE WILL BE DUMB AND DIE."

"Cut highway spending, and PEOPLE WILL HAVE ACCIDENTS AND DIE."

"Cut any form of spending whatsoever, and PEOPLE WILL DIE."

Or some variation on that theme.

So yes, let's not cut spending. Let's raise taxes. Provide incentive for people and businesses to leave the state. Shrink the economy, thereby reducing state revenue. And instigate new tax hikes to cover the shortfall.

And guess what. When that happens, PEOPLE WILL STILL DIE.

I'm disgusted.

Romney's Rise Continues

New Hampshire. Michigan. And now Iowa. Mitt Romney continues to gain ground and break into first place in the polls in key primary states. Iowa is his latest milestone as he edges out McCain. If he keeps this up, the primary elections will be a mere formality.

This from John Zogby:
It used to be conventional wisdom that the worst thing a leader could face was a knock on the door and a voice calling out ‘Mike Wallace here from 60 Minutes - I have a few questions.’ Perhaps Mitt Romney proved this past weekend that this conventional wisdom doesn’t always hold true. Overall, Romney’s surge makes this a true three–way battle on both sides of the aisle.
Miss this week's debate? See highlights from it on Mitt's website. (Scroll down for the YouTube clips.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Got The Children of Hurin

Yay, I finally got Tolkein's latest posthumous work, The Children of Hurin. Having read The Silmarilion as well as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy several times, I'm totally excited to rip into this one. As an extra treat, the book is beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee, whose Tolkein calendars I have several of.

I'm gonna like this.

The Children of Hurin

The Children of Hurin

The Children of Hurin

Volcanoes: It's Not Too Late to be Aware of Them

Did you know May is Volcano Awareness Month? Neither did I, but I think it warrants a quick post, because it's never too late to be aware of volcanoes. In fact, I propose that they rename it Volcano Appreciation Month--because few things are cooler than volcanoes, and they don't get the appreciation they deserve. Especially east of the Rockies.

I dug up a few live volcano webcam images to satisfy your inner vulcanologist.

Mt. St Helens

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Hood

Bonus: here's everything you'd want to know about my favorite volcano, Mt. Lassen in Northern California.

This month, take the time to hug your favorite volcano. You never know when the good karma will come back to you.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Romney Presidency? A Buck'll Get You Ten

I was amused to read today that has increased Romney's odds of winning the presidency to 10 to 1. So if you're looking for some easy, get-rich-quick money, you now know exactly how to bet. Congratulations, you're soon to be fabulously wealthy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I Still Hate Macs

It's been a while since I've vented about how much I hate Macs. But every day as use one at work, I ask myself, "Why can't this thing just work?"

What's my gripe today? The fact that the machine won't read a dual-layer DVD.

How long have those things been around? 10 years? Ugh.

Looks like I'll have to go scrounging around the Internet for a workaround or something. What a pain. Macs are very dissatisfying. Much like an overproduced Hollywood blockbuster that looks kinda cool, but leaves you feeling like you wasted your time and money when the show's over.

Why can't everyone just use a PC?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Praise for Romney's Debate Performance

As a follow-up to the debate, here are clips from post-debate comments, which overwhelmingly show that most pundits believe Romney won the debate.

I'm going to be lazy and just lift all the following excerpts from

CONTACT: Kevin Madden (857) 288-6390

The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan: "If we view the proceedings in vulgar and reductive Who Won, Who Lost terms, and let's, Mitt Romney won..." (Peggy Noonan, "An Incomplete Field," The Wall Street Journal," 5/4/07)

- Noonan: "The statuesque Mr. Romney had a certain good-natured command, a presidential voice, and a surprising wiliness. He seemed happy to be there, and in the mysterious way that some people seem to dominate, he dominated." (Peggy Noonan, "An Incomplete Field," The Wall Street Journal," 5/4/07)

- Noonan: "He did some light-handed and audience-pleasing Clinton bashing, and was confident on stem-cell research." (Peggy Noonan, "An Incomplete Field," The Wall Street Journal," 5/4/07)

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) stood out with clear and crisp answers - showing flashes of humor and an ease with the important issues. He sounded authoritative when he talked about Iraq (not an easy task for a one-term governor of Massachusetts) and effectively cast himself - a Mormon - as part of the broad faith community in America." (Chris Cillizza, "Debate Wrap Up," The Washington Post's The Fix,, Posted 5/3/07)

Newsweek's Howard Fineman: "I think Mitt Romney came off looking presidential..." (MSNBC's "Post Debate Analysis," 5/3/07)

National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez: "Romney showed himself to be a smart, articulate, optimistic, serious leader. If it was a first impression for anyone watching, as I imagine it might have been for anyone flipping away from The Office for a few minutes, it was a good start." (National Review Website,, Accessed 5/4/07)

Mullings' Rich Galen: "Overall I thought Romney did the best. He had command of his positions and articulated them well." (Mullings Website,, Accessed 5/4/07)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "Governor Romney was very good in talking about health care, where he knows a great deal." (Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," 5/3/07)

New York Daily News' Michael Goodwin: "Romney was very good at turning every answer into a statement of lofty, conservative principle. He spoke of family and marriage and faith and turned a question about 'what don't you like about America?' into a poetic ode to our nation. He came across as sharp and jaunty." (Michael Goodwin, "Giuliani Is Not-So-Artful Dodger," New York Daily News, 5/4/07)

The Politico 's Roger Simon: "It would be terribly irresponsible to pick a winner of Thursday night's Republican debate. So I will. I think Mitt Romney won." (Roger Simon, "Call Me Irresponsible: I Say Romney Won," The Politico, 5/3/07)

- Simon: "...Mitt Romney achieved almost everything he wanted to achieve. He looked and sounded presidential. He hit his talking points. And voters who knew nothing about him before the debate except that he was a Mormon, came away knowing a lot more." (Roger Simon, "Call Me Irresponsible: I Say Romney Won," The Politico, 5/3/07)

- Simon: "Romney was a man with a plan. He knew what points he wanted to make and he made them." (Roger Simon, "Call Me Irresponsible: I Say Romney Won," The Politico, 5/3/07)

MSNBC's Contessa Brewer: "I thought Mitt Romney came off as looking very presidential." (MSNBC's "Tucker Carlson Live," 5/4/07)

The Politico's Michael Cornfield And Alan Kelly: "Best playmaker: Mitt Romney. A fluid pace in a frenetic setting. Executive-in-charge. Avoided 'his' religion but talked about faith." (Michael Cornfield and Alan Kelly, "GOP Playmaker's Wrap-up – Our Best And Worst Awards," The Politico, 5/3/07)

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: "I'll tell you what, it looked like Mitt Romney really had a strong introduction to the Republican Party tonight." (MSNBC's "Post Debate Analysis," 5/3/07)

- Scarborough: "I'll tell you what, I got a lot of e-mails throughout this debate from Republicans, conservative Republicans across the country, they were telling me they thought Mitt Romney was the clear winner and I got to tell you Keith, that's the view from a lot of people inside of here right now." (MSNBC's "Post Debate Analysis," 5/3/07)

- Scarborough: "And this really looked like his format. ... Some people like Ronald Reagan pop at these type of debate settings. It looked like Mitt Romney pops in these type of settings." (MSNBC's "Post-Debate Analysis," 5/3/07)

- Scarborough: "You're going to find out over the next couple of days that Mitt Romney is the guy that exceeded expectations, and John McCain was a guy that didn't quite meet expectations. A lot of the Republican base may start moving to Mitt Romney. Rudy Giuliani just was a little more flat that people expected, didn't show the type of leadership that people expected him tonight. Of course this is just a debate but certain people pop in the debate, certain people don't. Tonight it was Mitt Romney who seemed to break out of the pack." (MSNBC's "Post-Debate Analysis," 3/3/07)

National Review's Jim Geraghty: "Romney had some strong answers, good humor. I'd be surprised if he didn't help himself tonight. Maybe the audience will see what attracted his fans. Clearly, this was a format he seemed at home in." (Jim Geraghty, "Jim's Summary and Wrap-Up," The Hillary Spot On National Review Online, , Posted 5/3/07)

National Journal's Marc Ambinder: "Mitt Romney is great with first impressions... He certainly seemed presidential. He flubbed no question. His knowledge was evident." (Marc Ambinder, "The Debate: Post-Spin Analysis," National Journal's On Call, , Posted 5/4/07)

The Politico's Jonathan Martin: "Mitt Romney's aides and advisers were buoyant after the forum. And for some good reason. The former Massachusetts governor, ever handsome and articulate, was poised and smooth for most of the evening. For the thousands (millions?) watching at home who were getting their first taste of Mitt, they had to come away impressed." (Jonathan Martin, "My Take," The Politico, 5/3/07)

- Martin: "When even his opponents acknowledge that he performed well, you know Romney had a pretty good night." (Jonathan Martin, "My Take," The Politico, 5/3/07)

New York Sun's Ryan Sager: "If anyone stood out from the other candidates, in terms of looking polished and poised, it was clearly Mr. Romney. He got off some of the best lines of the night... But any casual observer of the debate (were there any non-junkies watching?) would probably have to view him as head-and-shoulders above the others." (Ryan Sager, "Who Won? Who Lost?" New York Sun Politics Blog, , 5/3/07)

Dan Riehl: "Romney may be the guy who pulled it out tonight." (Dan Riehl, "McCain Can't Catch A Break," Riehl World View, , Posted 5/3/07)

John Hinderaker: "If you didn't already know how good Romney is, you would be really impressed by his performance tonight." (John Hinderaker, "Liveblogging The GOP Debate," Power Line Forum, , Posted 5/3/07)

Columnist Kathleen Parker: "And the winner is: Mitt the Good, the Perfect, the Gosh-Darned Smartest of Them All. He was substantive, concise, and humorous, if somewhat over-educated for those who haven't yet read the Cliff Notes on altered nuclear stem cells. His answer on stem-cell research showed that he has delved deeply into the issue..." (National Review Website, , Accessed 5/4/07)

Captain's Quarters' Ed Morrissey: "Who won? – Mitt Romney won this debate. He looked relaxed, answered clearly, showed real warmth and a sense of humor, and actually answered the questions asked of him – even the stupid ones, to which I'll return shortly." (Ed Morrissey, "Debate Analysis: Romney Wins," Captain's Quarters Blog,, Posted 5/3/07)

Townhall's Dean Barnett: "Mitt Romney – Romney was clearly the class of the field. I know, I'm biased, blah, blah, blah. But if you saw the debate, believe your own eyes. Romney has a command of the facts and an effective delivery that must be the envy of the field. As America gets to know him in forums like this (not that I'm hoping there will be other forums precisely like this hideous one – perish that thought), the country will come to understand why Romney has generated such excitement among insiders and people who know him." (Dean Barnett, "A Quickie Debate Recap," Hugh Hewitt, , Posted 5/3/07)

CBN's David Brody: "The debate is over and I thought Mitt Romney really came across well. He was comfortable, funny and somewhat free wheeling." (CBN Website,, Accessed 5/4/07)

National Review's Mark Hemmingway: "It's obvious now that in the first major Republican presidential debate Mitt Romney put in a very strong performance." (Mark Hemingway, "Mitt Romney Can Do Whatever The Heck He Wants," National Review, 5/4/07)

Republican Primary Debate: Romney Wins

My highly scientific and irrefutable polling and critique methods show that Romney clearly dominated last night's Republican primary debate. Why, just look at the Brucifer DataPol results below:

Not convinced. Okay, then here are a couple other less scientific polls I found on the Internet

So there you have it. Might as well have the election tomorrow.