Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Warming "Skeptics" Ranks Swell, Even As U.N. Declares Case Closed

Is it possible we're close to the critical mass of scientific opinion required to halt the pseudo-scientific elite's power grab in the name of global warming? In 2007, more than 400 prominent scientists spoke out against the specter of anthropogenic climate change. In 2008, their ranks grew to more than 650, adding their weight to the argument that man-made global warming is a myth that should definitely be busted. Some of their comments:

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” - Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical.” - Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists,” - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

“Even doubling or (tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.

“After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet.” - Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

“For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" - Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

“Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.

“Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.” - Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.

“Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense…The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning.” - Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

“CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” - Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

“The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds.” - Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata.

The sooner we stop wasting precious resources schemes like carbon cap and trade schemes, the more attention we can put toward fixing the economy and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. How is this not clear to so many millions of people? Argh.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Godspeed, Brother Wirthlin

Elder Joseph B. WirthlinFrom the LDS newsroom:

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, the oldest living apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died last night, age 91.

Elder Wirthlin had gone to bed at his Salt Lake City home, and died peacefully at about 11:30 pm of causes incident to age. His oldest daughter, Jane Wirthlin Parker, was present. A member of the family had been staying and caring for Elder Wirthlin, whose wife, Elisa Young Rogers Wirthlin, died in 2006.

He had continued to work at his office right up until the Thanksgiving holiday.

Funeral arrangements will be announced.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Today's Wisdom from Thomas Sowell

Too many people who argue that there is a beneficial role for the government to play in the economy glide swiftly from that to the conclusion that the government will in fact confine itself to playing such a role.

In the light of history, this is a faith which passeth all understanding. Even in the case of the Great Depression of the 1930s, increasing numbers of economists and historians who have looked back at that era have concluded that, on net balance, government intervention prolonged the Great Depression.

Read the entire article.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Washington Post: Ten Republicans to Watch (Including Two Mormons)

Already the political horse pickers are zeroing in on the favorites for the coming election cycle. The Washington Post listed the early Republican contenders for the political season. And 20% of the ten listed are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

From the article:

Mitt Romney: Discount the former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate at your own peril. Romney has three big things going for him: he is, by almost anyone's account, an expert on the American economy; he is incredibly ambitious and will work harder than almost anyone to make sure his voice is heard; and he has immense personal wealth and a willingness to spend it. Do his flip-flops on social issues (and his Mormonism) still make social conservatives queasy? You bet. But Romney is in the mix and will aim to stay there.

Jon Huntsman Jr.: As The Fix was waiting to meet with Huntsman on Thursday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer was touting him as a rising star in Republican politics. Nice convergence. Huntsman won re-election earlier this month with 78 percent (granted it was in ruby red Utah) and has the looks and resume -- fluent in Chinese, progressive on the environment -- that could make him appealing for a party looking desperately for a different profile. Huntsman is a Mormon, however, and, as Mitt Romney demonstrated earlier this year, that could be a major problem if he decides to run for president.

Opposition in all things? Even as the loud public sentiment of a very vocal minority lashes out against members of the church, we see Latter-day Saints with a greater capacity for political change than ever before. How it plays out could make for a very interesting story.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Election Day Ignorance


Umm, the people I hang with are certainly more informed than the people in this video are. But if Zogby is to be believed, my peers are the exception, not the rule. From Zogby:
The 12-question, multiple-choice survey found questions regarding statements linked to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin were far more likely to be answered correctly by Obama voters than questions about statements associated with Obama and Vice-President–Elect Joe Biden. The telephone survey of 512 Obama voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-15, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. The survey was commissioned by John Ziegler, author of The Death of Free Speech, producer of the recently released film "Blocking the Path to 9/11" and producer of the upcoming documentary film, Media Malpractice...How Obama Got Elected.
As Gilbert Gottfried once said, "I'm gonna have a heart attack and die from not-surprise." It's telling and ominous that modern elections are so much more about manipulating the public with style rather than making a case with substance.

Oh well. Time to go watch Dancing with the Stars.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Phoenix Lander: RIP

The Mars Phoenix Lander ended its brief but phenomenal life of exploration and investigation as it plunged deep into the frigid onslaught of the Martian winter. The sturdy lander outlasted its intended mission life by months.

The lander also embodied NASA's triumphant return to interplanetary "soft landings" enabled by jet thrusters rather than parachutes and balloons. Such touchdowns since the 1970s Viking missions have been failures.

What's next on the Martian horizon? Another rover--bigger and better than the recent Spirit and Opportunity, due to launch next year.

Learn all about the Phoenix Lander.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dr. Death for Congress

You've gotta hand it to Minnesota for having the craziest politics. They put a WWF wrestler in the governor's mansion. They almost gave lame comedian (excuse me--"satirist") Al Franken a senate seat. Al Franken! But Minnesota can't claim all the freakishness. In Michigan, no fewer than 8,928 people cast their ballot for Jack Kevorkian for House Representative. That's like doing a write-in candidate for Ted Kaczynski or OJ Simpson. I'd love to personally interview each of those voters and simply ask them, "What were you thinking?" Usually Michigan politics are just depressing. At least Dr. Death made it kinda funny this time around.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What's In A Logo?

On a recent trip to Nevada, I stumbled across a wonderful logo in a tourism brochure:

Sure, I like the rustic, cowboy-ish appeal of the font. But what I love is the breve above the a – telling us to use the short 'a' sound. Because if there's one thing that annoys Nevadans, it's some uppity East Coaster referring to their beloved wasteland as Ne-vah-da. Subtle, yet effective. At least to those who know what a breve is.

(I tried to find out who created the logo, but I couldn't get any further than the Nevada Commission on Tourism. Any tips?)

Follow the Election Results with Google Maps

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Global warming? Don't sweat it.

Here are some fun, recent news items right up Al Gore's alley.

It's cool to hate--FINALLY!

I'm sooooo glad it's cool to hate again. I've been going through withdrawal ever since it turned passe to hate Rush Limbaugh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Waterslide Commute is a Great TV Spot Idea

Check out this awesome spot:

Your browser is not able to display this multimedia content. Get QuickTime.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Orson Scott Card on Journalistic Failure

If you want an excellent article on the real culprits behind the financial meltdown, look no further than Orson Scott Card. He has written some of my favorite books (Ender's Game, Lost Boys, among others). In this piece he also holds the media accountable for abandoning journalistic standards of truth for ideological pursuit. From the article:
If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.
Give it a read. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cathedral Gorge

Just for fun, here's a photo I took on a recent trip to Nevada. It's at Cathedral Gorge State Park, near Panaca, about 3 hours north and west of Las Vegas.

cathedral gorge

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Harry "The Weasel" Reid

This is rich. Harry Reid earlier spouted off some inside information about yet another particular insurance company headed toward the brink of bankruptcy. Naturally, the markets bailed on all the major insurers, causing a huge drop to the already beleaguered stocks. Here are his comments:
"We don't have a lot of leeway on time. One of the individuals in the caucus today talked about a major insurance company. A major insurance company -- one with a name that everyone knows that's on the verge of going bankrupt. That's what this is all about." Reid said prior to the Senate's approval of the $700 billion bailout bill.
Oh, but Reid can't be held responsible for those comments. They were just "misunderstood."
"Senator Reid is not personally aware of any particular company being on the verge of bankruptcy. He has no special knowledge about [a bankruptcy] nor has he talked to any insurance company officials," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Sen. Reid, in an email to
How does he get away with this? Why his constituents don't hold him responsible for such duplicity is beyond me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mars Phoenix Lander - Next Mission: Produce Dried Grass

I love it when people misuse the word, literally. It's particularly funny when it results in a patently preposterous statement. Such as this NASA scientist, on the continuing mission of the Mars Phoenix Lander:

"We are literally trying to make hay as the sun shines," Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told reporters.

Yeah, good luck with that. Let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Criminals for Obama

It's no wonder the democrats want to bestow voting rights upon convicted felons. Here are some dudes who got their mugshots taken wearing Obama attire. Two of the three are in there for misdemeanor prostitution, the other is for drunk driving.

Is it fair to judge a candidate by the makeup of their supporters? Sure, why not?



Here's a picture of my coworker's lunch. Yum!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yay for Universal Healthcare: Scratched by a Rat = Death

Here's a fun story from Britain's Daily Express reporting on how a woman got scratched by a rat, contracting a disease in the process, resulting in her death six days later.

But here's my favorite part:
Mrs Colburn heard the rat screaming in her back garden in Brighton and immediately went out to try to rescue it. She developed flu-like symptoms and Mr Colburn called their GP.

Two days later he rang the doctor again after her skin turned yellow.

A statement read to the court said: “When the doctor arrived she was cold and clammy and jaundiced. He called 999 immediately.”
So it looks like in England, if you get sick you call your doctor, who presumably says, "Tell me if it gets any better in a couple days." When it doesn't, the doc calls 911 for you so you can be rushed to the hospital, there to die. What a great medical system! Can we have some socialized medicine, too? Please?

Kevin Gilbert Mentioned On Rush Limbaugh

So I was listening to Rush Limbaugh this afternoon. He was reading a blog post by some far-left wacko about how Sarah Palin is the devil, blah blah blah. The writer is Cintra Wilson, who, Limbaugh explained, was the girlfriend of Kevin Gilbert at the time he died. A quick glance at her website gives you an idea of who we're dealing with. But one thing she and I agree on: the genius of Kevin Gilbert:
He was the most talented human being I ever knew. A bloody musical genius. Picked up a cello one day and just started playing it. He was quite famous in some musical circles for writing and performing a lot of deeply personal rock songs with a lot of wordy lyrics and massive integrity. He never had the raging commercial success as a musical genius that he so richly deserved, despite the fact that he'd won a Grammy.
Thanks, Rush, for providing little much-deserved exposure for the dead Kevin Gilbert. And thanks, Cintra, for blathering loudly and crassly enough for Limbaugh to comment on it.

Sample one of Kevin Gilbert's excellent songs below.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Poop! Poop!

In reading a Thomas Book to my three-year-old, I had to pause and chuckle at the fact that even steam engines can't hold it forever.
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Lindsay Lohan Helps Sarah Palin by Denouncing Her

If Sarah Palin ever needed an endorsement, she just received it--in the form of condemnation from Lindsay Lohan.
"Is it a sin to be gay? Should it be a sin to be straight? Or to use birth control? Or to have sex before marriage? Or even to have a child out of wedlock? Is our country so divided that the Republicans best hope is a narrow minded, media obsessed homophobe?"
This is rich on so many levels. She has no clue as to whether premarital or homosexual sex is a sin. She can't fathom how someone who understands the most basic moral values isn't necessarily a hater or a narrow-minded reactionist.

Apparently Lindsay's world view revolves around sex and sex-related issues. Personally, I find it hard to fathom how someone can retain their humanity without any solid moral code to rely on.

Anyway, thanks Lindsay. You've probably just helped a few voters cross over to the McCain-Palin side.

'Tis the Season of Hyperbole

Don't you love how during election season the opponent suddenly becomes the most [something something] in the history of the world? For example, Politico reports:

Sen. Barack Obama's national press secretary, Bill Burton, accused Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) of "cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history."

Other examples:
"The Bush administration is one of the most corrupt administrations in history."

"McCain, the so-called straight-talker, has run one of the dirtiest and meanest presidential campaigns in history."

"Isn't this the most marvelous running mate in the history of this nation?" asked McCain, when he finally got a turn at the microphone."

"It is clear that Mr. McCain is one of the most private individuals to run for president in history."
This rampant overuse of hyperbole devalues the effectiveness of the words. Just like drug dependency, it results in a supposed need to increase the rhetoric and hyperbole over time to have a comparable effect. For a copywriter like myself, where space is at a premium, and saying the most with the fewest words is critical, this trend is particularly annoying. Thankfully, this sort of thing peaks only once every four years.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin Blew It

Okay, I haven't listened to the entire Sarah Palin interview by ABC's Charles Gibson. But what I heard in the first installment was rather disappointing. Here's a woman who comes out of nowhere, apparently espousing virtues that resonate with me and a whole lot of other people. Then when she sits down to interview, she provides nothing but talking points and soundbites.

I guess what irked me the most was her answer to Gibson's question on climate change:
Regardless, though, of the reason for climate change, whether it's entirely, wholly caused by man's activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet – the warming and the cooling trends – regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it...
Might as well say, "I don't understand it. Maybe there's and issue here, maybe not. But we have to do something about it, right?" I'm surprised she didn't throw in a plea to help the children for good measure. I wish politicians would stop kowtowing to environmental political correctness. Just call a spade a spade, or in this case, call man-made climate change a hoax, and say we have to focus instead on adapting to our evolving environment, rather than try to bend the planet to our will.

Then she completely blundered the question on the Bush Doctrine. Okay, so she has some reading up to do. Who wouldn't? But you don't bluff your way through a question you don't understand. You admit you're not familiar with the term, get an explanation and move on.

I'm done ranting now. I just hope she does better in a debate.


Apparently, neither Palin nor Gibson clearly understood exactly what the Bush Doctrine is. Charles Krauthammer, the likely coiner of the phrase back in 2001, says in the Washington Post:
Presidential doctrines are inherently malleable and difficult to define. The only fixed "doctrines" in American history are the Monroe and the Truman doctrines which come out of single presidential statements during administrations where there were few other contradictory or conflicting foreign policy crosscurrents.

Such is not the case with the Bush doctrine.

Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.

Congressional Republicans Gaining Advantage?

This was supposed to be the election where Republicans are swept under the carpet upon which they've been prostrate for the past two years. But suddenly the 2008 elections – heavily favoring Democrats in terms of open seats and vulnerable precincts – are competitive again. Whether the excitement surrounding the McCain-Palin ticket is translating into Republican voter activism, or the Democrats' vision shows a complete lack of connection to real people dealing with real issues, polls indicate a virtual congressional tie, sure to make Democrats think twice about what they thought was a sure-fire victory in November.

Says Gallup,
Republicans, who are now much more enthused about the 2008 election than they were prior to the convention, show heightened interest in voting, and thus outscore Democrats in apparent likelihood to vote in November. As a result, Republican candidates now lead Democratic candidates among likely voters by 5 percentage points, 50% to 45%.
If trends hold, it's even possible that Republicans could win back both Houses of Congress. And what would be the reaction of the left? Utter bewilderment. And what they don't understand will definitely continue to hurt them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book of Mormon: More Than 140 Million Served

Somewhere recently, someone received the 140 millionth printed copy of the Book of Mormon. Okay, so it may not be the most printed book in the history of mankind, but it's certainly made a splash in its 178 years of publication. From ABC News:
The Book of Mormon 1830 This collection of revelations, given to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni, launched the country's biggest homegrown religion. Today, Mormonism has eleven million followers around the world; in the United States alone, its adherents outnumber Episcopalians or Presbyterians. The book provides the theological underpinnings for one of the world's most vibrant religions.
Personally, I have read it many times, but study of the book is a lifelong pursuit – especially when studied side-by-side with the Bible. The clarity and divinity of the Gospel of Jesus becomes so self-evident that the impact of this book on the world at large – and my life in particular – is hardly surprising.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Detroit Mayor Is Earning More Street Cred

Translation: Kwame Kilpatrick, the ultimate poster boy of civic corruption and above-the-law attitude, is in jail.

One too many times he flouted the terms of his bail by leaving the country (across the river in Windsor, Ontario). The judge has ordered him back to jail until he either posts his full $75,000 bond or his attorneys somehow convince the judge to release him.

Why couldn't this have happened a couple days ago, on the eve of his corrupt mother's re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives? She barely squeaked by as it was, and this would surely have pushed her support too low for her to recover. Ah, well. We in Michigan take what good news we can get.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Must-Read: Obama, the postmodernist

It's a rare article that hits the nail on the head so squarely that I just have to stand back in awe of the achievement. Here's such an article, by Jonah Goldberg in USA Today.

It's all about "Obama, the postmodernist." And it reveals Obama's "it's true because I say it is" approach to addressing innumerable issues. You really must read this article in its entirety. I've never seen a campaign summed up quite so well.

A couple snippets:

"Asked to define sin, Barack Obama replied that sin is "being out of alignment with my values." Statements such as this have caused many people to wonder whether Obama has a God complex or is hopelessly arrogant. For the record, sin isn't being out of alignment with your own values (if it were, Hannibal Lecter wouldn't be a sinner because his values hold that it's OK to eat people) nor is it being out of alignment with Obama's — unless he really is our Savior."

"On the troop surge, Obama's position has changed countless times, but he says it's unchanged. Worse, he has this grating habit of prefacing his new positions with something like "as I said at the time." But he didn't say "it" at the time, he said the opposite of "it." But saying that he said "it" is, to him, the same as having said "it.""
Okay, those clips don't give it justice. Just read it for yourself.

Wear Brucifer!

By popular demand, the official Brucifer t-shirt is now available for purchase in white, white and "hint of lint." Buy one today!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama Elicits the First Race-Baiting Comment

Of course Barack Obama is the first to fire a racially-charged shot at the McCain camp.
"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," Obama said. "You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
"Bush and McCain" haven't said anything of the sort. Obama is saying that's what they will do. So he's preemptively condemning them for using race to scare off Obama votes, something they haven't come close to doing. So much for the high road, Obama.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Global Warming Now Imperils...Saturn

I love astronomy news. Every new discovery and mission is like the convergence of fact and science fiction.

The latest news from Titan (Saturn's biggest moon) is no different. NASA has confirmed with the Cassini probe the presence of large liquid lakes on the surface. Titan is the only body (after Earth) in the solar system to have such a feature, and it's made mostly of liquid hydrocarbons and ethane.

But alas, mankind must be endangering these pristine lakes, as global warming seems to have infected Titan:

The observations also suggest the lake is evaporating. It is ringed by a dark beach, where the black lake merges with the bright shoreline.

Book your Titan vacations now, before it's too late to enjoy the frigid, natural beauty of these incredible lakes.

Manilla Police Powered by Grease

Why is it that all the really cool, common sense ideas come from places like the Philippines? The police department there has turned from from government pork to McDonald's grease to fuel its police fleet. From the article,

One police car has been converted to use the diesel/cooking oil mixture and is already in use, and the government is studying how viable it is to convert more vehicles.

"It's a win-win situation for us because we will both benefit," Cruz said. "The cooking oil of their Makati stores will be re-used and the Makati police will use it as a component for their biodiesel and also save money."

They forgot about the other "win" - where McDonald's scores a cheap PR triumph, getting its name in the news and its logo (possibly) plastered all over the patrol cars it fuels. Of course, the environment couldn't care less.

For obvious reasons, I think police forces here should follow suit. Besides, who doesn't like the smell of a tasty barbecue as a consolation prize for getting pulled over?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Obligatory Cat Pictures

A cat has to be the easiest living subject to take a photo of. As in any other situation, the cat just sits there not caring. Much simpler than trying to get a good picture of a two-year-old or a campfire. Especially when the smoke gets in your eyes. Ouch!

Anyway, here's our new kitten, Ozwald. Secretly, his full name is Ozymandias, but he's not the pretentious type, so we just call him Oz or Ozzie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Just How Fun is "Fun Size"?

On the way to my office today, I passed a candy bowl at the front desk and snagged a Fun Size Milky Way. And it blew me away how small it was. Check it out:

Seriously--this thing was no longer than a paperclip, and not much wider than one, either. I think their naming department needs a different name for that size, because eating one of those is not very fun. Maybe something more along the lines of "Milky Way Nano."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What lies around the bend...

Originally uploaded by Senor Velasco
Taken during a visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Going to Publish God's Moral Code? That's a Lawsuit

Leave it to Michigan courts to hear a case about some dude who's suing a Bible publisher for causing mental anguish. To the tune of $60 million.
Fowler is seeking $60 million from Zondervan, alleging their Bibles refer to homosexuality as a sin have made him an outcast from his family and contributed to physical discomfort and periods of "demoralization, chaos and bewilderment."
What's also interesting is that Mr. Fowler isn't referring to current editions of the New King James Bible, but editions published in the 1980s, which have since been edited to remove the hurtful concepts. Fowler:

"This misrepresentation is a willful and deliberate tort. Fraudulently imposing a written defamation or libel in order to prevent me from marrying someone of the same sex in this state," his lawsuit states. "This obvious coerced method of mind control and social dictatorship violates the religious [sacred] laws which prevent anyone from adding to the Biblical scriptures or from taking any words away from the text."

Interestingly, it appears that both the plaintiff and defendant deny the divine and irrevocable decree that God's laws cannot be simply amended to accommodate our own transient partialities.

Apparently the biggest sin of all is to proclaim moral standards that may induce feelings of guilt.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Play Jelly Battle!

The game of Jelly Battle has been around for a while, but it's still just as addictive as ever. Try it out--it never gets old. I've leveled of at Major rank...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

China is Evil, Part XXIX - and so is McDonald's, by Association

I like to follow a blog called The Raw Feed, mainly for its tech-related articles and common-sense advice. It also regularly offers a candid view of the many evils of China, which most media outlets choose to ignore.

This post is excellent, and I'll paste it here in its entirety. Thanks, Mike Elgan.

Shamelessly pandering to Chinese nationalism, the McDonald's corporation has chosen a slogan for a massive marketing campaign within China: "Wo jiu xihuan Zhongguo ying," which roughly translates as, "I LOVE IT WHEN CHINA WINS." This campaign is objectionable for 3 reasons:

1. There's a difference between national pride and nationalism; this slogan flat-out panders to the worse elements of Chinese nationalism, which is a weird emotion to exploit in order to sell junk food.

2. Everyone in China understands that goal #1 during the Olympics is to beat the United States in the medal count for the first time ever. That's a perfectly reasonable goal for the Chinese, but an odd goal for an American corporation.

3. Olympic competition between China and Western countries is in reality a competition between two approaches to the organization of athletic excellence. In the U.S., Japan, Europe, and elsewhere, athletes are amateurs who work day jobs, and do their sport out of love for the game. In China, children showing athletic promise are taken from their parents and placed into grueling training camps where they are forged into world-class athletes at the expense of their childhoods, families and, often, their futures. If athletes want to quit, they and their families are threatened with not being able to find work or worse. Read more about it here. By bolding saying that they want China to win, McDonald's is in fact advocating the Chinese system of Communist Party-enforced, work-camp style training over the voluntary for-the-love-of-sport approach in the West.
Why is McDonald's doing this? It's obvious: They want to sell junk food to China by pandering to nationalist feelings. But once this gets out, how will the knowledge that McDonald's "loves it when China wins" affect nationalist feeling here in the United States?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Courtesy of my daughter, Age 5.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Album Review: A Gentleman's Hurricane by Mind's Eye

Take the best of Symphony X, Queensrÿche and maybe a dash of Pain of Salvation, and you have my favorite album of 2007. (I discovered it in 2008.)


The perfect concoction of progressive rock, metal and melody, A Gentleman's Hurricane is one of those rare works that keeps the ear entertained with complex structure, and that penetrates the mind with catchy riffs and melodies. Virtuosity isn't the focus here, though the musicianship provides excellent support to the structure, incorporating an appealing balance of guitar, keyboards, vocals and drums. The music is rife with vocal harmonies that give the album a level of depth that's rarely achieved in the genre.

The album holds true to its prog identity as it follows a story concept. The story is rather hackneyed, and the lyrics can be quite cliche (even hokey at times). This is easy to overlook, however, given the outstanding high quality of the music. In fact, it's often difficult to pay attention to the lyrics with so many other wonderful elements to listen to.

Each and every track is a masterpiece on its own, but the most exceptional of these include: Seven Days, AssassiNation, Chaos Unleashed, the radio-friendly Feed My Revolver and Pandora's Musical Box.

Learn more about the album and group over at Prog Archives.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wall Street Journal: Yellow Science

I came across an excellent article in the WSJ about how just as newspaper tycoons Hearst and Pulitzer traded in methods of journalistic integrity to generate greater revenue, so have many scientists today abandoned scientific integrity in order to create greater interest and cash flow--in the area of global warming, of course.

From the article,

...Over the past several decades an increasing number of scientists have shed the restraints imposed by the scientific method and begun to proclaim the truth of man-made global warming. This is a hypothesis that remains untested, makes no predictions that can be tested in the near future, and cannot offer a numerical explanation for the limited evidence to which it clings. No equations have been shown to explain the relationship between fossil-fuel emission and global temperature. The only predictions that have been made are apocalyptic, so the hypothesis has to be accepted before it can be tested.

If yellow science overcomes real science it will not only be on account of the greed, ambition, and cowardice of our scientists but also the sloth and cowardice of a public that is unwilling to stand up and demand professionalism. This is why, as the editors of the New York Press said in 1897, I "called them yellow because they are yellow."
Read the article in its entirety.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Robert Plant is Cool. Alison Krauss is Prim.

Last night we went to the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss concert in Detroit. What phenomenal show. On their album Raising Sand, their separately disparate sounding voices blend into haunting, beautiful, effortless harmonies. On stage, they sounded just as good.

Plant was the essence of groovy cool. Wearing a baggy button-up shirt over brown pants, his appearance could be summed up in one word: moobs. He took a rather free-form approach to his mellow movements across the stage, and looked like he was having a great time. Krauss stood out in stark contrast, wearing a more formal fitted waistcoat, and limiting most of her movements to her mouth and her arms (for the fiddle-playing). Krauss is clearly the more accomplished vocalist, but Plant's presence was decidedly key.

While all the music was excellent, my favorite highlight was Krauss' rendition of Down to the River to Pray, with Plant singing in the backup trio.

It was clear that at least 60% of the audience were predominantly Robert Plant fans. Quite a few were brandishing t-shirts from his concerts in ages past.

I think I'll pick up some more Robert Plant and Alison Krauss music. Outside of Raising Sand, I'm pretty ignorant of both.

Check out the few crappy photos I got.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My Hypermiling Experiment

So a few weeks ago I read about 'hypermiling,'
a method of increasing your car's gas mileage by making skillful changes in the way you drive, allowing you to save gas and thereby have an easier time withstanding the rising oil and gas prices.
My car is a 1999 Ford Escort, which, according to, is designed to get 28 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined.

Long story short, over past week I've done my best to use hypermiling techniques. Today when I filled up, I discovered that I had achieved 42 mpg! Not bad, considering that about half of my commute is city driving. At $4/gallon, that drops my per-mile cost from $0.125 to $0.095. A whopping 24% cost savings. (Can someone double-check my math, please?)

Has anyone else had any experiences with hypermiling?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today's Photo

spring swing

Nothing says, "Hello, Spring" quite like a smiling little girl with a flower hat.

Google Likes This Blog

Readership of this blog has skyrocketed to somewhere around four unique visits per day. That must be why Google has decided to put it at the top of the search results for 'Brucifer.' Go ahead: Google 'Brucifer' and see what I mean. Isn't that fabulous?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

10 Tips for a Greener You

You know about changing your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent ones. Turning down your air conditioning at night. Driving a fuel efficient vehicle. All the things to help reduce your carbon footprint and feel better about yourself. But did you know there are lots of other little things you can do to make the world a greener place? Here are 10 of them.

1) Take the stairs. Each 10-floor elevator ride produces roughly 35 lbs. of carbon dioxide. Over the course of a year, that adds up to over 25 tons of CO2.

2) Exercise less. All that walking (or running, or benching, or stair climbing) you're doing is polluting the air with 5 lbs of CO2 per half-hour workout. The more oxygen you need, the more CO2 you're putting out. A yearly exercise regimen can easily exceed a ton of greenhouse gas.

3) Eat fewer raw vegetables. Did you know that the average human passes gas equivalent to 1.25 lbs of carbon dioxide per year? Change your diet of fresh vegetables in favor of processed meats and white bread, and you could produce flatus equaling as little as half a pound per year.

4) Clear forests to plant more trees. Wood is an excellent way to "lock in" carbon for long-term storage. If you have forested property, you should clear-cut all the trees, then store them in a cool, dry space for maximum carbon retention. Meanwhile, plant new trees in their place to soak up additional carbon. Wait 20 years. Repeat.

5) Limit your activism. The average American activist event produces 25 tons of carbon dioxide. Regardless of your political affiliation or issue, limit your activity to the walls of your home. Have a big conference call or web chat. Write letters to your senators. No matter the subject, you can be sure that it will be nicely tinged with green.

6) Hold in your sneezes. Surprisingly, a sneeze produces three times the CO2 as a typical breath does. Simply remembering to plug your nose and keeping that sneeze on the inside will significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

7) Wear white. Dark clothes attract the heat of the sun, and act as a super-magnet for heat. While your black turtleneck can help you make that perfect tragically hip statement, think of what it's doing to the environment. Switch to white. Your conscience will thank you.

8) Grow algae. Studies have shown that algae-infested waters capture fifteen times more CO2 than clear waters. If you have water on your property, or own a pool, let the algae take over. The desire for beauty and cleanliness doesn't justify eliminating our green, carbon-friendly ally.

9) Avoid gardening. You might think that back yard gardening is one of the greenest things you can do. But you'd be wrong. Mulching, tilling and plowing all release massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Some of that CO2 is recaptured in the form of grown vegetables, but those vegetables, once consumed, revert to a deplorable CO2 producing state, leaving your carbon deficit greater than it was before. Better to leave the food production to the big farmers that know how to be environmentally friendly.

10) Pass this information along. Just think. If everyone followed these few simple rules, global warming would be a thing of the past. Do your part, and let all your friends know about this simple list of ways to be greener.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Phoenix Has Landed

I love reading new stories about science and technology accomplishing the seemingly impossible. Earlier this year it was shooting down a falling satellite. Today it's the Mars Phoenix Lander touching down in the northern reaches of Mars. From the story,
Landing on Mars is a notoriously tricky business. There has been about a 50% failure rate on all Mars missions since Russia launched the first one in 1960.

Phoenix is an apt name for the current mission, as it rose from the ashes of two previous failures.

In September 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft crashed into the Red Planet following a navigation error caused when technicians mixed up "English" (imperial) and metric units.

A few months later, another Nasa spacecraft, the Mars Polar Lander (MPL), was lost near the planet's South Pole.

The last time a Mars probe landed using its thrusters ("soft landing") was in 1976.

There's little that's more exciting than finding out new information about the final frontier.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Gooch and I

The season finale of Dancing with the Stars is slated to be the most predictable in years. Kristi Yamaguchi is going to run away with it. She enters the fan voting period with a commanding 8-point lead in judges' scores (a perfect 60 for 60).

If that isn't enough, having me as her partner is sure to put her over the top.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Doesn't the U.N. have anything better to do?

Seriously. The council of clowns has decided to take a break from writing strongly-worded letters to oppressive dictatorships in order to investigate racism in the United States. Apparently they have an expert on staff, one Doudou Diene, who can sniff out a racist from a mile away.

Government policies in this country are already so lopsidedly in favor of minorities that, if this were a serious venture, Mr. Diene would recommend the abolition of every law overcompensating for institutionalized majority guilt for policies past.

While he's at it, he might as well do a thorough assessment of our Judeo-Christian value system and how it disenfranchises those who eschew any moral accountability.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Flowers for Mothers Day

For all you mothers out there, I shot some nice flowers for you.
Happy Mothers Day!


Friday, May 09, 2008

Playing the Ag Card

Pundits everywhere are saying that the age of America's clout on the international stage is just about over. And most evidence suggests that it's true. The Fed has gutted the dollar. Iraq has our military stretched way too thin. China pirates and replicates our technology even as it's developed. Our national debt continues to soar. The blight of illegal immigration increasingly stifles the economy. And the American lifestyle is characterized by living on credit – and those debts must be paid, sooner or later.

But there's one area in which America still dominates the world: food production. Here's a list of the world's top ten ag exporters:

World Top 10
Agriculture Exporters

Country In Million Dollars
United States 42,826
France 24,262
Netherlands 19,780
Germany 13,842
United Kingdom 11,613
Canada 10,107
Australia 9,824
Italy 9,446
Belgium 9,013
Spain 6,621

The U.S. accounts for 27% of world food exports! The oil-exporting Arab countries are net food importers. China is on the verge of becoming one as well. If push ever comes to shove, that's some serious leverage right there. Maybe the economic equivalent of the 'red button.' Unfortunately, all the influential pinheads would proclaim that playing the 'food card' is inhumane and deplorable.

Personally, I say we start pushing our agricultural weight around, sticking our adversaries with higher prices for our commodities. Interestingly, the Cult of Global Warming may be accomplishing this very feat as it drives up U.S food prices. Let's have the government impose a stiff tariff against those who aren't behaving nicely towards us. That would not only give them incentive to cooperate, but also possibly ease rising food prices at home.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reflections of Christ

I was forwarded me this beautiful slide show featuring photos from an exhibit entitled, "Reflections of Christ."

From the website,
The Reflections of Christ photography exhibit is a collaborative effort on many peoples part to teach about Jesus. The primary goal of the project was to create photographs that could cast new light on our perceptions of Christ. I hope that through the words and actions of our cast, crew, and me I guess, that the reader will be aware of how we feel about Jesus.
The photography exhibit is currently on display at the visitor center at the LDS (Mormon) temple in Mesa, Arizona.


I stumbled across an excellent review of the exhibit. Here's an excerpt.
As I think of the many exhibits of art and photography I've enjoyed over the years, exhibits that brought tears from viewers have been rare. Tuesday night was one of those rare and dramatic moments. How fortunate I was to be in Arizona this week, with just barely enough free time on Tuesday night to dash over to the Mesa Temple and see "Reflections of Christ."

As I walked through the gallery again, the message delivered by this majestic work of art was stronger than ever: Jesus Christ is real! He is real, as real and as tangible as any of the people in these realistic photos. His love is real, His triumph over death His real, His grace is real. And each of us will one day stand before Him, kneel before Him, and recognize Him as our Lord. When that moment comes, we will either recognize Him as our Lord whom we have sought to serve and already know, or as a stranger who was far from the thoughts and intents of our hearts. May it be the former! But in either case, we will see that He is real, more real than any scene in any photograph. So why wait? Why wait for reality to surprise us when we can accept it now - accept Him now - and prepare for that wonderful day when we are united with the Lord, our true and very real Friend and Savior.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quote of the Day

Most people on the right have no problem understanding people on the left because many, if not most, were on the left themselves when they were younger. But many, if not most, people on the left find it inexplicable how any decent and intelligent person could be on the right.
- Thomas Sowell

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Detroit Public School Graduates are Scarce

When you look at the latest batch of native Detroiters, it's no wonder the city is in such a huge mess. Latest of many cases in point: Detroit schools rank last in graduation rate.

Having graduated from a decidedly average California high school, I'm guessing that maybe 5% of my class didn't make it. In Detroit? That number is nearly 70%.

That makes the remaining 30% the best and brightest of the city. The leaders. The councilmembers. The movers and shakers. The next hip-hop mayor.

The future looks bleak for Detroit. And the ailing auto industry is the least of its worries.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ha! Apple Loses in Hacking Competition

It looks like OS X was compromised in two minutes in a hacking competition, appearing much less secure than Windows Vista.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mitt Romney is Back in the News

Drudge is positing the possibility of a McCain-Romney ticket, citing the fact that the two former foes are now teaming up to promote McCain's run in the general election. Of course, it's all just speculation, but it would certainly put Romney in a prime spot to run again in 2012 (assuming the future 76-year-old McCain doesn't cares to be in office at age 80!) Either way, Romney as vice president would certainly bolster the Republican ticket, especially in the fact of an imploding economy. This could be very interesting.

The Economy: You Reap What You Sow

The credit collapse: How could anyone NOT see it coming? For decades hundreds of millions of Americans have sold their future for immediate luxuries - in the form of home equity loans, credit card debt and adjustable rate mortgages. Of course, shortsighted companies took advantage of consumers' stupidity in exchange for a quick buck. I think it all goes back to the "me-me-me, now-now-now" attitude of the baby boomer generation.

Prophetic were the lyrics of a 1990s Kevin Gilbert song:
"The baby boomers had it all, and wasted everything.
Now recess is almost over, and they won't get off the swing."
Well, recess is certainly over, and those who cashed in their financial future are simply reaping their own noxious harvest.

Also timely was the counsel of LDS Apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin:
“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” (May, 2004).
My family is one of very modest means, but we've managed to avoid the pitfalls of deficit spending. Sure, we don't have a giant flat-screen TV, we drive a couple crappy sedans and our home isn't exactly dinner party material. But still, we have zero debt (excepting a standard mortgage). So I'm not really missing those extraneous niceties at this point.

Brucifer Music Review: Hear in the Now Frontier by Queensryche

Check out my review on Prog Archives!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brucifer Music Review: 01011001 by Ayreon

Check out my review on Prog Archives!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ben Stein's New Movie Looks Very Cool

By the looks of the trailer, this could be a movie I'd truly enjoy.

From the movie's website:
The American public’s awareness and beliefs vis-à-vis our government’s expanding role in defining the curriculum in America’s schools, universities and institutions of science.

Neo-Darwinian theory contends that life is the result of a random, purposeless process.

Neo – Darwinian theory is taught in schools as if it is the only plausible scientific explanation of how life originated and developed. Yet Intelligent Design theory has recently emerged to challenge neo-Darwinian theory.

Both are scientific theories, and the debate is therefore legitimate. Why is the debate being suppressed?

At stake are two very consequential views of existence: Is life purposeful, and intelligently designed? Or is it random and purposeless?

“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” presents a point-of-view so powerful, that it
literally forces a re-examination of these issues.

“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” looks to scientists on both sides of the issue…and reveals some truly shocking answers.
Expelled opens April 18th. Check to see where it's playing near you.

Long Live Hip-Hop

America's first Hip-Hop Mayor has certainly lived up to the title in his six years in office. I'm not going to list the countless escapades of collusion, nepotism, murder, corruption, sex and infidelity associated with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's administration, but just express my disgust toward the man and the people who knew they were electing a thug in the first place. Yesterday he was charged with eight felony counts including perjury under oath, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, etc., etc. Here's his mug shot.

The woman is Christine Beatty, hip-hop mayor', I won't use the hip-hop terminology. But the word landed Don Imus in hot water.

And what does our lovely liberal governor have to say about the whole situation? Nothing, of course.