Reasonable Nuts

Sometimes nuts. Always reasonable. We are REASONABLE NUTS.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Big Government

Most encouraging thing I've seen all day:

Private blimps being constructed that could revolutionize travel and commuting

Most discouraging thing I've seen all day:

No one can buy one, fly one, or even invest in one

Can you buy in our blimps?

No, the FAA won't let us sell you one.

Can you let us fly in your blimp to try it out?

No, the FAA won't let us fly you around in one?

Can we put up capital to fund the project?

Maybe, but only if you meet some byzantine standard of being an "accrediated investor" set by the SCC


Thank you for not letting us hurt ourselves, sirs.

___________

UPDATE: Another baby step towards personal flight

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day - 12/23/2006

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week is

Moneyball

[R]eal statistical analysis has shown that on base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive success and that avoiding an out is more important than getting a hit. Every on-field play can be evaluated in terms of expected runs contributed. For example, a strike on the first pitch of an at-bat may be worth - 0.05 runs. This flies in the face of conventional baseball wisdom and the beliefs of many of the men who are paid large sums to evaluate talent.

By re-evaluating the strategies that produce wins on the field, the Athletics, with approximately $71 million in salary, are competitive with the New York Yankees who spend over $207 million (in 2005/2006) annually on their players. Oakland is forced to find players undervalued by the market, and their system for finding value in undervalued players has proven itself thus far.


Most intriguing is the reference to Kevin Youklis as "The Greek God of Walks". The strategy of recruiting workhorses and not showhorses has spread to other sectors of the economy, such as law schools.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Virginiana - 12/18/2006: The Jiffy-Pop Building











Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week--12/17/2006

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week is

McMansion

The term "parachute home" refers to the perceived disregard for regional and immediate site considerations (as if the home had just been dropped from the sky).


Do you know how to tell when housing is outrageously priced?

When a DC Area "faux chateau" is priced about as high as a real chateau in the heart of old Europe.

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here."

Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here.

OMG - this is just more very unfortunate fodder

for my belief that our representatives in the Federal Government are woefully unqualified to represent us:

... like a number of his colleagues and top counterterrorism officials that I’ve interviewed over the past several months, Reyes can’t answer some fundamental questions about the powerful forces arrayed against us in the Middle East.

It begs the question, of course: How can the Intelligence Committee do effective oversight of U.S. spy agencies when its leaders don’t know basics about the battlefield?
The author goes on to expose some disturbingly wide holes in geopolitical understanding from representatives of both parties. Yeah, I know - these positions are generally political appointments and that such positions typically convey a staff which is charged with knowing such "trivial" matters. The staff then supposedly informs the appointee on a need to know basis - supposedly also in advance of the need to know. The problem with this is obvious (I hope): leaders lead by example. A leader who doesn't know the basics is not a leader at all.

Which reminds me of my favorite of the Demotivator poster series: (image of soaring eagle) "Leaders are like eagles. We don't have either of them here."

[cross-posted at TIFI]

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week - 12/10/2006

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week is

Double-Slit Experiment

If either slit is covered, the individual photons hitting the screen, over time, create a pattern with a single peak. But if both slits are left open, the pattern of photons hitting the screen, over time, again becomes a series of light and dark fringes. This result seems to both confirm and contradict the wave theory. On the one hand, the interference pattern confirms that light still behaves much like a wave, even though we send it one particle at a time. On the other hand, each time a photon with a certain energy is emitted, the screen detects a photon with the same energy. Under the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum theory, an individual photon is seen as passing through both slits at once, and interfering with itself, producing the interference pattern.

A remarkable result follows from a variation of the double-slit experiment, in which detectors are placed in each of the two slits, in an attempt to determine which slit the photon passes through on its way to the screen. Placing a detector even in just one of the slits will result in the disappearance of the interference pattern.


A cynic would say that the detector itself is doing something to the photons, rather than the conscious observation of the photons' paths, i.e. there's a testing flaw. But that begs the question of what the detector is doing to breakdown the probability wave of the proton. Something is making these protons choose to behave as a particle going through one slit instead of as a wave going through both. Creepy.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Best and Worst Christmas Songs Ever

Happy Christmas (War is Over)

Wonderful Christmas Time

Despite their creative differences, John and Paul had one thing in common: They could both write Christmas music that can bring a grown man to tears.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Overheard in Conversation - 12.6.06

He became moody; often passed his friendly without apparently recognizing them, and when he spoke at all, it would often be in monosyllables. When spoken to on even trivial subject, he would often say “hush, they will hear you; the mountains are full of telephones,” and make other like incoherent remakes. He would say there were “haunts,” and often said he could see stars when none were visible. He believed that engines had been put under his house by negroes, with which to blow him up; that robbers armed with pistols were concealed in the year, and that his life was in danger from them. On one occasion, he fastened a red ribbon to the sign at the store of Ferguson and Gambill, in Big Lick, which he declared was his flag, and that he intended to defend it.


Fishburne and Wife v. Ferguson's Heirs, 84 Va. 87, 4 S.E. 575 (1887)(Suit to rescind deed on the grounds of incapacity and undue influence)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The "ACLU Solstice Barn"


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Read about this PC setup here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week--12/2/06

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Week is

The Golden Ratio