Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sounds Heard In The Sea

There is a very cool web site out there dealing with Sounds Heard In The Sea.

When I was in Grad School, I had to take 2 semesters of underwater acoustics. The first semester was OK but the second semester we learned how to use mathematical algorithms to steer a sound beam. I got so sick of Chebyshev Polynomials I almost gagged. But this web site is a great introduction and has sound samples. Enjoy

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mary's Price

Harry Reid: “Mary, would you vote for the bill for $300 million?”
Mary Landrieu: “Well, I’d certainly have to think about it, Harry.”
Harry Reid: “Would you vote for the bill for $100 million?”
May Landrieu: “Harry, certainly not, what kind of Senator do you think I am?”
Harry Reid: “We’ve already established that. We are merely negotiating the price.”

(Apologies to George Bernard Shaw or Winston Churchill, who are both credited with this dialog.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shooting Skeet

I received this note in response to the video:

"In my Alabama National Guard days I trained as a gunner on M-42 tanks. Target practice was shooting at metal sleeves pulled by remote controlled aircraft. We had a ball. One day there were 30 tanks lined up on the firing line but only one battery (5 tanks) firing at a time. Range control knew those farm boys in my battery were good so didn't give us permission to fire until the other batteries had two firing sessions each. None of them touched the target. When they finally gave our battery fire permission the first tank took out the target sleeve immediately after it came in range. One of the other 4 tank crews being pissed at not getting even one shot took out the plane. It crashed into the woods starting a fire and we had to fight fire the rest of the day. The next day we didn't get to fire at all for punishment for taking out the drone."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old

Glenfiddich is Gaelic for Valley of the Deer. It is a Highland Single Malt where the distillery, located NW of Aberdeen, has been in business since 1886. The 18 year old version is aged in Spanish Oloroso and American Oak.

Color: bronze, coppery
Nose: estery
Palate: intense, somewhat abrasive initially
Body: silky, light texture
Finish: short and drying

I like Glenfiddich. It is easy to find. Most restaurants will carry it thinking they are showing customers that they have some unique scotches in their bar. But the 18 year old is probably a good example of older isn't necessarily better when it comes to scotch. I have had some 10 and 12 year olds that I prefer to their older brothers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ObamaCare Preview

The recent recommendations concerning mammograms by the US Preventative Services Task Force (who??) is sending shock waves through the population. What you have just seen is a preview of health care under Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

The USPSTF was formed in 1984 to "evaluate the benefits of individual services based on age, gender, and risk factors for disease; make recommendations about which preventive services should be incorporated routinely into primary medical care and for which populations; and identify a research agenda for clinical preventive care." What this means is that they will make recommendations for which medical tests should be done for disease prevention. (note the age, gender, and risk caveat)

This is the death panel you were warned about that Obama said didn't exist.

Why do they want to reduce the number of mammograms? Because, regardless of what Obama said about preventative medicine being less expensive, the cost of all those mammograms is more than the cost of treating cancer for a few. It's a financial decision, folks, and you are the lab rats.

If the health care bill is passed, government insurance will not pay for tests that are not recommended by the USPSTF. In order to keep within cost parameters, private insurance will follow suit. And what you have is a de facto death panel deciding what medical test you can take given your age, gender and risk factors. Want a test? Either fight with the system or pay for it yourself on the black market.

Follow the link above to learn more about the USPSTF, and then write your Senator and Congresscritter. You can download ALL their recommendations and read about the study that led to their decision on mammograms. (hint: there are lies, damned lies, and statistics)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama and the Bow

Obama's bow to the Emperor of Japan is getting a lot of play. Most folks seem to think that its a simple gaffe and of no consequence. But what they don't realize is that all of the President's actions (or non actions) have consequences.

The bow in Japan is a formal greeting and has many rules. Generally, those of lesser rank bow lower and longer to those of higher rank. The bow becomes more than a greeting but also is a marker for your place in the social structure of the organization. Equals may give shallow bows to each other , or even head nods. Someone apologizing for something will give a low bow, bending from the waist almost 90 degrees, or even kneel on the floor with his head touching the floor. Obama's bow was a bow of apology. And you can bet that other nations saw it and took note.

If you want to read the ultimate treatise on how Asia thinks, read "How Communists Negotiate", by Adm Turner Joy. He faced the NKs for two years at Panmunjom. Even the smallest thing can have significance. You can bet that the ChiComs saw his bow and realized that he was weak , subservient and that they would hold the upper hand in any discussions.

Now you have to ask yourself, is it smart to go into talks with China with the perception that you are weak?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Finnish War Movies

Tali - Ihantala 1944
Directors: Ake Lindman and Sakari Kirjavainen
Release Date: December 2007

This movie is based on one of the final battles of the Continuation War of Russia against Finland. It was the largest battle ever fought in the Nordic countries and guaranteed Finlands survival as an independent country. It can be found in 11 parts on You Tube, with subtitles. The link is here.

The battle took place concurrently with the Normandy invasion when Russia attacked down the Karelian isthmus to the city of Viipori. The Finns asked for help for Germany and they provided a few troops and supplies. The Russians demanded unconditional surrender from the Finns. They refused - and eventually gained a defensive victory. In the meantime, Germany had demanded that Finland fight on in order to guarantee continued support. (they needed Finland to keep some of the Russian army busy) President Ryti agreed personally, knowing that he would soon resign and be replaced by Mannerheim, who then disavowed the agreement and made a separate agreement with Russia in July, 1944 when the Russians pulled their troops back to fight Germany.

(The tightrope that Ryti and Mannerheim walked with Germany during WW II is a lesson in diplomacy and makes for interesting reading)

This movie is interesting for its use of German vehicles, notably, STUG assault guns. It was nominated for a best picture and three other Jussi Awards.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Red Light, Red Light

Recently, several red light cameras have been installed in the area. The police claim that their purpose is to prevent accidents and save lives, but most folks suspect the real reason is to generate revenue. A recent news article supports that premise.

CBS news in Los Angeles made a study of accidents at intersections where red light cameras were installed. The police claim a 34% reduction in accidents. But unlike the police statistics, which just counted accidents from people running red lights, CBS included ALL accidents, including rear end collisions when a driver tried to stop to avoid the camera generated ticket.

In analyzing the accidents at 32 intersections and comparing a period of 6 months before cameras to the 6 months after camera installation, they found that accidents actually increased at 20 of those intersections. For 3 intersections, the number of accidents remained the same. It was only 9 intersections that showed a decrease. In fact, at three intersections, the number of accidents tripled during the study period.

If you are going to LA soon, you might want to avoid the intersections on this map.

By the way, the cameras generated $4 million for the city. Most contracts for red light cameras involve a third party contractor who installs and maintains the cameras for a cut of the action. What is unknown is how much the contractor made from the cameras.

I wonder how long it will be before someone tries to use the argument that the cameras were the cause of his accident and injuries, especially if he was rear ended by the car behind? Morris Bart, are you paying attention?