April 2008 Archives

SuperPoke on Facebook stays China "neutral" by giving you a choice of "poking" by freeing Tibet or loving China.

I'm just waiting for my "love Taiwan with".

Jim Davis likes Garfield minus Garfield

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fSymsOGXO8ekhpevzAW2iqyW_500.jpg From WashingtonPost.com: When the Cat's Away, Neurosis Is on Display

One of Walsh's occasional readers is Davis, who heard about the site a few months ago. The cartoonist calls the work "an inspired thing to do" and wishes to thank Walsh for enabling him to see another side of "Garfield."
Garfield Minus Garfield is one of my favorite daily reads!

The Truth About the Spinning Dancer

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TurningDancer.gif This image has been a source of amusement in my office for the last couple of days. If you look at the image, you can sometimes see the dancer change the direction of her rotation.  But it's not an indicator of Right/Left Brain dominance as some people have said (read the article below).

Everyone in my office could see it change except for my sister.  She probably would have thought it was a prank if it weren't my mom exclaiming every time it changed direction for her.  My sister was convinced that it only rotated clockwise until she saw it change about 10 minutes later.

From NYTimes.com: The Truth About the Spinning Dancer

But while the dancer does indeed reflect the brain savvy of its creator, Japanese Web designer Nobuyuki Kayahara, it is not a brain test. Instead, it is simply an optical illusion called a reversible, or ambiguous, image. Images like this one have been long studied by scientists to learn more about how vision works.

Sometimes, a person will stare at an image and it will never reverse. Dr. Toppino advises staring at one part of the image, such as the foot, and most of the time it will eventually flip. I tried this several times, but it never flipped. Dr. Toppino says in people who can't see the reversal, it may be that one underlying neural structure is more dominant, but once someone finally manages to see the flip, it will start to happen more often.
From the TimesOnline: Man stabbed while waiting to buy Grand Theft Auto IV

By 11pm, about a hundred people had gathered at Gamestation in Croydon, South London, when a 23-year-old man standing in the queue was stabbed several times by a passer-by.

Later, an 18-year-old man was mugged in Leyland, Lancashire, soon after buying a copy of the game for £40. Two robbers punched the victim to the ground and then kicked him, shattering his nose and jaw, according to the Manchester Evening News. They snatched the game before running away.
Getting caught up in crime while waiting to buy a game where you commit crimes.  Interesting.

The NYTimes.com has a pretty rave review of this game.  And lots of advertising.  Though, I'm not exactly sure what they're advertising in the ad below.   It looks like crime does pay. grandtheftautoIV.jpg I've grown up playing video games, but I've never played any of this series.  Not really a fan of crime, but the high level of interactivity intrigues me.grand-theft-auto-iv-20080425114826782.jpgHowever, the level of interactivity in this picture is probably a little more than you need.

IGN Review

Star Trek in Color!

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I found this NBC promo for the original Star Trek on YouTube.  It's Star Trek in Color!  We'll be looking back at HD the same way some time in the future. 

From NYTimes.com: "Give Peace A Chance" Lyrics Up For Sale

The lyrics are being sold by comedy writer and presenter Gail Renard, who was 16 when Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous "Bed-In" at a hotel in Montreal in 1969.

Renard and a friend sneaked into the Queen Elizabeth Hotel where the recently married Lennon and Ono were holding a protest for peace and became friendly with the couple.

According to Christie's, Lennon gave Renard some mementos, including the lyrics, telling her: "One day they will be worth something."
I think I'd have a hard time selling something like this if I got it the same way she did. 

Spring iPhone photography

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I took some pictures this weekend with my iPhone. 

The first picture is of my next door neighbor's tree.  It was spectacular, but I didn't have my SLR to take the picture so I whipped out the iPhone.  It's actually a pretty nice picture with only a little color correction and sharpening with Photoshop.
The next two photos are of the flower carpet that was on Fountain Square.  It was actually in the evening around 9:00PM.  The iPhone actually does pretty well in lowlight situations, but only when there isn't any movement.  I took a little blue tint out with Photoshop, but should have done a little bit more with it.

FlowerCarpet2.jpg FlowerCarpet1.jpg

Shark Fear

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From Time.com: Shark Frenzy in Solana Beach

The media was fascinated because shark attacks are sickeningly grisly and cosmically rare. Your chances of being killed by a shark in any given year are about 1 in 280 million, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. Your chances of dying in a car accident are about 1 in 6,700. In other words, you would have to swim in the ocean 41,000 times a year (or 112 times a day, or seven times every waking hour) before swimming in shark habitats became as dangerous as driving your car a single time. As my colleague Amanda Ripley points out in her forthcoming book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes -- and Why, humans are kicking ass in the shark-human war: we kill at least 26 million of them every year, and they kill about six of us.
Humans are a far greater threat to sharks than they are to us.  But, thanks to movies and the Discover Channel, we can all close our eyes and imagine what it might be like to get attacked by a shark!
Season 4 Spoilers below


Here's Nicki Clyne's reaction on her blog to the death of her character Cally on Battlestar Galactica. (Link is now dead- Nicki Clyne is redesiging her website)
NYTimes.com: Using New Math, Clinton Contends She's Ahead

"I'm very proud that, as of today, I have received more votes by the people who have voted than anybody else," Mrs. Clinton said on Wednesday in a campaign appearance in Indianapolis. "It's a very close race, but if you count -- as I count -- the 2.3 million people who voted in Michigan and Florida, then we are going to build on that."
Repeat after me.  All the candidates agreed that these states wouldn't count.  But now in Hillary's desperation, she wants these states counted.  How can Michigan possibly count if Hillary's the only one on the ballot?

She is politics at its worst.

Truth in Advertising- WEBN Cincinnati

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Here's some truth in advertising!

Looking at this WEBN billboard, it looks like WEBN has changed its strategy and is now targeting the 4-7 year old demographic.  When you tune into 102.7, do you now get the Wiggles?

Ha ha, Maya Buttreeks.  That's some shocking, knee slapping humor for you.  The variants of this sign are equally yawn inducing.

For a small step up in humor, visit the Simpson's Guide: PHONE CALLS TO MOE'S

Mike Rotch! Mike Rotch! Hey, has anybody seen Mike Rotch lately?

This'll go over well in Middle America

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From NYTimes.com: Debt Collection a New Frontier of India Outsourcing

In a glass tower on the outskirts of Delhi, dozens of young Indians are on the telephone, calling America's out of work, forgetful and debt-stricken and asking for cash.

"Are you sure that's all you can afford?" one operator in a row of cubicles asks politely. "Well, how do you take care of your everyday expenses?" presses another.

Americans are used to receiving calls from India for insurance claims and credit card sales. But debt collection represents a growing business for outsourcing companies, especially as the American economy slows and its consumers struggle to pay for their purchases.
I never understood when companies outsourced sales and customer service to other countries.  These are points of contact with your customer and in my experience with these calls, this is a poor way of dealing with customers.

Collecting debt is extremely difficult.  In an already difficult situation, you add constant calls and harassment from someone that doesn't speak the language well and you'll have a recipe for disaster.

Tsai, not "Sigh"

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I joined the Facebook Group "Last name's Tsai, not "Sigh".  It's kind of amusing to browse the members list and see all the people that share my same last name. 
Hong-Chih Kuo, from Tainan City, Taiwan is starting tonight against the Cincinnati Reds for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Taiwanese Association of Cincinnati has organized a group to go down to cheer him on. 

But I won't be there. 

I'll cheer him on later when he's not playing against my hometown Reds.

UPDATE:  OK, I lied.  I ended up going to the game because my friend had a ticket and invited me to go.  Kuo pitched pretty well for 3 innings and then got shelled in the 4th inning.  He's got potential, but tonight wasn't his night.
This is a random Battlestar Galactica thought that I had while driving to work.

There are 12 human colonies.
There are 12 Cylon models.

But if you count Earth, there are actually 13 colonies.  Maybe there are actually 13 models of Cylons instead of 12 with 2 that have not been revealed.

If they reveal the 12th Cylon sooner as opposed to later and is a relatively minor character like Tom Zarek or equivalent, I believe that it would be a decoy for the biggest surprise, the 13th Cylon that would be revealed in the finale.  I believe that the 13th Cylon would then be a very major character like Starbuck, Admiral Adama, Baltar, or President Roslin and would happen near the very end.  It would be a total surprise for all the characters and the audience because we're all thinking that once the 12th Cylon has been revealed that there are no more unknown "skin jobs" left.  But, then we'd be wrong and surprised in the finale.

I know that the show states that there are 12 in the opening sequence, but this show is all about breaking conventions, so what's one more here?

UPDATE:  2/14/2009
The 13th Cylon model has been confirmed, a "seven" model named Daniel.  Described as artistic, but somehow corrupted by the Cylon model Cavil.  I think that Daniel is related to Starbuck in someway.  Perhaps it's her father, or it could still be Starbuck herself.

UPDATE: 3/17/2009
According to Ronald D. Moore, Daniel is not a significant character.
From battlestar_blog

"...I should probably say as a sidenote -- I know that there is a tremendous amount of speculation out there on the Internet -- that Kara is the daughter of Daniel or that Daniel, Daniel being the Cylon model that was killed or destroyed or aborted, however you want to choose to define it, by Cavil, that there's a connection between Daniel and Kara and that's part of the revelations that we're gonna reveal in the finale. I don't typically want to, like, put theories to rest, because it kinda spoils the enjoyment and fun of people in the show, however I do think it's worth saying that that is not part of the plan.
UPDATE: 3/24/09
The 13th Cylon pretty much is a non-issue.  I think Ronald D. Moore and the writers mentioned the 13th Cylon just to fix their screwed up numbering.
From ABCnews.com: 'Bodies' CEO Resigns After '20/20' Report

The CEO of a company that runs a controversial exhibit of "plasticized" Chinese bodies, Premier Exhibitions, has resigned, according to an SEC filing by the company.

Arnie Geller submitted his resignation in March, weeks after a "20/20" report on the company's practices triggered an inquiry by the New York attorney general's office. The company, which never announced the change in management in a press release according to a review of its Web site, said Geller's resignation was not connected to the questions raised about the human bodies or to Geller's appearance on "20/20."
UPDATE: As a commenter on this blog pointed out, that Bruce Eskowitz was actually appointed CEO in September 1, 2007.  This can be seen in the Form 8-K filed by Premier Exhibitions.

After reading the Form 8-K, I do actually believe that this is a non-news story and Geller just stepping aside.  I believe that ABC has erred with this story.

This doesn't change the problems that I have with the exhibit, consent issues, provenance of the bodies, etc.  

This Sunday, April 26th 12PM-3PM, there will be a rally at the Cincinnati Museum Center where the Bodies the Exhibition is being shown.  Come out and protest this ethically challenged and questionable exhibit.

CNN Headline Shirt Fun!

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I had written about the CNN Headline Shirt earlier today, but I just noticed that the headline and the date are stored in the URL, so it's pretty easy to change the shirt to whatever you want it to say!  I wonder if they'll actually print out these shirts!

UPDATE: No.  They won't let you put these shirts in the cart.

Order this Shirt Now! :)

frakkingcool.jpg Or this one!

And no profanity filter either!  So I didn't have to use my favorite Battlestar Galactica profanity.  Hours of fun!

Receiving SPAM recipes in my email

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No, not a recipe for cooking SPAM, the meat-a-like, but a SPAM email that's actually a recipe.  Not sure of the strategy of this type of SPAM.  No attachments, nothing being sold.  Perhaps, they're just trying to get me to approve of this message and get around my SPAM filter.  No chance of that.

Recipe for great BBQ Sauce:

1 quart apple cider vinegar
1 (20 ounce) bottle ketchup
1/4 cup paprika
1 pound dark brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice

In a large container, mix together the apple cider vinegar, ketchup,
paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder,
Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Pour into an empty vinegar bottle,
ketchup bottle or other container and store in the refrigerator for up to
1 month.

From NYTimes.com: No Fortissimo? Symphony Told to Keep It Down

Tests showed that the average noise level in the orchestra during the piece, "State of Siege," by the composer Dror Feiler, was 97.4 decibels, just below the level of a pneumatic drill and a violation of new European noise-at-work limits. Playing more softly or wearing noise-muffling headphones were rejected as unworkable.

But across Europe, musicians are being asked to wear decibel-measuring devices and to sit behind see-through antinoise screens. Companies are altering their repertories. And conductors are reconsidering the definition of "fortissimo."

Alan Garner, an oboist and English horn player who is the chairman of the players' committee at the Royal Opera House, said that he and his colleagues had been told that they would have to wear earplugs during entire three-hour rehearsals and performances.

"It's like saying to a racing-car driver that they have to wear a blindfold," he said
It's great that the Europeans care for their workers, but this seems to be a little bit on the extreme.  Music can be loud.  That's part of being a musician.  It's one of the very few occupational hazards of being a musician.

CNN Headline T-Shirt

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I noticed a new "feature" on CNN.com today.  Next to some of the headlines, there's a new t-shirt icon.  When you click on the icon you can buy a t-shirt with the corresponding headline on it.
cnnt-shirt.jpgHere's a close-up of the icon

cnnt-shirtcircle.jpg So if I want a t-shirt that says "Weird fish leave sea, spawn on beach", I click on the T-shirt icon.
CNNShirt2.jpg This will yield you a inane t-shirt that if you wear will guarantee you a life of loneliness and sadness.  I wonder if CNN will intentionally try to "pump up" their headlines to make them outrageous enough for t-shirts.

The seems like something more for the NYPost.  At least their t-shirts would be entertaining!

New appreciation for GI Joe

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When I heard that they were making a live action GI Joe film, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  But, after seeing the cast photos on WWTDD.com, I'm convinced that this movie is a GOOD thing.  I have no idea what this movie is about and frankly I don't really care!

Now, my biggest problem is trying to figure out who to root for and how to tell who fights for which side.

Here's Scarlett, a member of GI Joe
GIJOE1.jpg and here's the Baroness from Cobra
GIJoe2.jpg I guess pleathery S&M outfits makes you evil, while lots body armor and a...  ummm breastplate makes you good.

But to me I see Ice Cream and Candy.  Who cares about good and evil?

Oh, and there are guys in the movie.  I'm just not posting pictures of them.

For the rest of the pictures visit:

Finally made it over to Ikea

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I finally made it over to the new Ikea in West Chester last night.  I've always been a big fan of Ikea, but I have always been limited to buying little things that I can fit in my car along with my other road trip luggage.  But, now with Ikea here, I can look for larger items like  furniture, bookshelves and storage organizers.

I had an hour to kill yesterday so I made the 5 minute drive over from my office.  Yes, it's only 5 minutes away from my office.  I've just been a little hesitant about driving over there because of the crowds that I've seen it generate.

But, I guess it's only a place to be avoided now on the weekends.  If you want to go to Ikea and avoid crowds, go on a weekday night, especially if it's 75 degrees and beautiful outside.
IkeaParking1.jpg IkeaParking2.jpg The parking lot was pretty empty.  More cars than your normal store, but the fewest that I've seen in front of any Ikea.  There were a few customers, but a ton of helpful staff.  And zero lines at the cash registers.

The thing that I like about Ikea are the example rooms that are set up all over.  It's useful to see how an item can be used in a room.  What's helpful is that the same piece of furniture may be used in different rooms that have different looks.

However, I didn't see this bed in any of the example rooms.  How am I supposed to get my "bachelor" pad looking right without some ideas?  Maybe, I'll have to just talk to one of the Ikea workers.  Stay tuned!

Facebook Ads

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This is a little depressing.  Evidently Facebook's targeted advertising thinks that just because I'm 38 years old and single that I'm only interested in meeting "Hot Local Women".  Oh, wait. I guess Facebook is right.  The links are all to kind of questionable looking matching services.

Wrigley has Reds green with ivy

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From Cincinnati.com: Wrigley has Reds green with ivy

Going to Wrigley is about seeing your Cubbies win, but only tangentially. It's more about the neighborhood, the Old Style, the ivy, the bleachers, Waveland, Sheffield, celebs singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," day games, sunshine, the lake, Harry Caray's ghost, memories of Sammy and The Hawk and Ernie Banks. Let's drink two. At least.

This is exactly the atmosphere the Reds have to cultivate to succeed. Because here is a hard truth in Baseball Town: The game's not enough anymore.
I don't think I've disagreed with a Paul Daugherty column more.

If you look at things statistically, winning is by far the biggest factor in attendance.

Reds Attendance/Record
Year        Attendance    Attendance/Game    Wins/Losses
1998        1,793,649        22,144            77-85
1999        2,061,324        25,292            96-67
2000        2,577,371        31,624            85-77
2001        1,879,757        23,794            66-96

You can see how the attendance grew in 1999 when the Reds had a winning team.  The next year's attendance is higher because people were excited about the Reds again.  But, when the Reds started losing again in 2001, attendance dropped.

It's like that for all teams.  You can see the pattern with the White Sox and even the Cubs.  Right now Cubs attendance is strong because of their playoff run in 2003.  The atmosphere may slow attrition due to losing, but it still happens.  In their really bad years in the 1990's, the Cubs drew less than 2 million people.

Daugherty compares the Reds with the Bengals, but the Bengals have gone to the playoffs in recently.  That's why attendance is strong.  But if the Bengals lose for a couple of more seasons, I expect sell-outs to end there too.

The basic thing is- winning cures everything!

Reds Attendnace
Cubs Attendance
White Sox Attendance

Martha Stewart's dog dies

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From CNN.com: Martha Stewart's dog dies

The 60-pound chow, whose full name was Kublai Khan Paw Paw Chow Chow Chow, was almost 13.
That's a dumb dumb dumb name for a dog.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

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From CNN.com: 'X-Files' movie title revealed

"I Want to Believe" comes 10 years after the first film and six years after the finale of the series, whose opening credits for much of its nine-year run featured the catch-phrase "the truth is out there."
Is there an audience for X-Files?  I loved the show for several seasons, but then I remember losing interest.  And with the first movie being a stinker, I'm surprised that X-Files is returning on the big screen.

Users petition to keep Windows XP

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From CNN.com: Users petition to keep Windows XP

Fans of the six-year-old operating system set to be pulled off store shelves in June have papered the Internet with blog posts, cartoons and petitions recently. They trumpet its superiority to Windows Vista, Microsoft's latest PC operating system, whose consumer launch last January was greeted with lukewarm reviews.
It's pretty sad when you have customers that trumpet a six year old version of your software and claim that it's superior to your latest and greatest.  Way to go Microsoft!

Standing By His Woman

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NYTimes.com: Standing by His Woman

"He can't compute that he's not the new kid on the block," said a former Clinton adviser. "It's about his mortality -- and immortality. He needs her to win because if she doesn't become president, he goes down as a minor president. If she wins, it's the Adamses and the Roosevelts and the Clintons."
Is it more about legacy for Bill?  Interesting.

Now this is a rivalry!

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From ESPN.com: Yankees will donate once-buried Red Sox jersey to Boston-area charity

A construction worker's bid to curse the New York Yankees by planting a Boston Red Sox jersey in their new stadium was foiled Sunday when the home team removed the offending shirt from its burial spot.

After locating the shirt in a service corridor behind what will be a restaurant in the new Yankee Stadium, construction workers jackhammered through the concrete Sunday and pulled it out.

It took about five hours of drilling Saturday to locate the shirt under 2 feet of concrete, he said.
I don't think they would have bothered if it were something else, like the body of Jimmy Hoffa.  But the Red Sox jersey has got to go!

From CNN.com: Travel writer tells newspaper he plagiarized, dealt drugs

Thomas Kohnstamm, who has written a book on his misadventures, also said he didn't travel to Colombia to write the guidebook on the country because "they didn't pay me enough," The Daily Telegraph reported.

"I wrote the book in San Francisco [California]," he is quoted as saying in the Telegraph. "I got the information from a chick I was dating -- an intern in the Colombian Consulate."
I almost bought this book!  I've been interested in traveling to Colombia for a while and the Lonely Planet guide book served us pretty well on the New Zealand trip that I was on.

It also says in the story that Lonely Planet didn't pay enough so he dealt drugs on the side to get by.

CNN News "beheading" headline

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CNN.com often puts up a pretty funny "sensational" headlines.  The link leads you to a pretty uninformative video of an interview with an expert who states that it's pretty easy to cut off someone's head with a saw once they're dead.  Really?  Thanks for letting us know.
As I was driving to work, I noticed on the video screen billboard that the Cincinnati Reds are now offering "all you can eat" seats for Reds games. 

From the Cincinnati Reds website
The AYCE seats include unlimited ballpark fare - hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts and Pepsi products - all for one low price!
A seat in the AYCE section is $30.00.  With a Pepsi and a hot dog each at $4.00, and a mezzanine seat at $22.00, you'll save money if you want to eat more than one hot dog and a Pepsi.

But there are a couple of downsides:
1. Hot Dogs at Great American Ballpark are pretty terrible- totally flavorless.  They're not even worth a dollar on the "dollar dog" days.
2. Sitting with and watching people that have no respect for their bodies stuffing themselves with ballpark food.

Alcohol is not included.

Super Pii Pii Brothers

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About the only thing that I found amusing on the internet on April Fool's day was Think Geek's April Fool fake products.

My favorite was the Super Pii Pii Brothers for the Wii.  Knowing the Japanese, I wouldn't be too surprised if someone actually tried to make this game.
The video is hilarious!

Spring is here!

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daffodil.jpgThe Spring "light switch" was turned on over the weekend.  It's time to get back outside!

X-ray Photography: Inner Beauty

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From Time.com: X-ray Photography: Inner Beauty

X-Rays as an art form.

X-Ray Photo Gallery

Monty Hall Problem

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From the NYTimes.com: And Behind Door No. 1, a Fatal Flaw

An interesting story about the Monty Hall Problem a counter intuitive mathematical problem.

In the Monty Hall Problem you are a contestant on a game show and are presented with three doors.  Behind two of the doors there are goats and behind a third a new car.  You are asked to select a door.  After you choose a door, Monty Hall opens from the remaining two doors a door with a goat.  Now you have the option to keep your door or switch to the other door that Monty Hall did not open.  What do you do?  Do you stay with the door you initially chose or the third door?

The answer is that you should always switch doors.  Play the game below to understand why.

Play the Monty Hall Game
From NYTimes.com: Asian Inflation Begins to Sting U.S. Shoppers

First, developing countries now produce nearly half of all American imports. Second, inflation in these countries is coming at the same time that many of their currencies are rising against the dollar.

That puts American consumers in a double bind, paying at least some of producers' higher costs for making their goods, and higher prices on top of that because the dollar buys less in those countries.
It's not clear what we can do about this inflation.  The Fed is pretty powerless to stop it since it's based on global demand and rising wages around the world.  Normally, a week dollar would make U.S. goods more attractive, but what goods can we export besides commodities or services?  Most of the really innovative and new U.S. technology products are manufactured overseas now.

Is that a zoom lens in your pocket?

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hhiphotelescope.jpg If necessity is the mother of invention, then this product must take after its father.  It's the IGg iPhone Camera Telescope Case with 6x Optical Zoom Lens.  It's only $24.99, but I can't really think of a reason for having one, even if it were for free.
From NYTimes.com: Thieves Leave Cars, but Take Catalytic Converters

Theft of scrap metals like copper and aluminum has been common here and across the country for years, fueled by rising construction costs and the building boom in China. But now thieves have found an easy payday from the upper echelon of the periodic table. It seems there may not be an easier place to score some platinum than under the hood of a car.

The catalytic converter is made with trace amounts of platinum, palladium and rhodium, which speed chemical reactions and help clean emissions at very high temperatures. Selling stolen converters to scrap yards or recyclers, a thief can net a couple of hundred dollars apiece.
I had read this article a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of it by the same story on the Today show this morning.  It seems that SUV's are a big target because they're a little higher off the ground for easier access, plus the larger size of the catalytic converter means more precious metals.  If you see someone crawling under a car with a saw, call the cops!
From CNN.com: McCain says he was wrong to oppose MLK day

McCain, then a first-term congressman, voted against creating a government holiday for King in 1983. On Thursday, he suggested he was unaware of King's legacy at the time.
That just sounds stupid.  I was 13 in 1983 and even I knew the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at that time!

Music from Battlestar Galactica

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The music from Battlestar Galactica is one of the most underrated parts of the show.  Often moody and mysterious, the original compositions set the tone for the show.  There's a song that isn't an original song- Metamorphosis Five by Philip Glass.  It's first played when Starbuck returns to her apartment on Caprica and puts in a tape of her father playing the piece.

Here's a YouTube video of a live performance of this song being played.

Philip Glass - Glass: Solo Piano - Metamorphosis: Metamorphosis Five Metamorphosis Five by Philip Glass on iTunes
Season 4 Premiere tonight April 4 SciFi Channel 10/9C

Caffeine may protect brain

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From BBC: Daily caffeine 'protects brain'

Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests.

The University of North Dakota study used the equivalent to just one daily cup of coffee in their experiments on rabbits.
I have this strange mental image of rabbits sitting around drinking a cup of coffee.  But, hopefully this is true because I usually drink one cup of coffee and quite a few cups of green tea a day.  I'm probably a little over-caffeinated.

Favorite Battlestar Galactica Episode

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Continuing my own personal Battlestar Galactica week...

What's my favorite episode of Battlestar Galactica?

There's actually only a handful of Battlestar Galactica episodes that I didn't like.  But, the episode that sucked me in was the very first one "33".  I had loved the mini-series and was looking forward to the show, but I was a little wary of how the series might turn out with the pressure of producing stories and shows every week.

"33" is an amazing episode with incredible tension.  The Galactica and the ragtag fleet is fleeing from the Cylons after the Cylon attack on the home worlds, "jumping" away from them with their "faster than light" drive.  However, the Cylons are finding them and launching an attack 33 minutes after they arrive from the "jump".  Galactica's crew is fighting not only the Cylons but sleep deprivation after five days and 237 jumps. 

Read the synopsis of "33" on wikipedia.

Bengals Release Chris Henry

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From Bengals.com: Bengals release Henry

Mike Brown's statement:

Chris Henry has forfeited his opportunity to pursue a career with the Bengals. His conduct can no longer be tolerated.

"The Bengals tried for an extended period of time to support Chris and his potentially bright career. We had hoped to guide him toward an appropriate standard of personal responsibility that this community would support and that would allow him to play in the NFL. We acknowledge those fans who had concerns about Chris; at the same time we tried to help a young man.

"But those efforts end today, as we move on with what is best for our team."
Chris Henry has Randy Moss-like talent, but has squandered it by his inability to stay out of trouble.  I am not sure what his problem is besides just being plain stupid.  You could probably attribute problems like this to substance abuse, but that wasn't his problem.  With his career and money earning potential at stake, Chris Henry couldn't figure out a way of just staying home and staying out of trouble.  Pathetic.

I had been rooting for Chris Henry to make it through this and finally mature as a human being, but it's not happening, and it's definitely not happening here in Cincinnati.  I think the Bengals made the right decision in supporting him and trying to help him and I think they're doing the right thing in getting rid of him now.

From Cincinnati.com: Bengals Waive Henry

Henry pleaded not guilty to both charges today before Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Bernie Bouchard, who ordered him held on a $51,000 bond.

After citing Henry's criminal history, Bouchard told him, "You've kind of become a one-man crime wave."

He's not a clutch player- Bam!

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Caught the tail end of the Reds game against the Diamondbacks last night.  Unfortunately, not in HD on DirecTV. 

So, one of the announcers, Jeff Brantley was ranting at Edwin Encarnacion for not being able to drop a bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning:

"This guy is not a clutch hitter. He is not a clutch hitter. He's not a clutch player."

I think he was in the middle of the last "clutch" when Encarnacion swung and drilled the ball over the left field wall for a walk-off 3 run home run.  So much for not being "clutch"!  That was pretty funny.

Apple's iTunes top music retailer

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Apple has now surpassed WalMart as the nation's top music retailer.

From Arstechnica.com: Apple passes Wal-Mart, now #1 music retailer in US

That's a long way from where Apple started in January 2001 with the iTunes' original slogan of "Rip, Mix, Burn".  Back then the idea was to take your music, rip them into MP3's and then burn your own CD mixes.  The iPod wasn't introduced until October 2001.

Here's the original Rip, Mix, Burn Apple TV ad.

I'm f**king Obama

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This is too funny!

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Chevrolet Tahoe- Green car?

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From GreenCar.com: Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid Named 2008 Green Car of the Year®
Chevy-Tahoe-Hybrid-2008-Green-Car-of-the-Year-LR.jpgShould a gigantic SUV ever win "Green Car of the Year"?  It's not like you're helping the environment by going out and buying one of these gas guzzling vehicles.  The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid gets 20mpg city and 20mpg hwy.  It's an improvement over the regular Tahoe for city mileage, but not on the highway.  So unless you really need one of these behemoths, just because it's a "hybrid" doesn't mean that it's really green.
From Salon.com: Everything you were afraid to ask about "Battlestar Galactica"

A pretty detailed summary of the show to date.  Useful to refresh after the long break since Season 3.
All this week I'm writing about Battlestar Galactica, the best show that most people have never seen.  The premiere of season 4, the final season is this Friday April 4th at 10:00PM on SciFi Channel.

My Favorite Character

There are so many interesting characters to choose from.  Battlestar Galactica has spent a tremendous amount of time developing characters and showing their many different sides.   But my favorite character has to be one of the most tragic of them all.  Colonel Saul Tigh.

saultigh.jpgLoyal, Drunk, Bitter, Abrasive, Honorable, Patriotic, Heroic, Cylon

Those are words that describe the tragic character of Colonel Saul Tigh.  In the Season 3 finale, Tigh learns that he's one of the final five Cylons models.  This after a long career of hating and fighting the Cylons.  Tigh as the leader of the resistance on New Caprica, is physically tortured and loses his eye.  He then executes/poisons his beloved wife as a penalty for collaborating with the Cylons after she gives information to the Cylons to free him.

My two favorite Tigh scenes:
1. In the hanger deck, Tigh after leading the resistance on New Caprica, with all his losses and sacrifices, hearing the chant of "Adama, Adama" after the Galactica jumps back to rescue them. Tigh sacrificed nearly everything for the resistance while Adama and the Galactica jumped away to safety, but Adama gets heroic welcome as the savior.  The look in the face of Tigh as the broken old man said it all.

2. When Tigh is revealed as a Cylon.
"My name is Saul Tigh. I'm an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that's the man I want to be. And if I die today, that's the man I'll be."
The quote itself doesn't do this scene justice.

I'm a little sad that Tigh has been revealed as a Cylon.  I was afraid that it might be one of those "jump the shark" moments.  But, I trust in Ron Moore's vision of Battlestar Galactica and I am looking forward to seeing what happens as the show concludes.

From NYMag: Michael Hogan on Playing Tigh on 'Battlestar,' Hating Cylons, and Hearing Music in His Head
From ESPN.com: Report: A-Rod the big fish, earns more than all of Marlins team

"The Marlins? It's amazing," Rodriguez said. "And they still seem to find a way to be very competitive. They have a great pool of talent; they made some unbelievable trades, so they have great personnel people. To win two championships in 11 years, that's really admirable, and I'm very proud of that organization, being from Miami."
In the last 11 years, the Yankees with the highest payroll have won three World Series. The Florida Marlins with one of the lowest payrolls have won two.

Alex Rodriquez has won zero during the same time period.

What's next? Tibetans have WMD?

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From CNN.com: China: Tibetans planning suicide bombs

"To our knowledge the next plan of the Tibet Independence forces is to organize suicide squads to launch violent attacks," Wu Heping, spokesman for China's Ministry of Public Security, said at a news conference, according to a translation of his remarks by The Associated Press.
That's real believable.  What's next a claim? That the so-called "Tibet Independence" forces have weapons of mass destruction?

He did not provide details or evidence, and Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of Tibet's exiled government, dismissed the accusation.

"We never heard (of) Tibetan independence force, such a group or people. Now, our suspicion is that the PRC (People's Republic of China) might be staging such a violent act in the name of Tibetan people to mislead the world community," he said in Dharamsala, India.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese government manufactured an incident.  I think they desperately want to crackdown Tibet and they think that "fighting terrorism" would give them the cover they needed from international scrutiny.

I saw this bottle of Nursery Purified Water that my friends bought to use with their newborn baby.  My first thought was "is this really necessary?" or is this some kind of marketing gimmick to sell some unnecessary product to new parents.  I mean, how did we all survive all these years without Nursery Purified Water?

New parents are an obvious target to market products to because because parents generally want what's best for their child, are new to the parenting thing so they don't have a lot of child rearing knowledge coming in, and most importantly are willing to spend money on products that offer benefits to the child.

My gut feeling was that this is more of a marketing gimmick like most bottled water.  But the last thing I expected to find in my quick research was that the water may potentially be harmful.  It's the added fluoride in the water.  The Environmental Working Group says that through normal usage of the water in a baby's formula, the amount of fluoride exceeds the EPA's safe daily amount of fluoride.

From EWG.org: EWG calls for Investigation of Nursery Water

Our calculations show that a newborn of average weight (7.3 pounds) drinking just 12 ounces of powdered formula reconstituted with Nursery Water's bottled water would be exposed to fluoride in excess of the EPA's safe daily dose to protect infants from fluorosis (0.06 milligrams of fluoride per kilogram of body weight (EPA 1989), assuming Nursery Water's published upper limit of 0.7 ppm added fluoride in the water (www.nurserywater.com) and 12% adjustment for solids content). The levels of fluoride added to water by Nursery Water would lead to many babies being exposed to fluoride above EPA's safe dose beginning at birth and continuing throughout infancy.
Other potential health impacts of fluoride. As noted previously, potential health impacts from ingestion of fluoride extend beyond fluorosis to encompass other impacts as well. A March 2006 report from the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC 2006) identified fluoride as a potent hormone disruptor that may affect normal thyroid function. Fluoride's potential to impair thyroid function is most clearly illustrated by the fact that until the 1970s, European doctors used fluoride as a thyroid-suppressing medication for patients with hyperthyroidism. Infants are especially vulnerable to any disruption of thyroid function because adequate thyroid hormone levels are critical to normal growth and development.
Do we really know what we're doing when we process and create products that we eat?  It's only when something goes really bad that we generally notice that something is wrong.  But what if it's something small that builds up over time? 

I'm not one to be afraid of everything that's out there, but I have grown more aware of chemicals that we ingest and try to find things that are more natural and less processed.  Do the research and be the judge for yourself.

So much for experience...

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From NYTimes.com: McCain 'Surprised' by Iraq Developments

As he launched a tour here designed to highlight his family's long tradition of military service, Senator John McCain said Monday that he was surprised by the latest turn of events in America's current war in Iraq.

"Maliki decided to take on this operation without consulting the Americans,'' Mr. McCain said on his campaign bus as it rolled through downtown Meridian, saying that the move showed independence but that he had expected the military to focus on Mosul.

"I just am surprised that he would take it on himself to go down and take charge of a military offensive,'' he said. "I had not anticipated that he would do that.''
How can McCain be surprised by anything that goes on in Iraq.  It's been pretty clear that the Iraqi government doesn't listen to us.  We've bought time for them with our "surge", but time and lives have been wasted as the Iraqi government is no closer to building a coalition that will hold the country together. As long as we're there "protecting" them, no real steps towards working things out will be made.  No one wants to negotiate a settlement when they believe they can win total control in the future.  So we have two options.  Stay there for a longer, indefinite duration or start to slowly pull out and let the Iraqi government realize that total chaos will break out unless they find their own solution.

Battlestar Galactica Week!

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bsgscifi.jpg Battlestar Galactica Season 4- the final season begins on April 5, 10PM.  SciFi Channel is currently running a Battlestar Galactica marathon in HD that threatens to fill up my DVR.  Last night I caught Kobol's Last Gleaming, a two parter from Season 1.  The first five minutes are some the best moments you'll find on television. This is the first time I've seen it since it originally aired and it totally captivated me again.  Kobol's Last Gleaming is only the 12th and 13th episode of season 1 and already the characters are multifaceted and the numerous plot lines are setting up events that are just taking place now.

I can not wait for Season 4 this Friday!

UPDATE: It turns out that not all the episodes are in HD.  Season 1 is all letterboxed.  I think I must have recorded Kobol's Last Gleaming on the Universal HD channel not on SciFi Channel. 

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