Post-Valentine’s Day olla podrida

February 22, 2013

How’s the NRA going to spin this one?

Psy got more than 7 billion views on one video.  Can you help Sesame Street get to one billion, total?  It’s a better cause.  And it may frost the heck out of Sal Khan, too.

Sesame Street actually has a lot of video up for YouTube use — that is, for your use.  This is one of the most important educational sites on the entire internet. 992,469,603 total views at this moment.

Whose educational video works best, Sal Khan’s or Cookie Monsters?

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, said she doesn’t think we need an increase in the minimum wage, especially not to the $9 level President Obama asked.  She said her $2.15 minimum wage was enough . . .

Oops:

At that time, the minimum wage was $1.60, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s terms. Today’s minimum wage is equivalent to just $1.10 an hour in 1968 dollars, meaning the teenage Blackburn managed to enter the workforce making almost double the wage she now says is keeping teenagers out of the workforce.

Do Republicans ever learn history, or make the minor mathematical calculations to adjust for historic inflation?  Pretty tough to flunk history, math and economics in such a short statement.

Is there a rational reason that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s  solutions to U.S. problems always involve economic pain to others?  Will cuts in food and health care make these 600,000 children smarter, too?

Here you go, Mittens in winter:

The Mittens in winter, by Howard Noel, via National Wildlife Federation

Caption from the National Wildlife Federation: Howard Noel’s photo of Monument Valley captures the East and West Mitten Buttes, as well as Merrick’s Butte on the right. These natural sandstone and shale structures are just a few of the world-famous geological features in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, located along the Arizona-Utah state line within the Navajo Nation Reservation. The Utah resident used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and a 24-105mm lens.

Where in Utah does Howard Noel hail from?  While I’ve been by these formations in winter, it was never with a camera to catch the snow.  This park is an ideal place to spend a couple of days learning landscape photography, if you’re looking for a place to try out your new camera.  Great place to be anytime, for me.

Hey, if you’re planning drive to see the Mittens, you should be aware that part of Highway 89 is out of commission due to a slump off the roadway between Flagstaff and Page, Arizona — the Navajo Reservation being as large as it is, and as unroaded as it is, when a main road goes out, detours can be spectacularly long.   Earthly Musings carries geological explanations, history and great photos.  How much detour?  This one requires a job to the east, through Tuba City, probably adding about an hour to the trip between those two cities.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says traffic will detour around the closure by using U.S. 160 and State Route 98, adding 45 miles of driving. (emphasis added here)

Meanwhile, in the rest of America? This is okay.  America is ashamed of Rush Limbaugh’s ranting, too.  Fair, no?

Why was the death toll so high in season 3 of “Downton Abbey?”  Writer Julian Fellowes explained it’s a kind of contract issue — anti-regulation types will no doubt crawl out of the woodwork to complain about government interference in the right of contract in English theatre.


Bathtub reading for the World Series, and autumn’s appearance (finally!)

October 20, 2011

Busy as a teacher with 450 papers to grade each week.

That blue color in GE Reveal™ lightbulbs that just turned 10 years old?  Neodymium.  Embedded in the glass, not a coating.  Who knew?  Need to learn a lot more about neodymium — where is it mined, how toxic is it, what else can it do?

How will Rand Paul work up a whine about Reveal lightbulbs?  What will he complain about?

While we’re trolling GE’s press releases, we note the Climate Denialist™ reports of the death of wind power suffer from exaggeration Mark Twain warned us against.

Chart showing effects of 9-9-9 tax plan of Herman Cain

Chart showing effects of 9-9-9 tax plan of Herman Cain, Washington Post

Chart shows Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan overwhelmingly benefits the very rich, while raising taxes on the poor.  Give the man some credit:  Cain’s business acumen was in serving unhealthy food to poor people; gouging money from the poor is probably something he can figure out in his sleep.

Physics fun:  See what you can do with a bunch of pendulums on different lengths of string.  Video at bottom of this post.  Same idea, but with bolt nuts, paper clips, and colored pieces of paper to make it flash in darker light.  Physics fun on the cheap.

Business Insider has charts showing the economic change and job troubles that justify the Occupy Wall Street people.  When Cicero spoke, the people said how well he spoke.  When Demosthenes spoke, the people said, “Let us march!”  Demosthenes seems to have the ear of those protesters.  How long was your last job search?  Is?

Republican super-strategist David Frum calls it quits from Marketplace radio commentaries:  Can’t voice the Republican tripe anymore.  Robert Reich, Frum’s “liberal sparring partner” at the show, eviscerates the philosophy behind the logic that Frum should quit because the Republicans have moved from where Frum feels comfortable — only good and bad politics, Reich says, not right or left politics.  Hate to see Frum go, especially for the state reasons.  Reich is right.  Maybe those Rhodes Scholars should get a good hearing once in a while.

You thought that might be accurate?  No, cosmic rays do not cause global warming — it’s still our fault, and we must act to stop it, if disaster is to be averted.  Yeah, that’s from 2007. Here cosmic ray/cloud expert, Jasper Kirkby explains that his paper does not claim cosmic rays cause clouds and thereby global warming as the Climate Denialists™ claimed.

Worse, as the Yale Climate Forum explains, warming is nearly forever (35,000 years is longer than I expect to live).

Norwegian study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that adequate supplies of folic acid to mothers, pre-natal, leads to normal language development in the baby three years out.  One supplement that keeps on working in study after study.

Washington Post’s Fact Checker looks like a useful tool to have around in an election year.  Glenn Kessler’s done a good job so far.

“Neanderthals still walk the Earth:  Climate deniers don’t believe in evolution, either.”  The National Center for Science Education takes on another goblin stunting our nation’s collective mental development.

Yale Climate Forum, again, takes on some misconceptions about carbon dioxide.

An entertaining post on lies your English teacher told you about writing.  Heck, this is about polishing writing — how do we get teenagers to write at all, today?

U.S.’s NASA and Japanese scientists teamed up to produce an even better, zowie-grosso topographical map of the world.  Scouts everywhere will be impressed.

Why is there gridlock in Congress?  Not sure, Bucky, but you’ll be excited to know that Sen. Jim DeMint  (R-SC) proposes to stop women from communicating with their physicians about abortion on the internet.  Jobs may be the top concern of Americans, but Sen. DeMint can’t be distracted from his task at hand dastardly work.  What?  First Amendment?  Doctor/Patient privilege?  Good health care?  Women’s health and rights?  Sanity?  No, those weren’t mentioned in the amendment.  I don’t think the good senator worries about such things.

Should have seen this one coming:  It’s the fastest growing industry in the U.S.  We export products from it to China.  It employs more than 100,000 people in 5,000 different companies, mostly small businesses.  It helps reduce carbon footprints of everyone, it contributes to making our nation energy independent.  If things continue as they are, there could be as many as 37,000 new jobs added in the next year, and continuing things as they are requires no new federal spending.  So, of course, the Republicans are trying to kill the solar energy industry.  Did someone strike them with a stupid stick?

Ungodly and unholy silence from conservatives and Christians about this terrorist-supporting claim from a pillar of right-wing thought.  No wonder Jesus weeps (not past tense).  On October 18, Limbaugh went back to the topic to laugh about it.  Cold blooded creature, isn’t he?

Update, 10/20:  Even the usually cluelessly callous Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe takes Limbaugh to task — but gently (see 1:45:00 into the C-SPAN video).

Occupy Sesame Street?

Yeah, that chart to the right goes on forever — big, big tax cuts to the richest Americans from Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 idea.

Scroll to the bottom to see the pendulum video.


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