Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Class Warfare

Here's a chart based on Paul Krugman's writeup of data from the CBO's new "Historical Effective Federal Tax Rates" report. Naturally, the only solution is tax cuts.

First off this is an exponential- what's worse is the last half of the x-axis is a log scale as well- eek.

Some comments I read that made sense; people in the top 20% of the nation's income range will have their incomes directly tied to the economy. During these years '03-'05 the US grew by about 5-6% so take that off of the top 20% and you still have an exponential. The only difference is that you don't have that nasty little step between 'Fourth 20%' and 'Top 20%'.

If anyone has doubts about the Bush tax cuts and what it has done for this country I think this pretty solidly refutes that. Finally, I think that the super rich in this country really need to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself what you really need all that money for? What are you spending it on? Is that stuff going to matter after worms are crawling in your skull? Maybe you should do something like, I say grudgingly- due to my hatred of all that is Microsoft, Bill and Melinda Gates. I know that when Bill is dead and gone his money will continue to make the world a better place. Wasn't there always some part of your entrepreneurial soul that wanted to make a difference as well as becoming filthy rich?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

How I know God loves Santa Cruz

Well besides just our name.

So I had plans to take some pictures after some exercise. I start setting up my tripod looking out over the bay. Couple minutes goes by and I can feel a little bit of mist on my face. I look up the valley and there's a huge double rainbow- complete arch, bright and in all of its Noah like beauty. Hope you like the pic, God definitely helped.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Capitola At Night

Went to the drive-in for the first time. Wow! How much fun is two movies for $6 in a place where you can drink and smoke at your leisure, not to mention talking whenever the hell you want. Anyway, had like an hour to kill so I took some pics of Capitola as the moon was rising. Turned out pretty good.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Coffee and Women

Anyone notice that good coffee and good women have something in common? They're both equally sweet and bitter! Haha

Tetons HDR

So this is my first experiment with HDR (High Dynamic Range) picture taking. I finally owned up and bought a nice tripod so I can play with this stuff now. I need to experiment, and I really need a new camera- one with a trigger...or maybe auto-bracket with a 2s delay might work as well. Thoughts Dave?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Saint Augustine

So yeah it's this guy's B-day. He basically ended Paganism and created the stigma behind things related to it (symbols, gods, beliefs, etc). Kinda lame as far as I'm concerned. Thing I like about the Pagans is that they were cool with other gods. Oh yeah, Yaweh, he's cool, I like him too! Why not? We're basically back to that now with the entire world mono-culture. So he was raised Pagan and converted. Then he wrote a bunch of stuff about how great Christianity is and how shitty Pagans are. Anyway, I heard something interesting...the reason his stuff became such an influential presence in the religion is because his writings survived a fire. A single fire. Just think, the entire history of the world has changed because of one fire. What would the world be like if that fire had just gone a little further?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Dark Tower Quote

Again from Roland Deschain:

"I know," Roland said. "And no matter. We spread the time as we can, but in the end the world takes it all back."

The Wolves of Calla- The Dark Tower Series- Book 5

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Who's Behind It?


So Bhutto comes home, and people bomb killing hundreds. Ok.

Who is responsible for it?

Forget whoever claims responsibility in the next days/weeks/months/years, but who could be responsible?

Ok so obviously the first person that comes to mind is the current President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. However, you have to admit that you can't help take that logic chain to the next step being the rival of Musharraf- in order to make him look bad...or ...

Now the first one would have to seem like a bad idea, I mean how obvious is it to BOMB your rival? That's just like farting in the face of Democracy. I don't think Musharraf would do that...maybe I'm naive.

However, who is Musharraf's rival? Well Bhutto is, for one. Could she have done it? Well she did reportedly go back inside her armored vehicle 10 minutes before the shit hit the fan. But, again I don't feel like she would do that. I've listened to her speak, and it just doesn't seem like the kind of principles she is suggesting.

Ok so I'm left with no one. What I think is that it was a bunch of energy built up around the entire SITUATION that has developed there. The tension is so think that when someone so controversial as Bhutto comes home, it sets of sparks. People become crazed and bad things happen.

Why are things so volatile that region?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

DUDES Oregon

Guys, seriously. And Link

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

High Tech Mexico

I think a great way to deal with the ever growing China problem is the following:

a massive high tech manufacturing center in Mexico. Think about it, you spend the next 10 years working on the problem, sending people there from American companies, getting contractors, pumping money into the local University so you get good grads for cheap. You'd be keeping the money at least on the same continent. Eventually it will allow more leverage against China, because then you at least have the threat of pulling assets out of there. Hell I'd say start general manufacturing as well, textiles and whatnot. You can also argue to be doing something about the immigration problem (and maybe wrangle some gov't dollars for the project too). It could all be done as effectively as possible (public trans. infrastructure w/ the tech center) and really help the economy of Mexico to stabilize. Plus, we almost speak the same language- at least in comparison to the gulf that exists between Chinese and English. This could really be a good idea.

Women and Dog

So I see a lot of ladies running/walking with Dog. I think that the reason is rather obvious; for protection, right? Well, I've always wondered why there seems to be this difference in the dynamic of the relationship between Man and Dog vs. Woman and Dog, and I think that this is it. Women can look to Dog for protection when alone or feeling threatened, where Dog looks to Man for protection when feeling threatened. This is a huge responsibility for Dog to take when alone with Woman, so Dog gets stressed out and kinda pushy/bossy with Woman. However, I've also noticed a genuine affection that Dog gives Woman which is different from the affection Dog gives Man. Dog adores Man in the way that Catholics adore God- in a groveling kind of way out of respect and awe filled fear. Dog loves Woman because she trusts Dog. Interesting...

(PS. I just wanted to put a disclaimer on this whole commentary- I know this is a MASSIVE generalization. Any discussion of this nature is inherently a generalization and not true in many cases. I've definitely known many ladies who have a very healthy relationship w/ their pet, and I am NOT saying that the relationship I mention above is necessarily bad, however, Ceaser Milan may say that it is unhealthy for the pup.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

DoD - Good/Bad?

So Dave and I have had a 4 month+ on going conversation about working for companies that get revenue from the government, specifically the Department of Defense. Pretty much anyone in high tech falls into this category in one way or another. DoD needs high tech stuff so they buy computers and microelectronics, optics and switches, etc. This is an article about how the DoD wrote a letter saying that we (the US) should pursue building of a geosynchronous solar concentrator for clean efficient energy production. Its actually a really cool idea that the Japanese have already decided to attempt. The problem I have is the end sentence about how they need to have a reliable and cheap source of energy on the battlefield. If that's why we are building this thing (future speaking) then FUCK that, the people of the United States needs cheap energy subsidized by the government, and a smaller war chest. WTF.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Why Politicians Suck

Please read this: link

I am a sad panda. =(

Please no 1984 world....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Desolation Wilderness (Part 3)

Campsite from the opposite side of the lake.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Free Video

So incase you don't know, the way the video piracy law is currently working, is that a website has to remove the video at the request of the copyright owner of that video. So you will get something like a TV show on YouTube for maybe a day or so. The execs. are starting to have people on staff just trying to find TV shows on the net and get them taken off. With that background in mind I bring you a list (from a PCWorld mag.) of YouTube-ish sites that are at least equal if not better than YouTube- and are less likely to have a show yanked, as they are not as popular as YouTube. The number in quotes is for the pcworld link, you type

1. Beta (58123)
2. DivX Stage6 Beta (58125)
3. Brightcove Beta (58126)
4. Revver (58127)
5. Veoh (58128)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another King Quote

Still making my way through the epic series, The Dark Tower.

In The Drawing of the Three:

"This is what romance gets you- a noose around your neck and a crazy woman with two guns somewhere behind you."

Bahhaaaaaaa! Right on!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Poem

The rain in Spain falls on the plain.
There is joy and also pain
but the rain in Spain falls on the plain.

Time's a sheet, life's a stain,
All the things we know will change
and all those things remain the same,
but be ye mad or only sane,
the rain in Spain falls on the plain.

We walk in love but fly in chains
And the plains in Spain fall in the rain.

-Stephen King
The Gunslinger: Book I of The Dark Tower

I've read a little bit of S.K. over the years and I've got to say this is a really well written book.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Conservative v. Liberal: The Brain

This is a very interesting article. It discusses the differences between the way the brain functions in Liberals and Conservatives. From what it says, just more evidence supporting my happiness at being a liberal.

"Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy."


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Quantum Explainings

So I've always found it very difficult to explain Quantum Mechanics in layman terms. It's so mathematical and heady that it often takes quite a while for ANYONE to understand, let alone someone who has little or no scientific exposure. So when I saw this picture, I found it to be a perfect visual representation of superposition. For those of you who don't know, a superposition is something that particles and waves (since they are the same thing, right?!?) do all the time. Only upon observation, does the particle (wave) "choose" (this is in quotes because there's quite alot of debate about how a the wave collapses in actuality, but this has always been my favorite version because it give the little buggers a modicum of conscience) which state it is in, and that state is what we measure. After the observation ends, the waveform dissolves back into its superposition of states.

So this double cube, called Necker Cubes, is a beautiful example of a superposition of FOUR states. Can you see them all?
(Original article discussing quantum computing basics!)

My new slogan

"Life is like a jar of habaƱeros. What you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Desolation Wilderness (Part 2)

So the first full day back country I went on a walk around my lake. Nice views all around, got to see the mountains that I was camped in at the time.

Cool little island.

Aren't partially cloudy days just PERFECT for taking pictures!

This last pic was included b/c I go on a day hike the following day and get up close to it!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hamas and Gaza

So this is kinda nuts. If there's one thing I know about the people of the Middle East, they take their religious beliefs seriously, so I'm gonna bet this is going to seriously piss some people off. The only question I have is, didn't they vote for Hamas? Also has anyone else noticed the similarities between Islam extremists and our own religious right?

Desolation Wilderness (Part 1)

So instead of going to Burning Man this year, I decided to take a long weekend over Labor Day and go backpacking in Desolation Wilderness. This has to be one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. Lots of lakes and exposed granite, nice trails, just great views. Amazing!

Well here's the pics:

The first view of Tahoe on the way in on US-50.

Eagle Lake, very short hike to this, and where the tourists stayed. It was funny on the way back you could tell that it was almost over when the blondes in tee-shirts, with their huge boyfriends started showing up on the trail.

View of Lake Tahoe between the mountains on the way up. This part was absolutely brutal. Very hard up with granite stairs. My MCLs were screaming.

Zoom of Lake Tahoe

Sunset on Middle Velma Lake and my home for 3 nights!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In Honor of Burning Man

I can't be there, but I thought that this was a wonderful occasion to quote the epic Tom,

"At any rate, the Goddess of Destruction dances on in Nevada, fang dribbling steak juice, the desert sun aglint on her necklace of skulls. In tantra, she is loved not one smooch less than her benevolent twin. Your pilgrim is slowly learning to love the Dark Dancer as well. Yes, but it was her flip side, the Good Witch, that enticed him to Nevada, where natural beauty struggles to hold its own against the treacherous ticky-tack spawned by the greed and fear of men. Surely, at the Canyon of Vaginas, the Mother of Creation would prevail."

-Tom Robbins, Wild Ducks Flying Backwards

Saturday, August 11, 2007


This American Life-Superpowers

"At the heart of this decision, the question I don't want to face is this, who do you want to be? The person you want to be, or the person you fear you really are? Don't rush into it. Think it over. Which would you choose?" -John Hodgeman (PC guy on Mac commercials)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Another One

So I don't like this one as much as some others that I've done, but its got its own thing. Woulda been better to have zoomed way in on one kite surfer w/ the red kite, but oh well.

To answer Liz's question of how to do this, it's really easy. First take a color picture, and open it w/ the Gimp. Then you convert it to B&W under 'Image->Mode' and save that picture. So you now have two copies of the same exact pic, one in color and one in BW. Ok. Now, there's a few ways to do this, in order of complication: close Gimp completely, open the color pic, and then 'File->Open as Layer...' and then select the BW. Now you should have two layers w/ the color as the 'Background' and the BW as 'Layer1'. Second way, which makes more sense imo, you already have the BW picture open, go ahead and 'File->Open as Layer...' the color picture. Now go to 'Dialogs->Layers' now you can see what layers you have open. You should have the BW picture as background and the color as Layer1. Go ahead and click on the 'Background' (BW) and towards the bottom of the Layers widow you'll see a couple of arrows, this moves any layer in front or behind of the other layers. The ordering of the list of layers tells you what is in front/behind of ea. other. Also, the little picture of the eye to the left of ea. layer tells if it is visible or not, which can be clicked on and off so you can see what ea layer is doing to the over all piece. Another thing, is that when you click on a layer in the layer window, that activates it for editing, so be sure you have the right one selected.

So now you should have the two layers, w/ the color behind the BW pic. Now all you have to do is remove the parts of the BW pic you want to be color. This can be done in two ways, w/ the cutting tools (square, circle, and lasso (freehand)) or it can be done w/ the Eraser tool. I recommend the cutting tools for big stuff or regularly shaped stuff, and the Eraser for the edges and small stuff (has more flexibility w/ fade outs, different size erasers, different shape ones, etc.).

That's it. Have fun, there's alot you can do. If you want more info on the Gimp, just ask, I now know how to script w/ it, and do that cool three picture exposure blend w/ it (just need a pluggin for that btw).

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Three Layers

I think this is kinda cool and funny.

Don't have too many ppl picks

So this picture is an exposure blend, like parametrics or whatever, that the Gimp can do- works pretty much the same way, I like it though b/c then it leaves you w/ a three layer image you can play with. Anyway.

These three pictures were taken in Utah of th is yellow tree in the middle of a field while passing by. I got One good steady properly centered w/ contrast pictures, one blurry and overexposed, and one underexposed not so blurry pics. When I combined them and moved some layers around did some level adjustments, I got this nice color picture. But then I thought that it might be cool to do the b/w cutout thing...thoughts?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fun with Photo-editing

Dave I may need you to hand down some of your scripting/photo-editing magic, because I'm starting to really jive on it. What you think? Only took me like 10mins or so once I figured it out. Going to try again on another picture and use a different way.

So, I've seen this effect used in movies alot, the best examples I can think of is Kill Bill w/ Uma's eyes and earrings and Sin City which was basically shot in color and turned b/w and then things were cut out throughout the movie. All I did was to make a black and white image from a color one, save it, open it as a layer, and cut out the sign. That simple.

Next will be people...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Chinese Politican's Head Rolls

There's many things I don't like about Chinese politics. Their labor laws, economic policies, and the way they treat the environment, to name a few. However, this (Link) is not one of them. In the days of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, I wouldn't mind some more accountability on part of politicians.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Life Size Spirograph

Check this out: super cool. Link

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Monkey and the Machine

This was originally done w/ a monkey and a primitive implant. This is real folks, sci-fi stuff. I for one welcome this new technology, however, with apprehension. All technology comes with the inherent risk of abuse, i.e. brain scanners for marketing and advertising purposes, but I think it will help to create a more seamless computing experience. Just put on my U of M hat, and get my email on! Link

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bush, seriously- fuck you!

Ok so this is bullshit. Bush, open your eyes man. It was called the Kyoto Protocol. The US and China were practically the only two countries to NOT sign it. And now you want some gratitude for coming up with this as tho its something new and interesting, that you came up with you copycatting asshole! Fuck you.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Great Quote

"It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch."

-NPR This American Life
Tombstone of a Santa Cruz couple who died 36 hrs apart. He knew he was going to die when she did well before she was gone. They were cremated together, and their ashes mixed.

Listen to it, learn from it, grow from it, love it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Owen's Valley Trip Five- more Telescope/Death Valley

So this picture has something interesting about it, but its subtle. See if you can see what I like about it.

These are charcoal furnaces from the early 1800s. They are some of the oldest and well preserved charcoal furnaces in the west. I want to have sex in one- any takers?

This is my favorite picture of the entire trip (I think). This is just a crazy rock outcropping at a crazy angle to the hill. Its also a different color, but I thought the black & white looks better.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Drugs and Free Speech

Ok so this is why I love living in a country as free as ours is. Sometimes you gotta take a step back from shaking your head in disgust at the pathetic leaders of our time and think, "Man its pretty sweet that I can ..."

Anywho- NYTimes had this to say about drug companies paying Drs. to prescribe meds to people who really don't need them. Way to go JohnsonPfizerAssholeBurton Inc.

Drs. defense to the 'hey assholes don't do that you're a fucking doctor' arguement? "Doctors, including [the girl in the story's], maintain that payments from drug companies do not influence what they prescribe for patients."

Ya right my asshole.

Ok so one last time: drugs are bad mmm'kay.

Ancient Russian Proverb (not really)

"I answer for all my words." -Mafiakz (aka Alex) Canadian-Russian wrt my plans to take him up on his offer to visit him in BC.

Owen's Valley Trip IV (Telescope Peak 11k ft)

Views from the summit.

The Lowest Point in the US.

The Highest Point in the lower 48.

Sitting on the summit. There was a nice natural chair in the sun!

Well Said

"Theory is the enemy of any kind of real experience." -Jack Beady

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another quote

"We dance around a circle and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows."
-Robert Frost

Monday, April 30, 2007

Ancient Greek Proverb

"Increase your knowledge, and you increase your grief."


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Owen's Valley Trip 2

Mosaic Canyon - Death Valley NP

Why was water here? Glaciers? Yearly flood?

Why its called Mosaic Canyon. The walls were composed of two very different materials, a water smoothed slab of something hard like granite, and a second layer which was very much like unsmoothed concrete. Jagged edges sticking up all over the place.

The two different materials interfacing.

Why was there sooo much water here?