Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Papparazzi, Movie Stars, and Cameras

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It amuses me to no end to watch Bruce Willis or Britney Spears gripe about papparazzi photographing them inside their cars.

If the celebs were serious, they'd simple rim the roof line of their cars with fast recycling strobe lights, which would trigger and fire during the same instant a papparazzi's camera fires. The resultant flash would wash out the photos the papparazzis' are trying to get. The technology's been around for 40 years, so the stars really do want their pictures taken, despite their protests to the contrary.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Economics of Electric Cars & Solar Power

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The Economics of Electric Cars & Solar Power

One might think that there qould be 1,000's of listings for each of these. There are eight for one and ten for the other.

I was curious to find out the answer to the following question:

If the government were to 100% subsidise the installation of solar panels on houses with the primary purpose of charging a set of batteries for an electric car purchased by the home owner, how much of a reduction in dependence on foriegn oil would this buy, given today's prices for solar panels and today's efficiencies for electric cars? I am assuming that the car is designed for two sets of batteries, one to stay at home charging, while the other is out driving, which strikes me as the only sane way to go about this situation. The panels would hav e to be cabable of fully recharging the batteries for 120 miles of travel in one moderately sunny day.

This turns out to be information which is hard to find, but I will work on it.

technorati tags: solar electric cars government subsidy economics panels

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A CongressPerson's Time is Valuable, Let's Share !

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It's no secret that money talks and BS doesn't make it into the parking lot, when it comes to the time of your CongressPersons. The House of Representatives and the Senate are the true capitalists' marketplace, with admission by campaign donations, or private wealth, and often both.

Now I think that 1/2 of the time a CongressPerson spends should be with people of "their own choosing.," i.e., the campaign donors.

The other half of available time should be up for auction, on a site like Ebay. What's more, the initial ownership of a month's worth of available time (remember, 1/2 of the time the CongressPerson spends with people beyond their staff and other members of Congress), should be split up among all registered voters by lottery. The units could be as small as 1/1000th of a month, and scheduling would be lots of fun, with watchdogs and rules to make sure the CongressPerson didn't try "ditching" a legitimate owner of time. Our lobbiests deserve what they pay for, we deserve to know about our lobbiests' activities in detail.

The initial owner of a given CongressPerson's time would probably reap at least $100,000 for the month, and the options could be tracked just like the stock market, giving a simple number or two showing who really has the power in Congress, just like the stock market. Congress minute ? Nah, too short a time. I think 20 minutes would be a minimum, and this would vary, depending on how available a CongressPerson was (some make more time available than others). It would make for 1/2 hour appointments, with 10 minutes of review, relax, and prepare time.

The owners and eventual users of all units of time would be public record, as would the names of all the rest of the people a CongressPerson sees (of their own choice, times), other than directly related family members. All of this data comes with complete with names, times and dates, and is posted on the web within a week of completion.

Just a little accountability, some spreading of the wealth (since we've given up on democracy as a marketplace of ideas), that's all I ask. As usual, much more thought and discussion is needed to work out the fine points.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Time to kill Spam and Identity Theft

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The current social security numbering system sucks. We need a much larger supply of numbers, so that you can change yours as easily as you can change a PIN. As soon as you leave a company, drop a bank account, etc, you should be able to go to a new number. The Feds need a master database of alias's for you, one which will continue to recognize you for record keeping purposes, so that a company or bank account can still do any financial reporting, but one where any accounts opened under your "old" number after the date you've retired it, would immediately show up as bogus the first time the bank or employer getting that "old" number sees it and tries using it at the state for federal level. yes, it is national id forever, but that's better than the current cost of identity theft.

Well SPAMMERS, I've had to retire my email of eight years, because the ratio of good to bad was getting past one good email for every 50 bad ones. Net result, I have a ton of new email addies, most of them custom to one institution or person. In addition, I've added in "2006" to most of the names, a subtitle hint that in 2007 the mail name will no longer be valid. By setting my email to sort by the name the mail is addressed to, I get all my mail from a particular person in one box.

Other stuff which is from official looking Ebay or whatever goes straight to the junk filter, where I verify it as bad. Of course I shouldn't be getting any other stuff, and when I do, I look to see which email addy has been compromised. I change the addy and relay the change to the appropriate sender, and I am done. bye bye SPAM.

This is inconvenient, but it works for me. Downloading email now takes seconds, instead to minutes. The time saved more than justifies the time spent updating addies. Business cards are easy to reprint, and lasting relationships get custom addies as soon as they are needed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Net Neutrality, WeSaySO Corporation Hates It !

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In a threat to American ideals far worse than 9/11, Biggie Communication Corporations of America have gotten the House to pass a COPE bill which gives them the ability to kill three birds at once.

It allows them to charge a premium for Americans to communicate via the Internet. basically giving Biggie Corp the fast lanes on the Net, and even freezing out ma and pa radical on their soapbox, and slowing down class neutral family relations stuff. They are already making money through phone bills and the like. Those rates are under the control of Public Utility Commissions, and this bill would by pass that, and make new rates for data transmission.

In addition, apparently the would be in a censor's position of deciding who can even send anything. If you say "ATT sucks," ATT doesn't have to send it. This is in total violation of the principle of free speech. Even the Christians are up in arms about this, as it would allow for the institution of a state controlled, consumer boost-up church, dedicated to passive, "buy, buy, buy, don't rock the boat, don't believe anything that might wreck the money making machines of the already rediclously rich folks."

The third part of the this nastiness is an effort to void out locally produced shows from getting air or cable or dish time on the Big Boys' equipment, effectively shuting down Nevada County's NCTV's local Nevada Union football, Christian, political, nature, and music shows, all locally produced and currently carried by the cable co. Why attack them ? The same reason as everything else, in California and elsewhere. The rich view the rest of us as consumers to be harvested of dollars. Local access does not generate dollars in their pockets, and so out it goes. In fact, if people watch ad-less local access television, they are not watching Biggie's Corps shows and sponsors.

No corporation should ever be allowed to pay for lobbying once it gets to $100,000,000 a year in gross income ( a lower figure might be "even better"). It is just absurd that we allow these mega giants to run our lives, even after they've obviously gotten a good return for their investors.

One very obvious effect will be to shut up Americans, from the far left, to the loony bin, to the far right. None of this "waste of time" would be encouraged, as corporate American has figured out that people blogging and trading pictures, and talking politics, are not people paying attention to their advertising and watching mainstream tv. I'm sure UTube was the last straw for corporate America.

I have donated $9.11 to I strongly recommend that you all do the same.

Here's a joke for astronomers and the like:

"What a big, dangerous, reptile that flies through space and carefully plots its course as it goes ?"

"An Astro-gator"

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lowell Sesquicentennial Banquet

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Oh My, Do I Feel Guilty !

I've never gotten around to putting up the images and such for this post, and I spelled sequicentennial wrong. BTW, the blooger spell checker doesn't know this word, I had to check it in Word.exe. Anyway, as soon as it is raining hard or snowing hard I will get around to fixing the missing stuff. In the meantime, fire prep and mining take precedence. written 2007 10 28.

Went to it Saturday night and had a wonderful time !

Great chance to see in person many of the great people I worked with at Lowell, as I did my part to bring the oldsters kicking and screaming into the Internet Age, and basically kept the road plowed so that the youngsters could charge forward, my own daughter included. I met students now in their 30's, well into successful careers, like a programmer turned Rederal Reserve watchdog. I met teachers still negotiating/battling recalcitrant impoverished taxpayers and their henchpersons, the Fortress Franklin administration.

I met my fellow retirees, most of whom are still very active, often doing volunteer work, like Ed Lehman, who tenderly puts microscopes back into working order for the Exploratorium and the California Academy of Sciences. I missed seeing Holly Giles and a bunch of others, but was once again in the august presence of Maud Pearson-Green. I really wish I had had triple the time to talk with everyone. I even met one of KK's sixth grade teachers, who was thrilled to learn what she was up to.

I was greatly entertained by Flossie Lewis and Michele Winters, truly incredible and humorous teachers, and listened to yet one more sterling performance by the American Idol ready group of students in music and drama. The food was excellent, the parking superb, and the roads between here and their are in far worse condition than I remembered. I'll probably post some pictures/videos soon. Hat's off to Terry Abad, Jack Anderson, Paul Lucey, Pete Dahl, and all the rest who made it possible !

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New Game, at least for me.

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If you could bring back to life 4 people, from this century, at age 21, with all their facilities intact, or improved beyond original factory specs, and memories, regardless of when they died, who would you pick ? No family members for round one.

John Denver

Laurie H. Glass (personal friend, probably not on net anywhere)

John F. Kennedy

Issac Asimov

As Robots Improve, will we need Immigrants ?

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Currently we seem to need immigrants to do physical labor, clean houses, etc, because "Americans" won't. I wonder if that's because physically we're getting to weak (seems unlikely, plenty of American workers in the well paid, physically demanding, trades) or because the upper classes in this country feel that they are "entitled" to cheap labor in their second homes up at Tahoe ? Why should the lower classes (former middle classes) have to foot the additional bill for special Spanish High School diplomas for the illegal serfs working to clean the Tahoe McMansions ?

American corporate farmers also feel they are "entitiled" to cheap farm help too.

Frankly, as a member of the non-noble class in the USA (any family with less than $200,000/year income or less than $1,500,000 net worth), I feel I'm "entitled" to a real person on the other end of a phone line when I calll up a business which gets more than $50/month from me for any service. Fat lot of good it does me.

I think it would do the world a lot of good to shut down the borders and kick out anyone who doesn't pick up English within two years after that, and then only open the borders to those who do speak English. A major reason for this nation's success over the last two hundred years has been the standardization on one language.

Yes, food prices would go up......for a while. The Japanese, however, are making great strides in building robots which can do independent jobs, and the military has already shown us robot planes being controlled from 1/2 way around the world.

Give me a tactile sensitive robot that can examine and pick grapes, instead of targeting bombs, under the control of a moderately trained "American" human of whatever race, and I'll show you a 24/7/365 work force based simultaneously in Alaska and Florida, etc., picking grapes part and full time. The robots work the 24/7/365. The humans trade off the robots to other humans when they need to go change a daiper or whatever, while working from home, or at worst in an air-conditioned building near their place of residence. Farmer workers will work just like the Indians answering phones in India, or Maybe we'll just let the "guest workers" stay in Mexico, and pick food via remote control from there.

Digging ditches and pruning hedges can be handled the same way.