Thursday, March 31, 2005

I take this as a sign of the times.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I think nowadays many people forget that word "pursuit."

Sir, I do not call a gamester a dishonest man; but I call him an unsociable man, an unprofitable man. Gaming is a mode of transferring property without producing any intermediate good.
-Samuel Johnson

You cannot get anything out of nature or from God by gambling; only out of your neighbor.
-John Ruskin

I saw this headline in the NY Times today and thought, how sad.

As Gambling Grows, States Depend on Their Cut
Gambling revenues have become a critical stream of income for states, in some cases surpassing the corporate income tax.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

This is kinda long, but funny.

I can't vouch for the authenticity, but either way it's funny.

begin forwarded email

NOTE: The following is a transcript of an audio file. Click here to listen to the original recording.

Dispatcher: Sheriff's department, how can I help you?

Woman: Yeah, I'm over here . . . I'm over here at Burger King right here in San Clemente.*

Dispatcher: Uh-huh.

Woman: Um, no, not San Clemente; I'm sorry, I live in San Clemente. I'm in Laguna Niguel, I think, that's where I'm at.

Dispatcher: Uh-huh.

Woman: I'm at a drive-through right now.

Dispatcher: Uh-huh.

Woman: I went . . . I ordered my food three times. They're mopping the floor inside, and I understand they're busy . . . they're not even busy, okay, I've been the only car here. I asked them four different times to make me a Western Barbeque Burger. Okay, they keep giving me a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and cheese, onions, and I said, "I'm not leaving . . ."

Dispatcher: Uh-huh.

Woman: I want a Western Burger because I just got my kids from Tae Kwon Do, they're hungry, I'm on my way home, and I live in San Clemente.

Dispatcher: Uh-huh.

Woman: Okay . . . she said, she gave me another hamburger; it's wrong. I said four times, I said, "I want it to go. Can you go out and park in front?" I said, "No, I want my hamburger right." So then the . . . the lady came to the manager. She . . . well whoever she is, she came up and she said, um, she said, um, "Do you want your money back?" And I said, "No, I want my hamburger. My kids are hungry and I have to jump on that toll freeway." I said, "I am not leaving this spot," and I said, "I will call the police," because I want my Western Burger done right! Now is that so hard?

Dispatcher: Okay, what exactly is it you want us to do for you?

Woman: I . . . send an officer down here. I . . . I want them to make me . . .

Dispatcher: Ma'am, we're not gonna go down there and enforce your Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

Woman: What am I supposed to do?

Dispatcher: This is . . . this is between you and the manager. We're not gonna go and enforce how to make a hamburger; that's not a criminal issue. There's . . . there's nothing criminal there.

Woman: So I just stand here . . . so I just sit here and [block]?

Dispatcher: You . . . you need to calmly and rationally speak to the manager and figure out what to do between you.

Woman: She did come up, and I said, "Can I please have my Western Burger?" She . . . she said, "I'm not dealing with it," and she walked away. Because they're mopping the floor, and it's also the fact that they don't want to . . . they don't want to go through there . . . and . . . and . . .

Dispatcher: Ma'am, then I suggest you get your money back and go somewhere else. This is . . . this is not a criminal issue. We can't go out there and make them make you a cheeseburger the way you want it.

Woman: Well . . . that is . . . that . . . you're supposed to be here to protect me.

Dispatcher: Well, what are we protecting you from, a wrong cheeseburger?

Woman: No . . .

Dispatcher: Is this like . . . is this a harmful cheeseburger or something? I don't understand what you want us to do.

Woman: Just come down here. I'm not . . . I'm not leaving.

Dispatcher: No ma'am, I'm not sending the deputies down there over a cheeseburger. You need to go in there and act like an adult and either get your money back or go home.

Woman: She is not acting like an adult herself! I'm sitting here in my car; I just want them to make my kids a . . . a Western Burger.

Dispatcher: Ma'am, this is what I suggest: I suggest you get your money back from the manager and you go on your way home.

Woman: Okay.

Dispatcher: Okay? Bye-bye.

(*We're aware that the Western Bacon Cheeseburger is a menu item offered by Carl's Jr., not Burger King. The caller either misidentified the type of burger she was trying to order or misstated the name of the restaurant. Both chains have outlets in Laguna Niguel.)

end of email

Monday, March 28, 2005

FLASH - Major Earthquake off Sumatra - UPDATED 3/29 8:25 AM

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake has occurred off the coast of Sumatra, near the epicenter of last December's disastrous 9.0 quake. UPDATE: QUAKE MAGNITUDE NOW REPORTED AS MAG 8.7. QUAKE OCCURED AT 11:09 PM SUMATRA, 9:09 AM MST. [UPDATED 1:01 PM MST.]


Tsunami warnings have been issued. More as it becomes available.

Drudge Report
Yahoo News

UPDATE: Rather than keep posting, I'm doing to update this post.

[1:01 PM] Quake magnitude upgraded to 8.7. Reports of widespread damage and dozens of casualties in Indonesia. Tsunami warnings in Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. There has not been any confirmed report of a tsunami, but the location and magnitude of the quake make a tsunami likely.

[2:35 PM] Some good news, finally. It appears that this quake failed to generate a large tsunami. While a small tidal surge was detected off the west coast of Australia, it appears that the danger is past.

[3/29/2005 8:25AM] No tsunami, but high casualties. The death toll is now expected to climb into the thousands.

The Silent Hive?

A parasite is killing our bees:"Bee Killer Imperils Crops" in the Palm Beach Post:

"A tiny parasite, colloquially known as a 'vampire mite,' is devastating honeybees. That worries experts because honeybee-pollinated crops are valued at more than $15 billion a year."

So, at first, I simply mutter. They're just bees. Then I read this:
"Under attack from a Southeast Asian parasite, vast numbers of the creatures are dying off, worried industry experts say. More than 50 percent of the bees in California, critical to the success of the Golden State's almond crop, have died during the past six months. Frantic growers there have sent out the call around the world, including Florida, for hives."

50% of California bees, gone in six months. That is scary.

Any thoughts, Nate?

Crossposted at The Pacific Slope.

I'm suprised the world isn't already accustomed to this.

"We wake up thinking we know what we know, only to find that we have to think all over again."
-NY Times article

That line applies to a lot more than just dinosaur bones. Our "experts" always seem to be saying, "Hey, we were wrong." If they're always wrong, why is it we call them experts again? It is my belief that only the "experts" who are inspired from a Higher source tend to hold through the ages. Plato, Socrates, Newton, Einstein, Franklin, Shakespeare, Luther, The Founding Fathers, Joseph Smith... I can't think of any others at the moment. Self-proclaimed or secular experts are generally forgotten as new people come along and replace their ideas with better ones. I don't find it suprising that the wisdom of the world fades.

That's my take. I'm done being pensive for the day. That's all you get. I'm on to listening to U2 and Ryan Adams.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Radicalizing Force of Technology

"Technology Changes Things" by Jonah Goldberg at National Review.

"I don't agree entirely with Chambers, but he and Chesterton were obviously correct on the basic insight that modernity often crashes down on us faster than we can adapt. New events create new stresses on ideological pillars once considered adamantine while they render old conflicts irrelevant. The Schiavo case split many people along principled lines. Is it so unimaginable that tomorrow they may be reunited by some new and unforeseen crisis that progress brings?"

One of the fundamental challenges of our age will be developing and applying ethics and principles to best use the new ideas brought forth while protecting life and liberty.

I hope to one day see us all on this list.

As most people know, I am a money guru. I study finance. Investing is a hobby of mine. I'm always happy to share what I know and help people get on track to inreasing their wealth and savings. I have learend a lot about making money work for you (and keeping interest from working against you). Due to my $$ geekiness, I read a lot of financial magazines, papers and journals. I read this article today and it has some useful wisdom in it. The individuals who routinely read this blog are likely to be aware of this already, but I decided to post it anyway.

I wanted to have something valuable and interesting to post. Instead, you get this.

Millionaires in the making.

It's all about making your money work for you. It's not difficult, but it takes some work to learn the ropes. The addage is true... those who understand interest earn it, those who don't pay it.


The Coming War on Blogs?

James D. Miller over at Tech Central Station:

But won't the First Amendment protect blogs? Unfortunately, courts already hold that many governmental restrictions on speech don't violate the First Amendment, and I can think of three areas in which the MSM might successfully change laws and regulations to hinder their blogger competitors:

1. Campaign Finance Reform -- Blog entries in support of a candidate could be considered political contributions to that candidate...
2. Libel Law -- The MSM used to fight aggressively against any expansion of libel law, but I predict this soon will change...
3. Copyright Law -- Blogs often use information from other sources and, from what I have observed, sometimes flagrantly violate copyright laws. Imagine if Congress increased the complexity and penalties of copyright laws...

Read it all. There is already pressure to try to place weblogs under the MeCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law.

It rather strikes me as a violation of free speech. But McCain-Feingold did too, and Congress passed it, Bush signed it, and the Supreme Court upheld it. So don't assume that appeals to the Constitution can stop this.

Found over at Instapundit.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Turning genetics on its head?

"Scientists shake 150-year law of genetics"
Challenging a scientific law of inheritance that has stood for 150 years, scientists say plants sometimes select better bits of DNA in order to develop normally even when they inherited genetic flaws from their predecessors.

In the Purdue experiment, researchers found that a plant belonging to the mustard and watercress family sometimes corrects the genetic code it inherited from its flawed parents and grows normally like its unflawed grandparents and other ancestors.

Scientists said the discovery raises questions about whether humans also have the potential for avoiding genetic flaws or even repairing them, although the plant experiments did not directly address the possibility in higher organisms. They said the actual proteins responsible for making these fixes probably would be different in animals, if the capacity exists at all.

''This means that inheritance can happen more flexibly than we thought,'' said Robert Pruitt, the paper's senior author.

Simply amazing. When it comes to biology and genetics, we have so much farther to go...


A post. By jamo. That is all. Until later.

Hello World

Welcome to The Wasatch Front, a group blog by a group of friends living in the Salt Lake Valley. What will we cover? Local and national news and politics, science and technology, and whatever else strikes our fancy.

I don't know where this is heading - but I bet it will be interesting...