Monthly Archives: May 2004

When SUVs are outlawed…

I’m reading about Kerry’s speech today and the Republican response. Is this the best they’ve got?

Kerry outlines global mission for U.S.
Republicans also complained that if Kerry wants to end America’s dependence on Mideast oil, he should support opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, which he opposes.
“His solution is to make families drive around in small, unsafe cars,” Virginia Sen. George Allen said on a Republican conference call to respond to Kerry’s speech in Seattle.

Right. The USGS estimates 5.25 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil in ANWR. That’s enough to end our dependence on foreign oil for almost an entire year. But I guess that’s the sort of long term planning one should expect from the party that brought you the current budget deficit.
And which is the more ridiculous implication of Sen. Allen’s statement: that Kerry is somehow going to force families to drive small cars, or that small cars are intrinsically unsafe (as compared, presumably, with SUVs, whose poor handling, high center of gravity, and tendency to roll over make them paragons of safety)?
In the California energy crisis a few years back the residents of our great state voluntarily reduced our energy consumption by ten percent. Perhaps Sen. Allen feels that his constituents are insufficiently patriotic to make similar sacrifices for the cause of our nation’s energy independence, leading him to believe that Kerry would have to “make” them conserve. How sad.

Well, I’ve been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones.

Can this be true?

Armageddon Almost Not Averted
To launch a Minuteman in those days, one had to “unlock” the missile by dialing in a code — the equivalent of a safety catch on a handgun. However, Blair reports, the U.S. Strategic Air Command was worried that a bunch of sissy safety features might slow things down. It ordered all locks set to 00000000 — and in launch checklists, reminded all launch officers like Blair to keep the codes there. “So the ‘secret unlock code’ during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War,” Blair says, “remained constant at 00000000.”

Someone contact Dark Helmet; “12345” is no longer the stupidest combination I’ve ever heard in my life. How did we, as a species, survive the 70’s? (via Fark)

CNN Tackles a Complex Math Problem

CNN brings us the cutting-edge in political science:

Database predicts July 21 for Kerry VP announcement
(CNN) — Whom and when presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry will announce as his running mate for the 2004 presidential race is still anyone’s guess, but one leading database has dug deep into its memory and arrived at a “historical” prediction.
LexisNexis, a provider of legal, news and business information services, conducted a comprehensive search of more than 32,000 historical sources.
It concluded that if Kerry chooses to announce his running mate before the Democratic National Convention in Boston, he will most likely announce his decision July 21 — five days before the convention begins.

32,000 sources! Must be a complicated algorithm they’re employing:

The LexisNexis search discovered that in the last 48 years, only four Democratic candidates for president named their running mates before the national convention — Al Gore in 2000, seven days before; Bill Clinton in 1992, four days before; Michael Dukakis in 1988, six days before; and Walter Mondale in 1984, four days before. Clinton was the only person of that group elected.

So in the last 20 years, every non-incumbent Dem candidate named his running mate before the convention. But anyway, on to the science:

To calculate the date, LexisNexis added the total days that each of the four candidates announced ahead, then divided that number by four.

Hey! I hear there’s a mathematical name for this technique.

The result: 5.25, according to LexisNexis’s Manager of Public Relations Randy Dunham.

“According to…”? Does CNN not have the computing power to check the calculation? This isn’t the Iowa Electronic Market, guys – he averaged some one-digit numbers.

The Slayage Conference

Scholars plan to espouse merits of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’
A total of 190 academic papers from around the globe will be presented at The Slayage Conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It begins Friday morning. Physicists, philosophers, theologians and other academicians will present their takes on Buffy and its themes of redemption, mortality, evil and what it means to be human.

I can’t decide whether attending this would be really cool or really horrifying.

Vanity Post #2

At Unfogged, Ogged considers the disadvantages of bloggers posting pictures of themselves. Of course, most of my readers know me personally, and therefore have no illusions about what I look like. This is convenient, because it allows me to post the following query: It was recently suggested* that I resemble Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. Having never seen said movie myself**, I have no way to verify this claim other than to ask you guys (in nifty poll format):

For reference***:

Arcane Gazebo Martin Sheen

*By some dude in a bar, so I’m skeptical.
**It’s been on my list of “movies I really ought to see” for a while.
***I promise not to post any more pictures of myself unless absolutely necessary.

Promotional items

Waiting for Life of Brian to start… They are handing out prayer cards at concessions; must be left over from The Passion. Also, in the lobby you can get your picture taken in front of a crucifixion backdrop under the words “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. I assume that’s not left over from The Passion.