Sunday, April 30, 2006


Science can be fun

Science Friday interviewed Nobel Laureate George Olah, who's recently written Beyond Oil and Gas which argues that methanol, not ethanol nor hydrogen, should be the energy curency of the future. While that's an interesting premise, the interview was pretty bad, as Dr. Olah cannot be forced to come to a timely point. However, the podcast is almost worth a listen for the breathy, gravely, Eastern European accented voice of the doctor, a hilarious combination of Darth Vadar meets Count Dracula, methodically rumbling things like "Soviet Russia" and "The question you ask pushes me toward the point I am trying to make."

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Oxymoron of the Day

Meteoric rise

Friday, April 28, 2006



Saturday, April 15, 2006


Omega-3 Fatty Acids per Mercury in Common Seafood

Omega-3 fatty acids are generally recognized as healthy. Mercury is generally recognized as toxic. Seafood tends to contain both. Because I'm that kind of nerd, I figured out the optimal fish to eat to increase omega-3 intake while limiting mercury exposure. Here's a sorted list of the ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids to mercury in common seafood. A higher ratio is better.
Mean Mercury (ppm) Mean Omega-3 fatty acid (g) Omega-3/Hg (g/ppm)
Salmon (fresh,frozen) 0.01 0.68 68
Flounder or sole 0.05 0.43 8.6
Pollock 0.06 0.43 7.166666667
Crabs 0.06 0.37 6.166666667
Canned tuna (light) 0.12 0.495 4.125
Catfish 0.05 0.175 3.5
Scallops 0.05 0.17 3.4
Halibut 0.26 0.7 2.692307692
Fresh or frozen tuna 0.38 0.76 2
Cod 0.11 0.185 1.681818182
Shark 0.99 0.9 0.909090909
Lobster 0.31 0.235 0.758064516
Swordfish 0.97 0.7 0.721649485
Mahi mahi 0.19 0.12 0.631578947
Tilefish 1.45 0.8 0.551724138
King mackerel 0.73 0.34 0.465753425
Red snapper 0.6 0.27 0.45
Grouper 0.55 0.21 0.381818182
Orange roughy 0.54 0.002 0.003703704
Data is from the American Heart Association.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Why I think it's wrong

Tim links to a post describing the problems with third parties. I think it's wrong.
  1. It's wrong because it ignores that the Republicans began as a third party at a time when the two-party system was well entrenched. The rise of a third party simply required a powerful issue that was untenable for one of the existing parties.
  2. It's wrong because a fair portion of folks vote based on party labels regardless of the candidate. More importantly, most voters couldn't tell you how the incumbent in their district voted on specific issues. So if folks are voting based on the individual, they're doing so based on an individual's charisma, not on his stance on issues, or his party label.
  3. The two party system is dangerous because it puts so much power in the hands of the redistricters. Lines simply need to be drawn just so to give one party a slim advantage in some districts while giving the other party enormous advantage in other districts to diminish the effectiveness of the minority vote. In a multi-party system, electing representatives by party at-large in large states would better express minority opinions and would limit the meaningfulness of redistricting. Recall that DeLay's major accomplishment was to redistrict Texas in order to give Republicans a larger share of the state's seats, leading to a majority in the House.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Quote o' the Day

I've been listening to and really enjoying Cory Doctorow's podcasts recently. Therein, the author or an invited guest reads 7-20 minute segments of Doctorow's short stories. The quality of reading isn't up to audio book standards, but it really is quite good with solid underlying recording technology and infrequent corrections. In general, I recommend Cory's stuff with the caveat of a blanket PG-13 rating.

While listening to When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth, an apocalyptic tale in which primarily only those sheltered in data centers survive, I laughed out loud, a dangerous proposition when running on a treadmill as I was, upon hearing the following exchange between two star-crossed sysadmins.

I've got a 486 downstairs with over five years of uptime. It's going to break my heart to reboot it.

What the everlasting s--- do you use a 486 for?

Nothing. But who shuts down a machine with five years uptime? That's like euthanizing your grandmother.

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