26 June 2010

Awesome Video Saturday CXXXVII

A pretty cool video, put together the old-fashioned way, with no computer trickery.

25 June 2010

Second Lives

Sometimes I think I would like to be a butcher whenever I quit doing what I am doing. I just love cutting meat.

I've never dismembered a whole animal before, but this post from Popular Mechanics gives some of the basics.

You think there is a market for specialty meats in Gainesville?

Our Leaders

No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we
believe we've done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a
crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done.

Those words were said by Senator Dodd this morning. Forgive me if I am unimpressed. How does Dodd know that they got the job done if they don't know exactly how it will work? They mislead the public if they think they have solved the problem of bank failures and financial crises. We probably won't see a repeat of 2008, but problems will emerge again in some form.

And there will be, as always, unintended consequences of additional regulation. The costs of reform always flown down to the rank-and-file employee and the common investor and customer.

22 June 2010

Toy Story 3

It was a fantastic movie. Period.

It was completely engaging, often exciting, and consistently funny. The voice acting is fantastic, as always, and several times I was impressed at the emotion conveyed by the performers.

The ending is emotionally satisfying and I don't want to spoil it. Just go see the movie and consider your money and time well-spent. And you don't need kids to enjoy it.

If you've seen it (and don't read this unless you have), are male, and got a little choked up, just know that it is okay. It seems a common occurrence.

20 June 2010

iPadding it Up

I was away from home this week on a beach trip with my wife and kids. The ONLY bad thing (and it was a very small one) was that I was away from the office when my new iPad arrived. I love new gadgets, but I wouldn't really call myself an early adopter. The iPod was out for years before I bought one. I resisted blogging until it was thoroughly mainstream.

Buying an iPad just a few months after introduction has me about as trendy as it gets, and as I write this first post on my new device I have to say that in just a few short hours of playing with it I am very pleased. I would like for it to be useful, as well as fun, so I plan to test it out in that way pretty thoroughly over the next month or so.

There are some things it can't do, like type this post in the "compose" view (I'm using the "edit html" side), and I am such an avid user of tabbed web browsing that I feel some lack there, but all in all I am pleased with my choice.

19 June 2010

Awesome Video Saturday CXXXVI

This is a few weeks old, from the finale of 30 Rock. Hilarious.

17 June 2010

Better to be Lucky

This is a good piece from Peggy Noonan on the President Obama's string of bad luck (and bad choices). A favorite part:

No reason to join the pile on, but some small points. Two growing weaknesses showed up in small phrases. The president said he had consulted among others "experts in academia" on what to do about the calamity. This while noting, again, that his energy secretary has a Nobel Prize. There is a growing meme that Mr. Obama is too impressed by credentialism, by the meritocracy, by those who hold forth in the faculty lounge, and too strongly identifies with them. He should be more impressed by those with real-world experience. It was the "small people" in the shrimp boats who laid the boom.
And when speaking of why proper precautions and safety measures were not in place, the president sternly declared, "I want to know why." But two months in he should know. And he should be telling us. Such empty sternness is . . . empty.

Looking Forward

Toy Story 3 premieres tomorrow. We'll be there.

This is a great review from the WSJ's Joe Morgenstern. I'm trying not to be OVERestimate how good it is.

16 June 2010


If the expected mineral deposits are successfully extracted, it will be years before any of that comes to pass. Even then, it is reasonable to ask how much of that will make it to common Afghan.

The country is in need of immediate help for development. One interesting idea is provided by Michael Yon. Cow Dung has been successfully used in Nepal to provide clean (really!) and sustainable fuel in places where none was available before. It could be a helpful and near-term way of improving the lives of many Afghans.

15 June 2010

Mineral Rush

Significant, possibly enormous, mineral deposits have been found in Afghanistan. It is both problematic and wonderful. It could transform the poor nation into a commodity powerhouse, which is extraordinary. It may also have other, unintended consquences.

14 June 2010


The premiere of the A-Team movie prompted this entertaining column from Eric Snider. I loved the A-Team as a kid, and this is a movie I will probably enjoy (on DVD most likely).

12 June 2010

Awesome Video Saturday CXXXV

I don't really know anything about this candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner, but he makes an entertaining ad.

A little too casual with his firearm for my taste though.

09 June 2010

Why we wait...and fail

I am frustrated when the blame for an event like the BP spill falls on the shoulders of any one person. I thought it was silly when Bush bore the brunt of the blame for the response to Katrina, and I don't think the continued failure to fix the oil leak is solely Obama's fault. The president does is not omnipotent or omniscient.

Both of these examples do demonstrate lapses of leadership. Obama, for a while (and still to some extent) avoided the negativity cast upon Bush, thanks to a more forgiving press. That appears to be mostly over.

I don't want to dwell on Obama's failings as a leader (although there are some great articles that explain why he is having so much difficulty, like this one from Peggy Noonan and this one from Dorothy Rabinowitz).

The point of this post was really to highlight this great op-ed piece from the Washington Post. Richard Posner writes about how a combination of common factors lead to bad outcomes. They are not limited by ideology, age, or intelligence. He explains it as follows, in his words-

  1. when fixing things after the fact seems like a feasible alternative to preventing disaster in the first place
  2. when the people responsible have a short time horizon
  3. when the risk is uncertain in the sense that no objective probability can be attached to it.

I like his reasoning. We ought to consider these inputs and motivations before and after disasters occur. We can't always prevent a Deepwater Horizon or Financial Crisis, but our responses can be more decisive and effective.