Posted by: Kevin | September 14, 2011

I Spend Far Too Much Time on YouTube

An outstanding live version of “Cave” by Mumford and Sons

 

Someone took DeBussy’s “Claire de Lune” and gave it a pretty new wrapper.

 

I was so inspired by this video that I made this myself, twice.

Posted by: Kevin | August 29, 2011

The Sagan Series

If you haven’t seen these clips on youtube then you should.

The Whole Sagan Series on Youtube can be found here.

Posted by: Kevin | August 25, 2011

Mmmm Wine

At the beginning of August my wife and I spent a week in Napa touring wineries, breweries and vineyards.  Since I fully acknowledge that touring a winery is 1,000x better than reading someone else’s story about touring a vineyard, I won’t record all the mundane details.pretty plants

We brought treats back with us

Posted by: Kevin | July 1, 2011

Moment of Zen

Set the resolution to 720p before watching

Posted by: Kevin | June 9, 2011

Added Without Comment

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Posted by: Kevin | June 8, 2011

Brushing off the Cobwebs

The past couple of years of my life has been unusual for me in that I’ve been much less of a shut-in than I usually am.  A few different things have combined to draw me out of my cave.  One is barroom trivia, nerdy – yes, cheesy – a little, fun – absolutely!  My wife and I have teamed up with several fellow nerds to form a regular barroom trivia team.  Happily, this has led to many non-trivia get togethers and trips, as we share other common interests like good beer, good wine and good company.  Howrah for the social life!

I’ve also picked up a new hobby and stepped up an old one.  My wife got me a nice homebrew kit for Christmas and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed brewing ales (lagers suck) and experimenting with various recipes.  I’ve even achieved a decent Pale Ale.  At the same time I’ve been playing a lot more hockey lately and I’ve kept up with my running.  All this is to say that I’ve been busy and it’s been the good kind of busy.

Of course, I’m still working for ginormous IT company and I’m still doing my best to be the best dad and husband that I can be.  It’s just nice to have reached a point where I feel like I’ve been plugged into a community again.  I haven’t really felt that way since I finished grad school.  The side effect is that I’ve felt less of a need to come here and rant.  However, there have been so many topics worthy of ranting about that I figure I’ll cover a few in brief just to get them off my chest.

There are no Republicans and Democrats, there is only the Money Party and the not-Money Party, the first party is much better represented and includes about 95% of Republicans and 40 – 50% of Democrats in politics.  Everything going on in the country is much easier to understand when seen through that perspective.

The next time you’re tempted to bitch about oil prices you should educate yourself on two subjects: The first is Peek Oil, the second is energy market deregulation.  If you don’t understand either of those terms and their impact on fuel prices then you’re asking for trouble.  Oil makes our entire society go and has been making it go for over 100 years.  It’s worth the effort to understand it a little better.

The same goes for climate change / global warming.  If your understanding of that subject comes from talk radio or fox news, kindly shut the fuck up.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.

While I’m on the subject of warming, it’s been over 90 degrees F in South Carolina for several weeks now and we’re only in the 1st week of June.  I would shank a mime right now for a break in the weather.

Posted by: Kevin | July 11, 2010

In Honor of the Recently Completed World Cup

Yes, the words in this are in French.  I recommend marrying someone who speaks French so they can translate it for you.  However if the French bothers you that much then here:

Oddly enough I did get used to them watching this world cup.  So much so, that I was watching the LA Galaxy play the other day and it sounded wrong.  It took me five minutes to realize I was missing the vuvuzelas.

Oh what the hell, even Hitler had something to say on the subject.

Posted by: Kevin | July 10, 2010

At Last, A Vacation Worth Writing About

My wife and I started our first real vacation in a long time a few weeks ago.  To say it was epic does it no justice.  7 days in Cancun followed by a weekend in New Orleans is packing a lot of debauchery into 10 days.  In order to preserve these memories before I wipe the rest of my brain cells out on the 4th,(note: I took a really long time writing this because I’m lazy) I’m going to preserve my story here.  I’m also enlisting DJ Lance Rock to spin the soundtrack for this vacation.

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Posted by: Kevin | May 6, 2010

Random Thoughts

Flying Their Freak Flag, In the Closet

At what point can we just officially accept that every vocal proponent of social conservatism is some kind of closet freak show?  Whether it’s trolling for sex in an airport bathroom, doing meth with a male escort or now, hiring a male escort from Rentboy.com to “lift his luggage” (that phrase is too good not to recycle) the story always seems to be the same.  Whatever the vocal societal scold is complaining about the loudest, he’s doing something like that, only worse, in his personal life.  I shudder to think what kind of taboos are in Dobson’s closet, or the Phelps clan.

13 Things That Saved Apollo 13…and a great Nixon Quote

This series at Universe Today is worth a read if you have time.  Here’s the quote I love.

“We often speak of scientific ‘miracles’ – forgetting that these are not miraculous happenings at all, but rather the product of hard work, long hours and disciplined intelligence.

The men and Women of the Apollo XIII mission operations team performed such a miracle, transforming potential tragedy into one of the most dramatic rescues of all time. Years of intense preparation made this rescue possible. The skill coordination and performance under pressure of the mission operations team made it happen. Three brave astronauts are alive and on Earth because of their dedication and because at the critical moments the people of that team were wise enough and self-possessed enough to make the right decisions. Their extraordinary feat is a tribute to man’s ingenuity, to his resourcefulness and to his courage.”

Worth considering, especially in light of the continued efforts by some to fuck with science education in this country.

Don’t Watch This if You Love Dogs

This is a SWAT raid for drugs which took place in Columbia, MO.  They stormed the house, apprehended the father, terrorized the wife and 7 year old child and shot the two dogs.  They did all this so they could find a small amount of pot.  The punch line is that they’re charging the father with “Child Endangerment” because of the presence of pot in the house.  Terrorizing the family and shooting beloved pets is apparently, not threatening to children at all.

I’m sick of reading stories like this.  Why the hell do you need a SWAT team to serve a warrant like this?  If they thought the father was a risk, why not pick him up when he leaves the house in the morning?  Why will no one on the police be held accountable for this?

Links found at Bad Astronomy Blog and Balloon Juice

Posted by: Kevin | May 4, 2010

Oil Spills

First I want to second this thought from Ezra Klein.

“If the cost of spills like this one is too high to bear, then we have to wean ourselves off of oil, not simply get really upset about this spill. Because there will be more spills. And they will happen in parts of the world that we don’t pay much attention to, and that don’t have our high safety standards or our ability to rush mitigation measures into place. What we’re seeing here is not a horrible disaster (though it is that), but a cost of relying on this particular type of fuel.”

They’ll eventually stop the oil from leaking out of the well.  Then we’ll have hearings and possibly trials where we’ll learn all sorts of interesting things.  We’ll learn that BP didn’t do enough to safeguard the wellhead and Halliburton screwed up cementing the pipe.  We’ll learn that the government didn’t have enough assets in place to mitigate the damage.  This process is necessary and hopefully will include someone writing a big check the residents of the gulf coast who will bear the brunt of the environmental impact.

While all this fascinating learning is going on, we’ll kick up the AC, because it’ll be August and it’ll be hot.  Then we’ll drive to work or maybe the grocery store to buy produce shipped from South America.  In other words, we’ll consider the crisis and then continue to make the choices which ensure that there will be more crises to come.

It seems likely that some errors and miscalculation led to the current oil spill in the gulf.  That shouldn’t obscure the single largest cause for this event.  We’ve been reduced to looking for oil a mile underneath the ocean.

The first oil well drilled in the United States was only 21 meters deep near Titusville, Pennsylvania.  The first “gusher” wasn’t drilled until 1901 in Texas.  The depth of that well was 370 meters, quite a bit deeper but also on dry land.  By comparison, the wellhead of the Deepwater Horizon rig is 1,500 meters under water.  The hole itself is another 4,000 meters deep (roughly 1610meters/1mile).  Deepwater Horizon happens to hold the record for the deepest undersea well drilled at 10,685 meters, of which the first 1,259 meters were water.

We’re working awfully hard to extract oil now.  Where we once could identify a potential field by looking for oil seeps, places were oil literally bubbles to the surface, we’re now looking a mile under the ocean through 3 or more miles of rock.  Where it once took the energy equivalent of 1 barrel of oil to extract 100 barrels of oil, that ratio has fallen to 1 barrel to extract less than 10.

Our primary fuel has become more expensive to extract, not just the specific cost of finding/drilling/refining/distributing but also the societal cost of cleaning up spills/buying oil from people who hate us/long term environmental consequences.  We either must learn to accept these costs with the knowledge that they’ll only grow until the oil can no longer be extracted or we start identifying a new primary fuel.

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