Sunday, August 31, 2008

What the US VP Does - According to Colbert

  1. Break ties in the US senate
  2. Shoot old men in the face.

Hype we can believe in


Generation Kill

Is any one else watching this fictionalized documentary, Generation Kill. What sells it for me is the presence of the actor who did Tobias Beecher in OZ as a journalist..

Thursday, August 28, 2008

War vs Appeasement

You can have more war, or more appeasement.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mass versus Custom Manufacturing

In a discussion, AH Challenge: British Leyland Still Going Strong, Nick Sumner has an analysis of the decline of the British auto industry.

Was British dominance of Formula One racing in the 70s, 80s and 90s a symptom of the decline of the British volume car industry or part of the cause? In the 80s and 90s the manufacture of Formula One cars was by and large a British cottage industry.

I think it might be seen as a symptom because F1 would attract the best engineering talent - if that talent saw no future in the volume side of the industry then getting into F1 would be even more attractive than would generally be the case. This would of course cause a decline in the engineering talent pool available to the volume manufacturers.

On the other hand it might be seen as part of the cause - did so much design and engineering talent accrue to F1 that there was too little left over for the volume industry?

I'm not saying for a moment that F1 might be the principal cause of the decline of the British car industry - that would be bad management - but did it have an effect?

In the 1950s, Italian manufacturers won the annual Formula One constructor’s championship eight times. British and German manufacturers managed one win each. The British volume car industry was both strong and profitable.

In the 1960s British manufacturers won seven times, the Italians won twice and the French once. The British volume car industry began to falter finding foreign competition increasingly difficult to beat.

In the 1970s British manufacturers again won seven times, Ferrari taking the other three championships. The competitiveness and quality of British volume cars declined steeply, markets were lost abroad and foreign penetration of the home market increased.

In the 80s all 10 championships were won by British manufacturers. The British volume car industry continued its precipitous decline.

In the 90s British manufacturers won eight of the constructors championships, the remaining two, were one by Benetton formula which at that time was a British registered company. The Benetton cars were also manufactured in Britain so you could argue that once again it was a clean sweep across the decade for British manufacturers. The British volume car industry died.

Is there a link here?

The Anatomy of Living Cars

Jake Parker, an artist, has theorized about the cars in Cars. They are part animal and part machine, in sci fi terms they would be cyborgs, or daleks. Jake has suggested a possible version, however the nervous system is a little out sized. There was a NFB cartoon from 1966, What On Earth, that purported to be a report from Earth by Martians explorers. This film also saw cars as alive and we human as the parasites. For even more cartoon anatomy studies check here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Taliban Charity

In reaction to story of Taliban terrorists killing aid workers on Jihadwatch a pulsar182 offers this sick joke about Taliban compassion.

  • So..
  • How does the Taliban help disabled children....
  • by providing more disabled children so they won't be lonely..

In Africa and elsewhere some moslem "leaders" have considered the polio vaccine as part of some Zionist plot, so more crippled children there too.

The Lords of the Economy

Corporations in the East adopted a feudal approach to organization, without even being aware of it. There were kings and lords, and there were vassals, soldiers, yeomen, and serfs, with layers of protocol and perquisites, such as the car and driver, to symbolize superiority and establish the boundary lines. Back East the CEOs had offices with carved paneling, fake fireplaces, escritoires, bergres, leather-bound books, and dressing rooms, like a suite in a baronial manor house.

Tom Wolf explaining how the egalitarian Silicon Valley
culture was a created by Midwesterners
and not but hard driving MBA leaders.

This was from a link in slashdot story about how US corporations don't want hire Americans anymore

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mark Twain in Turkish Occupied Constantinople

Mosques are plenty, graveyards are plenty, but morals and whiskey are scarce. The Koran does not permit Mohammedans to drink. Their natural instincts do not permit them to be moral.

Mark Twain in Innocents Aboard

Changing Demographics in US Music Sales

Percentage of Music Market by Age of Consumer

You can see why the US music industry is in trouble. In 1990 more than 70% of music sales were to those under 30 years of age. now with iTunes the biggest segment isn't teenagers but people over 45. Boy bands don't sell well to people who already have developed musical tastes and collections.

The Rise and Fall of US Music Sales

U.S. Music Sales, 1975-2005: Vinyl, cassettes, and CDs

The RIAA doesn't have a lot to complain about since CD sales are still higher than the peaks of LP and cassette sales. Considering the manufacturing cost for CDs is small compared to earlier media, what's the problem.

Evil Pastry

Funny Bunny Suicide

In a thread on Comic Curmudgeon a Naked Bunny with a Whip has a link to odd and funny bunny suicide cartoons. The panels that follow these ones show the consequence of assaulting aliens.

Penguin Inspecting his Troops

It is Nils Olav, a Mascot of the Norwegian King's Guard, or Hans Majestet Kongens Garde. He and his predecessors live at the Edinburgh Zoo and every time the Norwegians take part in the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo they come by and promote him.

Propaganda Posters

This compilation of political posters was put together a right wing blogger. It is making a an association between postering styles and ideologies. You could also make a comparison between political ads and tolilet paper commercials. (See a previous post about ChiCom posters for more commie agitprop)


The right to offend is far more important than the right not to be offended.

- Rowan Atkinson

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Help the Astronomers

You too can help sort the galaxies of the universe. Galaxy Zoo enlists people to to map the universe. Very little training is needed to make almost everyone as good as professional astronomers. One of the volunteers was even able to discover something new, check here for story.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Politics and the White Man

It is so refreshing that a white man has a voice in political process.

Stephen Colbert discussing SwingVote.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Children as Bartenders

Good times! I've said it before, but it always bears repeating: children make excellent bartenders.

Yes. They can be counted on not to get drunk (since children almost never like the taste of liquor) and start messing up the recipes, and they love playing with bottles and glasses and the like. Alas, my parents did not have me tending bar at their parties. I think my mother would have thought it was unseemly (not dangerous or immoral).

Discussion of Mad Men S02E02
on Television Without Pity.

Children's natural gift for bar tending has been noticed before. In the Simpson episode, Bart the Murderer, where Bart gets a job bar tending at the Legitimate Businessman's club and is soon famed for his Manhattans.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

How The Internet is Destroying Literacy

Here is a report about how the internet is changing reading habits and reading skills.