The Blind Side

27 11 2009

I don’t often recommend movies (OK, I don’t remember the last time I did), but I strongly recommend that everyone see “The Blind Side”. It is the best new movie I have seen in more than a decade.

It is a great football story but so much more. Sandra Bullock gives a fantastic performance.  She reminds me of so many strong southern women I have known in my life who take on a tough situation and just don’t give up even though it changes their entire outlook on life.  I love this type of woman (actually I think I married one) :-).

If you want to feel good after seeing a movie, go see this one!





Biblically Terrible

21 05 2009

Every now an then I come across an article that is hilarious as well as informative.  Jeremy Clarkson, writing for the Sunday Times, has definitely come up with just such an article.

I am most certainly in favor of increasing fuel efficiency for automobiles, but, to put it mildly, it appears that Mr. Clarkson did not have a good experience test driving the Honda Insight.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

The biggest problem, and it’s taken me a while to work this out, because all the other problems are so vast and so cancerous, is the gearbox. For reasons known only to itself, Honda has fitted the Insight with something called constantly variable transmission (CVT).

It doesn’t work. Put your foot down in a normal car and the revs climb in tandem with the speed. In a CVT car, the revs spool up quickly and then the speed rises to match them. It feels like the clutch is slipping. It feels horrid.

And the sound is worse. The Honda’s petrol engine is a much-shaved, built-for-economy, low-friction 1.3 that, at full chat, makes a noise worse than someone else’s crying baby on an airliner. It’s worse than the sound of your parachute failing to open. Really, to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer.

So you’re sitting there with the engine screaming its head off, and your ears bleeding, and you’re doing only 23mph because that’s about the top speed, and you’re thinking things can’t get any worse, and then they do because you run over a small piece of grit.”

The entire article can be found here:  Sunday Times Honda Insight Review

I think Honda may need to go back to the drawing board.





Eminent Domain

14 05 2009

Since I was a kid I have pondered the issue of eminent domain. This is when the government takes private property for the public betterment. I thought this power was reserved for building roads or schools, hospitals or some other public use. However, it appears that sometimes private property is taken away from a private individual only to be used for some other private use in the name of “the greater good”.

I just finished reading “Little Pink House” by Jeff Benedict that details the events leading up to the landmark United States Supreme Court case of Kelo v. City of New London. It is an excellent book and I really like Benedict’s writing style. I am amazed at the people who agreed to be interviewed for the book.

LPH

I must admit that I had heard of the case and didn’t want to read about it because I disagreed with the 5-4 US Supreme Court decision to allow the city of New London to take away Susette Kelo’s and others houses for an urban development project. However, the ending of the book is comfortably satisfying.

One thing that still puzzles me is the split of the supreme court. The judges that are considered liberal (Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Stevens) are on the wrong side of this argument as far as I am concerned. They sided with the City of New London that the homeowners should be evicted. I would think that they would be on the side of the “common person”. The judges who are considered conservative (Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas) all sided with the homeowners against giving the land to a private company for development. Normally I would think that these judges would be on the side of private industry. Go figure.





My Turn

10 04 2009

Bernd Larsen is a very good friend of mine.  He was born and raised in Denmark but a few years ago, after a rather lengthy process, became a US citizen.  Shortly after this occurred he sent me a copy of a letter he wrote about the experience.  I have added it to this post because it provides a unique view on US citizenship and I think all who are citicens or want to become citizens of this country should read it.

My Turn by Bernd Larsen

If you know Bernd like I do you can only smile at the visual image of him waving an American flag with “gusto” or ” going to Cuba and then getting on a raft and sailing to Miami”.





Scientia Potentia Est

8 04 2009

“Scientia potentia est” which is loosely translated from Latin as “knowledge is power” was penned by Sir Francis Bacon in his work Meditationes Sacrae in 1597. With the rise of the Internet, many seem to think that we have all the knowledge we need at our fingertips. However, knowledge requires that the right information be available at the right time and in the right place. When it comes to categorizing information into knowledge the Internet is very poorly organized (if it can be considered organized at all).

People are needed to organize information into knowledge and librarians are best suited for this task. Click on the link below for an annotated bibliography on this subject:

Knowledge Management-Annotated Bibliography





Another Age Must Judge

7 04 2009
Charles Babbage

Charles Babbage

Many years ago I noticed a computer store named Babbage’s at the mall. I often wondered why the name as, at the time, I hadn’t heard of Charles Babbage. In doing research on who he was I discovered he is considered by many to be the father of the modern computer. This is quite a feat considering that he lived from 1791 to 1871. To put this in perspective: He was born when George Washington was still president of the United States and died 8 years before Thomas Edison patented the light bulb.

I created the Another Age Must be the Judge Power Point to illustrate some of the ideas he came up with more than 100 years ago.

He also was an rather interesting individual.  More information about Charles Babbage can be found at the following Web sites:
Charles Babbage
The Babbage Pages
Babbage-Science Museum.org





Nuclear Fusion

4 04 2009

A long term solution to our energy requirements is nuclear fusion.  One major difference between energy from nuclear fusion sources and fission is that there are no harmful byproducts from fusion while fission power plants generate harmful radioactive waste (think Chernobyl).  Another difference is that fission is currently working technology while fusion is still in the research stage.  The technology has come a long way in the past few decades as is described in the embedded video:

However, it still requires more energy to generate the plasma stream than you can get out from the reactor.

We need to include research and development monies in our national budget for fusion as this is the only current long term solution thought of so far that could get us completely off carbon generating power plants.

Here is a good web site describing the benefits of Nuclear Fusion:

Nuclear Fusion: Energy for the Future?