Saturday, April 29, 2006

Alternative Educational Methods

This is a pretty neat short video on self-driven education in a school in Maryland.

Voices from a New American Schoolhouse

Think Ninja. Be Ninja

Wisdom from the grand master of NINJAS

This is cool, and by cool, I mean totally sweet. And if you know what that means, you're a total nerd.

E-Textbooks, finally!

At Rolla, we were talking about this for years. I've been thinking about this for even longer. If only I had been the to invent it! Anyway, here's some photos of some concept devices that might help us replace textbooks altogether. Imagine, your entire libary - in a pseudo-Star-Trek pad.

E-Paper devices

It's about time...

Funny economics comic...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hook'em Horns

Matt Leinart Wins Beauty Contest Portion of the NFL Draft!

Sometimes "The Onion" is just beyond awesome. Vince Young is the man. From the city of the national champion Texas Longhorns... QM out.

More on oil...

*** Update ***
Libertarian Party Speaks on the $100 Gas Rebate Check

Once again, the rebate idea is such stupid scheme. A total political ploy to divert people's attention from the real issue. Quote:

"If Senate Republicans and Democrats want to provide immediate relief to consumers the first step should be the repeal of the federal excise tax on gasoline. The money saved by consumers would be more than the $100 refund.

To help increase the nation's supply of gasoline in the long-term, Congress needs to ease the environmental regulations governing oil refineries. The United States has not built a new refinery since 1976."

Hmm, that sounds like what I said...

Republicans target "Economic Crimes by William Anderson, care of the Mises Institute.

The article is well worth the read, and is more detailed than my post from a couple of days ago.

This leads me to another point which is probably becoming apparent, and may disturb some people who know me well. I have been steadily losing respect for the current manifestation of the Republican party, mainly due to the following:
The Patriot Act
Handling of Katrina
Handling of oil
Inability to create a balanced budget, and record deficit spending
Continued interventionism across the world
Restricting free trade
Socialist health care
Social security stupidity

This does not mean I am now a Democrat. I like them probably even less. No, I think the most accurate description of my political position is Libertarian. Frankly, I have extremely little faith in government in general, but at this point I think the Republican party has failed miserably. America needs to move back to the principles of true free-market economics, international free-trade, and non-interventionism abroad. If the next Republicans up for election adhere to these (somebody like Ron Paul, who is definitely the man), or Democrat for that matter, I would vote for them. Otherwise, down with tyranny! I offer no apology for these views, and I hope none of my friends think less of me for it. Logic dictates that I must do this.

By the way, for all you Libertarians out there, Michael Badnarik is running for 10th District in Texas, which includes north Austin. Too bad I'm downtown, or else I could vote for him...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

News Roundup...

And here are today's headlines/articles with color commentary...

Nuclear Regulatory Confusion: A good article on nuclear power regulations.

Why we should have a gold standard.

FEMA News: So a bipartisan panel says FEMA should be scrapped because of the Katrina failure, but what's the next part of the plan? Build another ridiculous disaster-relief organization! When will you people learn? "The first obligation of government is to protect our people," says Senator Susan Collins. Government consistently fails in any form of "protection" from national disaster, and it consistently fails in relief efforts too. Letting the market deal with it is the answer. For more information, see, as usual.

Congress 'discusses' gas prices? This op-ed piece by Dana Milbank is idiotic. Cmon, you think you have some sort of right to tell people what kind of car you can drive? Give me a break. If I want to spend my money on a gas-guzzling car, it's none of your business! Now, personally I don't drive one of those vehicles (too expensive), but who am I to restrict somebody ele from driving one?

The Omega Number, Godel's Theorem, and a Theory of Everything: This is a nifty article for all you math gurus out there. I think I'm going to put his book on the reading list...

What's this? A Battlestar Galactica prequel? Very cool.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Umm, what is the logic behind this?

Piracy vs. Child Pornography

The Inquirer reports that under a new law that might be passed by our ever-so-ingenious (probably more like disingenuous) Federal Government, bigger punishments would be given to people who burn a cd for a friend than to those who participate in child pornography. You have to follow a couple of links to get to the original Cnet article, but this quote is telling enough:

"Although sentencing varies in the US, the new law does send a very strange message as to what the government considers 'bad' in the 21st century.

For example assaulting a police officer will get you five years, downloading child porn will get you seven years, assaulting without a weapon will get you ten years and aggravated assault six years.

So in other words if you copy a Disney CD and sell it you will be in the same league as a paedophile who is distributing pictures of sexual attacks on children.

If you copy Craig David's CD you get ten years, but if you punch him in the face and pummel him into a seven day coma you will only get six."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

UT hacked!

McCombs School of Business Database Breached: 197,000 SSN's stolen

This is absurd. Mr. Hacker, you should be put in jail and beaten severely for this, especially if you manage to use any of these people's information to hijack their identity for your selfish, putrid gain.

America, get a grip...

I'm sitting in the UT Pharmacy, and CNN is on. The Pres is talking about gas prices, and apparently 2/3 of Americans think high gas prices are a 'hardship', whatever that means.

People think that because oil companies are making so much money these that they are evil or something. They think the government should do something about it. Get a grip America, you don't know a thing about economics if you think that these high gas prices are the result of price gouging and 'evil' big business. I can't stand the prices either, but I'm not going to accuse an oil company.

Here's the reasons why gas prices are so high. This is as simple as economics gets.
1) Demand - Over the past 10 years, 100 million people in the far east (China, Japan, Taiwan, etc.) have moved to a standard of living comparable to the USA. They now want fuel. This means the demand has increased dramatically. Think about it. If there are 300 million people in the USA, and 100 million new consumers now want gas, you can expect for the price to go up.
2) Supply - The barrier towards creating new refineries and developing new sources of oil in the USA pretty much shafts any effort to increase the supply of oil in the USA. The demand has gone up, but the supply has remained relatively unchanged with respect to the demand. Coupled with the control that OPEC wields on prices in general, you can't possibly expect anything but a price increase.
3) Taxes - How much in taxes do you pay per gallon of gasoline? Do you know? In 2002, the average taxpayer paid 42 cents per gallon in taxes. (Source: Gas Tax Statistics) I couldn't find anything for 2006, but you can bet that your taxed-to-the-bottom dollar that they are higher now. Guess what else? The Federal Government gets more money from gasoline than any company does in profits. (Source: The Tax Foundation) So who benefits most from high gas taxes? The government. Who gets hurt? You do.

Let's be frank. If the government is really concerned about gas prices, they should eliminate all taxes on oil. Period. CNN, socio-liberals, and all you silly people out there who think Exxon is evil, look at the facts and try telling me again that we should punish oil companies for doing their job as best they can. The laws of supply and demand refuse to be violated. And go read some Mises or Rothbard, or some other book where you can learn some real economics...

I always wondered how they did that...

How to write a scientific paper: Sometimes, science publications can be downright ridiculous. Here's how they're written... And yes, it is a joke.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Why do I like these?

You scored as Neo, the "One". Neo is the computer hacker-turned-Messiah of the Matrix. He leads a small group of human rebels against the technology that controls them. Neo doubts his ability to lead but doesn't want to disappoint his friends. His goal is for a world where all men know the Truth and are free from the bonds of the Matrix.

Neo, the "One"


William Wallace




Indiana Jones


Batman, the Dark Knight


Lara Croft


James Bond, Agent 007


Captain Jack Sparrow


The Amazing Spider-Man


The Terminator


El Zorro


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Take courses at MIT... for free

MIT has just released their OpenCourseware website, where you can find class notes from hundreds of MIT courses spanning nearly every discipline offered at MIT. Thanks to my father-in-law Jack for letting me know about this...

MIT OpenCourseware

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Update: Scott Savage acquitted

Librarian Scott Savage has been acuqitted of charges of sexual harassment over the suggestion of the book "The Marketing of Evil" by David Kupelian. See my post from a couple of days ago...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Great Debate

How many Darwinists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

The Federal Monstrosity (i.e. Budget or lack thereof)

Generally, when one creates a budget, the point is to understand your incomes, track your expenses, and thereby not go into debt. Though some individuals fail at this, I doubt anyone quite misses the mark like the Federal Government. This article from the Mises Institute describes in numbers how the Federal Government spends its money.

How Big is Bush's Big Government?

Department of Homeland Stupidity

And now the federal government has lowered themselves to regulating milk prices:
Hein Hettinga has a really bad day

Monday, April 17, 2006

Religion Census?

American Religion Geography

The link goes to a US map where you can see how prevalent a religion, or religious sect, is in a particular region of the USA.

I can't vouch for the accuracy, but it claims to be using census data. (???)

More on Federal Tax Idiocy

This just in... I was wrong in telling people that there were 46,000 pages of Federal tax code. There's 66,000. That's right.

Cato Institute Daily Commentary: The Simple (Tax) Life

By the way, the Bible has ~775,000 words, depending on your translation. The Federal Tax Code has over nine million words.

I thoroughly believe that "if 10% is good enough for Jesus, it oughta be enough for Uncle Sam." Actually, I think he deserves far less than that, but that would ruin the song quote...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

What law of thermodynamics are you?

You scored as First Law. The increase in the energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system, minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings.

First Law


Third Law


Zeroth Law


Second Law


What Law of Thermodynamics are you?
created with

Oh man, I am such a nerd.

Nature's Version of Superglue

Nature's Strongest Adhesive is produced by a bacterium that lives in rivers and streams. Now, Indiana University researchers have figured out how to harness the power of 5 tons / square inch of stress.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday Post...

Here's a flurry of interesting news items in summary...

The Wealth of Networks: This book is about how open-source software, research, and information technology have created an exciting surge in productivity across the world. This could prove to be quite a seminal work. The author has also created a wikimedia page for open collaboration and learning.

One Read Paperclip: In the beginning, there was a paperclip. It was red. He traded it away. Now he has a year's free rent in Phoenix, airplane flights, and two tickets to a Diamondbacks game. Tomorrow, he's on Good Morning America.

Librarian accused of sexual harassment for a book suggestion: Now here's a good one. Scott Savage, a librarian, has been accused by Ohio State University (his employer) of sexual harassment for suggesting that freshmen read The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian. Check out the book, I'm putting it on my reading list.

The Tax Man Cometh... after iTunes? Now the government wants to put a sales tax digital media downloads, what a big surprise. Gag me, please.

The Rationale of the Mises Institute: If you have any interest in freedom, read this.

Nihilist Job Resume: Humor for the morning coffee break.

Say no to the Real ID Card Act

Lab-on-a-chip Blood Tests: LOAC's are nothing new to me, but this is a rather recent, important development in the development of advanced medical technology for quick diagnostics. Neat tech...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Back in business...

My blog is officially back in business! After a two year hiatus, I think it is about time to bring it back. I realized that I have been sending out a lot of emails on various news topics recently, and although I have received no negative feedback I am not sure that those emails are always welcome. Therefore, I will endeavor to post those things here rather than clog your inbox. Plus, more people will have the opportunity to read these interesting articles, opinions, and news items.

You will now be able to keep track of my blog using RSS feeds, such as Bloglines, Feedburner, or Sage (my personal favorite). It's a great way to keep track of news, friends, and other cool stuff.

Here's a preview of what's to come in a few future posts. Hopefully you will find something that interests you. Check up every few days or so!

1) Why use Firefox?
2) RSS Feeds and Feed Aggregators
3) My RSS Feeds
4) Favorite Firefox Extensions
5) Why use high-speed internet? (this one will be for my Dad)

On another random note, make sure and check out the new links, especially Lifehacker! It's a great site.