Monday, May 30, 2005

A few pictures

A rare double rainbow in Socorro!

This picture always cracks me up.

Something about this political candidate just screams "White bread". (apologies for focus)

Illegal Immigration, Hiring, etc.

Given the quality of the SS discussion, I'll start one on what could be done about illegal immigration, illegal hiring, lax enforcement, poor economic coniditions in Mexico and central America, alleged American dependance on cheap labor, American workers' fear of losing their jobs/current payrates, homeland security, etc.

I found the recent Marketplace feature (which focused on Mexico) thought provoking.
Marketplace features: The Undocumented War, including some poorly done numbers graphs. A few interesting points...

  • Mexico's poor economy and dependance on emmigrants sending money back to their families.
  • The estimates that very roughtly 1% of the total population of Mexico is moving to the US each year.
  • Variety of potential effects (economic, political, social) of a large population of illegal immigrants on US society.
  • Similarities between the treatment of illegal immigrants and slavery.

For another piece to the puzzle, here's an example of what can happen if the main stream politicians continue to try to ignore the issue from NYT story on the situation in Idaho.

print what you've got

It looks like book four is on its way to the publisher. Note the caveat. I know at least one person who reads the series by character, so this would be all the same to her. However, I'm going to be sad if Bran doesn't make it into this one. Of course, if he does, I'll miss him in book five. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ga. Credit-Card Holders 'Blink' Cards

Does anyone here know about the security measures in place for cards like this? What frequencies do these operate at? What's to prevent building a directional antenna that triggers your card from a distance? Or listen in while you reply to a legitimate reader? Is the data transmitted protected with something like public key encryption? Is there a mechanism to authenticate either cards or readers? Will customers still sign receipts?
Ga. Credit-Card Holders 'Blink' Cards - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

May the farm be with you

In honor of the up coming movie release:
Check out Store Wars!
It's pretty good :) go Chewbrocolli!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

NPR: Less news, more music?

Good grief. Of course NPR is left leaning, but they still do a good job of reporting news. Unfortunately, they often "balance" their stories by bringing in people who are on the fringe. But I'd have to say it's provide some of the best and most balanced reporting on the middle east that I can remember. And I'd rather have a degree of honest bias rather than politically imposed non-bias. And in any case, "solving" the problem by replacing news with music is just ridiculous.
NYT Story

Saturday, May 14, 2005

New York Times interactive class graphics

The New York Times has some really interesting interactive graphics on class in America. The income mobility section really suprised me-- I didn't expect there to be that much change in just ten years, particularly for those that started in the top fifth.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The government is collapsing

In a close vote last night the opposition Conservatives and Bloc Québecois passed a procedural motion asking for a recommendation to be issued for the Liberal government to resign. PM Paul Martin is not treating it as a confidence motion, though it does suggest that the Liberals do not have the confidence of Parliament. The Liberals have stated that they will hold a budget vote on the 19th, which is also a conscience vote.

Martin points out that with BC provincial elections on the 17th and a visit from the Queen starting on the 17th, it would be wise to slightly defer the election season. The opposition claims that Martin is stalling. Rhetoric has been particularly heated, with the opposition calling the Queen "a prop" and wheeling out their cancer-stricken MPs.

The whole affair is shameful. There are certain events that take priority over domestic political matters. One of these was the VE-Day celebration in the Netherlands, for which the PM and opposition leaders showed up a day late because of political feuding. Another of these is a visit from the Queen. In the long run, it won't amount to a hill of beans whether this government falls tomorrow or next week or the week after. But Stephen Harper (Con) and Gilles Duceppe (Bloc) smell blood in the water and are blind to anything but the power they have a taste for.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Social Security

It's been a while since we've had a nice meaty political discussion, so I thought I'd throw this out there. What, if anything, would Math Hutters like to see done to shore up Social Security?

I'll post my opinion in a comment.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Initial reaction

If you've been watching TV ads, you know that William Shatner has been pitching All Bran from Baker, Underhilly, Tilly, and Taylor Chartered Accountants. What's the matter? Couldn't Kellogg's get him a position with Abramowitz, Schuyler, and Steinmetz?

Friday, May 06, 2005

Science Reporting

Sigh. An NYT article opens "Reversing a decades-long trend toward "global dimming," Earth's surface has become brighter since 1990, scientists are reporting today.", despite the fact that the paper's conclusion "care
must be exercised in the use of potentially
misleading terms like “global warming” (13)
and “global dimming” (14). Their use may
constitute an obstacle in reaching an understanding
of the issues driving the fundamental
scientific questions of Earth’s energy balance,
albedo, greenhouse effect, and interactions
of solar and infrared radiation with
aerosols and clouds."

Partly due to their use of such phrases, I only figured out what the paper really said when I reached in paragraph 4. Granted upon rereading it, I could have figured it out sooner, but the point is that even an unusually well-informed reader was confused for way to long. (I've actually done some related research and compared my models to the observations of Goode et al, the team in references 8 and 9).

The real paper can be found here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

MIT/Random in Discover

Speaking of "those crazy kids at MIT", check out this month's Discover magazine! It has a great article on the MIT culture, including Mystery Hunt, EC, and Random. Amanda and Natan from Random are mentioned, as is our glorious Hunt victory this year. Unfortunately, it's not on yet.

New Light on M.I.T. Issues, With a (Gasp!) Biologist at the Helm

An NYT story on the new president of MIT, which I think paints a pretty positive picture. While they couldn't avoid mentioning the woman issue, at least they tried to include (in the title) the IMHO much more significant (and scarier) aspect of her being a biologist. But somehow the body of the article only mentions this aspect very briefly. Does the NYT not get it? But then what about the title? Or do they get it, but think that they can't write about it in a way that will appeal to the masses, so they won't even try.

The New York Times > Science > New Light on M.I.T. Issues, With a (Gasp!) Biologist at the Helm

Monday, May 02, 2005

MIT Student Holds Time-Travel Convention

Ok, this is funny. I'm impressed that this person can keep a straight face/voice while discussing such things. But I don't agree with the claim that this will be the "first and only" Time-Travel convention. Just because future time travelers _could_ come back to this one, why would they want to? Maybe none will come because there's going to be another one in a really posh location. I would have objected that some time travelers from far away locals might not be able to reach this convention, but able to reach another conference. However, he does say that he's only hoping for time travelers from Earth.

NPR : MIT Student Holds Time-Travel Convention