Nov 292004

I hope everyone had a good turkey/tofurkey day.

I took the leap. A Fuji Film F810 is being shipped to me. It was pricey ($380) compared to the 550 (same lens and digital chip, 250$ after rebates). But I put a pretty high priority on being able to pocket the camera. The F810 is not as small as my easily pocketed Dimage XT, but I think the gains are worth the extra size (great wide lens, 4x optical zoom, fast startup & focus, AF lamp, 6mp native/12mp interpol, lots of manual options, USB2, and a travel charger). The interesting thing about the camera is that it has a wide screen shooting mode & lcd. Doesn’t make much difference, as it is an internal crop, but it might be nice for visualization.

Interesting news: Paralyzed woman walks again after stem cell therapy

Russian archaeologists have announced that they have found the remains of a 4,000-year-old structure that they compare to England’s Stonehenge.

Your biomimicry of the day: Airplane wings that change shape like a bird’s have scales like a fish

Scientific experiments claiming that distant intercessory prayer produces salubrious effects are deeply flawed

Not sure if this works, but it might be worth a try: iPod – restore and maximize battery life

Nov 242004

Hopefully they realized that this idea was insane: Bush denied nuclear bunker-buster funds

More privacy issue super happy fun time: Airlines Cough Up Passenger Data

The US dollar continues to drop. Snow is singing the strong dollar song, but others arent buying it. Some say it will just be higher inflation and interest rates, others are a lot more alarmist.

ZAP got the green light to import the 60-mpg smartcars in U.S. – Smart USA only had plans to sell the SUV version.

The Aireo2 looks pretty snazzy, but I wonder what the battery life will be with the wifi on.

Nov 222004

Anna, Pete, Paul, and myself hiked up Iron Mountain in Poway. It was a great hike, and a terrific view from the top. Our bodies did better than expected, as we have been slack on exercising for the past 3 weeks. We will have to try out some more local trails to get up to speed.

Anna and I tried out a lot of the gear we would be wearing and using in Peru; all of it worked quite well. If you find Smartwool stuff on sale, get it. It is heavier than poly tech stuff, but feels nice and doesn’t get stinky. I am really happy with my socks, tshirt and boxers. We both really like the Mountainsmith Ghost and Wraith packs. They are really lightweight and comfortable.

Bush says he stands for a strong dollar, but it is pretty clean that everyone else thinks the US sees a lower dollar as inevitable. It also might bring the Euros in to help negotiate with China over its yuan peg to the dollar. “The truth is that the U.S. fiscal and monetary excesses, which have been essential to keeping the global economy afloat in recent years, are no longer tolerated in the foreign-exchange markets” More at the CS Monitor.

Lately, the drug war has taken a back seat to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it’s still being fought, and statistically, at least, it’s being won. Yet behind the numbers, the drug war is changing – into a terror war of its own. And the success of that fight is harder to quantify.

Story on Salon: Privatization follies. Halliburton fraud. IRS tax-collection shenanigans. Voting-machine madness. There’s got to be a better way.

Damn, that’s cool: Make your own Altoids mp3 player

Not a user of it myself, but you can force the Google desktop search to check out other file types.

Nov 102004

I figured it was about time for a quick update on my laser eye surgery: Every once and a while when I am very sleepy, I wake up and wonder where my glasses are. It is a funny feeling, but ultimately something that is nice to experence. Everything seems to be healing quite well. The halos are getting better, and I no longer get ‘over-exposed’ on bright objects (a white shirt in the sun for example). I am slightly better than 20-20 with both eyes, but my right eye still seems weaker. Hopefully that will keep getting better.

My night vision isn’t as good as it was, but time will tell if that is permanent or not. Halos and glare are bigger than when I wore glasses, and as a result I don’t have as much contrast – things like reflective signs are slightly harder to see. My vision is more than enough to drive, I just notice the little things because I had very good night vision with glasses. Must be my enormous pupils.

I am happy with the surgery so far.


Ugh. The lawsuit also seeks an order declaring the Nov. 2 election illegal, and a third order for a special election pitting the two primary-election survivors – Mayor Dick Murphy and county Supervisor Ron Roberts – against each other. Frye would be barred from participating. Looks like some people are not too happy about Donna Frye & the write-in vote.

Global warming has disrupted the lives of dozens of types of animals, birds and insects in the United States and will soon make the Arctic nearly unrecognizable, according to two reports released this week. And from the BBC: Polar people ‘will need to adapt’

Susan Reimer goes to town:
Apparently, if you are more worried about a Super Bowl halftime show than about the fact that the United States invaded a sovereign nation without provocation, you’ve got values.

If you are more offended by two guys kissing than by the fact that 100,000 Iraqi citizens have died while being liberated, you have values.

And if you care more about a single, fertilized egg in some deep freeze somewhere than about all the children with diabetes and all the grandparents with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, you have values.

If you care more about your exclusive and personal relationship with God than you do about his admonition to care for the poor and the weak, you have values.

Nov 092004

Holy crap. Why is it that I have to read the Moscow Times to learn about The Constitution Restoration Act? Not only that, but why am I hearing about it 8 months afterwards? “acknowledge God as the sovereign source of law, liberty [and] government” in the United States. What’s more, it would forbid all legal challenges to government officials who use the power of the state to enforce their own view of “God’s sovereign authority.” Any judge who dared even hear such a challenge could be removed from office. Article link.

There seems to be some good information on it here as well:

Although the claim by its sponsors appears to be that the intention is to prevent the courts from hearing cases involving the Ten Commandments or a Nativity Scene in a public setting from being reviewed, the law is drawn broadly and expressly includes the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law by an official in his capacity of executing his office. John Giles, Alabama President of Christian Coalition said, “The greatest unbridled abuse by the federal judiciary for over forty years has been in the area of redefining the acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law…We define this as judicial activism, making law from the bench. These unconstitutional rulings have gone unchecked by other branches of government.”

The following proposed law will be added to Sec. 1260 of Title 28, Chapter 81 of the U.S. Code:

?Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element?s or officer?s acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.?

Because the judiciary is ?an element? of the federal, state and local governments, this wording, if it becomes law, may allow any judge to institute biblical punishments without being subject to review by the Supreme Court or the federal court system.

More than a little creepy isn’t it?

Nov 082004

Ah.. Life is sort of back to normal. We had a good time, but my familly has finally all been shipped back up north. Now we get to head back into the gym (amazing how bad a week can be for your health), write thank you’s, etc. We watched The Incredibles on Friday, great movie. I highly recommend it.

Three congressmen sent a letter to the General Accounting Office on Friday requesting an investigation into irregularities with voting machines used in Tuesday’s elections. There are some strange results from optically scanned paper ballots in FLA as well.

In the midst of depression over the election there is a bit of excitement here in San Diego. Donna Frye might be the next mayor – as a write-in.

Uhg. As someone who is paying CDN$ student loans, the past few years have been brutal for the US dollar. The rate was about 1.60 CDN for each USD when I first came down. Now, it is around 1.19 CDN for each USD. Ouch. More crap news: Dollar expected to fall amid China’s rumored selling. Looks like the rest of the world doesn’t buy Bush’s “deficits don’t matter” thinking.

Wired writes on Zero-energy homes: Living Free and Easy