Survey … of DOOM!

On my way to a meeting this morning, I swung by the gas station. I had been avoiding refueling my vehicle, but such is the necessary evil of our lives. So, as always, it made me think of a blog post.
I just wanted to throw out the question: Where are you, and what was the last price you paid for gas (probably in the past couple weeks)? Just leave your response in the comments.

This also works as an informal survey of my dear dear readership. I sometimes wonder where some of the more silent readers are coming from (if there are any).

So please, let me know what you last paid for gas. It’s the summer driving season, and it’s fun to share.

I am in Andover, MN and paid $3.899.

Leaps and Bounds…

Monkeys Control a Mechanical Arm With Their Thoughts – NYTimes.com:

Then, just beneath the monkeysÂ’ skulls, the scientists implanted a grid about the size of a large freckle. It sat on the motor cortex, over a patch of cells known to signal arm and hand movements. The grid held 100 tiny electrodes, each connecting to a single neuron, its wires running out of the brain and to a computer.

The computer was programmed to analyze the collective firing of these 100 motor neurons, translate that sum into an electronic command and send it instantaneously to the arm, which was mounted flush with the left shoulder.

The scientists used the computer to help the monkeys move the arm at first, essentially teaching them with biofeedback.

After several days, the monkeys needed no help. They sat stationary in a chair, repeatedly manipulating the arm with their brain to reach out and grab grapes, marshmallows and other nuggets dangled in front of them. The snacks reached the mouths about two-thirds of the time — an impressive rate, compared with earlier work.

I don’t think that even I will be able to comprehend the world my children will grow up in.

Weather vs Reality…

Since moving to the midwest, I have enjoyed all the wonderful variations in weather. Growing up where I did in California, it was either hot or foggy. Out here, though, I get to follow storms on radar and watch dark clouds roil in the sky.
I really like the quality of the radar and mapping at Weather.com. It’s very detailed. You can pinpoint your own house and see the green radar hover over it.

What threw me, though, was seeing this line as a link on the page:

2008 hurricane season kicks off

My immediate thought was, what is this, the NFL draft? I guarantee you the first round pick will start the letter A. Perhaps I am just too much of a language nut to handle this, but it bothers me that storms that can tear entire communities to shreds are at the same linguistic level as a sporting event. If nothing else, they should at least be in disparate categories. The last thing I need to be able to conceive of is my fantasy hurricane league with a tight end F4 twister from Oklahoma State.

Re: What if Hillary Does Get the Nomination?

My friend and fellow Barack Obama supporter, Zeller, has been contemplating what he would do should Hillary Clinton get the Democratic nomination. Zeller’s view is that he would still vote for Clinton over McCain. I respectfully disagree that this is a better choice.
(Warning, long-winded political rant below.)

It is difficult to decide where to begin when it comes to why the Clintons would be worse for the role of President than McCain. The first thing that comes to mind comes from my use of the plural Clintons. The former President comes as a package with his nepotistic wife.

Having the both of them again is fuel for more scandal, which is fuel for a resurgence of Republican power in Congress, akin to 1994. The current manifestation of the Republican Party should never enjoy a return to power. The travesties they have committed for the decade since then deserve punishment, which it is now the Democratic Party’s turn to be in charge of policy and screw things up in their own way (but hopefully not including a pre-emptive war on a non-threat and making us a torturing State for the first time in our history).

Other evidence against the Clintons is simply how they’ve organized their campaign. It has been nothing but ill-founded assumptions and crude gaffes and mudslinging. And the lies. The lies have returned, and the changing of rules to suit their needs. There may very well be intelligence (I have not seen much evidence of it, but others claim it is there) but organization and humanity and humility are not present.

My biggest beef against the Clintons will be that they will be standing atop a wholly Democratic Congress. A big reason the 90s were such good times that everyone remembers is due to the fact the President and Congress were at odds, just as they were intended to be. We have just had six of eight years of Congress being a rubber stamp to an outside-of-reality President, and considering how out of touch the Clintons are (are they really banking the nomination on the racist vote? Besides the insanity, that is definitely currently Republican territory anyway).

McCain is no prize, either. And, it should be noted, this argument is made with the thought of the past twenty years: picking the lesser of two evils. I do not think McCain could be a Bush third term if he tried. He does not have the backing of the Republican base, plus the Democratic Congress would essentially make him toothless for his single term.

I also feel that McCain’s campaign has been one of pandering. He is being a proper politician, telling the people who are his only ticket to getting elected what they want to hear. I have hopes that he, underneath the rubbish of the campaign, is still something of the Republican maverick of 2000.

McCain is definitely not ideal. The Republicans should not win the Presidency again this year, again as punishment for the hell we have to pay both to our own consciences and to the world. But I will take this unfavorable Republican moderate over the self-appointed, maniacal Queen of the Democrats.

I would personally prefer to select a Libertarian candidate in this situation of picking between two bad choices, since those are my natural leanings. However, when faced with mad royalty, sometimes we Americans must take it upon ourselves to fight tyrannical dynasties by accepting some unfortunate compromises.

Holy Crow…

It dawned on me this morning that I start classes again next week. Sheesh, this has been a short-lived break. I most definitely feel as though I did not get anything accomplished. At least I’ve slept a little better.