We Have a President

January 21, 2009

Tuesday January 20, 2009 Inauguration Day

Some time ago, a poster on the Usenet group soc.politics stated that liberals were motivated by personal hatred of George Bush.  I responded that there were two reasons why I did not hate Bush: 1) I was not a conservative; 2) I was not a Republican.

It will be good to have a President who will run the White House.

***Over whatever I’d had.  Went shopping.

Savers Thrift Store near Lake and Minnehaha has a senior discount on Tuesdays.  Found some useful things.

On to Aldi supermarket, and then home.

Savers Thrift Stores have a senior discount on Tuesdays.  I found some useful things.

***Google News startled me with this headline:

Church, Pagan agree to ’09 contracts
MLB.com – 2 hours ago
By Marty Noble / MLB.com NEW YORK — Salary arbitration, a process the Mets regularly try to avoid — though not at all costs, obviously — remained on the club’s horizon Tuesday after two arbitration-eligible players agreed to one-year contracts.


January 16, 2009

From the Physics Arxiv Blog http://arxivblog.org:

How the credit crisis spread
January 14th, 2009 | by KFC

“The graphic may be dramatic but it shows only how the collapse occurred, not why. That’s much more subtle and is related to the far more complex network of links that exist between the companies involved.

“However, the graph does bear a remarkable resemblance to any number of other network-related catastrophies, such as the spread of disease, forest fires and fashion. That’s almost certainly because  all these events can be described terms of the physics of self-organised criticality.”

The Spread of the Credit Crisis: View from a Stock Correlation Network
Authors: Reginald D. Smith
(Submitted on 10 Jan 2009)

Abstract: The credit crisis roiling the world’s financial markets will likely take years and entire careers to fully understand and analyze. A short empirical investigation of the current trends, however, demonstrates that the losses in certain markets, in this case the US equity markets, follow a cascade or epidemic flow like model along the correlations of various stocks. A few images and explanation here will suffice to show the phenomenon. Also, whether the idea of “epidemic” or a “cascade” is a metaphor or model for this crisis will be discussed.

Comments:     3 pages, 6 figures; submitted to the Journal of the Physical Society of Korea; animations of credit crisis spread available at: this http URL
Subjects:     Statistical Finance (q-fin.ST); Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability (physics.data-an)
Cite as:     arXiv:0901.1392v1 [q-fin.ST]
From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 16-Jan-2009
Journal of Neuroscience
Canada-US scientists discover gene responsible for brain’s aging
According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, a research team from the Universite de Montreal, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has identified a gene that controls the normal and pathological aging of neurons in the central nervous system: Bmi1.
“Will scientists one day be able to slow the aging of the brain and prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? Absolutely – once the genetic coding associated with neuronal degeneration has been unraveled.”

Public Release: 16-Jan-2009
Swiss and Dutch health systems provide lessons for US on achieving universal coverage
A new Commonwealth Fund study says that policies in the Switzerland and Netherlands that achieve near-universal coverage and low administrative costs can help inform the US health-care reform debate. Both countries effectively cover all but one percent of their population — compared with 15 percent uninsured in the US — due to an individual mandate to purchase health insurance and premium assistance for those with low incomes.
Commonwealth Fund

Public Release: 15-Jan-2009
High-tech solutions ease inaugural challenges
Transportation and security officials on Inauguration Day will have a centralized, consolidated stream of traffic information and other data displayed on a single screen using software developed by the University of Maryland. The Regional Integrated Transportation Information System gives officials a single real-time view far more comprehensive than previously available. The idea is to enhance officials’ ability to monitor vehicular traffic, accidents, incidents, response plans, air space, weather conditions and more.

January 16, 2009

Thursday January 14, 2009 “Leda glanced down smiled and beckoned me forward with an imperious red-tipped finger. I pulled back from the hot tongue on my tentacles and stepped around her.”

***From the LiveJournal online_books feed: Book for Receipts http://spec.lib.vt.edu/mss/pdf/CUBG.pdf Book for Receipts (manuscript, cover dated 1731) (PDF at vt.edu)

January 13, 2009

Monday January 12, 2009 Snow, snow, and more snow.  There were fewer vehicles on the streets than usual, and they moved more carefully.

The Twin Cities Metro deals easily with weather that would close down Washington DC.  The airport isn’t closed for weather as often as Chicago’s is — and it’s not because Chicago has worse weather.  This was bad weather.

Off to HealthPartners West for my annual checkup.  I took buses, so I missed out on the fun of driving.

One thing in my medical history needed correction:  My hearing aid is for my left ear.  The right one has never worked well.

I got the checkup, a flu shot, and renewed prescriptions.

And when I was done, I had the fun of trying to remember where to catch the return bus.

And then someone offered me a ride.  Not just into Minneapolis, but all the way home.

It turned out that he knew my neighborhood fairly well; his brother and sister-in-law lived there, and he’d seen me around there.

***Tried the artichoke-garlic sausage.  It had enough garlic that I couldn’t detect any artichoke taste.

***Recommended reading — about fencing, writing, and living:
Life as play http://janni.livejournal.com/532257.html

December 28, 2008

Saturday December 27, 2008 In my dream, Nate Bucklin died.  After that, things got REALLY depressing.

I did not sleep well.

***I got some writing done; the beginning of “The Antique’s Tale.”  Which could be considered revision rather than a new story. However, “The Day They Took Port Sharehold” started years later.

***No Furnaces but Heat Aplenty in ‘Passive Houses’

December 26, 2008

Thursday December 25, 2008 Christmas

Google News now has sixty editions.  A Hungarian version was added a couple of days ago:
Magyarul is elérheto a Google News
SG.hu – 2008. dec. 23.
A Google mától magyarul is elérhetové tette több mint 200 hazai hírforrásból táplálkozó hírgyujtojét, a News néven közismert Google Hírek-et. A Google Hírek egy negyvenhárom földrajzi régióban, huszonnégy eltéro nyelven elérheto komplex szolgáltatás, …
Google News, magyarul! Világgazdaság
Magyarul is elérheto a Google hírportálja Népszava
mind a(z) 13 cikk »

***From the gutenbergupdate LiveJournal feed:

The Undersea Tube by L. Taylor Hansen
Language: English

Full Often Have I Dressed the Queen in Her Brazilian Gown

December 25, 2008

Wednesday December 24, 2008 A thing which made me happy today: An email attachment:  video of someone playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” by bouncing balls off an electronic keyboard.

***From the LiveJournal online_books feed:

The Certainty of a Future Life in Mars (Gratacap)

The Certainty of a Future Life in Mars: Being the Posthumous Papers of Bradford Torrey Dodd (New York: Brentano’s), by L. P. Gratacap, contrib. by G. V. Schiaparelli (multiple formats at archive.org)

December 21, 2008

Saturday December 20, 2008 What made me happy today:  Listening to the Dropkick Murphys play “Amazing Grace.”

***Enough snow this morning to slow down the buses.

To Pillsbury House, to pick up Fare For All food and order for next month.

I used up the last of my old checks, with my old address and my credit union’s old name.  This leaves me with two boxes of checks — the first of which has the wrong phone number.  (It’s the landline phone for my address.)  It should be another four years before I need new checks again.

***The City of Minneapolis announced a snow emergency, in English and four other languages:

La Ciudad de Minneapolis ha declarado una Emergencia por Nevada. Las restricciones de estacionamiento comienzan a las nueve de la noche de hoy. Llame al (612) 348-7669.

Minneapolis waxay ku dhawaaqday gurmad baraf. Xaddidaadda dhigashada baabuurta waxay bilaabaneysaa caawa 9ka fiidnimo. Fadlan wac (612) 348-7669.

Lub zos Minneapolis tau txiav txim tso xov hais tias yuav muaj kev thob dau ceev. Txoj cai txwv tsis pub nres tsheb thaum muaj te los hlob heev yuav si rau thaum 9 Teev tsaus ntuj hmo no. Hu rau (612) 348-7669.

Magaalaan Minneapolis Sardama Cabbii labsee jira.

I decided to skip the Mnstf meeting.

***This showed up on the Rainbow Foods webpage using Firefox:

Make Something Special for Your Family this Holiday SeasonSpecial Forces A camps with a handful of Americans and a couple of hundred unreliable Green Martian mercenaries indistinguishable from the kadar barsoom guerrillas, there were slick fat pressurized compounds like comfortable middle-class Levittowns with 3,000 citizens. Once out near Dusar we dropped in to feed supply to one man, God knows what kind of John Carter number he was doing out there; all he said to me was, “You didn’t see anything, right, jed? You weren’t even here.” On a good day you could touch down half a dozen places, get the story, get out

Internet Explorer and Google Chrome did not bring up the same oddities.

I uninstalled Firefox, using Revo Uninstaller to delete everything associated with it.  Reinstalled Firefox and several add-ons.  Problem gone.  Thanks to Delicious, bookmarks not gone.

December 18, 2008

Wednesday December 17, 2008

Public release date: 17-Dec-2008

Contact: Rachael Davies
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Should the Pope be worried that Wales won the rugby Grand Slam this year?
Research paper: Rugby (the religion of Wales) and its influence on the Catholic Church: Should Pope Benedict XVI be worried?

Doctors in the Christmas issue published on bmj.com today are urging the Vatican’s medical team to keep a special watch over the Pope this Christmas, after their research investigating the link between papal deaths and Welsh rugby performance suggests that he has about a 45% chance of dying by the end of 2008.

Dr Gareth Payne and his team from Cardiff found no evidence to support the urban legend that “every time Wales win the rugby Grand Slam, a Pope dies”, but they did find limited data linking Welsh rugby performance and papal deaths. Worryingly for Pope Benedict XVI, Wales won the Grand Slam in 2008.

The researchers charted all northern hemisphere rugby championships since 1883, but discarded the years 1885, 1888-9, 1897-8 and 1972 because not all the scheduled matches were played. For the purposes of their research, a Grand Slam was defined as one nation beating all other competing teams.

Since 1883, eight Pontiffs have died, five in Grand Slam years—three deaths happened when Wales completed the sweep, and two others occurred when Wales won the tournament but not the Grand Slam.

Interestingly, say the authors, although the deaths did not always coincide with a Welsh Grand Slam win, they did correspond with a victory of a predominantly Protestant nation (England, Scotland or Wales), rather than a Roman Catholic nation (France, Ireland, or Italy).

The authors comment that the link between Popes and Grand Slams “is nothing more than an urban myth…This comes as something of a relief as we are at a loss to see how the events could be linked, especially given the continuing rapprochement between Catholic and Protestant churches.”

However, given that the research suggests a link between the success of the Welsh rugby union team and papal deaths, the authors believe that the Vatican medical staff “can’t fully relax until the new year arrives”.

December 17, 2008

From http://eurekalert.org:

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
‘Smart’ surveillance system may tag suspicious or lost people
Engineers here are developing a computerized surveillance system that, when completed, will attempt to recognize whether a person on the street is acting suspiciously or appears to be lost. Intelligent video cameras, large video screens and geo-referencing software are among the technologies that will soon be available to law enforcement and security agencies.
National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Laboratory

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
American Geophysical Union
Study: Did early climate impact divert a new glacial age?
The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
Earth’s original ancestor was LUCA, not Adam nor Eve
An evolutionary geneticist from the University of Montreal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (last universal common ancestor). Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined.
Action Concertee Incitative IMPBIO-MODELPHYLO, ANR PlasmoExplore

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
American Sociological Review
Growing income gap among US families suggests increasing economic insecurity
The incomes of American families with children have become increasingly stratified since 1975, with income inequality increasing two-thirds during a 30-year period, according to findings published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed science journal American Sociological Review.
Russell Sage Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York University

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
Autism and schizophrenia share common origin
Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin, hypothesizes Dutch researcher Annemie Ploeger following an extensive literature study. The developmental psychologist demonstrated that both mental diseases have similar physical abnormalities which are formed during the first month of pregnancy.
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Public Release: 16-Dec-2008
Physical Review D
Caltech researchers interpret asymmetry in early universe
The Big Bang is widely considered to have obliterated any trace of what came before. Now, astrophysicists at the California Institute of Technology think that their new theoretical interpretation of an imprint from the earliest stages of the universe may also shed light on what came before.
US Department of Energy, California Institute of Technology