Monday, November 30, 2009

After that we can try a somersault

Wait, I've realized how we can fix our economy, get out of Iraq and do whatever it is we wanna end up doing to brown people (I dunno, sterilization seems to be a good means to what our ends seem to be).

I can't believe we didn't think of this before, but all we have to do is:


Friday, November 27, 2009

And The Chances Are Good ...

Still waiting.

"There's a good chance that I will take a nap and then head out to our nearest Wal-Mart to blog it for you"

And sad.

UPDATE (29 November 2009 @ 0025): Nothing yet.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Yay! We won! Let's celebrate with a turkey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Be Still, My Beatng Heart

25 Nov 2009 01:34 pm

Looking Ahead to Black Friday

Thanksgiving is here, which for some people means the start of a month of overeating.  For others, of course, it marks the start of a month of overspending, kicked off by Black Friday.

Damn fat people again. But we can not wait for this.

And Wal-Mart is staying open on Thanksgiving, ostensibly in order to prevent the traditional crushing deaths that regularly occur when they open their doors.  There's a good chance that I will take a nap and then head out to our nearest Wal-Mart to blog it for you, and also (she mumbled) to maybe buy a Cricut Expression for all the wedding stuff we have to make over the next six months.

Oh, I hope she means it. Do not disappoint us.

I Hope You Heal Up Real Quick

25 Nov 2009 12:49 pm

Holiday Moderation

Ezra Klein has a nice column on how you might keep yourself from overeating this Thanksgiving.  I cannot actually recommend my current strategy, which is to get bilateral un-crowned root canals1, so that you have to spend the next three weeks eating only foods which are squishy.  But it does seem to be working.

1 Before you start in with the inevitable aspersions on my oral hygeine, they resulted from two prior fillings which shrank away from the tooth, letting bacteria underneath. After all my teeth are repaired, I am going to track down the dentist who did both fillings and give him a sound lashing* with my portable waterpik.

Poor Megan expects her comment crew to attack her oral hygeine. Maybe this is the libertarian version of self-criticism: They all sit in a circle & accuse each other of failing at personal responsibility.

*Elements of Style©: Is the imaginary "lashing" from this? Stop mixing metaphors. Please.

Just for starters, one can't "lash" anyone w/ a solid object. A lashing w/ the cord from her Waterpik® would at least have made sense. And I do sympathize, having had a couple of older fillings fall out completely. So "track down" & sue the bastard dentist, or don't. But don't threaten him or her w/ mixed-up passive-aggressive metaphors.

Being Wrong

We can be wrong, too. I was actually going to post on this anyway, but -- as Megan notes -- the police now say that the census worker we all thought was killed by some anti-government loon in fact killed himself.

It doesn't really change the fact that Michelle WachWoman and Glenn Bleck are dangerous loons, and I don't feel too bad about thinking that a man who intentionally tried to make it look like he was murdered was murdered. I was still wrong. Shame on me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Big Pixies Photo Post

apologies to those with a slow internet connection. I got a spot up front, and Kim Deal's setlist. Me happy. The setlist doesn't include everything from the encores. There was also Isla De Encanta, Vamos, Nimrod's Son, Where Is My Mind?, and Gigantic.

Monday, November 23, 2009


23 Nov 2009 03:57 pm

We're Going Broke Anyway, So Why Not Spend Like Drunken Sailors?

I don't pretend to be an economic expert, but that sounds like a good idea. Even better if phrased "We're drunken sailors, so why not go broke?"

Anyway, info & advice from one who's lived it, & somehow finds it pertinent to expanded health care:

Anyone who has dated a manic-depressive has heard some version of this argument.  "I can barely make ends meet now, so I might as well use my tax refund check to buy a boat!  After all, if I can't figure out a way to fix my budget, I'm going to go bankrupt anyway."

And anyone who has dated a manic-depressive knows where this ends.

She won't share w/ those who haven't dated bi-polar sufferers where it all ends. We're not sure if that's good or bad. This is definitely bad:

I also have no idea why anyone would think that there is no difference between going bankrupt for a huge sum, and going bankrupt for a smaller amount.  I mean, there's sometimes no difference for the debtor, but of course, there are a whole bunch of creditors who are also people, and who are not going to be paid back, some of whom may end up in bankruptcy themselves if you default.  Since in this case, many of the creditors are the American people, I would think that even the most corporation-hating, bank-despising, littleguyophilic liberal would sort of worry about this.

Is there any point in going on? [Reads the remainder. Alright, scroll-scannned the rest of it. C'mon.] No, it's something about the gov't. going bankrupt ("but of course, there are a whole bunch of creditors who are also people," See, you're going to pay for the boat your manic depressive boyfriend bought, thinking it was health insurance — she's not kidding — if this bill is passed.) because "a bunch of people are going to leave their employer health insurance under this plan for some subsidized plan--millions of them, according to the CBO." Bunches of millions of people.

Too, our new boat health care plan may have unexpected maintenance costs, as health care plans, and boats, are wont to do.  Since we've already spent our spare source of cash, and our budget has no margin for error,  our new purchase obviously places us at much greater risk of fiscal disaster.

Just as a possible bankrupt would be better off putting the cash in the bank than spending it on some new desire, we would be fiscally better off doing nothing, than we would in taking on a gargantuan new entitlement.  Yet, most of the responses to those of us who worry about the fiscal effects have so far been about the same as you get from your favorite manic depressive:  "But think how great it would be to have a BOAT!"

Should've quit while I was ahead. My sincere apology to anyone who read what little I posted. I take full responsibility.

The Law of Averages Would Indicate You Did Something Wrong at Some Point

Shorter Megan McArdle:

My expertise in the methods of scientific researches as well as a few cherry picked quotes leads me to some very important conclusions. If only people would stop romanticizing scientists and maybe start calling them "out of touch" or "elitist" or something. The defenders of these scientists are completely biased as shown by their failure to acknowledge that the researchers that they back aren't completely perfect.

This Compass Points South


If the favorables stay above 40%, I think we stand a very good chance of getting a bill before next March.
Let's hope she's only wrong about the March part.....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Things & Stuff

So here's the thing, about why I've been gone (aside from real world stuff); health care reform is fucking boring. Of course it's incredibly important, but goddamn it's tedious. In a certain sense we're having an extended national argument about paperwork. Yes, it's most truly about how we, as a society, value human life, but that's all too easily lost in the day to day back and forth of tribal push/pull. Megan is bad enough just in her inherent Meganity, but the combination of her hackery plus the tedium plus the incredibly important stakes make for something that's simply not funny. It's one thing for her to be a passive aggressive culture warrior, but this is not a game, those numbers she's casually playing with represent actual, living, and dying, human beings. But Megan doesn't care, at least partially because the culture she's loyal to won't allow her to. (I suspect she's also dead inside, but I don't know her personally.) There's only so many ways to say she cares more about her own money than the lives of people she'll never know or truly acknowledge the existence of.
But I enjoy being a jackass and whatever else it is I do here, and if I'm going to yell at anyone for the way the reform effort has been watered down into futility, pass or no, it might as well be Megan. Hell, the current bill might even be flawed enough that she likes it, I haven't been keeping track.
As for housekeeping issues, the idea of polls isn't dead, but my store of ideas for them is pretty much tapped out. If someone else has an idea, or one occurs to me, I'll put it up, but for now the polls are on hiatus. I'll be doing some random posting this week, some about Megan, some not. I'm seeing the Pixies tomorrow, then heading south to be with the 'rents for Get Fat Day.
And I still have the basement kitten, if anyone in the NYC area is looking for a cat. He's a great little cat, but Binkley does.not.want.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dear Teabaggers

This is what a spontaneous outpouring of thousands of people looks like.

Note that this is thousands out of a potential total in the tens of thousands, not millions.

A Changing of the Stupid

Megan's right, Apple is being stupid/disingenuous by refusing to repair computers owned by smokers because of health risks. Megan still manages to show what a self-centered idiot she is by talking about it.

Allegedly, Apple is declining to repair Macs owned by smokers on the ground that secondhand smoke is dangerous. This a gross misunderstanding of the science--
Low hanging fruit. Megan is dead on but refuses to quit while she's ahead:
tobacco tar could be hazardous if applied to your skin, but you'd have to really slather it on, leave it there for an extended period, and reapply fairly frequently.
Duh, wha... ohhh...kay. Not done speaking out of her ass, she switches from medical expertise to marketing expertise
But it also seems like a gross misunderstanding of who makes up their customer base on the East Coast.
Megan knows like, SIX, Mac users and like, FOUR of them smoke, so, like Apple costumers always smoke, but only on the East Coast.

Remember when she said they "knew their demographic" because they served coffee? Gee, I wonder what East Coast Mac user smokes and drinks coffee? Megan McArdle? ALL OF THEM!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mental Health Break: Something Shiny!

Megan has got one of the most developed senses of humor. Check it out, today she links to "Weird Error Messages."

Click the link for such exciting ironies as "Task Manager Not Responding!" Hahahaha! Cuz how do you use Task Manager to kill a not responding program when it's Task Manager that's not responding! Oh! And the Blue Screen of Death is included, cuz, like, heh, how weird is THAT!

Tomorrow, Megan discovers that the song "Ironic" doesn't contain any irony and we all laugh long and hard. The day after that she discovers that this fact is itself ironic! Oh the eternal sunshine of the thoughtless mind.

At least she stopped adding her own stupid commentary.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Now There Are Two Sources

Fun time!

Everybody else has to stay in Special Torture Jail forever on accounta they have all come down with Schrodinger's Guilt. If they stay in the box they might be guilty, but if we open the box they might not be.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Called Glibertarianism, W/ An Underlying Diagnosis Of Privilege & Entitlement

Squandering Severance


I get a panic attack just reading it.  What psychological quirk makes you maintain three expensive cars, flowers, and fine wine when you're both out of work?

This Didn't Used to Have a Title

Shorter "Quote of the Day"

I try to pretend that I'm a moderate so I'm going to say something vaguely bad about Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. However, I'm aware that only batshit insane right-wingers give me any credence, so I'm going to drown this baby gerbil of a criticism in backpedaling and coaching. Also, the book I'm talking about now? The one I'm trying to speak of in a nuanced fashion? Haven't actually read it. Oh, wait, lemme go back in and throw in a potshot at Al Gore just to keep my fans happy.
The comments indicate that her gambit worked, as her denizens lap up the Goring.


There are very few things that could make me reverse course at the "You are showing me your panties" stage of courting, but this would turn me around faster than a high gyromagnetic ratio having nuclei in a strong magnetic field:

There are things written on women's panties that would make cease preparations for intercourse with them. The world is indeed depraved.

via. who viaed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are Many People This Stupid?

Hahah! Here's some ridiculous stupid. Is this, like, what a humanities major gets when they try to do scientific analysis or sumptin'? From the comments at IOZ:

Leonard said...

It is true tautologically that no system in which there are finite resources supports indefinite growth., at least in terms of resource-consumption. (Wealth is partially information, and therefore not bounded by resource-consumption levels.) But in any case, this proves almost nothing about the current situation of humanity. The average person's metabolism uses about 100W of power; the Sun cranks out roughly 383 yottawatts (3.83×10^26 W); thus, if we do not expand beyond this solar system, and if we continue to have bodies of our current efficiency, then the human population is limited to just 3.83×10^24, that is, only 5x10^15 times our current 6.796 billion.

If we limit ourselves to just living on the earth, then the resource limit is the sunlight hitting the Earth, which is 250 watts per square meter; that is, we can sustain a population of 2.5 million people per square kilometer. The Earth's area is about 510 million km². You can see how it would add up: max sustainable population is only 187000 times what we have. Of course, we'd probably want to expend at least 90% of the insolation maintaining the environment... so perhaps our max numbers are only 18000 times our current numbers. Who knows?

So to speak of "overpopulation" is fallacious, or at best, ignorant. Nobody knows what sustainable population levels are now, much less tomorrow. Whatever they are, they are functions of technology and capital investment. And given time to develop tech and invest, they bear no relationship at all to our current population.
And if we invent hardrives that just write on a single atom, we'd have 10^23 bytes of storage on a single disk!

Also, psst, leonard, information requires a pixel which has to be a finite size, so, yeah, there is a limit to it. Try and completely describe the entire universe on a piece of paper smaller than the entire universe. I fucking DARE you.

Drinks With a Friend Are the New Cab Driver

Megan, always the industrious, can't help but mix work with pleasure:

About a week ago, I was having drinks with a friend and discussing John Kenneth Galbraith's dictum that "all financial innovation involves ... the creation of debt secured in greater or lesser adequacy by real assets," wrote the economist John Kenneth Galbraith in 1993. And "all crises have involved debt that, in one fashion or another, has become dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment."
I like how she frames the story. Intellectual analysis is ordinarily so boring, but, bby setting the scene in a loud bar with an unknown friend, it adds a bit of levity to an otherwise dry discourse.
I have espoused this theory at various points, and he agreed with it. But we came to a sticking point: what about the stock market bubble?
Uh, which stock market bubble? I mean, granted, I'm not a super financial analyst, but haven't all contractions been preceded by a rise and coincided with a fall in stock market prices? Oh, you mean the LAST bubble. Well, sure, it's convenient cause she can remember it, but I bet that's not the reason she is drawing a comparison with it.
And the bubbliest companies weren't using debt, because they didn't have any cash flow.
Right. The companies weren't using debt 'cause they didn't have any money. They were spending their own money.... that they didn't have. Or.. what? I dunno. I guess venture capital isn't debt cause it's not one person giving another person money for the promise of future returns.

Eventually, we get the part where the post starts to make sense and is written in a semi-coherent manner. That is, the part where she blockquotes someone else.
Asset-price bubbles can be separated into two categories. The first and dangerous category is one I call "a credit boom bubble", in which exuberant expectations about economic prospects or structural changes in financial markets lead to a credit boom. The resulting increased demand for some assets raises their price and, in turn, encourages further lending against these assets, increasing demand, and hence their prices, even more, creating a positive feedback loop.


The second category of bubble, what I call the "pure irrational exuberance bubble", is far less dangerous because it does not involve the cycle of leveraging against higher asset values. Without a credit boom, the bursting of the bubble does not cause the financial system to seize up and so does much less damage. The second category of bubble, what I call the "pure irrational exuberance bubble", is far less dangerous because it does not involve the cycle of leveraging against higher asset values. Without a credit boom, the bursting of the bubble does not cause the financial system to seize up and so does much less damage. For example, the bubble in technology stocks in the late 1990s was not fuelled by a feedback loop between bank lending and rising equity values; indeed, the bursting of the tech-stock bubble was not accompanied by a marked deterioration in bank balance sheets.
Yeah, what-the-fuck-ever. This is all retarded. The financial bubble collapsed the financial industry because it was a FUCKING FINANCIAL BUBBLE. Likewise, the TECH bubble had adverse effects on the TECH industry. The stock market went down 'cause, duh, that's what it does when the economy gets bad. How the fuck do financial "experts" need ME to explain that to them?

If you want to know the difference between our most recent crash and the next most recent crash (because your dimwit brain doesn't know any fucking history, so just draws comparisons between the convenient rather than the relevant) look at what fueled them. The tech bubble was fueled by the invention of something new. Can't figure out what that is? Hint: It's staring you in the face. As ridiculous as was, the huge influx of capital into the internet (and computers generally) was somewhat rational. Though many of the dot-coms crashed, one or two little known companies such as Amazon, Netflix and others still exist today, churning out a modest profit. There was OVERexuberance in genuinely exciting new technology which has, in subtle ways, changed the way that we live. It may not seem like it, but the internet actually touches almost every facet of your life in a barely perceptible manner.

The housing market, OTOH, (What did "OTOH" mean in 1991? Oh, that's right, NOTHING.) did not change at all. There was not the invention of some great new bulldozer. We didn't revolutionize the way we create load bearing beams. No. We convinced ourselves that one of the most non-transferable assets people had was an invaluable commodity so unique that it's possession alone was enough to back the generation of more of it. We basically bought a perpetual motion machine.

We convinced ourselves that we didn't need to actually produce anything in order to be wealthy as long as we just sold our own assets back to ourselves using debt hidden in too obscure a way for our creditors to know what the fuck was going on. We had the brilliant back up plan of using underfunded insurance as a hedge against betting on the impossible. In short, we lied to our fucking selves.

The bubble was centered, appropriately, on absolutely nothing. It wasn't OVERexuberance it was completely BULLSHITexuberance. That's why this crash was so bad. We slashed and burned way more forest than we needed to AND found out the land we'd cleared had toxic soil. I don't know how the fuck this is so hard to see. The ever knowing market bet the farm on a fucking unicorn and now it can't even find a horse to glue a traffic cone on. I guess admitting that would just be too much for some people. Perhaps they're sold on something and just can't let go of the notion that it's more valuable than it is. Brings about new meaning to the phrase "over-invested in the market."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Damn Bureaucrats

I'm sick and tired of socialized mail delivery. I don't want some stupid bureaucrat deciding whether or not I can send a letter to my grandmother.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Too Soon?

Hey, remember the Virginia Tech shooting and how the right-wingers were all like "none of this would've happened if they'd been armed?"

What happened to the arms at Ft. Hood?

Thursday, November 5, 2009



(continued below)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009