Friday, March 31, 2006

Phil Fake's Nautical Gallery

Phil has really hit his stride with the latest bunch of paintings, particularly this one of the Andante, and a couple of his old Navy ship the Nipmuc. Check out his Nautical Gallery; or for that matter the whole website.

(We have Rain Watcher in the family room upstairs.)

Dragons For Real

According to an article in this week's Economist (subscription required), a California company called GeneDupe, using computerized gene-splicing technology, is about to produce a pet dragon.

Each computer starts with a search image (dragon, unicorn, gryphon, etc), and the genome of the real animal most closely resembling it (a lizard for the dragon, a horse for the unicorn and, most taxingly, the spliced genomes of a lion and an eagle for the gryphon). The virtual genomes of these real animals are then tweaked by random electronic mutations. When they have matured, the virtual adults most closely resembling the targets are picked and cross-bred, while the others are culled.

Using this rapid evolutionary process, GeneDupe's scientists have arrived at genomes for a range of mythological creatures--in a computer, at least. The next stage, on which they are just embarking, is to do it for real.

This involves synthesising, with actual DNA, the genetic material that the computer models predict will produce the mythical creatures. The synthetic DNA is then inserted into a cell that has had its natural nucleus removed. The result, Dr Fril and his commercial backers hope, will be a real live dragon, unicorn or what have you.

I'd like a little one for the smoking lounge.

Breach of the Peace

Cynthia McKinney may have a pretty good case on Constitutional grounds:
... They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same...
As I understand it, the officer tried to stop her from entering a House office building, and she was only trying to defend her rights by slapping him silly.

Thick as a Brick?

A new study says 'Thick' kids are the smart kids.
The study shows the frontal cortex waxes and then wanes as children grow. It gets thicker in all children -- peaking at about five millimetres -- before beginning to thin. "In the most intelligent group, the initial thickening lasted longer and showed the highest rates of thinning in the teen years," the researchers say.
I knew it all along--Einstein, for example.

Faith in the Power of Assimilation

The WSJ continues its defense of immigrants in America:
This is not Ronald Reagan's view of America as a "shining city on a hill." It is the chauvinist conservatism usually associated with the European right. How Republicans conduct and conclude their immigration debate will show the country which kind of "conservative" party they want to be.
Somehow 9/11 made me a lot fonder of Mexicans. Good family people; generally Catholic. Plus, you know, sometimes I need my lawn mowed.

What Would Borders Do?

Virginia Postrel has some perspective on the Borders matter.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Reagan Revolutionaries R.I.P.

Caspar Weinberger and Lyn Nofziger I remember. I don't remember Bernie Siegan, but I wish I did.

Political Diary, substituting for Best of the Web today, notes that all three died within a day of each other this week.

The revolution, of course, continues.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Not As Bad As It Sounds

Via Best of the Web Today, an article on why men have so much trouble listening to women.

Turns out we're using the wrong part of our brain--the part that interprets music. Then we have to translate the music into words, and the words into English, work out the syntax and semantics, and then translate that back into the symbols we understand (I paraphrase).

Whereas when listening to another man, it's just a one-step process.

Serious Varmint Rifles

If you've got a prairie dog or possum problem, these guys have got the solution for you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Playing Gosh in Mountain Lakes Wilderness

According to an article on GORP:
Fish species are stocked in Mountain Lakes Wilderness lakes every other year. Both brook and rainbow trout are stocked in Harriette, Como, and West Lakes. Mystic, Paragon, and South Pass Lakes are only stocked with brook trout.
This is a pocket-size wilderness, true, but there are no roads into it and the shortest trail is about five miles--uphill. They must stock the fish by helicopter.

That's OK. I'm taking a fishing pole.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Dream Plane

Actually, I'm just testing the upload again. The "medium" size option didn't leave much room for text along side; this "small" option works better, I think.

In either case, clicking on the photo takes you to a full-size shot. That's pretty nice, but I'm going to need more server space real soon.

Well, let's see how this one wraps...

Testing the Photo Upload

Here's a little snapshot of my house in Gold Hill, just to test out the photo upload feature.

Charlie and I went flying a couple years ago in a little Cessna 152. Charlie snapped the pictures through the open window while I maneuvered around for the best angle. We had a bit of a drought that summer--that's why everything looks so dry.

Gold Hill's a quirky little town, population 1000, mostly economically depressed (some just clinically depressed), forever trying to get its act together, on the scenic Rogue River. We're doing our darnedest to gentrify it, but hey, we only rise so high in social circles ourselves.

First Post

Just a note to myself to test whether this thing works.