Monday, September 30, 2013


A little Q&A in the WSJ:
Which agencies would be most affected?

The Environmental Protection Agency would be among the most disrupted, furloughing all but 1,069 of its 16,200 workers, according to plans that agencies filed with the White House. The National Labor Relations Board would send home all but 11 of its 1,611 employees, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would furlough 652 of its 680 employees.
If there's a down side to this shutdown I haven't heard it yet.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Banana Equivalent Dosage

Charlie Martin assesses the danger.
So, how radioactive was this "highly radioactive water"? About 10 Bq per square centimeter.
Bananas, like everything else, are slightly radioactive by nature, and in fact it turns out that since bananas concentrate potassium, they're a little more radioactive than a lot of other things. So, a banana equivalent amount of radioactivity is something that has about the same number of decays per second as a banana does. So what's the banana-equivalent in Bq?

A normal-sized 150g banana produces about 20 Bq.

So, the "highly radioactive water"? It's roughly equivalent in radiation danger to coating yourself in banana pudding.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Infield

Down at the ball field this evening just before dark there was a meeting of the boys club.

baseball_buks_1_thumb.jpgFour little bucks, two-year-olds, forked horns.

"All right guys," I said, "Photo op... Heads up!"

They paid no attention.

baseball_buks_2_thumb.jpg"Bang!" I yelled, as loud as I could.

What's that?

Who is it?

baseball_buks_3_thumb.jpgJust that guy with the BB gun.

baseball_buks_4_thumb.jpgIgnore him.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Treading Water

ramirez_obamacare_ambulance.jpgRamirez, of course.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

21st Century Schizoid Man

I don't like to blog about current events, events being, currently, very depressing, but I will make an exception to pull these three threads together. First, Jack Cashill in American Thinker.
Although the most visible point of comparison is race and gender — black and male — both [Dorner and Alexis] were born in New York City within a month of each other in the spring of 1979, graduated high school, attended college, moved more or less comfortably in the larger integrated world, and joined the Navy Reserve.

Most saliently, both Dorner and Alexis were mentally unbalanced. In a different time and place they might have blamed themselves, their lovers, or their parents for the demons that haunted them, but the two came of age in what might be called the post-Roots era. From the beginning, they have always had a way to account for their misfortunes that spared them introspection. ...
Then this little tidbit from West Hunter.
It has been said that schizophrenia strikes without regard to sex, race, social class, or culture. Whoever said that must be crazy: it's far from true. Schizophrenia is more common in men than women — about 1.4 to 1. It's more common in the lowest SES groups, although that may be downward drift. Schizophrenia is considerably more common among people of African ancestry. In the US, about 3 times more common. It seems that immigrants are more vulnerable, all else equal: that might be because crazy people are more likely to pull up stakes, or maybe being a stranger and afraid in a world you never made is bad for your mental health. Schizophrenia seems to be more common among people that grew up in cities — about twice as common. ...
Finally, to put a cork in it, Dr. Krauthammer.
Had this happened 35 years ago in Boston, Alexis would have been brought to me as the psychiatrist on duty at the emergency room of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Were he as agitated and distressed as in the police report, I probably would have administered an immediate dose of Haldol, the most powerful fast-acting antipsychotic of the time.

This would generally have relieved the hallucinations and delusions, a blessing not only in itself, but also for the lucidity brought on that would have allowed him to give us important diagnostic details — psychiatric history, family history, social history, medical history, etc. If I had thought he could be sufficiently cared for by family or friends to receive regular oral medication, therapy and follow-up, I would have discharged him. Otherwise, I'd have admitted him. And if he refused, I'd have ordered a 14-day involuntary commitment.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hadn't Thought of That

it_works_on_my_machine.jpgThey moved our project meetings to Tuesday and now all my Mondays happen on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Freshman Laptop

acer_nx_m9.jpgMarielle and I shopped laptops for college this fall.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 4 GB DDR3
  • 500 GB Hard Drive
  • 15.6-Inch Screen
  • DVD Burner
  • All the usual bells & whistles
The Acer NX.M9. At $388 it seemed right on the inflection point of the price/feature curve — a shrewd buy, in other words.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Official Version

In the olden days there were two kinds of people: Labor and Capital. Mommies would go into Labor and come out with babies, and daddies would say Capital idea, we could use some help around here. Now days, of course, babies come from the hospital, children are no help at all, and daddies have to work for a living. But every year just before school starts we take a day off to remember how things used to be.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Camp Do Whatever, Man

john_door_leadership_camp.jpgMark Slouka in WSJ Weekend.
The summer after Woodstock, my parents—Czech refugees still adjusting to their adopted culture—decided to send their only begotten son to camp. It seemed reasonable. This was what American parents did. The camp came highly recommended. I'd learn woodcraft, my father assured me.

One hot August morning, my well-meaning father drove me up to northwest Connecticut, gave me a kiss and sent me off to learn woodcraft. His car was hardly out of sight before I'd figured out that the John Door Outdoor Leadership Camp (the name was surely ironic) was less about starting a campfire with birch bark than living up to the "go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do" ethos of the Mamas and the Papas....
Read it all. You know you want to.