December 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Very cool video:
Sea turtles do the cutest things. In this video posted to Reddit, a friendly sea turtle pays a surprise visit to a scuba diver. At first, the diver pushes the curious animal away with a big shove to its belly. But the turtle persists. The diver quickly comes around and starts to pet its head. Enya’s “Boadicea” provides some nice background music during the entire encounter.
Researcher Lisa Belskis, a marine biologist for NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center tell us that the the turtle in this video is an adult or maturing male hawksbill turtle.
The behavior is not unheard of, although it is less typical.
“There have been many anecdotal reports of male hardshell sea turtles approaching divers attempting to mount them, particularly during breeding season,” Belskis wrote us in an email. “From my personal experience I have found that most often turtles go about their everyday business and ignore divers. If divers notice a nearby turtle it will likely stay still as if hoping its camouflage is working and if pursued by a diver they tend to flee.”
via Business Insider.
Click the link above; I’m sorry but WP will not let me embed this video.
November 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
It’s Friday morning, and so far today, the Obama administration has posted 165 new regulations and notifications on its reguations.gov website.
In the past 90 days, it has posted 6,125 regulations and notices – an average of 68 a day.
Makes me think of the old Guns & Roses song Signs.
We’re no longer free. Very sad.
November 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The Legatum Prosperity Index assessed and ranked the prosperity of 142 countries based on eight sub-categories: economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, health, governance, education, safety and security, personal freedom, and social capital.
via Business Insider.
We are now 12th.
Embarrassing. No wonder people are leaving in droves.
October 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The liberal Washington Post complains:
There’s a 7.5 percent federal tax on every airline ticket. The money goes into a fund that pays for the air transportation system: airports, capital improvements and the operation of the Federal Aviation Administration. …
When the airlines kept ticket prices down by shifting $12.8 billion to baggage fees, they also saved almost $964 million in federal taxes they would have owed if they had hiked ticket prices by that amount.
via The Washington Post.
First let’s take a look at the real story when it comes to airline taxes:
- September 11 Security Fee: A September 11 Security Fee of $2.50 USD applies per flight segment (maximum charge per trip — $5.00 USD one-way, $10.00 USD round-trip). A flight segment is defined as one takeoff and one landing.
- Passenger Facility Charges: Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) of up to $18.00 USD may apply, depending upon the itinerary chosen.
- Federal Excise Tax: A 7.5% domestic tax is applied to the airline base fare. The tax may be pro-rated for flights to/from the 48 contiguous U.S. states and Alaska and Hawaii, and some international destinations. A Travel Facilities Tax of $8.40 USD per direction also applies to flights to/from Alaska and Hawaii and the 48 contiguous U.S. states or between Alaska and Hawaii.
- Federal Domestic Flight Segment Fee: A federal domestic flight segment fee of $3.80 USD applies per flight segment. A flight segment is defined as one takeoff and one landing.
Looks like the G is getting more than it’s fair share of the airline travelers’ dollar. The money collected — and wasted — by the TSA and FAA is staggering. It’s no wonder that back in March the Orlando Sanford Intl. Airport was choosing to opt-out of using the TSA for security screenings. Regardless of how they spend it, the government is taking plenty of money from the airline traveler.
Also, let’s take a look at the wording of the story. The newspaper writes, “When the airlines kept ticket prices down by shifting $12.8 billion to baggage fees, they also saved almost $964 million in federal taxes….” Wrong! The airlines didn’t save anything; the consumer saved. This sentence should be written, “By shifting $12.8 billion to baggage fees airline passengers saved nearly $1 billion in taxes that the federal government would have otherwise imposed.
The headline of this story should be, “Shifting fares to fees permitted $1 billion in extra air travel last year.” Air traveler the big winner.
Further, the baggage fees were NOT paid by everyone. If you travel light and didn’t check a bag you paid nothing. If you needed to check a bag, then you paid for the service you received.
The whole situation seems very fair to me. That the government is out the money is just icing on the cake.
October 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Very cool photo tour of some of the stuff behind the scenes at Google data centers.
October 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The USPS has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. A key reason was a 2006 law that required the postal service to make annual payments of about $5.5 billion for 10 years to pay for future retiree health benefits. …
In the three months that ended June 30, the agency reported net losses of $5.2 billion.
People like to point out why the post office is suffering a slow cancerous death. eMail, electronic bill pay, faxes, etc. But that’s all garbage. The U.S.P.S. is dying because it failed to meet the realities of the marketplace and because it overpays it’s workers, a/k/a bad management.
Compare the USPS which LOST $5.2 billion in the 2Q 2012 to UPS which made $1.12 billion in the same period. Or FedEx which made $459 million in the 3 months ending 08/12.
Years ago I read Jim Rogers‘ book Investment Biker. In it he tells the story of being in the USSR and mailing some packages back to the UK. Long story short, the communist government charged less to mail letters and package than it cost. This was because it was popular with the people. The people wanted to be able to send letters cheaply and the government obliged. But it was but one example of several (cited in the book) showing how and why the USSR would fail. A government cannot continue to offer services for less than what they cost.
No entity can continue to offer services for less than their cost. The USPS is not exception. It must either figure out how to charge enough for the service it provides or get out of the business. But right now the taxpayers are on the hook to massive amounts of USPS debt. That’s not right.
Lastly, you should care… greatly. The government is now just starting to take over the nations health care. It too will be run with the same level of efficiency and forward thinking as the USPS, or maybe the State of Illinois DMV.
Health care in this country will follow the USPS in bankruptcy. And that’s not going to be good for anyone.
September 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”
The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person.
We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off
April 30, 2012 § 1 Comment
U.S. main stream media so far slow to respond:
Large windfarms can increase local night time temperatures by fanning warmer air onto the ground, new research has revealed. The study used satellite data to show that the building of huge windfarms in west Texas over the last decade has warmed the nights by up to 0.72C. …
“West Texas has seen rapid expansion of windfarms, with turbine numbers rising from 111 in 2003 to 2358 in 2011. Zhou’s team compared the land surface temperatures at the windfarms with other areas across this period and detected a clear rise at night. …
The scientists say the effect is due to the gentle turbulence caused by the wind turbines. After the sun has set, the land cools down more quickly than the air, leaving a cold blanket of air just above the ground. But the turbine wakes mix this cold layer with the warmer air above, raising the temperature. …
“The result looks pretty solid to me,” said Steven Sherwood at the climate change research centre at the University of New South Wales, Australia. “The same strategy is commonly used by fruit growers, who fly helicopters over the orchards rather than erect windmills, to combat early morning frosts.”
April 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Climate Alarmist Calls For Burning Down Skeptics’ Homes
“Let’s start keeping track of them…let’s make them pay”
“We know who the active denialists are – not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies. Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn. Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands. Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices,” writes Zwick, adding, “They broke the climate. Why should the rest of us have to pay for it?”
What a dingle-berry.
How about this: how about we make a list of all the people who got the global warming thing wrong and then charge them for all of our energy bills (gasoline, coal, electricity, natural gas, etc.) going higher because of their stupid regulations?
Let’s start with Al Gore who lives in a huge mo fo house using 10 times the energy of the average person and wants to drive up the energy costs of poor people living in everything from cheap apartments to public housing.
From there we’d move on to all the folks who don’t want to drive for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and ANWAR. There should be two prices for gas in this country: $2.65 for all the folks who support drilling and $6.75 for all the folks who don’t.