Friday, October 31, 2008

Hubble Working, Repair Mission Moved to May 09

The Hubble Space Telescope is now working utilizing its now functional backup communicaitons array to continue its science missions. However, the repair mission originally scheduled for October that was rescheduled for February has met yet another delay. The backup component for the primary array that was sitting on a shelf here on good old planet Earth failed its system checks and a new one need to be manufactured - a six month process.

In a bit of better news, shuttle Endeavor has been cleared for its scheduled Nov. 14th launch date to the ISS to deliver supplies and a new crew member, along with the logistical equipment to allow for a doubling of the station's crew from three to six.


Boston Legal Quotes

Jeffrey: I assured him the police never arrest innocent people. Just doesn't happen. I'm sure you in particular are never wrong.
Cop: I thought you came down here to cooperate?
Jeffrey: You killed the moment.
Cop: I can officially detain him.
Jeffrey: In which case he officially asks for he's lawyer and you can't talk to him. What is this? Good cop bad cop? If so, send in the good cop!
Cop: [Stare]
Jeffrey: That's quite a look.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny Crane: So? Who would you rather have as your attorney? Me? Or Hacky McGuilty Verdict here?
Warren Peter: I've faced him before. You'd rather have him.
Denny Crane: Don't feel bad, son. It takes a big man to recognize a bigger man.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: There's no doubt in my mind that you could develop into a first rate criminal defender, Jerry. But my hope is that you don't. Even at your relatively mature age you're still innocent.
Jerry: Except when I held a knife to Shirley's throat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Ivan: So basically if I screw around she gets my life.
Shirley: Not your whole life, just the parts you love.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Elect Obama and Pay More Taxes

Ned Barnett at The American Thinker points out the Four big lies regarding Obama's claim to only raise taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more. First, by letting the Bush Tax cuts expire , people making as little as $25,000 a year will see an effective tax increase. The Obama compaign claims letting a tax cut lapse is not really a tax increase, but it still effects my take home pay.

Second, Obama has proposed increasing the cap on the Social Security payroll tax, currently capped at S94,700 for a single individual in order to further fund the program, to the tune of $1 trillion - and thus increasing taxes on those people making between that $94k figure and $250k.

Thirdly, he has promised to increase the cpaitla gains tax, currently at 15%, to 20%. But a great many more Americans hav emoney invested in the stock market and other financial instruments.

"However, while only 1 percent of Americans make a quarter-million dollars, roughly 50 percent of all Americans have capital investments -- through IRAs, 401Ks, in pension plans and in personal portfolios. Most of that half of all Americans will feel this rise in their capital gains taxes.

Under "President" Obama, if you sell off a $100,000 investment -- perhaps to help put your children through college -- instead of paying $15,000 in capital gains taxes today, you'll pay $20,000 under Obama's plan. That's a full one-third more, and it applies no matter how much you earn."

Fourth, Obama has promised the increase taxes on corporations - but corporate taxes are paid not by corporations, but the customers of those coporations - meaning you and me. As Barnett puts it:

"When you buy a hot dog from a 7/11, you can see the clerk add the sales tax, but when a corporation's own taxes go up, you don't see it -- its automatic -- but they do the same thing. They build this tax into their product's price. Senator Obama knows this. He knows that even people who earn less than $250,000 will pay higher prices -- those pass-through taxes -- when corporate taxes go up."

Barnett finishes with a nice talbe showing a person's tax rates in 2000, 2003, 2004, and a projected figure for 2010 for someone (or a couple) making $25k, $50k, and $75k, all middle class incomes and the effects of the changes. And all show a four figure increase in tax payments, despite all the rhetorical flourishes.

Again, look at the bottom line.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: Does that mean you're back on the market?
Shirley: Denny, as far you're concerned I'm always on the market.

Friday, October 24, 2008

2nd Attempt Made for Hubble Fix

Science operations appear to be on track to resume after a second attempt to fix a glitch on the Hubble Space Telescope looks to be successful. The initial failure came from the failure of the primary communications array on the observatory. NASA attempted to bring the backup array online last week but it failed due to a voltage problem which caused the computer system and array to both reset. If the computer system stays online this week, science operations will resume next week. The initial issue caused the scheduled Hubble repair mission last month to be postponed until next spring.

"The initial glitch with the Side A relay channel postponed the planned Oct. 14 launch of the space shuttle for its next, and last, Hubble repair mission until early 2009. Every month that the shuttle mission to service Hubble is delayed costs NASA $10 million, mission managers have said.

When the astronauts do get up to Hubble, they hope to replace the tray that houses both Sides A and B. The mission is also slated to install a new camera, replace gyroscopes and batteries, upgrade Hubble's guidance equipment and add a docking ring.

One week after two anomalous events caused a snag in NASA's attempt to revive the Hubble Space Telescope, the orbital observatory is nearly back up and running, with science operations set to resume this weekend."

Neal Boortz on the Election

Right-leaning libertarian and talk radio host Neal Boortz speaks to undecided voters and makes the case for John McCain. (HT: RCP) It's a pretty long article, I'll try to just hit the highlights but read the whole thing, it's a pretty good summary of the reasons I will definitely not be voting for "the One". First he talks about his own voting history and the stakes.

"Never in those ten elections can I remember choices so stark and possible outcomes so perilous. For the record, over those 10 elections I voted for the Republican candidate six times and the Libertarian four. Never have I voted for a Democrat for president. I see no need to vote for a Democrat since I have no plans or desires to become a ward of the government."

Amen to that. I've never voted Democratic for the Presidential race, although I have for US Senate in the past. Personally, I tend to vote for the guy that claims he wants less of my money. All politicians want at least some of it.

Boortz discusses the race issue, and I have to agree that its understandable that a black person may desire to vote for a black candidate. He also disagrees (as I do) with the notion that if you vote against a black man, you're a racist. That's a huge bunch of bull. For example, I would vote for Ken Blackwell or Michael Steele in a hearbeat, and I donoted money to each in their last races for elective office. Boortz also examines his issues with the Republican party, which I tend to agree with - the bloat of the Federal bureaucracy and the profligate spending over the years 1994-2006 was...infuriating.

Boortz also discusses some of the rather questionable associations that Obama has and notes that those associations would disqualify Obama from serving on his own security detail becuase he couldn't get a security clearance. Yet he is in line to become our commander in chief.

Then he gets to the meat of the matter for me - tax policy, and notes the disconnect between the rhetoric and the facts on the ground. First he notes that the government takes your money at the point of a gun (or prison time), and you really don't have a choice in the matter, you're a customer whether you like it or not. And Obama really likes the idea of taking your money and giving it to someone else.

"Obama was asked if he understood that tax increases have often resulted in decreases in government revenue. Obama responded that he was aware of this fact. He was then asked why, then, would he be so eager to raise taxes? Obama responded that, to him, tax increases were simply a matter of "fairness." In other words, Obama didn't wish to use the police power of the state to collect taxes necessary for the legitimate functions of government; he wanted to use his taxing power to promote some vaporous "fairness" in our economy. After all, as Obama put it, the people he wants to tax have more money than they actually need and he wants to give that money to people who really do need it.

Now I ask you, does any of that sound vaguely familiar? Hmmmmm, let's see. I know I've heard something like that somewhere before. Wait! I think I have it. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Some character named Marx made slogan quite popular around 1875 in a writing called "Critique of the Gotha Program." This phrase is one of the most well-known principals of communism. You can yell, scream, spin around on your eyebrows and spit wooden nickels all you want, but what Barack Obama is pushing here, at least insofar as his tax policies are concerned, is communism. This shouldn't come as a surprise considering Obama's self-professed affinity for communist student groups and communist professors during his undergraduate years."

Boortz goes on to say that government is an unpleasant fact of life, and you can argue the relative merits of the proper role of government are, but it is a necessity at some level. But government should not be involved in creating winners and losers, or plundering my wealth to give it to some lazy shmuck unwilling to work but whose vote is being purchased. What is fair, and who determines who is in need?

"Listen to the rhetoric of the left. Those who are in need are called "the less fortunate." This means that their status as needy was due to nothing but bad luck. It stands to reason, then, that those with more than they need were just lucky. The fortunate and the less fortunate. The lucky and the not so lucky. And here comes Barack Obama riding over the rainbow on his Unicorn to set everything right and make it all fair. Isn't that the world you want to live in?"

Not me. He also notes the old quote about how democracy works only until the point the majority decides to vote itself bread and circuses, until such point there are neither bread or circuses.

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

It appears to many we are fast approaching the point where the collapse of the Republic is inevitable. And if you think the economy is in the tank now, just wait until the 5% Obama is talking about raising taxes on starts to cut expenses in their businesses, just watch the jobs disappear. 80% of all new jobs come from small businesses, and these are the people with the targets on their back.

"The WSJ reports that the National Federation of Independent Business says that only 10% of small businesses with one to nine employees will be hit by Obama's tax increase. However, almost 20% of the small businesses that employ from 10 to 19 people will get nailed, and 50% of small businesses with over 20 employees get punished.

Again ... it is not the percentage of businesses that will have to pay the increased taxes; it's the percentage of the total of small business employees who work for those businesses. The Obama campaign is counting on you not making that distinction; and they know the media won't make it for you; so Obama's "95% of all small businesses don't make $250,000" line will probably rule the day."

Boortz goes on to talk about unions and the Card Check legislation that will eliminate secret ballots on union votes in the workplace and how the Supreme Court would look after an Obama administration. Yikes.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: I misplaced a client once.
Alan: Did they ever find him?
Denny: No, I made sure to ship him off to some country with no extradition. Practically a deserted island off the coast of South America. He sends me Feliz Cumpleanos cards every year.
Alan: That's thoughtful. Sounds like paradise actually. Living on an island. A much simpler life.
Denny: Especially if it's an island where the natives run around the beach with their boobies hanging out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Brad: Okay. We're required to turn this over to Ms. Beller and, per the rules of discovery, we'll provide it with the other one hundred thousand pages of documents that pertain to their production request.
Chris Mott: So you're going to bury it.
Brad: No, that would be unethical. We'll simply comply… fully.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

India Lanuches Moon Mapping Spacecraft

via MSNBC, the nation of India has launched a spacecraft intended to provide much clearer mapping of the Moon. The science instruments are intended to not only map the surface, but examine the subsurface for minerals. It is India's first lunar mission, and the craft carries two instruments designed in partnership with US Sapce Agency NASA.

"Until now, India's space launches have mainly carried weather warning satellites and communication systems, said former NASA associate administrator Scott Pace, director of space policy at the George Washington University. "You're seeing India lifting its sights," Pace said. While much of the technology involved in reaching the moon has not changed since the Soviet Union and the U.S. did it more than four decades ago, analysts say new mapping equipment allows the exploration of new areas, including below the surface."

Japan and China have also both launched recent missions to the Moon, and the US is expected to follow with its Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter next year. The most comperehensive current lunar maps are those made over 40 years ago for the Apollo misisons. While the poles of Mars have been thoroughly mapped, the lunar poles have yet to be, even though one plan for a manned expedition to the moon involves construction of a settlement at the south pole. China has also put a man in space and conducted a spacewalk, and demonstrated an anti-satellite capability in earth's orbit in an effort to gain international prestige. India's space program appears to be designed more in efforts to develop technology and economic advantage.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: So whose ass did you have kicked?
Alan: Someone whose ass thoroughly deserved it.
Denny: Good! I can never understand why people don't use violence more often to solve their problems. Works every time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Could the Huskers Win the North?

I haven't mentioned the Huskers in a while, but have been keeping track of the progress the team has made over the first half of the season. While a 4-3 record isn't going to bring back memories of the Osbourne era, the team has appeared to make signifigant progress on both sides of the ball the last two weeks since the blowout by Mizzou. First they took Texas Tech, the 7th ranked team in the nation at the time, into overtime only to have QB Joe Ganz throw an intereception when it appeared the team could slip by the Raiders after they missed the PAT after their overtime TD. Last week NU played its most complete game of the season, running for over 200 yards, throwing for another 300 and holding the Clones to 218 total yards and giving up only a 60 plus yard TD run in the third quarter in winning 35-7. This leaves NU at 1-2 in the conference, but trailing only KU (which is 2-1) in the North standings. Pre-season North favorite Missouri is also 1-2 after losing to Texas and Okie St.

First of all, I don't expect this to happen, but only want to point out it is possible while highly improbable. Admittedly, NU winning the North would be a pretty wild stretch, but it could happen if everything happens to go the Huskers way. Mizzou still has the inside track with games upcoming against CU, @ Baylor, K St, @ ISU and finishing with the Kansas border war. They could win out, but should they stumble against CU & KU, they finish 4-4. KU is at 2-1 but has a brutal schedule upcoming against TT, K St, @ NU, Texas and finishing at UM. Another stretch, but should they lose to Tech, NU, and UT while beating K St & Mizzou, they would also finish 4-4. CU is also 1-2 right now after edging K St last week. They travel to UM and A&M, get ISU and OSU at home before finishing against the Huskers. With another improbable series of events where CU wins the first three and loses the last two, they also finish 4-4. K St is also hanging at 1-2, but I do not see them making any kind of run facing OU, @ KU, @ UM, NU and then finishing with ISU, the only game of the five I see them winning. ISU is 0-3 and the only game I see them possibly winning is this week against A&M. They go to OSU and CU then get UM and K St at home to end the season.

This leaves NU, which has an admittedly long road to travel to get there; given the way things have clicked recently it does make the rose colored glasses stylish again and the Kool-aid taste sweet. This is a wildly optimistic projection, but crazy things happen in college football. NU can finish 5-3 in conference play and win the North if they win out and lose to OU, beating Baylor, KU, @ K St and CU. OU on the road is an almost impossible game for us to win, but K St there and the rest of the games in Lincoln is certainly within the realm of possibility, although KU will be a tough game for us to win. We could also wind up going 2-3 (beating BU & K St) to finish the season just as easily, but I think bowl eligibility is certainly in the cards.
The key game for this whole scenario I am envisioning is this week with the CU-UM game whereby CU pulls off the upset. Rooting for CU is a nearly impossible task for me, but I am learning the dislike the Tigers nearly as much. Obviously, the other key game is NU-KU and the Huskers will have to play their best game of the season.

Boston Legal Quotes

Shirley: Denny. You cheated on your wife at your own wedding reception in what has become some sort of cloakroom fetish-that is a new low, even for you.
Denny Crane: Yeah. It is, isn't it?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nuclear is the Future of Energy

William tucker has a great article on nuclear energy and why it is superior to fossil fuels and other alternatives. Fossil fuels are concentrated solar energy from fossilized plants and animals that lived long ago. Burning coal is approximately twice as dense in terms of energy compared to burning wood, and oil or natural gas is twice as dense as coal. Wind power, solar and other "renewables" are actually less dense than wood - by a factor of more than 10. Sunlight reaching the ground on a squre yard of the Earth's surface is only enough to power a single 100 watt light bulb, so thousands of acres of land would be required to replace even one conventional power plant. Of course, it isn't sunny all the time either. Wind faces the same issues - the wind isn't always blowing and enormous amounts of land are required to replace a conventional power facility. Biofuels use up around 30% of one of our primary food crops and replace only 3% of our oil needs.

As for nuclear power, read it and weep.

"Remember, when we talked about the energy density of fossil fuels and renewables we talked in factors of 2 thru 50. Do you know what the density factor is for uranium? It’s 2 million. A pound of uranium gives you 2 million times as much energy as a pound of coal. That means you can run a whole city for a week with a lump of uranium you can hold in one hand. In fact a 110-car “unit train” of coal has more energy in the uranium traces in the coal than in the coal itself.

Let’s see what this means in practice. The average 1,000-megawatt coal plant must be fed by a unit train arriving at the plant every day. Such trains now leave Cheyenne, Wyoming every 12 minutes carrying coal from the Powder River Basin to power plants from Nevada to Arkansas. More than half the nation’s rail freight is now coal. In fact, it’s straining the whole infrastructure and we may have to build new rail lines before long.

Now lets’ look at nuclear. A 1000-MW nuclear reactor is refueled by a single tractor-trailer arriving at the plant once every eighteen months. The fuel rods are only mildly radioactive and can be handled with gloves. Over their four-and-a-half-year life cycle those fuel rods will put zero greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the coal plant across town will spew 3 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s why we have a problem of global warming."
How in the world is this possible? e=mc , that's how. A very tiny amount of matter can be transformed into a great deal of energy. Chemical reactions, such as burning fossil fuels, occur in the outer electron shell of the atom. Electrons are around 1/1800ths of an atomic mass, the rest lies in the nucleus - thus the amazing amount of energy available in "splitting atoms". The end result is that nuclear is two to twenty times less less impactive to the environment.

What about the dangers, you ask? Well, the uranium used in nuclear reactors is the 235 variety, while the most common occuring naturally is the 238 isotope. Only .7% of natural uranium is -235, so a difficult refining process is necessary in order to obtain the necessary quantities to sustain a nuclear reaction, which is 3% in a conventional reactor. If you want to build a nuclear bomb, the necessary percentage is much, much higher - in excess of 90%. So there is no chance of your local power station going up in a mushroom cloud.

What about nuclear waste, you ask? That term is realistically a misnomer - there is no such thing. Most of the material (95%) that comes out of a nuclear reactor is completely harmless U-235 that occurs naturally and the other 5% was recycled until the Carter Administration decided to outlaw it. Many of the minor actinides (2%) are actually useful in medical applications, but we import all of ours from Canada now because we can't reprocess our own nucelar fuel. The French also make big moeny selling their reprossessed nuclear fuel, exporting it all over Europe and to Japan.

"Almost everything in a spent fuel rod can be recycled. The U-235 can be used again for fuel. So can the plutonium. Among the fission products and minor actinides there are lots of useful isotopes used in medicine and industrial procedures. Forty percent of all medical procedures now involve some radioactive isotope and nuclear medicine is a $250-billion industry."

All of France's nuclear waste from 25 years of producing 75% of its electricity by nculear power is stored in a single room in the basement of The Hague. One reason we got out of the reprossessing field was the fear of nuclear prolifieration, but that is almost impossible - the vast majority of the plutonium that results from commercial reactors can't be weaponized. It takes a special reactor to create the Plutonium-239 that is used to make a nuclear weapon, which is exactly what the Russians were up to a Chernobyl. Nuclear engineers know all this, but the debate has been dominated by the environmental lobby so pervasively that all the facts have been shoved under the rug. It sort of reminds one of the "settled science" of the Climate change myth, doesn't it?

Justice Thomas on Constitution & Judging

Justice Thomas has some excellent points to make about the judiciary and the Constitution. He notes that people were comfortable with making sacrifices when JFK asked what you could do for your country - due in no small part to the Great Depression, World War Two and the Civil rights movement. People were used to making sacrifices for the good of society and the nation, but attitudes have changed since that time, it's all about the individual today. What's in it for me. Most discussion of sacrifice involve "spreading the wealth around" by way of increased taxation from those who earn their way to those who do not. What must your country do for you brings to mind the proper role of government in society. Thomas also notes that many citizens talk endlessly about their rights, but have almost no clue as to what those rights actually are as enshrined in the legal system.

"I have been astounded just how many of our fellow citizens feel strongly about their constitutional rights but have no idea what they are, or for that matter, what the Constitution says. I am not suggesting that they become Constitutional scholars -- whatever that means. I am suggesting, however, that if one feels strongly about his or her rights, it does make sense to know generally what the Constitution says about them. It is at least as easy to understand as a cell phone contract -- and vastly more important."

The framers established, to the best of their ability, a government with limited powers to best preserve the liberty of the citizens and allow them to prosper. Toward this end, they wrote the Constitution, which has been amended but not signifigantly changed over the history of our nation. The document provides for a government by the people with distributed powers between the three branches of government at the national level and leaves all powers not explicitly mentioned in the document to the states under the principle of federalism. The two political branches were constrained by the people due to the elective process, but the judiciary was viewed as the least dnagerous and given lifetime appointment to confirm their independence and impartiality from the political process. However, this also insultes judges from accountability.

This leads to the question of how to measure the performance of judges and how to interpret their role. As Thomas relates, there is no definitive way to do interpet the Constitution, and some persons believe that the best way to determine this is whether or not they personally find the policy being favorable. This belief is certainly behind the contention in the selection of judges throughout the confirmation process. He points out the flwa in the thinking, and then sums up the two ways to interpret the most important legal document in the land:

"Those who think this way often seem to believe that since this is the way they themselves think, everyone must be doing the same thing. In this sense, legal realism morphs into legal cynicism....there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution -- try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores."

Amen to that.

Boston Legal Quotes

Paul: Doing nothing is what I'll regret most. I have devoted my life to keeping this firm an outstanding institution. Now, in the twilight of my career, this, this mess could destroy my reputation. All because Denny cannot control his aged groin.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny Crane: Don't like that kind of thinking. Defense of self. You gotta strike first. Pre-empt 'em. What they say in the news? Victim or vigilante? It's neither. This is Russell Blayney, hero!'
Denise: You wanna try this case in the press?
Denny Crane: Exactly. I wanna grab the public's attention. The story. Character. Narrative. We have to create our own reality. You! Young punk. You must know computers. Set up a website, one of those blobs. Justice for Russell Blayney! And you, Denise, you'll be my second. You look good on camera.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: Alan you know the one thing we sometimes forget is no matter how hard your day, no matter how tough your choices were, how complex your ethical always get to choose what you want for lunch.
Alan: Daily I am amazed at your inexhaustable ability to just live.
Denny: It's either that or die.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Husker FB

OWH looks into the Husker Football notes for the week. Biggest news is that Linebackers Cody Glenn and Phil Dilliard practiced this week after being absent from the field in the loss to Texas Tech last Saturday and that soph Javario Burkes has earned the starting left tackle spot over fellow soph Mike Smith. The offense is also running sprint drills for every penalty that occurs on the field after another game in which a strong effort was plagued by far too many yellow hankies. One gem out of the game against Tech was the emergence of Meno Holt in the receiving corps. Holt had a career high 6 catches for 55 yards. Also of note, Coach Bo flashed signs he is relaxing a bit more in front of the local media.

"Pelini, apparently, is growing more comfortable with the setting at his weekly press conference. On Tuesday, he was quick to joke with the news media. Here's a sampling:

Q: Are the Huskers a dangerous football team?
Pelini: "Dangerous to themselves or to somebody else?"

Q: How will the Iowa State offense attack NU?
"I don't know," Pelini said. "Could you get into their practice and come back and tell me?"

Q: Does Nebraska's lack of execution often drive him nuts?
"Yeah, but it always does," the coach said. "By the end of the week, you can usually put me in a rubber room." "

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: There's a reason Shakespeare and many after him said 'First kill all the lawyers.' They're talking about people like me, Jerry, not you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

USA Still in Better Shape than Overseas

Brett Stephens at the WSJ points out that despite the Wall st. meltdown, things are better here in the US relative to foreign shores. The Dow has dropped 25%, but the Germany's XETRADAX is down 28%, China's Shanghai exchange is down 30%, Japan's NIKK225 down 37%, Brazil's BOVESPA down 41% and finally the Russian RTSI down 61%.

The bailout costs?

"Last month's $700 billion bailout package seems staggeringly large, but it amounts to a little more than 5% of U.S. gross domestic product. Compare that to Germany's $400 billion to $536 billion rescue package (between 12% and 16% of its GDP), or Britain's $835 billion plan (30%). Of course it may require considerably more than $700 billion to clean out our Augean Stables. But here it helps that the ratio of government debt to GDP in the U.S. runs to about 62%. For the eurozone, it's 75%; for Japan, 180%."

Stephens also points out that the US has the largest direct inflows of foreign capital, has a much more transparent financial system overall, ranks third in the World Bank's ratings on ease to do business (behind only Singapore and New Zealand) and does not face the kind of demographic crisis which Europe, Russia, China and Japan are shortly to face, where aging populations will put intense pressure on the wokring age population for transfer payment support.

This is not to say there are not problems, we likely face a recession, which could be the most severe since the one in the early 80s. but America has faced its issues much sooner than Europe and Japan and is likely to recover that much faster as a result. In other words, the glass is still half full.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny Crane: Well. Are the rumors true? You have naked photos of Shirley? Awww, come on! What's the big deal? I've had naked photos of Shirley for years. [pulls out a stack of pictures to show Alan]
Alan: Denny? She's asleep in all of these.
Denny Crane: [Denny hands him another photo] Here's one where she woke up. Have you ever seen a beautiful naked woman look that angry?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oldest Fossil Footprints?

National Geogrpahic is reporting what may be the oldest fossilized footprints ever discovered have been found in Nevada. Clocking in at an estimated 570 million years ago, they beat the consensus time for pedally locomoted animals by 30 million years.

"The controversial tracks—described by one skeptical scientist as "paired rows of dots"— may indicate animals had legs in the late Protozoic era, about 570 million years ago, according to lead researcher Loren Babcock. The discovery is the strongest evidence to suggest animals were able to move about on their own appendages during the Ediacaran period, before the Cambrian period "explosion." During the Cambrian complex animals rapidly emerged and replaced simple multicellular animals, said the Ohio State University professor."

The fossil trakc were unearthed near Death Valley in the Deep Spring rock formation near the Nevada city of Goldfield. This rock formaiton is made up of sedimentary layers made up of sandstone, limestone, shale and other materials are is around 600 million years old. The fossil tracks appear to be made by some type of centipede like creature and are just a few millimeters across. However, there are already some doubters, as the area may have been covered by as shallow sea and such a small aquatic animal would be unlikely to leave such tracks without shuffling their body in the mud alongside the footprints.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny Crane: Brad. Mr Granger chuckles. There'll be no divorce.
Eli Granger: I beg your pardon?
Denny Crane: Bev and I had an agreement. When we first got together she told me that I could sleep with whomever I wanted. Delmonico's Restaurant. January 14th. Happiest night of my life. So I had sex with another woman. Or a Navy Burberry. Not sure which. But the point is, she granted me the right to tomcat and I exercised that right. No divorce.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: Are we setting a bad example? I shoot people.
Alan: I bribe them.
Denny: We drink.
Alan: We smoke.
Denny: I'm unfaithful.
Alan: Not to me.
Denny: Never to you.
Alan: We're not setting examples. We're just being true to who we are.
Denny: Who are we?
Alan: Denny Crane.
Denny: Alan Shore.
Alan: Leaders of men.
Denny: With bull's eyes on our asses.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny Crane: That may be, but still...
Shirley: So help me, if you say “It's still your name on the door”, I will shoot you with one of your own guns.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oddball Object Discovered by COROT

via ScienceDaily, the European COROT space observatory has discovered a very unusual object orbiting a distant star. While a number of exoplanets have been discovered in short period orbits, this object defies classification due to its unusual mass. Every one of the "hot Jupiters" found by astronomers so far range in size up to 12 Jupiter masses, while failed stars, so-called brown dwarfs, start off at around 70 Jupiter masses. This object, called COROT-exo-3b, is twenty Jupiter masses, yet is around the same diameter. This makes the object around twice as dense as lead.

"The object, named COROT-exo-3b, is about the size of Jupiter, but packs more than 20 times the mass. It takes only 4 days and 6 hours to orbit its parent star, which is slightly larger than the Sun. COROT-exo-3b was found as the satellite observed the drop in the brightness of the star each time the object (COROT-exo-3b) passed in front. "We were taken by surprise when we found this massive object orbiting so close to its parent star", said Dr Magali Deleuil from the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM), leader of the team that made the discovery. She added, "COROT-exo-3b is really unique - we’re still debating its nature."

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: I have a similar bit of wisdom I like to share. We can do this my way or another way that will have you writing a very large check and crying like a baby.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: We know we don't deserve Shirley Schmidt. Just the possibility is enough to sustain us.
Shirley: You are a dear, sweet man. And I have something else that might sustain you. [whispers into his ear] Denny Crane.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny: [to Alan] What do you mean she's measuring you for trousers? Is that some kind of fetish? Would I like it?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hubble Repair Mission Delayed

via MSNBC, the shuttle's Hubble Space Telescope repair mission has been moved out to next year due to a new unexpected issue with the orbital space observatory. The new issue is with the Hubble's communication array and prevents the observatory form sending any data it collects back to Earth. The astronauts training for the mission now must prepare for a possible replacement of the components of the command and data handling system. However, there is a plus, in that the issue arose before the launch, which allows NASA to work on a potential solution.

"It could have been far worse, said NASA’s science chief, Ed Weiler. “Think about if this failure had occurred two weeks after the servicing mission, we had just put two brand new instruments in and thought we extended the lifetime for five, 10 years and this thing failed after the last shuttle mission to Hubble,” Weiler told reporters Monday evening. “So in some sense, if this had to happen, it couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

In the meantime, the space agency will attempt to switch to the telescope's backup systems, which have not been turned on since before its original launch date almost twnty years ago. Another issue could be with the replacement part the agancy has on hand - the part was last tested in 2001, and it will take until January to test and certify it for use. This delays the launch of the mission until February at minimum.

The mission already had an ambitious set of goals: the addition of two new instruments, the replacement of batteries and gyroscopes, and the repair of two other instruments. However, the fix to the array is relativley simple and would not entail a separate spacewalk over the planned five for the mission, but most likely extend one spacewalk for a period of around two hours.

Boston Legal Quotes

Denny Crane: It's no use, Alan. Nothing interests me anymore.
Reporter on TV: Construction worker Russell Blayney arrested for attempted murder for setting a bobby trap in his home to catch burglars. Miguel Quinones allegedly broke into Blayney's house and received a reported fifty thousand volts of electricity through his body, paralyzing him from the waist down. And leaving us all with the question: Russell Blayney: Victim or Vigilante?
Denny Crane: That case! I want that case.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: Congratulations. I saw you were the lucky one who caught Bev's garter.
Paul: Yes. I'm going for a full battery of tests first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Boston Legal Quotes

Alan: Denny, I... Why do you have clothes pins on your ears?
Denny: Personal.