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Karl Lehenbauer

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Ike update [13 Sep 2008|12:19pm]
We chose to stay and wait it out. Minor damage to the house -- windblown rain managed to seep through a couple of windows. A tree in the front yard banged on the gutters and bent them and a tree limb off a neigbor's tree struck the screened-in porch supports and there's some damage there. Eletricity was out for about 3-4 hours at 4 AM. It's been completely solid since 8.

Drove around, got some pics, lots of tree limbs down, some trees, awnings at gas stations and the like. Uploaded some of the best to the Chronicle at chron.com. We'll see if they use them. All in all not whole lots of damage on the west side.
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Upcoming TV: Morgan Spurlock, Battlestar Galactica, Tracey Ullman [09 Apr 2008|08:45am]
Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days is starting its third season on FX. I thought it had been cancelled after the first 13 episodes. (Wonder what happened to my season pass.) In the show, different people (sometimes Morgan) spend 30 days doing something "unfamiliar and uncomfortable", as the Salt Lake Tribune put it. Morgan will spend 30 days working in a coal mine and living with a mining family; a gun-control advocate will live with a hunter and gun collector and work in a firearms store.

Spurlock also has a documentary coming out called Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? about his attempt to locate OBL. Article about it in the NYT.

Lots of friends are into Battlestar Galactica. Guess it's the final season. I think I'm a little to engaged elsewhere to start watching it, but it looks like it's a kazillion times better than the original Orson Scott Card endlessly-repeated-effects-clips garbagtastic 70s drivel.

Tracey Ullman has a new show on Showtime called State of the Union. Article about it and about her becoming an American citizen at the NYT.
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Home Network Problems Frustrate Expert (Me) [05 Mar 2008|04:23pm]
Is it DSL, interference, wiring problems, or what? Read the story here.
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How tough does the middle class have it? [04 Feb 2008|09:51am]
Media pundits tell us the middle class is under attack. Politicians like Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul and even George Bush beat the drum and tell us Something Needs to Be Done. Because of greedy corporations, immigration, rising costs, outsourcing, etc, the standard of living for the middle class is seriously declining, right?

In "Living Large," Drew Carey and reason.tv examine this issue. What they found may surprise you.
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Reblog [26 Jan 2008|02:04pm]
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Thousands Wait Overnight At Microsoft Stores For Second Generation Zune [22 Dec 2007|11:10am]
"Plus, it's small enough to fit in my pocket—right next to my cell phone!"
(from the onion)
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Jimmy Carter and George Bush Have a Lot In Common [10 Jun 2007|11:09am]
Jeane Kirkpatrick, who later served as President Reagan's ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in 1979 that the Carter administration had fallen victim to three misconceptions about governments it didn't like, such as those of Iran and Nicaragua: "first, the belief that there existed at the moment of crisis a democratic alternative to the incumbent government; second, the belief that the continuation of the status quo was not possible; third, the belief that any change . . . was preferable to the present government." Bush took those errors and applied them to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
-- Steve Chapman, from an article in Reason Online
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Open Source Pro Applications Have a Long Way To Go [10 Jun 2007|11:03am]
Everyone who is real is running Pro Tools, Logic Pro, or one of a handful of other more genre-oriented tools. The number of pros or high-end types who're facile and productive with those tools who'll give up capabilities, reliability and support for some sort of ethos about the superiority of open source is vanishingly small.

Go to http://apple.com/logicpro and watch the tutorials. Until the free stuff can do that stuff, it's not going to get serious traction among pros. And I think the gap is growing, not shrinking, like Logic Pro's ability to harness together a network of Macs to offload computation for software instruments, integration with DSP and hardware playback and effects cards, dozens of innovative software instruments (not just samples) that model the native instruments, a rich market in third-party soft instruments and plugins, Final Cut Studio integration, Apple Loops, and, like, the thousand pages of documentation that the open source guys (like me) never get around to writing.

I know this isn't popular on /., and there are a few well-known examples where the free stuff has parity or superiority with the proprietary alternatives, like Linux, but open source apps have not made a serious dent against high-end applications like the Adobe tools, music and video production tools, etc, and there isn't much evidence that they're going to anytime soon.
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Microsoft Is Dead? [07 Apr 2007|07:03pm]
Microsoft Is Dead, writes Paul Graham. I don't know if he's right, but I agree that nobody seems to be afraid of them anymore.
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Putin Takes to the Internet [07 Apr 2007|06:57pm]
Some 10 years ago, when liberty seemed on the march around the world, many optimists claimed that, contrary to George Orwell's gloomy 1984 vision of a technologically empowered omnipotent superstate, new technologies were actually empowering the individual and subverting central authority. It was argued that, in the electronic age, government control of information would become impossible, and dictatorships would crumble writes Cathy Young in Putin Takes to the Internet.

But dictatorships, like individuals, can be highly adaptable, she concludes, adding Technologies that make it easy to disperse information can be thwarted by technologies that make it easy to track communications. True, even in an unfree society, the Internet can give individuals greater access to unauthorized facts and ideas than a typewriter and a radio. But ultimately, technology's liberating potential would still run into the barriers of society's political structure. Sadly, in the years to come, Russians may discover that the Internet can in fact coexist with an authoritarian regime—and even become a tool in its hands.

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News Reblog for March 15, 2007 [16 Mar 2007|07:05am]
A development that may be of far greater historical importance than anything going on right now, immense ice deposits have been found at the south pole of Mars.


Young French people shun France's 35-hour work week (and no jobs) to make a future in Britain.


There are more lines of computer code in these tractors than there is in the space shuttle, John Deere's president reports, in Catching a Wave of HIgh-Tech Exports in the New York Times (registration required), detailing a 12.7% increase in US exports in 2006.

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The Internet Alters Science Research Publishing Or Something [14 Mar 2007|05:15pm]
Senators promise to reintroduce a bill that would force scientific publishers to post publicly funded research for free. The publishers fight back with a PR campaign. By Randy Dotinga for Wired News.
Read more…
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Friday Reblog -- Cool Videos and How-To Guides [23 Feb 2007|03:08pm]
Combing two things I dig, here's Pulp Fiction as Typography.

Short on money? Follow this Uncyclopedia guide on How To Start A Religion.

Jim and Jennifer make a surprising discovery for the reason their water bill is so high.

For video game aficionados, here's Frogger In Real Life, and while I've been known to enjoy the occasional power slide or parking brake U-turn, this guy is a surgeon with a gas pedal.

And finally, National Film Board of Canada Documentary on the effects various drugs have on how spiders construct their webs.

-karl

PS - How could I forget the Stabbing at Leia's 22nd Birthday Party?

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U. S. Post-911 Terrorism Statistics Are Inaccurate [21 Feb 2007|03:27pm]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics reported by the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI from the September 11 attacks until early 2005 had some inaccuracies, the department's inspector general said on Tuesday.

... "Whether this is just an accounting error or an attempt to pad terror prosecution statistics for some other reason, the Department of Justice of all places should be classifying cases for what they are, not what they want us to think them to be," Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said...

Hmm, why would the government overstate the number of terrorism prosecutions and understate other statistics? Might it have something to do with hyping the threat and exaggerating their success in responding to that threat, perhaps in order to grow their own power?

As we look back on the 1950s, with the McCarthy Hearings, the "communist threat" of fluoridated water and the like, with amusement and, perhaps, disgust, so perhaps shall people in the future look back on this time, at the vast amounts of money consumed, the dubious results, and the vast growth in the size and power of the state, in much the same way.

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Congress Finds Ways to Avoid Lobbyist Limits [11 Feb 2007|11:26pm]
“I am not going to hide from the fact that we have to raise money,” said Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican who has invited donors to his political action committee on a wine-tasting tour in June, modeled after the movie “Sideways.” “Only a moron would sell a vote for a $2,000 contribution,” Mr. Nunes said. [NYT]

Yes, Devin, any reasonably clever lawmaker would require much more than a $2,000 contribution to sell a vote.
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Otto Stern: Remembering Anna Nicole Smith and her impact on the American Dream [09 Feb 2007|07:42pm]
It was easy to look at Anna Nicole Smith's breasts and wonder what went wrong with America.

Her breasts, built on a silicon foundation, failed to represent anything good about this country. They shocked. They bragged. They overwhelmed. They popped up on a mediocre reality TV show. Who let that happen? Who willed those breasts into such a prominent position? Didn’t those mounds point to the type of shallow character haunting our country?

Well, no.

Anna Nicole Smith's chest defined the American Dream. It came from humble, small-town Texas roots. Through focus, optimism and well-placed investment, those breasts exceeded expectations. And, eventually, they attracted a billionaire - an oil tycoon, no less. These were overachieving breasts that went beyond their average beginnings. They helped create a franchise. They led to a mini-empire of Anna and symbolized much of the American tradition.

Read more...
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[28 Jan 2007|03:48am]
Good programmers tend to like programming. Better programmers tend to like it even more. The best programmers like it most. And the best programmers are by far the most productive; so the digital economy depends on free labor donated by people who are, by and large, enjoying themselves.

-- David Gelernter
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Why We Love Oil [22 Jan 2007|02:27pm]
Interesting article over at wired.com...

Apparently Earth humans consume about a cubic mile of oil a year. That's a lot. It's the equivalent of the power generated by 2600 nuclear power plants or 1.5 million wind turbines over their entire multi-decade lifetimes.

From the comments, one barrel of oil contains approximately 1,700 kilowatt/hours of energy, according to the USGS. In comparison, lithium batteries can store about 270 watt-hours/liter (according to WP), meaning oil's energy density is forty times that of lithium batteries.

Said another way, a gallon of gas contains about 35 kilowatt/hours of energy (source). To store the energy equivalent of a 20 gallon tank of gas would require something like 5000 lbs of lithium batteries, not to mention build cost, replacement cost, etc. Our dependence on oil isn't just because it's currently one of the least expensive ways to produce energy, it's also because it contains so much energy in such a compact form.

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News Reblog [20 Jan 2007|10:53pm]
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Fatal Raid Linked to Lies for Warrant in Drug Case [14 Jan 2007|05:38am]
ATLANTA, Jan. 11 (New York Times)— A narcotics team that shot and killed an elderly woman while raiding her home lied to obtain the search warrant, one team member has told federal investigators, according to news reports confirmed by a person familiar with the investigation who requested anonymity.
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