January 31, 2005

Playing With a Broken Stick

I don't want to seem to be beating a dead horse, or rather a dead Unicorn, but I paid another visit to Greenie Watch and found a link to another article critical of the Michael Mann “hockey stick.”

In their two seminal papers, Mann and his colleagues purported to reconstruct Northern Hemisphere temperatures for the last thousand years. Since 1000, temperatures gradually decreased (the shaft of the hockey stick), only to increase sharply from 1900 onwards (the blade).The implication is obvious: Human interference caused this trend to change.
The subhead for the article, headlined “Breaking the hockey stick,” reads
The famous graph that supposedly shows that recent temperatures are the highest in a thousand years has now been shown by careful analysis to have been based on faulty data.
Read that again and remember that this graph is a critical component of The Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Read it again and remember that the IPCC report is the foundation for the Kyoto Protocol.

The National Post story is about further analysis of the research by Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre. McKitrick and McIntyre's research focuses on statistical teqniuques.

They claim that Mann and his colleagues have misused an established statistical method -- principal component analysis (PCA) -- so that their calculations simply mined data for hockey-stick shaped series and that Mann's results are statistically meaningless.
The article recounts attempts by McKitrick and McIntyre to work with Mann that met with little success or outright resistence. One particular aspect of Mann's research that he was not willing to share, McKitrick and McIntyre stumbled across on an FTP site on which Mann had made source data available.
McIntyre and McKitrick requested original source code from Mann in order to fully reconcile their results. Mann refused. But McIntyre did make an interesting find at Mann's FTP site -- a Fortran program of about 500 lines for the calculation of tree-ring series, virtually the only source code on the entire site. They carefully studied the script and found a highly unusual procedure that had not been mentioned in the Nature article.

McIntyre says: “The effect is that tree-ring series with a hockey-stick shape no longer have a mean of zero and end up dominating the first principal [data] component; in effect, Mann's program mines for series with a hockey-stick shape.”
McIntyre and McKitrick decided to perform another check. Using computer simulations of so-called “red noise,” they generated networks of artificial tree-ring data over the period of 1400 to 1980. Red noise is commonly used in climatology and oceanography. McIntyre says: “If we used Mann's method on red noise, we consistently obtained hockey sticks with an inflection at the start of the 20th century. We have repeated the simulation thousands of times and in 99% of the cases, the result of the PCA was a hockey stick.”

This would seem to be a fairly clear cut case of manipulating the data to produce a desired conclusion. This faulty research is now a cornerstone of efforts to reshape the social, political, and economic structure of the industrial world. The hockey stick is broken, but the game will undoubtedly play on.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:47 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

January 30, 2005

The Bias Yet To Come

It is hard to blame Powerline's Deacon for getting caught up in the spirit of the moment and extending goodwill to the members of the MSM who have not tried to hide the success of the Iraqi elections. They have done a fair job of covering the event, and they really had no choice. It would have been impossible to bury the 70% voter turnout in the face of terrorist threats without burying themselves as well.

Even in the excitement and euphoria of the moment, I do not seem to be able to fully escape my growing cynicism of the media. I will not be surprised if the media turns the election today into “mission accomplished” and doesn't soon start wondering why our troops are still there.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:23 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Rather Gets it Right!

One of the unfortunate feature of our cable TV service is that if someone turns off the cable box is resets itself to channel 2 when you turn it back on. Around here, channel 2 is CBS. I happened to be walking through the living room moments ago and heard a sound I never thought I'd hear coming out of my television again. The voice of Dan Rather. What I heard him say went something like this (note to self TIVO would make an exact quote possible in a case like this)

While there were reports of violence the big story of the day is the extremely large number of Iraqis who voted.
I can only imagine the mental anguish it must have caused Dan to say something positive about Iraq. But I have to give him credit for saying it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:08 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

Advancing the Myth

It seems that the more people are exposed to the realities behind the myths of global warming the more desperate the environmentalists become. The headline on a story at NewScientist.com reads

Global temperatures could be set to soar
It is a short article so I'll look it one paragraph at a time.
THE Earth could be even more sensitive to global warming than we imagined. If carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere double, as they are widely expected to do, the planet's temperature could rise by a huge 11.5 °C, according to early results from a project that uses home PCs to test climate models.
Given that no one has been able to accurately determine the level of carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere, expecting it to double seems like a fairly empty exercise. And if the current level is unknown, the doubled level is equally a mystery. Thus any prediction based on that belief is likely to be as potentially accurate as using the lucky numbers in your fortune cookie to buy lottery tickets.
The result is surprising because it is far outside the 1.4 to 4.5 °C range predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But the IPCC's estimate is based on just a handful of different computer models of the Earth's climate (see New Scientist, 24 July 2004, p 44). “We have anecdotal evidence that people tend to tune their models to be similar to other people's,” says David Stainforth of the University of Oxford. But this may also have the effect of limiting the predictions the models make. (emphasis added)
So this is how they got their scientific consensus ad their widely expected increases in carbon dioxide. The all “tuned” their model to produce similar results. Stainforth complains this may limit the predictions the models can make. Um yeah. But apparently the problem isn't that none of the models are allowed to predict less warming.
So Stainforth and his colleagues launched the website climateprediction.net to see what would happen when models were not tuned in this way. More than 95,000 volunteers have downloaded software from climateprediction.net, and have tested more than 2000 different climate models. The models are first tested to ensure that they simulate the past climate accurately, then checked to see what they predict for the future. The result is a forecast temperature rise ranging from 1.9 to 11.5 °C (Nature, vol 433, p 403).(emphasis added)
Right from the start the fact that Stainforth borrowed his methodology from the people trying to contact aliens does little to inspire confidence. According to climateprediction.net There are 29,378 machines currently working on this. I couldn't find much on their site about what they have done to insure the integrity of the data being sent back to them. As for their results a prediction of warming ranging from 1.9° to 11.5° seems pretty wide given the disaster forecast as a result of the finely tuned consensus of 1.4 to 4.5.

I can make a prediction every bit as accurate without all the trouble of setting up a climate model and building a distributed processing network of volunteers. Over the course of the next decade the the earth's climate will change by between -30° C and +30° C. Can I get a research grant for this?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:55 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

January 29, 2005

I Must Go On A Quest

Some of you might recall the last time I set out on an eBay quest. My goal was to score an Apple iPod for less than $50. I didn't succeed but I had a good time, and someone gave me an iPod for Christmas so it was all good in the end.

I also scored a nice pair of vintage sunglasses that so far the kids have left alone.

Well, it's time to play the eBay game again. The rules are simple pick something you would like to have but don't really need, set a ridiculously low budget and start bidding. Torture your readers with regular updates.

This time. I'm going to play the game with a twist. Via circumstances not at all germane to this quest I have a $50 balance in my PayPal account, and I don't know what to do with it so I'm asking for your help. I need suggestions for something to get with my $50. Keep it clean and moderately reasonable. I'm not going to try to by a Porsche for $50 - though that would be sweet. I'll take suggestions through the end of the week or until somebody suggests something absolutely perfect.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:19 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

My First Time

I remember the first time I voted. 1984, I was a senior in college. The line at the gym was quite long and I was quite nervous, and very excited. I could not keep my mind from examining the number of things that could go wrong. What if my registration was screwed up or lost and I couldn't vote. What if I screwed up the ballot and my vote didn't count.

But the registration was good, I didn't mess up the ballot and I walked out of the boot and watched the ballot disappear into the box. It was all I could do not to cheer.It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

It is utterly nothing compared to what it must feel like to be an Iraqi casting their first vote in an open election.

UPDATE: Read this on the Iraqi election too.

UPDATE: Powerline has an Iraqi's take on his vote

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:09 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Chasing the Unicorn

Another august group of politicians and environmentalists recently released a report positing that we've basically got 10 years left before the effects of global warming become irreversible. If we don't take immediate and drastic action to reduce greenhouse gasses we are doomed to rising ocean levels, catastrophic weather, and widespread death disease and famine. Remember all those teenage fantasies about what you would do if you knew the word was about to come to end? Well it's apparently time to put those plans into action. Let the bacchanal begin.

The report has been the subject of much discussion and controversy.

Here's the truth.

Global Warming is the environmentalist's unicorn. It is the mythical beast that they have devoted their lives to pursuing. It's capture, they believe, would give them the power to return the world to a simpler more edenic time.

The holy grail of their quest to turn back the industrialized world is the Kyoto Protocol, their church the United Nations, and their bible the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The foundation of their belief system is based on what they call the settled consensus of science. This foundation is weak one, as there is no real consensus among scientists about the reality of global warming, man's roll in causing global warming, or what the effect of global warming might be. And recently another major crack has opened in that foundation.

According to an article recently published in Geophysical Research Letters a good deal of the consensus science my be based on very bad research.

A science article that has been accepted by Geophysical Research Letters casts serious doubt on the oft-cited claim that global temperatures are warmer now than they have been anytime in the last 1,000 years.

Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick examined the methodology that led Mann et al. (1998) to publish in the popular science journal Nature the famous “hockey stick” shaped temperature curve, which was a centerpiece of the Third Assessment Report of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001. The hockey stick curve showed a gradual cooling since around 1400 A.D. (the hockey stick handle) then a sharp warming since about 1900 (the blade of the stick). This was taken as proof that the major climatic event of the last 1,000 years was the influence of humans in the 20th century.

As you might imagine, it's a little difficult to construct a temperature history for a period of record that, for the most part, had no reliable thermometer measurements. Since good thermometer measurements extend back to only around the mid-1800's, “proxy” measurements, primarily tree ring data, have been used to extend the temperature record back additional centuries.

McIntyre & McKitrick found that the Mann et al. methodology included a data pre-processing step, one which was not reported in the original study, that essentially guaranteed that a hockey stick curve would result from their analysis. They demonstrated this by applying the same methodology to many synthetic temperature records that were constructed with random noise. In almost every case, a hockey stick curve resulted. The claim of unprecedented warmth and the hockey stick shape appear to hinge on the treatment of one species of tree, the bristlecone pine, from North America in the 1400's. Further statistical tests showed that this critical signal in the early 15th century lacked statistical significance. This suggests that the results of Mann et al. were simply a statistical fluke, which greatly exaggerated a characteristic of the bristlecone pines, which may or may not be related to global temperatures.(emphasis added) (HT Greeniewatch)

It is discomforting to think that political action that could have widespread and devastating economic implications is based on manipulated data processing to achieve a desired result and a statistical fluke that may be based on data not related to global temperatures. It is discomforting but hardly surprising as I have long held that IPCC/Kyoto/Global Warming is based far more on politics than science.

As for the rest the consensus for doom and gloom, that hardly exists either. Consider this report from the Hoover Institution, In Sickness and in Health: The Kyoto Protocol versus Global Warming by Thomas Gale Moore. The executive summary is short an to the point.

Advocates of curbing greenhouse emissions and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol contend that global warming will bring disease and death to Americans. Is this is likely? Should Americans fear a health crisis? Would a warmer world bring an epidemic of tropical diseases? Would Americans face increased heatstroke and summers bringing a surge of deaths? Would global warming bring more frequent and more violent hurricanes wreaking havoc on our citizens? Is it true that warmer climates are less healthy than colder ones? Would cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as the Kyoto Protocol requires, improve the health of Americans? This essay will show that the answer to all those questions is a resounding no.
The report itself is a lengthy and detailed deconstruction of the prophets of environmental doom. Along the way debunking such myths as the spread of what we now consider tropical diseases like malaria and cholera to larger areas of the globe, dramatic increases in heat related deaths, and increased frequency and severity of hurricanes and tornadoes. Its conclusion is kind to neither the myths of global warming or its holy grail, Kyoto.
Fears of health effects from global warming are overblown and highly speculative. Those who want to reduce greenhouse gases have resorted to scare tactics. In truth the health and well-being of people in rich countries will be largely unaffected by global warming should it occur. The effect of climate change on even poor countries will be small. Warming will be minor in tropical areas, and most diseases are related more to income than to climate.

However, abiding by the Kyoto Protocol will hurt people’s health. It will make them poorer. Even though they are exempted from the protocol’s provisions, Third World countries would be harshly affected by a poorer West. Moreover, as is well known, the Kyoto treaty will neither stop the buildup of greenhouse gases nor prevent climate change. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions, more drastic steps will be necessary. Some believe that, in order to stabilize the climate, our use of fossil fuels must be cut by more than 60 percent. That would certainly be disastrous for mankind, far worse than any climate change. Global warming would have minimal effects on human health and life expectancy. Kyoto kills; climate change does not.

Moore's report was published in August of 2000 but in light of the myths the environmentalists are still putting forward as settled science, it is no less relevant today. When you have a good chunk of time available, I recommend reading the pages between the summary and the conclusion I quoted.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:11 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment

January 28, 2005

The Chappaquiddick Option

The Senior Liberal from Massachusetts has put down his highball glass just long enough to voice his opinion for what we should do in Iraq. Being the tired old left wing wind bag that he is, he didn't put a lot of thought into coming up with a new idea.

His plan - get way as fast as possible. No word yet on how he feels we should deny any responsibility for the outcome.

Got Design has a more Pythonesque take on this story, but I was to disgusted to go for funny.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

January 27, 2005

eTalkinghead Post

I have a new post up on eTalkinghead.

The Dawn of Meaningful Government Reform

The one thing that clearly marks the outset of President Bush's second term is the grand scope of the initiatives he is pursuing. Social Security reform, Income Tax reform, tort reform and immigration reform. There is one initiative that has the potential to dwarf all of them in terms of impact on the operation of government, and thus on the impact of government on American citizens. The reform of civil service rules.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:36 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

January 26, 2005

Media Bias British Style

As biased as the U.S. Media are, they are paragons of objectivity in comparison with some of their foreign counterparts. In large part this is due to the fact that many foreign media outlets put no effort into a pretense of balance. They wear their bias on their sleeves.

Consider this from The Independent. It is the headline and opening paragraphs of their report on the crash of a U.S. Marine transport helicopter in non-combat circumstances. The independent links this tragic news with completely off topic comments from President Bush to make the crash of the helicopter seem to be an insurgent victory.

America suffers bloodiest day as Bush calls on Iraqis to defy the insurgents
By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad and Kim Sengupta in Shaiba

27 January 2005

Just four days before Iraq's historic elections, 36 US soldiers were killed yesterday in the deadliest single day for American forces since they invaded Iraq almost two years ago.

The heaviest loss was a transport helicopter crash in the western desert that killed all 31 Marines on board. The CH-53 Sea Stallion went down at 1.20am near Rutbah, a desolate town 220 miles from Baghdad. Officials in Washington said that bad weather was the most likely cause.

The only link between the weather related crash and Bush's call for Iraqis to defy the insurgents and vote is that they both happened on the same day. There is no connection between the insurgents and the helicopter crash. But The Independent does its best to link the two together to imply that the deadliest day for U.S. soldiers in Iraq was the result of insurgent activity.

Not to be out done, The Guardian goes for a more direct link.

Bloodiest day for US as poll violence grows

Bush pledge to stay despite setbacks

Rory Carroll in Baghdad and Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday January 27, 2005
The Guardian

The US yesterday suffered its worst day in Iraq since the war began when a marine helicopter crashed in the western desert and insurgents launched a new wave of attacks, leaving a total of 37 Americans dead.

Like I said before, you have to give them some credit for not trying to pretend they are other than what they are.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:27 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

Working With The Other 99

Or, How to marginalize a moonbat from California.

I just streamed the President's press conference, thanks CSPAN.

One reporter pressed Bush on how he would be able to work with members of congress who are openly to his administration. When Bush tried to dodge the question the reporter came back and without naming names, referred specifically to comments made by Senator Barbara Boxer in which she called Condoleezza Rice a lair.

Bush's response was that there are 99 other senators he could work with.


UPDATE: Here is the transcript of the press conference.

QUESTION: Well, you had a Democratic senator basically call your secretary of state nominee a liar. I mean, that's some pretty harsh language ...

BUSH: Well, there are 99 senators other than that person. And I'm looking forward to working with as many members as we can.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:09 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

January 25, 2005

The Ringing In My Ears Has Almost Stopped

We just returned from taking my daughter, age 9, and a friend to their first ever concert. Hillary Duff.

Before I get into a few general observations I have to admit that it was not as bad as I expected it to be. That is not to say that it was great, but the music was a very good deal less bubble-gum than I expected. And Duff seems to have chosen not to follow the teen slut path to fame and fortune that some of her predecessors have taken.

The audience was probably 90% female, I was not the only dad suffering this night. The predominant ages were 13 and under and 30 and over. Stylistically they ranged from preppy and proper to prostitutes in training. The single thing that united them was their common yearning to be 17. The decibel level of the shrieks probably registered seismically. I was expecting this, but I was not prepared. Just try to imaging the shrill screams of overwhelmed delight from several thousand pre-teen girls in a relatively confined space. That is what I expected. Now double it. That is what I experienced.

The BIC® Lighter is dead to this crowd - as well it should be. It was replaced by thousands of Glow Sticks. Here's how they work.

The reaction between the different compounds in a light stick causes a substantial release of energy. Just as in an incandescent light bulb, atoms in the materials are excited, causing electrons to rise to a higher energy level and then return to their normal levels. When the electrons return to their normal levels, they release energy as light. This process is called chemiluminesence.

The chemical reaction in a light stick usually involves several different steps. A typical commercial light stick holds a hydrogen peroxide solution and a solution containing a phenyl oxalate ester and a fluorescent dye. Here's the sequence of events when the two solutions are combined:
1. The hydrogen peroxide oxidizes the phenyl oxalate ester, resulting in a chemical called phenol and an unstable peroxyacid ester.
2. The unstable peroxyacid ester decomposes, resulting in additional phenol and a cyclic peroxy compound.
3. The cyclic peroxy compound decomposes to carbon dioxide.
4. This decomposition releases energy to the dye.
5. The electrons in the dye atoms jump to a higher level, then fall back down, releasing energy in the form of light.

You can buy bulk light sticks for $.41 a piece. You can buy them with a one color imprint for $1.75 for a quantity of 5000. Add in shipping and what pittance they probably pay the vendors, and you're talking about probably $2.00 a piece. We paid $5.00. The $3.00 profit probably gets carved up between the arena, the state, the city, promoter, the agent, and the talent. I am not going to even look at the actual cost of the t-shirt that we bought for $35.00.

Acoustically the show needed help. With any bank of speakers, no mater how large and powerful, there is a line beyond which the sound coming out of them has ceased being just loud music and has become just a mass of distorted noise. They crossed that line by a few clicks on the volume control. I would recommend doubling the number of speakers and turning the master volume down to about 8. It would still be damn loud, but at least it might be intelligible.

The girls were ecstatic and in the end that is all that matters. On our way back to the car my daughter exclaimed - still using her best concert voice - that this was the most exciting night of her life. A parent can endure an awful lot to make that happen.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:58 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment

January 23, 2005

Casting Call

Pixy Misa has put out the question

When they make MuNu: The Movie, who will play you?
It's a tougher question than it might seem. Do you go for, talent, similar appearance, similar personality, or just plain vanity? I have decided to go for appearance and personality with a dash of vanity. My part will be played by Dennis Miller.

Since Pixy also opened up the opportunity to cast other Munuvians, for the part of Tuning Spork I'd have to go with Dennis Leary.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:16 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment

January 22, 2005

Apple Launches iSue 1.0

Cupertino – Apple Computer today announced the latest addition to its iLife suite of software. “iSue will allow users to quickly and easily file a lawsuit using one of our pre-designed lawsuit templates,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Speaking before a small audience gathered in one of five Starbucks located on the computer and softeware company's Cupertino campus Jobs, dressed in his trademark jeans and black turtleneck went on to highlight the development process behind iSue. “Apple engineers worked closely with Apple lawyers in the development of the software and the templates. Both groups brought to the project tremendous knowledge and a wealth of experience.” Jobs demonstrated how with iSue even a novice non-lawyer could quickly and easily file a suit for negligence, medical malpractice and product liability. The Biggest applause came when Jobs informed the gathered crowd that Apples recent suit against the author of the web site ThinkSecret was filed using iSue.


Regular readers of this site will know that I am a big fan of Apple Computers. I love the hardware, the OS, and the software. I am not necessarily a big fan of Apple the Company and its suit against ThinkSecret. I am sympathetic to their goal in the suit. Confidential trade information was released to someone who made it public and Apple wants to find out where those leaks are. They are suing ThinkSecret author Nicholas Ciarelli to compel him to reveal where he got information about upcoming product announcements weeks before they were made public. I understand their desire to staunch the flow of confidential information, even though in this case it could reasonably be argued that the company benefited from the leak. If the information had come out months earlier, allowing competitors to potentially react preemptively to Apple's efforts the impact could have been significant.

Apple made the following statement regarding the suit

We believe that ThinkSecret solicited information about unreleased Apple products from these individuals, who violated their confidentiality agreements with Apple by providing details that were later posted on the internet. Apple's DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success.
First of all, if I ever have to hear about some company's DNA again, I'm going to want to paradigm shift them so far out of the box the net net is they will never be on the same page again. Secondly, there has got to be a better way to solve their security problems than sending their lawyers after a fan of the company whose publishing of the information generated a good deal of pre-announcement buzz that likely helped them sell more computers.

The point has been made. It's time to Force Quit iSue.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:04 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

Everybody Complains About The Weather

According to the National Weather Serviced this is the current forecast for my area:

Today...Snow developing beginning late this morning. Snow May be heavy at Times late. Snow accumulation of 4 to 6 inches. Highs around 20. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph...Becoming east 10 to 20 mph this afternoon. Lowest wind chill readings as low as 17 below this morning.

Tonight...Snow heavy at Times...With slight chance of a thunderstorm. Considerable blowing and drifting snow. Additional snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches. Windy with lows around 13. Northeast winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Wind chill values as low as 9 below.

Sunday...Snow heavy at Times in the morning...Tapering off in the afternoon. Considerable blowing and drifting snow. Additional snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches. Total snow accumulation of 18 to 24 inches. Windy with highs around 14. North winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Wind chill values as low as 10 below.

A trip to the grocery store this morning would be a spectator sport rivaling the days of the Colosseum. The only problem is that if you managed to actually get a parking space without getting into a fist fight, you probably wouldn't be able to find an available shopping cart.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:01 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

January 21, 2005

I Gave At The Office

I gave and I gave, and I gave. And it seemed as though the more I gave, the more they wanted and the faster they wanted it. When I got a call at 4:40 asking how fast I could convert a just completed rush third page ad into a two page ad I decided it was time to pack-up and head for home.

On top of it all in meeting this morning our planned trip to London for a design management conference was cancelled due mostly to the high cost of air travel and a highly unfavorable exchange rate. It seems the estimated cost of $11k for 6 people to attend the 3 day conference was too big a chunk of the budget.

That's it. I'm done whining now.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:13 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

January 20, 2005

Less Than Standard Procedure

Standard Procedure is that for new design projects there is a minimum of two weeks lead time. There are of course emergency exceptions which can be a short as “I need this today.” The problem is, that when you can get assignments from 15-20 people, responsible for 100s of products and projects you can find yourself with a lot of exceptions. When you have a period of several days in which you get one emergency project after another, it gets tiring. But at the end there is a moment when you can sit back and breath a heavy sign of relief that the burden of crisis after crisis has been lifted.

But it is a brief moment. All too soon you realize that all of those Standard Procedure jobs that you have put off to deal with the crises are now either due or late. At this point is seems that no matter how hard you work you will never get caught up.

Most of all it really sucks when working for a living gets in the way of blogging an event like Inauguration Day. I haven't even had a chance to read/hear the speech yet. There is not much I can say about the whole day except, Congratulations, Mr. President.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

January 17, 2005

Seeing Red Over Bracelets

In the comments to my post on the Count Me Blue bracelets David in AK asked the following

On the other hand, wearing a “count me red” bracelet is a fine upstanding patriotic adult thing to do.
My first impulse was to leave a one word answer in the comments, but that didn't seem adequate. So I started working out a more detailed response. Then I decided to make a post out of it.

The short answer David, is NO.

The longer answer is that the red bracelet displays exactly the same level of maturity as the blue one. It's as if both groups read the cover of the book Everything I Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten and decided that was true so they never even bothered to read to book. At best the bracelets represent playground behavior at a third grade level.

There is one very large difference between the two however. I doubt that you will find anyone wearing a red bracelet running around telling the press they are ashamed of being an American. One of the greatest aspects of American freedom is that every four years under a set of prescribed rules (and I'm not going to get into how badly screwed up those rules are at the moment) the American people choose the person who will hold the most powerful office in the world.

In every election there is a winner and a loser. Sometimes your candidate wins sometimes your candidate loses. If you cannot accept either outcome with a shred of dignity, then perhaps you should go back to kindergarten and start over.

If however you insist on wearing a bracelet for a cause, try one that matters.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:23 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

January 15, 2005

Headline of the Day Year

Sometimes the headline is so good you don't want to read the story because it probably wouldn't be worthy.

Clinic asks politicians to donate sperm

Feel free to leave your Clinton jokes in the comments

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:19 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

Hair Today. What Tomorrow?

I have discovered that girls develop a true obsession with their hair at about 9 years old. Which explains the recent spikes in the electric bill and the water bill and the sewer bill and the gas bill. I suspect it also explains the extra load of towels in the laundry each week too.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

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