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Mon, Mar. 22nd, 2010, 08:15 am
Reducing my options?

I'm not going to comment on the health care bills, I haven't read enough yet.

I do have the feeling, however, that I'm gonna get screwed on the "Student loan reform" portion of what passed last night. At first glance, eliminating private-loan subsidies greatly reduces the number of school funding options that I'm going to have, come this fall. Looks like I need to do a little more digging to figure out the effects I'm going to have to deal with. I know I sure as hell don't qualify for Pell Grants (nor should I, I work damn hard and make a decent amount of money). The problem is, I don' make *enough* money to pay for both my upcoming schooling and my household overhead. Flexible financing options are what I need, preferably interest deferred, and at first glance, I'm losing quite a few of those options.

Hopefully I'm not as screwed as I think I am, but somehow I'm thinking this isn't the case.

Fri, Dec. 11th, 2009, 02:46 pm
Border Assholes.

Apparently asking why your car is being searched results in assault charges:


"Hugo-award-nominated science fiction author Dr. Peter Watts is in serious legal trouble after he was beaten, pepper-sprayed and imprisoned by American border guards at a Canada U.S. border crossing December 8. This is a call to friends, fans and colleagues to help.

Peter, a Canadian citizen, was on his way back to Canada after helping a friend move house to Nebraska over the weekend. He was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle. When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening). He's home safe. For now. But he has to go back to Michigan to face the charge brought against him. "

Great. I have to go to Port Huron on business quite a bit. I suppose I really need to be careful not to miss the exit and somehow end up on the bridge-way. It appears turning around might earn me a smackdown now.

It's all fun and security theatre until someone gets a beating.

Fri, Oct. 9th, 2009, 10:49 am
What in the world?

Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize?

WTF for? I mean, I don't hate the guy, but one would expect that something had been accomplished before someone qualified for that.

If Obama were a smart cookie, he'd refuse it, saying "Let me actually DO something to earn it first".

Mon, Sep. 21st, 2009, 08:28 pm
Counting down

Three more days, then I'll be disappearing to the environs of Asheville, NC.

For a week. Two days of that is driving, but the journey is also part of the fun. I haven't done a really long road trip in a while, it'll be good.

I will most likely come back sore, bug chewed, and possibly sunburnt, but it will be very much worth it.

Mon, Aug. 24th, 2009, 01:02 pm

Today's XKCD

I need multiple copies of that, laminated.

Wed, Aug. 12th, 2009, 07:42 am
Political argh!

The sooner we get around to dismantling the Democratic and Republican parties, the better this nation will be. Representatives are supposed to represent their STATES, not their parties, dammit!

I'm also beginning to think that the 17th amendment was a bad idea.

Death to political parties!

Wed, Apr. 1st, 2009, 04:54 pm
To the southeastern MI space fans

If the weather holds, look to the skies tonight between 8:05PM and 8:14PM if you're in the Detroit area.

The International Space Station will be making a *very* visible pass over the area. It'll be a very bright dot moving from the northwest to the southeast, and should be overhead around 8:08 to 8:10.

These passes are rare, so I figured I'd share with everyone.

Sat, Mar. 28th, 2009, 10:13 pm
Found at the friends of the library store today:

"Operators' Wireless Telegraph & Telephone Hand - Book", Victor H. Laughter, 1918
This one was one of the biggest highlights, it's a great snapshot of the early days of wireless. If spark gap and arc gap transmissions weren't outright illegal, I'd love to duplicate some of these early circuits and build a coherer or two.

"B-52 Boeing Stratofortress", William G. Holder, 1975 - Just because old military factbooks are fun.

"The Dragonriders of Pern", Anne McCaffrey, hardback, 1980 - an omnibus edition of "Dragonflight", "Dragonquest" and "The White Dragon".

"A Brief History of Time", 10th anniversary edition, Stephen Hawking. - Just because I don't actually have a copy.

"Friday", Robert A. Heinlein, 1982, hardcover. Yes, it's a first edition. It's in pretty good shape, the dust jacket needs a little help. And I only paid a dollar for it.

It was good day at the bookstore today.

Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009, 06:29 pm
So now what are the granola munchers gonna hand-wring over now?

The controversial study conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield linking the MMR vaccine to autism lead to a lot of hippy-dippy types and tinfoil hatters not vaccinating their children and creating little elementary school aged disease vectors.

Now, it appears that Dr Wakefield manipulated his data.

Additional information here

So, given these allegations, we have someone who has made a career and a shitload of money over bad, manipulated data. And his advice and cause probably killed a few kids along the way too. Hopefully a suitable punishment can be devised if this turns out to be true.

If nothing else, he's in Texas, and I'm sure they can come up with something creative down there for him.

Sun, Feb. 1st, 2009, 10:22 pm
Books bought

One of the things in life I take great joy in doing is hunting through bookstores full of old books and used books.

The Troy Library has a "Friends of the Library" bookstore where people can donate books to. They then sell them for a dollar or five, depending on relative rarity and perceived worth by the bookstore staff.

Value being in the relative eye of the beholder, I greatly looked forward to hunting through the stacks when I found out about it while applying for a library card there.

So, on my first visit downstairs, I found the following:

Alfred Bester's "The Stars, My Destination"
"The Columbia History Of The World" (an utter doorstop of a book, it has to be five inches thick)
"Design Guidelines for Surface Mount Technology"
Three of James Herriot's veterinary memoirs novels.

And then the three best finds of the day:

Heinlein's "JOB: A Comedy Of Justice", 1st edition hardback, practically MINT.


Volumes one and two of "A Treasury of Great Science Fiction". Hardback. Copyright 1959, Doubleday & Company. Many, many great science fiction classic short stories, including "Waldo" and "The Weapons Shops Of Isher".

All three of those were a dollar per book. To me, especially the Treasury volumes, they're priceless.

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