Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zombie Quiz

This stuck me as the right tone between strange and serious. It fits my mood this evening. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bird Flies 8 Days, Non-stop, Alaska to New Zealand!

I was amazed when I heard about a bird that flies 6200 miles, non-stop across the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to the tip of New Zealand. I get tired running after half an hour. Can  you imagine flapping your wings for that long?

Equally amazing is the navigational feat. Finding New Zealand is hard enough, but without landmarks over 6200 miles of distance is very hard. Clearly the bird is using some avian tricks to guide its way. 

Credit goes to Robert Gill of the US Geological Survey for the banding experiment. The bird was a bar-tailed godwit, limosa, lapponica

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Announcing the Debut of Depth of Processing: Food & Wine

I have always thought that I should put some recipes online -- if only to make myself write them down. I know how little traffic I get on this site, but it is more for me to keep track. If I really wanted someone to find them, then is a better place.

The special site means that a year from now I can still find my recipes.

Anyway, here is the link.

Let's see how it goes.


Just saw Religulous (click here for my review), and it deserves more comment than its value as a movie. This is pop entertainment and not a comparative religion study.

One interesting part was the parallels between the Egyptian god Horus and Jesus. Maher said that both had a virgin birth on December 25, had twelve disciples, got crucified, and rose from the dead. Most of these are wrong on their face: no scholar believes Jesus was really born on December 25 - the Romans moved it to the day of their Saturnalia festival; the Romans invented crucifixion, and lots of ancient deities rose from the dead.

Wikipedia is its own world. It is interesting that someone has purged the Horus entry of all Jesus references. One finds this Jesus-Horus stuff mostly in pop religion movies (or here.)

I have decided that the Jesus/Horus parallel is not a serious topic. The Horus myth is pretty creative for example his mother sewed his father's severed body together so that she could conceive Horus.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Mom's Eightieth Birthday

My Mom is having her eightieth birthday party in two weeks. I am collecting birthday pictures to make a slideshow.

Here is a link to all the pictures<<

Friday, October 10, 2008

Depression (Prozac) Turns into Fear of Depression (Hoover)

The relentless fall of the stock market this week has bridged over from disappointment, through depression (personal Prozec depression) to fear -- fear of a Hoover-style depression. Not simply the fear of losing money, but the fear that the economy could possibly enter a decades-long economic depression.

The money supply is contracting quickly as billions of dollars of stock market value slips away into nothing. Everyone feels poor, and who is going buy something expensive? Everyone is going to wait, and the whole nation -- perhaps the whole developed world will sink into a a fearful sulk.

Those of us who live in the Detroit metro area can be afraid that our housing values are going to crash even further if the auto companies go bankrupt. As the recession began, at least we could console ourselves that export markets were strong. With the dollar on the mend, and the foreign economies crashing also, it is hard to be upbeat.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Picasso Peace Scarf - Picture of the Day

This scarf by Picasso was done in 1955 in Berlin. It is in a London art show on Cold War Art. I like the playfulness of Picasso's work. This is so simple, but still interesting.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Now Open, A Robot Store In Ann Arbor

I love how Amy Sumerton dead-pans her jokes about robots. "What do you mean you don't have a robot, is yours in the shop?!"

826Michigan is the local chapter of a non-profit writing and tutoring group for kids. I might need to get one of the Robot Repair T-Shirts.

My Business: Liberty Street Robot Supply

Fantastic Contraption

Here is a diversion that will take your mind off your problems. 

I think these are interesting puzzles and clever software. 

They call this a "physics" game, but I think that insults physicists. This is really an engineering game.  

Fun either way though. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

401K Value Decline and Can You Endure it

A guy at work told me that he switched 100% of his 401k money into CDs, and he did this when the Dow was 35% higher than it is. First I am not sure this is true. Second, if he can do this twice, he should be running a mutual fund, and not working at BASF. Third this made me feel like, "Am I stupid, why did I not sell out too?"

One reason I did not sell is because I finished reading, Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Intelligent Asset Allocator by William Bernstein -- two academic economists. They keep repeating that the average active investor does not consistently beat the market. They would say that it is foolish to try to "time the market," and that these kind of events just average themselves out. Nassim Taleb says that just because the market is gone down, your percent ownership in the companies is still the same -- which feels kind of hollow.  

I heard a news report that most mutual funds misread the recent downturn and are down worse than the main indexes. 

William Bernstein would have one sell safe bonds, and use them to buy beat-up stocks. One knows at some point that will make sense. 

Finally, if the guy at work had sold his stock, and the strategy had not worked, he never would have told me about it. One only brags about successes. One hides failures, usually even from oneself.