October 31, 2005

Just Perfect for Halloween

A new edition of the Circus of the Spineless is up at Snail's Tales.

Posted by Steve on October 31, 2005

Halloween Stuff

Here's some odds and ends I've run across:

If you have a halloween post (preferrably with pics) leave a comment or trackback and I'll add you to the above list. As usual we link/don't link at our discretion and using our own unpublished acceptiblity criteria.

Posted by Steve on October 31, 2005 | Comments (1)

Do You Like Closeups?

The winners of the Nikon 2005 Small World Photomicrography Competition are fascinating. This take on ascorbic acid, good ol' vitamin C, was an honorable mention:

5184_Ascorbic-Acid-&.jpg

Go check out the winners!

Via BoingBoing.

Posted by Steve on October 31, 2005 | Comments (1)

October 30, 2005

Halloween Cats

The 84th Carnival of the Cats - Halloween Edition is up at Watermark.

Posted by Steve on October 30, 2005

October 29, 2005

Which Porpoise Did You Get?

In early September there was a version of Dilbert that showed a porpoise taking out a shark lawyer. It turns out that there were two versions and Scott Adams notes:

Several people sent comments to my blog yesterday saying they noticed that my comic on 9-6-05 that featured a porpoise killing a lawyer was published in two different versions. The tame version ran in newspapers and the edgier one ran on my website. What’s up with that, they wonder.
Well, the second one is certainly a bit edgier. Read the full story.

Posted by Steve on October 29, 2005

October 28, 2005

Modernizing Conservatism

David Brooks touts bush as a saviour (original behind the NYT curtain) as noted by the Boston Globe:

Assaying the right-of-center crackup, David Brooks, The New York Times's thoughtful conservative columnist, has praised Bush for modernizing conservatism and making the GOP the party of the middle class.
bush, of course, is the guy who should have given this statement in response to the libby indictments. How many of you, though, expected anything more than what you got...samo, samo for the last 5 years? It's nice to know, Brooksie, that this is the shining figurehead of the future of conservatism as now we also know that the g w bush brand won't be on the map for long.

Posted by Steve on October 28, 2005

Free Association #1

This guy sure looks a lot like this one.

pigfucker.jpgjabba.jpg

Posted by Steve on October 28, 2005 | Comments (1)

Friday Ark #58

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Visit each border and come back regularly Friday-Sunday to visit new boarders. And do link to the Friday Ark whether you use trackbacks or not.

Dog folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 84th edition will be hosted this week by Watermark. There are more weekly cats at eatstuff's Weekend Cat Blogging which has many participants who may not be familiar to Ark or Carnival participants.

Bird folks: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks. Send your links for the 10th edition to Mike. The 9th edition is up and hosted by the Living the Scientific Lige.

New for the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles. The first edition is up at Milk River Blog.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn Memoriam
Didn't Make It
  • unscrewing the inscrutable: Science Friday: Squirms
Exceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat's Carnival Page and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Posted by Steve on October 28, 2005 | Comments (12)

October 27, 2005

They Clean Floors, Right?

Elisson has the 2nd Carnival of the Cockroaches up.

Posted by Steve on October 27, 2005

Fly On By

I and the Bird #9 is up at Hedwig's place.

Posted by Steve on October 27, 2005

Increasing the Scotus Workload

Well, for eight of them. If meiers is confirmed roberts will never assign her an opinion to write.

Update: Turns out that, as many expected, this won't become a problem for the sitting justices.

What does harry reid have to say about thisturn of events

:The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination.
No, harry, her utter inadequacy for the position killed her nomination. reid claimed some responsibility (Reg) for bush selecting meiers and by doing so demonstrates no more competence than bush did in making the selection. There is, though, always the possibility that this has played out just the way reid expected, that he took advantage of the empty suit.

[Memo to Staff: Next time you write something about current events the night before verify whether anything has changed before you put the post up in the morning!-ed.]

Posted by Steve on October 27, 2005

October 26, 2005

For Cube Dwellers

You know who wrote this, right?

If you’re reading this on company time, congratulations on beating the system. If you’re reading it on your own time, you really need to find a job where they pay you to do this sort of thing.

Find out below the fold.

Go check out The Dilbert Blog.

Via A Stitch in Haste.

Posted by Steve on October 26, 2005

October 25, 2005

They've Got the Firepower

Irwin Schiff doesn't like the federal income tax:

Schiff contends that the federal tax code doesn't require taxpayers to pay income tax. He disputes the government's definition of income, and argues that the Internal Revenue Service has no authority to seize property.
He has stood staunchly by his convictions but perhaps will soon acknowledge the facts:
Anti-tax crusader Irwin Schiff and an associate were found guilty Monday of charges including conspiracy, tax evasion and tax fraud.
The authority of the irs, like all extortionists, comes from the barrel of a gun. If you do not play by their rules you get screwed. There is nothing voluntary about it.

Even in the land of the free.

Posted by Steve on October 25, 2005 | Comments (1)

2000 Dead

James Joyner reports that 2000 American troops have now died in Iraq:

Each American casualty represents a personal tragedy for their loved ones and should be soberly weighed by all of us. At the same time, it is low by any historical measure; we had more people killed on D-Day, for goodness sake. Nor is it an indication of the worth of the mission for which these troops died. If the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, then one death is too many. Otherwise, the toll has to be weighed against the benefit to the nation, which remains to be seen.
From this vantage point one death was too many and 2000 is still too many.

Take a look at 2000 dead. May they rest in peace. And, may the 1000s of Iraqis who have died as a result of this war also rest in peace.

Via ...You Are A Tree

Posted by Steve on October 25, 2005 | Comments (2)

October 24, 2005

Who's the Source Talkin' About?

Given this DeFrank piece I wonder if DeFrank got the reference wrong here:

As the White House and Republicans brace for possible indictments in the CIA leak probe, defenders have launched a not-so-subtle campaign against the prosecutor handling the case.

"He's a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he's been tapped by God to do very important things," one White House ally said, referring to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.

Just sayin'; as usually when the mud starts flying they're lookin' in the mirror.....

Via Mark Kleiman.

Posted by Steve on October 24, 2005

Geek Alert: .htaccess

This may be more than you wanted to know about .htaccess:

Now that I can use Apache’s .htaccess for my own websites, I’ve been immersed in learning more about how to use this powerful tool conservatively but effectively to redirect URLs and to combat spammers and bad bots. Today’s post provides links to some of the online sources that I’ve found especially helpful.
If this seems like it might apply to you go read and learn.

Via The Daily Glyph.

Posted by Steve on October 24, 2005 | Comments (1)

October 23, 2005

Carnival of the Cats #83

The 83rd Carnival of the Cats is up at Mog's place.

Posted by Steve on October 23, 2005 | Comments (3)

October 21, 2005

New Search Engine

What, another search engine? Yep, and even though it is still in beta it is pretty slick. Just start typing in an inquiry and results start popping up.

Steeph has a screen shot here.

Oh yea, I couldn't find anything on their site about privacy and whether they planned to retain any information that would link individual searches back to the searcher.

Posted by Steve on October 21, 2005

Friday Ark #57

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Visit each border and come back regularly Friday-Sunday to visit new boarders. And do link to the Friday Ark whether you use trackbacks or not.

Dog folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 83rd edition will be hosted this week by Mind of Mog. There are more weekly cats at eatstuff's Weekend Cat Blogging which has many participants who may not be familiar to Ark or Carnival participants.

Bird folks: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks. Send your links for the 9th edition to Hedwig the Owl. The 8th edition is up and hosted by the Science and Sarcasm.

New for the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles. The first edition is up at Milk River Blog.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Alert: There will be no updates today between 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM EDT.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat's Carnival Page and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Posted by Steve on October 21, 2005 | Comments (23)

October 20, 2005

Flogging the Gropenator

Kevin Drum and the LA Times bash arnold for vetoing some measures that targeted something called tax cheats.

First we read:

The governor has vetoed several bills that would allow agents to go after more businesses and individuals who cost the state millions by cheating on their returns, or not filing at all.
It is too bad that the state is being hindered by people trying to protect their earning from extortion.

Next:

The governor blocked efforts to increase penalties on retailers who filch the sales taxes they collect,...
These folks need to start providing restitution yesterday. They are thieves. Oh yes, the restitution should be to the people they stole the money from.
...and on companies that don't collect taxes when they should.
Well, let's thank these companies for helping folks keep their earnings.
A proposal to help authorities garnish wages of convicted tax evaders for as long as their debt is unpaid also was vetoed.
Hey, it's their wages it should be their choice what they do with their money.

arnold is deserving of much derision and bashing. He is, after all, a politician and as such devoted to doing stuff with resources taken from others without their consent. In this case, though, he has some of it right though undoubtably for the wrong reasons.

And, Kevin, et al, it is pretty hard to give a war if no one, or few, contribute.

Posted by Steve on October 20, 2005

October 19, 2005

Those Sci-Fi Movies

Jaquandor did the heavy lifting and kicked off this list'm and mark'm meme pulled from John Scalzi's new book The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies wherein Scalzi provides

The Canon: Reviews and commentary on the 50 science fiction films you have to see before you die (more on this in a minute)
You know the routine: the one's in bold are ones I've seen (it's possible that I've seen a few of the unmarked ones and just don't remember'm):

Akira
Alien
Aliens
Alphaville
Back to the Future
Blade Runner
Brazil
Bride of Frankenstein
Brother From Another Planet
A Clockwork Orange
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Contact
The Damned
Destination Moon
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Delicatessen
Escape From New York
ET: The Extraterrestrial
Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
The Fly (1985 version)
Forbidden Planet
Ghost in the Shell
Gojira/Godzilla
The Incredibles
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)
Jurassic Park
Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior
The Matrix (I like it a little bit less each time I watch it.)
Metropolis
On the Beach
Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
Robocop

Sleeper
Solaris (1972 version)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The Stepford Wives
Superman
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
The Thing From Another World

Things to Come
Tron
12 Monkeys
28 Days Later
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
2001: A Space Odyssey

La Voyage Dans la Lune
War of the Worlds (1953 version)

Oh yea, where the hell is Serenity? Well, I guess we have to read the book:

No, Serenity didn't make the list. Deal with it (it is in the book, though. Page 24. Big shout-out to Joss Whedon there, too, although I don't have very nice things to say about his Alien Resurrection script when I review that movie on page 59. Please don't hurt me, Whedon fans).
I won't argue specifics without reading what Scalzi says. Suffice it to say, for now, that as a movie Serenity runs circles around quite a few of the flicks on this list. On the other hand we may not have Serenity if not for all those that came before.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2005

Cockroaches on Parade

If you have the goods on cockroaches--pictures, stories or otherwise related posts--send them on over to Ellison no later than midnight EDT tomorrow (10/20). He seems to have taken to them lately and plans to carnivalize them:

And if there’s enough interest, I may run Carnival of the Cockroaches as a regular feature. Because after all, everybody loves these little buggers, am I right?
Kind of reminds me of another humble beginning.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2005

Best 100 English-Language Novels Since 1923

Two Time Magazine critics give us their list of the best 100 English-language novels since 1923.

I'm somewhat surprised that I've read only 51 of them. Certainly this list will be getting the usual treatment of "this one doesn't belong but this one does" and, of course, the meme list where we can all mark the one's we have read. Heck, if I had the cycles I'd build the list for you....I don't. I will, though, do it when it makes its inevitable rounds just as I will do this one later today.

Via Kidney Notes.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2005 | Comments (1)

Pillow Talk

As you either got up just a while ago or will be going to bed again soon it seems worthwhile to contemplate just who you are sharing your pillow with:

Researchers at The University of Manchester funded by the Fungal Research Trust have discovered millions of fungal spores right under our noses - in our pillows.

Aspergillus fumigatus, the species most commonly found in the pillows, is most likely to cause disease; and the resulting condition Aspergillosis has become the leading infectious cause of death in leukaemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Fungi also exacerbate asthma in adults.

The researchers dissected both feather and synthetic samples and identified several thousand spores of fungus per gram of used pillow - more than a million spores per pillow.
......
Each pillow was found to contain a substantial fungal load, with four to 16 different species being identified per sample and even higher numbers found in synthetic pillows. The microscopic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus was particularly evident in synthetic pillows, and fungi as diverse as bread and vine moulds and those usually found on damp walls and in showers were also found.

Professor Ashley Woodcock who led the research said: "We know that pillows are inhabited by the house dust mite which eats fungi, and one theory is that the fungi are in turn using the house dust mites' faeces as a major source of nitrogen and nutrition (along with human skin scales). There could therefore be a 'miniature ecosystem' at work inside our pillows."

How fertile is your pillow?

Hmmm, I wonder if there might be little run on pillows over the next week or two? If you're of a mind invest wisely.

I might just encourage Mrs Modulator to replace our pillows even more frequently.

Via medGadget.

Posted by Steve on October 19, 2005 | Comments (2)

October 18, 2005

Interested in Things Medical?

The latest Grand Rounds is up.

Via medpundit.

Posted by Steve on October 18, 2005

Where Are The Google Referrals?

Referrals from google.com to Modulator have dropped dramatically over the last week:

  • Today........ 5.8%
  • Yesterday....15.3%
  • Last Week....23.1%
  • Last Month...28.6%
  • Last Year ....28.1%
Modulator's Google Page Rank has not changed over the last year and referrals from yahoo.com continue about the same.

Is anyone else experiencing a similar phenomena?

Posted by Steve on October 18, 2005 | Comments (1)

October 17, 2005

Top 40...

...magazine covers of the last 40 years as determined by the American Society of Magazine Editiors.

Yes, number 1 is the nude John Lennon and number 2 is the nude and pregnant Demi Moore.

Time, Life and Esquire lead the parade with 4 covers each.

Via Kevin Drum.

Posted by Steve on October 17, 2005

Do You Want HDTV?

The answer might depend on whether you prefer Terri, Demi and Donald or Jessica, Eva and Ben.

Via The Mercury News (R).

Posted by Steve on October 17, 2005

Party Time

That is Tea Party Time!

Don't like the way the gov'mnt is spending your money? Will write a real letter to a congress critter (senate and house) letting them know your thoughts and include a tea bag (I'm thinking used tea bags will be most appropriate).

While it is unlikely that any of these folks will listen to you instead of their k street or texas masters it will be a bit of fun to jab away at the republocrats.

Oh, and no reason to exclude your state and local folks.

Via Carnival of Liberty.

Posted by Steve on October 17, 2005

On The Detroit Dole

Or one reason you might be paying a little more for less when you buy a car from Detroit's big three:

Pool is one of more than 12,000 American autoworkers who, instead of installing windshields or bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank set up by Detroit automakers and Delphi Corp. as part of an extraordinary job security agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

The jobs bank programs were the price the industry paid in the 1980s to win UAW support for controversial efforts to boost productivity through increased automation and more flexible manufacturing.

Assuming benefits at 20% and using the $31/hour dole noted in the article this works out to about $928 million/year. This tracks closly to the $4.17/billion that the participants agreed to contribute over 4 years beginning in 2003.To us watching from the sidelines this seems like a lot of money and a big deal.

On the other hand just how big a deal is this? That $4.17 billion over 4 years will be a very small portion of the big three's revenue during the same period: less than 2-tenths of 1 percent. This doesn't make living on the dole right but perhaps the auto companys should not be screaming too loudly or folks might start looking at some of the taxpayer provided subsidies (PDF) they get.

It does not strike me as unreasonable for an employer to help a layed off employee retrain and find another job. However, after a year (more or less) of retraining I can't think of any good reason these 12,000 should not have been sent out to get real jobs.

Via overtaken~by~events.

Update (10/18): The last paragraph may lead you to believe, as it did Don Singleton, that I think these 12,000 are in a retraining program. I don't. I understand that they are sitting on their duff (some doing various volunteer work) and apparently not even looking for new skills/jobs on their own initiative. I should have provided a better transition to the suggestion that employers might be expected to provide substantially more assistance to riffed workers than they do today but that should take a specific form as suggested.

Posted by Steve on October 17, 2005

October 16, 2005

Regulated Legalization?

Stampfer is on the right track. And, yea, even though it is not required to get the results Stampfer describes I'd accept regulated legalization of all drugs as an interim step on the path to complete legalization.

Via Talkleft.

Posted by Steve on October 16, 2005

We Must Treat Our Victims Fairly

In true mob form fred enderle, city manager of loveland, ohio, says:

...the amount Combs owes isn't the real issue.

"Whether it's $1 they owe us or $1,000, it's not fair to the rest of the public to not pursue that person," he said. "There is some expense involved, but it goes back to the principle. We have laws. The laws have to be complied with. At what cost do you stop enforcing the law?"

You bet, if they don't pay break their knees so the next one will be compliant.

In the case of Deborah Combs the amount was $1.16.

You know, though, that taxation is not extortion, right?

Via The Agitator.

Posted by Steve on October 16, 2005

October 15, 2005

Planning To Run A Marathon?

You might want to reconsider!

Via Marginal Revolution.

Posted by Steve on October 15, 2005

October 14, 2005

Friday Night Music

Well, this is cool!

Mrs Modulator ran across a live audio/video stream of Dark Star Orchestra playing tongiht at the McDonald Theater in Eugene. We joined in at halftime and it appears that tonight's show is 6-4-76 from the Paramount Theater, Portland, OR. which I had the pleasure of attending live!

They are doing Samson & Delilah right now and will shortly perform the last Cosmic Charlie.

Update: 10/15 00:40 AM PDT Well! That put some bounce into what had been a sleepy Friday night. It was clear the live crowd was having a dancing good time and they and we were pleased to get an extra encore of St Stephen->Attics of My Life that was not part of the original performance:

In the book of love's own dream
Where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days
And all my lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly
You flew to me
NB: Grateful Web will make this show available as a download on Sunday.

Posted by Steve on October 14, 2005 | Comments (4)

Friday Ark #56

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Visit each border and come back regularly Friday-Sunday to visit new boarders. And do link to the Friday Ark whether you use trackbacks or not.

Dog folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 82nd edition will be hosted this week by Where The Dolphins Play. There are more weekly cats at eatstuff's Weekend Cat Blogging which has many participants who may not be familiar to Ark or Carnival participants.

Bird folks: I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers is published every 2 weeks. Send your links for the 9th edition to Hedwig the Owl. The 8th edition is up and hosted by the Science and Sarcasm.

New for the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles. The first edition is up at Milk River Blog.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Alert: There will be no updates today between 8:30 AM and 1:00 PM CDT.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat's Carnival Page and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Posted by Steve on October 14, 2005 | Comments (16)

October 13, 2005

Funny Stuff From New York

I just spent 15 minutes laughing and giggling at Overheard in New York. Funny stuff from the sublime to the very gross. And there are months of archives just waiting.... Here's one from the mild side:

Girl: Shoot! I'm sorry.
Guy: So where are you from? Because I know it's not New York if you say "shoot!".

--Union Square Regal Cinemas

Overheard by: Jeff Hubbard

But, it was 15 minutes I should'a been doing something else. I'm trying to decide whether to thank or curse Sisyphus Shrugged for pointing out this hilarious site! Ok, I've decided. Thanks!

Posted by Steve on October 13, 2005

DART seeks fare solution?

Perhaps they should be seeking a fair solution instead?

Rising gas prices are prompting a growing number of North Texas commuters to park their cars in favor of buses and trains, but Dallas Area Rapid Transit is considering service cuts to help balance its budget.

Though DART ridership has increased 11 percent on its bus and light-rail lines and 18 percent on the Trinity Railway Express commuter line, the additional passengers have not helped the agency's finances.

The problem: a lower-than-expected sales tax revenue forecast for 2006 throughout the region, and increased fuel costs.

The sales tax numbers are crucial because DART gets most of its revenue from that source. The transit agency, which spends about $887,000 a day to run its buses and rail lines, recovers about 11 percent of its daily operating cost through fares.
.......
According to DART, Route 234 attracts an average of 59 riders a day, and that translates into a subsidy of almost $24 for every passenger trip. The transit agency has pushed for those riders to form van pools, which have a subsidy of about $1 per passenger trip

In considering which bus lines to shrink or eliminate, DART weighs one route's performance against similar routes. Route 234 supporters argued to the board that the Plano-to-Irving bus service is vastly different from other express routes that run from outlying stops directly to downtown Dallas. Those routes have a goal of a $4.50 subsidy per passenger trip.

Reads like another typical case of a government involved market failure.

The only fair solution is one where the subsidy per passenger trip is $0.00 and fares cover both the cost of operations and capital. If the passengers object then they should seek out an alternative that does not include taking money from others to subsidize their choices of where to live and work.

Posted by Steve on October 13, 2005 | Comments (1)

October 12, 2005

I and the Bird #8 is UP

Trout Grrrl at Science and Sarcasm is hosting I and the Bird #8:

We've collected 23 wonderful posts for your reading pleasure. Stories include observations of Australian Red Caps, a close encounter with a European Orange-headed Thrush, ravens at the Arctic Circle and several accounts of North American species - common and less so.
Fly on over and check'm out!

Posted by Steve on October 12, 2005

October 11, 2005

hacks and cronies

Listed ad nauseum in your guide to the US Government:

As the official handbook of the Federal Government, the United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies, international organizations in which the United States participates, and boards, commissions, and committees.
This should be a fine resource for anyone with blogger's block or wanting to understand a little more clearly why so many things don't work real well in the US.

Via beSpacific.

Posted by Steve on October 11, 2005

Surely There Is An Explanation...

.....for this... in some alternate universe.

I can undestand that they may both be religious people but that does not have to lead to supporting one of the stalwarts of the american taliban.

Via Balko.

Update: Via Santorum Exposed via Sadly No Via Balloon Juice comes word that we are in the correct universe after all.

Posted by Steve on October 11, 2005

Price Gouging?

Post Katrina gas prices maybe went up 10-15% depending on where you lived and in most cases they have rolled back down. Nevertheless, cries of price gouging were rampant and continue. But that is gas. If it is some other good like, say, oysters then it is a feel good story:

With two-thirds of Louisiana oyster beds wiped out by the Aug. 29 storm, prices of Pacific oysters have soared as Gulf Coast processors scour for alternatives thousands of miles away. That's allowed Taylor Shellfish to raise its prices 38 percent in the past month to $40 per gallon of oysters.

"It's the strongest demand that I've ever seen for oysters," says William Taylor, ......

Prices have surged as much as 50 percent since the hurricane, according to the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, giving the Northwest growers some relief, even as they sympathize with the hurricane victims 2,000 miles away.

Imagine the outcry if gasoline prices had gone up 50%!

Seems like so-called market forces working the way they should in both cases. It can, though, be a bit hard to tell if the market is really working in the extensively regulated and subsidized oil and gasoline business.

Posted by Steve on October 11, 2005 | Comments (1)

October 10, 2005

Serenity Shindig

Over at Catallarchy.

Jonathon Wilde explores Firefly at length and presents a review of each of the episodes.

Oh, if you haven't seen Serenity yet just what are you waiting for? Go now!

Update: I just got around to reading Julian Sanchez's review having previously bookmarked it until I'd seen the movie due to some spoilers:

Of course, you don't have to have read Camus, or even be fond of berets or clove cigarettes, to be a fan of Serenity. The film's genius is that it works on so many levels—political, philosophical, and (not least) narrative. If you show up in theaters just looking for a tightly plotted, smartly scripted sci-fi action flick, you'll come away happy. For the attentive viewer, though, Serenity is not just a string of good chase scenes, but an "absurd reasoning," a surprisingly profound meditation on what freedom means—both in politics and, perhaps more importantly, as a source of personal meaning.
Read the rest.

Posted by Steve on October 10, 2005

October 9, 2005

Hold Them Accountable

Jazz thinks you should. Go watch the video.

Posted by Steve on October 9, 2005

Would You Volunteer for This Group?

If even a fraction of this is true then why would one volunteer for the US military?

The most appealing explanation lies in the motives of those driving this ostensibly schizophrenic conduct. Plainly, they view sexual morals as something to be manipulated for the accomplishment of political objectives. Hence, lewd and offensive sexual conduct can be deliberately used as a tactic against detainees. On the other hand, officers who earn the leadership’s ire will be humiliated and disgraced using innuendo of sexual misconduct as a tactic.

The cynicism and immorality of this mindset is staggering. It reflects a wholesale repudiation of traditional military values.

One can well question the efficacy of sexual humiliation practices as tools for interrogation and intelligence gathering. However, no one can question their highly inflammatory effect in the War on Terror: they tarnish America's reputation and put our soldiers at risk. And they may well claim another victim. Experts are already noting that at Rumsfeld's current burn rate, the volunteer army cannot be sustained much longer. Rumsfeld's cynical sexual policies are destroying military morale and discipline and hastening the volunteer army's demise.

Yep, why would anyone volunteer for this environment? Unless, well, they think they might like it....

Read all of Scott Horton's post: Sexual Perversion in Rumsfeld's Pentagon.

Posted by Steve on October 9, 2005

October 8, 2005

bush is back on track

In a post discussing the miers nomination Randall Parker notes:

Update: Check out this graph "Historical Bush Approval Ratings". The trend is downward.
Interesting: the trend for the first 9 months of bush's second term seem to track nicely from the first 9 months of his first term. Without the illusion of effectiveness created by 9/11 would bush even have been nominated for a 2nd term?

Via No Speed Bumps.

Posted by Steve on October 8, 2005

October 7, 2005

Just Get Rid of Them

This argues strongly that the us congress, well, the us government...all three branches...is illegitimate and needs to be tossed...soon.

Perhaps we can show this little video clip in the classroom...say right after the kids are forced to recite the pledge thing.

Via Talking Points Memo.

Posted by Steve on October 7, 2005 | Comments (1)

Friday Ark #55

Cats, Dogs, Spiders and ? every Friday.

We'll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and....?

We will add your post to the list if you do one of the following:

  • Leave a comment or trackback to this post,
  • Use the Carnival Submission Form,
  • Email Modulator or
  • Our extensive staff finds it during our weekly search of the web
Of course, if our staff goes on strike then we will link only those posts someone tells us about.

Visit each border and come back regularly Friday-Sunday to visit new boarders. And do link to the Friday Ark whether you use trackbacks or not.

Dog folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings.

Cat folks:
remember to submit your links to the Carnival of the Cats which goes up every Sunday and the 81th edition will be hosted this week by Ginasrantings. There are more weekly cats at eatstuff's Weekend Cat Blogging which has many participants who may not be familiar to Ark or Carnival participants.

Bird folks: Remember to submit your links to I and the Bird: A Blog Carnival for Bird Lovers. The 7th edition is up and hosted by the Bird Treatment Center, Anchorage, Alaska.

New for the spineless: Circus of the Spineless. A monthly celebration of Insects, Arachnids, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Worms and most anything else that wiggles. The first edition is up at Milk River Blog.

And, check out Laurence's fine graphical analysis of Friday Ark boardings.

Arkive editions of the Friday Ark.

Alert: There will be no updates today between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM CDT.

Cats

InvertebratesDogsBirdsOther VertebratesIn MemoriamDidn't Make ItExceptions (inclusion not guaranteed)
For other current carnivals check out The Conservative Cat's Carnival Page and The TTLB Uber Carnival

Note for Haloscan Users: Haloscan started (the end of July) rejecting trackbacks if they were submitted "too rapidly" by the same host. I don't know what the timer is but it is long enough so that it was very difficult to ping everyone that is using Haloscan for trackbacks. I'm sure that they are doing this to try to hold back the tide of trackback spam but it makes the service pretty useless for carnival type posts. Perhaps you can contact them and urge some different solution. Update: Typepad appears to be doing the same thing. Everytime I update the Ark it appears the timers are reset and the long list of MT autogenerated pings fail. Yecchhhh....

Posted by Steve on October 7, 2005 | Comments (15)

October 6, 2005

Decades of Patient Effort?

Let's see, "patient effort" is now cheney speak for war:

Mr Cheney said that the threat of terrorism would be removed as people in Iraq and the wider Middle East took control of their own lives.

But he added, in a direct appeal to the American people

Like other great duties in history, it will require decades of patient effort, and it will be resisted by those whose only hope for power is through the spread of violence
Hmmm, I wonder if the cheney-bush regime is the only one that can see us safely through this 20 years of patient effort? And it might help to have a true believer on the supreme court just in case the regime doesn't have quite enough power when needed....

Perhaps we should toss these folks out right now!

Via Billmon.


Test Trackback

Posted by Steve on October 6, 2005

October 5, 2005

Too Many Calories....

If you over eat you just might explode.

Some may think that this is sweet but it is also pretty darn wierd. Definitly a picture to keep at the dinner table as a reminder...

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2005

Counting Calories and More

If you count calories, carbohydrates, protein, etc., you may find way more data than you need at foodvalues.us. Search by food name or food group and sort as needed.

It's fast and you can find out, for instance, that a Taco Bell Taco Salad has 906.1 calories and 15.99 grams of fiber (2nd most in the fast food group).

Via Kidney Notes.

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2005

cornyn v miers

senator john cornyn, rep-tex, joins the executive branch chorus singing the praises of nominee miers and, inter alia, states(reg):

I know that she understands that unelected judges who serve in a democracy have a limited role--to apply the law as it was written by the people's representatives.
And then quotes her contradicting his view:
She aptly described her judicial philosophy on Monday when she said, "It is the responsibility of every generation to be true to the founders' vision of the proper role of the courts and our society." The courts, she continued, have "obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution."
Being true to the founder's vision and having "obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution" is dramatically different from applying "..the law as it was written by the people's representatives."

This seems, in fact, to be a rather deep difference between cornyn and miers. Perhaps her actions on the court, if approved, will indeed be on the behalf of freedom and liberty. Then, again, she's been in the executive branch of government for a long time and fully understands doublespeak.

(Ed: emphasis added)

Via Will Baude.

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2005

Tangled Bank #38 Is Up

GrrlScientist, also know as Hedwig The Owl, is hosting Tangled Bank #38. You'll find plenty of interesting scientific and medical reading amongst the 41 articles.

Oh, the botanists and farmers amongst you will enjoy the fine scent of the....well, let's just say that "GrrlScientist note: this rascal looks like a piece of bacon wrapped around a couple blades of grass."

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2005

October 4, 2005

Science & Technology Web Awards 2005

The editors of Scientific American have listed 25 of their favorite science sites including this one

For anyone who ever fell asleep in their own drool while trying...
Well, I leave the ending to your imagination or, better yet, go check out the winners.

you could do much worse than spending a little bit of time every day at one of these sites.

Via Science and Politics.

Posted by Steve on October 4, 2005

The Heaviest Element

The Discovery of Governmentium!

Posted by Steve on October 4, 2005

October 3, 2005

Upgrading In A Bit

11:00 PM EDT

In an hour or two I will upgrade Modulator to Moveable Type 3.2. Of course, all will go perfectly...

Just in case it does not those of you who read this will know the likely cause of the missing or messed up site.

I'll post an update when done.

Update 01:22 AM EDT

All done. Let me know if you run across any oddities.

Posted by Steve on October 3, 2005

Take A Break From Miers Go See Serenity

All the folks who are all twisted up or kind of gloating over the miers nomination should just take a break and go watch Serenity. And if they've already seen it they should go watch it again.

I certainly will!

If you haven't been told this is a must see movie, well, that just changed. Zombyboy has a fine review here with no spoilers and links to a number of other reviews:

The script is smart and funny and quick-witted, the characters are sharply drawn, and it manages a few emotional tugs along the way (tugs that will be enhanced for fans of the show). From the very beginning, there are surprises and the action moves with impressive intensity. This movie is, almost literally, one that will have the crowd sitting on the edge of the seat, eyes wide, and wondering whats going to happen next. This is good stuff.

You will enjoy the movie just fine even if you have never heard of its predecessor television series.

One warning: we were in a full theater yesterday and had to sit close to the side. Some of the dialog is very quiet and was hard to hear. Try to sit in the center to assure that you have a good chance to hear everything. This is, by the way, some of the best movie dialog I've heard in years. George Lucas is a pre-schooler in comparison.

Posted by Steve on October 3, 2005

October 2, 2005

Evolution, Creationism and Intelligent Design

If you have any interest in this subject, and you should, go listen to this discussion: PZ Myers is interviewed by Duncan Black.

Posted by Steve on October 2, 2005

Prescription Needed?

If you travel much The Earpopper looks like something you'd want in your travel kit. As Healthy Concerns notes:

I fell asleep and neglected to wake up for the descent and go through the usual machinations to "pop" my ears. Immediately upon waking up as we landed I knew something felt a bit off.
...
had I been awake, and had I had the necessary prescription the EarPopper would have saved me all the trouble!
And, there is the rub: If she had the necessary prescription. But, why should she have to go through the trouble and cost of getting a prescription for an Earpopper?

Via Grand Rounds #53 at Family Medicine Notes.

Update 10/3: corrected two words.

Posted by Steve on October 2, 2005 | Comments (1)