Archive for April, 2008

The Secret of Steel

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

When I was younger, I was interested in blacksmithing. I had found a couple of old books on the subject, reprints of older works. I would visit any blacksmith shop I ran across (which only came out to one or two of them, unfortunately). I would spend time dreaming about where I could find a place that was large enough that I could set up a backyard forge without disturbing the neighbors.

I never did anything about it, and I no longer have the books on the subject, nor do I ever think about it much anymore – I’m getting to the age at which that sort of thing sounds way too hard. I can still indulge my fantasies by watching these, though.

This is what I love about the internet – I keep finding interesting things. Too many to keep track of, unfortunately.

Ringed planet under construction – locally

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Russel Seitz points to information from the European Space Agency mapping the growing ring of geostationary satellites and debris.

Ring around earth

“Pie doesn’t have tentacles!”

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I had a link to Skippy’s List (in a prior incarnation at a different URL) on my old website. I didn’t find out until just now that he’s got a blog, when I ran across a link to this story.

Iz dark

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I can has adventurer.

Death and Taxes

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Well, taxes, anyway. No death in this post, just some things that may make you want to threaten someone with it.

We’ll start with a little humor, though, just to provide better contrast with the rest of the post.

Rachel Lucas has a fine rant on the occasion of paying her taxes. My federal taxes are higher than hers, but I’m fairly certain I make more money than she. Unlike her, I also get to pay state income tax here in Colorado, which pushed my income taxes up to about 25% of my taxable income. Democrats in the Colorado state government are also planning another assault on TABOR, so I expect state taxes to increase more quickly in the near future.

Then I had the additional dubious pleasure of having to submit a 1040X for 2006, because I got sent an erroneous 1099 last year, and a corrected one after I’d submitted my taxes. It meant that I had to send in more money, which was so nice.

Willisms talks about Tax Freedom Day, and also about the taxes we can expect to see in the near future.

That last link is the one most likely to cause what Kim du Toit refers to as an RCOB moment, and it relates to the idea that there really are two Americas. I’m pretty sure I know which one I live in.

Finally, Francis Porretto, the Curmudgeon Emeritus, talks on a related subject in item 3 of this post. More can be found on this topic here.

Then again, maybe the last link should be this.

UPDATE: Physics Geek has a good post, too. And we certainly can’t forget this:

Snoopy and the IRS

I have a new hero

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

… but not a Guitar Hero …

Sore Thumb (Drive)

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Every now and then, something breaks. I’ve had two USB thumb drives go bad on me (and a couple others go missing). The most recent one to go bad was a 2 gig one. I try not to keep anything really important on them, but they’re a lot more convenient than burning CDs or DVDs, so that doesn’t always hold.

In any case, I knew there was a lot of stuff on this one that I hadn’t saved yet, so I wanted to offload it, if I could. There were two options – either there was a mechanical failure, or one of the chips had gone bad. If a chip had gone bad, I was out of luck. If it was mechanical, I could possibly do something about it.

Since I had an old USB 1.0 hub that was itself acting a little flakey, I decided to sacrifice both of them to a rescue attempt. Now, a soldering iron is supposedly one of the most dangerous things a software type can have in hand, as illustrated below. It worked, however. And isn’t that what really matters?

Sore Thumb

(As is now presumably usual, click for larger.)

I know the urge

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Zombyboy scored 5.2%, and feels the urge to write a post to get his number up.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
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Think how I feel.

Behind blue eyes

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

… is a single person, a few thousand years ago. I knew they were recessive, but I didn’t realize they were that recent. I wonder how recently green eyes developed?

Via Obi’s Sister.

I missed it!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

On April 4th, 2003, if memory serves, I made the first post on my previous website, “Off In The Tall Weeds.” Portions of that site can be found at, but not that first post, which I remember was a profound essay on the order of, “Hello, is this thing on?”

That site, like this one, was largely a “shiny things” blog, but it had a bit more in the way of essays than this one has had.

I produced the site with a PC desktop CMS called CityDesk, which is no longer an active product. It served my needs at the time, though, and had the benefit that all of my posts were in a database under my control.

I’ve had occasion to browse through the old site a few times in the last year or so, and there are a number of posts that have suffered linkrot. I wonder how much linkrot the older posts on this site have suffered. I didn’t have comments on the old site, and I haven’t had too much trouble with comment spam on this one (probably because I haven’t had too many comments, period). Almost all of the comment spam is on post #100, but I doubt that’s significant.

Ah, well. I don’t feel qualified to do political analysis and commentary (I go elsewhere for that), so I doubt I’ll ever have the big traffic numbers. And that’s just as well – if I had to devote significant time to moderating comments, I suspect I’d resent having to spend the time.

It’s too late to have a drink to celebrate the anniversary tonight – I’m overdue for bed. I’ll take care of it tomorrow (actually, later today).