The Big Think

March 28, 2010

Okay, This is Just Silly

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:50 pm

I mean, really. Really?

Look at this photo:


Take a second look. How many people would you estimate are there? I routinely see 2200 people in a single room (the main theater in Waco Hall on the Baylor campus), so I have a fairly good idea of what that many people look like. I’m not good at estimating really big numbers, but even I can see that this crowd is somewhere between, oh, 10,000 and 15,000 people. Possibly more, but I’d lowball it to be on the safe side. I’ll be extremely safe and call it 8,000. But there’s lowballing, then there’s lowballing.

How many were reported being here by CNN?

Dozens. Yup. Dozens. They also said “hundreds”. In fact, CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield’s language was a bit weird as she specifically said “Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people – we haven’t gotten a count of how many people turned out there.”


Look, I can understand someone saying a thousand people. After all, it’s hard to estimate when you don’t have the God’s eye blimp-cam view. But dozens? Hundreds? As my friend says: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I’m not ready to go all conspiracy theory on this one, It may have been a slip of the tongue (although the error was never corrected), but I will say that whoever confused this rally with a Bach family reunion needs a new pair of glasses and some tutoring by a certain Muppet.


Just so I’m clear, I’m not getting all righteously-indignant about this one. I think it’s more a case of misspeaking. Still, it’s funny, and it fits the meme of the media downplaying the importance of the massive public rallies that have been taking place (witness the fact that Time magazine didn’t include a single picture of the Tea Parties in their “2009 in Review” issue). I think miss Whitfield is a bit embarrassed tonight. There are plenty of other things to get exercised about than a badly estimated number. Of course, its very possible that the she wasn’t looking at the video as she improvised on the story. It just kind of makes me laugh in a duuuuuuhhhh sort of way.

By the way, the official number was 20,000.

Big Numbers

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:21 pm

The federal government collects about $2.5 trillion in total revenues a year. That is from all sources of taxes and fees. Think of that as an individual’s annual gross salary. The debt owed by the government can be looked at as a great big mortgage. Thus, we have a family that has a mortgage 44.8 times greater than gross salary. That would be the equivalent of a man earning $50,000 gross salary having a mortgage of $2,240,000! An interest-only mortgage at 6% would require the family to pay annual interest of $134,000 per year. A conventional mortgage would be much higher. The example becomes even more ludicrous when one recognizes that taxes, food, clothing, savings, etc. all have to be subtracted from gross pay to determine what is left for debt service.

When we shift back to the federal government, the family analogy becomes even more absurd. The federal government has nothing left from their “gross pay.” Their “living expenses” actually exceeded their gross pay by $1.2 trillion last fiscal year. That is, they spent almost 50% more than they made. Comparable behavior is budgeted for the next ten years.

Meanwhile our leaders continue to fiddle by in the nice pretty flickering light. Read the whole thing. Depressing.


Filed under: Audio,Business,Music,Technology — jasony @ 5:40 pm

I’ve spent most of the day reconfiguring my studio and trying to integrate all the new gear. The audio interface (a MOTU UltraLite Mk 3) is wired in and I’ve managed to chase most of the buzzes and hums down. I also got the Midi interface (MOTU Midi Express 128) in place and everything is wired up and communicating correctly.

The bad news is that, if I want to use any of my MIDI instruments, it looks like I’m going to have to type in all of my old instrument names by hand. Several thousand of them. There doesn’t seem to be any way for Logic to auto load them, and I haven’t found a utility online to do it. I’ll keep looking, though.

The good news, the very good news, is that I will possibly never touch the old MIDI gear ever again. I’ve been auditioning the sampled sounds that come with Logic and Soundtrack Pro and… holy jumping Judas on a Vespa, WHY didn’t I make the move to sampled sounds before? It’s just stunning the difference. It’s like going from riding around in this:


to suddenly being shoved into the cockpit of this:


Yeah, they’re both red, and they’ll both get you there (kind of) but I know which one I’d pick. In thirty minutes I’ve knocked together a tune that sounds miles better than anything I ever did on MIDI. And I haven’t even loaded the half-terabyte, seven library bundle of East West sounds (I’m waiting on the giant 2TB hard drive).

I’m a long, long way from getting my head around Logic Studio, but the sounds are going to totally change everything. Just wow.

Here’s a quick audio file I threw together in just a few minutes with the first sounds that came up in the sounds browser. Didn’t edit, mix, or do anything but bounce it down. Quite a change from MIDI.


Apollo XIII

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 12:00 am

What would really have happened to Apollo XIII. Wow, who knew?

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