The Big Think

May 31, 2013

Quoth

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:16 pm

“Inflation is a special concern over the next decade given the pending avalance of governmnet debt about to be unloaded on world financial markets. The need to finance very large fiscal deficits during the coming eyars could lead to political pressure on central banks to print money to buy much of the newely issued debt.”

Alan Greenspan, Financial Times, June 26, 2009

“Inflation has now been institutionalized at a fairly constant 5% per year. This has been scientifically determined to be the optimum level for generating the most revenue without causing public alarm. A 5% devaluation applies, not only to the money earned this year, but to all that is left over from previous years. At the end of the first year, a dollar is worth 95 cents. At the end of the second year, the 95 cents is again reduced by 5%, leaving its worth at 90 cents, and so on. By the time a person has worked 20 years, the government will have confiscated 64% of every dollar he saved over those years. by the time he has worked 45 years, the hidden tax will be 90%. The government will take virtually everything a person saves over a lifetime.”

G. Edward Griffin

May 29, 2013

See Yourself

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 10:00 pm

We choose to put a webcam on the Moon in this decade and do the other things: “A telescope that is set to launch to the moon in 2015 will allow the public to go on the Internet and view the Earth from the lunar surface. The privately funded telescope, known as the International Lunar Observatory precursor (ILO-X), was designed and built by Silicon Valley-based Moon Express Inc. … ‘We want to win the Google Lunar X prize so that is somewhat driving our schedule,’ Richards said, adding his customers want Moon Express to land on the moon before the end of 2015. ‘So I would say sometime in mid-to-late 2015 is when we’d be looking at.’”

Holy celestial viewings, Batman. What an age.

South Portland doctor stops accepting insurance, posts prices online

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:32 pm

South Portland doctor stops accepting insurance, posts prices online: “‘It’s been almost unanimous that patients have expressed understanding at why I’m doing what I’m doing, although I’ve had many people leave the practice because they want to be covered by insurance, which is understandable,’ Ciampi said.

Before the switch, Ciampi had about 2,000 patients. He lost several hundred, he said. Some patients with health coverage, faced with having to seek reimbursement themselves rather than through his office, bristled at the paperwork burden. But the decision to do away with insurance allows Ciampi to practice medicine the way he sees fit, he said. Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls.

‘I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients,’ Ciampi said. ‘If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense.’…

Before, Ciampi charged $160 for an office visit with an existing patient facing one or more complicated health problems. Now, he charges $75.

Patients with an earache or strep throat can spend $300 at their local hospital emergency room, or promptly get an appointment at his office and pay $50, he said.

Ciampi collects payment at the end of the visit, freeing him of the time and costs associated with sending bills, he said.

That time is crucial to Ciampi. When his patients come to his office, they see him, not a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner, he said.

“If more doctors were able to do this, that would be real health care reform,” he said. “That’s when we’d see the cost of medicine truly go down.””

The market at work without the distortions of our messed up insurance system.

May 28, 2013

Bad Day

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:50 pm

Now that’s a bad day in traffic. Watch all the way to the end.

Making a Point

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 12:11 pm

I got a pocket knife a few weeks ago. I had a gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops and wanted to a really good one since it seems like an obvious Man Tool. I’ve carried small Swiss Army keychain knives for decades and I recently upgraded to a very small keychain multi-tool, and I occasionally carry my full blown Gerber multi tool, but I’ve never had an honest to goodness, DHS-unapproved-for-flight 4″ switchblade pocked knife. I figured it was about time.

So I looked for something within my sub-$50 budget and ended up with a really nice German blade. It’s got a nifty spring loaded mechanism and a small stub you push on to make it go snick. I’ve started keeping it clipped to the inside of my pocket and I’ve used it several times already. It’s a great tool to have around.

The problem comes when you realized that I keep my cell phone in the same pocket. Last night at dinner I reached for my phone while sitting down. The particular geometry was such that I had to bend my wrist to get my fingers into the pocket. I didn’t realize it, but this was just exactly the right configuration to push that little small stub. Snick. The blade came halfway out of the sheath while in my pocket. Worse yet: I didn’t realize it. So I continued to reach down to my cell phone, took a grip, and pulled—and promptly drew the back of my thumb across the blade at a 90 degree angle. Thankfully, since I was pushing straight into the blade I didn’t do as much damage as I could have (I was cutting my thumb like a carrot peeler peels a carrot), but I did manage to sink the blade about 1/8th of an inch into my right thumb right at the base of the knuckle. I felt a sudden burn and realized what I’d done. Uh oh. Visions of slicing a tendon and ending my piano career in my head, I gently worked my hand out and, with one eye open, cautiously surveyed the damage.

Luckily I won’t need stitches, and since the cut is right on a knuckle fold it’ll probably heal without a scar, but considering just how much damage I might have done I still feel lucky. It’s an ugly gash that I’m keeping very clean and well bandaged so it doesn’t get infected, but wow… that was close.

From now on I’m keeping the knife in the other pocket so the blade can’t open (the blade will be against the side of the pocket). I’ll also be much more careful when reaching in there. Yeah, yeah, any guy is going to insert a witty comment about me being lucky that my thumb was the only thing it cut, but for this career musician and woodworker it was still a pretty chilling moment.

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Support System

Filed under: Space,Technology — jasony @ 11:51 am

Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo: “When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface in July of 1969, they wore spacesuits crafted by seamstresses taken from the assembly-line of Playtex, maker of bras and girdles: This book is the story of that suit. “

May 27, 2013

Pause to Remember

Filed under: Disclosure,Politics — jasony @ 8:45 am

“It was not the Declaration of Independence that gave us freedom but the Continental Army. America was born from conflict, delivered by soldiers willing to pay with their blood the tremendous cost of freedom.

The dead did not wish to be martyred. They no doubt longed to return to their homes and families. But they believed in the “glorious cause,” something far greater than themselves. Despite knowing the dangers before them, they followed Gen. Washington into the fray even when victory seemed hopeless and the cause all but lost.

In America today, there are those who believe that under no circumstances is war the answer. Violence only begets more violence, we’re told. The unstated message: Nothing is worth fighting and dying for. History disagrees.”

A Tradition of Sacrifice, from Yorktown to Ramadi

May 26, 2013

Just Sayin’

Filed under: Computing,Humor and Fun — jasony @ 8:59 pm

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Things that Go Boom

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Science — jasony @ 7:46 pm

One of the best of Russel Munroe’s “What If” series (and that’s saying something). I give you

Hair Dryer

Warning: Contains the words Nuclear Potato Cannon.

May 24, 2013

I Guess the “Universal” in “Universal Health Care” Means Something Different

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:14 am

You know mankind has truly “evolved” when the nation who once spent trillions of dollars and millions of lives to stop Hitler’s genocides now elects demi-Hitlers of their own.

You see, things have gotten a wee bit pricey in the land of socialized health care. There’s just not enough tax money and medicine and hospital beds to go around. One leader’s solution?

Kill off the disabled children. Like animals.

Colin Brewer is a UK politician. He stepped down in disgrace after saying publicly that “disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down.”

He was re-elected this month.

He was re-elected this month.

And his first move after gaining public support and public office once more? To detail, in graphic terms, just how disabled children should be killed.

In an interview with the Disability News Service, Councillor Brewer said that perhaps we should be culling disabled children like deformed lambs, which are often disposed of by smashing them against the wall.

‘If they have a misshapen lamb, they get rid of it,” he said. “They get rid of it. Bang.”

Bang. Disabled people are just too expensive to care for, so they just have to go.

“We are just animals,” Brewer continued. “You can’t have lambs running around with five legs and two heads. It would be put down, smashed against the wall and be dealt with.”

When asked if there was any difference between killing a lamb or a human being he simply said, according to Disability News, “I think the cost has got to be evaluated.”

“It is not something I would like to do, but there is only so much in the bucket,” he reportedly said. “If you are talking about giving services to the community or services to the individual, the balance has got to be struck.”

What a progressive hero.

What eventually happens to Universal Health Care when you run out of Other People’s Money. You can’t say you haven’t been warned.

May 23, 2013

Only a camp counselor will understand these 27 things

Filed under: Disclosure,Education,Friends,Games,Humor and Fun — jasony @ 4:33 pm

Only a camp counselor will understand these 27 things: “You know that you’re only making like a dollar an hour, but haters gonna hate, you’ve got the best job in the world. People on the outside just don’t understand what it means to spend your summer in the camp wild. They don’t understand that you can in fact survive on Oreos and Gatorade and that severe tan lines and bad haircuts can be sort of cool. And they’ll never experience the absolute pride of losing your voice after defeating every child in your cabin in a yelling competition, nor will they rock tie-dye like you do. People on the outside just don’t get it. But it’s okay. Because you get it, and really, that’s all that matters.”

Word of the Day

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 2:34 pm

Knolling.

One Day Builds

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 12:03 pm

One Day Builds: Adam Savage Makes Something Wonderful from Scratch

Huge thanks to Josh for the link. I could watch this sort of stuff all day if it didn’t inspire me to get out into the shop and actually build something.

Lego

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 10:05 am

The world’s largest Lego model: a full-scale X-wing fighter. 42 feet long and weighing in at 46000 pounds and 5.2 million bricks. What a monster.

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Artist

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Maker — jasony @ 9:56 am

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These Sculptures Are Made Entirely of Wood

Wow

May 22, 2013

Great Advice

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 10:24 pm

“Never Just Remember How to Do Something, Understand How It Works”: “When you know how to do something, you have a skill. When you understand how something works, you can alter that knowledge and adapt it for your best uses. This gives you confidence and the ability to grow. It’s also the best piece of advice developer Matrin Rue received from his grandfather. He explains its importance:

If you simply remember how to do something, then all you can do is use it the same way over and over, but if you understand how it works, you can reason about it. Once you can reason about something in your mind you can contemplate why it is the way it is, you can apply your entire creative mind to making the most of it, and you can implement and question improvement – you own it intellectually. Information only gets you so far. Learn how things work and you can expand upon them infinitely.”

(Via .)

Pale Blue Dot

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 4:17 pm

10 Iconic Images of the Earth from Space «TwistedSifter: “10 Iconic Images of the Earth from Space”

(Via .)

Apple CEO Tim Cook Pounds Another Nail Into the Keynesian Coffin

Filed under: Apple,Politics — jasony @ 1:01 pm

Apple CEO Tim Cook Pounds Another Nail Into the Keynesian Coffin: “Assuming Cook chose to expose all of Apple’s earnings to U.S. taxation he would not only have been fired, but it’s also the case that the revolutionary creator of iPhones and iPads would have less in the way of funds to access in order to continue to innovate.”

Use Your Hands

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 12:40 pm

10 Tools Every Kid Should Learn to Use – Popular Mechanics: “Start ’em young. If you want to raise a self-reliant kid, get these tools into their hands. “

God Save Helen Mirren

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:22 am

Helen Mirren ‘knights’ dying ten-year-old boy after actress fulfills his wish to dress as the Queen and come round for tea: “Dame Helen Mirren has granted the dying wish of a ten-year-old boy by dressing up as the Queen and having him round for tea. Oliver Burton is facing his third battle with cancer and top of his bucket list was a visit to Buckingham Palace. But when the real Queen said she would not be able to meet the youngster, a limo was arranged so he could meet Dame Helen instead. “

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