Thursday, January 31, 2008

One of my favorite lines in cinema is from Who Framed Roger Rabbit:
Eddie Valiant: You mean to tell me you coulda taken your hand outta that cuff at any time?
Roger Rabbit: Well, no, not any time. Only when it was funny.
I realized that you can formalize the statement thusly:

Let p=hand out of cuff, q= it was funny
Then: ◇p iff q

It is a very powerful formulation. Roger says by extension that if ㄱq → ㄱp. It is only because something is funny that renders it possible! Wise words from an animated rabbit.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Boyle is Serious About His Law

So I waged an epic battle against Boyle today. Guess what, I lost.

I put boiling water in my Thermos before shabbes last week, but did not have reason to make tea over the course of the weekend. There the insulated water sat until today, when I tried to pry the top open. Turn as the cap would, it came no closer to coming off. Heating and cooling were of no avail (particularly cooling which was only last ditch) as the thing is a Thermos for God sakes! Its entire purpose is to insulate! I did learn that the cap comes apart and I was able to poke a small hole in the cap with a heated nail and POP, the cap came right off.

As I struggled with the bloody cap for neigh a half hour (using rubber things and clamps to get a tight grip) I realized: P=VT. The volume is constant so P:V. As the contents of the Thermos cooled from say 100 degrees C to 30 degrees C the pressure decreased to 3/10 the original, creating a dang tight vacuum. Let that be a lesson to all those lazy Thermos users out there! Oh, and don't put the boiling hot contents of the Thermos in the freezer either just to test how well it works. It might be your last Thermos adventure for a while.

Boyle 10^big number : Zev 0

That's not entirely true

The NYT begins an article concerning special interests monies and the Obama campaign thusly:
After months of denouncing the influence of special-interest money in politics, Senator Barack Obama is nonetheless entering a critical phase of the presidential campaign benefiting from millions of dollars being spent outside campaign finance rules.
Ok, sounds like Obama is getting help from the very groups he said he would not. Except that the article goes on to say that, "Mr. Obama has repudiated a California group" and neglects to mention that campaigns are legally not allowed to have anything to do with 527's. Even if the Obama campaign wanted to it could not coordinate with the group to shut it down.

Why does the article start off condemning hypocrisy when it would be illegal to do anything else?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Not OK for Beis Yaakov

What could I possibly have been assigned to read for my Democratic Theory class that included a page with the following footnotes:
* A dildo
† Also a dildo
‡ Meaning cunnilingus
Hint: Yehuda might know.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Very Good Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I made myself a grilled cheese yesterday that I was very happy with.

Whole wheat bread
Mozzarella Cheese
Curry powder
Black pepper

Curry makes everything good. Even shampoo. Ok, maybe not shampoo, but everything else.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

They're not selling Air for cheap

Apple announced it's Macbook Air today. I knew it was going to be bad news when Jobs stated that it comes with 2GB of RAM standard. No portable mac has that (Apple is notorious for skimping on standard RAM). I am just upset because there have been rumors about this bad-bod for months now and I was set. In the end they shaved 0.25" and 2 pounds and jacked the price $750 over the Macbook ($1,800). Its area is even slightly bigger (only hundredths of an inch, mind you) than the Macbook. 2 lbs or $800? Guess it's not for me. Who is it for? Is is the same length and width of the Macbook and doesn't have enough power for a professional user. The fast paced, executive, on-the-go Mac-y? The corporate world doesn't use PCs. No doubt, it is a gorgeous machine, but I can only imagine that it will eventually merge with the Macbook line as prices drop for comparable hardware. Shucks.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!

From Treehouse of Horror VII; Kang to crowd:

Abortions for all! [BOO]
Very well, Abortions for none! [BOO]
Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others! [YAY]

Rings particularly clear in light of this. I can't believe it actually works!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

But Why?

Karl Rove wrote this scathing attack on Barak Obama in today's WSJ. My question is why? He is not a regular political pundit, and he has no personal affiliation with the Clintons (to my knowledge). As a venerable Republican strategist, I can only assume that he fears the challenge presented by Obama greater than that of Clinton. But if that were the case why write in the WSJ, why not the NYT or WaPo? Maybe to dissuade centrist Republicans who appear to be swayed by Obama, but would remain staunchly partisan were the contest to feature Clinton.

Very strange.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Boo NH

It is nice to live in a country where the outcome of presidential primaries is about as emotionally taxing as an important football game. I can't wait until Super Tuesday--I don't think my work schedule can take much more ballot watching.

Boo, Obama did not win. On the bright side Clinton was leading in the polls in NH until only this week and as late as last week she held a 6 point lead. IA and NH are, in some ways, very different states from the heavy hitters that are going to carry the race (FL, NY, CA). Winning both IA and NH may very well be a red heron herring. Furthermore, I think Obama suffers from being cast as the favorite--it is much easier to advocate for change, rhetorically, when you are perceived the underdog. A solid win in IA and a close loss in NH will invigorate supporters and not let the campaign lull while still demonstrating a much narrower gap than polls had been predicting for months (until last week national polls had Clinton up by 20% as opposed to 7.7% today).

That being said, Clinton probably has NY wrapped up, and I can imagine many voters in FL being wary of a new guy. It would have been nice to carry the momentum from NH, but, so it goes.

Friday, January 04, 2008

It's a Girl!!

Naomi Smadar Halper
Born 1:30 am January 3, 2008
Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital
Jerusalem, Israel

Election Results

I am very happy Obama won. Could be the first UofC president. I want Obama to win, if for nothing else, I like his speeches.

Of course the NYT is playing up the results as a trend (which is more self-fulfilling than anything else).
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, a first-term Democratic senator trying to become the nation’s first African-American president, rolled to victory in the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night, lifted by a record turnout of voters who embraced his promise of change.The victory by Mr. Obama, 46, amounted to a startling setback for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 60, of New York, who just months ago appeared to be the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. -NYT
Using words like "rolling" and "setback" are empty as they offer no additional analysis of what occurred. Of course it was a setback for Clinton, what else could it be?

It is also rather annoying (although NPR did a great job articulating the subtlety here) that everyone describes Clinton's finish as third place, failing to mention that she lost by 0.24% to Edwards. OK, she is the heavy hitter and technically 29.76 > 29.52, but not by much (744 to 737 out of ~2,500). Michelle Norris was very careful to explain that Clinton and Edwards were in a virtual tie for second, which is probably more statistically accurate.