January 6th, 2008

#812: Wet your pants now, greenies.

China has found methane hydrate off its shores. It's a clathrate, basically methane trapped in an ice matrix.

On the plus side, maybe China would convert everything possible to run on methane. That would be good for world fuel prices.

Lawyers for the District of Colombia are applying a rather unique interpretation of the Constitution. "The Second Amendment's provisions protecting the right to keep and bear arms apply only to the federal government, not the 50 states and the District of Columbia, lawyers for the nation's capital argued Friday in a written brief to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Oh, okay. So if we extend that logic to the rest of the Bill ofRights, that means that any state or municipality can choose to suspend things like freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and habeus corpus. It also means that the states can impose "cruel and unusual" punishments if they so desire. Doesn't it?

These lawyers are full of crap and clearly don't understand the Constitution of the US.

More information about the stupid ban on incandescent bulbs. The ban will reduce human carbon emissions by five million tons, we are told.

I assume that does not include the manufacturing or disposal costs. Let's go ahead and stipulate that replacing every (relatively simple) incandescent bulb with a much more complex compact flourescent (CF) bulb will, in fact, be "neutral" in that respect. Fine.

Five million tons of carbon is 0.0076% of human emissions and it's 0.00024% of the total annual carbon budget of the atmosphere.

And that "five million tons"--is that per year or is it over the life of the typical CF bulb, which is about five years? Because if it's over five years, then the actual carbon "savings" will be 0.0015% of human emissions annually and 0.00005% of all emissions annually. It's not even a "drop in the bucket"; it's more like a "grain of sand in the Sahara".

It's a stupid law, and in all liklihood the benefits of mandating CF use will be swamped by the liabilities.

Mind you, I use CF bulbs all over the place. Every light fixture in my bedroom has 'em. We have them all over the house. Flourescent bulbs are about four times as efficient as incandescent.

But you can't use them everywhere. We discovered this for ourselves when we tried using them in the bathroom; the bulbs we bought are picky about orientation and would start out very dim and gradually brighten over the course of about 2-4 minutes. Two of them blew out after about nine months of use, which isn't even as good as the incandescent bulbs they replaced.

And CF bulbs are more complex than incandescent; there are electronics in the base which "start" the bulb, for one thing, and that double-helix shape is not as easy to make as having a machine blow a simple globe. And CF bulbs contain mercury. (Incandescent bulbs contain a vacuum. If you break one, it releases...nothing. Literally.)

Oh well.

Hillary slips in New Hampshire polls. Interesting. We'll see how she does next week.

The issue of "electability" may have raised its head again; in 2004 Democrats picked Kerry over Dean--despite the fact that they liked Dean more--because they saw Kerry as "electable" and Dean...not so much. Hillary has some serious image problems due to, oh, her behavior from 1992 through 2000, and her involvement in one of the most scandal-plagued administrations since...well, ever.

Although Democrats love her to pieces, she's really easy to hammer if Republicans are willing to go negative. In fact, a 2008 version of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth could do all the heavy lifting and just do ads showing newspaper headlines, with dates, about the Clinton years. Whitewater, Rose Law Firm, cattle futures...there's a ton of material there--to say nothing, I might add, about the "bimbo eruptions". Hillary did not exactly strike a blow for feminism when she supported her husband despite his adultery and other stupidity; and let us not forget that Kathleen Willey's story is still out there. Bill can't be prosecuted for it--statute of limitations--but it can kill a political career if the story starts getting wide play, and it can get wide play if the right people take a serious interest in it. Hillary supporting her husband despite a credible allegation of rape would not endear her to the soccer moms out there, and "You better put some ice on that" would end up being the death rattle of Hillary's campaign.

Still, I do not expect Hillary to give up without a fight; and it's going to be a nasty one once she twigs to the fact that she is not winning. "President Hillary" in 2009 is a preordained fact, and she's not going to allow it to slip away without there being a serious dust-up in the Democrat party.

This is going to be fun.

#813: Pixy's got me all paranoid.

Pixy Misa has been having a few hard drive travails lately, and he's got me all paranoid now, so I spent part of my Sunday afternoon backing up some anime.

So far I've filled 11 DVDs and have only gotten about half the stuff on the F drive backed up. 27 remain un-backed; 25 have been backed up. But I'm going to go back up a few more series before I call it a day. Mostly, I'm going back to do the stuff that's in my folder of torrents I took down when the stuff was licensed. (I know I shouldn't worry about that; in fact I should delete it and go buy the commercial DVDs. But lots of this stuff isn't worth buying. *cough*High School Girls*cough* And besides, my old "back up everything and delete nothing" instincts have been shifted into high gear. It's almost an OCD with me at times: NEVER DELETE OR RECORD OVER ANYTHING. *sigh*)

The nice thing about this is that I can fit about 26 episodes on a single disk, providing they haven't been encoded by morons or in some inefficient format. The Pretty Cure eps, for example, should have taken about two DVDs but instead took three because the files are all over 230 MB. I don't get why, since many of the files I have with similar quality all around weigh in under 200 MB each...

But oh well.

It would be nice if there was a backup solution which didn't involve lots of blank DVDs, though. I remember that I used to be able to back my hard drives up to a single tape; of course, that was when I had 400 MB per volume. These days, high-capacity tape drives are a bit spendy: $800 for a 500 GB tape drive. Yes, I spent $600 for the computer and $800 for crash recovery....

Hell, the cleaning cartridge alone is $50. Jesus.

Anyway, with dual-layer DVDs still fetching over $1 apiece--I saw 'em on sale at Best Buy in today's ad, $29 for a 20-disk spindle--I'm not about to use them when single-layer disks are running about $0.50 each.

The other day I had a look at a box of floppies at work. $13 for 40 of them. Remember when a single 5.25" single-sided floppy cost $5? That was in 1982, when you could buy a really nice car for $9,000. Cripes. Twenty-five years later, I won't buy a disk that stores fifty thousand times as much data that costs like 5% of the old floppy disk price in adjusted dollars, because it costs too much?

This 21st century is a place of wonder. Of course, the floppy was reusable and the dual-layer DVD+R disk is not. But still...

But I am still left without the security blanket of knowing that I have backed up the literal hundreds of gigabytes of anime I've downloaded--and so here I am, on a damp but warm Sunday afternoon, sitting at the computer, cleaning my desk and making backup DVDs.

I would prefer just to throw a tape into the tape drive, hit "run complete backup", and take a nap, but unfortuantely I have to do it the hard way--and so I'm going back to work now.

#814: 30 DVDs later...

I have most of the anime on my F drive backed up. Most of it. And some of the anime on the E drive.

I've got 9 blank disks left. I'm going to hold off backing up any more until I get another spindle of DVDs. I work tomorrow night, so I'll probably pick one up at work.

As a bonus, I dusted my desk for the first time in 10 months and moved some software CDs I don't/won't/can't use on this system off the shelf, so I have room for stuff I will use. I still have a lot of cleaning to do on this desk, and rearranging, but it's a lot better than it was.

I can't believe I burned through 30 DVD+Rs today. And I'm still not done! Lordy!

Oh well. I'm going to go watch some anime now....