State legislator says global warming is good for us and our crops

From my own back­yard: Lar­ry Pow­ell, a Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tor from West­ern Kansas, has assert­ed that increased CO2 lev­els will make crops flour­ish. He cites a study that says that, “atmos­pher­ic CO2 enrich­ment will boost world agri­cul­tur­al out­put by about 50 per­cent.” They don’t deny glob­al warm­ing any­more, instead they insist that it is good for us. Here is the link to the Lawrence Jour­nal-World arti­cle. The com­ments are actu­al­ly much more inter­est­ing than the idi­ot­ic asser­tions in the arti­cle itself.

Amanda makes her move on Survivor:China

About time, dude. Aman­da pulls the move she had to pull on Survivor:China, and James shows he’s a men­sch by admit­ting he screwed up in the post-toss cam­era con­fes­sion­al. Now that she’s rock­ing Ship Todd, what is Amanda’s next move? I think she needs to appeal to Eric’s mas­culin­i­ty, Peih-Gee’s para­noia, and Denise’s sense of self-preser­va­tion. A final three with some of those peo­ple doesn’t obvi­ous­ly favor any one of them, except maybe Aman­da for engi­neer­ing it.

Writers’ Strike bears fruit: American Gladiators returns!

In a pro­mo after Bion­ic Woman this week, NBC announced the return of Amer­i­can Glad­i­a­tors, pre­mier­ing in Jan­u­ary. Awe­some! This was one of the first shows I watched when I came to this coun­try for col­lege, and it was God-awful. I loved it. I think of it as a pre­cur­sor to the mod­ern wrestling TV phe­nom­e­non, like WWE lite. I can’t wait to see how they update it, if they even both­er.

I’ll be buying my next pair of glasses online

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of posts about buy­ing pre­scrip­tion glass­es online. The lat­est is this one, Matt Haughey’s account over at 43 Fold­ers. It has help­ful notes on what mea­sure­ments you need and a lib­er­at­ing result: instead of order­ing one cheap pair, order five cheap pairs in dif­fer­ent styles! As he points out, after a life­time of wear­ing one pair of glass­es every day for two years, hav­ing a choice of frames each day… wow. I can’t wait. Any­one have any expe­ri­ences to pass on? Any­thing I should watch out for? Besides the wrath of my eye doc­tor?

Can I possibly pass up National Geographic for $12?

I know the price has always been low, but I don’t think I can pass it up this year. We just got a let­ter from the Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Soci­ety offer­ing a year sub­scrip­tion to their mag­a­zine (12 issues), a world map, and a “100% guar­an­tee of your sat­is­fac­tion” for $12.00. Unless you live in Ken­tucky. There it’ll cost you an extra 6% sales tax. I will pass on the obvi­ous Ken­tucky joke. But I think we’re get­ting the mag­a­zine. I cut up many an issue from my par­ents’ stash for grade school reports, and I’d like a big heap of them for the boys to look through some day. (It’ll cost you $15 on the Nation­al Geo­graph­ic sub­scrip­tion site.)

Is the Chevy Volt just another hybrid?

I’ve been hear­ing a lot about Chevrolet’s new elec­tric car, the Volt. It is sup­posed to be America’s answer to Toy­ota in the green car exhi­bi­tion. On Chevrolet’s elec­tric car site, they proud­ly pro­claim, “It’s unlike any pre­vi­ous EV (elec­tric vehi­cle), thanks to its inno­v­a­tive recharge­able elec­tric dri­ve sys­tem and range-extend­ing pow­er source.” This “range-extend­ing pow­er source” can be gaso­line, E85, or biodiesel. Which makes it a hybrid, no? Like the Prius parked in my garage. The only dif­fer­ence seems to be that the Volt does not use the gaso­line engine unless you run out of elec­tric­i­ty, mak­ing elec­tric-only trips pos­si­ble for short dis­tances. Of course, I can do that today with a mod­ded Prius, or one I buy in Japan. The Volt is a plug-in hybrid con­cept vehi­cle with lot of mar­ket­ing hype. And not much else.

What would you take with you if you were evacuated?

The cov­er­age last month of the fires in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia includ­ed sev­er­al sto­ries of peo­ple being evac­u­at­ed with just a few min­utes notice. Invari­ably, some­thing was left behind. It got me think­ing.

If I had a fif­teen min­utes to pack before being evac­u­at­ed, what would I take with me? We have two cars, and I am assum­ing we would be allowed to take both. First thing I’d do is strap the kids into their car seats, each with a coat from the coa­track. With them out of the way, I’d send the wife to throw cloth­ing into our lug­gage, and I’d shout after her to not for­get the dia­pers. Oy, do not for­get the dia­pers. While she is upstairs, I’d busy myself with some of the intan­gi­bles.

Here’s the list I came up with:

  • Clothes, most­ly dumped whole­sale from draw­ers into lug­gage.
  • Med­i­cine, con­ve­nient­ly in the hall clos­et in labeled bins.
  • Dia­pers. A cot farm in the Astrodome is not the place to begin pot­ty-train­ing.
  • Cell phone charg­ers. So many peo­ple in the San Diego area for­got to take their charg­ers with them, and had to beg for a charg­er from the Red Cross, or from their neigh­bors on the next cot. A place to plug them in is anoth­er prob­lem.
  • My lap­top and the NAS. The NAS (net­work attached stor­age device) is nice and com­pact, and has all of our data on it. Pic­tures, movies, music, doc­u­ments, every­thing. The NAS would be a pri­or­i­ty over the lap­top, actu­al­ly.
  • Dog. I don’t care if they wouldn’t let me in to the shelter/Astrodome/Red Cross tent camp with my dog, I would not leave him behind. I’ll sleep in the car with him before leav­ing him to fend for him­self. Dog food. Leash.
  • Our doc­u­ment safe… if we had one. We’ve talked about get­ting one, just haven’t pulled the trig­ger on it. Prob­a­bly should.
  • The still-unopened-from-our-move box labeled, “Mem­o­ries” which has let­ters and un-scanned pho­tographs and stuff.
  • Flash­light
  • Pho­to albums (there are only about four or five)
  • The Bag
  • Pass­ports, which should nor­mal­ly live in the doc­u­ment safe, eh?

And I think that’s it. There’s an end­less sup­ply of stuff I could be enticed to bring along, from art­work to books to elec­tron­ics, and some of it might be use­ful for barter in the post-civ­i­liza­tion era, but I am assum­ing we’d get back to our (burned-out-shell-of-a?) house even­tu­al­ly. If I had time to dig through our stor­age I might try to bring sleep­ing bags or pon­chos or blan­kets or some­thing more along the sur­vival line, but with only fif­teen min­utes I think my time would be tapped out with the list above.

What would you bring?

Time to move on from college football

I like col­lege foot­ball. I also like the NFL (this may make me unwel­come in some places, but there it is), but there’s some­thing about the semi-pro nature of col­lege foot­ball, and the sheer num­ber of pro­grams, and the rival­ries, and the radio announc­ers, and the ter­ri­bly flawed bowl system(s, past and present)… it is messy, but some­times out of the mess comes some­thing as won­der­ful and fun as the 2007 sea­son was for us, here at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas.

It start­ed with a cream­puff non-con­fer­ence sched­ule that was delight­ful to watch, as we piled up points and yards and spec­tac­u­lar plays on unsus­pect­ing teams. Nobody thought much of it, but it was fun for us. But when KU start­ed win­ning con­fer­ence games (albeit with­out meet­ing any high cal­iber teams like Texas, Okla­homa, or Mis­souri), it got even more fun. We nev­er got much nation­al media atten­tion until this last week before the Mis­souri game, but that was fine. We did spawn a nick­name, the Fight­ing Mangi­nos, as well as some unmen­tion­able t-shirt slo­gans, and the Gov­er­nor of Kansas was the guest of hon­or in our Home­com­ing Parade (that didn’t hap­pen at Iowa). The whole town had fun with it.

We were lucky enough to be in Iowa in 2002 ((Wikipedia has a pret­ty com­plete page on the 2002 Iowa Hawkeyes)), when they had their excel­lent sea­son that end­ed 11–2. And now we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy this sea­son at KU. A sea­son which will hope­ful­ly end 12–1, not 11–2. No offense to the Iowa team (which had play­ers the likes of Dal­las Clark, Bob Sanders, and Nate Kaed­ing), but the bowl game in 2002 was dis­as­trous. I hope for bet­ter from KU this year. At least Iowa lost the game to Car­son Palmer and USC (my mother’s always-root-for team).

The game in Kansas City this past week­end was dif­fi­cult to watch, though we are glad we stuck with it, as the team did account for itself well in the last twen­ty min­utes of reg­u­la­tion. We switched to the radio announc­ers at half­time, even with the HD video being about twen­ty sec­onds behind the radio (it was like always-on instant replay!), and we had a much bet­ter time, despite the los­ing part. But now it is over.

Every­one here in Lawrence is very hap­py for the foot­ball team, and very con­grat­u­la­to­ry on their sea­son (despite send­ing impos­tors out for the first half against Mis­souri… real­ly, we could have won that game). And every­one is, en masse, turn­ing to bas­ket­ball.

There’s anoth­er unde­feat­ed team in town.

This game is proving hard to watch

Third quar­ter. This is awful. KU is play­ing like the team they were last year. Mis­souri is play­ing as adver­tised. I have offered a cou­ple of times to stop watch­ing and put on this week’s Sur­vivor instead. A Miz­zou fan holds up the best sign of the game, “Kansas Foot­ball, a Tra­di­tion since Sep­tem­ber.” I can laugh at it because it’s fun­ny. The KU radio guys are say­ing that KU has to be per­fect from here on out to win. The score is 28–7 Mis­souri, and my wife adds, “And what, Mis­souri is going to have to go home?”