mm397: Blast from the Past! No. 25

May 31, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

The Family MUDGE is happily celebrating the graduation of our youngest scholar with a party that will have taken prep time and cleanup time and party time, leaving no blogging time. So, as one must blog daily, we present the following in fulfillment of the obligation.

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

lhc250x46_thumb2

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last summer, originally posted September 9, 2007, and originally titled “Process, again”.

MUDGE’S Musings

Couple of months ago, we wrote about the process of blogging, as we understood it after about 2½ months of consistent posting.

Not sure that understanding has increased, although the consistency has remained. At least in frequency, if not quality.

The quality thing can always be improved.

Received a modest number of hits in the past four months; averages about 16 per day, day in and out. A couple of times about 90. A bunch of times, a loyal few. Some of the early weeks — totaled 20.

Thanks, loyal few!

Where do those statistics come from, you may wonder? From our weblog host, WordPress.com.

What a terrific organization! Hosting at this site is free. Support has been superlative.

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mm396: It’s an oil spill!

May 30, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Oil prices. A very hot, very sticky, very crude topic. We’ll look at four versions of reality.

MUDGE‘s reality: $4.259/gallon at his neighborhood Shell.

From the mosaic, we can hope that some kind of truth emerges.

No question that we are living in interesting times.

“May you live in interesting times”

mm381: Crime’s up. Economy’s down. Next question?
mm380: The return of cheap gasoline
mm370: How can you tell our president is lying?
mm347: It’s official, we’re depressed — er, recessed
mm344: Welcome to interesting times
mm337: Dare we trust the guys who got us into this mess?
mm335: Are you prepared for interesting times?
mm334: Rearranging deck chairs
mm333: “Great people shouldn’t have a resume”
mm331: Obama at Cooper Union: Lincoln?
mm328: Today’s economics lesson: Depression 101
mm309: The news Bush really hates you to hear
mm289: Recession: Paying the price for our power
mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…
mm257: The R-Word – Not that racy television show
mm256: I don’t hate big corporations, either

Oil spill no. 1. How high is up?

$200 a barrel petroleum. If you think your world is changing around you, buckle up.

theamerican[4]

Will Oil Really Hit $200 a Barrel?

By Desmond Lachman | Friday, May 30, 2008

Rudi Dornbusch, the renowned economist, once said that he did not understand how Mexico’s central bank board members could make the same mistakes time after time. Looking at the ongoing frenzy in the global oil market, one appreciates what Dornbusch meant. Once again, many market participants appear to believe that oil prices can only go up. It seems that the painful lessons of the 2001 dot-com bust have been forgotten, as have the lessons of the much more recent U.S. housing crash.

In their state of forgetfulness, many pension funds and insurance companies have built up very large open positions in the oil futures market. These positions are now estimated to total over $200 billion, roughly the equivalent of a full year of Chinese oil demand. They have contributed to the recent spectacular run-up in oil prices.

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mm395: Blast from the Past! No. 24

May 29, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Still fighting to restore some normal computation to Casa Mudge. Meanwhile, we needs must blog daily.

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

lhc250x46_thumb2

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last summer, originally posted September 6, 2007, and originally titled “Our intangible riches”.

MUDGE’S Musings

Submitted in the spirit of: MUDGE takes well written good ideas where he finds them. And riffs from there. Hang on!

Oil, soil, copper, and forests are forms of wealth. So are factories, houses, and roads. reasononline_thumb4 But according to a 2005 study by the World Bank, such solid goods amount to only about 20 percent of the wealth of rich nations and 40 percent of the wealth of poor countries.

So what accounts for the majority? World Bank environmental economist Kirk Hamilton and his team in the bank’s environment department have found that most of humanity’s wealth isn’t made of physical stuff. It is intangible. In their extraordinary but vastly underappreciated report, Where Is The Wealth Of Nations?: Measuring Capital for the 21st Century, Hamilton’s team found that “human capital and the value of institutions (as measured by rule of law) constitute the largest share of wealth in virtually all countries.”

The World Bank study defines natural capital as the sum of cropland, pastureland, forested areas, protected areas, and nonrenewable resources (including oil, natural gas, coal, and minerals). Produced capital is what most of us think of when we think of capital: machinery, equipment, structures (including infrastructure), and urban land. But that still left a lot of wealth to explain. “As soon as you say the issue is the wealth of nations and how wealth is managed, then you realize that if you were only talking about a portfolio of natural assets, if you were only talking about produced capital and natural assets, you’re missing a big chunk of the story,” Hamilton explains.

Intangible capital accounts for 77 percent of the wealth of nations!

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mm394: Yet another word about process

May 28, 2008

MUDGE‘s Musings

If this latest post looks different, there’s a reason.

A rather disappointing one, actually.

Yesterday afternoon, the official hard drive of the official desktop PC of  Left-Handed Complement died a very slow, lingering but apparently permanent death.

As it was the brains of a 4-year old PC, the issue was whether to dig in and replace the hard drive, which would have resulted in an attempt to reconstruct the world, based on the (of course) frequent backups we perform religiously.

Or, as several colleagues (after all, we’re in the IT business) advised, why put a fresh drive into a 4-year old machine? Starting over would require the same amount of restoration, without all the screwdriver elicited perspiration.

Anyone who knows yr (justifiably) humble svt also knows that I am the living embodiment of a wise saying I read long ago: “Beware the programmer with screwdriver.”

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mm393: Blast from the Past! No. 23

May 27, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

lhc250x46_thumb2

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last summer, originally posted September 4, 2007, and originally titled “Attack of the Wal-Mart-istas”.

MUDGE’S Musings

I remain in a perpetual state of astonishment at the depth and breadth of simply fascinating commentary one finds on the web.

Here’s a wonderful entry from a newer member of the blogroll:

newsforreal

Maybe I stayed in the news business for too long after my radiation badge turned red. Maybe I’m suffering from Post-traumatic, Restless News Syndrome, or something. But I have this notion stuck in my head lately. It’s kind of like when I get an annoying tune stuck in my head, this notion pops up and up again, especially after I read the news.

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mm392: Memorial Day – so much more than sales and barbecues

May 26, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

dreamstime_5097742

© Sandra Henderson | Dreamstime.com

The last Monday of May in the U.S. is the Memorial Day holiday. Wikipedia says,

Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (in 2008 on May 26). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include casualties of any war or military action.

As U.S. soldiers are fighting and dying daily, totaling much more than 4,000 to date, this opinion piece from today’s Washington Post is worth reflection. It’s author, William Troy, is a general.

washingtonpost

Funeral Duty

By William Troy | Monday, May 26, 2008; Page A17

Throughout this war, the Army has maintained the practice of assigning a general officer to attend the funeral of every soldier who falls in service to our country. I’ve had this duty many times. The intensity of each funeral leaves me struggling to understand the enormousness of the sacrifice to which I have been a witness.

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mm391: A site for poor eyes

May 25, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

For yr (justifiably) humble svt, eyesight is the most important of the five senses. Of course, if my senses of taste and smell weren’t so important to me, perhaps I wouldn’t weigh what I do.

And, if I had no hearing, my music collection and my 100 stations on Pandora would be useless. And without a sense of touch, certain very enjoyable activities would be far less enjoyable, if possible at all.

But, all considered, for me, sight is the most precious. So this story leapt off the page for me.

nytimes

electronicmagnifier

The Magnifying Glass Gets an Electronic Twist

TECHNOLOGY | Novelties |  By ANNE EISENBERG | Published: May 25, 2008

PEOPLE who lose part of their sight to macular degeneration, diabetes or other diseases may now benefit from some new technology. Several portable video devices that enlarge print may help them make the most of their remaining vision.

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mm390: Mudge’s Healthy Obsession

May 24, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

While puttering around doing the formatting and graphics hunt for today’s effort, discovered that, without really being specifically aware of it, MUDGE has devoted at least 30 posts to issues relating to health. That’s a sizable chunk of time and attention.

But, why not? As we’ve noted frequently, the oldest of the Boomer cohort of which I am nearly a charter member is 62 years old, eligible to retire (and, indeed, a number of MUDGE’s friends have already done so). And, regardless of age, for at least the past 25 years we Boomers have paid outsized attention to health issues.

This year alone at Casa MUDGE, while dealing with the Achilles tendon partial tear that has been a pest for way too long and my wife’s rotator cuff issue (after the last cortisone injection, doing very well thank you), we continue our concern with our Los Angeles daughter’s Crohn’s disease (current treatment seems to be helping, thank goodness, although there’s a health insurance battle brewing), and my dear mother’s recent diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (she’s fighting it tenaciously).

Not to mention, of course, our various chronic conditions for which our monthly pharmaceutical expense is ever increasing.

So, health is on our mind, all of the time. Fortunately, there is never a lack of news.

In that spirit, to conclude setting the table for today’s health post, here’s a link table of our most important posts on the topic.

healthyobsession1_thumb[3] dreamstime_1230255-400_thumb[4] MUDGE‘s Healthy Obsession

mm386: Your Boomer brain…
mm363: “60 Minutes:” Dead wrong?
mm346: All together now: Ewwwww
mm325: I’m an Internet informed parent…
mm323: Get medicine out of the hands…
mm305: Google Health – 1984 for the 21st Century
mm283: Cause and effect: an ongoing mystery
mm281: No! Don’t take away my Mountain Dew!
mm276: Fat Tuesday…
mm270: Health trilogy
mm268: Sometimes it’s personal
mm251: Stem cells – Lab harvests non-destructively
mm230: Stem cells; Insurance scum; Overtreatment!
mm227: Nanotechnology: The future is safe?
mm223: Pigs, bees, fish – dangerous ways
mm221: The dread disease we all hope to catch
mm201: Stemming the tide of ignorance
mm200: Stem cells: an alternative source
mm198: GM foods – Wrongheaded opposition
mm197: Short attention span
mm190: U.S. Health Care – Excuses, not facts
mm177: Healthy eating — Overrated!
mm176.5: Sleep: The Threequel
mm176: Sleep: But <after> you read this, please!
mm172: Diabetes: Not so simple, Simon…
mm171: Maintain your brain
mm165: Junkfood Science: Obesity Paradox #13
mm152: Evidence of genetic response to diet
mm073: 22 ways to overclock your brain
mm012: Hazardous to your health

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mm389: A further word about process…

May 23, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

As an addendum placed at the end of the previous post, yr (justifiably) humble svt mentioned that Comcast had prevented timely daily posting because service, at least at MUDGEville, had been interrupted for 32 continuous hours this week.

Shortly after that post had been published, our connection, which had reappeared at 7:00am as randomly as it had disappeared two nights before, again disappeared.

The Comcast customer service protocols between the three calls that have been placed in the past few days were strangely different, but I really don’t have the patience to rehash — we all have our call center horror stories. At least all of these were domestic facilities.

The third call, though, was so refreshingly different, with so little harassing “protocol” compared to the first two, that I wondered whether I had reached the same company. Upon reflection, perhaps I reached a different outsourced call center. What a positive difference! While I hope never have to make another call to Comcast (except to cancel!), my reality ballcap tells me that of course I will! When I do, I can fervently hope that it goes to “Thomas.”

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mm388: Superpower to basket case — Thanks, lunatic fringe!

May 22, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Most everybody slightly to the left of Attila the Hun knows that there’s much amiss about the United States.

Seldom has yr (justifiably) humble svt encountered as bracing an analysis of why the U.S. has become the global basket case it is, as in Arianna Huffington’s book excerpt published in AlterNet.org today.

How did we get to this benighted valley? How did mainstream Republicans and Democrats of all stripes let it happen? We dropped the ball. Left a vacuum. And, of course, the fools rushed in.

alternet12

Right Is Wrong — How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America

By Arianna Huffington, Knopf Publishing. Posted May 22, 2008.

The GOP is now a dark, putrefied party of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh and Coulter. And we’re all the worse because of it.

The following is an excerpt from Arianna Huffington’s new book, Right Is Wrong.

The Radical Takeover

The most sweeping takeover of the new millennium didn’t take place among the telecoms or the big oil companies, or in Silicon Valley. It took place in Washington, but we can see and hear and feel its effects nationwide on our televisions, radios, and computer screens. And America is much the worse because of it. I’m talking about the takeover of the Republican Party by its own lunatic fringe, and the Right’s hijacking of America.

Ronald Reagan’s GOP has been replaced by the dark, moldering, putrefied party of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, and Coulter. Morning in America has given way to Midnight in America.

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