Archive for the ‘general rant’ Category

Fracking and Baysean Calculator

August 11th, 2015 Comments off

Well, we can use the Bayes Probability Theorem to figure out how likely is is that fracking will pollute our water supply.

Suppose the probability of fracking polluting the water supply in any one spot–say, within 500 yards of the fracking site–is originally estimated, before any evidence of pollution has been found, to be only 0.5%.

Now an event happens, such as the real event: water coming from a tap in a house, which draws its water from a well, starts to ignite when an open flame is brought near it.

What are the chances that the fracking caused the pollution?  We can estimate that there is about a 40% chance that fracking is the cause.  We can also posit that, without the fracking, natural causes might cause the water to become polluted; but it’s very rarely that a water supply spontaneously becomes flammable, so let’s put that possibility at 0.05%.

Plugging these values in to the Bayesean Theorem; x=.5, y=50%, z=0.05%

Bayesean Theorem:  P = xy / xy + z(1-x)

Solving for P :  There is a 83% chance that fracking will pollute the water supply.

That is not a trivial possibility.

You can play with these figures, using my Bayesean Calculator.  In any case, you will not find the possibility of pollution from fracking to be anything but frightening.

Hey, nothing wrong with that, right?


May 6th, 2015 Comments off

Coverture (sometimes spelled couverture) was a legal doctrine whereby, upon marriage, a woman’s legal rights and obligations were subsumed by those of her husband, in accordance with the wife’s legal status of feme covert. An unmarried woman, a feme sole, had the right to own property and make contracts in her own name. These terms are English spellings of medieval Anglo-Norman phrases (the modern standard French spellings would be femme seule “single woman” and femme couverte, literally “covered woman”).

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April 30th, 2015 Comments off

“The first reaction to truth is always hatred”


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Believe Evidence

March 23rd, 2015 Comments off

“It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

–Victorian philosopher and mathematician W. K. Clifford

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DNS Trouble Resolution

February 18th, 2015 Comments off

Getting a constant “site not available” response to  page requests, time and again,  is a great pain in the ass.  It’s caused by a full or corrupt dns cache in your computer.  The way to solve it is to flush your dns cache; to do this:  (1 reboot your computer, or (2 detatch, then re-attatch to your network, or (3 use ipconfig:

The command to flush the dns cache is ipconfig /flushdns

You can type  this in a command window, or in the command line at the bottom of the start menu; but it’s easier to create a batch file to issue the command.  Then you can just click on the batch file to execute it.

Batch (command) file method

Create a new text file on your desktop, rename it “flushme.cmd” (or what you wish, so long as it nds with “.cmd” ), and save it.  Now edit that file, and enter these two line:

ipconfig /flushdns

Save this file.  You should now be able to make it run with a double-click.   Hit return to make the command window go away.

Pin it to your task bar:  Create a shortcut to the batch file (the thing you just created), then make the target read

exe /C “path-to-your-file-flushme.cmd”

You can now pin this shortcut to your taskbar, so it will run with a single click.  The original batch file can go into a subdirectory on your desktop, if you wish to keep things tidier; just make sure the shortcut’s target is changed (unlock from taskbar to edit) to reflect its new location.  The “pause” command in the batch file can be removed, once you know it’s working.


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Left-Hand Drive Meme

February 1st, 2015 Comments off

To imagine what it is to shift your perspective from the “I”-centered consciousness to ego-less, think of driving on the opposite side of the road.

When I went to Proviciales, an island in the Turks and Caicos,  I rented a car.  It was a fairly standard Ford automobile, with left-hand drive.  But in this formerly British colony, driving is on the left side.  So, I was driving on the left side, but with the steering wheel on the left side–the wrong side for this situation.

It was the wrong meme.  Driving on the left requires a right-hand-drive car, and vice versa.  The meme was, “driver on the left”.  But the driver did not work out too well on the left.  “Driver on the right” was the right meme for this situation.

There was a lot more to it than that, of course,  It just didn’t “feel right” driving on the left with a left-hand-drive auto, because it wasn’t right (no pun intended).  The whole thing felt out of joint, and really was.

This is the problem in trying to shift from the “I” conscousness, to ego-less.  At first, it just doesn’t “feel right”.

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Where Are You, Shipper?

January 23rd, 2015 Comments off

I recently ordered a laptop power adapter from NewEgg.  I got a shipping notice, with a USPS tracking number (much appreciated!), but then this:

Shipped from 34 35th Street

Hello?  35th street where?  Is there a city involved here?  NewEgg lists their office address; in Los Angeles.  Shipped from LA?

No.  After looking up the tracking number, turns out it’s being shipped from Brooklyn, New York–the other side of the country.  Well, I’m on the east coast, so that’s great for me—but why not tell me that in your notice?

It’s even more inconvenient at Amazon, who NEVER give the shipping source–which is really painful when there’s no tracking number, either.

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Your Quiz for Today

October 29th, 2014 Comments off

The Question:  What does this series of numbers indicate?

six  two  five   five  four  five  six  three seven

Hint:  It has nothing to do with the 13th Century Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci.

[expand title=”Click here for answer” trigclass=”noarrow”]

The Answer:   on a ditigal clock, each numeral is formed from a matrix of seven illuminating bars.  The series of numbers is the number of bars needed for each numberal.

The Moral:  Lying in bed awake at night, can’t you find something better to do with your mind?


six  two  five four  five sx  three seven
six  two  five four  five sx  three seven
six  two  five four  five sx  three seven
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September 27th, 2014 Comments off

I was in a department store a while ago (Macys?  Kohls?)  in the mens wear department, and another man in there was asking a salesman to find him some black cargo-pants.  Made the poor guy run down to the stockroom, only to come back and report that there just weren’t any.  Honestly, cargo pants?  in 2014?  Cargo pants haven’t been au courant for at least two years; you haven’t been able to buy them for even longer.  Even here in the provinces.

And good riddance, I say, to cargo pants.  They were never any good for carrying cargo–that is, for sticking anything in those pockets adhered to the legs of the pants.  But they were baggy; yes, they were baggy, and I think that was the whole appeal of cargo pants: they were so baggy, that they could hide the shape of the pudgy pear who was wearing them. Same with all the “loose-fit” pants.  What does that mean, “loose-fit”?  Same with “full-cut”.  It means, “Cut for the big fat ass of Americans.”

I was recently in Rome for a while.  Roman men do not wear “full-cut” or “loose-fit jeans.  No, they wear regular jeans, which are cut to fit the body of a regular man-type person.  And they look good, like regular men. Men’s clothing should men fit It’s not right to make a man look like a slob.

Slacks should descend only to the level of the shoes; they should not be bunched up at the bottom of the leg, as if one were wearing a size too long.  And the new “skinny” look?  Ridiculous, stick-figure grotesquery turning the legs into twigs.

The behind should not be like a deflated balloon.  Slacks should fit the curves of the buttocks.  The brand Bonobos has it about right, as far as the back of the pants has it about right; but they get the front all wrong. It’s what’s up front that counts, as the old cigarette commercial said.

Why hide our natural shape?  Birds don’t try to hide their plumage, and what we have there is our own natural plumage.  Why do we stand upright?  One reason is to be able to carry things in our hands.  Another is to help us run faster.  Another, to appear larger and intimidating to our enemies.  Forgotten is another main reason: genital display.  It’s a  mating advantage:  Look what I got!   We should be proud of that. Further, comfort would indicate that the loose, baggy look is not only obnoxious, but uncomfortable.  It simply does not feel good to have your genitals swinging freely, ready to be squished the moment you sit down or cross your legs.

Bring back the codpiece!  The codpiece will cozy your genitals, while providing a display unit worthy of a real man.  It’s comfy, and practical: protective, yet proud.  The codpiece is a family-jewel-box display case, and a sign that we will not be intimidated into hiding ourselves behind swaths of useless baggy fabric.

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September 4th, 2014 Comments off

I have a generally sunny view of life.  Today gives me pause.

This morning I was sitting outside on our back porch drinking my coffee.  It was a lovely, sunny morning, a few fair-weather clouds in the sky, the birds chirping happily in the background, some of them quarelleling at the birdfeeder; a perfectly normal summer morning.

Suddenly, there was a “screek, screek, screek” call in the air, and all the birds seemed to hide in the bushes, huddling down under the nearest overhanging branch.  I looked up into the sky, and there was a hawk, circling, circling above.

That afternoon, I was watching the hummingbirds.  We think of hummers as gentle creature, but they are viscious with each other; each bird has to have complete control of the feeder; although several could feed at a time, only one must have control, and will abandon any ability to feed itself, in order to chase the others away.

A while later, the mallard duck appeared.  It is a female mallard.  A few years ago, a mating couple appeared, to pluck the new sprouts from the earth beneath our feeder.  Then they had four little chicks, cute little yellow fluff balls.  After a week, there were only two little fluff balls.  Then there were no more fluff balls  .

Always, the drake, the male, had come with the hen, the female.  And as she ate, he stood guard, watching for danger.  Ireally anthropomorphic.

Then last year, the drake didn’t appear.  Now it’s just the female.  So, I wonder what happened to the female.  I wonder what happened to the chicks.

In a large planting pot near our porch, a Carolina Wren had built a nest…both the male and female had made trip after trip, dragging twigs and grass to create a veritable cave.  Then t..he wren laid an egg.  The egg lies there still, but the wren disappeared long ago, probably scared off by the sounds of our human activity.

This evening, I was agakn sitting on my porch (I do a lot of sitting, where I do my writing), and the flock of mourning doves, who like to forage beneath and in my feeders, suddenly took off in a loud flapping of wings, and the next moment, WHAM a brown shape shot down from the sky, grabbed something in the corner of the yard, and in an instant flew off.

This is a really quiet corner of South Carolina.  And violent.