Political Manipulation in Gas Prices?

7:56 am - Jason G. - Politics

According to a new Gallup poll, 42% of respondents agreed with the statement that the Bush administration “deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall’s elections.” Fifty-three percent of those surveyed did not believe the conspiracy theory; 5% said they had no opinion.


There are several points in the article that the President doesn’t have the power to manipulate markets like that… and the oil companies wouldn’t drive down the price to lower their own profits. Decent points…

But what if the manipulators were those on Wall Street and in the futures markets? Well, that’s what the US Senate recently decided. The big boys on Wall Street got the idea to scare up prices for their own profits, and the spike is nicely over before the lead-up to the November elections so the Republicans can keep the legislature. The Republicans stay in power, maybe even pass another tax cut that pays back their friends on Wall Street…

Wacky conspiracy theory? Maybe…


One Million Dollars

7:08 am - Jason G. - Commentary

Here’s a quick Forbes blurb about Sheldon Adelson, who took his casino company public last year and subsequently increased his net worth by $23 million per day for the year — close to $1 million per hour.  Damn.

Another Hour, Another Million – Forbes.com



6:59 am - Jason G. - Politics, Quotes

In politics, absurdity is not a handicap.

-Napoleon Bonaparte


“Developmental Admits”

7:21 am - Jason G. - Politics

From Duke News: Brodhead Discusses … Developmental Admits

At the council meeting, Brodhead was also asked about a new book by a Wall Street Journal reporter detailing elite universities’ use of developmental admits – the practice of admitting students of wealthy families who could potentially donate money. The book includes information on the practice at Duke dating back to when Terry Sanford was president.

Brodhead defended the early use of developmental admits in helping Duke build the resources to achieve the “outrageous ambitions” that Sanford set. Its current use is more restricted, but has not been eliminated.

“It would be naïve to say that any university should pay no attention to a family’s ability to help the university,” Brodhead said. “The question is how much, what is the weight we will give this? We don’t want this to be a dominant factor.”

A family’s ability to donate to Duke is a “plus factor” used in admissions; others include alumni legacies, faculty children, minorities, internationals, athletes and residents of North and South Carolina.


Vintage Charts for Wine Years

7:34 am - Jason G. - Commentary

In case you were wondering if that bottle of 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon you picked up at the store was produced during a good year for wine making, you can check one of the varoius Vintage Charts.


Coup? What Coup? Starbucks is Open.

7:54 am - Jason G. - Politics

Ok, it’s a little disturbing to me to read this news from the day after the Thailand Coup:

After visiting the local Starbucks (we have 3 to choose from actually within 5 minutes, and all of which were open) we walked by and noticed that McDonalds was already back and working to serve its next billionth customer.

The Stalwart

What’s going on here people?  A general takes control of your country by force and no one even cares? Go ahead and change the leader of our country at the barrel of a gun, run propaganda on TV, and dispose of the constitution.  It’s all fine as long as I have my Starbucks.
And I thought people in the US were apathetic towards current events.


Outmatched in Durham

7:22 am - Jason G. - Politics, Rant

The number of well written blogs supporting Duke’s Lacross Players or simply attacking Durham DA Mike Nifong and the Durham PD is impressive. Some of the blogs: Recall Nifong, Durham in Wonderland, Lie Stoppers, Friends of Duke University, John in Carolina, the Duke Basketball Report, and even a fairly prominent Libertarian (ok, that last one isn’t a blog). I’m sure you could uncover many more if you tried.

They all have (mostly) valid points, but seem to be missing one undeniable truth. The Durham police and city government is just like any other place — there are some shady goings on, some inappropriate behavior, and even political grandstanding. This isn’t anything new. (Note, there are also plenty of people trying to do the right thing.)

What is new is that the PD, DA, et al, in Durham are having a hard time going toe to toe with some very smart, well educated, well informed, well funded Duke Alumni and friends of Duke. The spotlight shines a lot brighter when confronted by really smart people who are used to playing on a much bigger playing field than the local political scene in Durham. (more…)


Cryptonomicon Sequels?

7:02 am - Jason G. - Books

From a Neal Stephenson interview from back in August, 1999:

Originally, I planned to have storylines in Cryptonomicon set in the present, past, and future, but I pulled out the one set a couple of generations in the future – more the kind of stuff that people are accustomed to seeing from me. Though it previously looked as though it was going to be kind of sparse, now it was looking like it could stand on its own, but it would take a lot more time and work. And yet the WWII and present-day timelines were done, and it seemed crazy to hold up the entire thing any longer for the future one to get done, so we could bring that out first. So we decided to take this approach. Besides, the book was already at the limits of size! The future scenario will be a later book.

I have two sequels to Cryptonomicon planned, but they’re in different time lines. I’m trying not to give the idea that it’s a tightly locked together set of books. They’re supposed to work as stand-alones. There are always a few strange little corners of the story that may not make sense outside of the context of the full series, but 99% of it can stand on its own reasonably well, I hope. It’s kind of a wink to the science fiction readers out there: ‘See, it really is a science fiction book!’


Airline Bans Dell, Apple Laptops

7:07 am - Jason G. - Humor, Technology

Virgin Atlantic Bans Dell, Apple Laptops:

Virgin is the third airline to make such restrictions on the recently-exploding laptops, following fellow international carriers Korean Air air and Qantas. Citing the incident of an exploding IBM at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) today, it wouldn’t be surprising if more airlines adapt similar policies. Until new thin-lithium technologies make exploding batteries a thing of the past, jetsetters might have to secede their laptop rights in favor of general safety.


Hydrogen Technology Applications

7:18 am - Jason G. - Technology

How would you like to replace your oxy-acetelene torch with one that burns water (in the form of gas called HHO gas)?

Check out Hydrogen Technology Applications. Their aparent breakthrough is a more sophisticated way to separate the hydrogen and oxygen with electrolysis that uses less energy. They also are working on a HHO powered automobiles or hybrid gas/HHO cars.

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” – Chinese Proverb

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