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The Syndicate

 Papers please... Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Wednesday, January 09 2008 @ 05:11 PM PST
 Viewed:  944 times  
PoliticsI'm not going to get into the whole debate about whether or not the border restrictions that have come online in the past year or so are worthwhile - that's a rant for another day, but in the meantime, I'd like to ask the government to be a little more careful when picking the names of their programs.

For example, there's the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Spelled out it sounds fine, but the government, as is their wont, tends to refer to this program by its acronym: WHTI.

As of January 23, 2007 all people, including infants, entering the United States on an airplane from Mexico (among other places) are required to have a passport according to the rules set forth by WHITEY, I mean, WHTI.

 nutz Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Thursday, December 27 2007 @ 06:36 AM PST
 Viewed:  981 times  
TechnologyRight now I'm writing this on a laptop I borrowed from work (because the battery on mine sucks) while sitting in the back seat of my sister's truck doing 75 MPH through Maryland.

Technology is da nutz.

read more (135 words) 1 comments
Most Recent Post: 01/21 02:30PM by kimberlylarson

 Fun with calendars Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Friday, December 07 2007 @ 05:24 PM PST
 Viewed:  1043 times  
KitschOne of the more interesting sets of problems when writing Internet software is working with dates and times.

Pretty quickly, you learn to account for different time zones, the dateline and the mishmash of rules for daylight savings. Much less frequently, but more interestingly, differing calendars come into play.

In that vein, here are a couple of fun facts:

A European living in China in 1911 would have celebrated New Year's Eve on December 18th.

In 1918, in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the month of February was fifteen days long.

In Sweden in 1712, February was 30 days long.

When George Washington was born, the date was February 11, 1731. It is now February 22, 1732.

When Alaska was purchased from Russia, the date for the US delegation was October 18th, 1867. The date for the Russian delegation was October 7th, 1867.

Needless to say, the transition from Julian to Gregorian calendars was a bit jarring - all the more so for being done over the course of almost 350 years.

 A brief foray... Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Monday, October 22 2007 @ 05:59 AM PDT
 Viewed:  1022 times  
Music...into pop music.

Dear Wyclef,

I don't give a rat's ass how catchy and well produced your music is - sing if you must, but do the world a favor and never talk again. Your pseudo-gangster jaw flapping has taken something with the potential to be outstanding and reduced it to merely another top40 piece of crap on more than one occasion.

Yes, that one too. I don't care how many records you sold.

"One time" this, you fucking hack.

 Candidate news Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Friday, October 05 2007 @ 12:31 AM PDT
 Viewed:  1089 times  
PoliticsI apologize if things around here have taken a decidedly political turn in the past week, but in the course of working on the Terror Scoreboard site, I've been reading a hell of a lot of political stories, and most of them don't fit the theme over there.

Here are three candidate stories from today that stood out:
Obama Dropped Flag Pin in War Statement
Clinton Assails Bush's 'War On Science'
Finally, not so much a story as an interesting page: God-o-Meter

It's interesting to me how similar the overall format of that God-o-Meter site is to my Terror Scoreboard site.

 Dumb it down, people. Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Thursday, October 04 2007 @ 02:05 AM PDT
 Viewed:  1083 times  
KitschHere's an interesting policy memo from the newspaper world.

The Flesch-Kincaid bit piqued my curiosity, so I ran a few of my longer pieces through it. It seems that I consistently write at a ninth grade level (9.2-9.7), which seems about right to me - I generally like clarity, but the mouth-breathers of the world are not exactly my audience.

 Follow the money Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Tuesday, October 02 2007 @ 02:27 PM PDT
 Viewed:  1021 times  
PoliticsDefense bill provides home for earmarks

"Boeing says the aircraft manufacturing project pumps about $1 billion annually into the state's economy. Officials with Vought said that 650 jobs in Texas were directly tied to continued production of the jet."

$1,000,000,000 per year

650 jobs

That works out to $1,538,461.54 per worker, per year.

We know, of course, that the manufacturing workers aren't making nearly this much - let's be generous and say that each of them makes $100,000 a year. Let's also be generous and say that it takes a year to complete each aircraft (in reality this funding only extends the program by a total of three years.) Ten years at $100,000 per year is a $1,000,000. If we just gave each of the 650 workers a million bucks, they would presumably be happier and we'd save $1.75 billion dollars on the deal.

 Rage against the dying of the light Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Friday, September 28 2007 @ 05:48 PM PDT
 Viewed:  1085 times  
PoliticsAn Interesting article on Slate about Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS News/Viacom and how the lawsuit itself may be the most important piece of investigative journalism he ever does.

I fully expect to see this on bookshelves in a couple years. I hear both Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward might be available for a consultation.

Come to think of it, Dustin Hoffman, with a little makeup, could look a lot like Dan Rather.

Most Recent Post: 10/02 02:48AM by robinette

 Terror scoreboard Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Friday, September 28 2007 @ 04:29 PM PDT
 Viewed:  875 times  
PoliticsI just officially launched a new site:

There's a pretty good chance it's going to be a reasonably time consuming endeavor, given that the six articles linked so far were culled from a highly targeted list that was a few hundred articles long. Hopefully it'll get to the point where, like fark or slashdot, a network of humans will do most of the culling for me.

In any case, it should be interesting.

 I told you to get out Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version 
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Tuesday, September 25 2007 @ 01:59 PM PDT
 Viewed:  1129 times  
KitschMore xkcd in my head.

Contrary to what is said in the third frame, the days do NOT synch up with workday schedules. Mondays are brutal.

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