Thursday, September 30, 2004

Score One for Kerry

In a political climate that seems to be polarizing the nation, I found the first Kerry/Bush debate to be a welcome civil exchange of ideas. The debate in which both candidates emphasized the need to play out a strong end game that brings democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have to mark this first round as a win for Kerry. I believe Kerry did a good job showing a resolution to bring the international community back into the process of rebuilding Iraq. Kerry also seems to understand certain issues like the blatantly obvious fact that the development of tactical nuclear weapons by the US is adding to the problems of nuclear proliferation. The great Rumsfeld who showed the world shock and awe does not understand that when he uses one of his precious little tactical nukes to take out a bunker, he will open a whole can of worms about when and where to use nuclear arms. The tactical nuke debate is more likely to lead to leveled cities than any other current threat.

Backing away from the shrill, I think Kerry is doing a godd job showing people how the opposition parties can and should participate in the political climate during a time of war. Basically, Kerry has participated in the debate throughout the build up to the Iraq War, but has supported the president and the troops when needed. I think the Republicans have done themselves a great deservice by trying to portray this type of participation in the political process as "wishy-washyness"

This first debate has punched holes in the argument that we have to stay the course to bring Democracy to Iraq. For that matter, one could argue that a political defeat of an incumbant would actually do a great job showing the third world a process of peaceful transition of power during the infancy of democracies in the Islamic world.

Of course, I am still worried about Kerry. Like so many modern politicians, I am left wondering if he is authentic or just reading lines in the way that the polls show will be most convincing to undecided voters like myself. Even worse, I fear that Kerry might escalate tensions in the first years of his presidency to show his firm resolution.

Getting back to the shrill sidelines of the debate, it looks like Utah Valley will be part of the Michael Moore show. Mr. Moore's corpulence will be appearing at UVSC on 10/20...The UVSC council wasted their entire budget on this event...so there are student protests. There appears to be a company in Draper that produced something called farenHYPE 9/11 that will refute Moores documentary. In other words, the shrill will meet the shrill and Utah Valley will light up in protest. It will be a sight.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

y-favicon

Below is the favicon for this site. I will use the same one for descmath.


Favicon

Apparently the network outage yesterday was the result of a gas leak in the building next to the NOC. The power company disconnected the power to the NOC and they were not allowed to turn on the generators. I am glad I did call the host. I figure that they were having an extremely frustrating day.

Anyway, when looking at my blogs to assess the damage, I was surprised to see the large number of errors generated by browsers looking for favicon.ico. These were all calling the error page...so I was wasting bandwidth on a file people were not finding. Figuring it is better to waste the bandwidth delivering a favicon.ico than an error page, I've started adding icons to sites. Here's a few:

Crass Commercial United Nations Association of Utah Park City Park City, Utah

I am making the icons with a thirty day trial of IconCoolEditor that I got from download.com. If I ever get any contracts, I should buy this program...does a good job.

Apparently, if you just create a 16x16 image in the ico format and save it as favicon.ico, web browser will pick that up and use it in various displays. I have the problem that many of my sites are in shared get ups...so I need to save the files with a different name and put the code <link rel="shortcut icon" href="/crass.ico" type="image/x-icon" /> in the head of the page.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Site Down

They just came back. My web sites were down all last night and for most of the day today. They just came back.

I had been hoping that I would come across a local web host or local business that I respected that I could tag along with and move the host. As for now it is with some anonymous hosting firm in Illinois.

Anyway, I was getting ready to hit "publish" on a long lament about the travails of web hosting and worries about the age of my last back up. Quite frankly, I know that I will someday be punished by the Gods for doing my development in production...but I do not have a stable living condition and cannot set up a local network for development.

Anyway, I will do the daily spam harvest and perform a back up. I hope the site stays up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Halloween Candy

Among my various failed crass commercial...I decided that for Halloween my goal was to suggest that people buy and dispense expensive natural candies for trick or treaters in lieue of the cheap sugar bombs that usually fill Halloween baskets. So, I made a Halloween page that featured MotherNature.com prominently...they sell bulk natural candy.

For three years straight the page failed to make a single sale. Well, other than the sales to myself.

The poor kids, they hate knocking at my door...they either get fruit leather, gummy bears (au natural) or Fig Newmans (yuck!). Actually what happens is I get greedy and decide to keep the expensive natural snacks for myself, then give the kids garbage from the candy aisle of the local store.

I toned down the health food message...but I wish people would use Halloween to support their local health food store.

Anyway, I just looked at my web stats. I noticed a large number of people coming into my site looking for mother nature costumes. That's odd. Everyone knows that mother nature runs around naked (I dream about her all the time.) Why would you need a costume. It's more like absense of a costume...uh, errr, um?

Actually, the whole idea of buying Halloween costumes seem strange to me. It seems to me that a costume is more of a process than a product and that the best costumes occur when you march into the thrift store and define your own process. In the case of mother nature, you would want to supplement the trip to the thrift store with one to the garden. A good mother nature costume would include a garland of leaves for the hair...and a few plants and flowers. (knowing the name of the plants and flowers would help. NOTE, if you choose to wear shrubbery, you will probably get undo attention from dork in the data department dressed as a Knight that Says Ne. Of course he would be deathly afraid of the word IT ... The word IT reminds him that he is really a data dink living in the office basement. The only product that mother nature would require would be a hand buzzer—She is electrifying, you know.

For that matter, if you are wanting to show the dark side of nature. I think dressing up as Hurricane Ivan would be appropriate this year. For that you would need a large dark grey sheet and a spray bottle filled with water. The hardest part of the costume would be to fill a bag will aluminum scraps that look like they came from a trailer park. If you are really mean, you might do and internet search for "redneck photo" and include them in your bag of trailer park pieces. You would then spend the party wandering around the party showing people what you picked up on your journey through the states...and threaten to douse people with your spray bottle. Since Hurricane Ivan visited Cuba...cigars would be appropriate. Hmmm, the hand buzzer would work for this costume too.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Finding the y-intercept

The link counter i put on this page tells me that many people accessing this site want to know how to find the y-intercept. This seems stange to me. Basically, the y-intercept is the value of a function at 0. The value of y = mx + c at x = 0 is y = m0 + c or y = c.

On my math site, I just started a page called Finding the y-intercept. Please leave a comment on this blog or on my forum if my page fails to answer the reason why you just did a search on y-intercept.

There are deeper reasons why I called this blog yintercept. I will get into those later. I just wanted to get a page up to help answer the questions of people hitting this site.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Employee Risk

I added the idea of employee shares to my rants about the free market. The problem with both options and employee stock plans is that they transfer risks onto employees with not real political power. The biggest danger of employee ownership is that it creates an opportunity for insiders owning the stock to really ream the employees.

The alternative, it seems to me, would be a financial instrument that recognizes that employees already have a great deal of risk invested in their employer...employee shares would be held by the company treasury. The employees would receive dividends and can vote for the board.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tax Cuts

Apparently Congress is now reporting a projected budget deficit of 2.9 trillion dollars.

The NY Times recently reported that big government blossomed during Bush's reign. Salaries in the private sector were stagnant. The salary gains reported by the BLS were entirely the result of increased government pay.

Kowald Design has a nice graph showing budget deficits. The site fails to mention that, although the US had budget surplus, it is not stick to its budget and there was not a single year in the Clinton Administration when the US deficit actually dropped (See US Deficit). The fact that Clinton did not actually reduce the deficit despite the fact that every single star in the universe was aligned for economic growth is as bad a legacy as any of our last 50 years of presidents.

Mr. Bush, if you are listening, a tax cut ain't a tax cut unless there is corresponding cut in government spending. A tax cut funded by deficits is just a transfer of money between generations. The current $7.3 trillion dollar deficit is a disgrace.

Not surprising, the Democrats answer to the projected deficit is to ream America with a tax cut that will make our heads spin (Americans, bend over and prepare to give up your dreams!!!!!!!)

Apparently, the current crop of Republicans are simply happy that they are getting richer than ever.

On the bright side, many countries in the third world are realizing what American forgot--ie that the government is inherently inept. So when it is time for the American to drop into third world status, the billionaires created by Bush will be able to transfer their fortunes out of the US into a robust world economy (assuming that they transfer their money out of the US before hyper inflation or other economic crash wipes them out).

Political Ad

This is a good political ad:



A person running for Salt Lake County Auditor is taking jabs at the waste of taxpayer's money symbolized by perks like a $600 a month gas allowance. Yeah, I would will vote against SUVs.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Dimple Dell Park

I took Coco on a walk through Dimple Dell Park. We walked from 1300 South through two culverts.

To my surpise, the park ends up at the Sandy Center Trax Stop. If you are in Salt Lake City and are looking for a fun way to spend a day without driving, you can take Trax to the end of the line and walk up Dimple Dell (east toward the wasatch). The walk gives you a good idea of what the Salt Lake Valley floor looked like before suburbanification. Although it may not be the most scenic area of Utah, it is an interesting walk to goes through culverts, etc..

I also walked throug the park and took several shots of Sandy Civic Center area. The walk was about a six mile round trip...Walking through the culverts in the dark is a trip.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Parley's Hollow

As part of the Salt Lake Parks series, I added a set of pictures for Parley's Hollow...a popular off leash area for dogs in Salt Lake City.

In the disappointing news category. The big sale I made was reversed. So I didn't cross the elusive $1000 a month mark as I had hoped. The web site stats are odd. Last month shows page views jumped from 384,989 to 643,526 (250 thousand more page views). The number of sessions dropped from 88583 to 80958.

I was watching the page views during the month and thinking people might actually like what I've been doing with the community sites. The session count pretty much dispells that myth. It looks like robots like the program...people don't. Usage is dropping steadily.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

First of the Month

I watched TV last night. Arnie is getting better at reading his lines. The Republican National Convention was a very interesting contrast between the governator and the two bubbling bushy-twins from Yale. Politics makes interesting bedfellows. It was actually a refreshing combination to include trained speakers with you typically awkward humans.

Unfortunately, I suspect I would be tossed into that category of economic girlie men. It seems to me that the biggest problems we face are with big business. To much economic power is concentrated in too few hands.

In this regard, I've been reading Corporation Nation by Charles Derber. Unfortunately, most of the literature on the problems with big business is coming from the leftest camp. The left answers all problems with greater centralization of power in political hands.

The problem is that our current problems arise largely from the centralization of economic power that occurred during the New Deal. Derber correctly points out that the people who are getting the hand outs during the current privatization process are the same group that worked to build the beast. The prime example is Enron...a company so rife with political connections that they were able to create a business that externalized their risks on unwitting third parties...the state and the people.

Derber is too blind to see that it is the collusion between government and business that led to the inequities that he wants to use for more centralization of political power.

Quite frankly, we are not going to come up with a solution the current inequities in corporate America as long as the debate is dominated by twisted arguments coming from the left.

Speaking of economics. The first of the month is money grubbing time. It looks like my various money grubbing efforts scaped past the thousand dollar mark. My costs are about $200 a month. My little business might soon break the illusive minimum wage mark.

Discouragingly though...most of the money came through a single mysterious transaction. Someone bought 256 boxes of business cards from the Vista Print ad. The commission was $376. I suspect that transaction will get reversed. The other big winner for the month was Sears Home Center. They seem to reverse about 1 in 5 transactions. It takes several weeks for reversals to show up...so my celebrations are premature.

Mount Olympus

This just in: Little brown dogs do not like to walk on exposed desert trails in the heat of the day.

Thinking that things might be cooling down, I took Coco on a afternoon walk up the Mount Olympus trail. The sign at the bottom of the trail said that dogs were not allowed in the Twin Peak Wilderness...the trail leads into the Mount Olympus Wilderness... Hmmmmm??? I've seen dogs on the trail. Anyway, I thought I would see how Coco performed on a steep exposed trail in the heat of the day.

She did not like it. The poor little thing was actually whimpering while we walked. She drank the quart of water I had for her and started into the reserves before we hit the sign for the wilderness area. This picture was taken before turning around.