August 27th, 2009

The dogs and people

Bear with me, maybe a bit of a long intro. My back yard faces a small park “lint” running in parallel to the freeway behind it. My office is at the back of my house in the former garage. This morning, I was working in my office. As it is a bit hot I was not wearing shoes and no shirt. Suddenly I hear panicky dog barking, not just barking, this was sounding “not good”. So first I ignore, I mean, sometimes dogs get in a little “upset”. After about a minute I decide to get up and have a peek over the fence, and I see 3 people surrounding what must obviously be fighting dogs (hard to see with the trees). One is slapping and I hear him scream from the top of his lungs “LET GO!!!! LET GO!!!! LET GO!!!!”. I watch for a short while to assess if they are or getting in control. Meanwhile, I see my neighbor (woman) also peeking over her fence and having a sort of “how awful isn’t it?” attitude. After about a minute I decide the situation is not improving. I rush back in, lace my shoes, jump in a shirt and walk over. There is no opening in my fence so I walk 3 houses down, cross, a 3 back again. All in all it must have been 4 minutes absolute minimum from the moment I hear the first signs of the fight. One of the guys is waving as I walk up “run, run please!” To make a long story short, I help contain the very aggressive, but thoroughly lined up Shefford Terrier (sp), who had up till that moment the other dogs breast firmly in its mouth. The wounded dog, that is unleashed, falls down, so I make sure the two other guys stay with it, while I keep the aggressor down by firmly grabbing it’s neck with two hands and pushing basically into the asphalt. The young woman walking it was in tears but kept her cool and I learn she is from the dog rescue nearby and has already called for help. Their jeep arrives soon, they pick up the victim dog to care for at the recue and lock away their own aggressor, that is still completely in red-eye mode in a cage in the jeep. Things settle, move on.

Now why am I writing this all down. I was stunned to lean this:

1) while we were containing the aggresor, a guy with two small dogs walks up from the other side, watches for a few, then decides to move on, passing us. Yes, he did go over the grass, probably keeping like 20 feet distance. WTF?????? This dog was going crazy and the other one was in serious distress and he passes with his f-ing dogs? It didn’t happen but it could have spurred another round of aggression. I even shouted at him he better turn back, but NOOOOOOO.

2) another, somewhat older man comes up with his dog too and simply stops and watches.

3) the neighbor did nothing. I know she saw and heard it, as we exchanged one or two words.

4) as I walked back after the event I see my other neighbors sitting in two garden chairs, 40-something-ers. As I said, I was was triggered while sitting inside and let me assure you the dogs howling and people screaming was NOT good.

Both neighbors, while nice are of the type they are annoyed if some fluff from trees in the park blow to their garden.

My point is: WTF is wrong with these people??

disclaimer: I do not particularly like dogs in general and holding down this winding biting-mouth-on-four-legs did not make me feel very comfortable, but that is hardly the point.

August 21st, 2009

The books

As a father of high-school and college attending kids, I know all to well that text book pricing is something between exorbitant and theft. And while “we” tend to think the teachers and professors like to press some extra money from students (read: usually parents) that is not the case, with the notable exception of professors demanding a student to buy a textbook written by themselves and published through a nice publishing contract. But there is shift and the wave seems to gain traction and about bloody time. CNN:

But the key buy-in has been from teachers who make the assignments and who, in my college days, could not care less how much the textbooks cost. What’s changed?

“There has been a mind shift,” co-founder Eric Frank told Wired.com. A tipping point came a couple of years ago when faculty began to consider the financial burden on students because many of them (Frank estimates a third) didn’t bother to get the textbook at all.Perhaps more to the point, open-source textbooks — which are Creative Commons-licensed to allow unencumbered non-commercial use — make it possible to graft supporting material to the curriculum, rather than the other way around.

“Faculty are notorious for wanting to do things their way,” said Frank. “But they always had to cut the foot to fit the shoe. Now, with open source, they can cut the shoe to fit the foot.”

There is virtually no friction involved. A professor can register on Flat World’s site and let students know that the book is available there. No cooperation from a school district or college administration is required.

“Every single class is a fiefdom, and they are kings and queens of their domain,” Frank jokes.

Now lets hope and pray this will catch on for high school too.

August 20th, 2009

This makes the 6th or 8th time?

POOF, its gone!

Ed’s home page was updated Thu, 20 Aug, 2009 00:15:56 PST

As I post, the chat room is gone, the forum is still there, and the Lone Ranger is still kicking bad guys bottoms.

I’ll have to go and find my last offer I made Ed the last time he was selling out. $7500 is way too much, and I’ll bet Ed hasn’t refiled his corporation status in Nevada.

FYI – The last time Ed closed up shop was just last month, July 6th.

August 20th, 2009

Is Obama a fool or does he just think we’re stupid?

I was just listening to Trudy Lieberman (CJR) on this weeks CounterSpin from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) talk about Obama’s “health care reform.” Kinda depressing to hear her point out that Obama has shifted the conversation away from the “universal health care” that he promised during the campaign to “health insurance reform.” All the more depressing since I just read what Glen Greenwald wrote yesterday about White House strategy and our nation’s health care debate (hint – Obama is giving us the shaft). Greenwald also had a short OpEd piece in the New York Times yesterday. Greenwald seems to be spending too much time looking at the under pinnings of late – he better be careful or he’ll start sounding like Chomsky. Unfortunately, all failed to mention campaign finance reform (or a Constitutional amendment to take free speech rights away from corporations).

Update: Paul Krugman takes on Obama’s unwillingness to be progressive in his column this week, “Obama‚Äôs Trust Problem.”

August 15th, 2009

The isotopes

About 80% of the world production of medical isotopes (used for diagnostic purposes and cancer treatment) comes from two specialized nuclear reactors. One, called Chalk River in Canada, is good for close to 50%, the other one is Petten, located in the North-Western part of the Netherlands. Chalk River closed operations for repairs and maintenance last May, but it seems things are not going well. Latest is that the reactor will be rebooted March 1st 2010.

Petten was build about 40 years ago and is running on its last legs. It is scheduled to be closed for repairs March 1st 2010 because of problems in the cooling system (leaks and bubbles). That issue has it already running on what we call here a “brook-permit”. It’s out of spec, but they can use it for the time being. Only one tiny issue in Canada and the world supply will fall from just over 50% of capacity now to about 20%. That will seriously hurt treatment options, so there is pressure to keep Petten open a little bit longer.

Your next diagnose or treatment might come from this tiny country.

August 7th, 2009

The flu

The risk level for Mexican flu has been downgraded in my country to the level of normal, seasonal flu, and tamiflu will no longer be supplied. And here are the statistics:

  • give tamiflu to 200 otherwise healthy flu patients and it will prevent one case of serious complications, at the same time creating serious side effects in 20-30.
  • The symptoms are relatively mild and comparable with a normal seasonal flu, in wich 1-3% of the patients develop complications, usually pneumonia.
  • those patients developing complications are almost always already in a risk-group (i.e. age, a long disease, etc) and those get a flu shot for free always (note: I get one every year too).
  • all hospitals are prepared for a huge influx of flu patients.

Now, I am not calling BS on Mexican flu, but this sure puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Oh and for all of you out there, behave eh? Wash hands often, and sneeze in your arm, NOT in your hand, let alone in the open.

August 3rd, 2009

Just a bigfoot kinda day for birfoons

Once upon a time, a Bigfoot sold a document to Ed hale.

:

Ed hid it until he could find someone reputable to present it in court.

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And then Ed got mentioned on Countdown.

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