Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Carpe Momentum

Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing and hope. Our citizens deserve this, and so much more, so why not join forces and finally get the job done and get it done right? ...

I am asking all citizens to embrace this renewal of the American spirit. I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big and bold and daring things for our country. I am asking everyone watching tonight to seize this moment. Believe in yourselves. Believe in your future. And believe, once more, in America.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States.

-- President Donald J Trump in his first address to a joint session of Congress, 28 February 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

Nothing Ever Changes

The general condition of the pensions operating under the laws of Illinois may be correctly described as one of insolvency. That is to say, viewed from the standpoint of sound finance and of having the necessary reserves to carry out the payment laws, there are immense deficiencies in the existing funds. In short, the financial provisions are entirely inadequate for paying the stipulated pensions when due.

-- Report of Illinois Pension Laws Commission, by Illinois Pension Laws Commission, George Ellsworth Hooker (1917), p 272

Friday, February 24, 2017

Top Three Killers

Drivers in cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs put a record 3.22 trillion miles on the nation's roads last year, up 2.8 percent from 3.1 trillion miles in 2015.

It's the fifth consecutive year of increased miles driven on public roads and highways, reflecting a strengthening economy, but it also "underscores the demands facing American's roads and bridges," according to a statement from the Federal Highway Administration, "and reaffirms calls for greater investment in surface transportation infrastructure." ....

Another downside to more traffic is more crashes. The National Safety Council says traffic fatalities increased 6 percent last year and topped 40,000 for the first time since 2007, but only part of that sharp increase can be attributed to the less than 3 percent growth in vehicle miles traveled. What's even more troubling is that the rate of fatal crashes is increasing at a time when vehicles mechanically are becoming safer. Experts cite speed, distracted driving, and alcohol as the top three killers on the road.

-- David Schaper of National Public Radio, "Record Number Of Miles Driven In U.S. Last Year" (21 February 2017)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

ACL And Meniscus

On a personal note, the MRI of my right knee shows:
  1. Complete ACL tear.
  2. Oblique tear of posterior horn of medial meniscus articulating with inferior articulating surface.
  3. Small suprapatellar bursa effusion.
  4. Mild prepatellar bursitis.
This is the result of landing a jump-turning kick while sparring in Tae Kwon Do class the evening of Friday 20 January.  The surgeon is giving it another month to settle down before I can get on his calendar for ACL Reconstruction surgery.  As luck would have it, this is the same guy who gave me good results for left shoulder surgery in February 2002.  Post-surgery recovery time for the ACL is 9 months to become fully active, and 12 months to return to the activity that caused the injury.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Simpler The Trap

The more cunning a man is, the less he suspects that he will be caught in a simple thing.  The more cunning a man is, the simpler the trap he must be caught in.

-- Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881), Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher, Crime and Punishment (1866)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One Man's Ways

One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best.

-- Jane Austen (1775 - 1817), English novelist, Persuasion (1818), Ch. 13

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hospital Parking Lots

Here locally, people are shooting up in hospital parking lots in case they overdose.

-- Steve Moran, a deputy coroner in Jefferson County, KY, which includes Louisville.  In a span of 32 hours last week, emergency workers in Louisville responded to almost two calls per hour for overdose patients, New York Times, 14 February 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Read Them Openly

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves.  To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence.  And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms.  Young things ought to want to grow.  But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development.  When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so.  Now that I am fifty I read them openly.  When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

-- C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963), Irish author and scholar of medieval literature, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children" (1952), in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (1967), p. 25

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

World-Size Robot

Broadly speaking, the Internet of Things has three parts. There are the sensors that collect data about us and our environment: smart thermostats, street and highway sensors, and those ubiquitous smartphones with their motion sensors and GPS location receivers. Then there are the "smarts" that figure out what the data means and what to do about it. This includes all the computer processors on these devices and -- increasingly -- in the cloud, as well as the memory that stores all of this information. And finally, there are the actuators that affect our environment. The point of a smart thermostat isn't to record the temperature; it's to control the furnace and the air conditioner. Driverless cars collect data about the road and the environment to steer themselves safely to their destinations.

You can think of the sensors as the eyes and ears of the Internet. You can think of the actuators as the hands and feet of the Internet. And you can think of the stuff in the middle as the brain. We are building an Internet that senses, thinks, and acts.

This is the classic definition of a robot. We're building a world-size robot, and we don't even realize it.

-- Bruce Schneier (1963-), American cryptographer, computer security professional, privacy specialist, and writer, New York Magazine, "Security and the Internet of Things" January 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


In 2016, we saw how technology could be used to polarize ourselves to extreme levels.  The most important thing we could do is figure out how to use technology to depolarize the nation.

-- Sam Altman, who runs the start-up incubator Y Combinator, on how Silicon Valley has been galvanized into greater political participation in recent weeks, New York Times, 7 February 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

All Possess Alike

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation.  All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.  It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.  For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

-- George Washington (1732 - 1799), first President of the United States, Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island (1790)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Shameless Enough

If you're shameless enough, you can sell anything.

--  Ryan Holiday, a former marketer for American Apparel, who has remade himself as a spokesman for the ancient philosophy of Stoicism, New York Times, 8 December 2016

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels.  For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

-- H. L. Mencken, as quoted by Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) in the Congressional Record for 17 July 2001

Friday, February 03, 2017

In My Grill

Since Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go.  They come up -- "When is your next town hall?"  And believe me, it's not to give positive input.

-- Representative Dave Brat (R-VA), at a meeting of conservative groups in Hanover, VA, 28 January 2017. Brat made no public appearances in his district in 2016

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Speeding Train

[T]he speeding train of one’s own mortality, against the slow apprenticeship and blossoming of art.

-- Andre Dubus III (1959-), American novelist, in his Introduction to the Kindle edition of Thomas Williams's "The Hair of Harold Roux"

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The First Requirement

Teach the child to respect that which is not respectable and you teach the child the first requirement of slavery: submission to unjust authority.

-- Gerald Leonard "Gerry" Spence (born 8 January 1929), American lawyer and writer, Give Me Liberty! (1998) Ch. 14 : The Magical Weapon : Withholding Permission to Be Defeated, p. 160