The National Debt

Our current national debt is projected to be $13.8 Trillion by the end of 2010.Here’s how it breaks down in our nation’s history:

  1. 1792 to 2000 = 5.7 Trillion —– this is how much debt we incurred building the nation, winning two world wars, walking the moon, defeating communism, etc.
  2. 2000 to 2008 = 4.3 Trillion —– this is what we paid for (imho) Bush’s overreaction to 911, his wars and his increases in domestic spending needed to butter people up so they would support his wars.
  3. 2009 to 2010 = 3.8 Trillion —- yes, Obama in two years has almost matched what Bush did in eight in terms of fiscal irresponsibility.
  4. Another note, since (ok, this is a cheap shot, but can’t resist) the Democrats took over congress in 2006, our national debt has increased by 5.3 trillion. Yes, those idiots nearly matched our entire debt building for between 1792 and 2000, and (imho) accomplished NOTHING GOOD with it.
  5. Also, since 2000 we have increased our total national debt over 2.5 fold!!!! 

Play with the numbers yourself here:

Will Graduates!!

OK, it’s only kindergarten, but still pretty cool.  Because we adopted Will when he was 4, and he was in an orphanage his whole life, he was really behind the other kids on language and other skills.  In January we had a meeting with his teacher, who warned us that she might have to hold him back.  Well, with the help of one-on-one tutoring, he progressed just enough to move on.  This way he avoids having to be in the same class with Anna, who I think is already ahead of him as far as academics goes.

A New Hobby?

I’m trying to do a build-it-yourself desktop.  I’ve got the components, and now just have to build the case (or cry uncle and buy a case) and get things going.   My goal was to have all the pieces cost less than $500, and I managed it with a little to spare.  I’ll list my components for the computer-o-philes who might stumble by.  I’ll start with Windows XP (got a copy for $25 on the way), but my set-up is OK for Windows 7 64 bit when I decide to take the plunge.Here’s what I had to buy:

 Processor:  I picked last year’s quad-core from AMD, the Phenom x4  9850 — it’s 2.5 GHz.  I actually looked up performance benchmarks, and this was better than the Core 2 Duo’s by Intel.  Not as slick as the i7 or Intel Quads, but not nearly as expensive, either.

Motherboard:  This is apparently the key to the whole thing.  You of course have to get one that is compatible to the processor socket set.  Mine has an integrated LAN card and sound card (8-channel).  I also have six built-in USB ports plus the other usuals.Memory:  I got 4 GB RAM (2 x 2 GB) on sale.  Turns out that with Windows XP I’ll only be able to access >3 GB due to address limitations, but this be enough and set me up to get Windows 7 when I decide to.Video Card:  I chose an NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 “low profile” card with 1 GB internal memory.  According to benchmarks, it is five time better than the graphics card I’m currently using in terms of performance.Discs:  I’ll have a CD/DVD Burner and a 500 GB Hard drive.I also had to get a power supply and a CPU fan.   I already have a wireless network adapter card.

I’ll let you know how things work out.  I want to make a custom-case that fits on the back of my monitor, so I have a home-made all-in-one, but we’ll see if I stick to that or not.   I’m anxious to have a fast machine that actually meets recommendations for my games and can do all my work-stuff, but will also be portable (I got everything low profile so I can make a case only 2 - 3 inches thick).  This will be a great machine for under $500 if I can pull it off.

Working at Home Pitfalls

OK, this morning I’m paying bills - I do the books for my wife’s vet clinic.  Checks come three per page, so if you print three at a time it’s easy.  However, we have eight people who get paychecks, so I had one left over.  So I set up a page with one check taped to the top, and then a sheet of three checks, and pay four bills.  My son and daughter are upstairs eating breakfast, but are making noise.  I click to print the checks and get the next window, but Will is hollering that “I’m done, I’m done”.  I had to go upstairs and settle things.  When I got back downstairs, I had lost my place.  I was in fact at the critical point where I tell Quickbooks that my first page only has one check on it, but I forgot this and just hit the print button.  So only two of my four checks print properly, and I have 2/3rds of a sheet left over.  So I tape this partial sheet on a piece of printer paper and try again.  I just keep getting paper jams, till the printer finally eats the two checks.   So now I decide to pay another bill so I have three checks to print, and can just feed in a sheet of three.  Unfortunately, the old print job is still in the print buffer, so it prints wrong.  I had to do it again.   So a process that would have taken two mouse clicks to finish had I not been interrupted took 45 minutes of hair-pulling.  I can see why working at home is discouraged sometimes.

No matter how bad your valentine’s day was …

… it could have been worse.A man is planning to propose to his girlfriend on valentines day, but a few days before finds out that she’s been cheating on him.  He gets the truth out, with the help of two unscrupulous radio DJs.

If you’re the “stop atthe car wreck” kind of person, check this out.  It’s about 15 minutes, but unbelievably cruel (and oddly funny, if you don’t mind a big helping of ‘cruel’ with your “funny”).

Check this out, PLEASE.

Sorry to keep harping on this issue, but the more I read about it, the more worried I get.  Here’s an article that explains “raw” versus “adjusted” temperature data really well:

Here’s a key graph from that article:

Temperature Data

More Climate Stuff

If you rely on ‘yahoo’ for your news, you’ll have pretty much missed out on “climate-gate”.  This involves leaked emails from the climate research center that the UN relies on for its global warming projections.  Some highlights:

  1.  Lack of Peer Review:  A few of the key players in global warming science intimidated journals into not publishing articles that contradicted the “consensus” on global warming.  They also tended to review each other’s papers, so the whole “peer review” and “consensus” is basically an incestuous group of well funded climate scientists.
  2. No Freedom of Information:  Apparently, people are supposed to have access to raw data and modeling information upon request.  The emails indicate efforts to deny access to outside scientists who wanted to check the numbers.  It turns out that the lab threw out all their raw temperature data, so only the “value added” numbers are available now.
  3. Data Massaging.  Data were fudged or massaged to frame them as rising temperatures.  Here’s an example quote that is showing up everywhere:

“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith to hide the decline [of temperatures]”

If you are wondering what is being hidden, here is a graph from showing it.  (BTW,”Mike” is Dr. Michael Mann from Penn State, another reason to be ashamed of my school).  THE STUFF IN RED IS WHAT WAS “HIDDEN”.  Note that this doesn’t include the past few years of the decline (see Temperature Trends below).

Temperature Data

AAHA - halloween time

The “AAHA” refers to Companion Pet Care, which just passed it’s AAHA re certification inspection with flying colors.  Yay, and thanks to all!

Here’s the first 10/31 pic, with the kiddies posing in front of the jack-o-lanters I helped them make.  Anna’s is a monkey, Will’s is supposed to be a doggie, but I got tired.  We’re supposed to go trick or treating this afternoon.


Early Halloween

The kiddies had a Halloween party at school today.  It involved a “haunted hallway”, snacks, crafts, games, and a magic show.  Will was spiderman and Anna was, of course, a monkey.  Here are a few pics; one with daddy as a banana, one (sorry it’s in B/W) with Anna’s preschool, one with Will’s kindergarten teacher, and one with them doing crafts.

Anna, Will, BabaAnna and Will with Preschool teacherWill and his K-garden teachercraft table

It’s raining cats and dogs here, and Billie is on call again.  I’m getting back to doing the bookkeeping for the clinic; I did quarterly taxes last week, and worked up a 2010 budget.  It really keeps me busy.

Here’s one with just Anna.hwf5.jpg

Bye for now.

Temperature Trends

I just can’t resist.  Here’s a graph of temperature trends over the last several years by  The y-axis is the first derivative, i.e. annual temperature rise in degrees per year.  The climate models predict a rise of 0.2 degrees per year (the red line).  Actual data is given in various colors based on the source:

Temperature Trends

The point of this presentation is that people can say outrageous things about climate by “cherry-picking” the data.  It strikes me how looking at fifteen years shows a dramatic deviation from model predictions.  The senate better get that climate bill passed quick, before more evidence against a “global warming tipping point” comes in.


I am not a “global warming skeptic”, I am a “tipping-point skeptic“, meaning that while temperatures have risen the past century, and human activity may play a role in this, we are not in danger of reaching a “tipping point” where temperatures will rise faster and faster unless we take drastic action.  I think we should take reasonable measures to reduce emissions and create alternative energy sources but I do not think it is constructive to insist on idiotic goals such as “reducing carbon emissions to 1960 levels in the next 20 years”.

In particular, I believe Dr. Roy Spencer, who suggests that current climate models are likely to overestimate carbon dioxide effects on temperature because they do not properly incorporate natural climate control (negative feedback) effects such as precipitation.  I also believe Bjørn Lomborg, who suggests that the costs involved in trying to prevent temperature rise will be far greater than the cost of adapting to them (if they occur).

Check out their work here:

(PS, Amazon is not paying me for any sales associated with my posting these links).