Archive for July 2012

2012-07 Latino Atheists Meeting

We had a meeting of the Latino Atheists more than a week ago. The monthly writeup is late.

The roster was myself, Jose, Martha, Jaime, Luz (Jaime’s wife), Lee, Victoria, Mike and Elyse (I think that is how it is spelled) and Franco and Margaret. Pablo showed up much later as well.

The new people were Mike and Elyse and Lee. Lee is from Taiwan. I arrived late, so I did not hear her story.

I have seen this trend that we get some new people at a meeting, and then they never come back. At least it’s not just Jose, Jaime and me complaining about low attendance.

A big chunk of the meeting was Franco giving prophecies of doom about the environment, pollution and energy. He says that climate change and pollution have passed the point of no return. He says that people put too much faith in technological solutions because those solutions may be unfeasable or have aftereffects and/or byproducts that people ignore. He said that we need to consume less. Early in his speech, Luz asked him if he thinks it is a contradiction to talk about pollution if he uses plastic, objects that are made of plastic (like a cel phone) or drive a car. He insisted that what he does makes no difference. Margaret says that they use as little plastic as possible, almost zero.

But I think that Luz asked a valid question. If you do not consume less, then how can you persuade others to consume less? And if you are worried about the environment, is it rational to wait for everybody else to change? Also: I do not think that consuming less and technological solutions are mutually exclusive. And I think that we should also push efficiency, but I do not have a solution to the issue of the rebound effect. This phenomenon is that when you make a process more efficient then people do more of it. So making energy generation more efficient may result in higher consumption.

Jose also gave us a video assignment: Arithmetic, Population and Energy  by Dr. Albert Bartlett, professor emeritus at the physics department at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

A few people came late, and Jose said that when people come late they should tell a joke. I think we should get rid of this rule. Few peopel can be funny on demand. Someone told us a joke, and they had to point out the punch line after they gave it.

As for Mike and Elyse: Mike did more of the talking. Mike and Jose both said that we should not shy away from the term atheist, which I agree with. Many people avoid that term since “atheist” has a bad image in this country. But by avoiding using the term, they are not doing anything to change the negative image. Mike also talked about his Polish grandmother’s deathbed de-conversion. It is interesting that even the non-Latinos at the meeting are from Catholic ethnicities.

This may be the last meeting with Martha for a while. She is being transferred to a small town in Iroquois County, Illinois. All the towns in Iroquois County are small towns. Illinois is the only state with an Iroquois County.

One theme that I am seeing come up at the Latino Atheists meeting (as well as other atheist/skeptic meetups in general) is the isolation that many female atheists/skeptics can feel, particularly minorities. It first came to my attention when Black Nonbelievers of Chicago brought Sikivu Hutchinson here for a lecture.

There was some discussion about whether or not to use Atheist Nexus for communication, or to use Facebook. Someone pointed out that there are ways to make stuff really really private on Facebook. Personally I do not like Facebook, and they have a habit of changing privacy settings and default settings without telling people.

Next month, Jose will be in DC. I will be in Austin that month, so depending on when the meeting is one of us will not be there. So there may not be a monthly write-up.

Image from Wikipedia page for Mexican state of Baja California

‘Mad Money’ Typo for 2012-07-26

There is a typo on the RSS Feed entry for the 2012-07-26 episode of Mad Money:

The Dow soared 212 points today.  Time to jump in or will the rally fade?  Then, rail giant CSX has lost steam in the past year, but could it be coming around a turn?  Cramer’s getting a read on everthing from autos to ag to caol as he finds out if it’s time to get aboard when he talks to the CEO.  Plus, investors bid up shares of healthcare products maker Covidien after reporting strong sales of its medical devices.  Could it continue to make a healthy run higher?  Don’t miss Jim’s earnings exclusive.

I just noticed there is a typo on the entry for 2012-07-25:

The Dow rallied at the open and maintained a healthy distance from the rest of the averages today,  cloing up 59 points after strong earnings buoyed the index.  Cramer’s pointing out some market dogs who are finally having their day.  Plus, after getting its wings clipped today – is there an oportunity to buy BWLD?  Cramer speaks to the CEO.  Then is there stregth returning to tech?  Cramer finds out when he talks to BRCM after its earnings beat.  And VZ vs. T – find out which telco Cramer is calling up.

2012-07-21 ‘Mad Money’ RSS Typos

There were a couple of typos on the Mad Money RSS feed this past week.

First off, here is the entry for 2012-07-17:

The Dow closed up two of the past three trading sessions, ending today up 78 points.  Cramer helps you direct to money making opportunities.  Then, could investing in FUN be fun?  And, extra, extra, read all about it!  Jim teaches you how to read between the liensa nd find investing ideas in the headlines.  Plus, the Homer Simpson Portfolio?  Cramer goes off teh charts to see if the technicals of DPZ, MCD and DNKN are looking tasty.

The “liensa nd” bit is actually two typos in one.

Here is the entry for 2012-07-19:

The Dow closed up 35 points today.  Investors took SNA for a ride after reporting, sending the stock of this mechanic’s favorite to a fresh all-time high.  Cramer finds out from its CEO if it has the tools to continue to tune up your portfolio.  Then, Facebook was a dud, but tonight meet the IPO studs.  Plus, tech’s fallen off its highs of the year, but after some upbeat earnigns – is it coming back in fashion?  Jim gest a read from chipmaker XLNX’s CEO.

Fitness Journey 008

So for the first two semesters I went to TKD three times a week. The workouts were pretty intense: lots of blocks and punches up and down the gym, kicks in place, calisthenics. A few times we did jumping kicks and punches down the length of the gym.

I would also walk across campus to the gym and get there about 30 minutes early. I would go through the stretching routine before class. I got pretty flexible pretty fast.

I do not remember if I did any exercise on the off days.

During breaks I would do kicks, punches and blocks in the basement.

Image from Wikipedia


2012-07-19 Blog Title

New blog title: Clinging To The Emptiness

More Useless Technology

I have another “Technology Is Useless” post.

Kara Swisher of AllThingsD was on Gavin Newsom’s show in a segment called “There’s a lot of big minds chasing small ideas“.

She says everything in the Valley is overhyped. Then why are you there? She talks about how a lot of reporters hyped the Facebook IPO, then turned on it when it went south and they all said they saw it coming. She tried to chastise them. I say “tried” because she has no credibility. She also said Facebook is a significant company.  ‘Nuff said.

I have seen interviews with her where she has said that people outside the Valley just don’t “get it”. Maybe she doesn’t get it. She is the stereotypical Hillbilly With A Graduate Degree that we see all over the Valley. Lots of people east of the Sierra Nevada could have told you that most of what goes on in the Valley is stupid.

But she commits another fallacy. She calls the self-driven car a “big idea”. She says the Google glasses are a “big idea”. Just because something is a “big idea” does not mean it will work (self-driving car) or that it has any practical value (Google glasses). She says that we will see technology embedded in people. I will never allow anyone to embed anything in me. Anyone who has a tattoo is a slave. Why would I want anything embedded? Just because something is a “big idea” does not mean it is any good.

Plus, if someone can make a car that drives itself, can’t they figure out how to make an engine that runs on something other than petroleum?

Another example of useless technology that I heard about recently is a $6400 toilet. I heard about it on the New York Times Bits Tech Talk podcast.

Maybe I am not smart enough to be an engineer. But I think that it is pretty obvious that climate change is getting to be a big deal, and we need to get more energy sources to replace oil. Why are people working on fancy toilets and self-driving cars? Rich people and engineers working on anything other than peak oil and climate change are the technology version of Paul Krugman’s Very Serious People. If they are all so smart, why are they focusing on things that are trivial?

Ivory throne of Ivan IV of Russia from Wikipedia


Romney’s Tenure At Bain and Offshoring

There is a lot of chatter about Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. He claimed he left in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympics. SEC filings say he was still in charge until 2002. The Obama campaign is making an issue out of it because a disproportionate amount of the Bain layoffs happened during this period.

Republicans are trying to say that Romney was not there during this period. One stooge said Romney retired “retroactively”. Whatever.

But even if Romney was not active in Bain Capital affairs while the offshoring was going full-bore, I think it can still be made to stick to Romney. He was a founder of Bain Capital. He probably hired all or most of the people who ran it from 1999 to 2002. He set the tone and the culture. He set the “best practices”. The people at Bain Capital who thought that offshoring was acceptable were Romney’s lieutenants.

He may not have been directly responsible for the 1999-2002 layoffs, but he is not off the hook either.


Archive of Cramer ‘Mad Money’ RSS Typos

Here are some posts that were in the “Drafts” folder here at Everyday Freethought.

From 2010-04-29:

I do not own a television, but I do watch a few TV shows on my PC. I download Mad Money every night and watch it with Kaffeine.

I have noticed that the text in the rss feed frequently has some misspelled words. Here are some examples (emphasis added):

From the episode on 2010-04-23: The Dow was up 70 today, seeing its 8th straight week of gains.  Cramer tells you hwo to ride this wave, and lets you in on the rules Wall Street plays by, so you can cash in on this rally.

From the episode on 2010-04-28, a double: The Dow gained 53 points today after yesterday’s tumble.  Cramer shwos you how to avoid the reach of Europe’s woes.  And, how CPNO cold be your pipeline to profits.  Plus, is MSO a good thing?  And don’t miss Jim’s radical take on the HPQ/PALM deal.


Here is the feed entry for the 2010-05-03 episode of “Mad Money“, typos highlighted:

The Dow was up 143 poinnts today – Still scared of fin reg? Cramer explains why its time to get back to business and stop worrying about Washington. Plus, stick around all week for the biggest beats that could have you profiting well into 2010. And a lesson that could help you put your best foot forward.


From the rss feed entry for the episode for 2010-05-05, typos highlighted:

The Dow dropped 60 points after a volatile day.  Jim shows you where to find shelter from the European drama.  Plus, with financial regulation sweeping fear across the sector, Cramer’s go teh plays that you can bank on.  And, drilling for profits with CLB’s CEO.


From the rss feed entry for the episode for 2010-05-12, typos highlighted:

Cramer’s headed to California for cable’s biggest show, the NCTA – he’s got a star studded guest list looking at the future of business with teh CEOs of CMCSA, DECK, CLNE and HLF.


There have not been any Mad Money RSS feed typos in a while. I wonder if my posts got them to get their act together. They went a few weeks without any mistakes. But there is one in the entry for 2010-06-04:

The DOW tubeled 324 points today, but don’t believe the negative headlines on European worries and jobs.  Cramer’s here to keep your portfolio in the brightspot with a defensive Game Plan for next week.  Plus, deep impact?  Don’t miss Cramer’s one-on-one with Boone Pickens on $400 oil and the potential for natural gas in the wake of the Gulf oil crisis.


For the past few months there have not been that many typos on the “Mad Money” RSS feed.  But it looks like they have fallen off the wagon.

The post for 2010-11-22 let us know that there is bounty under heaven with a double typo:

The Dow lost 25 points today after hedge funds were raided – were they the only ones? Abd, panic at the Cisco? Jim offers an unlikely alternative. Plus, get out your frying pan! Mad Money heats up with Danney Meyer and his hospitality index, find out how he’s killing it with kindness.

The kicker here is that the guest was Danny Meyer, not Danney Meyer.

Here is another one from 2010-11-18:

The Dow was up 173 points today. Does the market seem all smoke and mirrors? Cramer’s pulling back the curtain to reveal what’s really happening. CRM’s been soaring, but will this stock keep riding sky high or is it about to come back to down to earth? Get your earnings edge in Cramer’s exclusive with’s CEO. Plus, could a power shift in washington finally propel natural gas profits into your portfolio? Cramer finds out from RRC’s CEO.


Today the “Mad Money” RSS feed gives us a typo, and then gives us the correction. Perhaps the feed is becoming self-aware. Is Cramer a vanguard of the Singularity? The error and the correction are both highlighted:

The market fought back from triple-digit declines today, could the US be regaining it’s footing? Cramer accentuates the positives in the market. Plus, is the RTH the gift that keeps on giving? Cramer decks his mall with ways to profit from retail. And foreign fashionista? Cramer goes one-on-one with the CEO of WRC on its international expansion.


There is a small typo in today’s Mad Money RSS feed.

TThe Dow dropped 7 points today.  Cramer shows you what he’ll be watching next week in his Game Plan.  And, could SWK help retool your portfolio?  Plus, a tech spec that could license you to make mad $$$.  And, $2,000 gold?  AEM’s CEO thinks it’s possible.



Fitness Journey 007

So I transferred to UIUC. Two other guys who lived on the same floor at WIU also transferred. They were brothers who were from a town close to Macomb. They were the only two people I knew.

We got together on our first Saturday night on campus and started looking around. We saw a flier in the union for a couple of taekwondo clubs. One of the brothers learned some TKD from a South Korean student at WIU. He said, “This martial arts stuff is cool. We should do it.”

There were fliers for two clubs. One started on Tuesday, and one started on Thursday. We decided to go to the one that started on Tuesday since that would be one more day of training.

So we went to the first one. There were about 100 people there for their first day of martial arts. One of the instructors said that only 1 out of every 100 people who starts martial arts makes it to first degree black belt.

The class started with some stretches. The last part of the “warm-up” was 20 or 25 sit-ups. I don’t remember the number. I do remember that I barely made it. I thought to myself, “I am 20 years old. I am supposed to be in the best shape of my life, and I can barely do 25 sit-ups. Not good.”

I resolved to be the one person who made it to first degree.

Even though I had done some running before this, for a long time in some ways had I considered this moment to be the start of my fitness journey. I thought I was in shape, and I realized I was not.

It turns out that three of us made it to first degree. One made it at the semi-annual black belt test after me.

Image from Wikipedia

Fewer Free Episodes of ‘Enterprise’ Are Online

There used to be 89 out of 97 episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise available on the official Star Trek site. Now there are only 40.

I have not kept up with their news feed, so I do not know when or why this happened. I looked at the Star Trek Twitter feed, and I did not see an announcement. I was hoping they would put the remaining 8 episodes online. and that eventually they would put Deep Space Nine and Voyager online for free as well.

I guess that is not going to happen. They own the copyright and they can do what they want, but I am within my rights to say this stinks. I sat through the ads. I kept up my end of the bargain.

They still have all of the original series online. I wonder why that one stays online for free. I noticed that they did not put on the remastered episodes.

Now I will watch what is left while I can.

Image from Memory Alpha, copyright owned by CBS, assumed allowed under Fair Use.