September 6, 2008
October 1, 2007
June 11, 2006
Here’s a fun one.
CNN’s Money lists a sampling of gas prices around the world. Locally (Dallas) we’ve been hovering around $2.80 +/- a quarter for a few months. Meantime, you could spend north of $6 a gallon in Europe, or just 12 cents a gallon in Caracas.
What’s more interesting is Money’s commentary:
‘”The price of oil is pretty much the same around the world,” said Dr. Frederic Murphy of Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “The difference between gasoline prices is determined by a country’s taxes or inefficient national petroleum monopoly.”
Murphy points out that previous oil crunches were precipitated by a devalued U.S. dollar, which oil trades in, and from embargoes. But neither of those events occurred before this one. “This crisis is pure market forces,” said Murphy.’
In other words, take away how much you pay in taxes for a gallon of gas, and the rest is all driven by speculation and profit-taking in the oil futures market.
Gives you a nice warm feeling, doesn’t it?
November 24, 2004
I once worked R&D management in a fairly large organization that did a lot of data processing. The head of operations was infatuated with the idea of “Executive Information Systems”, and kept wanting ever more “distilled down” and “rolled up” reports.
At one point, I suggested (tongue in cheek) that what he really needed was an icon on his desktop that was either Green, Yellow or Red, to indicate “all systems go”, “problems”, and “update your resume”. Much to my chagrin, he liked the idea.
He’d have loved something like this. Ambient’s newest
toy “information system”, The Dashboard apparently boils down whatever information you find critical (unread e-mail, weather forecast, how much time the pool boy spends in your house, etc.) to drive a set of three rockin’ and rollin’ analog needle gauges wirelessly.
That way, if there’s a problem, you can spend some quality time trying to figure out what critical factor made your gauge flatline before you actually deal with it. Maybe with any luck, it’ll just be your P.A. causing interference by running the microwave…
July 24, 2004
The other day, I was reading an article or post from someone who was going on about how television tended to change our view of the world for the worse, increasing our level of fear and loathing about how bad things are, and in general increasing our sense of victimhood, etc.
Now, I’ll grant you that I buy the idea that if you focus on bad stuff (of any variety), you’re going to find more bad stuff. As Rich Bandler says, “Look for problems, and you WILL find them.”
The specific example that was used was USA Network’s “defective detective” show, Monk. A couple of recent episodes were cited, one where a couple kidnapped an elderly lady in order to steal a valuable antique chair, and another where a tow-truck driver was shot to hide evidence of another crime in the vehicle being towed.
The point being made was that these aren’t common things, and we shouldn’t be blithely accepting that they are as part of the premise of watching what is really largely a comedy.
I wish I could remember where I saw this—I’d be happy to put up a link. Even though I now think it completely missed the point…
May 13, 2004
Apparently network TV isn’t the only thing getting dimmer—surface sunlight has decreased 10% – 37% since the 1950’s (NY Times, gotta register to see it).
I can’t decide whether to throw away my suntan lotion or my tinfoil hat…
April 20, 2004
As a public service, here’s our Important Safety Tip of the Day.
Do NOT microwave peanut butter.
At least not in the jar…
One of my offspring labors under the misapprehension that peanut butter needs to be refrigerated. This of course results in peanut butter that cannot be spread on ordinary mortal bread without ripping, shredding and tearing it. It also makes it damn difficult to get the last of it out of the bottom of the jar.
Being struck by a stray thought (and nearly knocked comatose, apparently) a bit ago while attempting to do just that, I figured “Hey! Let’s just pop it in the microwave and nuke it for a few seconds!” It works for over-frozen ice cream, why not peanut butter?
Well, I’ll tell you why not…
April 2, 2004
Data emerging from several recent studies on black, green, and oolong tea √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú each one derived from the same plant species, camellia senensis √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú consistently demonstrate that tea may indeed give your diet a boost. The findings have sparked great interest, so here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions, courtesy of the Tea Association of Canada:
April 2, 2004
Marylyn Monroe famed amongst other things for her love of Tea once said that, √¢‚Ç¨≈ìWorld Peace would be with us if politicians drank tea at meetings√¢‚Ç¨¬ù √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú or something to that effect. And she was very true in her words, very true indeed. A cup of Tea does wanders to all that drink it.
Did you know that people in Britain and the Republic of Ireland consume the most tea per person in the world? I always thought it was Japan or China but then their cups are much smaller than our cups! It is also interesting to note that more than 2,000,000,000 cups of tea are drunk every day throughout the world! That is a gigantic amount of cups and I can but imagine how many I contribute to that figure, about one I might guess! In weight terms, that equals out to 2 and a half million tones of Tea being drunk throughout the world every year or from a British point of view just under 6lb√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s per person per year is consumed!
April 2, 2004
(NC)√¢‚Ç¨‚ÄùTea news continues to stir the pot in Canada. Records show we drink as many as 7 billion cups of tea each year √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú and those who study it as a dietary factor are now telling us not to put on the brakes. Both black tea and green tea contain antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids, which are thought to be important cancer fighting agents. This, combined with its potential benefits against heart disease √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú plus zero calories and comparatively low levels of caffeine √¢‚Ç¨‚Äú is a sound reason to treat oneself to one or more cups of tea every day.
And while those who drink the 7 billion cups don’t seem to need advice, still connoisseurs insist on preparation precision to make the “tea treat” even better. Here, courtesy of the Tea Association of Canada, is a 5-step process for the perfect cup of tea: