27 June 2008

What do animals think of humans?

What do animals think of humans?

"Hey, look, the truck's stopping."
"Did they take us to the park this time?"
"No -- it's a fire. Another horrible fire."
"What the hell is wrong with these people?"

At the New Yorker via kottke.org

First hang over ever today. Scary on lots of different levels.

More immediate result of drinking:

16 June 2008

Public Defender Blogs - a collection of links

Long entires focused on specific clients - great material, looks like a collection of entries for a book really.

More frequently updated than many others, a little on the lighter side of things, but good articles and very topical.

Existing as a Public Defender
Original material with plenty of reasonable commentary.

LA Criminal Defender
LA and California specific generally, but plenty of original material and updated daily.

Criminal Defense Blog
Good stuff, though infrequently updated.

Public Defender Stuff
As they put it, "Indigent defense news, delivered fresh daily" - good aggregation of materials.

I'm a PD
Younger PD with plenty of insights and original material.

Crim Prof Blog
Not PD specific, but frequently updated and good commentary and comments by the community (usually).

Capital Defense Weekly's Blog
Here's their list of "what we're reading:"
A Public Defender
Arbitrary & Capricious
Blue Jersey
Capital Defense Network
C&J News
Crime & Consequences
Crim Law @ SSRN
IAVA blog
Innocence Project Daily
Justice Gambit
Kenn Lammer's Crim Law
Pardon Power
PD Stuff
Reason: Hit & Run
Sent.Law & Policy
Sex Crimes
Simple Justice
Speaking Freely
Stand Down
UnderDog Blog
Volokh Conspiracy


The cheapest ways to save on gas - Don't spill the boiling coffee cup!

Smart Spending (decent collection of personal finance articles) has a great article on learning to drive in order to save money:

Pretend you've got a hot copy of coffee sitting in your lap.

Seriously, this is the best description of how you should drive to get better mileage - slow starts and stops, not too much acceleration.

11 June 2008

Phylum husks for your constipation - Summary of the Atkin’s diet first phase

Summary of the Atkin’s diet first phase - This sounds like crap!

What Can You Eat?

  • · Phylum husks for your constipation, hell yeah, great.
  • · Any Meats & Eggs –lots
  • · Cheese – a few ounces
  • · SaladNo sugar dressings, like oil & vinegar
  • · Vegetables - <>
    • Bamboo Shoots, bok choy, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collard Greens, Kale, Leeks, lettuces, peppers, Scallions, Spaghetti Sprouts, Squash, Spinach, Tomato, String Beans, Kohlrabi, Summer Squash, Water Chestnuts, Wax Beans, Zucchini
    • Yeah, carrots aren’t even on there.
  • Seasonings w/o sugar
  • Oils – which are useless without starches
  • 20 grams of carbohydrate/day – no, not cool, it comes from the shitty vegetables
  • Water – Loads of it

What Can’t You Eat?

  • fruit
  • bread
  • pasta
  • grains
  • starchy vegetables
  • nuts/seeds/legumes
  • dairy (except cheese, cream, and butter)
  • Booze – you have to reach a heightened level of zen Atkin for that (after the intro phase crap).

Get all excited because you should have lost 10 pounds.

This isn’t supposed to be long term, which sounds like a built in rational for giving the fuck up.

1 gallon of milk takes: (a) 2 gallons of water or (b) 2000 gallons of water?

New Scientist magazine had a great article in its Feb. 25 issue on "The Parched Planet," and the likelihood that ever heavier water use is pushing Earth toward famine.

The amount of water needed to produce various agricultural products:

Coffee, 2 lbs. -- 5,200 gallons
Quarter-pounder -- 2,900 gallons
Milk, 1 gallon -- 2,000 gallons
Cotton t-shirt -- 1,800 gallons
Cheese, 2 lbs. -- 1,300 gallons
Rice, 2 lbs. -- 1,300 gallons
Sugar, 2 lbs. -- 750 gallons
Wheat, 2 lbs. -- 250 gallons

Contrary info on some bullshit (hee hee) dairy funded site, moomilk.com:

qTo make a gallon of milk, a cow needs to drink how much water?

ATo make 9 gallons of milk a day, a cow must drink 18 gallons of fresh, clean water (2 gallons of water for every gallon of milk).

So which is it, 2
or 2000 gallons of water for 1 gallon of milk? I think I'll go with New Scientist over moomilk.com, but that's just me. And I'm a Jew, so I guess that means I might be the anti-Christ or something so I'm probably just tryign to stop gentiles from drinking milk so when the Rapture arrives it will be easier to beat up the left behind folks. But it's not true! Most my friends would be left behind, with me, and it's going to be a totally great party with all the uptight folks busy ascending or something.

Yes, this is what happens when my office mates get a coffee machine and we debate the price of milk. We're talking about 50 gallons of water for a teaspoon of milk here folks! Sure, most goes back in the water cycle, but that is a cycle that can't keep up with the production of cow piss --> irrigation --> evaporation --> rain --> portion to fresh water --> portion to my toilet or mouth or shower!

10 June 2008

Kottke: The banana = "the atheist's nightmare"

Man, I love this video. It's some guy explaining how the banana -- "the atheist's nightmare" -- so perfectly fits in the human hand and peels so easily that it must have been made by God**. Kirk Cameron listens intently. I can't wait for the followup video where he explains why watermelons don't have handles and what God was thinking when he built the coconut.

** Not that this guy cares or whatever, but the modern banana is a cultivated fruit...i.e. pressured by humans to, oh what's the word...evolve into its present form. And other varieties of bananas are smaller or larger and differently shaped. Some wild bananas have large hard seeds. I could go on....

GREAT Wired article on the basics of fuel efficiency!

This article has nearly all the basic info you need to get more from your gallons without the bullshit most folks try to shill (no magnets, magic fluids, "fill up in the morning" crap - too many damn myths out there these days!).

Get More Than 40 Miles Per Gallon Without a Hybrid

From Wired How-To Wiki

Photo: mag3737 via Flickr

Simple tricks to boost your fuel efficiency by 10 to 40 percent:

Hypermiling 101:

  1. Go easy on the accelerator and follow the speed limit. It's a no brainer, but how many people actually drive 55 mph? Fuel economy drops like a stone above 60 mph, so slow down. You'll bump your fuel economy by 7 to 23 percent.
  2. Take all the junk out of your trunk. Why are you hauling those tire chains in July? When's the last time you used those golf clubs? That big brush guard with the million-candlepower lights may look cool, but it's killing your fuel economy. Every 100 pounds of stuff you're needlessly hauling around drops your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent. Ditch it and it'll rise accordingly. While you're at it, lose the roof rack and gain another 5 percent. Keep the spare though. You'll need that.
  3. Get a tune-up and use the lightest viscosity oil your engine will live with. A well-tuned engine is an efficient engine, and lighter weight oil reduces drag. Can't remember the last time you had a tune-up? Getting one could raise your fuel economy as much as 10 percent.
  4. Keep your tires properly inflated. The softer the tire, the greater the rolling resistance - and the more gas you burn. Being 10 pounds under pressure can cut fuel efficiency by 4 percent. Pump those babies up!
  5. Don't idle. How many miles per gallon do you get sitting in the drive through? Zero, that's how many. If you're going to be stationary for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine.

Advanced hypermiling: OK, you've mastered the basics. Now you're ready for the big time.

  1. Buy a fuel economy gauge. Nothing will turn you into a hypermiler faster than seeing, in real time, exactly how much fuel you're sucking down. If your car was built after 1995, fuel economy computers like ScanGauge are plug-and-play. Older cars may require a vacuum gauge, but they're pretty easy to install.
  2. Coast. Hyper-milers suggest turning off the engine and coasting downhill. Be warned, though - automakers and some consumer groups say you could lose the power brakes and steering, making the car hard to turn and stop.
  3. Inflate tires to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. The pressure recommended by the automaker is a compromise between fuel efficiency, handling and comfort. If you want maximum efficiency, go for the maximum pressure. The ride quality will suffer, but you'll get better mileage. Here, too, critics have a warning - over-inflating your tires could lead to premature wear and poor handling.
  4. Lay off the brakes. In traffic, maintain a slow creep instead of accelerating and braking. Ignore the horns and middle-finger salutes.
  5. Draft. This one's controversial because it's dangerous. But we trust you: Inch up behind, say, an 18-wheeler, and kill the engine as you enter its slipstream (you'll feel it). You're drafting now, getting pulled along by the truck's gas instead of your own.

Want even better fuel economy?

Check outthe long list of tips at ecomodder.com or the hypermiling primer at cleanmpg.com.

09 June 2008

My motorcycle stolen - fucked up by strangers - recovered

The Honda Shadow VT500c was stolen a couple weeks ago after lending it to a friend in SF for the summer.

Had to go to SF to file the police report. ($10 in gas) Why they can't take your driver's license and VIN over the phone is beyond me.

Gave up on recovering it immediately. Here's to lowered expectations. Wasn't even angry really.

Get a call about a week later - "This is officer Yamamotoyamo (also my favorite brand of tea) - we found your bike and we're going to to tow it to Auto Return."

NO! Auto Return and the tow will cost $250 plus more each night it stays. I call back and try to get there before my 20 minutes are up - actually took some arm twisting and sweet talking the cop and some speedy driving. $75 down the drain from 3 hours of missed work, $15 in gas.

The ignition and gas cap were drilled out, side battery cover missing, mirror missing, ignition wires cut, other electronics screwed with. Now I'm a little angry - the messed up my bike! Clearly not going to drive the bike away, calling the tow folks and chatting with nice ladies who live nearby who tell me it's been sitting there nearly all week. Construction workers nearby weren't feeling like talking (language barrier or not snitches - no problem either way).

$60 for a tow from The Bike Guy - Steve - who's awesome and happened to be very nearby. Side note: AAA doesn't cover your motorcycle for a tow. CC Rider is another good option.

Dave at O'Hanlon's (the only place to have your 80's and 90's Honda motorcyle worked on) tells me we're lucky that Honda still stocks the missing parts and he gives me a deal on storing the bike - yes, I'm that pitiful sounding over the phone apparently. Looks like they did about $300-350 of damage. I'll also have a new rear tire and brake put on - another $150 that it needed anyway.

All in all, I'm out a bit more than $500 from the theft - really lame. The bike is now being repaired and is bound for Craigslist after this summer.

Theft is lame - but I got it back and my friend is going to help with the cost of the repairs and whatnot. The world keeps spinning, I'm still getting married, everything's beautiful and amazing nearly all the time still. Meh, moving on.

Action for the Wedding - get rid of old crap, make Megan happy!

I seem to have some gravitational field (beyond my obesity) which attracts useful stuff (at best), other people's crap, and random shit. (Feeling descriptive and fecal today, give me a break).

Over the past three years "She Who Must Be Obeyed" has campaigned for getting rid of much of my stuff - and over the past three weekends she's been winning. The dude at Getrichslowly is also getting rid of his accumulation of crapola.

I've been freecycling and craigslisting stuff consistently - and with the wedding coming up there's a newfound need for space: our wedding supplies are growing a small city in the back room where my stuff formerly resided. The wedding supplies are like the college students and hipsters invading the Mission and my crappy old computer parts, Airzooka, slingshot, clothes (from fatter and skinnier days), Zune, boxes of papers, a store demo tent (which was awesome, but too fucking small to be useful and too big to justify keeping), and other shit can't afford the rent anymore.

Yeah, my back room is the Mission without the tapas, Indian food (Alhamra!), Tacos, and music scene.

It's odd what people are into:
(1) Canon S3 camera to girl with short hair and cool messenger bag who's headed to Germany
(2) Zune to former wanna be frat guy who turned into an ecomodder and now drives a hip little Geo Metro XFI (50+ mpg)
(3) Tent to wacky lady from Moraga or some such - she was the most excited
(4) TV still looking for a home
(5) Laptop that can't charge, IBM server box, and years of computer parts to Alameda Tech Recycling (gave me a $1500 donation form for taxes, cool I suppose) - their warehouse is amazing, I actually started salivating a little which they said is common as a woman in her 40's offered me her shop rag to wipe my chin. No, not really, but it was awesome.
(6) Two 3G ipods (one broken) sold on eBay for $100
(7) Many bar exam materials sent to a friend for $100 - she's going to pass and is too damn earnest and pleasant to deserve anything bad from the world
(8) Motorcycle locks to guy with Tecate in his car's cupholder (good luck fella - you might be the real Lebowski) My motorcycle was stolen soon thereafter (not because I got rid of the locks, I'd never used them for the year I've had the bike - rather because it was lent to a friend in SF where motorcycles apparently disappear more easily than in Oakland).

06 June 2008

Fighting the system while believing in it - or "why I love my boss"

From a good article about my boss's case in the Supreme Court titled, "The Molesters' Hero":

"I sit back and think there are people who are in prison who are completely innocent," he said. "Nobody gets outraged about that. We are either going to have a justice system with rules that can weather the storms, or you might as well arm the victims and have posses decide who's right and who's wrong. I am a believer in the system and in its flaws, in that we have to work really hard at it to overcome those flaws."

02 June 2008

Security interrupts Amtrak spokesman who says photos are OK in D.C.'s union station


A BB reader says: "A local news crew was interviewing an Amtrak spokesman at D.C.'s union station who told the reporter that photography is allowed in the station. During the interview, a security guard interrupted them to say that photography/video was not allowed. Brilliant video, and hat tip to DCist who posted the link."


01 June 2008


I was happy. My girlfriend and I were dating for over a year, and so we decided to get married. My parents helped us in every way; my friends encouraged me, and my girlfriend? She was a dream!

There was only one thing bothering me and that was my mother-in-law to be.

She was a career woman, smart, but most of all beautiful and sexy, who sometimes flirted with me, quite obviously too, and made me feel quite uncomfortable.

One day, she called me and asked me to come over, to check the invitations. So I went. She was alone, and when I arrived, she whispered to me that soon I was to be married and she had feelings and desires for me that she couldn't overcome. So before I get married and commit my life to her daughter, she wants to make love to me just once.

What could I say? I was in total shock, and couldn't say a word. So, she said, I' ll go to the bedroom, and if you are up for it, just come and get me. I just watched her delicious behind as she went up the stairs. I stood there for a moment, and then turned around and went to the front door... I opened it, and stepped out of the house.

Her husband was standing outside, and with tears in his eyes, hugged me and said, we are very happy and pleased, you have passed our little test. We couldn't have asked for a better man for our daughter. Welcome to the family.

Lesson learned:

Always keep your condoms in your car.