31 October 2009

A Positive Trend

The news is not all bad.

FFC 3-1 LFC

Between injuries, illness, and match congestion, Liverpool fielded a lineup that peppered with reserves. For the first half, Liverpool completely dominated play, except for about 30 seconds of productive possession by Fulham. Unfortunately, during that time, Insua and Kyrgiakos managed to leave Zamora largely unmarked in the box, and Fulham took the lead. Near the end of the half, Torres, given a split second on the ball, knocked in the leveler.

About the second half, the less said the better. The tastefully named Erik Nevland gave up possession repeatedly, but redeemed himself with the second cottager goal. Whatever creativity was on the pitch in a red jersey came off in succession: Torres, Benayoun, Kuyt. This last change came after Degen (unfairly) and Carragher (deservedly) were sent off. Down two goals, the likes of Insua, Kyrgiakos, Ayala, Voronin, Babel, and Eccleston never looked like they would break down a disciplined Fulham side.

Next is a trip to Lyon on Wednesday with Liverpool needing a result.

27 October 2009

H1N1

The Big Picture posted this graphic and said it suggests "Swine Flu worries are wildly overblown". One out of 200 people infected dying sounds pretty bad to me. That Bubonic plague is ten times worse is not comforting. In any event, it's interesting. The world can be a scary place.




Link to post at The Big Picture
Link to original at Information is Beautiful.

Cocktail Update

I wrote this over a month ago and it's been inexplicably languishing in my drafts folder ever since.

Over the past few days, I've crossed three cocktails off the list of those that I haven't tried (or can't recall trying).

Gimlet - I made it with Plymouth gin and Rose's lime. Better than nothing in a pinch, but I'd prefer a Daiquiri. After an exhaustive thirty second web search, I was unable to determine whether there is a name for a Daiquiri made substituting Rum with Gin. It might well be a Gimlet, though apparently the original Gimlet called for Rose's lime juice, whereas a Daiquiri calls for simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime.

Blood and Sand - I used Famous Grouse, Killepitsch, Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth, and store-bought orange juice. Based on the color, I had assumed that Killepitsch was made mostly from cherries, but I may have been mistaken. I'll give the drink another try once I acquire some Heering.

Sidecar - I used Pierre Ferrand cognac, Grand Marnier, and a freshly squeezed lemon. Top notch.

PS - I bought some Heering, but now need some O.J.

25 October 2009

LFC 2-0 MUFC

Liverpool again faced their nemeses without skipper Gerrard, and again rose to the occasion to took three deserved points, with excellent performances from Benayoun, Lucas, Mascherano, and especially Carragher. Vidic and Mascherano were both sent off, both on a second booking, both due to Manchester United having pushed so far up to try to level after Torres's clinical finish. David Ngog, after an apparently poor performance midweek against Lyon, finished the game with a cool goal off Lucas's pass. Liverpool still have a lot of work to do, but at least this will stem the tide of arguments that they or their manager are finished.

Against a squad of Manchester United's quality, you can scarcely afford for any player to have a poor game to hope to win, and I am hard pressed to name a Liverpool player.

Next up - Benitez will likely field a youthful squad to face the Gunners at the Emirates on Wednesday. Dare I hope to see Aquilani?

PS - Jermaine Pennant blames Benitez. I would argue that paying 6.7 million for Pennant was one of Benitez's biggest transfer blunders.

24 October 2009

All those miles

I have flown a sick number of miles this year. Historically, the
highest level for Delta was platinum, which requires 75,000 miles to
qualify. I'm currently over twice that.

My flight from Prague to Frankfurt was delayed by about two hours
because heavy fog in Frankfurt forced the airport to increase the time
between arriving flights landing. This meant that I missed the second
leg. When I got to FRA, they told me they'd waitlist me on a flight to
JFK but that there was only one seat not checked in.

I don't know if that's true, but I did get on the plane. I will get
home about five hours late but at least I will get to sleep in my own
bed.

Sent from my iPhone

20 October 2009

Death Penalty

I know some people's answer would be to eliminate appeals (an awful idea given the number of death row convictions which have been overturned by DNA evidence).

I've got an idea. Let's get rid of the death penalty. Mostly, we already don't execute criminals. Let's just stop pretending like we will. Everybody currently sentenced so (and anyone else who would have) will instead get life without parole. Nobody will be executed wrongfully. Crime rates, I can assure you, will not go up. We will no longer be included in the group of nations who uses capital punishment (do we really want to be in this club?).

(CNN article)

A330

The seats have a shell over the back. It feels like you have less
space but I think that's not so. The pockets are on the shell so
futzing around with them shouldn't be felt by the person in the seat
in front of you.

4B to AMS

Usually Delta uses 767s but this is an A330.

Nathan Myhrvold on Science

Nathan Myhrvold is a very bright fellow.

The sequel to Freakonomics, the less cleverly titled Superfreakonomics, has a chapter on climate change that has been stirring quite a controversy. Myhrvold addresses some of the controversy in this article.

Here are two quotes which struck me:
Science works by having an open dialog that ultimately converges on the truth, for the common benefit of everyone. Most scientific fields enjoy this free flow of ideas.
The politicization of science has a terrible impact on the unfettered discourse of ideas that is so important to making progress.


Hear! Hear!

H1N1

I've read a couple of books about the 1918 flu, which was a pandemic and a particularly virulent strain. Since reading them, I take influenza very seriously. It seems unlikely that this year's H1N1 will be notable in a historical context, but that misses the point.

I have a friend who recently expressed concern about getting a flu vaccine. About 36,000 Americans die every year from the flu. Every year. From the flu. I get the vaccine every year, and I plan to get both the seasonal and H1N1 shots (the H1N1 strain was identified too late to be included in the seasonal vaccine).

I find it fascinating that so many people are more worried about a vaccine, which might make a handful of people ill (even possibly fatally), when it is protecting you from something that every year makes between 15 and 60 million Americans ill (and in thousands of cases, fatally so).

I worry about herd immunity.

The CDC has a FAQ about the vaccine.

19 October 2009

Health Care: Private Insurance Working Fine

I ran across this in this week's update at News of the Weird; it got it from KPIX-TV. Original story here.
Blue Shield California twice refused to pay $2,700 emergency room claims by Rosalinda Miran-Ramirez, concluding that it was not a "reasonable" decision for her to go to the ER that morning when she awoke to a shirt saturated with blood from what turned out to be a breast tumor. Only after a KPIX-TV reporter intervened in September did Blue Shield pay the claim. [KPIX-TV, 9-25-09]
The good news is that a biopsy found the tumor benign.

17 October 2009

First place

He fenced well all day; those late bouts are a real test. Trevor
finished 11th.

Fencing tournament in progress

Sent from my iPhone

14 October 2009

USA 2 - 2 Costa Rica

The US had more possession and more chances, but Bryan Ruiz had two excellent finishes that gave Los Ticos a two goal lead. With Davies and Dempsey out, Bob Bradley went with Casey and Holden, but neither could summon past glory. Feilhaber given the nod over Ricardo Clark also struggled.

Late in the second half, Michael Bradley scored a goal on a rebound from a Donovan strike, and an American equalizer was within reach. Rogers came on for Holden, Torres for Feilhaber, and finally Cooper for Casey. Rogers and Torres exerted influence on the game as soon as they arrived. Unfortunately, Onyewu went down with a knee injury shortly after the Cooper came on, so the US had to try and find a goal a man down.

Immediately after Costa Rica had announced its second substitution, a player came up injured. The coach tried to amend the substitution to remove the injured player, but the attempt was rebuffed. He persisted and was sent off.

Finally, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Jonathan Bornstein headed home the equalizer on a corner, which was enough to give the US first place in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

Costa Rica's only consolation will be that Argentina beat Uruguay. Facing the CONMEBOL fifth place team after being seconds from qualifying is bad enough; facing Argentina would be insult on injury.

Obama Nobel redux

I try to avoid bloviators (excluding myself), so I don't know how apopleptic they've been over the Obama Nobel prize. I assume it's been pretty bad. This article observes that in the 12 days between his inauguration and the deadline for Nobel prize nomination, Obama took several significant actions which represented a dramatic (and to most of the rest of the world) positive change in direction for the US.

The award was premature and arguably counterproductive. Still, most Americans have no comprehension of the damage was done to America's reputation by the Bush/Cheney arrogant foreign policy. Sadly, a great many of them don't even care.

12 October 2009

Olympic pool

We toured the Ga Tech campus today. The pool is not only Olympic sized, it was the very one used in the '96 games.

09 October 2009

Save the Boobies

Sure, but there's much more at stake.

Schrödinger humor

In Las Vegas last weekend, Sean and I were at a craps table at the Flamingo, trying to imagine made up names for craps bets, since things like "horn high midnight" are already taken. We were laughing about a Boston, or a Mae West, and I suggested a Gutenberg. Sean countered with a Schrödinger, in which the dice are thrown inside a sealed box and you have simultaneously won and lost the bet. We thought it was hilarious. We may have been drinking.

I had meant to post about it and forgot but was reminded by theWAREHOUSE.

the Catholic Church has lost its way

The title is something either you already agree with or I'll never convince you of. I understand that many have strong feelings about abortion, but that the church only offers advice of abstinence as a prevention of unwanted pregnancies, to my mind, makes it nearly as culpable as doctors who perform abortion. I certainly believe it is complicit in AIDS deaths.

Today, Americans will die because they can't afford health insurance.

Tomorrow.

Every day.

The church, I suppose, has to exist in a world of absolutes: abortion is a sin, and nothing that allows abortion can be permitted. Politics exist in a world of compromise.

I don't know about you, but my world is more of the latter than the former.

(link)

Premature

I'm pleased that as Obama took office, he reversed the absurd and counterproductive policy of only talking to countries who agreed with him. I travel abroad for work, and my reception as an American has improved since January 20.

I'm a big admirer of Obama, and I hope that during his administration, he does something to earn a Nobel prize. I think it's a dubious award, though, and likely to feed a domestic backlash by the crazies.

07 October 2009

Politics Again!?

OK, here's the thing. The last administration was a train wreck on an epic scale. History, not I, will judge eventually of course, but I don't think it is likely to be much kinder. The reason I keep bringing it up is on the chance that there's somebody left reading this still who buys the Republican rhetoric. The idea of association with Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter would be enough to dissuade me, but there you have it.

Several weeks ago, I ran across a guest article at Barry Ritholtz's excellent, The Big Picture. I haven't read Bailout Nation, but I plan to get around to it. The article is by (small "l") libertarian Doug Casey, and it considers the question: Was Bush (fils) the worst president ever?

Casey observes "Not that there’s any real difference between the two parties anymore…", and I agree. I support Obama, but not particularly the Democrats. On the other hand, I'd be hard pressed to name a Republican I support at the moment, but pendulums swing.

Prague Castle


A week and a few hours ago, I walked from my hotel up to Prague Castle. It's about two miles, the last half mile is uphill. The view is very good; this picture does not do it justice.

03 October 2009