30 January 2010

Not dead yet

Sorry for the sparsity of posts.

Tuesday: Liverpool at Molineux 0-0: The scoreline flatters the match.

34(f) outside yesterday morning, so 5 miles on the treadmill. If I can start out slowly enough, I think I can run the whole 10k, but there's a real risk of starting too fast and running out of gas. 4 weeks to go.

Saturday: Bolton (until I started following English football, I only associated Bolton with parrots) at Anfield 2-0. Dreary first half; much better second period.

Last night: Canterbury Tales at Shakespeare Tavern (homework assignment for Raegan). Good fun.

Project Euler: 141 down; 9 more to intermediate.

23 January 2010

Training Update

The weather was fair enough that I was able to run outside this morning; the first time this year. I was a little worried because running on the treadmill is easier, but I ran almost four miles at a pace faster than my best 5k time. And with a slight hangover (some fantastic wines last night). The 10k is in six weeks.

20 January 2010

Haiku

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense
Refrigerator

(from one of the shirts worn by Molly Lewis in her Lady Gaga Poker Face cover video, which is decidedly more fun than the original)

Haiti again

I can't imagine that the three of you come here to read about Haiti. Still, Cecil Adams, or in this case a staff member, provides the straight dope here on Haiti's deal with the devil raised by Pat Robertson. It gives a little more insight into the question of the Dominican Republic's relative affluence over their next door neighbors.

15 January 2010

Football

One of the things I enjoy about football (as it is known everywhere in the world but here) is that the time investment is ratable. I know that I can watch a game from beginning to end in less than two hours. What's more, except for injury stoppages the game is always potentially within seconds of a score. To be sure, the scores themselves are rare (and probably too much so), but that does increase the drama. In American football, the time investment is nearly three hours, and the ball is only in play for about eleven minutes. Meanwhile, the broadcast features close to 60 minutes of commercials. I don't know how the study accounts for moments when the picture is from the stadium but the announcer is shilling some other show for the network. Anyway, with over an hour of each game broadcast devoted to shots of players standing around, it is no wonder that the quality of announcers is so poor.

Haiti

What's happened this week in Haiti is obviously mortifying, but arguably less so than what was happening there before the earthquake. Gifts of aid, while a moral imperative in the short term, offer no hope of solving this country's long term problems. Restoring Haiti to the condition of one week ago would leave 80% of the population living in poverty. The country has limited natural resources, an uneducated and unskilled population, and a high level of corruption. A measure like "unemployment rate" becomes moot when the per capita GDP is between $65 and $110 per month. The legacy of the Duvalier regime has only added to the misery. The Dominican Republic, with effectively the same natural resources, has a per capita GDP over six times that of Haiti.

More and more, I believe that the problem of endemic corruption in countries like Haiti (and Zimbabwe) make real economic progress impossible. Entrepreneurship can only flourish if the entrepreneur has a reasonable expectation of being rewarded if successful. Without jobs, Haiti has no prospects of ever getting any better. Oh, and the population there has doubled in the past 50 years, in spite of the emigration of millions of Haitians (and these were likely the ones Haiti would most need to lift itself from its condition).

14 January 2010

Whither Rafa

Never mind Torres and Gerrard, the remaining players ought to be good enough to beat Reading. A draw and a loss is just not good enough, especially against the backdrop of this season's other results.

I suspect that if the Scousers weren't so preoccupied by hating the yanks, they'd be hurling invectives (or worse) at Benitez at Anfield. At times in the past I've been cast in the uncomfortable position of defending Benitez even though my support of him was growing tepid. At this point, a top four finish seems suddenly almost unrealistic. While I think many of the players he has brought in may turn out well, I find it harder and harder to argue that he shouldn't go.

After the World Cup, there will be a lot of managerial turnover, and some big names could be available. In the mean time, maybe Dalglish can be persuaded to accept a caretaker role.

What a mess.

12 January 2010

Al Qaeda and the Bene Gesserit

From Bruce Schneier, and before that from the Wall Street Journal:
Consider that on this very day about 6,700 Americans will die.... Consider then that around 1,900 of the Americans who die today will be less than 65, and that indeed about 140 will be children. Approximately 50 Americans will be murdered today, including several women killed by their husbands or boyfriends, and several children who will die from abuse and neglect. Around 85 of us will commit suicide, and another 120 will die in traffic accidents.
Which is more likely to be on the news tonight (or indeed, around the clock)? Any of these 6700? Or the unsuccessful terrorist attack of almost three weeks ago in which exactly zero people died?

In Dune, Frank Herbert provides a litany against fear that we should take to heart against terrorism:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Word.

10 January 2010

Avatar, again

Failblog nails it:


Generally, I find Rotten Tomatoes pretty reliable. I'm deeply disappointed that this awful movie has a rating of 82%. The emperor has no clothes!

07 January 2010

Snow

The weather forecast calls for Atlanta to receive a light dusting (less than an inch) of snow today.

Britain has had to deal with considerably more. If you've got a good internet connection and a little time, take a look at one of these. They're basically the same view taken by a NASA satellite around noon (UK) today. The difference is scale (and image size); the first (and smallest) is one pixel per km, the second is twice as big, and the third is twice again as big. (1km, 500m, 250m). Brrrr.

03 January 2010

FA Cup

Yesterday, drawing with Reading seemed like a bad result. Considering the wage bill of the squad fielded, it's still pretty disappointing, but not as bad as it could be.

01 January 2010

New Years Eve

Last night, waiting for midnight, I watched the New York Philharmonic live from Lincoln Center (apparently I need to give more money to Atlanta public broadcasting, the audio was atrocious). This was a full orchestra, and one of the most prestigious ones in the entire world. I wonder at how much time has been devoted by the orchestra members to practice and rehearsal over the course of their careers; the total is certainly measured in millions of hours. I am feeling rather indolent in comparison.

Happy New Year!