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October 30, 2007

EOS 40D vs. EOS 20D

I got my new Canon EOS 40D today. Resolution is a little better. It is a 10 megapixel sensor instead of an 8 megapixel sensor. So, now my images are 3888 x 2592 instead of 3504 x 2336.

It shoots a little faster. Now, I can shoot 6.5 frames per second instead of 5 frames per second. Also, it takes more images before it fills up the image buffer. I used to be able to shoot like 35 frames in 7 seconds before it started slowing down. Now, I can shoot 75 frames in 11 seconds before the buffer fills up.

The EOS 40D is a lot quieter than the EOS 20D. The EOS 20D has a loud shutter, and, when you're shooting wildlife, that's a bad thing. I had deer, elk, and bear look at me when I released the shutter. That's not really what you want. Quieter is better when you're shooting wildlife.

The EOS 40D has the Digic III processor instead of the Digis II processor the 20D had, so the camera is faster. Faster to boot up, and faster to process images.

The new LCD is 3" (diagonal) instead of 1.8" (diagonal). So, the LCD display is enormous, compared to my old camera. Way better. :)

The EOS 40D has an anti-static coating on the CMOS sensor, so dust won't cling to it as much as on the EOS 20D. Plus, the 40D vibrates the sensor to shake dust off of the sensor. (20D did not do this). Plus, the 40D has some new tricked-out software built into the camera that eliminates dust. (Don't ask).

Also, there is now a Live-Preview mode, so that you can see what you're shooting with the LCD display, instead of having to look through the viewfinder. Less expensive cameras all have this standard. For a digital SLR, howerver, it's fairly unusual.

More details here:

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 30, 2007 at 9:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Bogen - Manfrotto 3265 Grip Action Ball Head with Quick Release

This is the pistol grip I've used on my camera tripod since I bought my Canon EOS 20D in November of 2004. Shortly afterwards, I bought an aluminum tripod and the 3265 pistol grip. Both are manufactured by Bogen in Italy, and distributed by Manfrotto.

The pistol grip worked faily well, until I got the Canon 100 - 300mm lens, and over time, the resisance of the ball joint in the pistol grip has weakened to the point that the pistol grip is nearly useless. It just slips and slides all the time, even when it's supposed to be locked into position. So, it's time to repair or replace the 3265 pistol grip.

I read some product reviews of the 3265 though, and it seems to be a fairly common complaint that the 3265 wears out over time, and won't hold the camera in position very well.

Then I found a site which shows how to repair the Bogen-Manfrotto 3265 unit.

After spending about 2 hours, tearing down, disassembling, cleaning, and re-assembling th 3265, it still functions about the same. There's not enough friction between the ball head and the surfaces rubbing against the head to generate enough resistance to slipping. Camera still gyrates and slips when it should be holding still.

Also, if you decided to tear yours down, be VERY careful with the spring or you'll lose an eye or two.

Update: Here is a review of the professional ball-heads out there on the market which would probably support my 300mm lens with the EOS 40D frame.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 30, 2007 at 10:36 AM : Comments (6) | Permalink

October 29, 2007


I had planned to go to TN this week, but things changed at the last minute, so I'm going to hang out down in South America for a couple of weeks instead. I fly into Lima on Friday.

I ordered a new camera for the trip - the new Canon EOS 40D. They're FedExing it to me, so I should have it by tomorrow morning. I'm going to hang onto my old camera as a backup.

So, hopefully, I'll get some good shots while I'm down there. I really haven't been shooting much lately because I haven't been on the road, I guess. Dunno.

In any event, Peru should be different enough that I should find something to spark my interest.

Then, as soon as I get back into the country, Jennifer and I are going to fly to Mississippi to see her cousins. I tried to get her to go someplace fun, like Mexico or Hawaii, but she wanted to go to Mississippi. Go figure.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 29, 2007 at 2:41 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

October 28, 2007

Nestle Candy Bars Imported from Europe

A small cache of Nestle candy bars smuggled in from Europe has recently come into my posession. These include, but are not limited to, Nestle Kit Kat (not the American Hershey Kit-Kat knock-off), the Drifter, the Lion, the Aero, and the Yorkie ("It's Not For Girls").

If anyone wants one, let me know, and I'll try to set you up. (I've got WAY too many of these things.)

Continue reading "Nestle Candy Bars Imported from Europe"

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 28, 2007 at 11:37 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

FEMA - First Eliminate Media Access

Here's my latest FEMA logo spoof with the by-line of "QUID NUNC?", which translates literally as "What Now?"

Previous FEMA posts:
FEMA - Fake Emergency Media Actors

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 28, 2007 at 10:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Death in the Rockies

I've killed a lot of roommates in the past 2 days. Yesterday, I killed 5. Today, I've killed 2. 3. 4. 5.

OK. When I say "roommates", what I mean is mice. We don't have them in the summer, but when it turns cold, they move indoors. I bought some live animal traps for mice, but they were useless. Now, I'm using the real full-on mouse traps, and they're working. I'm just wondering how many more roommates I have left to go?

Update: Current Running Total of Deceased Roommates = 10.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 28, 2007 at 8:32 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Cubicle Defense System


Posted by Rob Kiser on October 28, 2007 at 10:56 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Zombies in Plain English

Just in time for Halloween.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 28, 2007 at 9:34 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Fake Gifts

The Onion has some fake gift boxes you can order. So funny they made me cry:

Wrap an otherwise forgettable gift in one of seven Gotcha Boxes from The Onion, and watch their faces fall when they realize there is no such thing as a USB-powered travel toaster or a 28-piece whisk set—just a crappy bric-a-brac inside you waited until the last moment to buy. Or feign enthusiasm for a surge-protected power strip that mounts on a car review mirror and plugs into the cigarette lighter. Some of the Gotcha Boxes:

DigiPliance's USB Toaster
Don't be tethered to the kitchen. Take your toast…to go! Now you can take a toaster everywhere you take your laptop. Insert a slice of any bread—white, wheat, even rye—and in 7-9 minutes, you have the kind of perfect toast you could only get from a computer.

Peaceful Progression Smoke Alarm
Awake to your next fire calm and refreshed with DigiPliance's Peaceful Progression Smoke Alarm. Choose the perfect way for your family to wake up—from the peaceful sounds of the rainforest, to the celebration of Dixieland jazz, or the hot pulse of the Caribbean. Snooze capable.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 28, 2007 at 1:55 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 27, 2007

FEMA - Fake Emergency Media Actors

Michelle Malkin has been covering the debacle where FEMA staged a press conference with their own employees posing as reporters. Classic.

Michelle was trying to get the FEMA logo changed to read "Fake Emergency Media Actors". Seeing as how I find myself with a lot of time on my hands, I decided to help her out. I managed to make the change by creating some circular text in Photoshop Elements 4, which was excruciatingly painful, but after about two hours of playing around, I finally got a logo that I think we can work with.

You're doing a fine job there, Brownie....errr Chertie!

If you want to create your own FEMA seal, click on the extended entry for a sample FEMA logo, a FEMA logo with the text removed, directions for creating your own circular text for the logo using Photoshop Elements, and a handy Acronym Generator.

Update: Glenn Reynolds has more.

Update 2: Michelle likes my new FEMA logos. :)

Continue reading "FEMA - Fake Emergency Media Actors"

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 27, 2007 at 10:08 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Oh My God Photoshop Sucks!

Michelle Malkin was trying to mock up a FEMA logo, and apparently having a hard time getting the circular text set up correctly. So, I decided to give it a try, and I can tell you it's about as easy as skiing through a revolving door. Adobe sucks. Photoshop sucks. Adobe Photoshop Elements sucks. If Adobe made, cars, we'd all be riding camels. I was finally able to get some circular text using the directions listed below, but I warn you, they're so painfully obtuse you'll want to chew your hands off before you finish.

Of course, the joy in all of this is that, for people that use Photoshop, they all say without exception that it's a fine product, you just have to learn how to use it. Riiiight. And UNIX is a fine O/S and "vi" is a fine editor. Read on at your own peril.

Continue reading "Oh My God Photoshop Sucks!"

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 27, 2007 at 8:27 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

October 26, 2007

The New Republic Debacle

Here's the best article I've seen to date detailing the debacle unfolding at The New Republic. Franklin Foer continues to dig in deeper, reportedly through the upper mantle, and nearing the earth's core.

The problem for The New Republic is that, after the scandalous fabrications by Stephen Glass, they have no more journalistic integrity than The New York Times. They're in danger of becoming about as believable as The Onion.

Update: He was lying and TNR finally admitted as much.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 26, 2007 at 9:34 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Cow Powered Laptops for India

You just can't make this stuff up. They're working on deploying $100 laptops (that have somehow morphed into $200 laptops) to India that will be powered by cows. Wow. I need to see a video of this on YouTube.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 26, 2007 at 9:41 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 25, 2007

NASA quietly fixes flawed temperature data; 1998 was NOT the warmest year in the millenium

Michelle Malkin is covering a news story that the MSM didn't see fit to cover, namely that NASA incorrectly calculated temperatures due to a Y2K bug.

According to the new data published by NASA, 1998 is no longer the hottest year ever. 1934 is. Four of the top 10 years of US CONUS high temperature deviations are now from the 1930s: 1934, 1931, 1938 and 1939, while only 3 of the top 10 are from the last 10 years (1998, 2006, 1999). Several years (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004) fell well down the leaderboard, behind even 1900. (World rankings of temperature are calculated separately.)

Of course, needless to say, you won't see this story in the MSM.

(Note: Michelle Malkin reported this in August, but I was in Europe and missed it. Plus, since the story was totally ignored by the MSM, it was easy to miss.)

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 25, 2007 at 10:00 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Hillary Clinton Supports the 2nd Amendment

Apparently, Hillary Clinton supports the 2nd Amendment.

“I support the Second Amendment. Law-abiding citizens should be able to own guns,? Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, a New York senator, said in response to questions from The Des Moines Register. “But I also believe strongly in smart laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists.?

Well, not so much. Actually, she's about as anti-gun as they come. Consider the following Hillary positions:

License and register all handgun sales
Hillary Rodham Clinton offered her support for a legislative proposal to license hand guns. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, would require anyone who wants to purchase a gun to obtain a state-issued photo gun license. “I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun,? Clinton said. “I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry, such as Chuck is proposing.?
Source: CNN.com Jun 2, 2000

Tough gun control keeps guns out of wrong hands
I think it does once again urge us to think hard about what we can do to make sure that we keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals and mentally unbalanced people. I hope we will come together as a nation and do whatever it takes to keep guns away from people who have no business with them.
Source: Press Release Jul 31, 1999

Gun control protects our children
We will not make progress on a sensible gun control agenda unless the entire American public gets behind it. It is really important for each of you [kids] to make sure you stay away from guns. If you have guns in your home, tell your parents to keep them away from you and your friends and your little brothers and sisters.
Source: Forum at South Side Middle School in Nassau County Jul 15, 1999

Don’t water down sensible gun control legislation
We have to do everything possible to keep guns out of the hands of children, and we need to stand firm on behalf of the sensible gun control legislation that passed the Senate and then was watered down in the House. It does not make sense for us at this point in our history to turn our backs on the reality that there are too many guns and too many children have access to those guns-and we have to act to prevent that.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Lock up guns; store ammo separately
If you own a gun... make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition. In fact, make it stored where the ammunition is stored separately. We’ve made some progress in the last several years with the Brady Bill and some of the bans on assault weapons, but we have a lot of work to do.

Yeah. OK. Thanks for playing, Hillary, but we're not that stupid. All we need now is a photo op of Hillary in a brand new hunter orange vest out in a field shooting birds. I'll give ten-to-one odds we'll see some staged hunting photo-ops of her after she gets the Demagogic nod. Any takers?

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 25, 2007 at 9:25 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Night of the Living Democrats

"Must raise taxes. More social programs. Amnesty for illegal aliens."

Oh my God this is funny. Play the video if you have about two minutes. Hilarious.

Update: Some people say they can't get it to play. Others say they have no problem viewing it. I dunno. Maybe you have to click the little "Play Button" triangle to get it to start rolling? I'm not sure. Your mileage may vary.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 25, 2007 at 7:30 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

On Behalf of the Kommon Good

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 25, 2007 at 9:20 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Leaded Gasoline and Crime

Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, an economist at Amherst College, is trying to draw a cause-and-effect conclusion between the drop in crime in the United States and the phasing out of leaded gasoline. There are a number of problems with this. First of all is the classical problem of correlation versus causation. That is, an observed correlation between two phenomena does not necessarily mean that one causes the other, just that the two are correlated. For instance, it's well documented that people that drive John Deere tractors drink less red wine than people that drive BMW's. However, that doesn't mean that if you buy a BMW, you will start drinking red wine.

Also, there is another problem that no one seems to have picked up on. Contrary to the article, leaded gasoline wasn't phased out in the United States in the 1970's. In fact, when I moved to Colorado in 1996, it was still available for sale here. I believe it was sold as recently as 2000. There is a gas station in Lakewood on the corner of Alameda and Garrison that I know for a fact was selling leaded gasoline up until 1998. I even went in and asked them about it, because I thought it was illegal to sell it in the United States. They were like "dude...i dunno...i just work here...."

I wonder if this theory isn't as half-baked as Steven D. Levitt's widely panned abortion theory for the very same observed reduction in crime.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 25, 2007 at 1:33 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 23, 2007

Hillary Scares Me

Apparently I'm not the only one scared by Hillary.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 23, 2007 at 10:41 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Unmasking D. B. Cooper

Has D. B. Cooper finally been identified?

Update: FBI says not so much.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 23, 2007 at 9:47 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Baja 1000 Pre-Run Suicide

Here's a podcast from some knuckleheads talking about the 2007 Baja 1000 course. Here's a quote from the audio:

Knucklehead 1: "Be careful when you get to this part of the course. It's a really hot part of the course, and you come up over this little rise, and it looks like the course goes straight, but it drops sharply down to the right. I came over this going 120, right on my friends bumper, and I went flying through the air and landed about three hundred yards down the hill and rolled 8 times."

Knucklehead 2: "Those things happen. After that though, it's pretty flat for a good ways...."

The trophy trucks go 140 mph in the race. Listening to this makes me glad I decided to stay home. It sounds like suicide.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 23, 2007 at 9:05 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

October 22, 2007

Deep Cast Iron Skillet

10 1/4 inch x 3 inch L8DSK3

I decided I needed a deep cast iron skillet for frying chickens, so I ordered this gem and the lid today from Lodge Manufacturing in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. Oh I can't wait for this beauty to arrive. :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 22, 2007 at 9:38 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Cycle World

I submitted a short story to Cycle World today. They're the largest circulation motorcycle magazine on the planet. We'll see how it goes. I have my fingers crossed.

So far today, I've spent most of my time feeding flies to the Venus Fly Trap, which is enormously entertaining, but doesn't pay very well. And, since I don't have any revenue coming in, every little bit helps. :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 22, 2007 at 2:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

World Series Ticket Sales Suspended

Because the idiots in control of Major League Baseball (and most ticket sales) don't understand the fundamentals of economics, World Series tickets are not available for sale. What they need to do is auction off the tickets, similar to eBay. Let people bid what they want on each seat, and then the market will set the prices of the tickets. Then, there will be no scalpers. Scalpers can only make money if you sell the tickets for less than they're worth. If you sell the tickets for what they're actually worth, you don't have to worry about scalpers, or about the system getting deluged by millions of people simultateously trying to buy the tickets for less than market value. Nice try, idiots, but you failed.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 22, 2007 at 1:08 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Snow Sleds

This is what our current sled looks like.

I'm trying to find a new sled for the neighborhood tikes. Jennifer and Allie have gotten to the point where they can't both ride the same sled any more, and so now they have to take turns getting pulled behind the four wheeler, which means I have to spend twice as much time in the saddle. Plus, I managed to run over the sled with the Tahoe last season, so I decided that we need to see what our options are.

First of all, I don't want some flimsly sled, because they are basically sitting on the ground. So, if you go over a log or a rock, it could break a bone or three. And I don't want that.

Their current sled is a Rubbermaid sled. Not real sure what the model number is, but I called Rubbermaid at Janet informed me that they got out of the sled manufacturing business in 1999. I like the sled we have because iit is hollow, and keeps them a few inches off the ground. So, if we do go over an obstacle, the sled acts like a shock absorber, and can, in theory, give them a smoother, safer ride.

The sled we currently have can't be steered and it has no brakes, but since we tow it behind the four wheeler, this isn't a huge consideration. What they need to be towed behind the four wheeler is a low center of gravity, strong arms, and a big set of kahunas.

Continue reading "Snow Sleds"

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 22, 2007 at 10:17 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Performance Improving

It looks like my upload speeds are improving as the snow melts. I still haven't heard from Wispertel, but my latest upload test was 2,386 kbps (kilobits per second).

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 22, 2007 at 9:51 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 21, 2007

Peenie Wallie Adversely Affected by Weather

Peenie Wallie has been struggling today due to the inclimate weather. My upload speeds are abysmal. Hopefully, Wispertel, my ISP, will get things straightened out.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 21, 2007 at 9:56 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Let It Snow

We got dumped on today. :)

This global warming deal is killing us up here in the Rockies!

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 21, 2007 at 1:44 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

October 20, 2007

Some Inconvenient Truths For Gore


Junk Science: Al Gore's documentary on climate disaster has been ruled a work of fiction by a British judge. In legal terms, his global warming hysteria has been assuming facts not in evidence.

On Gore's claim that the loss of Mount Kilimanjaro's snows was due to climate change, the judge said the scientific community had been unable to find evidence of a direct link. In fact, it found the opposite.

In 2002, glaciologist Lonnie Thompson reported that from 1953 to 1976, a period of global cooling that had some predicting a new ice age, a full 21% of Kilimanjaro's main glacier disappeared. It was caused not by man-induced warming, but by deforestation.

Burton said Gore's suggestion that the Gulf Stream that warms the North Atlantic would shut down also was contradicted by the IPCC's assessment that it was "very unlikely" to happen.

Burton also ridiculed Gore's claim that polar bears were drowning while searching for ice melted by global warming. The only drowned polar bears the court said it was aware of were four bears that died following a storm.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 20, 2007 at 7:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 18, 2007

Indoctrinate U

There is an awesome move out called Indoctrinate U, where they point out how the nation's universities have become centers for rote memorization of politically correct memes. The movie is being displayed outside of the normal hollywood theater chains in a true indie style guerilla marketing campaign. View the trailer here. Express interest in attending a local screening here.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 18, 2007 at 2:08 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Bear Attacks Unarmed Woman in Aspen


The Colorado Division of Wildlife said a bear attacked a woman inside her Aspen condo, but her injuries are not life-threatening.

Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said the woman was awakened by a noise in the kitchen area at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. When she went to investigate, the bear struck her in the face, injuring her with its claws.

Hampton said the bear entered through a sliding glass door that was closed but not locked.

Note to liberals: A gun is something that, if you need it once and don't have it, you may not need it again. Don't go investigate noises in your house at 1:30 a.m. without a firearm.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 18, 2007 at 1:19 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

October 17, 2007


Posted by Rob Kiser on October 17, 2007 at 5:00 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Pedal-to-the-Metal, Totally Illegal, Cross-Country Sprint for Glory


Roy is attempting to break a legendary cross-country driving record known to most people as the Cannonball Run. The time: 32 hours, 7 minutes, set in 1983 by David Diem and Doug Turner. Captain Roy's quest is definitely illegal and quite possibly impossible. He is one of the few drivers wealthy and geeky and foolish enough to try it anyway. So far he's tried and failed twice, but he's still convinced that his careful calculations will allow him to beat the record.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 17, 2007 at 2:07 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Quebec legislature bans the word "weathervane"


"Politicians in Quebec's legislature will have to come up with a new way to slag their opponents now that the word `weathervane' has been added to the list of unparliamentary language.

Speaker Michel Bissonnet judged the word to be "hurtful" as the legislature resumed Tuesday after the summer break."

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 17, 2007 at 1:43 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 14, 2007

Opt Out of Verizon

If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, apparently, Verizon is getting ready to start sharing information about your phone calling habits. This is not a joke. And not some chain mail nonsense. It's for real.

"Verizon Wireless is planning to share its customers' calling records (called CPNI) with "our affiliates, agents and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries." The article explains that CPNI "includes the numbers of incoming and outgoing calls and time spent on each call, among other data." Some subscribers, it's not known if it's all of them, received a letter in the mail giving them 30 days to opt out of this sharing by calling 1-800-333-9956."

I just opted out with my phone and Jennifer's. More details at Slashdot.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 14, 2007 at 2:26 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Halloween Geishas

Jennifer and Allie dressed as Geishas (I think?) at the corn maze. These two girls obviously haven't ever seen Stephen King's Children of the Corn.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 14, 2007 at 10:56 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

First Decent Snow

We awoke to the first decent snowfall of the season today, a soft, wet snow like the snows of late spring. Very nice. It's snowed all day today, but not sticking to the roads at all. Here, Jennifer and Allie approach the swingset with some trepidation. The ski suit is a hand-me-down from cousin Sarah. Thanks Sarah!

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 14, 2007 at 10:47 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 13, 2007

Goose Stepping Children?

Jennifer practicing her goose stepping? Hardly. She and Allie were dressed in their Halloween costumes while playing kick ball in the front yard when I snapped this odd looking pose.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 13, 2007 at 5:04 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

I’m normally not a big sci-fi fan. (I’ve probably seen 3 of the Star Wars movies.) But they’re releasing a new director’s cut of Blade Runner in December titled Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Also, it’s going to come back into the theatres this year, apparently. New version will be darker, with the original director’s vision of the ending. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I'm going to get the DVD, although, seeing as how I don't have an HD television, I may even need to get a new TV to watch it.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 13, 2007 at 10:48 AM : Comments (4) | Permalink

October 12, 2007

My Latest Adventure: Rampart Range

Here's a magnalog of my latest adventure at Rampart Range. Here's the same trip in Google Earth. Here's a magnalog and google earth kmz of Bar Trail (Trail 673) from Rampart Range Road to Sprucewood.

Over the course of the day, I rode 120 miles on my XR 400. But, off-road, I probably rode about 30 miles, I think. Bar Trail (Trail 673) is approximately 3.4 miles long. The top of the trail is at 8,080 ft above sea level. The bottom of the trail is at 7,080 ft above sea level. So, there's a thousand feet of evelvation change over 3.4 miles, on a single-track trail, which makes for a fairly interesting ride, IMHO.

The problem with these trails, is that they are all 2-way trails. This is very dangerous, as there are many blind curves where you never know if someone is coming the other way.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 12, 2007 at 7:38 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

October 11, 2007

Microsoft Silverlight

Jeff tipped me off to the fact that Microsoft has a new product they're pushing called Silverlight. It's apparently a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering web content. Microsoft will support it with the new release of Visual Studio, currently code-named "Orcas". In an unprecendented move, Microsoft announced support for the Python and Ruby languages. The evil geniuses at Redmon have even committed to work with Novell to get it running under Linux, as a separate-but-equal product called Moonlight.

The Slashdot community debates the merits of Silverlight.

You can download the current supported release of Silverlight or, if you're feeling froggy, you can download the alpha version 1.1. Download MIcrosoft Silverlight.

Jeff's buddy is apparently working on a project called Fluxify which allows you to resize and email photos from a web page. I actually think it's a fairly slick little applet. I normally use a little free application from Microsoft called Image Resizer to resize my images on the fly. However, if you were going to email these photos to someone, you would then have to attach each image to the email. This application does that for you. Resizes photos, creates an email with the photos attached, and sends the email.

Of course, my pet peeve is that I can't stand to get an email with 23 attachments. I'd prefer an option that allows me to send all of the images as one zipped file, but Rome wasn't built in a day and the longest journey begins with a single step and what do you want for free, anyway?

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 11, 2007 at 1:40 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

October 10, 2007

Plane Loaded with Coke Crashes in Yucatan

This is a pretty interesting story. Apparently, a Gulfstream II carrying 3.6 tons of cocaine crashed on the Yucatan Peninsula last Monday. BoingBoing and the Austin American Statesman are reporting that the plane may be owned by the U.S. Government.

Some news reports have linked the plane to the transport of terrorist suspects to the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but those reports cite logs that indicate only that the plane flew twice between Washington and Guantánamo and once between Oxford, Conn., and Guantánamo.
No terrorist suspects are known to have been transferred to Guantánamo directly from the United States.

The jet, with the tail number N987SA, changed hands twice in recent weeks. But how it ended up in the hands of suspected drug traffickers remains a mystery.

The Mexican attorney general's office said the blue and white Gulfstream II crashed Monday in a remote jungle area on the Yucatán Peninsula. Authorities seized 132 bags of cocaine weighing four tons.

Apparently, there are a lot of unmarked police cars parked in front of the address of the current registered owner of the plane.

Continue reading "Plane Loaded with Coke Crashes in Yucatan"

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 10, 2007 at 8:47 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 9, 2007

Global Warming Graph

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 9, 2007 at 10:20 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus

This is classic. This is why I eat whatever I want to, and I don't worry about what the doctors say we should eat. I don't listen to them because, more often than not, they're wrong. When they told us to eat margarine instead of butter, I ate butter. Turns out, marganine has trans-fats in it, which are much worse for you than fats, something that my science warned me about in the ninth grade. (Thanks Iva Nell Fortenberry.)

When they said that we needed to eat more bran to prevent colon cancer, I ignored them. Turns out, bran intake has no correlation to colon cancer. Thanks for that.

When they made the food pyramid, and then adjusted it by removing steak from the top tier, I ignored this advice as well. Not, it turns out that they were wrong when they said that eating a high-fat diet causes heart disease. Ha ha. Nuts to all those poor lost souls out there suffering from 3rd world diseases because they're following the vegetarian dogma.

I'd say this one takes the cake, but we've been misled by the "scientific consensus" about so many things for so long, that nothing surprises me any more. Certainly it comes as no surprise that there is no correlation between fat in the diet and coronary heart disease.

The notion that fatty foods shorten your life began as a hypothesis based on dubious assumptions and data; when scientists tried to confirm it they failed repeatedly. The evidence against Häagen-Dazs was nothing like the evidence against Marlboros.

Interestingly, the problems appear to lie not so much with the science, or scientific analysis per se, but more with a social cascade effect, a phenomena where people end up believing something based on what others believe. Once a "scientific consensus" is formed by the media, going against the "prevailing wisdom" is tantamount to vocational suicide.

Fortunately, the solution to this is finally within reach. The anonymity of the internet is the perfect proving grounds for debating new ideas without fear of retribution. Raw data should be posted on the internet, and debated in anonymity. This would allow people to debate the merits of any given interpretation, without fear of any political recourse. In the raw cauldron of cyberspace, the most logical and provable interpretation of any given set of datum will rise to the surface, and the faulty interpretations will be exposed.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 9, 2007 at 9:08 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

October 8, 2007

Not Worth Mentioning


Posted by Robert Racansky on October 8, 2007 at 5:49 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 7, 2007

Motorcycle Ride

I'm taking the XR400 South on Highway 285, through Bailey and Grant to Park County Road 60, up Webster Pass, then over Radical Jeep Hill, down the MIddle Fork of the Swan, and then up that 4wd trail into Breckenridge. Time and weather permitting, I will go south over Hoosier's pass on Highway 9, through Alma, then over Mosquito Pass into Leadville.

If don't post that I'm back by midnight tonight 10/07/07 11:59 p.m. MDT, try me on my cell phone. If I don't answer, get in touch with Park County Search and Rescue or Summit County Search and Rescue and send help. :)

Update: I made it back alive. Police shut me down in Bailey for a slew of violations...speeding, passing on a double-yellow line, no motorcycle endorsement for diver's license, no visible license plate...yada..yada..yada...

Cop says "You're going to have to call someone to come get you. I'm going to have to tow your motorcycle."

I'm like "OK. Sure". So, I pulled out my cell phone and pretended to call someone.

"They're coming to get me and the motorcycle in a pickup truck" I lied.

Cop says "I'm not going to see you riding that motorcycle am I? Because, if I do, I'll arrest you."

"Which way are you going?" I ask.

"I'm going that way." He points southwest.

"No. You won't see me on it again. I swear."

And as soon as he leaves, I take off on the back-roads heading south. I wind around for miles on the backroads, nearly out of gas. Riding on fumes. It starts to snow. I'm thinking "this is going to suck". Freezing cold. Snowing. No gas. Sign says "Foxton" or "Sedalia". I'm thinking "FOxton...why does that sound familiar". So I head toward Foxton, and eventually, I realize it's that little whistlestop town on 285 just outside of Conifer, and I'm close to home and I find myself back in Jefferson County and now I'm warm and safe by the fire and I'm thinking how lucky I am that cop stopped me in Bailey. I'd have died in the mountains for sure. This storm looks nasty down here. I can only imagine what it is like up on Webster Pass.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 7, 2007 at 1:10 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Beignets - They're Not Just For Breakfast Any More

Jennifer and Allie persuaded me to cook beignets this morning. Actually, they made them. They made the dough, rolled it and cut it to size. I just run the deep fryer, mainly. I've seen kids in the burn ward before, and there's nothing sadder than that. So, that's where I draw the line. In any event, these two chirren scarfed down about four beignets each, which is sickening.

Probably one of the biggest disappointments of our trip to Paris was the Beignets and the Jambons. The Jambons in Ireland were actually better than the ones in France, and the Beignets were just ordinary donuts. Nothing like what they serve at Cafe du Monde. (I desperately wanted to get down to Portugal to sample the local Malasadas, but we ran out of time.)

I can hear Napoleon now, seated at Cafe du Monde, clutching a cup of chicory coffee, exclaiming through his big walrus-like front tusks, "I don't see how you kids eat that crap....It's too sweet."

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 7, 2007 at 10:11 AM : Comments (3) | Permalink

October 6, 2007

More PC Whitewashing

Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever gets a facelift.

Need to update a kids' book for modernity? No problem: just put Dad in the kitchen, change the police officers to women and the schoolteachers to men, and ditch any milkmen, "pretty stewardesses," and Wild West-style Indians. And if you want a better ratio of women, just add hair-bows.

Is nothing sacred?

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 6, 2007 at 7:07 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Rise of the Low-Powered Rifle

Michelle Malkin reports of The Goose Creek Two: Megahed reportedly researched high-powered rifles. Ah, yes. The rise of the "high-powered rifle", as opposed to the lesser known "low-powered rifles" that are safe to play with. I'm not saying these guys are terrorists or are not terrorists. I have no idea. But a rifle is a rifle is a rifle. Last time I checked, there was no such thing as a "low-powered rifle". Just media scare tactics.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 6, 2007 at 9:45 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

October 3, 2007

The Life of an Ant

"The life of an ant and that of my child should be granted equal consideration."
-Michael W. Fox, Vice President, The Human Society of the United States, The Inhumane Society, New York, 1990.

Here's some more whacky quotes from those nutroots at PETA and their ilk.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 3, 2007 at 6:59 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Search For Steve Fossett Called Off


The U.S. Air Force has officially ended the Civil Air Patrol's search for explorer Steve Fossett, more than three weeks after he went missing during a single-engine plane flight, the Civil Air Patrol said Tuesday night.

Three Weeks and Still No Sign of Steve FossettFossett disappeared Sept. 4 after failing to return to a private airstrip near Yerington, Nev. In the ensuing weeks, searchers used radar and planes to cover a 20,000-square-mile stretch of the desert surrounding the airstrip.

Fossett's trail grew cold after two weeks of searching, but new evidence released last week by the Air Force, including high-tech radar trails, reignited hope that the aviator might be discovered. The search, which had been scaled back by the Air Force the week before, resumed over the weekend.

No trace of Fossett was found.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 3, 2007 at 9:00 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

October 2, 2007

President Thompson


Conventional wisdom is hardening around the proposition that Fred Dalton Thompson is too lazy, ill-prepared, tired, old, lackluster, inexperienced, inconsistent and bald to make a successful run for President.

Of course, conventional wisdom rarely gets anything right. When it does, it's only by accident.

In this case conventional wisdom is not just wrong but comically so. Thompson will win the Republican nomination for two reasons. First, he's a very impressive candidate. Second, there's no realistic alternative. He will win the general election for the same two reasons.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 2, 2007 at 5:49 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

October 1, 2007

Colorado Friends of Fred

The Colorado Friends of Fred website is up and running. if you don't want HIlary Rodham to turn the United States of America into the Socialist States of Omerika, you need to get behind Fred Thompson. Check out the site. See what you can do to make sure the Demagogues don't win the next election.

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 1, 2007 at 10:38 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink