Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cargo Cult Science

I remember reading something about this less than a year ago.  It so happens that the Digg news thingy on the bottom of the page had a link to a YouTube video by R.P. Feynman.  This reminded me of the Cargo Cult Science article that I read, so I looked it up.  I don't think this is the same place I read it before, but it looks like the same thing.  I don't know if the two are one and the same person, but the names are very similar.

The gist of the thing is that AGW is not science, but goes through the motions of being science.

Especially so in light of the East Anglia CRC emails scandal, the Michael Mann issues at Penn State, the several instances of bad data/bad claims by the IPCC, and so on. 

I think that is one of the problems we are having these days.  People don't think.  They won't think.  So, in the absence of thinking, it becomes very easy to fool those who won't think.  "You can fool some of the people most of the time, most of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time".  The ones you can fool most of the time won't think any of the time.  The ones you can fool some of the time got lazy and failed to think something through on a particular occasion.  But eventually, the truth will come out.

That is, if there isn't a government or organization that suppresses it first.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Texas Omen

Paul Krugman decides to come after the Lone Star State on the issue of a budget deficit.  He says Texas' deficit is projected to run as high as 25 billion in the next biennium.  But that number is disputed.  I've seen estimates much lower, say about half that.

Well, there's lie, damn lies, and statistics.  As long as we're playing around with statistics, let's look at this chart:

http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Texas_state_budget

To plug in the last line which covers this current budget for 2010-2011, note that Texas will spend 182.3, which is 1.6 billion less than the previous biennium.  That will complete the chart.  A little digging revealed that school funding got changed in the 2006 period, which shows up as a big increase in the 2008-2009 budget.  If Texas is having a problem, it is with this big increase in spending.  The numbers just jump out at you, don't they?

But this site says the problem is with MediCaid.  Either way, the problem is with spending.

According to the sunshine review site, revenues have dropped a little, but it doesn't appear to be catastrophic.

I think Krugman is reaching.

Times is tough

Now thieves are stealing pizza.  Could it be a publicity stunt?  McD has its Hamburglar.

On a more serious note, the jobs report is not so good.

JP Aerospace

I got this link from Al Fin's post.  The danger of this is that it may not be taken seriously.  After all, access to space up to this point has been with big expensive rockets.  The idea of using airships to get to space may strike some as being implausible.  After a look at the concept, I hope they succeed.  Based upon an admittedly inexpert opinion, it looks good.

I put the link up in my interesting reading section in the left sidebar.

Update:  Sat. 1/8/11, approx. 7:15am cst

I've been doing a little digging around on JP Aerospace.  Here is a blog with recent entries.   And an article written in 2004 by Jeff Foust of The Space Review.  Also, here's their official forum.


That's all I have for now.  As with everything that looks good at first, there's a catch.  The catch here, of course, is to get this concept to work.  I'll update with more if I can find anything.

Update: Mon 1/10/11, approx 11:30 am cst

A commenter on the Al Fin post (see link above and click on comments ) threw some cold water on this idea.  If more light could be shed upon the problems, perhaps some solutions could be found.  But I am not the one to find the problems.

Facts are stubborn things

I first saw that quote in a history book forty years ago.  It was attributed to Josef Stalin, but Stalin may have gotten if from none other than John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers.  Wherever it came from, it is true, no amount of wishing, hoping or denying is going to change a single fact.

When it comes to the economy, people just don't seem to want to face facts.  Where does wealth come from?  Is that a fact or a dream?  Without wealth, there can be no jobs, don't you think?  Yet none of the discussion seems to be about creating wealth.  No, the discussion is about going after those who have created wealth.  As if this was the problem.  Rather than a problem, I would suggest that this is the solution.

It must be a fact of human nature for those who have little to resent those who have much.  Although it may be possible to take away the rich man's wealth, once that is gone, where will new wealth come from?  Or to put it another way, if you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, how will you get any more golden eggs?  Spreading the wealth is like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.  It depends upon the notion that by having more, somehow the rich has taken it away from the poor.  The only solution seems to be to return to the poor what the rich has stolen.  That sort of thinking is what gives rise to such thoughts as is expressed by the article "The Political and Economic Assault on the Middle Class".

The Middle Class isn't poor, but it isn't rich either.  If this class wants to maintain its status, how is that possible?  If manufacturing jobs are the way to a better life, what do you do to replace it if the manufacturing jobs go away?  You could stop progress in its tracks and deny that progress which threatens the future of this class.  That means protectionism, if it means keeping manufacturing jobs by denying foreign competition.  Or it could mean freezing methods in place, if the new method means machines will take over jobs once done by people.  But change is a fact.  And facts are stubborn things.

If you freeze here, it won't mean that it will be frozen everywhere.  Progress could continue elsewhere and then you have a different discussion.  That discussion is how do you catch up when you are getting left behind.

Manufacturing jobs were created when someone got the idea that products could be made in greater quantity and at a better price than what was available before.  There's a principle involved here.  The principle is wealth creation.  The way to produce wealth is continual improvement over current methods.  The production of wealth is the best way to keep what you've got.  Once you stop doing that, you are living on the progress that has already been made.  In that way, wealth is consumed.  Eventually, if no new wealth is created, one finds oneself back in poverty.

The best jobs program is the production of wealth.  The worst jobs program is stopping wealth production.  For the poverty stricken do not hire, nor pay good wages.  Facts are stubborn things.  No one is exempt.

Repeal Amendment

In my opinion, this is an alternative to a Constitutional Convention.  States already have a veto power over the Constitution itself.  If 2/3 of the state legislatures petition Congress to call a convention, there is little that the Federal government can do about it- legally.

It is true, according to my calculations, that it would give power to a relatively small ( 1/3) number of people in this country.  Keep in mind, though, that this has to be coordinated by 2/3 of the states.  Trying to coordinate this large of a number of any group of people would be a daunting challenge, I would think.  Yet, it is possible that a small number of highly motivated people could have undue influence upon national policy.  This would seem to be bad, but that situation already exists.  This would add a counter weight to the influence that already exists.  It won't necessarily be a bad thing, as many of the opponents seem to think.

One objection has merit.  There is no time limit for a repeal.  The President gets ten days to decide to veto.  How long should 34 states be given in order to decide upon a repeal?  Should it be unlimited, or should a time -table be imposed?

The government is out of control.  Something needs to be done to get it back under control.  Since so many people are afraid of a "con-con", this is a possible alternative.  What would you prefer, a total rewrite of the Constitution, or a minor check upon Congressional power?  I would give this a chance.  Doing nothing doesn't appear to be a good solution.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Interesting Post

From Ace of Spades HQ.

I wonder what kind of people would read a blog like this.  The "mind" class or the "hand" class.  Is there enough intellectual heft to make it to the mind class, or it is definitely stuck in the hand class?  I know one thing:  to produce enough stuff for this blog takes up plenty of mental energy.  Plenty of my mental energy that is.

I've thought about that.  If you were to produce a thousand words a day, somebody could read that in a few minutes.  Then what?  There's nothing else to hold anyone here.  But to produce that takes a lot more energy than to read it.  And time.

This isn't an easy enterprise.  Not a complaint, just an observation.

Robert Zubrin on Energy Independence

This isn't new, I know. It may be useful to consider it though, as part of a comprehensive plan for energy independence. It would be especially useful in the case for methanol, which can be produced by a gas to liquid process from natural gas. Natural gas deposits have been found in recent years, which if converted to methanol, would be a big help with the oil import "addiction".


Bloomberg: Gold Futures Drop for Third Straight Day on Improving Outlook for Economy

Gold Futures Drop for Third Straight Day on Improving Outlook for Economy

“Gold may be at the cusp of the end of the bull rally,” said Leonard Kaplan, the president of Prospector Asset Management in Evanston, Illinois. “Things are going well for the economy, and once interest rates start to rise, gold has to come down.”

This didn't happen during the Bush Administration.  When interest rates went up, gold continued to rise anyway.

Could it be that there are those who want the gold market to move in a new direction?  The markets are saying that the economy won't support higher interest rates without recession.  The last increase in interest rates produced a recession before it reached the level that it did in 2000.  I think this says that the growth potential in the economy is less than before.

E. J. Dionne's jihad against abstractions

Sometimes when I read something on the left, it almost seems intelligent.  Actually, that is a bit of a snarky opener. Let's just say that sometimes, when a lefty is talking, he almost seems reasonable.   OK, that's not too, too snarky.  Let's move on.

Dionne starts off by quoting Burke:

"I never govern myself, no rational man ever did govern himself, by abstractions and universals," Burke wrote. "
Ok.  Fair enough.  I wouldn't want this government to do that.  But it is just the start of this newly elected and sworn in government.  Let's not jump to conclusions about how they will govern, E.J.

And paradoxically, because Obama is a former professor himself, he may be especially well-suited to call the bluff of the new professoriate in Congress. He knows better than most the dangers posed by an excessive devotion to abstractions.

I think it is interesting to note that the one constituency that favors the Democrats is academia.  Getting lectures from them on that very subject is a bit galling.  Physician, cure thyself.

Trying out this program said to be a screensaver

I found it through a post on NextBigFuture.  I've had it up and running for about an hour now.  I've decided to write up a short post about it.  First of all, I can't seem to find it again, but it may be obtainable here.

What it appears to do is to work in the background.  Let's say while you are reading this, your computer is basically idling.  This leaves a lot of processing power going to waste.  This software enables a lot of computers to get networked together so as to create enough computing power to solve some problems.  In this case, finding a cure for cancer.  This is one of several "screensavers" that I perused from the link at NextBigFuture.

So, why this one?  Well, it might help do something useful with something that may go to waste otherwise.  The computer doesn't get used constantly.  Sometimes it is just idle doing nothing.  If something useful can be done with that power, why not?

I'm not sure how this go classified as a screensaver.  That function isn't changed from what I can determine.

Some may ask, "how do you know that what you've downloaded is legit?"  I don't know 100%.  I'll keep an eye on it.  It doesn't seem to cause harm at the moment.  I scanned it with antivirus before installing it.  If it was malicious, that should have caught it.

Update: shortly afterward

BTW, I have added it to my sidebar in the interesting reading section.  It is called Folding@home.  It appears to be located at Stanford.  Here's a graph of the number of CPU's on the system now:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Trouble with Going to Mars

Aside from the technical challenges of such an endeavor, the biggest challenge of them all may well be in the politics of it.  It would take much longer than Apollo, which spanned a little over two administrations (if you count Kennedy and Johnson as one administration).

By the time Nixon came into office, the success of the project was no longer in doubt.  A longer, more complex project, like the proposed one to Mars, lends itself to political interference.  Could there be any doubt that under the slightest pretext, a new administration would ditch the previous administration's initiative?  Isn't that what happened this time?  Didn't Obama ditch Bush's Constellation project to Mars?

Sure, the costs were going to be higher than initially planned, but isn't that always true?  Besides, NASA doesn't spend that much money in comparison with the rest of the budget.  It could be doubled and it wouldn't make that much difference in terms of the overall budget.

If there's ever going to be anybody going to Mars, it would likely have to go via the Moon first.  That's because the Moon is relatively easy to reach now.  Easy to reach technically and politically.  The same principle will apply to the project to Mars.  Once it becomes easy enough technically and politically, it will be doable.  Right now, it is too much of a challenge because it will take too much time for one administration.  A new administration will terminate a long commitment.

If Obama wants to go to an asteroid, he might get that.  But he'd better hurry.  He may want to complete the project before his second term ends, if he gets one.

Update:  1/6/11, approx. 7:20 am

I'm back at it, adding links to my "interesting reading" section on the left sidebar.  I found the Free Mars site, which yielded this interesting tidbit.   If our politicians get their heads out of their backsides long enough, they might realize that we'll lose the next space race.

These are the Good 'Ol Days

According to this guy.  It's a hard for me to grasp the desire of some people to want to feel hopeless about the future.  But it has always been thus.  News is not news unless it is bad news.

Arrested for spying

A vulture got arrested for spying in Saudi Arabia today.  I've heard of outsourcing, but this is ridiculous.

Some blog housekeeping

At over 300 posts now, this blog is becoming more and more of a challenge to keep it organized.  So, I did some revamping today.  Come to think of it, I make changes every day to this blog.

Yesterday, I added a few links to my left sidebar, one of these was a translation link.  If you want to translate this blog into another language, just go to the Google Translate link on the left sidebar.  

Today, I have reorganized my labels.  I want to keep the topics in 4 major categories with a few minor ones.  The majors are politics, markets, arts and sciences.  The minor ones are anything else.  The general idea is to find what interests you within those topic areas indicated by the labels.

I have added a Google search feature to the blog as well.  And a search page.  It may be redundant though. The search blog is just the blog.  The other page is searching the web.

Update: 1/6/11, approx 8:30 am cst

There has been something of a ad hoc redesign of this blog.  It should be completed now.  There is a new picture at the head with a caption, "Houston, We have a solution".  This is in keeping with the philosophy that I would like to impart to the blog: the spirit of finding solutions, not dwelling on problems.  To put it another way, to look upward to the stars as opposed to keeping one's nose in the mud.   In addition, I have deleted some stuff which was cluttering up the page.  It should be a cleaner look and a faster load onto the screen.  I've kept enough stuff here to be useful or interesting in some way.  Plus, I didn't want too much white space nor commercial stuff.  There's plenty of content now with over 300 posts.  The posts are organized, so a reader, if interested, could browse through a lot of stuff here.  I hope my readers like it.

Gerry Rafferty

Has died.  Jeff G.  is bummed.

I like his stuff.  I always did like Baker Street. Kinda fits my bluesy mood today.

Third Party?

Patterico is starting to think so.   I didn't think the outcome of the election was really all that good, though.

Poll: Likely voters tell politicians to fix economy

Rasmussen Reports: Importance of Issues Voters Concerns about Economy Hits Highest Level In Over Two Years.

A new national telephone survey finds that 87% of Likely U.S. Voters view the economy this way, well above the importance they place on any other issue on a list of 10 regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Here's a part that grabbed me:

Nearly two years into the Obama presidency, voters still believe the nation’s continuing economic problems are due more to President George W. Bush than to the policies of the current occupant of the White House.

I think this reflects the success that Democrats have had in blaming Bush for what happened to the economy.   The reality is much more complex than that.  As far as blame, there's plenty to go around.

If anything is going to get better, somebody has to step up to the plate and offer solutions.  It doesn't seem to be happening yet.  Therefore, I think the odds of improvement are less than the odds of things deteriorating.

API: Study shows path to job growth and more government revenue

To borrow a phrase, "you betcha".

Alternative energy is fine, but not something that you can grow the economy with as of yet.  In the meantime, there needs to be an aggressive policy of exploration for resources.  In the ground and in space.  That means the government needs to get out of the way (oil exploration), and to help where it can (in space).

The odds of traditional fossil fuels development in the short term are less than 50-50 as long as we have a Democrat in the White House.  It's not an either or proposition.  Energy from all forms needs to be developed.

Update: 1/5/11, approx 3:30 pm cst

I added this link to my left sidebar.  It is about making fuel from methane and carbon dioxide.  The poll I mentioned today shows the voters are interested in the economy, but not everybody believes that Energy is the Next Big Thing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Time to go fishing

Gold is moving big today to the downside.  After spending awhile looking for reasons for the move, I can't find any.  Markets are hard to figure, especially on a daily basis.

To be frank about it, I don't plan on buying anything.  Even if I had the money to risk.  Fear may be receding now, so it looks like bonds and gold could retrace a bit.  Yet, I just don't see a good enough reason to buy stocks.  If I am right about inflation, gold could come roaring back.  But the timing of that is hard to figure.  But for anyone not in gold now, the chances of big gains may be in the past.

What to do?  Somebody whose name escapes me once said that sometimes it's better to just go fishing. Maybe that's where we are now.

Nerva

I thought for sure that I'd written about this before on this very blog, but the Google search of this blog produced no hit for Nerva.   My page titled "Little Search Engine that Could" yielded a bunch of hits.  That plethora of hits may not include this page , but I know I have seen it before.

What drives my interest here is the possibility of using this technology with Ad Astra's VASIMR.  The thought of getting that much nuke power into space seemed daunting, yet this was within reach back in the Apollo days.  It got cancelled just before it could go operational.  Therefore, this is definitely not far-fetched.  It is feasible and nearly operational decades ago.  That should remain the case today.

There are questions, of course.  Could this be modified to work with VASIMR?  And should it be modified?  After all, VASIMR did not exist 40 years ago. Would this technology mated with VASIMR produce an even better propulsion system?  The possibility of sending a crew to Mars in 39 days with this does not seem so implausible after all.

Note:  I include this link in French because it appears to be discussing the Nerva program.  I don't know French, but maybe I can some of this translated.

Update:  Here it is, translated by a software add-on to Firefox


are purchases understand a on probation free membership in the club of pounds of the editor, in whom you can choose among more than a million works, without expenses. The book consists of articles Wikipedia on: Thermal Nuclear Propulsion, Orion plan, Nerva, Blown Nuclear Propulsion, Propulsion by Fragments of Fission, Radioisotopic Propulsion, Daedalus plan, collector Bussard, Longshot plan. Not illustrated. Online free updatings. Extract: Thermal or nucléo-thermal nuclear propulsion is a mode of propulsion of the missiles which uses a nuclear reactor to heat a propelling fluid. This one, as in the case of a motor - classical missile, is evicted via a blast pipe to provide the increase which projects the missile. This type of propulsion allows to attain in theory distinctly more well brought up speed of ejection of gas and therefore better output than chemical propulsion used on the actual pitchers. Different architectures were studied since the beginning of the space epoch of the simple solid heart (similar to that of a nuclear power station) up to more complex but more efficient concepts such as the gaseous hearts.
Although an archetype is tested on the soil by the United States (motor NERVA), any using missile this type of propulsion has still never flown. Important researches are still necessary between others to diminish the report weight / increase. If it is kept, nuclear propulsion will have to face up a party of the public opinion basically hostile to any launching of nuclear devices. Today, the appeal in nuclear propulsion is recalled only as part of program Constellation, for hypothetical lived missions towards march, in distant expiry date (after 2037). Schema of a thermal nuclear motor In a system of thermal or nucléo-thermal nuclear propulsion, a propelling fluid, in general some hydrogen, is heated


Comment:  Not much about Nerva.


Update: 1/4/2011: aprox 11:15 am cst

Upon "further review", it appears that using a Nerva system and VASIMR system together is not necessarily convenient.  Nerva heated the propellant directly.  Why reconfigure it to produce electricity for VASIMR so that it can heat propellant indirectly?  It is wasted energy, and adds complexity.   Hmm.

Yet the Nerva system shows ( I think) that you can get the energy equivalent up to VASIMR's needs.  If there is an advantage here, it could be two fold: 1) a longer lasting system in the VASIMR as opposed to the Nerva and 2) less propellant used than the Nerva.  The savings in propellant need to overcome the increase in hardware and complexity in order to make it worthwhile.

Update 1/5/2011: approx 7:20 am cst

I want to get into the habit of assessing odds of certain events.  I've written a bit about VASIMR lately.  In terms of getting to Mars, I want to predict that this is not likely with the VASIMR.  I see it as more of a space tug technology.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Liberalism isn't Progressivism ( if Progressivism means progress)

As I wrote before, I think the problems we are facing are due to Liberalism.  This video (hat tip to Ed Driscoll) illustrates it well enough.  Somehow, in this country, economic progress has gotten a bad name. Instead of building dams, there is now a movement to tear them down:

This explains our lack of progress despite all the "progressivism".  They don't seem to believe in it, nor do they seem want it.  Hence, Obama talks about "sharing the wealth" as opposed to "creating wealth".  If you look at Krugman's posts, it is pretty much in the same vein.  It is almost assumed that there will be progress.  Otherwise, would anybody really believe that making everybody equal will make everybody prosperous?  No, I don't think even the most die hard liberal would make such an assertion.  Equality trumps everything, even prosperity.  They would rather starve than to see anyone prosper.  That is, unless it somebody other than an American.

Is it just a coincidence that a high water mark for gold occurred in the late 70's- early 80's, and a high water for liberalism is occurring today while gold is on the rise?  Things happen the way they do for a reason.

About Day Trading

I've been trading off and on in the markets since 1998.  Although the title of this post is about day trading, I can't say that I've ever been a day trader.  But I have made many, many day trades.  This may seem to be a contradiction.  But it is more a reflection upon me as an undisciplined individual.  Day trading, as such, is a system.  I never had a system.  That is, a system for trading.  I tried to create a system once, but it wasn't exactly a day trading system.  Even if I had a system, I don't think I would stick with it.

The system I developed was based upon data I downloaded each day from IBD.  It was quite comprehensive in many respects. Based upon this data, I felt that I could come up with a system of screening stocks and buying them at the most opportune times.  This didn't work too well, for many reasons, not all of which had anything to do with the computer software that I was writing.

The actual trades are what threw me.  There is a lot of emotion that goes with the territory.  If you can't control that emotion, it doesn't matter how good your information is.  I don't think I am well suited for day trading.  It is too nerve wracking.  No system can trump emotions that are going to work against you.  Plus it doesn't help if you lack discipline.

In discussions on  stock bulletin boards, I heard about VectorVest.  I had described my software, and one guy told me what I had written sounded like VectorVest.  Subsequently, I began using VectorVest, but the results weren't really any different from what I had been getting all along.  By the way, this isn't to criticize VectorVest, it is a commentary on the technique of day trading.  Yet, I have defended day trading.  But day trading isn't a bad way in and of itself.  The only thing I am saying is that it must be something that suits your temperament.  It doesn't suit mine.    If you are a really cool customer, you might succeed at day trading.

I have had more success with investing, not trading.  I don't know exactly why that is so, but it does work for me.  If I had an explanation for it, I would think that long term trends are more durable or maybe they just seem that way.  You can have more confidence in them, so you won't get discouraged if the day's action goes against you.  If I have a system now, it is an investing system.  But I don't think of it as a system per se.  Let's just say I try to analyze events as they are and take my actions based upon the results as I see them.  The events I analyze are analyzed over the long term.  I think confidence levels can be maintained over the longer term than the shorter term.  But this could be more a temperament issue than anything else.

None of this should be construed as advice.  This blog isn't in that business.  All I'm doing is relating my own experiences, for whatever that is worth.

Incidentally, I've read a bunch of books on the subject.  I don't think the knowledge in these books seemed to help at all.  Again, that's not to criticize the books, it is just a matter of your own responses to events as they occur.

BBSWSTT commercial

Things have gotten really, really bad around here.  I need to make some money, fast!  So I managed to get BBSWSTT to let me advertise his site for free!  Wow!  That will make me lots of money.  Er... wait a minute boss. If he gets it for free, what's in it for me?  Hmm!  Didn't think about that one.  Well, I guess I am stuck with following through with my promises.  I have to link to his ad and give him a free plug, drat it!  So, here it is.

In case you want to know who this is before you click, sorry.  You are going to have to trust me on this one.  After all, it free.  I can't do everything for everybody, you see.  But I'll give you a hint.  Look at my contributor list.  And it ain't me nor Wishbone-T.

BTW, you can ask about Sir Mix a Lot, but I don't do that here.  That's between you and him.

Ad Astra Rocket Company

I spent a little time reading their website.  In case you are not familiar with this company, they are the ones who are developing the VASIMR propulsion system which will roll out on the ISS in 2014.  As usual, I may have been a bit hasty in my enthusiasm for space and included this in technology that is "just around the corner".  There are a few more technological hurdles to pass for this technology.  This quote here from Aviation Week, June 18, 2010 by Mark Carreau, was interesting to me because I think there may be a way to use the heat which is causing a problem:

Meanwhile, Vasimr’s success depends on overcoming other technical hurdles. Though the high-temperature plasma is constrained by magnetic field lines, some of the ultra-hot particles reach the inner walls of the engine.

In some of my reading last night, it looks like they are trying to find a way to cool it down.  I wonder if using a Stirling type device to generate electricity could be useful in this instance?  That would turn waste heat into an energy source which could power an active cooling system.  The VASIMR system requires a lot of energy, yet the energy gets lost as waste heat and its a problem.  If the waste heat can be recycled back into the system, would it not be more efficient?  Could that waste heat become a resource?  Just a thought.

By the way, I included a link to Ad Astra in my sidebar on the left.  Lots of interesting reading there.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chris Laird Newsletter

Newsletter - Edition 248 - 02 January 2011
By Christopher Laird
  Happy New Year!
  Special prophecy report – the EU situation
  End of the Nation state and prophecy updates
  3 European political centers
  A simple mathematical certainty
  Unified Europe
  We are Roman
  Technology and world government
  The time is now

As is the usual case, Chris Laird sends out his newsletters on Sunday.  He allows up to 10% of his newsletter to be distributed to friends.  I have a link to Chris' website on the products page in case you want to subscribe.

So, friends, there above it is.  This weeks' newsletter is pretty heavy duty stuff.  If you ever subscribe to his newsletter, the Biblical prophecy stuff goes with the territory.

You don't have to believe in prophecy in order to read this.  In my opinion, it is generally a good idea to be prepared for the worst.  But if the "end times" were to occur as soon as he seems to think, the kind of preparation you would need would be considerably more than just reading his newsletter.  Big time stuff, this is.

I would classify this as a financial post, but it is much more than that.

Cowboy still looking for an NFL game

It football time again.  But Cowboy is still looking for a team.

Update: Mon. Jan 3. 2011: 2:30 approx.

It has come to my attention that I don't set up my humor very well.  In this little ditty, it may not be entirely clear what I am doing.  So, I'll explain it a little.  For those of you not in Houston, or those of you who don't care for NFL football, this is about football.  Particularly with respect to the two Texas professional football franchises.

We have a guy who likes to talk smack on the blogs on chron.com.  He goes by the handle of COWBOY.  I guess you would have to go read some of his stuff in order to get the full flavor of what I am doing here.  Or trying to do.  Maybe this explanation helps.  Boy, I have to do everything around here.

Joel Osteen

I really can't claim to be particularly religious.  Yet, I don't have anything against it.  To the contrary, I think it generally does more good than harm.  When I was younger though, I considered myself to be atheist.  But I had something of a change of heart.  Let's say if I were to categorize myself, I'd say at this point in my life that I am a non denominational non churchgoing Christian.  For some people, I might as well had said that I was an atheist again.

Anyway, this is a Sunday, which is a day set aside for church.  As I mentioned, I don't go to church.  Why not?  Church tended to bug me.  What the preachers said tended to annoy me.  Why put up with that?  But sometimes, I'll watch some of these preachers on TV.

I thought about this lately, that if there were a church that I'd go to, it might well be Lakewood.  Not that it is a superior church.  It's just that I watched Joel Osteen's sermons on TV a few times and he doesn't bug me.

The thought did occur to me that some religious folks would say that you need to be bugged a little.  You know, about sin and all that.   When I was young, this talk of sin did bug me, but as I got older, that stopped. But then some other thing did bug me.  I won't go into that here, though.  Generally speaking, just about anybody, if they talk enough, will say something that bugs me.  It so happens that in this interview, Joel Osteen did say a few things that bugged me.   I won't say what it was.  If you are a reader here, you might be able to guess.

But I don't agree with his critics all the time either.  His critics can be annoying as well.  Just goes to show you. If you open you mouth often enough, you are going to bug somebody sometime.

After reading the above linked article, my opinion of Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen remains more positive than negative.  But I don't think I'll be going to church anytime soon.