Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pedobear in Portland

KPTV in Portland has a story tonight about some cars that teenagers hit with rocks thrown from overpasses of I-205.  One of the victims has Pedobear on his hood. (The picture is from 1 min 11 sec into the video.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Is this real?

Is this real?

I have no idea.  I was told that this came from a scanned picture taken on 9/11 by someone who sent it to someone who just put a link to it.  I cropped it slightly, but I've never seen this angle before.  I don't know if it's real, but if it is...


Sunday, September 30, 2012

The future of technology (Part 2)

To follow up my previous post about the future of transportation technology, mass transit and car ownership becomes part of the equation.  While a bus can be more energy efficient, if self-driving cars powered by renewable technology at charging stations becomes an economical way to transport people, at what point do mass transit and personal ownership of an automobile become obsolete?

Some people will want to drive, at least for the next few decades.  Eventually who is to say it won't become the equivalent of enjoying riding a horse as time passes?  What practical need is there for wanting to drive instead of be driven?

Obviously the transition will take some time, but what might things be in a few decades if the self-driving car in combination with improved battery technology mixed with improved engine efficiency?

The carshare model and artificial intelligence mixed with a need to recharge, in addition to improved charging technologies could easily be leading to a situation where you request a car by internet, phone, or some currently unknown technology, and a car pilots itself from the charging location to you, picks you up, and takes you to your destination.  Take it as a mix of a cab, a carshare, and a carpool all into one.

With improved AI it would be possible for such a system to respond to peak demands and have cars near employment centers at the end of a shift, outside schools at the end of the school day, near major events after a big game finishes, or stationed outside a mall during a busy shopping season.

The ways this would change the American lifestyle would be quite profound.  Parking lots would be changed forever, high speed rail, mass transit, and even many flights would be obsolete.

Maybe autonomous cars won't be going 100+ mph in the next twenty years, but eventually on grade separated roads like the Interstate Highway System it could be reasonable to ban human driven vehicles in order to increase the throughput of the roads in addition to increase the speed to rates that are unthinkable with a human driver.

Nobody can predict the future, but some parts of the future are here today.  Maybe we should plan for them.

A cat toilet

I don't know why, but I clicked on this ad:

Never Touch Litter Again
Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Cat Box As Clean as Your Cat

If you have a cat, and don't really like it too much, you should probably look at investing in a CatGenie.  It's a toilet, for your cat.  I wish I was joking.

There's a video explaining how it all works on their web site, but I have to wonder what kind of freak would buy this thing starting at $249.00.  Maybe you can fit it with a Brawndo connector.

The future of technology

It's an interesting time that we live in.  With the opening of the new East Side Loop of the Portland Streetcar, I've been thinking about how transportation technology has changed the American landscape over the years.  Transportation alone has so many up and coming technologies that when you look back to a hundred years ago, it's difficult to imagine how much might change in the next hundred years.

The streetcar era of the late 1800s and early 1900s built cities.  It helped shape the core of most of the American west, and helped create suburbs all over the country.  Portland's suburbs were built around the interurban trains of the era, starting with horse drawn streetcars, through the electrification era, and eventually replaced them with buses.  It's a common story from San Diego to Seattle.

But Portland has brought the streetcar back to America.  With cities like Tucson, Washington DC, LA and more looking at building new systems Portland has put ourselves in a unique place with Oregon Iron Works subsidiary United Streetcar being in our own backyard.

But is the pro-train, anti-freeway plan for Portland the best long term option?  Is the situation Portland has created of hoping people will use mass transit really the best option with the technology that it seems could be commonplace in the future?

Google is working on the autonomous car which currently has 480,000 accident free miles under its belt.  Between that and improved battery technologies, at what point will a self-driving plug in hybrid that gets 200+ mpg hit the market?  There are hurdles to overcome to achieve that, but if that happens, and it seems possible, what will that mean for the market of high speed rail, mass transit, or even cab drivers?

It seems that we're about to face a change in the way transportation is handled in multiple ways in a short period of time.  Will cities that have favored investments in mass transit as opposed to highway capacity regret their decisions as these changes occur?

There is the possibility that because of increased efficiency of roadways with self-driving vehicles you can fit more vehicles on the roadway, but you have to wait until there are enough self-driving vehicles that you can ban human driven vehicles from the freeway.  At that point if the systems are advanced enough, why not get rid of speed limits and just let anyone with a self driving car go as fast as the car decides it can safely go?

If the car can go 130 mph, that also raises questions about the need for high speed rail.  With station stops how much demand will their be?

It will also destroy the cab driving industry, the rental car industry, and drastically reshape the insurance industry.  If automated vehicles become popular enough why would someone even buy their own car?  Just pay a fee for miles traveled and take a cab/rental (same business once you remove the driver) and pay as you go.

Given that a hundred years ago the idea of taking a vacation on a long weekend to the opposite coast was considered crazy, maybe we should start trying to pay better attention to the technologies that are going to be sneaking up on is in the coming decades.  While many people enjoy driving a car, we should be also planning for how we accommodate cars of the future.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The circle of pro-life

Mitt Romney's campaign just keeps giving.  The whole fiasco with Todd Akin just becomes a little more amusing when you realize that Gov. Romney, who was trying to get Akin to withdraw from the race earlier today, was also supported by and had acting as a surrogate a Dr. Jack C. Willke back in his 2008 campaign.  From the linked LA Times article:

A physician and former president of the National Right to Life Committee, Willke was an “important surrogate” for Romney’s 2008 presidential bid. Willke is the oft-cited source of the theory that rape-related pregnancies are “rare.” The theory is sometimes used by antiabortion advocates to argue that abortion laws should not contain exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

But wait, there's more!  The National Right to Life Committee?  That sounds familiar.  Oh, it's the same one that Paul Ryan has a perfect rating from in his years representing Wisconsin.  He's never voted against them.  Between that and the Ryan-Akin Anti-Abortion Bill, well, this is all coming full circle quite quickly.  Especially since the National Right to Life Committee just endorsed Gov. Romney April 12, 2012

Update: Kirk Cameron has now weighed in.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA, or DOA

So, the NY Times has run some pieces about HCA lately.  They're kind of hit pieces, and some of the Republican blogs and papers have been jumping on it.  HCA is also known as Hospital Corporation of America.  This wouldn't be an issue if Bain Capital didn't own 40% of them.  You know, that company that Mitt Romney founded?  If Rick Scott hadn't been the CEO at one point it would also be slightly less interesting.

So, anyway, the NY Times ran this piece.  Some highlights:

HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion. 

Why fix Medicare if you can bill for it right now?

In late 2008, for instance, HCA changed the billing codes it assigned to sick and injured patients who came into the emergency rooms. Almost overnight, the numbers of patients who HCA said needed more care, which would be paid for at significantly higher levels by Medicare, surged. 

Again, why screw up what works?  Maybe vouchers might be a way to pay for this while saving HCA some money, but the current formula seems like something not worth screwing up.

HCA decided not to treat patients who came in with nonurgent conditions, like a cold or the flu or even a sprained wrist, unless those patients paid in advance.

This falls in line with what we know about Romney.  Obviously it's a great cost cutting move.  He's a business genius or something for his dealings with Marriott.  After that, why would anyone doubt the man?

I mean, at least HCA didn't perform unnecessary surgery on...  Oh, crap.  They really did?  Well...

Why is it corporations can't end up in jail for committing crimes like unneeded surgeries for Medicare dollars?  I thought they were people?  If Bain owns you, you get out of jail free, even if you're kind of getting into the creepy area of cutting people up to make a few extra cents per share.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Oops she did it again

So, I saw a story this week on a website called Fark, and it was another typical Florida story.  Then I used the Googles.  This is kind of interesting.

Fark Link

Okay, so what does it mean.  Well:

"My daughter will choke me," says Debbie Piscitella, 41, mother of 9-year-old McKenna and 6-year-old Sebastian. "If I lose, I'm done. I might as well not even go home."

Wait, Debbie Piscitella?  That's familiar.  Like Fark recently found her again.

Oh, wait.  They did.  Oh, and her daughter MacKenna may have been involved.  The Florida tag proves its staying power again.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

This TV (2.2 in Portland) is running Final Approach.  Sci-Fi, but close to a war movie.  They're kind-of running something like Memorial Day.  Antenna TV (32.2) seems to be trying as well.  Otherwise, you have cable.

TC Guide Channel has something.  Charlie Wilsons War, and all you have to do is put up with the scrolling TV listings.  AMC also has some options, but History Channel?  Pawn Stars.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Car Crash on Holgate

Nice work Portland Police on handling this one.  It's only the second in a week, but I guess that's what happens when you live on a major Boulevard in Portland.

Mostly I'm just glad everyone (except the telephone pole) was okay.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

If I had to drive past that every day I might want to hurt myself.  Or maybe others.

I really have to wonder who thought that is a motivational sign.

How far can you fall?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


It's nice living in a decent neighborhood.  Just last night I witnessed a car collision where a young woman drove into the back of a large pickup.  I probably shouldn't say much more, but at least things seem to have worked out.

I do love my neighborhood though, because a bunch of people helped grab a broom and sweep up the plastic parts that were left in the intersection.  Even the Portland Police Officer seemed a little surprised.  (He seemed like a good guy, if anyone is wondering.)

At least nobody seemed to be hurt, and the kayaks looked like they could still float.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trapped in the Bedroom

Sometimes the world likes to send a harsh message to people.  Sometimes it does it on a Friday night.  You probably know the feeling.  You want to grab a beer, maybe have a cigarette.  Of course the bathroom is calling.  But then, something gets in your way.

Maybe you turn your doorknob, and it pops off that metal post thingy, which falls out the other side.  At first you can stay calm.  Maybe an "oh shit" or three.  Maybe a "where the fuck is my cell phone?"

Then you realize that your phone is sitting on the living room table. The same table that your shoes are under.

There are options.

The windows are a little high off the ground, and I'm not sure that I'm not going to puncture my foot, and it had been raining for days.  What else can I do?

I then tried the multi-tool on my keychain.  It just can't quite get a grip, so what can be done?

I remember my wallet, and start trying to use a card from it to pop the latch.  I fortunately found an expired bonus card I broke in half instead of my debit card.

A few minutes later I found a wire coat hanger, and realized that if someone can perform an abortion with one of them, I better be able to open a door with one.  It took me a while, but eventually I found that perfect angle and rhythm to get my door open.

There are more useful things on the planet, but I'll make sure to keep a wire hanger with my towel.

Sunday, March 18, 2012



If you're going to flip your kayak in the Willamette, apparently it's a good idea to make sure you're not going to drown.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Girl, 13, saves pets from burning home

Her house was on fire and she was home alone, but 13-year-old Max Foster knew just what to do.
“I was the only one and I was freaking out,” said Max. “I just took it step by step.”

I'm glad my rabbit never started a fire like that.

The Many Faces of Philip Rivers

I know I'm missing some, but I figured if someone wants to mock Philip Rivers after throwing an interception or fumbling away a win I could have them all in one easy to use place.  I plan to update this post as I find more.

If you're going to shoot yourself, do it right

Man Who Shot Himself Faces Endangerment Charges

Why make up a headline when the criminal does it for you?  "A man who shot himself in the leg with two young children present faces new charges of reckless endangerment on Friday."  Yep, did it himself.

Oh, but wait, it gets better: Police say the .357-caliber revolver apparently fired while Brown was spinning its cylinder while holding a finger near its trigger.

“You’re seeing a three dimensional graphic image of what it looks like,” said Cantrell. “It’s not just a picture in a magazine.”

Keith Cantrell was so impressed by the Body Worlds exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, he volunteered to have his body put on display after he dies.

Yeah, really.  Link.

Why is Norv Turner still coaching?

Why is Norv Turner still coaching?

Rivers.  Norv needs some help, and the word around the league is he's getting it if he likes it or not, but he just can't run a whole team.  He can't even notice Ryan Matthews is missing in a crucial overtime situation.  He can't manage a clock.  He needs help.

But, Rivers likes Norv.  And he's willing to tell the owners that.  And people who like the Chargers like Rivers, so it's our own damn fault we have Norv.  It's easy to hate Norv, but at the same time the Chargers had an awesome turnaround once they scraped up Jared Gaither from KC.  They stopped getting Rivers hit every play, and stopped losing.

Maybe Norv is better than he seems.  After all, people were calling for Tom Coughlin's head after the season, and he got his second ring.  Against Tommy and Billy, so he has that going for him.  Which is nice.

But Norv needs to get better with his own teams.  The Redskins, well, that's not the coach that made the mistakes in free agency and the draft.  The Raiders?  You want to blame Norv for Al Davis?  Unfortunately he's now painted himself into the succeed with AJ Smith category.  That's like surviving with five dingos and five cats for a year in some caves.  I'll bet on the Newts.

Norv has some rings from somewhere in Texas, but maybe he can help a team that matters get one.  Weirder things have happened, like Eli beating up Billy twice.  Or Jizzel marrying Tommy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Fox Effect

This pretty well sums up why we're stuck where we're at with politics. Everyone seems to hate corporate money, but everyone seems to be swayed by financial interests. The Lieberals obviously need this money, so they can buy off Satan until they can make sure rMoney has secured the nomination. End corporate money!

Oh, but if you have time, please click my ads while commenting furiously about how wrong I am.