Friday, February 29, 2008

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My co-worker presented a number problem to me today. I need to find seven unique digits arranged in an H-shape whose products are the same in each row or column.

I think I might go insane trying to figure this one out. I've been working on it and plugging in numbers like a crazy person. Gaah.

Monday, February 25, 2008

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At the behest of Uffish Thought, I created a Facebook profile under a fake name so I could see what it was like. (The name was "Lordship Counties," being the first two words that came into my head.) I poked around and uploaded some honeymoon pictures, but wasn't quite sure if I wanted to stay or not. It turned out that a few people had gotten word that I'd joined, though, and enough people had added me as a friend that I decided to stick around. I even changed my name back.

And so now here I am. And it turns out that I was probably right to stay away for so long. It doesn't interest me at all. I plan on leaving it up as an online photo album (I've uploaded pictures of the wedding, the honeymoon, and the reception), but I doubt I'll ever do anything more with it. I had a whole diatribe prepared of things that I don't like about it and find to be vapid and pointless, but ranting about it just after I joined it feels a bit childish to me. I won't make fun of it.

Maybe it's just me. It just doesn't seem interesting at all. Then again, I've never seen the point of text messaging, either. Maybe there's some part of the collective unconscious mind that I haven't tapped into yet.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

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I spent this afternoon eating tacos, assembling a jigsaw puzzle about the United States and its presidents (while talking presidential trivia with Genuine.), playing chess on my computer, and then baking some cookies.

There's no way life could be better than this. Serious. This is way better than I could have dreamed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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While I've had a lot of politically-themed things to say lately, I'm aware that it's not really everyone's cup of tea. flippin, Thirdmango and I have decided to create a webzine that will give me an outlet to say all of those sorts of things on. For those of you interested, you are invited to check out the Weorld Wide Worb. For those of you less interested, you are invited to stick around here and watch this neat video I found today:

Friday, February 15, 2008

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High on my list of good ideas today: purchasing a charbroiled chicken salad from Carl's, Jr. I would have included a picture, but there weren't any online that did it justice.

It was pretty good, though. Mmmm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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bawb's comment on my previous post reminded me of something I haven't really thought about in a while - Intrade works essentially as a stock market, only instead of shares of stock, futures are sold. Traders purchase a contract for a set price. If the terms of that contract are met, then it pays out $100; if not, the contract pays out nothing. For example, one might buy a future on No Country For Old Men. The asking price is currently just under $64. If the film wins the Oscar for Best Picture, the future pays out $100; otherwise, the buyer earns nothing. The market tends to be a more accurate predictor than polling is, for the simple reason that people tend to be more honest when their money is on the line.

bawb pointed out that the future on Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic presidential nomination is trading at 24.7 right now. That's a far cry from the 44% she's polling in national surveys. Essentially, while 44% of those polled said they prefer Clinton as a candidate, the average person would only be willing to pay just under $25 on a contract that could potentially pay out $100. On the flip side, Barack Obama futures are trading at 74.7.

That's not to say that this is a fail-safe method for predicting the nominee. Obama futures were trading at just over 30 only a couple of weeks ago. Just like the real stock market, seemingly small events can have a significant impact on the market. (This isn't the best place to invest your life savings.) But while it isn't perfect, it's certainly a compelling new way to look at the election. With their own money on the line, people are far more likely to back Obama than Clinton.

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For those of you not persuaded by my call to become an informed voter, I offer the following as a naked attempt at sheer image and brand loyalty.

Doesn't that get your spirit going? I don't know about you, but I'll be chanting "yes we can" all day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

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An appalling number of voters are making uninformed choices this year. Many people are voting based on whose image they prefer, rather than what that person might do if elected president. As an informed voter, this concerns me; I'd hate to see my vote drowned out American Idol-style by those who think a certain candidate "looks cute." But not to worry, devoted citizens. I'm here to quash all of those myths you've been told and help you make an informed choice in the election, even if it isn't for the candidate I endorse (did I mention I support Barack Obama?).

1. John McCain is a dirty liberal who will stab his party in the back. If John McCain is a liberal, then I can't even begin to imagine what someone like Mitt Romney was. McCain agrees with the party's conservative base on most critical, platform-defining issues. He's been an ardent supporter of the war in Iraq since the get-go. He's been behind the surge - almost alone on that point - from its inception. He's pro-life, and he's all about small government. The issues he's clashed with the party on have mostly been about finance reform. He's been in favor of responsible fiscal spending, which isn't too far out of line with Republican doctrine. Lately, he's come under fire about immigration reform - his policy of providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants was widely labeled as "amnesty" - but this isn't a departure from Republican policy so much as a departure from ultraconservative party leadership. (It's not saying much if the complaint is that you're less conservative than Dick Cheney. That's akin to being not quite as good at basketball as LeBron James.) He'd be a conservative president. In fact, he'd probably conduct his administration similar to a third Bush term. He'd appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. He'd promote responsible government spending. Most of his opposition comes from big names like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, who are notoriously extremely conservative. Some sense of context is useful here.

2. Hillary Clinton is evil, and if elected president she will eat babies. I'm exaggerating for effect, obviously, but there's a widespread conception that she's a horrible person and needs to be kept out of the White House at any cost. I've never understood why this perception exists. People say she's ambitious, and she probably is, but that's a common characteristic of anyone aspiring to the presidency. It's more likely that the reason Americans are so split on her is because she's very liberal, which leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Republicans in general. Moderate, centrist candidates will attract more people, and thus appear less divisive. That's why the 2004 elections were so divided - Bush represented the far right, while Kerry represented the far left. A centrist candidate would have gone far to bridge that gap. (Just one more reason to vote for Obama. Even if he isn't moderate in actuality, the perception of it is enough to overcome any divisiveness.)

3. Hillary Clinton's campaign is dead after losing seven straight contests in a week. Hurting, yes, but far from dead. Even after losing seven states in a row, she still only narrowly trails Obama in overall delegate totals. She's projected to win big states like Texas and Ohio, which should add some energy to her campaign in March. Numerically, she's still very much in this campaign. Of course, the perception that her campaign is in its death throes could change the results of those states, but that still remains to be seen.

This is going to be a crucially important election for this country. Our foreign relations are strained near to the breaking point after eight years of cowboy diplomacy. Your vote will make an impact this year. (I say that because I'm keenly aware that most of my readers are younger. This is probably the first election for many of you.) Go out and get informed. Make a rational choice. And while it doesn't have to agree with mine, I'd certainly be really happy if you would vote for Barack Obama. He can do a lot for this country that others can't. More on that later, perhaps.

Friday, February 08, 2008

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It's the little things, you know? Today was a perfectly fine day, and then in the space of a couple of hours, three or four things didn't go my way. And now I'm irritated. Like, a lot.

Suppose this is as good a time as any to remind myself that my Lenten vow this year was to give up being self-centered. Looks like now is the time to remember to enact that, get over myself, and quit being mopey.

Still, though. Good grief.

Monday, February 04, 2008

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I want to be mad at the Giants today. I really do. The Patriots had everything going for them on the road to 19-0. They should have won this game. I wanted to see the perfect season so bad.

But after watching this play, I just can't feel good about hating them. The Giants deserve this win so bad.

Seriously. Watch that four or five times and tell me the Giants didn't earn that win. It's absolutely breathtaking.