Saturday, December 30, 2006

Time to take away the credit cards

The Journal Sentinel reports today that Wisconsin is out of control financially.

The state's financial books show that Wisconsin ended the last fiscal year with a $2.15 billion deficit, under accounting principles that are standard for private companies, according to a report that the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance released Friday.

Alliance President Todd Berry said the report represented a truer picture of state finances than what was shown with the method mandated under the state constitution and favored by elected officials for years. Using the state's measure, Wisconsin posted a $49.2 million balance for the fiscal year that ended on June 30.

"It's safe to say we're in the worst financial position of any state in the country," Berry said.

As much as I dislike the thought of additional taxes to try to pay this off, it is inevitable. With the governor and legislators that were just elected, the next two years will be open season for tax increases in Wisconsin.

But can't they at least try to keep it from getting worse? Some basic financial planning advise should be heeded before any taxing authority in Wisconsin applies for another proverbial credit card. Do not get locked into additional spending until you pay off your current liabilities.

Wisconsin is not in adequate financial condition to begin another spending spree.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Why ...

... would otherwise rationale parents buy their child this for Christmas?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Periodic Random Food Image

Serving suggestion - Grilled beef tenderloin.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Periodic Random Food Image

Grilled Pizza Atomica.
Big 10 (Big 3) Football Dominance?

2006 – Big 10 (34 wins, 2 losses, 94.4%)
#1 – Ohio State 12-0-0
#3 – Michigan 11-1-0
#6 – Wisconsin 11-1-0

OSU/UofM/UW are collectively undefeated against the rest of college football, 32-0. Think about it. Three teams from one conference that cannot be beat, exclusive of one another. This has probably never happened previously in the 100+ years of college football. Have you read this fact at

The SEC crowd whined enough last week about Big 10 bias and got their way. Deal with it. The Big 3 win out and OSU is #1, UofM is #2, and the Badgers might end up #5 if they catch a tailwind.

I posted the above comment on Sunday at TheWisconsinSportsBar blog.

It was reckless of me to make the unsubstantiated claim that having three teams from one conference that cannot be beaten has probably never happened in the history of college football. I undertook an effort to prove my point and have completed my due diligence. However, I ended up proving that I was wrong.

To determine which conferences have had dominating years, I reviewed the final AP polls since 1950. My rule was that any three teams from one conference with three or less total losses were assumed to be exceptions to my claim. I don't have access to complete season records nor the desire to look through them, so this rule of thumb will have to do. Right away I determined that it was pretty common in the 1950’s and 60’s to have teams that met my criteria. I found the following cases.

1951 – Big 10 (25 wins, 1 loss, 2 ties, 92.9%)
#2 – Michigan State 9-0-0
#4 – Illinois 9-0-1
#8 – Wisconsin 7-1-1

1957 – Big 10 (24 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie, 87.5%)
#2 – Ohio State 9-1-0
#3 – Michigan State 8-1-0
#6 – Iowa 7-1-1

1958 – SEC (29 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie, 92.2%)
#1 – LSU 11-0-0
#4 – Auburn 9-0-1
#11 – Mississippi 9-2-0

1961 – SEC (30 wins, 3 losses, 90.9%)
#1 – Alabama 11-0-0
#4 – LSU 10-1-0
#5 – Mississippi 9-2-0

1962 – SEC (29 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie, 92.2%)
#3 – Mississippi 10-0-0
#5 – Alabama 10-1-0
#7 – LSU 9-1-1

1969 – Pac 8 (25 wins, 3 losses, 3 ties, 85.5%)
#3 – USC 10-0-1
#12 – UCLA 8-1-1
#19 – Stanford 7-2-1

1971 – Big 8 (34 wins, 3 losses, 91.9%)
#1 – Nebraska 13-0-0
#2 – Oklahoma 11-1-0
#3 – Colorado 10-2-0

From 1951 to 1971 there were seven years in which a single conference produced three teams with 3 total losses or less. That is one-third of those 21 seasons. The 1971 Big 8 trio captures what I had in mind when I said "three team from one conference that cannot be beaten, exclusive of one another."

The research continued from 1972 up through the 2005 season. No further examples of 3 or less losses within any conference were identified. I’ll say it again, from 1972 through 2005 there has not been a single conference with any three teams with a cumulative 3 or less losses. That is thirty-four (34) seasons since we last saw one conference with this level of dominance.

I urge others to check my results. Determining which teams were in each conference in any given year greatly complicated the research.

At least I have an excuse for my rash statement at The Wisconsin Sports Bar. What I had in mind has not occurred in over a third of a century. The change in football dominance is probably due to overall increased parity in college football, the increased number of games played including increased intra-conference play, the addition of conference championship games and additional bowl games.

This research also verified that the record of this year’s Big 3 is truly exceptional. Their total number of wins is approaching the previous record (35 by the Big 10 in 2002, I think). If the three teams win out, their winning percentage will set a new record. Even finishing 2-1 in their bowl games, they’ll be historically great - the first 3 loss Big 3 since 1971.

But finish 1-2 or 0-3, and OSU/UofM/UW are just another fart in the wind.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ethanol Mandate

I learned on the internet that "About 1.68 litres of ethanol would have the same energy as a litre of diesel oil." I still need to get the number for gasoline, but assuming it is close to diesel, I compute that 1 gallon of ethanol has about the same energy as 0.6 gallons of gasoline. Therefore, 10 gallons of 10% ethanol blended gasoline has about the same energy as 9.6 gallons of gasoline. That would explain most of my mileage loss when running the blended stuff (about 7% worse gas mileage).

I really want to find out the difference in CO2 tailpipe output when traveling 100 miles on 10% blend versus the pure stuff. I have a sneaky feeling that the ethanol increases CO2 per mile, hence contributes greater to GLOBAL WARMING . I don't suppose the guys voting in Madison are aware of this, one way or the other.