Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wisconsin's finest

I workout at the same YMCA as Mary Steinkraus. I didn't realize she was the aunt of NFL first round draft pick Joe Thomas until she showed up on Fox News Channel.

I hope that all this fame and attention doesn't go to Mary's head.

I forgot what I was going to write about this

Leave it to the NY Times to make Chemo Brain this a gender specific issue.

Once, women complaining of a constellation of symptoms after undergoing chemotherapy — including short-term memory loss, an inability to concentrate, difficulty retrieving words, trouble with multitasking and an overarching sense that they had lost their mental edge — were often sent home with a patronizing “There, there.”

But attitudes are changing as a result of a flurry of research and new attention to the after-effects of life-saving treatment. There is now widespread acknowledgment that patients with cognitive symptoms are not imagining things, and a growing number of oncologists are rushing to offer remedies, including stimulants commonly used for attention-deficit disorder and acupuncture.

It couldn't happen to a man. I must just be getting stupid.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


We've all seen this story by now.

A flock of small jets took flight from Washington Thursday, each carrying a Democratic presidential candidate to South Carolina for the first debate of the political season.

For Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, it was wheels up shortly after they voted in favor of legislation requiring that U.S. troops begin returning home from Iraq in the fall.

No one jet pooled, no one took commercial flights to save money, fuel or emissions.

The main take is that these candidates are hypocrites for claiming to be GREEN, but not giving a rip for the environment as demonstrated by their actions. My take is that the majority of these candidates have nothing to add to the debate and have no chance of winning. It is only a matter of ego that puts them on stage. Hillary & Obama have are front runners. Edwards has an outside chance. And Richardson is actually qualified to hold the office of the President. The rest ...
Kucinich - GROUNDED
And especially
Get these LOSERS off the stage.

Pit of Dreams - If I smoke it, will they come?

The Third Annual International WSM Smoke Day is four weeks away. If you can find me, I will feed you.

For a
dmission, bring good beer or whiskey. Menu details to follow.

Please don't tell my wife about this.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Explosive nuclear job growth

I ran across this article linked at the NEI Nuclear Notes blog.

Workers in short supply for U.S. nuclear power

A 2005 study by the Institute found that half of the industry's employees were over 47 years old, while less than 8 percent of employees were younger than 32. Most Americans retire after turning 65, and the survey found more than a quarter of nuclear workers were already eligible to stop working.

Even the government's regulator, the NRC, is scrambling to add 200 new employees this year just to monitor the sector, Klein said.

The number of nuclear engineering majors at colleges around the country has risen to 1,800 last year from just 500 in 1998, according to the Energy Department, but that is still not enough to feed current needs.
That median age seems dead on. I turned 47 in 2005 and just about all my colleagues are clustered around my age. The statement about retirement is not quite true. With the current demand and wages, no one I know can seem to leave the nuclear industry. Most retirees return almost immediately to work in contract positions at inflated wages. That's a good thing.

Also in the NEI blog post.

ROBISON: You wouldn't have ever expected it because the uh, I guess I'd call 'em tree huggers, I don't know what organization they were from, they came over and you would have thought that we were best friends. They said it was such a great idea and they supported nuclear power and they wouldn't have said that 10 years ago. They would have been exiled from their own group for having said that.

These aspiring nuclear engineers say global warming has forced many to rethink nuclear power since it doesn't emit greenhouse gases. And they're convinced it's safe.
A new generation is catching on. Another good thing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shatner a musical talent?

It is true.

UPDATE - For Sal
After his rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" on the infamous Golden Throats album (though it first appeared on the Transformed Man LP), one could argue that the world needed a new William Shatner album about as much as it needed a big-screen remake of TJ Hooker. But Shatner's back all the same with an intriguing, introspective collection of mostly spoken-word tracks that are all the more compelling when it becomes clear that Has Been is, in fact, no joke. Ben Folds played on and produced the record, creating rich, melodic, and varied pop musical backgrounds to Shatner's world-weary, boozy-suave yet thoroughly impassioned delivery. Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins, Brad Paisley, and Adrian Belew also stop by to lend their divergent talents. Highlights include the Rollins/Shatner rant "I Can't Get Behind That" and the Folds/Mann/Shatner collaboration "That's Me Trying", which tells the painful story of an attempted family reconciliation. Shatner mixes a healthy amount of self-awareness with a just a dollop of self-mockery and then combines it all with plenty of raw vulnerability to create an effect that is surprisingly touching, highly entertaining, and unlike any music you've ever heard. --John Moe
More good stuff at, including music clips.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Survivor - Year 3

On April 19, 2004, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Three days earlier the reaction of my ultrasound Radiologist told me I had cancer. But protocol required that I wait for my Urologist to tell me on that following Monday.

On April 24 I had an orchiectomy performed (my 46th birthday). A CT scan on May 7 discovered a tumor wrapped around my aorta. Chemotherapy began May 17 and was complete on July 2, 2004. The chemo kicked my ass. And it killed the cancer.

Today I celebrate three years of life fighting and surviving cancer. I thank my doctors, nurses and other medical professionals for their wonderful care. I thank my lousy insurance company for fulfilling their part of our contract. I thank Lance Armstrong for giving me faith that this cancer could be beaten. And I thank God for making me well and allowing me to live in a nation and a time where this high level of healthcare is available and timely.

My experience with cancer has changed me. I appreciate my wife and children more. I have become more generous. I have taken up new interests, crazy things like barbecue, blogging and wooden boats. I have also developed a selfish need to see other people be happy. I find ways to do this without even thinking.

I am one of the lucky ones.

Testicular Cancer Research Center

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Robotic Mayhem

The FIRST Robotics Championship at the Georgia Dome was awesome and outrageous. My son's Charger Robotics team came in tenth seeded in the Newton Division, but failed to advance in the playoffs.

The Fondy Fire team won first seed for the Newton Division playoff, but also failed to advance out of the division. Quite an incredible accomplishment for a first year robotics team.

Both teams finished among the top 100 robotics teams in the world.
What a great bunch of kids.

I stole this from Planet Gore

Now, thanks to a combination of high oil prices and even more generous government subsidies, corn-based ethanol has become the rage. There were 110 ethanol refineries in operation in the United States at the end of 2006, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Many were being expanded, and another 73 were under construction. When these projects are completed, by the end of 2008, the United States' ethanol production capacity will reach an estimated 11.4 billion gallons per year. In his latest State of the Union address, President George W. Bush called on the country to produce 35 billion gallons of renewable fuel a year by 2017, nearly five times the level currently mandated.

The push for ethanol and other biofuels has spawned an industry that depends on billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies, and not only in the United States. In 2005, global ethanol production was 9.66 billion gallons, of which Brazil produced 45.2 percent (from sugar cane) and the United States 44.5 percent (from corn). Global production of biodiesel (most of it in Europe), made from oilseeds, was almost one billion gallons.

The industry's growth has meant that a larger and larger share of corn production is being used to feed the huge mills that produce ethanol. According to some estimates, ethanol plants will burn up to half of U.S. domestic corn supplies within a few years. Ethanol demand will bring 2007 inventories of corn to their lowest levels since 1995 (a drought year), even though 2006 yielded the third-largest corn crop on record. Iowa may soon become a net corn importer.

On a brighter note, a colleague on mine is being recruited to manage construction of a group of ethanol plants that are being designed for conversion to non-corn raw materials. So the potential for an alternative to corn-based biofuels is in sight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mr. Biskupic goes to Washington

Just One Minute has put together a good rundown of kerfuffle the surrounding Steve Biskupic's prosecution of Georgia Thompson.

Well. Dem theorists will want to explain why Biskupic, in cooperation with two Democrats, brought a laughably weak case in January, then risked repudiation and humiliation by going to trial in the late spring. Surely if the case was this weak and motivated simply by politics, he would have announced the indictment in the fall and been shamed in court over the winter.

But wait! Biskupic won convictions on two counts! Not only did he seem to believe in his case, but he managed to push it past a jury.

I will have more, but that is a start. My Bold Prediction - Biskupic comes through this unscathed, or, as Yogi Berra might have said, there is no "there" here.

Nice to see a refutation of this story at a national blog.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Be the first on your block ...

... to fly a burgee for Fred (or Tommy, your choice).

Thompson burgees and hats (red or blue) available.
  • Thompson burgees - $30.00.
  • Thompson hats - $14.00.
For more information contact: ddkausler at charter dot net.

If this catches on, Dorothy won't know what hit her.

For information on Thompson Boats, head to the Dockside.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I think my billing rate just went up, Max Schulz writes.

The irony is that the beneficiary of Monday's ruling won't be wind power, solar power, or any of the other renewable technologies favored by the Green establishment. Their economic and technological limitations are too severe for them ever to occupy more than a small niche in the American energy economy. Instead, one of the winners from Massachusetts v. EPA just may be something that many of the environmentalists who brought the suit have long abhorred: nuclear power. Like renewables, nuclear power generates electricity with no pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. But unlike renewables, nuclear is capable of generating reliable power on a massive scale, which is what our country's future energy demands will require.

Nuclear power is on the verge of making a comeback in the United States. Thanks to several favorable provisions in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, as well as a streamlined licensing process, it is possible we could see the construction of new plants start within several years. The economics for new plant construction are still being worked out, particularly with regard to financing and federal loan guarantees. But there can be no doubt that federal efforts to hamstring coal can only help nuclear. Moreover, any future regulatory scheme allowing nuclear power plant operators to earn credits for generating emissions-free electricity would enhance nuclear's attractiveness to investors.

If you think the nuclear industry is happy with the ruling, think again. That's because the nuclear "industry," such as it is, consists of investor-owned utilities that own coal-fired power plants in addition to nuclear plants. Monday's decision, while potentially good for their nuclear holdings, is almost certainly bad for their coal ones.

Crybabies. The nuclear "industry" also includes many like me, Roadwhores we are called, available to work for the highest bidder. Demand is now outstripping supply by a dramatic margin.

Thank you Justice Kennedy.

Oh and by the way, Mark Belling often complains that only in the NFL can employers terminate the contracts of their employees without consequence. You can add contract engineers to that list.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Don't think about the liberal (final) solution to this

Dad29 had another "global warming" post this morning.
The Chinese fires also make a big, hidden contribution to global warming through the greenhouse effect, scientists said. Each year they release 360 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as much as all the cars and light trucks in the United States.

Soot from the fires in China, India and other Asian countries are a source of the "Asian Brown Haze." It's a 2-mile thick cloud of soot, acid droplets and other material that sometimes stretches across South Asia from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka.
That sounds like a lot of carbon dioxide, but I had no context for how big it really is. Over three-hundred million tons must make a significant contribution to global warming.

When reading, I thought he was going somewhere else with this blog post, so when I got to the end I had a specific question in mind. It didn't take long to perform some
ciphering of additional CO2 emissions from China and India.

Inputs (all found with Google).

  • China = 1.3 billion population
  • India = 1.2 billion population
  • CO2 emissions by average human organism = 730 pounds per year

Adding and multiplying.

Annual carbon dioxide emissions by human organisms in China and India.

  • 900 Million Tons
Those coal fire emissions don't seem quite so large now.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I know that guy

Online anyway. Clay Jackson is another barbecue cooking fiend.

I don't care how reliable Maytag washers are. I suspect his new job will mean less, not more, time with his Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

Congratulations Clay.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This picture does not reflect the reality of the situation.

Last night's TV news reports did not limit coverage to the attractive female protesters. There were some real dregs in this group that I am glad to see outside of the mall.

Well done Mayfair.