These 2 box sets are currently en route...poit.
Update (7/28/06; 14:27 CDT): They have arrived...Now the real question is: Will I even leave my condo this weekend?
My new printer, new headphone headset thingy, and printer cable (well, USB cord) came in yesterday, but still 1 day until I get the laptop in...man, the printer is heavy! 31 lbs for one of those all-in-one photo quality color printer/scanner/copier thingies. At least I get a $100 rebate on it.
Ho hum, more evidence that reporters are so awed by "passionate" (read, activist) scientists that they willingly participate in publicizing their dire predictions can be found by watching Tom Brokaw's Global Warming: What You Need to Know on the Discovery Channel. As I was watching this "documentary", the V.I.M.H. (you remember, Voice In My Head) wondered, "Boy, Brokaw sure likes talking to that Dr. Jim Hansen from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He sure looks familiar." Don't remember him? Oh yeah, the NASA scientist who sued NASA for trying to shut him up because he went to too many Global Warming conferences badmouthing the U.S. for not signing the Kyoto Protocol...or something. He has been adjusting his global climate models since 1988, and his model productions keep getting less dire, and his tone more measured, but you certainly wouldn't know it from how he was talking on the show. See what some real climatologists think here (For the other "consensus" view, see here).
Michael Oppenheimer is another go-to guy for Brokaw. His predictions of sea levels rising 20 to 30 feet over the next century intone over images of quickly melting icepack in Greenland and Antarctica. Yet, much like Hansen does when tweeking his models, he sounds more like a real scientist here when confronting the fact that ice sheet modeling yields wildly different results when used as predictors of sea level change. Here's the money quote:
"At this juncture, numerical modeling simply does not provide a credible basis for quantitative projection of ice sheet behavior in a warmer world."
He certainly didn't mention that to Brokaw. Also gone is any reference to the island nation of Vanuatu (yes, that Vanuatu of Survivor fame), now it's some country called Tuvalu that is at risk due to rising sea levels. If you've read John Stossel's new book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity, he has a great quote from Dr. Patrick Michaels, "The Arctic ice cap is just floating ice...if it melted...it's not a land mass adding to water." (p. 203) Even Oppenheimer admits as much in the above link that glaciation models don't take into account basic physics, like whether the ice is already in the water and therefore already contributing to the current sea levels (Duh!!!).
I'll grant you this much, Brokaw does admit (if you blink you miss it) that the animations shown are on the more extreme side of the GCM predictions. But again, the mainstream media gets it wrong by intentionally going for the dire predictions (and the people who are willing to make them in front of the cameras) because of ratings.
So apparently, my being a workaholic helped me avoid all this. I didn't know anything about a train derailment on the CTA Blue Line (which my parents know is one of the lines on my commute) until I bothered to check my cell phone.
Where was I when it all went down? At work, of course. When I got to the UIC-Halsted station at 6pm, no CTA agent said, "Don't go down there, all service on the Blue Line is stopped in both directions." It wasn't until after 20 minutes of waiting that someone came down to clear the station and tell people no more trains were coming. By then it was 6:30, so I took the 8 Halsted bus all the way to...Goose Island, of course. Hey! It was past 7 and I need to see Tour De France coverage at my favorite brewery (where else could I get an HDTV all to myself while the MLB All Star Game was going on for all the other patrons...yup, I get mad props there). I thought it was a little odd that the bus only took 30 minutes on a route that normally takes an hour (which is why I don't take it), but then again, I had never taken it so late in the day. Anyway, after finishing a beer and my dinner, I finally check my cell phone, and see "missed call from Dad". The rest, well, the title of this blog says it all.
Luckily, this accident bears no relation to what happened in Mumbai, but when it happened, everybody was thinking of a connection. I'm safe, sound, and at home.
I'd say I'm long overdue for some new hardware. Even though I'm geeky and techy, and...damn...even make my living off comPOOTer tek-NAL-O-gee, when it comes to the equipment I have at home, I'm usually about 5 years behind the times. Anything that costs that much better last a while, at least that's how I was brought up. Am I frugal, or miserly? Dunno, but I think cars should last longer than 10 years; a tv set should stay in one's possession until a CRT blows (how do the new-fangled ones die? Does a DLP's whir become a whine before silence? Does a Plasma become just one big burn in? How many dead pixels on an LCD must you count before it's too wounded to resolve into a picture? As for the almost 70 year-old CRT, I prefer to hear the ZZZZTTT followed by the tang of ozone in the air); and a personal pc should last long enough for Microsoft to put the OS it came with out to pasture (what the hell is "extended support" anyway, and what lame-o is going to pay for it for Windows ME?). Yep, my old Dell Dimension 8100 desktop was state of the art for $2000 in 2001 American dollars, but its motherboard can't support any of the new ethernet cards, or video cards, and the DDR RAM chipset for it is just too expensive to upgrade past 256 MB to be cost effective to bump up to at least 768 and buy a license for Windows XP. Put that together with the 1.0 USB ports (blaaaazzzzinn...er, not so much), and that's why I never upgraded to Windows XP at home. Factor in a 40 GB hard drive spinning at 3200 RPM and a 32 MB graphics card and it was just time to give the old guy his gold watch and thank him for his service. Oh, he'll live on as a (realllly slow) file server, but as my primary device, it was time to step aside for a new sexy beast.
Speaking of which...Click here to see the specs of my new baby...er...Toshiba Satellite P100-ST9012 Laptop and here for a thread from people who are really into laptops, running benchmark software and such. It should be arriving in 3-7 business days. I could go on and on about its technical specs, but I've gone through too many kleenexes already (for the drool...yeesh, get your mind out of the gutter). I think my XBOX is getting jealous, already.
I'll post a semi-serious review when it arrives...damn...I may have to break down and actually buy an Ick Pod (or some other, better brand of MP3 player with less market share) to go with it. Gotta fill up my soon-to-be-really-slow file server with something other than porn, right?
Update: Toshiba and MBNA had a tough time connecting, so I didn't get my credit card charged until 7/13...so count down to delivery...3 to 5 business days, starts...now...(yes, I've alluding to frickin Survivor...shaddup, you!)