Archive for August, 2010

UB20X0

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

John Simpson, president of University at Buffalo and architect of the UB2020 plan, announced his retirement yesterday.

I’m sure that part of it was a desire to get back to his family – Simpson is from California, and his last position was at UC Santa Cruz (Go Slugs!). But I have to imagine that part of it was the brutal smackdown that the SUNY system received in the protracted budget hoedown of incompetence this year. A vital part of the UB2020 expansion plan was being able to control the school’s tuition and keep the apes in the state government from sweeping university revenue into their general fund. The measure to ensure these things was defeated, and UB’s budget was cut. Again.

As it says in the article, it would take a superman to keep up the good fight in the face of that.

Hopefully their new president will have the same sort of vision and outline a similar path to future relevance. Until then, SUNY will not be able to join the ranks of premier public university systems.

Wagon Update

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

So far I’ve put just over 1000 miles on my ’67 Volvo 122 wagon since getting it on the road a couple of months ago. So let’s examine those 1000 miles:

Average fuel economy: 27 mpg, on 87 octane
Oil used: 1 quart
Repairs: replaced fan belt ($14), adjusted carburetors (free)
Number of times survived EMP due to points ignition: none…yet

Urban Pioneers

Monday, August 30th, 2010

An interesting article in yesterday’s Buffalo News. It’s about squatters, including the freegans that were written up in that NYT article. It’s about urban farmers, and bakers, and people raising chickens. It’s about all of the interesting culture that’s springing up in the city of Buffalo, because it’s so incredibly cheap to live here that people can live without worrying about cash money.

Golf Outing

Monday, August 30th, 2010

So, that golf tournament was this weekend. Bearing in mind that it was only my fourth or fifth time on an actual golf course, my performance was still comically atrocious.

The winner shot a 69. I shot a 68 on the front nine. My final score was 20 strokes worse than that of an 85 year old man with arthritis who was playing in the same tourney.

I better figure this game out before I finish that MBA.

Shopping List

Monday, August 30th, 2010

So, here’s my shopping list for this afternoon:

-Prune Juice
-Bar Soap
-Shoe Laces
-Wasp Spray

Yup, its gonna be a fun night tonight. I get to relace my boots, take a shower, and kill that infestation of hornets in one of my cars, all while staying regular.

The Roof Is On Fire

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Sheriffs at an LA jail want to install a heat ray to quell disturbances. This is a scaled back version of the military-grade weapon, and it’s supposed to have a 3 second maximum duration per blast. Civil rights groups didn’t take long to get up in arms over it, stating that it is “tantamount to torture,” that this particular area has a history of abusing prisoners, and that several test subjects have lasting burns.

Cmdr. Bob Osborne, who oversees technology for the sheriff’s department, said the concerns were unfounded. He said he stood in front of the beam more than 50 times and that it never caused any sort of lasting damage.

It’s all well and good that this guy seems to have a heat ray fetish, but talk about something that would have to be regulated. Not to mention the thing hasn’t been around long enough to identify truly long-term problems. Could it accelerate the development of skin cancer? Then again, if it doesn’t injure, it is a couple steps up from shooting bean bags and tear gas.

The obvious argument is “who cares, they’re prisoners.” I’d be fine with that if there was some sort of guarantee that it would only be used against rapists, murderers, pedophiles, and celebrities doing a stint in jail. One of the problems is that once this is instituted in a jail, how far down the slope is it for police officers to have one mounted on their car? And if the next point is that it would be used only when needed, take a look at how tasers have been abused by the po-po lately.

I guess there’s no real opinion about it yet. Other than the fact that all parties involved better damn well know what this thing is capable of before they institute it.

Nice, Guv.

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Another example showing how difficult it is for a blind guy to read a teleprompter. What an excellent verbal slip.

Terrorism 101

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

An Australian teacher is facing censure after handing out an assignment to her class: plan a terrorist attack that would kill as many Australians as possible.

The subject of the class is contemporary conflict and terrorism. Isn’t this one of those “applying what you’ve learned to the real world” things that educators are always talking about?

Ten Dying Cities

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Woo-hoo! We’re Number One! Suck it, Rochester!

Antiquated and Obsoleted

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Sometimes, I hate what they call “progress” these days. Trying to find a new set of tires for my Corvair. Now, I’m not talking bias ply tires, high performance, or anything weird like that. Just a nice set of basic radial tires, with a narrow whitewall. Like this:

Unfortunately, due to all the kids these days going for that “hella flush” look (which is “hella stupid” in my book, or anyone for that matter who understands vehicular dynamics and handling) finding actual rubber tires with an actual sidewall big enough to put a white wall on is next to impossible.  This super exotic, hard-to-find size I’m speaking of?  185/80R13.  Firestone is apparently the lone manufacturer of these tires now, and the chains don’t carry them.  You have to mail-order them and then find someone who will install them for you.  Incredible. 

I guess we can only wish that small wheels and fat rubber eventually come back into vogue…