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Will this mobile blog post

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Will this mobile blog post show up?

Stupid Austrailians

Saturday, May 26, 2007
So I came across this article which - at the beginning - was somewhat humorous. It seems that this fellow down under was on his way to a 30th Anniversary Star Wars gathering and was packing around a replica of Han Solo's blaster in his backpack. Apparently some dimwit thought it might be a real gun and called the police, who "was surrounded by armed police, forced to the ground and handcuffed."

And this might end as a funny story to tell your friends about "that silly thing that happened when I was on my way to the Star Wars convention", except for the last line of the article:
"Police said despite being a harmless replica and a close match to a weapon from a galaxy far, far away, the man would be charged with possessing an unregistered firearm."
By far the dumbest thing to come out of a country that thinks we're stupid. I mean, there was no firearm! It was a toy! How in God's name could they charge him with possessing an unregistered firearm when he clearly didn't have one?!? I'd love to be at the trial, and hope any decent judge could see what happened, laugh, and then fine whoever's pressing charges for wasting time and resources. Seriously, this sort of insanity causes me to fear for the future of humanity...

Being dry

Saturday, May 19, 2007
So for a couple months now I've been pretty dry, choosing not to drink for a wide variety of reasons. I've been enjoying it very much, actually, since alcohol is a depressant for both moods and metabolisms. I've also been (perversely enough) enjoying depriving myself of something I love very much.

I like showing myself that I can stop something if I need to. That I'm stronger than my immediate wants, or my basic desires. Oddly enough, when I periodically don't do something I want to do, I feel like it makes it more okay when I do end up doing it.

I think I'm ready to be done.

I have several bottles of wine that I'm ready to enjoy. I don't need to drink on all occasions (indeed, since I'm currently broke and jobless that's more of a necessity than a choice) but I'm done denying myself. Time to enjoy!

Published!

Friday, May 18, 2007
If you have any interest in human physiology or - like my brother - a deep passion for it, you should check out his article at the Journal of Applied Physiology. His article, Systemic hypoxia causes cutaneous vasodilation in healthy humans, is his publication of his Master's work. Check it out!

The future of Chrysler

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The whispers in the wind lately seem to pertain to DaimlerChrysler spinning off the "troubled" Chrysler unit and trying to sell it to some poor fools who have, apparently, never owned Chryslers before.

I am, by and large (and somewhat inexplicably), a fan of American cars - despite having owned several of them. I think that General Motors and Ford have the potential to make some of the most beautiful cars on the road, and I trust them. However, you'll note that I didn't include Chrysler (the third of the "Big Three") in that list. Mainly due to the fact that - for the most part - I've found them to be frustratingly unreliable and they have a habit of chewing through transmissions every 100,000 miles or so. But that's just my experience.

Anyway, American car companies appear to be losing money (at least in North America) where our appetites for large SUVs seems to be tempered by obnoxiously expensive fuel. Tragically, certain companies seem to think that these large vehicles are the only way to make money. That idea doesn't seem to be working for them.

I am going to say this: I'm about a year from getting my MBA, and when I graduate I'd love the opportunity to come try to help out whoever ends up owning Chrysler. I'm serious. I would love to be part of the team that finally turns Chrysler around.

Here are my plans, once I'm at Chrysler:
(1) Make the small cars feel nice, not cheap. (Small vehicles shouldn't just be entry-level vehicles!)
(2) Emphasize fuel economy AND performance.
(3) Come to market with a small, efficient turbo-diesel engine that can power the smaller cars (and run off biodiesel!)
(4) Work on the long-term reliability of the automobiles.

And those are just the first items I'd hit. I've got big ideas... trust me!

Highway Robbery

Monday, May 07, 2007
The background: I found an article linked to from Fark.com over at Wall Street Journal. Basically, state highway departments are whining because we're starting to drive slightly more fuel efficient vehicles, and their budgets are suffering because they're funded by gasoline taxes. Getting 40+ mpg? Apparently ODOT hates you, because they want to start charging you per mile driven rather than by gallon of gas consumed.

So let's go over the math, shall we? According to the census, there are roughly 3.7 million people living in Oregon. According to some UN survey, car ownership in the US is about 776 cars per 1000 people. And, according to OregonGasPrices.com, the state tax rate on gasoline is (rounding down) $.24 per gallon (see here, also). For the sake of argument, let's assume optimistically that the average fuel economy of cars (and trucks) is 20 miles per gallon. Remember that, according to the original article, we drive about 12,000 miles per year. So...

3,700,000 people
* .776 vehicles per population
= 2,871,200 vehicles in Oregon.
* 12,000 miles per vehicle per year
= 34,454,400,000 vehicle miles driven per year in Oregon.
/ 20 miles per gallon
= 1,722,720,000 gallons of fuel consumed by Oregon drivers every year.
* $.24 per gallon
= $413,452,800 in gasoline taxes paid in Oregon per year

Of course, that doesn't count other road usage fees that are paid. Nor does it count county or city taxes, since they maintain a lot of their own roads. Doesn't count federal taxes, either. Remember that $284 billion dollar transportation bill in 2005? It's a six year spending program, so Oregon's share (if allocated fairly by percentage of population and not something silly like percentage of total land area) would be something like $583 million per year.

Basically, I really don't think that we can possibly be that underfunded. With at least a billion dollars per year going to our roads, highways, and freeways, it just doesn't seem possible that we can be suffering that much.

And let us not forget that fuel efficient vehicles tend to be lighter, which causes less wear and tear on the roads. (For instance, a Toyota Prius weighs just under 3000 lbs and gets well over twice the fuel economy of a Hummer H2, which weights closer to 6400 lbs.)

My point is that this is a really dumb idea. They're getting a lot of money. Perhaps the government should learn to spend it better instead of disingenuously encouraging better fuel economy and mass transit, while seeking ways to penalize those who choose to use fewer of the Earth's resources.

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Thursday, May 03, 2007
Current Mood: Fiery Red

Why is it that I always end up being the responsible one?
Why is it that I'm the one taking care of everyone else?
Why is it that I have to be strong and forgiving?
Why is it that I'm the one that steps up to the plate, that makes sure everyone's accounted for?
Why is it that - in a group - I'll be the one making sure nobody's left behind?
When will it be my turn?
When's someone going to take care of me?

Feeling Fortunate?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Today's fortune cookie message:
Don't underestimate yourself. Your social skills are needed at this time.
I suppose it's just as accurate as the last one - which is to say "not at all". Though I suppose I did get a good laugh out of it...

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