Wired has a great feature today about nuclear power and its potential for combatting the problem of global warming. The article goes into some detail about the current state of nuclear power here and in the rest of the world. Not surprisingly, the U.S. has its head deeper in the sand than virtually any other country.
There are green alternatives, but all have serious drawbacks - not the least of which is cost. More than that, however, is the environmental damage that the green options cause, including dams causing damage to fish populations, windmills killing birds, and the simple impossibility of building enough solar power to make a dent:
Maybe someday we'll all live in houses with photovoltaic roof tiles, but in the real world, a run-of-the-mill 1,000-megawatt photovoltaic plant will require about 60 square miles of panes alone. In other words, the largest industrial structure ever built.
Yes, there are nuclear waste issues to deal with, but the U.S. government creates some of those because of unnecessary regulatory burdens.
The most interesting part of the article (found on page 5), however, is how some long-time greens are being "kicked out" of the movement for daring to embrace nuclear power.
Writing in the British journal The Tablet in October, Montefiore committed what colleagues viewed as the ultimate betrayal: "I have now come to the conclusion that the solution [to global warming] is to make more use of nuclear energy." When Montefiore told fellow trustees that he planned to speak out, they made him resign his post.
But what do these guys want? They want reduced carbon emissions because of the fear of global warming. And they want reduced pollution in major cities. The "hydrogen economy" sounds swell, but it's not (yet) an answer to these problems - you have to generate the energy somehow, and if all you do is move the fuel burning from cars to power plants you haven't really solved the problem. You're still releasing tons of pollution into the air, and you're doing it, in many cases, less efficiently, due to the inherent power loss of electricity transmission. And let's face it, Americans are not going to consume less energy unless it gets SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive, which would, of course, cause significant damage to the U.S. economy.
Their wailing and gnashing of teeth makes me wonder what their real agenda is. Some of the conservative radio talk show hosts have said that their fundamental goal is the destruction of the American economy. Perhaps that's a tad dramatic, but they seem intent on agreeing to no alternative other than dramatically less energy usage. Traditional conservation techniques will never get them what they're after - even if everyone started being more diligent about conservation, the reductions would be fairly small. And a growing population entering a growing economy would offset a significant fraction of any conservation savings.
Today's slap is The Atherton Twins, performers for the Cirque du Soleil show, Varekai. The twins' performance is one of the most erotic performances I've ever seen. And they are certainly something to look at. If you've never seen a Cirque show, I recommend it categorically - even if it's not Varekai. But if you have a chance, see Varekai - even if you've seen every other one of their shows.
I forgot to mention that the house I've bitched blogged about previously - the one that I was trying to get a construction loan on - has finally been demolished!! As you might guess, I got the financing.
Word came from Boeing on Friday that the 7E7 Dreamliner will officially be named the 787 Dreamliner.
This plane isn't really Boeing's answer to the Airbus 380, it's their answer to the Airbus vision. Both companies, doing similar research, came to vastly different conclusions about the nature of airline passenger traffic for the future, and these 2 planes represent the planning for those visions.
Based on the number of orders each company says it has for its planes, it looks like they're both right. Regardless, I can't wait to see and fly on both of them.
When I moved here, I had the impression that Colorado was a fairly liberal state. My impression, unfortunately, was based only on what I had observed in the "bubbles" of Boulder, Denver and Aspen - hardly representative of the rest of the state. Colorado is the place, after all, that elected Marilyn Musgrave and Wayne Allard - the two elected officials pushing hardest in Congress to pass the anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution.
In reality Colorado has a typically western brand of conservatism - Musgrave and Allard notwithstanding. Western conservatism is defined by its strong libertarian streak, which makes it all the more surprising that Colorado still has blue laws on the books. I'm only aware of two (the ones that have affected me):
1) You can't sell cars on Sunday 2) You can't sell liquor, beer or wine on Sunday
Now, one of them - the prohibition against selling liquor in stores on Sundays - is targeted for repeal by the Distilled Spirits Council. To me, the most interesting feature of this debate (other than imagining getting loaded on Sundays) is seeing who is lining up on either side of the question.
Most shocking is the absence of James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, in the debate. I was sure that when the issue came up, he'd be at the front of the line to oppose the change - his offices are, after all, in Colorado Springs. But I guess Jimbo has more important things on his mind - like SpongeBob recruiting innocent children to homosexuality.
On the other side, again surprisingly, are the mom and pop liquor stores and Colorado-based breweries. Both are fundamentally concerned about the same thing: The sale of things other than 3.2 beer in grocery stores. [Colorado has really strange laws in that full strength beer - and wine and liquor - can only be sold in liquor stores, and not on Sunday; but 3.2 beer can be sold in grocery stores and on Sunday.] The proposed change doesn't affect the ability of grocery stores to sell liquor, but it's expected that King Soopers (Kroger) and others will immediately lobby for the right to sell liquor, and the small liquor stores don't want the competition. As for the breweries, they don't want to lose delivery business. Not that fewer people would be drinking beer - just that if groceries sell beer, that will put liquor stores out of business and there will be fewer places to deliver beer to, reducing the need for delivery trucks.
Incredible. I was sure that when this issue came up, the people for it would be the liquor stores, and those against it would be the religious leaders. But no, it's the liquor stores, wanting to prevent any change - and prevent possible competition - that are yelling the loudest.
Memo to the liquor stores: You don't have a right to be protected from competition.
I can only hope this passes - it's just so much effort trying to remember to pick up enough booze for my Saturday and Sunday benders on the same day.
The religious nut-jobs, that is. I was surfing around, minding my own business today when one of them jumped out at me. I was looking at the TomTom GO GPS navigation system as a little present for myself. (I'm feeling needy lately. And shopping always fixes that right up.) Anyway, I scrolled down to the reviews on c|net and found this gem:
But, there is something that most people do not realize. GPS units work by tracking sattelites [sic] owned by the U.S. government. The sattelites then also know where you are. Ever wonder how OnStar can always figure out where you left your vehicle? They're tracking you. Read the Bible. Gov't tracking of civilians is a dangerous road to travel. Learn to use a map and forgo this invention.
Good grief. Can't you freaks just leave the rest of us alone?? I mean, I've come to expect this kind of nonsense when talking about gay marriage, gay adoption - heck even, in some cases, gay breathing. But must you show up on my technology sites too?? And if you are gonna show up, can you at least get your fucking facts straight?? (ha!)
Oh, yay! I think I'm the one to thank you, kind sir, for posting Leland as today's slap (and for mentioning me, bien sur). *Insert squeak here* Thanks, friend.
I've seen Leland Grant perform live in Los Angeles half a dozen times with award-winning, concert pianist, James Lent (also a hottie). And each time it was at Lent's uber-popular Friday night show at The Other Side, L.A.'s legendary gay piano bar. While Leland normally has a drop-dead gorgeous girl on his arm, he seems totally comfortable singing at a crowded gay club. Incidentally, Leland's even more sexy in person than he is in pictures. There are usually a dozen hot young singers each Friday who sing with Lent, but Leland is totally memorable.....great voice, beautiful face and a playful "Aww, shucks!" style that makes you want to melt.
January 25, 2005
Couldn't have happened to a fatter guy
Normally I'd rather eat broken glass than read Paul Krugman - lately he's been on and on about Social Security, and since we differ fundamentally on the nature of the problem, he's just hard to take. But today he writes about the retirement of Alan Greenspan. This is absolutely terrifying and, as Krugman points out, made more so by the Bush Administration's insistence on appointing only people that won't deliver disappointing news to the President.
If Mr. Greenspan is replaced with someone who looks like a partisan hack, capital will rush to the exits, the dollar will plunge, and interest rates will soar.
Charming, no? But I think he's right on the money with this one. I just hope Bush has the good sense to appoint the right person for the job. No matter how you slice it, Social Security is going to require HUGE amounts of borrowing in the not too distant future. We don't need the entire world to be in a panic about our economic stability.
Even assuming that the Republicans are correct and that we are in "crisis" mode with Social Security (sounds an awful like the WMD "crisis" in Iraq a few years back but that's a whole different story and different day...). The real question is how will privatizing components of Social Security "protect" or "save" Social Security? As far as I can tell no one has articulated how giving people a say in investing part of their money will save Social Security. What I do know is that Wall Street is about to have a field day!
OK, someone recently reached my page by searching MSN for fuck flicks with horses. This is both creepy and oddly coincidental. Creepy because - well, duh! Coincidental because a friend recently brought me a DVD filled with porn - and one of the clips was a couple of women sucking off a horse. Disclaimer: He did NOT include it because I've asked for such things in the past. It was more like the "train wreck" syndrome. The other clips were things like Bel Ami (for me) and some beefy, hairy dudes (for my partner).
Anyway, back to the topic, I will not be posting about horse porn on this site. Sorry.
What in the name of Davy Jones's locker would a sponge be doing holding hands with a starfish or donning purple and hot-pink flowered garb to redecorate the Krusty Krab if he weren't a perverted invertebrate?
She goes on to tackle SpongeBush and Mr. Krabs (Dick Cheney). I don't always agree with her, but she is clever.
Today Will and I drove round trip to Denver. It's 3 hours each way, and our return trip was complicated by a moron driving a semi that didn't understand that you slow down around curves. His crash closed west-bound Vail Pass for at least 12 hours. Neat. So on top of an already long day, we had to go around Vail Pass through Leadville and Minturn.
As you might imagine we got a bit punchy. (And if you know us, you know that's a significant development - because we both act so strange to begin with.) So, since we were kinda punchy, our conversation at dinner actually turned to hot male figure skaters. OK, knowing us, it probably would have gone there eventually anyway.
So, I was talking about somebody-or-other (don't remember his name... ), and Will declared that I was wrong - Brian Joubert is hotter, he said. Well, thanks to my handy dandy Treo 600 and an unlimited data plan from Sprint, we were able to settle the argument before the sesame chicken arrived.
Will was right. I was wrong. Brian Joubert is sex on a stick blade.
Today's slap, at Will's request (he's sitting right next to me), is Ryan Gosling. There are lots of pics of him sans shirt, but for some reason I've never seen any of the movies pictured. I need to work on that. Anyway, the thing I remember him from most - I'm embarassed to say - is Young Hercules.
I'm headed to Aspen today - for a less controversial version of Gay Ski Week - I can't wait! Will is going to be joining Wagon and me for the week. Poor Wagon will probably be insane by the end of the week because Will and I have a tendency to act strange when we're together.
Apparently, there will be some observers from Telluride visiting this week (via Towleroad). I'll be interested to see if any Telluride-like controversey brews in Aspen this year. It seems unlikely - Gay Ski Week has been in Aspen for years. And in fact, the locals like it because, according to one shop owner I talked to, "the gays bring the snow". Maybe it's our dancing? Who knew that's how a rain dance is actually supposed to look?
Note: When I say "our" dancing, I do NOT mean *my* dancing. I'm referring to gay people who can actually dance.
I had my first Chantico at *$ today. (Who's the cool kid in flyover country using the lingo??) The most interesting part was that I gained 2 lbs. just by ordering.
Actually, if you're a chocolate fan, it's quite good. Definitely not just your average hot chocoloate. Of course at what must be about $1/oz., it's more like Belgian liquid chocolate than Hershey liquid chocolate.
Today, via Fleshbot I stumbled across Eurocreme, a new UK porn outfit that offers porn with actors that actually speak English, so you can follow the plot. OK, so there's not actually a plot - but at least you can understand what they're saying. And I guess I didn't really "stumble" across it - I do subscribe to the Fleshbot feed, after all.
But these look like they could be entertaining for more than the ...um, usual reasons:
SpyBoy2 features the return of James Bonk, England's sexiest spy, facing a crisis of international stature when the Vatican is blackmailed for one billion dollars. Armed with an electromagnetic cockring, Bonk seeks out the evil (but adorable) Willy Blondini in search of the vial of missing papal sperm to put an end to his diabolic plan.
And don't forget the trademark villain "Braunfinger".
not surprised at all. dood's effing hotter than the gates of hades. the only reason i watched the movie on saturday night. well, that and because i was recovering from misdaventures on friday night and am a total sci-fi geek. but, no, no surprise. thank you.
So is this guy a celebrity? Why would they have to put his name up, they don't do this with other models...
He looks hot here, but he is a water polo player at ucla. Google Brad Greiner and its him! He looks totally different there! I wonder if we walk by abercrombie models all day long and don't even notice them because they look average.
you are the hottest f**ckin thing i ever saw o my god
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omg, breath taking, my friends and i love him! i have his pic on my wall!
I have orgasms just looking at him. He points his finger in my general direction and I can't help but cream my pants. I love his love sac
Sexiset Guy abercrombie has...keep it up you sexy thing you...maybe we could meet sometime...
I have had him, he is great :)
Set your TiVo!
Tomorrow night, at nine eastern, is the premiere of the new Battlestar Galactica series. You'll recall that it features Jamie Bamber, an often-thought-of, if little-posted-about, obsesession of mine.
Today's slap is Matt Davis, best known for Blue Crush, which, I'm embarassed to say, I actually liked. I know - that gives me a lot in common with 13 year old girls out there. Oh well - what am I gonna do?
Not that I expect Dell or Gateway to do it - they're very much into building un-sexy things at very sexy prices. But someone? Sony seems like the best candidate.
UPDATE: Faithful reader Will correctly points out that the picture above is NOT the iMac G5. I'm not sure what's up - I just grabbed one of the first pics I saw. Maybe it's a viral. And, in the spirit of The Daily Slap, will had this to say:
Will: no, the Apple Mini is fucking sweeeeeet Will: so cute -- just want to drop kick it
"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist sergeant's court-martial.
So while skiing today, I had my Treo 600 (best phone ever!) in my pocket. But all the sweating I did shorted out the keys on the phone. Thank god I have an insurance policy - since it ...um... fell out of my pocket on the lift. So I'm just hoping that PhonesPlus is out of the 600 and I can score a 650. Woohoo!
I've been following the Social Security debate - on the left and the right - but only to see how many different whines liberals can come up with about the problem. Let me be perfectly clear: I'm firmly in the camp that not only do we need to create private accounts, we should eliminate the SSA entirely.
Every one remembers that our life seems to be expensive, but different people require money for various issues and not every person gets big sums money. Thence to get quick mortgage loans or car loan should be a correct solution.
Those evil credit card companies
An interesting story about credit card fraud - and who pays for it - from West Virginia today. The legislature is considering a bill that apparently (the story strangely neglects to clarify what exactly the bill would do - I'm just inferring) would bad the credit card companies from charging merchants for the fraudulent use of credit cards. For example:
"It works like this," said Gary Howell, owner of Howell Automotive. "Say somebody steals your credit card and charges $1,000. You get the bill and report it to the credit card company. They say you are responsibe for $50, and they give you a credit on your bill for $950. But ... then they turn around and charge the business from which the merchandise was purchased (by way of the stolen credit card), from $1,015 to $1,100," Howell said. They say the additional charges are for paperwork.
As a merchant account owner myself, I'm embarassed to admit that I had no idea that it worked this way. Of course, I'm not shipping merchandise, just selling online service, so I'm not worried about it - I can always disable an account.
But I must admit I'm fairly surprised that this goes on. And I'm doubly surprised that the credit card companies bill the merchants additional fees for "paperwork" and then refuse to prosecute the fraudulent use because they are earning those fees. I certainly understand that the merchant has some responsibility to ensure that the credit card is legitimately used, but how can they be held responsible for all fraud? And if they are, they should be able to rely on the credit card companies to help them prosecute the fraud and recover their money.
Howell said the credit card company makes a profit from $65 to $150 per crime, generating additional income for the credit card companies of billions.
"The Wall Street Journal estimated that the companies generate a half billion dollars in fees for all credit card crimes annually," said Howell.
And, because they make profit from theft, they refuse to prosecute or help catch the thieves. "If we put the criminals away they won't be making the big bucks," Hunter said.
So, I guess, West Virginia's bill would outlaw such fees. Whatever. I generally don't approve of legislative meddling in such contracts, but since the credit card companies are unwilling to interrupt their gravy train by prosecuting fraud, what to do? Of course, if WV does pass the law, the credit card companies will respond by raising the transaction fees for the merchants there, so the merchants will pay the bill regardless.
As a ReplayTV owner, I can only say this. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Replay!!! Do your best to get on this list for 2005!! It's been ages since ReplayTV has had a new version of any kind. There have been some small software updates along the way, but no new features - and nothing like HDTV. And at this point, I don't need the new features. I just want to be able to dream about buying a unit with the new features!! We can talk about getting off the vapor ware list later.
Pursuant to one of my objective of running this blog, eradicating making fun of stupidity when I can, John sent me this article from the Washington Times. About the project of Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch to publicize the "wackiest consumer-warning label of the year".
The sign on the toilet brush says it best: "Do not use for personal hygiene."
As you might imagine, there are groups that oppose such common sense ideas. You might also imagine that people in such groups have little or no sense of humor. You'd be right:
"There are many cases of warning labels saving lives," said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy in New York. "It's much better to be very cautious ... than to be afraid of being made fun of by a tort-reform group."
This is, of course, from a group that thinks that parade organizers should be held liable when spectators are injured by other spectators throwing things.
Then DO NOT click the link below. I know a lot of people will think I'm joking, but I'm really not - if there's the slightest chance you'll be offended by a joke about Andrea Yates, DO NOT click the link below.
One of my favorite shows on TV, Alias is finally back! The 2-hour season premiere was last night and was every bit as exciting as I'd hoped. They also tried again a trick that they've used in the past - the opening sequence featured star Jennifer Garner clad in very skimpy lingerie. She proceeded (having dressed a bit more appropriately) to engage in a kick-boxing match on the side of a speeding train.
The opening was a well-planned effort to raise Alias in the Nielsen ratings. Usually a darling of the critics, the show has consistenly foundered in the ratings. So this year, they have put it strategically after Lost, the ratings dynamo by the same creator, J J Abrams. They were hoping that Lost's dedicated audience would hang around for the similar-feeling Alias. And, they didn't want to interrupt the Desperate Housewives Sunday gravy train.
Apparently the strategy worked. There's trouble ahead for Alias, however, with the upcoming fourth season of American Idol. I hope it can weather the storm. And thank goodness I have 2 ReplayTVs.
Others prefer Fox's similarly-themed 24. I've never watched it. I really should, I guess, but I don't know how much more TV watching I can fit in.
The telephone voting system, which was criticized last season when viewers said swamped phone lines prevented them from voting, will stay, Warwick says. The show's long-distance system worked, he says. But he acknowledges some local-exchange tie-ups, which he says are outside the show's control.
I'm sure the reason is the enormous amount of money they must get from AT&T. I guess I really can't blame them.
Ah, the joys of maintaining my own web site. Last night I spent several hours implementing a backup solution for my database. My web sites I don't worry about - they're just code and I have copies all over the place. But the data? Until last night, I only had one copy. So I checked this morning and everything worked! Woohoo!
It's set to run every night at 1:30am MST - so if you can't access the site for about 2 minutes around that time, you know why.
Yes, you read that right. There's a kerfuffle in Telluride. (And before you say anything, I just love the word "kerfuffle", so I use it when I can - and when I remember. But that's not the point of this post so let me get back to that.)
I think I speak for many homeowners in our community when I tell you how unspeakably offensive this decision is.
Her letter went on to raise the typical conservative objection to such events, promoting "tolerance", while denouncing "promotion".
Her pontification apparently raised some concerns among families planning trips to Telluride, worried about their children being exposed to dangerous lifestyles. In response to what he says was a growing number of requests for information, Al Heirich, operator of The Official Cyber Guide to Telluride posted information for families about ski week, ostensibly to allow them to make an informed decision about whether or not the events are in keeping with their own values. Telluride Ski Resort responded to his informational posting by denouncing it as discriminatory and demanded that he remove all links to their site from his.
The resort's demand prompted the right-wing reactionaries over at WorldNetDaily to weigh in. (Note: I used to visit WorldNetDaily on a semi-regular basis, but they have become so shrill of late that I can no longer stand it.)
In his defense, Al Heirich points out that he maintains other warning pages for families, in particular one focusing on College Ski Week, and a banner at the top of the page loudly proclaims "The Official Cyber Guide to Telluride has no opinion on the issue of homosexuality". He also has posted his personal feelings on the event, saying
Frankly, I don't care if it's Gays, Blacks, Jews, Hippies or angry white men. In the past, we have been able to welcome them all without the need for labels or special weeks.
As for me, I don't know where I stand on this issue. Well, I know where I stand on the Susan Knight part of this issue - she's a moron. As for Al Heirich, I'm conflicted. Don't get me wrong, I'm firmly of the opinion that he should post whatever he wants to on his website - and that Telluride Ski Resort can ask him to remove links to them if they so choose. But does his posting such information feed into the nonsense we so often hear from conservatives about "dangerous lifestyles"? If he's so adamant that labels don't matter, why is he buying in by posting it in the first place? His contention that it's in response to numerous requests for information only goes so far.
Where I really lose internal traction, though, is on his "no labels" position. Even though I'm frequently on board for gay ski week - usually in Aspen, this will be my first trip to Telluride - I believe that doing away with labels, no matter what the label, would serve us well.
UPDATE: 365gay.comweighs in with - inevitable, I suppose - shrieking and hand flapping. Really, people. Is this an accurate summary of the story?
Firstly, JetBlue and Southwest seem to have started a fare war, with fares on JetBlue as low as $85 for a one-way cross country flight. More importantly, however, Delta appears set to shake up the entire industry; in the next week, it is expected to become the first of the six major airlines to simplify its fare pricing nationwide. Among other things, that is reported to include eliminating some of the bizarre ticketing rules, halving the ticket-change fee (to $50), and a significant across the board price cut.
It's hard to imagine that other airlines would be able to resist following Delta's lead. But Delta has an inherent advantage in such a move, because of its significantly lower labor costs. If they do match Delta's changes, it seems like it could spell the end of some of the more troubled majors - specifically USAirways.
Then again, USAirways did manage to convince hundreds to work for free this past weekend - who knows what other miracles they'll manage?
I don't generally post everything that I read on here, but I just finished the latest effort by Dean Koontz, Life Expectancy.
This is Dean Koontz at his best. I was struck again by his skill as a storyteller. If you've never read Koontz before, his novels generally fall into the category "suspense". His special appeal lies in his ability to keep the pages turning at a fantastic pace, maintaining a nearly unbearable level of anticipation. At the same time, his characters are vivid and often endearing. In this novel his liberal use of humor makes the hero and heroine come alive. Some have complained about his recent use of humor, but I think it gives the characters substance that they so often lack.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you like Koontz at all, I can't imagine you won't like this one.