Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In transit

I'm moving to Wordpress for some new tools. Please update your bookmarks.
I have a post already up on glossolalia; it's fun.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Well, the LHC will go hot tomorrow! You can watch it live here:
Live webcast
Now for some fun updates
First (.Y.)
Sorry, I had to, but seriously POOR PENGUIN!
This too
And this
Also this
And finally:

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Very funny video

So, I've found this video on youtube showing the "amazing" things they're doing have been researched?
For the "speaking in tongues" thing:
"In 2006, at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers, under the direction of Andrew Newberg, MD, completed the world’s first brain-scan study of a group of individuals while they were speaking in tongues. The study concluded that while participants were exercising glossolalia, activity in the language centers of the brain actually decreased, while activity in the emotional centers of the brain increased. During this study, researchers observed significant cerebral blood flow changes among individuals while exercising glossolalia, concluding that the observed changes were consistent with some of the described aspects of glossolalia. Further, the researchers observed no changes in any language areas, suggesting that glossolalia is not associated with usual language function."
Just watch, you too will be on the floor, perhaps from laughter!

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Gustav Progress Report

Part 1: New Orleans isn't all there is in Louisiana!
I have a bit of a rant. Most people I've spoken with seem to think the hurricane wasn't that bad because New Orleans is fine. Au contraire! Here's a map of who is without power CURRENTLY in Louisiana that are normally supplied by Entergy. This is five days without power, some of them still aren't allowed back to their homes (Terrebonne parish) and some aren't expected to get power until October 1st (Donaldsonville). In the event you are one of the few that considers New Orleans the only major city in Louisiana, perhaps I can put it into perspective. Peak power outages for the state of Louisiana provided by Entergy numbered around 1 million. Other companies (SLEMCO and CLECO) also had many power outages (100,000 and 200,000 respectively). So this means that in total, almost 1.3 million people were affected. Of the 1.3 million affected, just over 500,000 are still without power. That's more than the number affected by Katrina in Louisiana STILL WITHOUT POWER FIVE DAYS LATER! Katrina caused 400,000 power outages in Louisiana; 1.3 million outages in Florida. So, if you think Katrina was bad for us, let's put some perspective on things.
Part 2: Government response
Whatever dumbasses are trying to spin this as an effective government response can kiss my white ass. While it is certainly far better than what it was after Katrina, I must explain my point. The city services are still nonexistent in Baton Rouge, Lafayette has just gotten some services back. Many cities still have very little water pressure due to a lack of fuel for generators which supply water. Food and drinking water take hours of waiting in line to get and they request that you don't park and block other vehicles. This means that you burn more fuel sitting there doing NOTHING waiting while the National Guard loads up people in front of you. Fuel takes hours of waiting in line (so you burn a tank of fuel waiting to get a tank of fuel) to get because only a few gas stations have generators to pump gas. Trees are still down across many streets!
Part 3: What worked
The Red Cross gets major points from me on this one, they have been doing wonders handing out food and water. Far better, I might add, than the agencies assigned EXCLUSIVELY to do that. You know this agency, FEMA, supposed to stand for "Federal Emergency Management Agency," I think it stands for "forget expecting meaningful answers" or "find external means of assistance." I think this FEMA would do a better job. Those asshats couldn't manage an emergency shit, they just watch. They botched Katrina which lead to deaths, they're botching this one which is only going to result in many people suffering without any means of cooking, bathing, or keeping cool in the wonderfully hot Louisiana summer. At least some organizations have been doing decently in helping out Louisiana. Have I mentioned the Red Cross is awesome? Seriously, donate to them, or at least volunteer for a weekend, donate blood, something. Lamar also donating tarps and using their electronic signs to post emergency messages. Major kudos to them.
Part 4: Midterm grades!
Since we're still lagging on the recovery effort in many places, I can't call this a final grade just yet, but it's not looking good for some, others, it looks pretty good.
Electric companies: 50% overall (scaled by customers)
Slemco: 85% B Took them a few days to get most people up and running, but they had some serious damage to their lines that I saw, most of the pictures of downed lines are Slemco lines.
Cleco: 70% C They still have some work to do, but they're not doing too poorly
Entergy: 40% F For a major electrical company with hundreds of repair crews and hundreds more crews from around the country here to help, they can't manage to get power to more than 50% of their customers in 5 days? Seriously, 5 days is way too long for anyone to be without a means of cooking, bathing, or keeping cool. At 75%, people stand a pretty good chance of having friends with electricity where they can go, but at 50%, it's unlikely.

Government: 60% D-- They completely failed for Katrina, this response may not result in as many deaths from governmental lack of response.

Private companies: 90% A These companies aren't required to help, but many of them that are capable of helping are doing so. For that, we greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

Police and National Guard: 70% C Not a complete failure, but some of the representatives of these agencies could be a bit more assistant when it comes to problems. For example, closing down one of the few fuel stations because the lines were blocking traffic DOES NOT HELP MATTERS! All this does is shift the lines to other fuel stations which ALREADY have similar lines, so you are making it worse. Not only that, the individuals which were sent to close said fuel station were quite rude and unhelpful.

I spent the better part of 4 days cleaning yards, cutting trees, and helping family, tomorrow, I go to help my girlfriend who is also one of the people without power.

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Time for an experiment!

You know, I was reading a comic and came across a pretty cool idea for an experiment, I was just wondering how I could possibly get funding and lab space to do it. It's after the fold...

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The best of the worst!

This was right before the eye passed over us, the winds were starting to die down and the rain pretty much stopped. You can see how flooded the field across the street is.

This is where I watched the heaviest part of the storm from, you can see limbs down and the flooding here as well.

The ground was so saturated that by the time the eye passed us, when I walked outside, I sunk ankle deep in mud. That is why the video I posted previously was on the north side of the house, I didn't sink when I tried walking out, although the other side had a much better view of the other side of the eye wall.

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