June 18, 2006

Legoland coupons

If you want to go to Legoland, you should purchase your tickets from Costco.com. It is about 25% cheaper than at the gate, and at Legoland prices, that's a serious chunk of change. You'll need to plan ahead, since the tickets get FedEx'd. Normal pricing? $53 for adults, $43 for kids. Yikes!

Wait according to this site, you can buy it in Southland Costco's. That's worth it.

Posted by torque at 11:32 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 4, 2006

Two-piece swimsuits for kids?

Sweetie asked me this morning about two-piece swimsuits for little girls. Are they "cute" or are they inappropriate? What do you think? Incidentally, wholesomewear.com is at least one source for more modest swimwear. Interestingly, a search on "wholesomewear" for comments brings up a whole slew of negative reactions, e.g., "I can hardly believe isn't satire," "ridiculous site".

Posted by torque at 8:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 5, 2005

The "H" Rate make-up stamp

This has got to be one of life's little annoyances. How much is an "H" stamp worth and how much is the "H" Rate make-up stamp worth? Who can remember? For an interesting read, checkout Paul Rubin's note on the whole debaucle. He writes:

The current 1˘ stamp is green with a rooster and is labeled “The ‘H’ Rate make-up stamp.”
That's good to know. Now, is it still worth a cent? You can learn more about the alphabetical stamp at an intriguing site called "Alphabetilately". I found the answer to my questions there:
Stamp Value Date of rate change
A 15 cents 5/29/78
B 18 cents 3/22/81
C 20 cents 11/1/81 (!)
D 22 cents 2/17/85
E 25 cents 4/3/88
F 29 cents 2/3/91
... F makeup rate 4 cents  
G 32 cents 1/1/95
... G makeup rate 3 cents  
H 33 cents 1/10/99
... H makeup rate 1 cent  
(no I stamp) 34 cents 1/7/01
A postcard, by the way, costs 23 cents to mail.

Posted by torque at 10:31 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

PG&E delays

I called PG&E this morning at 8:30a to start service and found out that they can't turn it on until Thursday. What's worse, I have to be there all day waiting for them to call when they can be either around the corner or 15 minutes away. What's up with that? How completely inefficient. The next "appointment" is Monday sometime between 1 and 5. The power of monopolies...

Posted by torque at 9:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 2, 2005

Universal Soul Circus Update

I found the website - information was lacking because I was using the wrong search term. The right term is "UniverSoul Circus" not "Universal Soul Circus". It looks like fun, though PETA is less than enthused.

Posted by torque at 9:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 25, 2005

Universal Soul Circus

What is the Universal Soul Circus? Amazingly, in all of Google Groups there is one entry in soc.culture.african.american.moderated. We glean that they

  • visited Houston, TX in November 1999
  • have a web site
It certainly reminds me of Cirque du Soleil.

Update
I found the website - information was lacking because I was using the wrong search term. The right term is "UniverSoul Circus" not "Universal Soul Circus". It looks like fun, though PETA is less than enthused. Kevin Chappell wrote an article in 1996 in Ebony entitled "A circus with soul - Universal Big Top Circus".

Posted by torque at 8:41 PM | Comments (312) | TrackBack

March 24, 2005

Air Mattress

Our queen-sized Aerobed, purchased in-store at Costco, is the most comfortable air mattress I've ever slept on. It comes with its own motorized air pump, a pillowtop "comfort quilt" cover, and a carrying bag to boot. It inflates in about 60 seconds and deflates in 15 seconds. I would say that the Aerobed rivals most reasonably priced mattresses. (It is absolutely more comfortable than college-grade beds.) While a little bit heavy, it is definitely portable. Stats (per Costco):

  • Puncture resistant, heavy-gauge PVC vinyl
  • 7" thick - twice as thick as standard mattresses
  • Coil-constructed base provides firm, lasting support
  • Patented One Touch® comfort control adjusts bed to any firmness
  • Powerful, plug-in pump provides hands free inflation in less than 60 seconds
  • Fully deflates in 15 seconds with patented Quick Air Release Valve
  • Rolls up easily into carry bag for storage and transportation
  • Fits standard size sheets
  • Inflated dimensions: 60" W x 78" L x 7" H
  • Warranty: One-year limited
I can't remember the exact price now, but it was somewhere between $80-100. If you are in the market for an air mattress, this is the one to get. More reviews at Epinions.

Posted by torque at 2:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 16, 2005

Palo Alto real estate - the competition

I'll have to admit, it has its appeal. In Palo Alto, where the average dinky 2 bedroom 1 bath single family dwelling* goes for about $1 million in about a week, 3% sounds very sweet. But, before you start studying for the California real estate exam, consider the competition. The chart below shows the number of real estate licenses per month issued in the State of California since mid-2001. Astounding isn't it?

dre.PNG

From June 2001 to January 2005, 171,918 brokers and salespersons were added to the ranks for a grand total of 423,315 licensees. The estimated population of California in 2003 was 35.5 million. That makes 1 out of every 100 people you meet a real estate broker or a salesperson. How does this match up to, say, physicians? According to USA today, there are about 2.5 active physicians per 1000 residents.
----
*May require some fixer-uppering before being actually dwellable.

Posted by torque at 6:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 15, 2005

Wiriting IDC Flashes...

I'm missing the boat writing this blog. As some of you may know, the new DVD format, Blu-Ray, has been in the news as big players like Apple join the gang. Just out of curiosity I checked out book offerings on Blu-Ray - two IDC flashes, by Danielle Levitas and Schelley Olhava, each one page, electronic, $1500. Yowsahs...

Posted by torque at 4:24 PM | Comments (92) | TrackBack

March 2, 2005

For a scoop ice cream...

Would you sell you name, age and email for a 2.5 oz scoop of ice cream at Baskin Robbins? To celebrate its 10 year birthday, Yahoo! is asking you to do exactly that. Publicized as a "free scoop", the promotion requires that you log into your Yahoo! account and register with your city, zip, email, age and birthdate.

Posted by torque at 12:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 22, 2005

The magic of helium

The next time you see a balloon pumped up with helium, think about this: helium is a rare, non-renewable resource. Helium can be and is produced by fusion inside stars like the Sun. While it is the second most abundant element in the universe, it was not discovered in earth until 1895 by Sir William Ramsay. It has a suprisingly nuclear source. It was found in a mineral containing uranium called clevite. Helium comes from alpha decay, radioactive decay which produces alpha particles - each with two neutrons and two protons. Of course, this is simply doubly ionized helium. Helium is present in the earth's atmosphere at 0.0005%. It is not feasible to extract helium from air. The primary source commercially are natural gas deposits in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Liquified helium is critical in a variety of scientific and medical instrumentation, e.g., fiberoptic cooling, magnetic resonance imaging, and, most recently, whistling superfluid gyroscopes [2].

What's so special about helium [3]?

  • Helium is the second lightest element.
  • It is chemically inert, having essentially no tendency to combine with other elements.
  • It has the highest ionization potential (24.587 eV).
  • The boiling point of helium is closer to absolute zero than that of any other element, so liquid helium can provide the lowest operating temperatures of any refrigerant.
  • Helium remains liquid at atmospheric pressure down to absolute zero and can be solidified only by applying 25 atm. In its solid form, helium is extremely compressible, permitting volume changes of more than 30 percent.
  • Liquid 4He undergoes a transition to a superfluid phase at temperatures below 2.18 K (-455.5 °F) and has extraordinary physical properties, including viscosity-free fluid flow and extraordinarily high thermal conductivity (on the order of a million times greater than its conductivity in the normal phase and greater than that of the best metallic conductors).
  • The specific heat and thermal conductivity of helium gas are very high.
  • Helium is radiologically inert (i.e., it does not easily participate in nuclear processes and does not become radioactive).

Did you know that the rarity of helium prompted the United States to setup a Federal Helium Reserve? In 1996, per the Helium Privatization Act, Congress directed the Bureau of Land Management to stop producing helium and to sell the government's stockpile by 2005 [4]. An exhaustive report [3] is available for free, thanks to your tax dollars and mine.

As of January 2003, the USGS is aware 8.5 billion cubic meters of helium in the United States: 0.87 billion cubic meter at the Cliffside Field Government Reserve, 3.7 billion in helium-rich natural gas, and 3.1 billion in helium lean natural gas. Outside the United States, the estimate is 31.4 billion cubic meters broken down into Qatar, 10; Algeria, 8; Russia, 7; Canada, 2; China, 1; and Poland, 0.3 [5].

Now that's facinating. How come Qatar has so much helium? Qatar Liquified Gas Company issued a press release on helium production not too long ago:

Qatar will become one of the world's leading helium producers by 2010, with the launch of a $115m helium joint venture plant. It will be located at the Ras Laffan Industrial City, with Qatargas, RasGas and RasGas II supplying the helium. The contract for the design and construction of the plant was awarded to the French company Air Liquide Engineering SA on 21st May, 2003. The Minister of Energy and Chairman of Qatargas, HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah signed on behalf of Qatargas and Dr. Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, Vice Chairman on behalf of RasGas.

The plant owners have also concluded two separate long-term agreements with BOC Group Inc. and Air Liquide America LP for the installation of facilities required to extract helium from natural gas, purify and liquefy it for export.

The plant will be constructed over the next two years and have an annual production of 650 million standard cubic feet of helium. The first helium sale is expected in July 2005.

"This is just phase I. We hope to double production as we plan to be the world's top helium producer", said HE Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah. Currently, only a few countries produce helium including the US, Algeria and Australia. The US alone produces and consumes 60% of the world market share of helium. There are only 12 helium plants in the world today. One plant is currently under construction in Algeria and Ras Laffan will become the world's 14th helium plant.

Helium is colourless, odourless, non-reactive, safer and lighter than air. It is require for a number of commercial and industrial applications. It is the second most abundant element in the universe, but rarely found in concentrations that justify economic extraction. Due to its marginal presence in natural gas, extracting it for liquefaction is complicated, which makes it an expensive product. However, Qatargas' North Field, with its massive natural gas reserves, makes extraction economically viable. The key markets for Qatari helium on completion of the project include the Middle East and Asia. It is estimated that Qatar will account for about 15% of the world's helium market.

References
[1] S. Gagnon, It's Elemental, Jefferson Lab.
[2] T. Malik, Whistling Helium: Supercold Sound May Lead to Better GPS in Submarines, 16 Feb 2005.
[3] The Impact of Selling the Federal Helium Reserve, Board on Physics and Astronomy (BPA), National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB), 2000.
[4] Selling Federal Helium Reserves Should Not Adversely Affect Industry, Research Activities, National Academy of Sciences, 23 May 2000.
[5] Helium, USGS, Jan 2005.

Posted by torque at 1:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 9, 2005

From whence cometh Lent?

According to Carol Reeves [1], Lent, from the Old English word "lengten," meaning "spring", is derived from a 40-day festival of abstinence dedicated to Astarte, Chaldean fertility goddess. The Catholic Church, in the 4th century, established a parallel 40-day fast for believers to "stay focused on their new life as Christians". Historically, the Reformed Church and the Anabaptists (root of the modern day Baptists) rejected Lent, as it is not specifically preached in the Bible.

References
[1] C. Reeves, Observing Lent is widespread, not universal, Gazette-Times, 4 Feb 2005.

Posted by torque at 8:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 2, 2005

Addresses, maps and the information age

As some of you may know from my previous post, Google has been providing name-address searching functions for sometime. What you may not know, is that you can now do reverse phone number searching. I got a message forwarded to me this morning from a concerned friend.

Google has implemented a new feature wherein you can type someone's telephone number into the search bar and hit enter and then you will be given their address and a map to their house. Everyone should be aware of this! You may think this is a good feature or not.

***Note that you can have your phone number removed or blocked. Before forwarding this, I tested it by typing my telephone number in
google.com. My phone number came up, and when I clicked on the MapQuest link, it actually mapped out where I live - quite scary. Please look up your own number. Read below for details. Think about it--if a child, ANYONE gives out his/her phone number, someone
can actually now look it up to find out where he/she lives. The
safety issues are obvious, and alarming. In order to test whether
your phone number is mapped, go to:

http://www.google.com

Type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. 5555551212) and
hit enter. If you want to BLOCK Google from divulging your private
information, simply click on the telephone icon next to your phone
number. Removal takes 48-hours. If you are unlisted in the phone
book, you might not be in there, but it is a good idea just to
check. If your number does come up if you hit map,it will show you a
direct map to your house...

If you click on your phone number, a form will come up whereby
you can remove your number from Google.

Here are my thoughts. Reverse phone number lookups have been available for at least 5-10 years now. I remember doing my first one as an undergrad. The data, of course, comes from magazine subscriptions, contests and phone book publishers. And Yahoo Maps and Mapquest? Well, there is no stopping someone who has your address from getting directions.

While it helps to opt out of Google's list, it is probably too late to stop the information. You would have to opt out of hundreds if not thousands of sites. The only real way to regain annonymity is to move into an apartment using a pseudonym, use cash, never file a tax return, cancel all your phones, shred your garbage, and communicate only from pay phones and at internet cafes. Even then, these days, $30-40 can buy you a lot of information (SSN, home purchases, outstanding loans, etc.).

So, does it scare me? Information that becomes public cannot be destroyed. It is just a fact of life. What is scary are companies that aggregate credit card purchases, mortgage payments, phone call logs by your social security number. I'm absolutely sure that they will not give you this information, even if you say please. Of course, maybe you trust them, but can they be trusted to keep it private? Last week T-Mobile got hacked.

Jonathan Cherry, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service in Washington, D.C., said one of the victims in the incident was a Secret Service agent who was part of Operation Firewall.

In addition to the e-mail and personal-computer files of hundreds of customers the intruder had access to, the hacker obtained documents of Secret Service agent Peter Cavicchia, who was investigating the hacker and was using his personal T-Mobile account.

Welcome to the information age.

Posted by torque at 11:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 23, 2005

Hilarious printer error...

Sonja called me downstairs to report that the printer was printing a bazillion copies... because she had asked for a bazillion copies. We turned off the printer, and I went to delete the print jobs to find the following... note the Status and Submitted fields.

errorrest.PNG

Update
Actually, it isn't that funny now that I've gotten some rest...

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January 22, 2005

When does a pool ball become a deadly weapon?

ball13.jpg16 Nov 2002:

Assault with a deadly weapon arrest at the Office Bar -- Two females became involved in a fight inside the bar. A female relative of one of the combatants came forward to assist her, and struck the other combatant in the head with the #13 ball thrown from a pool table, causing minor injury. One of the combatants was placed under citizens arrest at the bar, while the relative who threw the pool ball was located and placed under arrest by police.

Posted by torque at 10:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 6, 2005

Bay area earthquake - I thought I felt something...

I'm supposed to be sleeping, but about 10 minutes ago I felt what I thought was a small earthquake. Indeed, it was. It took sometime, but I was finally able to find the USGS site for earthquake reports. They are fast.

Version #1: This report supersedes any earlier reports of this event.
This is a computer-generated message. This event has not yet been reviewed by a seismologist.


A microearthquake occurred at 2:46:05 AM (PST) on Thursday, January 6, 2005.
The magnitude 2.3 event occurred 2 km (1 miles) E of Woodside, CA.
The hypocentral depth is 6 km ( 4 miles).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Magnitude 2.3 - duration magnitude (Md)
Time Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 2:46:05 AM (PST)
Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 10:46:05 (UTC)
Distance from Woodside, CA - 2 km (1 miles) E (95 degrees)
Portola Valley, CA - 5 km (3 miles) NNW (339 degrees)
Emerald Lake Hills, CA - 6 km (3 miles) SSE (155 degrees)
Sunnyvale, CA - 20 km (12 miles) WNW (286 degrees)
San Jose City Hall, CA - 32 km (20 miles) WNW (286 degrees)

Coordinates 37 deg. 25.2 min. N (37.419N), 122 deg. 14.4 min. W (122.240W)
Depth 5.7 km (3.5 miles)
Location Quality Good
Location Quality Parameters Nst= 69, Nph= 69, Dmin=6 km, Rmss=0.1 sec, Erho=0.1 km, Erzz=0.3 km, Gp=68.4 degrees
Event ID# nc51155488

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January 3, 2005

Oh beauteous Capybara

Over the weekend, while visiting the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo in San Jose, we encountered a most unusual creature - well, actually, four of them.

capyberas.jpg

It looks like a squirrel or a guinea pig - hardly shocking. What is shocking is that this critter is about four feet long, one and a half feet tall, and weighs in at over 100 lbs. Stretch your arms out (about 4') to get the idea. Yowzers! Known as the carpincho in Spanish and the capivara in Portuguese, the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the world's largest living rodent [1].

The capybara or "capy", as it is known by American afficionados, is found predominantly in Southern Brazil, Northern Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay. They are either hunted or, more recently, farmed as a source of leather and meat. Indeed, in Venezuela, the capybara is considered a delicacy, costing up to $4.50 a pound as of 1999 [2]. The pork-like meat is "tender and tasty yet low in fat", 1.5% versus up to 20% for beef. For at least one Venezuelan, it is "the most scrumptious dish that exists."

In the 16th century, capybara-addicted Venezuelans appealed to the Vatican to classify it as fish so that it could be eaten during Lent. After all, capybara can hold their breath while swimming underwater for at leats 5 minutes. They also have a slightly fishy taste. To the delight of Venezuelan Catholics, the church granted the request effectively associating capybara to Lent like Thanksgiving turkey.

You may have some reservations about eating rodent. Rest assured, except for occasionally eating its own feces, capybaras eat grass.

References
1. Capybara, Wikipedia.
2. B. Jones, World's largest rodent considered a delicacy by Venezuelans, AP Press, August 1999.
3. G. Gollin, Important Facts About Capybaras.

Posted by torque at 11:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 28, 2004

Checking non-profits - responding to the tsunami

The amount of destruction caused by the tsunami in southeast Asia has been, to say the least, breathtaking. Today, the number of dead rose above 60,000. How can we respond? One easy way is to donate money to organizations in the forefront. The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and World Vision are several that immediately come to mind. In the months to come, I'm sure you will encounter a number of solicitors from organizations you may never have heard about. Check them out before you give. An excellent resource for doing this is GuideStar. They provide a massive amount of information on various non-profit organizations including things like salaries and how much money is actually spent for the cause. Interesting in actually volunteering? Check out idealist.org.

Posted by torque at 9:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

Suing for libel - only if it is false

Steven Pressman has a great piece on libel laws in the United States.

For the United States, the laws that control libel and slander first began to take shape even before the colonies gained their independence from Britain. One of the most famous American cases involved New York publisher John Peter Zenger, who was imprisoned in 1734 for printing political attacks against the colonial governor of New York. Zenger's lawyer established a legal precedent by arguing successfully that truth is an absolute defense in libel cases. Up until then, it had never mattered much whether the allegedly libelous statements about someone were true or false. Since the Zenger case, however, someone can sue successfully for libel only if the defamatory information is proven to be false. [emphasis mine]

Posted by torque at 11:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 11, 2004

The Smell Report

The Social Issues Research Centre (Oxford, UK) has a facinating report on smell. "You won't want to stop reading," reported Sonja. I concur. The article is well researched, and rich in the history of smell in Western and other cultures. Here are some thought-provoking factoids:

  • In India, the traditional affectionate greeting - equivalent of the Western hug or kiss - was to smell someone’s head.
  • In Arab countries, breathing on people as you speak to them signals friendship and goodwill - and to ‘deny’ someone your breath-smell conveys a shameful avoidance of involvement.
  • For the cattle-raising Dassanetch of Ethiopia, no scent is more beautiful than the odour of cows. The association of this scent with social status and fertility is such that the men wash their hands in cattle urine and smear their bodies with manure, while the women rub butter into their heads, shoulders and breasts to make themselves smell more attractive.
Ok, I can see how butter might be nice but urine and manure? It must be some sort of guy thing.

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December 4, 2004

One scientist's defense - re: Money = Work / Knowledge

It has been said, that Time is Money, and Knowledge is Power. By substituting these into

Power = Work/Time
we quickly find that
Knowledge = Work/Money
leading us quickly to the infamous
Money = Work/Knowledge
which has presumably been used by VC's and CEO's to assuage their nighttime guilt about making so much mulah at the expensive of lesser paid scientists and engineers. Who can dispute a law of physics?

Let's take a closer look, to see if it makes sense. The common argument is that for a given amount of work, as knowledge tends towards zero, the money you make increases to infinity. Of course, we all know this shouldn't be the case. So where lies the logical flaw? It lies in the interpretation of work. Work is Power/Time. The more Power you expend, the less Time you need to achieve a given amount of Work. You can buy time by hiring help. So, substitute in Money. Instead spending Time, you are now spending Money. Now it should be clear that the Money in Money = Work/Knowledge does not have to do with the Money you make, but the Money you have to spend to do a given amount of work.

You get paid Money for the amount of Work you do. Taking a company from a seedling to a public company is a lot of Work. That's why VC's (and investment banks)get paid a lot of money. How does the equation fit into this? Everyone agrees that VC knowledge is typically infinitesimal*. Which means the money that must be spent to achieve this huge Work must be immense. Where does the Money come from? It comes from the Investor.

*If you are a VC with funding for a revolutionary brain-related medical device, this excludes you.

Posted by torque at 8:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 1, 2004

Hokusai et Hiroshige gifts

I admit it, I was goofing off when I was supposed to be doing more important things. How are you doing on your Christmas shopping? Done yet? If not, visit my Japanese woodblock print gift shop. Focusing on the magnificent Edo era, I offer Hokusai and Hiroshige mugs, t-shirts, etc. Let me know what you think.

Posted by torque at 9:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2004

Hacked

As some of you might have noticed, my domain got hacked today. Hacked hard. Every site index was replaced by garbage from boxocide and esx with SoBe, Jon, HighMR, dj-fu, VorTeX, x80, phr33k, VoRTeX, ResilienT, Mouse, eQ, rtyp3, xAvia, w0rf, Auschwitz, PhrackMan and Trippin Smurfs receiving additional credit. I guess I should be somewhat honored, but as you can imagine, I'm not amused.

My laminate flooring forum was defaced with some anti-bush rhetoric by MaCS from "#foz irc.brasnet.org".

It looks as if all of this happened at around 27/Nov/2004:13:04:31.

Update. It turns out that there is an archive of boxo-esx attacks. I guess I'm not the only victim. I wonder who "reports" these to Zone-H. Makes you wonder if it isn't the defacer, hoping to get some publicity. I'm sure it brings the defacer a certain amount of pride to be listed in the Top Attackers list.

Posted by torque at 9:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 26, 2004

To do lists

I envy the kids. It's nice not to have a to do list - especially one which you will never finish checking off. This is "biting more than you can chew".

When the kids bite off more than they can chew, or, rather, when we feed them more than they want to chew, they just spit it all back out. I guess I can't really blame them, though it would be nice if they could at least put it into a napkin. Actually, they don't really "spit", which is good. They simply, and without warning, let the gob of partially chewed grub drop out of their mouths. This is "dropping the ball".

Posted by torque at 12:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 24, 2004

My Chinese name...

...is 黄长春. Can you see that? It was written using Microsoft's Pinyin IME 3.0.

Posted by torque at 6:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 12, 2004

Not ready to adopt?

The full 18 years is rather daunting. How about becoming a Child Advocate? At a wedding reception over the weekend I sat next to a gal doing legal work for Child Advocates in Milpitas. Please take some time to go through the site and learn. It'll break your heart. A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a person who volunteers to spend time with an abused or neglected child. This serves two major goals. The first is to be there for the child, who may often times really have no one else. The second is to represent the child in court, because often times there is no one to do that.

Posted by torque at 11:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Embryo Adoption

On a seemingly unrelated article, there is a new movement underway on embryo aodption. The article opens with a story on eight-month-old twins Savannah and Morgan Gillingham. Counting in Chinese, they are not eight months but five years and eight months. Eh?

Savanna and Morgan were previously frozen, leftovers from in-vitro fertilization. There are 400,000 such frozen embryos waiting, shelved and filed in hospitals and infertility clinics. About half will survive thawing, and of those only 12-15% will live. That's 25,000 to 35,000 potential babies. The movement is to bring together willing, infertile parents and these embryos so that they can be adopted. The organization is Snowflakes, founded by Rod Stoddart of Nightlight Christian Adoption.

So... ummm, what happens if they don't get adopted? Ahh, here's the connection. Guess who said this?

"I think if we can save millions of lives by doing research on something that may be destroyed anyway, that the balance is important."
Excuse me, something? It is sad enough that they are there to begin with. There are other ways to do stem cell research. There are alternatives.

We are taking the most helpless people on earth and killing them in the name of research.

Posted by torque at 10:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 11, 2004

Christopher Reeve - Superman - dies at 52

Chistopher Reeve really was a superman - his determination to live on inspired and helped many people. I have always been struck by pictures of him in a wheelchair with a smile on his face.

Posted by torque at 10:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 5, 2004

Gallivan, Gallivan & O'Melia

I met Bill Gallivan today at the Stanford Fall Career Fair. He is one of the founders of Gallivan, Gallivan & O'Melia. Dubbing themselves "the Digital Evidence Specialists", Gallivan et al. provide digital investigation services to companies facing IP litigation, insurance claims,. In other words, they poke into people's emails, registries, etc. to dig up facts. Fun work!

Just 'cuz I like to be a digital investigator myself...

Whois results

Registrant:
Larson Gallivan & Gallivan (KNYGYMCJUO)
101 Yesler Way, Suite 205
Seattle, WA 98104
US
Phone: 206.652.1441
Fax: 123 123 1234

Domain Name: DIGITALWARROOM.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
Larson Gallivan & Gallivan (KNYGYMCJUO)
gallivans@bainbridge.net
101 Yesler Way, Suite 205
Seattle, WA 98104
US
Phone: 206.652.1441
Fax: 123 123 1234

Record expires on 14-Jun-2006
Record created on 14-Jun-2002
Database last updated on 06-Jul-2004

Domain servers in listed order:
NS1.DIGITALWARROOM.COM 67.40.185.233
FINALLY.ATLASTA.NET 12.129.13.23

Posted by torque at 3:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 2, 2004

Cutting tulips

The "right way" can be rather involved. Properly cared for, cut tulips can stay fresh for seven to ten days, even continuing to grow up to an inch or more. So, what's the secret? Leonard Perry from the University of Vermont has a few tips.

First, recut the stems - diagonally, removing about a half inch of stem. Hmm, is that half inch with the diagonal or without? One-half inch is quite short!

Now, rewrap the bouquet in paper, with a few inches of stems sticking out. This goes into water for about an hour or two, with the paper above the water line. Why is this? My guess is that this rehydrates the stem so that later on, when you add floral preservative, it doesn't all get trapped at the bottom. If you just came back from the store, you are probably ok. I just did so I'm going to skip this step. The paper is probably for keeping the flowers from drying up.

If you did the soak, recut the stems to the desired length, again diagonally. Fill a vase with water and floral preservative. That's it.

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September 27, 2004

Where does the flu vaccine come from anyway?

flu.gifIn this case, truth is stranger than fiction. Each year, at around springtime, nearly a hundred million fertilized eggs are injected with the viruses of choice. The shells are cracked, the embryos infected and the egg resealed. After about four to five months of growth, the viruses are "harvested, and then killed through chemical means". According to Karen Hopkin, someday manufacturers hope to swtich to stainless-steel culture vats filled with cells derived from humans. Clinical trials will begin this fall.

Source: ScienCentral.

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August 23, 2004

Paying for nostalgia

My wife had a great line today as I momentarily considered a $20 video of old Timex 'takes a licking and keeps on ticking' commercials.

That's great but $20 for nostalgia is not worth it.
Incidentally, the announcer's name was John Cameron Swayze.

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August 12, 2004

Someone turn off my D2

Betterhumans reported today on some astounding new research from the US National Institute of Mental Health (Bethesda, MD). According to Dr. Barry Richmond, we procrastinate because of a properly functioning reward learning system. When the reward is far off or difficult to attain (as in, completing a thesis) we slack off - well, at least I sometimes do. As the reward becomes closer and more sure, we then pick up the pace.

Here's the experiment. A bunch of monkeys are trained to release a lever when the spot on the monitor changes from red to green. If they do good, the status bar gets closer to the goal. When they get to the goal, they get a juice treat. The researchers based their research on the fact that untweaked monkeys had fewer errors as they got closer to getting the reward. They then injected the monkeys into the rhinal cortex (straight into the brain) with a molecule which shuts off expression of a gene encoding receptor called D2 for several weeks. The result? Tweaked monkeys became "extreme workaholics" attaining a consistent low rate of error. Hmm...

How does the molecule work? It appears that the molecule is a genetic mirror image of the area which produces the relevant protein - DNA antisense. I can see this becoming the new drug of choice.

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August 9, 2004

An encouraging thought from sweetie

God does not judge you by your CTR.
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August 7, 2004

Federal Reserve discount rate

The discount rate at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco effective 6-30-2004 is 2.25%. This means that the maximum interest you can charge someone per year without being usurious is 10%. So how do those money advance places work? My understanding is that the annualized rate ends up being hundreds of percent. Here's more information from the Attorney General. Apparently, pawn brokers are exempt from such laws... as are banks, credit unions, etc.

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July 22, 2004

Say It Right the First Time

coverI skimmed through Loretta Malandro's Say It Right the First Time this afternoon. A lot of it is common sense, though it is the sort of common sense that never seems to be present at the right time. Her big thing is taking the accountability instead of laying blame, and realizing that what you say is not what people hear. Lots and lots of examples. It would be best implemented into a small voice recognition device which lights up green when you are using the right language and flashes red when you aren't so you can correct yourself.

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July 16, 2004

Acrophobia

Over the last couple days, I have been measuring scalp-electrode impedance over frequency on myself. The process takes quite a bit of time and requires that I keep my head rather still (mostly because my setup is rather delicate). In order to do so, I've been reading online. Today I stumbled across James Waldroop and Timothy Butler's The 12 Bad Habits That Hold Good People Back: Overcoming the Behavior Patterns That Keep You from Getting Ahead. I found it looking for books on anger management, after losing my cool with #1. They call the first bad habit acrophobia, i.e., never feeling good enough.

Why acrophobia? Acrophobia is the fear of heights, or, more properly, the fear of falling from heights. This happens when you are where you shouldn't be. If you've ever looked at a job offer letter, or a college acceptance letter and thought, they must have made a mistake, or been in a meeting where you felt totally outclassed and out of place, that is what they mean. Waldroop and Butler's book covers bad habits, Achilles' heels, as they call them, that cause talented people to fail. Think of them as personal glass ceilings. In this case, acrophobia either consciously or unconsciously causes some to sabotage their own careers in order to get back to where they are supposed to be.

They give the example of Paul, a quant banker with an MBA from the University of Texas. After a few years of excellent performance, he was assigned to manage a group of Harvard, Wharton bankers who, when the Mexican peso collapsed, lost millions of dollars. Paul, as you might guessed, felt completely out of place and not worthy of this position. This reflected in how he interacted with people, e.g., not being able to delegate down to how he walked. It got so bad that people, while recognizing him to be hard worker, did not really go to him for advice. They started to see him as how he saw himself, a quant that got lifted up too high. This story has a happy ending though, since Paul consulted Waldroop and Butler, who identify his problem and help him overcome it. One interesting advice: walking with your hands behind your back. It forces you to slow down and projects the image that even with all the crises around you, that you are in control. Hmmm, I need to work on that.

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June 27, 2004

Mmmm, jelly beans!

IMG_8980.jpg

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June 11, 2004

California car seat law

I couldn't find anything on rear-facing versus forward-facing, though the American Pediatrics Association recommends not forward-facing until 1 year old. #2 actually fits the weight and height restrictions already. Also interesting, there doesn't appear to be any mention of 5-point harnesses...

California

CALIFORNIA CODES  VEHICLE CODE  SECTION 27360-27368

27360. (a) No parent or legal guardian, when present in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, shall permit his or her child or ward to be transported upon a highway in the motor vehicle without providing and properly securing the child or ward, in a child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards unless the child or ward is at least one of the following:
    (1) Six years of age or older.
    (2) Weighs 60 pounds or more.
  (b) No driver shall transport on a highway any child in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, without providing and properly securing the child in a child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards unless the child is at least one of the following:
    (1) Six years of age or older.
    (2) Weighs 60 pounds or more.
This subdivision does not apply to a driver if the parent or legal guardian of the child is also present in the vehicle and is not the driver.
  (c) (1) A first offense under this section is punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100), except that the court may reduce or waive the fine if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he or she is economically disadvantaged, and the court, instead, refers the defendant to a community education program that includes, but is not limited to, education on the proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems for children of all ages, and provides certification to the court of completion of that program. Upon completion of the program, the defendant shall provide proof of participation in the program. If an education program on the proper installation and use of a child passenger restraint system is not available within 50 miles of the residence of the defendant, the requirement to participate in that program shall be waived. If the fine is paid, waived, or reduced, the court shall report the conviction to the department pursuant to Section 1803.
The court may, at its discretion, require any defendant described under this section to attend an education program that includes demonstration of proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems and provides certification to the court that the defendant has presented for inspection a child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal safety standards.
    (2) A second or subsequent offense under this section is punishable by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250), no part of which may be waived by the court, except that the court may reduce or waive the fine if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he or she is economically disadvantaged, and the court, instead refers the defendant to a community education program that includes, but is not limited to, education on the proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems for children of all ages, and provides certification to the court of completion of that program. Upon completion of the program, the defendant shall provide proof of participation in the program. If an education program on the proper installation and use of a child passenger restraint system is not available within 50 miles of the residence of the defendant, the requirement to participate in that program shall be waived. If the fine is paid, waived, or reduced, the court shall report the conviction to the department pursuant to Section 1803.
The court may, at its discretion, require any defendant described under this section to attend an education program that includes demonstration of proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems and provides certification to the court that the defendant has presented for inspection a child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal safety standards.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the fines collected for a violation of this section shall be allocated as follows:
    (1) Sixty percent to health departments of local jurisdictions, as defined in Section 16700 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, where the violation occurred, to be used for a community education program that includes, but is not limited to, demonstration of the installation of a child passenger restraint system for children of all ages and also assists economically disadvantaged families in obtaining those restraint systems through low-cost purchases or loans. The county or city health department shall designate a coordinator to facilitate the creation of a special account and to develop a relationship with the municipal court system to facilitate the transfer of funds to the program. The county or city may contract for the implementation of the program. Prior to obtaining possession of a child passenger restraint system pursuant to this section, a person shall attend an education program that includes demonstration of proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems.
As the proceeds from fines become available, county or city health departments shall prepare and maintain a listing of all child passenger restraint low-cost purchase or loaner programs in their counties, including a semiannual verification that all programs listed are in existence. Each county or city shall forward the listing to the Office of Traffic Safety in the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and the courts, birthing centers, community child health and disability prevention programs, county clinics, prenatal clinics, women, infants, and children programs, and county hospitals in that county, who shall make the listing available to the public. The Office of Traffic Safety shall maintain a listing of all of the programs in the state.
     (2) Twenty-five percent to the county or city for the administration of the program.
    (3) Fifteen percent to the city, to be deposited in its general fund except that, if the violation occurred in an unincorporated area, this amount shall be allocated to the county for purposes of
paragraph (1).
(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2002.

27360.5. (a) No parent or legal guardian, when present in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, may permit his or her child or ward who is six years of age, but less than 16 years of age, or who is less than six years of age and weighs 60 pounds or more to be transported upon a highway in the motor vehicle without providing and properly securing the child or ward in an appropriate child passenger restraint system or safety belt meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
 (b) No driver may transport on a highway any child who is six years of age, but less than 16 years of age, or who is less than six years of age and weighs 60 pounds or more in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, without providing and properly securing the child in a child passenger restraint system or safety belt meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. This subdivision does not apply to a driver if the parent or legal guardian of the child is also present in the vehicle and is not the driver.
 (c) (1) A first offense under this section is punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100), except that the court may reduce or waive the fine if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he or she is economically disadvantaged, and the court, instead, refers the defendant to a child restraint education program that includes, but is not limited to, demonstration of the proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems for children of all ages, and provides economically disadvantaged families with a child passenger restraint low-cost purchase or loaner program. Upon completion of the program, the defendant shall provide proof of participation in the program that includes an inspection of a child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal safety standards. If an education program on the proper installation and use of a child passenger restraint system is not available within 50 miles of the residence of the defendant, the requirement to participate in that program shall be waived. If the fine is paid, waived, or reduced, the court shall report the conviction to the department pursuant to Section 1803.
The court may, at its discretion, require any defendant described under this section to attend an education program that includes demonstration of proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems and provides certification to the court that the defendant has presented for inspection a child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal safety standards.
    (2) A second or subsequent offense under this section is punishable by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250), no part of which may be waived by the court, except that the court may reduce or waive the fine if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he or she is economically disadvantaged, and the court, instead refers the defendant to a community education program that includes, but is not limited to, education on the proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems for children of all ages, and provides certification to the court of completion of that program. Upon completion of the program, the defendant shall provide proof of participation in the program. If an education program on the proper installation and use of a child passenger restraint system is not available within 50 miles of the residence of the defendant, the requirement to participate in that program shall be waived. If the fine is paid, waived, or reduced, the court shall report the conviction to the department pursuant to Section 1803.
The court may at its discretion, require any defendant described under this section to attend an education program that includes demonstration of proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems and provides certification to the court that the defendant has presented for inspection a child passenger restraint system that meets applicable federal safety standards.
  (d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the fines collected for a violation of this section shall be allocated as follows:
    (1) Sixty percent to county or city health departments where the violation occurred, to be used for an education program that includes, but is not limited to, the demonstration of proper installation and use of child passenger restraint systems for children of all ages and provides child restraints for loan or low-cost purchase.
    (2) Twenty-five percent to the county or city for the administration of the program.
    (3) Fifteen percent to the city, to be deposited in its general fund except that, if the violation occurred in an unincorporated area, this amount shall be allocated to the county for purposes of paragraph (1).
  (e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2002.

27361. Any law enforcement officer reasonably suspecting a violation of Section 27360 or 27360.5, or both of those sections, may stop any vehicle transporting a child appearing to the officer to be within the age or weight specified in Section 27360 or 27360.5. The officer may issue a notice to appear for a violation of Section 27360.

27362. (a) No manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer shall sell, offer for sale, or install in any motor vehicle any child passenger restraint system not conforming to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards on the date of sale or installation. Responsibility for compliance with this section shall rest with the individual selling, offering for sale, or installing the system. Every person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished as follows:
    (1) Upon a first conviction, by a fine not exceeding four hundred dollars ($400) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, or both.
    (2) Upon a second or subsequent conviction, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period of not more than 180 days, or both.
  (b) The fines collected for a violation of this section shall be allocated as follows:
    (1) Sixty percent to county health departments where the violation occurred, to be used for a child passenger restraint low-cost purchase or loaner program which shall include, but not be limited to, education on the proper installation and use of a child passenger restraint system. The county health department shall designate a coordinator to facilitate the creation of a special account and to develop a relationship with the superior court to facilitate the transfer of funds to the program. The county may contract for the implementation of the program. Prior to obtaining possession of a child passenger restraint system pursuant to this section, a person shall receive information relating to the importance of utilizing that system.
As the proceeds from fines become available, county health departments shall prepare and maintain a listing of all child passenger restraint low-cost purchase or loaner programs in their counties, including a semiannual verification that all programs listed are in existence. Each county shall forward the listing to the Office of Traffic Safety in the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and the courts, birthing centers, community child health and disability prevention programs, and county hospitals in that county, who shall make the listing available to the public. The Office of Traffic Safety shall maintain a listing of all of the programs in the state.
     (2) Twenty-five percent to the county for the administration of the program.
    (3) Fifteen percent to the city, to be deposited in its general fund except that, if the violation occurred in an unincorporated area, this amount shall be allocated to the county for purposes of
paragraph (1).

27362.1. (a) No individual may sell or offer for sale a child passenger restraint system that was in use by a child during an accident involving a motor vehicle.
(b) A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).

27363. (a) The court may exempt from the requirements of this article any class of child by age, weight, or size if it is determined that the use of a child passenger restraint system would be impractical by reason of physical unfitness, medical condition, or size. The court may require satisfactory proof of the child's physical unfitness, medical condition, or size and that an appropriate special needs child passenger restraint system is not available.
  (b) In case of a life-threatening emergency, or when a child is being transported in an authorized emergency vehicle, if there is no child passenger restraint system available, a child may be transported without the use of that system, but the child shall be secured by a seatbelt.
  (c) A child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the backseat of a vehicle while wearing only a lap safety belt when the backseat of the vehicle is not equipped with a combination lap and shoulder safety belt.
  (d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2002.

27363.5. (a) Every public or private hospital, clinic, or birthing center, shall, at the time of the discharge of a child provide and discuss information on the current law requiring child passenger restraint systems to the parents or the person to whom the child is released when at least one of the following conditions is met:
    (1) The child is less than six years of age.
    (2) The child weighs less than 60 pounds.
  (b) A public or private hospital, clinic, or birthing center shall not be responsible for the failure of the parent or person to whom the child is released to use a child passenger restraint system.
  (c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2002.

27364. (a) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this article, to insure that children, who are, because of their tender years, helpless dependent passengers, are provided with the safest transportation possible.
  (b) It is the further intent of the Legislature to stress and communicate to all drivers in this state the importance of using child passenger restraint systems.
  (c) Nothing in this article shall be construed to extend application of these provisions to a class of children other than the class of children herein specified.

27365. (a) (1) Every car rental agency in California shall inform each of its customers of Section 27360 by posting, in a place conspicuous to the public in each established place of business of the agency, a notice not smaller than 15 inches by 20 inches which states the following: "CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES ALL CHILDREN WHO ARE 5 YEARS OF AGE OR LESS AND WEIGH LESS THAN 60 POUNDS TO BE TRANSPORTED IN A CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM. THIS AGENCY IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE FOR RENTAL A CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM YOURSELF."
    (2) The posted notice specified in paragraph (1) is not required if the car rental agency's place of business is located in a hotel which has a business policy prohibiting the posting of signs or notices in any area of the hotel. In that case, a car rental agency shall furnish a written notice to each customer which contains the same information as required for the posted notice.
  (b) Every car rental agency in California shall have available for, and shall, upon request, provide for rental to, adults traveling with children under six years of age, child passenger seat restraint systems that meet applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards on the date of the rental transaction, are in good and safe condition, with no missing original parts, and are not older than five years.
  (c) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).
  (d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2002.

27366. (a) The department shall do the following:
    (1) Prepare and disseminate materials for the purpose of educating the public about the importance of using passenger restraints for infants and children under 15 years of age. These materials shall include, but are not limited to, audiovisual aids and written materials that explain the effects of motor vehicle accidents on infants and children and the reduction in risk of injury or death as a result of the utilization of passenger restraints for infants and children.
    (2) As funding is available, produce and administer a billboard campaign stressing the importance of utilizing child passenger restraint systems and instructing the public on where to obtain those systems.
(b) The department, the Office of Traffic Safety, and the State Department of Health Services shall meet annually to coordinate, share information about, and outline the programs that each organization is pursuing in the area of child passenger restraint systems.

27368. This article applies to child passengers in a fully enclosed three-wheeled motor vehicle that is not less than seven feet in length and not less than four feet in width, and has an unladen weight of 900 pounds or more.

Common Child Safety Seat Errors
    Four out of five child safety seats are used incorrectly (National SAFE KIDS).
    Rear facing infant in front seat with a passenger side air bag.
    Infant under age one facing forward.
    Harness system missing, not buckled, too loose or positioned under arms.
    Safety belt not buckled, too loose or in wrong belt path.
    Safety seat moves more than an inch forward or laterally.
    Locking clip needed, but not used.
    Child moved to booster seat too soon.
   
Airbags
    Airbags have been accredited with saving more than 1,700 lives since the 1980s. They are also responsible for the deaths of 32 children. Thirty of the 32 children killed were either not properly restrained in a child safety seat or other improper restraint  (NHTSA).
    Children of any age should ride in the back seat if at all possible. Infants in rear- facing seats in vehicles with passenger side air bags must be put in the back seat, without exception.
    Airbag on/off switches have been approved for vehicle installation under special circumstances. For more information, contact NHTSA Region IX at (415)744-3089.

6/03

Posted by torque at 3:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 30, 2004

Are you on the "Standard American Diet"?

I read today in Linda Berry's Internal Cleansing that a person on the Standard American Diet holds eight meals of undigested food and waste material in the colon, while the person on the high fiber diet holds only three. Which one are you? No, don't tell me.

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May 21, 2004

Alas, Palo Alto - #2

Palo Alto was trumped by La Jolla in the latest CNN/Money listing on the most expensive housing markets. For a 2,200-square-foot house with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a family room and a two-car garage, you can expect to pay $1,362,375 in La Jolla. Alternatively, you could save the extra dough for a BMW Z8, a Mercedes-Benz CL600, or a Porsche GT2, and live in Palo Alto for $1,179,000. For those who are less fortunate, there is always Beverly Hills for $1,097,250. Hmm... anyone know any good agents in Binghamton?

statecityavg sales price, 2003
CALa Jolla$1,362,375
CAPalo Alto$1,179,000
CTGreenwich$1,170,600
CABeverly Hills$1,097,250
CASan Francisco$971,750
CTNew Canaan$963,750
MAWellesley$959,048
CANewport Beach$916,000
HIKailua Kona$906,250
CAManhattan Beach$904,500
CASan Mateo$883,500
CASanta Monica$812,875
NYNassau$806,250
CASanta Barbara$801,750
CAMonterey Peninsula$763,000
MALexington$751,688
CALong Beach$740,375
CAFremont$739,000
CTWestport$737,400
CASan Rafael$710,667
CAOakland/ Montclair$705,317
MABoston$704,480
NJRidgewood$701,000
CASanta Cruz$690,192
CAPalos Verdes$685,250
VAAlexandria City$675,000
CAWalnut Creek$657,000
NJWarren$651,000
CAPleasanton$650,875
CASan Jose$644,000
CAPasadena$625,500
NJWestfield$625,000
ILChicago$610,375
NJMontclair$608,500
CTStamford$598,333
FLMiami/Coral Gables$588,000
NYQueens, (Bayside)$583,000
MAActon$568,086
CANapa$567,250
NJMadison$560,312
NYBriarcliff Manor$555,055
CAIrvine$551,000
CTRidgefield$542,600
NJSparta$539,300
NJBasking Ridge$538,000
CAMission Viejo$530,225
CAEncinitas$525,000
HIHonolulu$515,947
NJPrinceton Junction$515,000
CTNorwalk$510,166
FLKey West$502,301
CADavis$498,000
HIKihei,Maui$493,025
CAFullerton$492,000
NYSuffolk County/North Shore, LI$490,600
MABarnstable/ Cape Cod$485,250
NJBridgewater$484,375
CASanta Rosa$480,712
VAMcLean/Fairfax County$471,500
ILDeerfield$467,250
PAPhiladelphia County/Center City Philadelphia$466,225
MAFramingham$465,218
CAThousand Oaks$464,500
NHHanover$458,915
CARancho Bernardo$458,300
NYYorktown Heights$451,233
WABellevue$450,967
CASanta Clarita$440,500
NJClinton$431,450
CASan Diego$425,332
COBoulder$424,475
NJMarlboro/Manalapan$422,000
VAReston/Fairfax County$413,975
NMSanta Fe$407,875
AKJuneau$402,833
ILBarrington$401,000
NYStaten Island$396,500
NJWayne$394,375
PADoylestown/Bucks County$388,500
CTDanbury$365,775
MATaunton$356,923
CAGrass Valley$352,875
MDBethesda/ Chevy Chase / Montgomery County$345,050
MNEdina$334,000
NJMetuchen/Edison$329,625
WASeattle$326,250
MNMinneapolis$324,875
VALeesburg/Loudoun County$323,625
PAMontgomery County/Conshohocken$322,000
AZFlagstaff$321,900
PADelaware County/Media$319,725
AZScottsdale$319,300
PAWestchester/Chester County$317,250
NHPortsmouth$316,533
DEWilmington$313,250
MNSt. Paul$311,000
CAModesto$309,000
MEPortland$307,775
MAWorcester$305,450
CARiverside/ Ontario*$300,250
ILCarol Stream$298,875
ORBend$298,411
MIAnn Arbor$296,800
NHAmherst$296,625
ILNaperville$292,625
NYOrange County$290,666
MDAnnapolis/ Anne Arundel County$289,650
MDColumbia/Howard County$289,275
MDMetro Baltimore$288,475
WATacoma$287,338
MDFrederick$284,634
CODenver$284,225
COHighlands Ranch$282,825
MIDetroit Metro$282,600
FLFt. Lauderdale/ Coral Springs$282,334
ILSchaumburg$282,200
ILOrland Park$281,000
FLNaples$278,100
CTNaugatuck$276,250
VTBurlington$276,250
CAFresno$276,125
NJOcean County/Toms River$275,950
RIProvidence$275,100
ILAurora$274,800
SCCharleston$274,666
PAAllentown$274,320
CASacramento$273,800
FLDaytona Beach$272,250
GAAtlanta$271,250
NVReno/Sparks$270,424
MNDuluth$270,075
INMunster$268,936
FLWest Palm Beach$268,300
NJAtlantic County/Abescon$266,333
VALake Ridge/Prince William County$264,450
VAManassas/Prince William County$264,450
FLBoca Raton$260,833
MDWestminster/Carroll County$258,793
CTLitchfield County/Torrington$258,625
NYAlbany$257,472
ILElgin$255,000
FLSarasota$253,683
FLPort Charlotte$253,487
WIMilwaukee$253,000
PRPuerto Rico$251,500
ORMedford$251,250
MIAuburn Hills/Lake Orion$247,875
COFort Collins$247,093
MDBel Air/Harford County$245,750
OREugene$245,725
ORPortland$245,600
FLTallahassee$243,475
AZPhoenix$242,333
ILFlossmoor$240,600
MDEastern Shore$239,737
MIPetoskey$239,000
FLFt. Myers$235,625
AKAnchorage$234,850
VAWinchester/Fredrick$233,225
NYRochester/ SE Suburbs$229,600
LANew Orleans$229,350
TXDallas$228,725
VARichmond$227,725
UTSalt Lake City$226,941
PAPittsburgh$226,815
WATri-Cities$225,125
MITraverse City$224,833
NJCamden County/Cherry Hill$224,300
FLClearwater/St. Petersburg$223,625
KSOverland Park$223,414
VTRutland$223,000
WIFox Cities$221,825
FLTampa$221,667
GASavannah$221,650
OHCincinnati$221,166
PALancaster$219,933
MIGreater Lansing$219,825
MIPort Huron$217,975
INSchererville$217,833
OHColumbus$216,100
CABakersfield$215,842
ORSalem$215,725
AKFairbanks$213,300
MDHagerstown/ Washington County$212,521
ILJoliet$212,152
KYLouisville$212,125
MIMt. Pleasant$211,600
MNSt. Cloud$211,567
NCRaleigh$211,167
VTMontpelier$210,500
WIMadison$210,166
FLJacksonville$208,975
LAShreveport/Bossier City$207,500
UTProvo$207,440
MIFlint Metro/Grand Blanc$206,925
NJTurnersville/ Gloucester County$206,000
WIWausau$205,333
FLGainesville$204,975
NVLas Vegas$204,975
ILChampaign$204,874
TXAustin$204,225
PAStroudsburg/Poconos$203,625
OHHarrison$202,100
MIMidland/ Saginaw/ Bay City$202,000
NMAlbuquerque$201,166
AZTucson$201,000
SCColumbia$200,850
MDWaldorf/Charles County$199,624
KYLexington$199,000
OHGreater Cleveland$199,000
MTKalispell$198,250
MNRochester$197,300
VARoanoke/Blacksburg$197,237
VALynchburg$196,966
IADes Moines$196,600
ILPeoria$196,481
MIGrand Rapids$195,415
OHCanton$195,000
NCCharlotte$194,336
MOSt Louis$193,466
WASpokane$193,039
INValpariso$192,750
MOKansas City$192,250
WVCharleston$190,667
FLOrlando$190,000
MEBangor$189,750
GAColumbus$188,000
KYNorthern Kentucky/Florence$187,300
LABaton Rouge$187,125
NCWilmington$186,975
GAAthens$186,762
TXSan Antonio$186,725
ILBloomington$186,700
WIGreen Bay$186,475
TXBryan-College Station$186,000
PAHarrisburg$185,675
NENorth Platte$185,666
MIGrayling$185,625
IDBoise$184,958
KSLeavenworth/Lansing$184,600
MSJackson$184,250
TNNashville$183,975
VANorfolk/ Virginia Beach$183,300
NYSyracuse$183,000
PAErie$182,700
MTBozeman$182,650
MICadillac$182,500
MIJackson$182,333
INIndianapolis$182,200
ALHuntsville$182,075
NCWinston-Salem$179,600
ALMobile$179,325
AZMesa$178,666
NCGreensboro$178,500
TXLubbock$178,475
NYBuffalo$177,725
WYCheyenne$177,200
NEKearney$177,125
IADubuque$176,976
GAMacon$176,400
OHAkron$176,000
IACedar Rapids$175,723
IDCoeur d' Alene$173,800
ARFayetteville$172,350
NDFargo$171,171
PAYork$171,000
COColorado Springs$170,505
TXAmarillo$170,200
PAReading$169,372
TXCorpus Christi$169,027
OHDayton$166,975
TNChattanooga$166,375
GADalton$166,000
TXHouston$165,250
NCFayetteville$164,668
TXPlano$164,466
TNMemphis$163,425
INSouth Bend$162,633
FLPensacola$162,333
ILSpringfield$162,100
MIIndian River$162,000
SDSioux Falls$161,475
ARLittle Rock$161,125
LALafayette$160,666
SDRapid City$160,225
MSTupelo$160,100
INEvansville$159,375
MOSpringfield$158,250
WIFond du lac$157,633
ARFort Smith$157,100
MNMoorhead/ Clay County$155,800
TXEl Paso$155,750
MELewiston/Auburn$155,300
INFort Wayne$155,075
SCGreenville$154,746
WVBeckley$153,067
NDBismarck$152,625
ILRockford$151,225
KSLawrence$150,875
MSGulfport/Biloxi$149,520
SDYankton$148,520
TXArlington$147,405
WIEau Claire$146,400
MTHelena$144,900
TXFort Worth$144,250
KSWichita/Sedgwick County$142,875
TNKnoxville$141,625
WVParkersburg$141,250
IASioux City$139,500
MTBillings$138,725
SDAberdeen$138,000
OKTulsa$136,625
KSTopeka/Shawnee County$136,266
OKOklahoma City$132,670
NDMinot$129,075
TXKilleen$127,175
NYBinghamton$121,400


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May 17, 2004

For the time already past is sufficient...

How should we live, in light of Christ's example? Today's reading from I Peter 4 is very practical, especially I Peter 4:1-5... "because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased to sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh for no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God." What would it look like, if I truly lived no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God?

We had dinner with one of my colleagues tonight. And, as more often than not, ended up talking about things we could do business-wise. "What can we do to make money," I asked. Why? At the core of it, to be honest, is that I want to be self-sufficient - of course, forgetting that God provides all in the end, our health, the air we breathe, the time that we have. God is the ultimate provider - this enables us to live for Him. If I am the ultimate provider, then I don't have time to live for Him, I have to live to provide so that the future can be secure, so that we can avoid "suffering", send the kids to good schools, eat healthy organic food, go to Kaygetsu every once in a while (ok, maybe once), and upgrade my digital camera. Self-sufficiency is one of the lusts of men, you might know it as "power", the power to control the future, the power to dictate my own terms of living. As long as my heart is pursuing this, how can I live for God? I cannot.

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May 15, 2004

Meeting Keiko

What an amazing coincidence. A few days after my post on Kaygetsu, Sonja actually ran into Keiko at the Stanford Shopping Center. They chatted for a bit after which Keiko offered my wife a card and invited her to visit.

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May 8, 2004

Party at TGI's Sushi

I love Sonja! She is the bestest mom in the world. We celebrated Mother's Day at TGI's Sushi this evening. As #1's eyes were glued to the television, and over #2's occasional yelps, sweetie and I devoured a Jackson roll, a salmon-skin roll, a spider roll, the hamachi with green onions, and a saba shioyaki. Mmmm.

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May 6, 2004

A "borrowed" cow

cow.gifI "borrowed" a cow from the ACLU. I hope nobody minds.

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May 5, 2004

El Camino Youth Symphony Ice Cream Smorgasbord

Enoch writes "all-you-can-eat ice cream and performance event to benefit music education programs" this Saturday at 6:15 p.m. Location?

Cubberley Center Auditorium
4000 Middlefield Road at San Antonio
Palo Alto
Cost? $10. Besides the ice cream, there will be the Chamber Players, Camerata, Flute Ensembles, Galbraith Honor Strings and the El Camino Wind Orchestra featuring Camerata soloist Vien Nguyen on violin. Call 650.327.2611 or check the El Camino Youth Symphony website for more information.

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May 4, 2004

Mother's day is coming up!

Are you ready? Mother's Day is coming up, any good ideas? Sonja bluntly told me that she was going to get a salad bowl and not to get anything for her... hmmm, but how do the adwords look? For a $20 max CPC, the traffic estimator gave me:

Traffic Estimator *
Keyword Clicks /
Day
Average
Cost-Per-Click
Cost /
Day
Average
Position
mother's day 700.0 $3.03 $2,116.27 1.1
mothers day 710.0 $2.46 $1,744.68 1.1
mothers day gift 60.0 $4.57 $273.90 1.1
Overall 1,470.0 $2.82 $4,134.84 1.1

Flowers are expensive. Cards may not make it in time. Hmmm...

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How much sleep should a 2 year old get?

The American Academy of Pediatrics in their book on sleep cites 10-13 hours for toddlers.

Toddlers sleep about 10 to 13 hours out of the 24. However, children at the toddler stage are curious and contrary by nature. Once they can climb out of their cribs or beds, they may also be convinced that there's a party going on somewhere in the house and want to join in the fun. Many parents go through a difficult phase of trying to keep their toddler in bed, especially around the time he switches to a regular bed. The best way to deal with this exasperating phase is to respond calmly to reasonable requests (such as for a drink of water), let your toddler see that nothing special is going on, and return him gently but firmly to bed each time he pops out.

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May 1, 2004

A new month... a new filter

Today we switched again, this time from the Pur faucet filter to the Brita pitcher filter. Prior to the Pur we were using the Brita faucet filter, which, in our opinion, worked quite well except for one major design flaw. The threads connecting the filter to the faucet were made of very soft plastic. In evitably, these threads would fail and the whole filter would randomly fall, crashing into plates and glasses. I had the faucent mount replaced three times before finally switching to Pur. Faucet filters are convenient for getting water, but somehow they always seem to get in the way when washing dishes - this ends up damaging threads, and then causing accidents.

For you Brita pitcher users, replacement filters are 3 for $17.99 at Amazon or $5.99 ea., $43.30 for 10 at Costco ($39.99 + 8.25% sales tax). So, buy it at Costco. For you Pur faucet filter users, this will be my last price update. Replacement filters (Ultimate) are available at Costco for $32.46 ($29.99 + 8.25% sales tax), including a faucet mount, at Amazon for $29.88 not including faucet mount. You decide.

Someday, when we have our own place, I would like to install a reverse osmosis system. More about those another day.

B00021RFNM.01-A1VIC6UT019038.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

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April 30, 2004

Cornbread muffins and smoked Gouda

coverThis morning I found another winner in The Best Recipe - Northern cornbread. I had to make some substitutions. I had no butter, so I used 2 tblspoons olive oil instead. I had no buttermilk, so I replaced it with milk. It worked! It was especially tasty with the smoked Gouda from yesterday.

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April 29, 2004

Straus milk

straus.gifWe've bought three 1-quart glass bottles of Straus organic milk for #1 over the past couple weeks. At Mollie Stone's this morning, after reviewing the pricing ($2.69 for a quart) and comparing it to everything else, I just couldn't do it. I ended up buying Clover organic milk ($5.99 for a gallon), which touted exactly the same benefits minus glass bottle. Straus is so high end you can actually buy it online. I wonder if there is any way to bring the price down, maybe I can start a milk delivery truck after I graduate.

In related news, Straus is testing distribution through Costco at three northern California stores (Santa Rosa, Novato and Rohnert Park) though these will come in two gallon plastic bottles. "Don't worry, we are NOT discontinuing our milk in glass bottles...it just won’t be at Costco."

You can tour the Straus Family Dairy:

Straus Family Creamery of Marshall, 60 miles north of San Francisco on Tomales Bay, is opening its doors for tours designed especially for children. The organic dairy and creamery will host 90-minute tours, in which children and their parents can feed calves, become educated about organic practices, see cows being milked and help make butter. The price is $5 per child and $15 per adult.

So far, tours are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. May 18, June 1, June 25, July 6, July 23, Aug. 3, Aug. 19 and Sept. 14. To register: e-mail maya@ strausmilk.com, or call (415) 663-5464, extension 111 and leave your fax number or e-mail address so that registration forms can be sent.

More

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Organic breakfast

The boys and I went to Mollie Stone's early this morning. We came home with one of the best breakfasts we've had in a while: organic Braeburn apples, smoked Gouda from Holland, and Acme Italian bread (made from organic wheat flour). In retrospect it was kind of pricy, but boy was it tasty. Sonja commented that Acme bread can be found almost everywhere, at Andronicos, at Mollie Stone's, at Costco... we'd like to take a factory tour sometime, anyone else up for it?

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April 26, 2004

SpinAps

I had a unique opportunity to go to the SpinAps launch at IBM Almaden today. SpinAps stands for the IBM-Stanford Spintronic Science and Applications Center. As some of you might know, I did my qualifications exam on spintronics. More on this later.

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April 25, 2004

Food for the needy

If you have large quantities of leftover food, say, from a wedding reception, consider donating it to the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto.

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April 24, 2004

The Kingdom of God

Haile (see previous post) spent quite a bit of time on conceptions of heaven and hell. Heaven is the ultimate manifestation of the kingdom of God, i.e., the place where God is king. In Heaven, God's rule is absolute. For those in who are already in the kingdom of God, i.e., God is already king in their lives, this will be a joyful continuation. Hell is the ultimate manifestation of God not being the king, so, the world without God. For those who don't already have God as king, this will also be a smooth transition, for instance, from coveting to lusting, from lusting to murder.

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Peter Haile

Today Peter Haile spoke at a church about the necessity of letting God rule our lives. The kingdom of God is not a place that is going to come into being, or place that we go when we go to heaven. The kingdom of God is wherever God is king. He asked an interesting question - when you woke up this morning, who ruled you? Who dictated how you should feel, act or react? At every moment of our lives, we have a god that we serve. That god might be our ego, our fear, our lust, our bitterness, our pleasure, our joy, our guilt, or, it may be Jesus Christ.

I thought about it. This morning, when I got up (at 5), I was ruled by #2, who was crying. I picked him up and took him downstairs. When I sat down, he cried, so I stood up. When I stood still, he cried, so I walked around. Was not my son my god? Well... not exactly. I wanted him not to cry because (1) it isn't a pleasant sound, (2) he was "suffering", and (3) he'll wake #1 and wife. With some introspection, I concluded that I was most concerned about (3) - because, being somewhant analytical, I always predict in my head what will happen in the future. If #1 and wife are tired then the chance of all of us having a lousy day will be rather high, which means that when I come home it won't be so pleasant.

My conception of the future is often my god. When we are late to an event, I think about who we might offend. I expect to be somewhat upset. And, as a result, I really do become upset. Isn't that stupid? I'm upset because I think I'm going to be upset in the future. Of course, the magnitude of this depends on how much sleep I've gotten, as well as how the day went. Two gods are probably at play there, Fear and Ego. I certainly want to be thought of as being responsible, being a capable manager of my family and a model citizen in the communities I'm in. Aren't these things good to strive for?

One of Haile's striking comments was on motivation. There are lots of "good" reasons to do things. For instance, it is good to be kind to neighbors... because it fosters tighter communities who can synergistically obtain a better and happier life. True... but the reason we should do it is because that is the sort of person Jesus is, who loves his neighbors regardless of who they are. We should pay our taxes so that the government will have resources to build roads, bridges, etc. True... but we should do it because Jesus did it. Thinking in this manner gives us the capability of doing good on earth regardless of the consequences. Why? Because we no longer do things to achieve a particular result, do it because that is the character of Jesus.

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April 22, 2004

Books for emergent parents

We got What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect the First Year from our insurance (Blue Shield) both of which came in handy. We also had about half-a-dozen other books from friends that were ok, but not really necessary. The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be was a decent read. It had some good tips about planning financially and I particularly liked the comics. Browse this one first though.

When your kid starts eating solids, I highly suggest Ruth Yaron's Super Baby Food. We got a lot of use out of it (still use it) and learned how to make yoghurt from milk to boot.

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April 21, 2004

Buying diapers... at Amazon?

Enoch did the first analysis. Here's mine. We currently purchase diapers from Costco which come in packages with 4x the number of diapers of the Jumbo Pack (at least for the UltraTrim). I'll have to check on the pull-ups, which we also buy (or someone can comment on how many and how much). The Costco package, for both Huggies and Pampers, cost $29.99 not including tax. Amazon sells the Jumbo pack for $7.49, and $7.49x4 = $29.96. Since Amazon is in Washington, and I am in California, there is no sales tax. (Though I think technically in California you need to pay the tax for purchases made out-of-state if the products are used here... someone check on that.) Also, when you spend more than $25 on these products, you are eligible for the free super saver shipping. No shipping, no taxes, 4 cents cheaper, and more room in the car on Costco runs - Amazon wins. Just don't wait till the last minute to re-order. It'll take a few days to come.

Here's the breakdown. We have been using the Ultratrim, since that is all Costco carries. The Supreme is their high-end diaper with a "more comfotable fit". Note that Costco carries 1-2 whereas Amazon has both 1 and 2. Remember to buy four packs to get free shipping.

Huggies Ultratrimcountprice¢pd
Huggies Ultratrim Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 1, 8-14 Lbs., 56 ea - 1 pack22429.9613.4
Huggies Ultratrim Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 2, 12-18 Lbs., 48 ea - 1 pack19229.9615.6
Huggies Ultratrim Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 3, 16-28 Lbs., 40 ea - 1 pack16029.9618.7
Huggies Ultratrim Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 4, 22-37 Lbs., 34 ea - 1 pack13629.9622.0
Huggies Ultratrim Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 5, Over 27 Lbs., 30 ea - 1 pack12029.9625.0
Huggies Supremecountprice¢pd
Huggies Supreme Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 1, Up To 14 Lbs., 48 each - 1 pack19229.9615.6
Huggies Supreme Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 2, 12-18 Lbs., 42 ea - 1 pack16829.9617.8
Huggies Supreme Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 3, 16-28 Lbs., 36 ea - 1 pack14429.9620.8
Huggies Supreme Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 4, 22-37 Lbs., 31 ea - 1 pack 12429.9624.2
Huggies Supreme Diapers, Jumbo Pack, Size 5, Over 27 Lbs., 27 ea - 1 pack10829.9627.7
Huggies Convertibles Diaper-Pants, Size 5, Jumbo Pack (26 Pairs)10429.9632.6
Huggies Convertiblescountprice¢pd
Huggies Convertibles Diaper-Pants, Size 5, Jumbo Pack (26 Pairs)10429.9628.8
GoodNites Disposable Underpantscountprice¢pd
Goodnites Disposable Underpants, Jumbo Pack, Medium (17 Underpants)6829.9644.1
Huggies Pull-Upscountprice¢pd
Huggies Pull-Ups Training Pants, Jumbo Pack, Boys 2T-3T, 27 ea - 1 pack10829.9627.7
Huggies Pull-Ups Training Pants for Boys 3T-4T, Jumbo Pack (26 Pairs)10429.9628.8
Pull-Ups Training Pants, Jumbo Pack, Boys 4T-5T, 21 ea - 1 pack8429.9635.7
Huggies Pull-Ups Training Pants for Girls 2T-3T, Jumbo Pack (27 Pairs)10829.9627.7
Pull-Ups Training Pants, Jumbo Pack, Girls 3T-4T, 24 ea - 1 pack10429.9628.8
Huggies Pull-Ups Training Pants for Girls 4T-5T, Jumbo Pack (21 Pairs)8429.9635.7

Let me know if this is helpful. Here's the synopsis, Johnny:

Costco ($29.99+tax)
Pros

  • Can replenish the diaper stock in less than an hour (if you don't stop to eat samples and look at electronics)
  • Can stop to eat samples and look at electronics
Cons
  • In Santa Clara county, 8.25% more expensive due to sales tax
  • Have to drive to Costco and wait in line
  • Bulky, no place for plasma screen in car
  • Pain to unload from car

Amazon ($29.96)
Pros

  • Cheaper by 8.25%
  • Arrives at your door
  • Can purchase in pajamas
  • Look at electronics
Cons
  • No samples
  • Cannot wait until last minute

Update
For the time being, if you by in excess of $50 worth of merchandise. Walgreens is actually cheaper. For size 3 UltraTrim, 60 ct., the sale price is $8.99. You would need to buy 360 at $53.94 (14.9¢pd). I'm not sure, but tax may be included. This courtesy of froogle
.

April 20, 2004

TGI sushi - mmmm

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April 18, 2004

Coconut tapioca pudding

Tonight I'm making coconut tapioca pudding, we'll see how it goes. I'll be doing it in a Zojirushi NS-JCC18. The oringial recipe source is The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook. For the record I used 2 cans of Roxy coconut milk from the Cupertino 99 Ranch and reduced the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 5/8. I also intend to top of the dessert with cubes of manila mangoes.

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April 17, 2004

Cousin sea squirt and I

Several years ago, at the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, CA, scientists completely sequenced the sea squirt (Ciona intestinalis) genome [1]. These strange-looking critters are in fact, some of our closest spineless relatives. Their hearts and nervous system are simple versions of ours. While adults are more like spongy blobs, larvae look like tadpoles, with, interestingly, a rod of tissue stiffening their backs.

For you numerologists out there, the sea squirt genome has 160 million DNA letters, 20 times smaller than the human. These are organized into 16,000 genes, half as many as most vertebrates. Apparently we share about 80% of these.

References
[1] Dehal, P.et al. The draft genome of Ciona intestinalis: insights into chordate and vertebrate origins. Science, 298, 2157 - 2166, (2002).

Posted by torque at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Picnic Day 2004

Today, we went up to Davis for Picnic Day 2004. It was a blast! Highlights for me included

  • Spending time with my wife and kids, as well as two of my sisters
  • Shredded chicken sandwiches at the parking lot
  • A polish dog... mmmmm
  • Learning that the sea squirt is a distant cousin
  • Watching Linus play with hot wheels
  • Running though the rain
  • Sushi smorgasbord at Manna Korean Restaurant (622 3rd St, Davis, CA)

Posted by torque at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2004

Real-time Margurite map!

After many months of talk, they finally released the site. GPS-powered, real-time Marguerite shuttle tracking. So cool. The whole things was put together by Avail Technologies an ofite in State College, PA specializing in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) among other things. Admittedly, the flash intro is a bit much. Otherwise, it seems pretty solid.

Update
There is such a thing as too much information. Thanks to this map, I missed the bus by about 30 seconds... twice.






Posted by torque at 5:12 PM | Comments (1)

If you had the power...

If you had the power and resources to completely redesign the world's socio-economic structure, given human nature, how would you do it? I started thinking about this after a heated debate on Bush's actions concerning Iraq.

Posted by torque at 2:01 PM | Comments (0)

Good morning God!

squash.JPG

Posted by torque at 8:26 AM | Comments (3)

April 14, 2004

Hot dogs

Sonja sent me R. W. Apple Jr.'s superb article on hot dogs in Chicago a few days ago. It is from the NY Times, so it might not be available (at least not for free) in a few days. The photo of Polish dogs. by Peter Thompson, is really something. Even though I just had a huge dinner, I'm kinda craving the taste.

The article kicks of with Doug Soug's Hot Doug's. Sohn studied Culinary Arts at Kendall College. Hot Doug's has a motto - "There are no two finer words in the English language than encased meats." Of course, this kind of enthusiasm quickly suggests borderline fanaticism. A look on the menu confirms the gut feeling. From $1.50 "The Dog", a Chicago-style hot dog, to the $3.00 "The Raquel Welch" (might, mighty, mighty hot!), he's got just about everything you can think of. Today's special, the $5.50 "Buffalo Sausage with Chipotle Dijonnaise and Blue Cheese
". Next time I'm in Chicago, I'm there! For a good review, check out the Chicago Tribune. I wrote him to see if he would open one in the West Coast...

Other cool tidbits, no ketchup, as "true Chicagoan recoils from a ketchup-smeared hot dog the way your true New Yorker loathes melted Swiss cheese on a pastrami or corned beef sandwich." The article places the number of hot-dog stands in Chicago at greater than 1,800. In 2000, according to greatestcities.com, the population of Chicago sat at 2,896,016. So one hot-dog stand per ~1600 people. That seems pretty reasonable... the key to the hot-dog stands is the Vienna Beef Factory, which apparently is the major supplier of hot dogs in Chicago by far. Here's a link to a review of their deli.

Looking for the Factory I found the list of Best Chicago Hot Dogs (2002).

Ok, enough hot dogs.

Posted by torque at 11:03 PM | Comments (4)

April 13, 2004

Soy milk

Thanks to Wil and Gloria's generosity, we made soy milk tonight with our Vita Mix blender. It worked out quite well - no sieve needed. The key is time... you have to blend it for quite a while - around 15 minutes so that the soy cooks, otherwise, it has kind of an astringent smell to it. You know you are done when it smells better.

Posted by torque at 8:48 PM | Comments (0)

Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo

This morning we all went to Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. It was a lot of fun. They have a new engineering oriented exhibit that is quite well done. I was particularly impressed by their rendition of Archimedes' water screw.

Posted by torque at 8:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2004

Download patents in PDF format for $0.49

If you ever need to download patents, i.e., printable, non-encrypted, multi-page PDFs, check out patents | oncloud8, which offers them for $0.49 a piece. Batch abstract lookups are offered for free.

Posted by torque at 1:18 PM | TrackBack

January 8, 2004

Cantaloupe

I decided to grow cantaloupe this year. I found an interesting article from the University of Georgia on growing Cantaloupe and Specialty Melons. They suggest plastic mulch with under-plastic trickle irrigation... hmmm, sounds pretty complicated. I wonder if I can do it hydroponically.

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January 7, 2004

So amazing...

This guy is an inspiration to me. If you can find out who this man is, and who makes his horns, I'll buy you lunch!

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January 3, 2004

On cloud nine...

The term "on cloud nine" is usually attributed to the US Weather Bureau, which once described clouds in numerical sequence, Level Nine being the very highest cumulonimbus [1]. In fact, the Weather Bureau stole the term from Dante's Paradise, in which Cloud Nine was the ninth and highest heaven [2,3].

References
[1] Michael Quinion's "Cloud Nine", which I found through Kalmon in the Clouds' Origami Denmark.
[2] "Origin of the Name 'Cloud Nine'", sheepskin.com (don't laugh... ok laugh!).

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December 15, 2003

Acrobat Reader arrgghhh - SOLVED!

I'm not sure what happen, but my Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 has completely stopped working. I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling, and everytime it just crashes, hangs, freezes up on entry. The last thing I remember doing is trying to print a PDF from a scientific journal. What gives? It's driving me mad. For now, I've stopped using it though I still, from time to time, accidentally click on a PDF link, and then BAM, computer seizes up and I have to invoke the Task Bar to kill the offending AcroRd32.exe which continuously consumes something like 40-90% of the CPU. I am not the first to have the problems. A run through the reviews on download.com and zdnet will show you it isn't just me. It's not, really... arrrgghhhh!!!! The most annoying thing is that I really need it to read scientific journals...

Could this be a clue? Go Google! I checked C:\Documents and Settings\torque\Local Settings\Temp, sure enough, Acrxxxx.tmp galore.... ending with AcrFFFF.tmp, each exactly 0 bytes.

C:\Documents and Settings\torque\Local Settings\Temp>erase acr*.tmp
In fact, it worked! So, there's the solution. Thank you mary_at_mindspring.com.

Epilogue
A lot of you wrote to thank me for this post. You are welcome - it was driving me pretty crazy. :) If you want to help the cause, put a link to this post or the blog. Spread the word and stop the madness. Cheers, -T

Posted by torque at 4:21 PM | Comments (59) | TrackBack

December 13, 2003

Ending of Hard Boiled

In case you were wondering... as we were... if you haven't seen the movie, don't click here.

Posted by torque at 2:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 12, 2003

Just keep swimming...

Just keep swimming, swimming, what do we do? We swim... swim.. ... but I actually, I'm Crush. You try!

Posted by torque at 11:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 9, 2003

Don't micromanage....

I found an interesting article by Dave Landry on 'My Most Valuable Trading Lesson'.

What happened next was the most valuable trading lesson for me, ever. Not being a participant, I found myself observing the markets, e.g., (NasdaqSC:^IXIC - News) very objectively. I saw stocks, sectors, indices all set up. Further, I saw market timing signals beginning to kick in. I reached a point where I simply couldn't stand it anymore. I stepped in and was immediately rewarded with nice profits. I got too busy to actively manage the positions, so I let trailing stops take me out. To my surprise, I ended up staying with the positions longer and was able to ride out larger moves, because I wasn't trying to micromanage the trades.

Posted by torque at 1:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 1, 2003

Goal setting

While 'flicking' I found Paul Whitmore's dissertation on goal setting. This may be just what I needed. On pg. 8, he talks about Carol Dwek's theory on self-evaluation: am I "mastery-focused" or "performance-focused"? That is, do I look for learning in my experiences or do I look for a successful performance?

Posted by torque at 1:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 3, 2003

Brighton Crest Golf & Country Club

If you are ever in the Fresno area, you should check out Brighton Crest Golf & Country Club. It is a Johnny Miller Signature Course. San Francisco 49ers all-pros Steve Young and Jerry Rice, NBA superstar Michael Jordan, and country music stars John Michael Montgomery and Clay Walker have all chosen play there. It was rated one of the top 10 private courses in California by California Golf Magazine!

Posted by torque at 6:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 2, 2003

Dominique Boga Doudou

Dear Mr. Doudou,

Your comments that I am "a reliable foreign partner, who have good good business relationship with the public and God fearing" are too kind. I understand the urgency of your situation, and I'm sorry about your father, Emile. I have, however, a counter-proposal. Robert Howe, an associate of mine, has uncovered an excellent opportunity which may be less risky, both physically and financially, and more lucrative than dealing with an evil administration. With just a small investment on your part, and with some luck, we can claim thirty-seven million dollars ($37,000,000.00) from the State of California.

For your kind assistance in this matter, 20% the total amount will be set aside to you, 30% for taxes and other fees, and the balance of 50% for my partners and I to invest in Cote D'Ivoire, under your direction.

Please contact me as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Tim

FROM: MR DOMINIQUE BOGA DOUDOU.

KIND ATTN: HONOURABLE FRIEND.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED FOR ACKNOWLEDGING THIS BUSINESS PROPOSAL, HAVING GOT YOUR CONTACT FROM A RELIABLE SOURCE, DESCRIBING YOU, AS A RELIABLE FOREIGN PARTNER, WHO HAVE GOOD BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PUBLIC AND GOD FEARING.

I THEREFORE, DECIDED WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY, SEEKING YOUR ASSISTANCE ON A POSSIBLE BUSINESS PROPOSAL, WHICH I DO HOPE, IT WILL MEET YOU IN GOOD CONDITION AND IF GIVEN URGENT ATTENTION SHALL BE OF A POSSIBLE BENEFIT TO BOTH PATIES.

MY NAME IS: DOMINIQUE DOUDOU. SON TO THE EX-INTERIOR MINISTER OF COTE D' IVOIRE (IVORY COAST) HIS EXCELLENCY: MR EMILE BOGA DOUDOU. FROM THE WEST AFRICA. WHO WAS SHOT DEAD ON 19TH SEPTEMBER 2002. BY MULTINEER TROOP, FOLLOWING THE MILITARY MUTINY IN MY COUNTRY.

I CONTACTED YOU, HENCES, MY NEED TO DEAL WITH PERSON WHOM MY FAMILY ASSOCIATES, HAVE HAD NO PERSONAL BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP, WITH. SINCE THE DEATH OF MY FATHER, I HAVE BEING SUBJECTED TO ALL KIND OF HARRASMENT AND INTIMIDATIONS WITH LOT OF NEGATIVES REPORTS EMANATING FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESS ABOUT MY FAMILY.

THE EVIL ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT LAURENT GBAGBO, HAS ALSO ENSURED THAT ALL OUR BANK ACCOUNTS FROZEN AND ASSETS BEING SEIZED. IT IS IN VIEW OF THIS, THAT I AM PLEADING FOR YOUR FULL CO-OPERATION AND ASSISTANCE AS BENEFICIARY, TO SECURE
THE SUM OF : THIRTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS ($32.000,000.00) BEING THE VERY LAST OF MY FAMILY FUND IN MY POSSESION AND CONTROL.

MY ONLY HOPE NOW IS ON YOUI AND THIS CASH, THAT WAS SECRETLY DEPOSITED BY MY FATHER IN MY FAVOUR, WITH A FINANCE SECURITIE FIRM IN AN UNDISCLOSE LOCATION WHERE THERE IS A BETTER POLITICAL PEACE AND ECONOMIC STABILITY, AS IF HE FORESAW
THE LOOMING CRISIS IN MY COUNTRY. BUT AS SOON AS YOUR WILLINGNESS TO ASSIST ME, IS INDICATED IN THIS TRANSACTION THE COUNTRY SHALL BE MADE KNOWN TO YOU.

TO SHOW MY APPRECIATION FOR YOUR KIND ASSISTANCE IN THIS BUSINESS, 20% (TWENTY PERCENT) OF THE TOTAL SUM HAVE BEING GENEROUSLY SET ASIDE FOR YOU, 5% SET ASIDE FOR ANY EVENTUAL COST THAT MIGHT ARISE IN THE CAUSE OF THIS TRANSACTION, WHILE
THE BANLANCE 75% IS TO BE INVESTED ON VIABLE BUSINESS, BY YOU, IN YOUR NAME AND COUNTRY, FOR ME AND MY FAMILY.

SHOULD YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS BUSINESS, I ONCE AGAIN PLEAD WITH YOU TO TREAT THIS ISSUE IN OUTERMOST SECRECY, STRICT CONFIDENTIALITY AND URGENCY, WITHOUT THE
KNOWLEDGE OF ANY OTHER PARTY. I WOULD ADVISE THAT YOU CONTACT ME VIA MY PRIVATE MAIL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

E-MAIL:domboga@netscape.net AS I WILL BE ASSESING MY PRIVATE MAIL ONLY. YOUR URGENT RESPONSE WILL BE APPRECIATED.

CHEERS AND GOD BLESS YOU, IN ALL YOUR ENDEAVOUR.

MR DOMINIQUE.
F/FAMILY.

Posted by torque at 9:43 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 28, 2003

Chief Nelson Udu

Amazing, another one! There must be a list of potential suckers being forwarded all around Africa. The funniest thing about this one is it actually has a reference number, so they can figure which letter was sent to me. The money is getting better! This time I'm up to $31,320,000.00 (Thirty-one Million, Three Hundred and Twenty thousand United States Dollars). What do you think, should I help them so that they can use their 70% to "own properties and invest in the stable economy of your country?" Fortunately, I'm rather sane today, and realize that I should probably be working on my thesis...

Dear Sir,

First I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction. This is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and "top secret". We are top officials of the Federal Government Contract Review Panel who are interested in importation of goods into our country with funds that are presently
trapped in Nigeria. In order to commence this business, we solicit your assistance to enable us transfer into your account the said-trapped funds.

The source of the fund is as follows:During the regime of the last Military transitional government of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, government officials set up companies and awarded themselves contracts which were grossly over invoiced in various ministries. The present democratic government of President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the Contract Review Panel and we have identified a lot of inflated contract funds that are presently floating in the Central Bank of Nigeria ready for payment. However, by virtue of our positions as civil servants and members of this panel, we cannot acquire this money in our names.My colleagues in the panel have therefore delegated me as a matter of trust, to look for an oversea partner into whose account we would transfer the sum of US$31,320,000.00 (Thirty-one Million, Three Hundred and Twenty thousand United States Dollars) which we hope to use in purchasing Agro Allied Equipment, and also to enable us to own properties and invest in the stable economy of your country. Hence, we are sending you this email message.

We have agreed to share the money thus:
1. 20% for the account owner (you)
2. 70% for us (the officials of the CRP)
3. 10% to be used in settling taxation and all local and foreign expenses.

Please acknowledge receipt of this message for proper briefing on the safe modality for the execution of this project. I await your eager response.

Yours faithfully,

Chief Nelson Udu.

Please Quote this Reference number (NU/08/03) in your response.


You can learn more about Chief Udu in thefinkfile. If you really feel like you need to respond to this sort of thing, you can find a HUGE pile of them here. Eat your heart of, there must be billions of unclaimed dollars ready for the taking. Hey wait a second, Chief, who is Dr. Edward Brume? Hmmm, hey Chief, do you think you could send it to my PayPal account? Oh, drats, the maximum amount for individual transactions is $10,000.

Here are some interesting things about the message, the response address is nelson_11@epatra.com. Epatra.com is an Indian language free email service. The IP address of the mailing though, is 217.78.75.128, registered in Amsterdam, but actually in Nigeria according to GeoIP!!

Update

I snagged a 20-day trial version of Magic NetTrace, and got the following information:
% This is the RIPE Whois server.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
%
% Rights restricted by copyright.
% See http://www.ripe.net/ripencc/pub-services/db/copyright.html

inetnum: 217.78.64.0 - 217.78.79.255
netname: NG-SIOTEL-20001206
descr: SIOTEL NIGERIA LIMITED
descr: PROVIDER
country: NG
admin-c: SN1917-ORG
tech-c: SA4434-RIPE
status: ALLOCATED PA
changed: hostmaster@ripe.net 20001207
source: RIPE
mnt-by: RIPE-NCC-HM-MNT
changed: hostmaster@ripe.net 20010508
changed: hostmaster@ripe.net 20010517
changed: hostmaster@ripe.net 20020913

person: George Opara
address: #5A Karimu Kotun St.
address: Victoria Island
address: Lagos, Nigeria
phone: +234-1-3201260
phone: +234-1-3201261
phone: +234-1-3201262
phone: +234-1-3201263
phone: +234-1-3201106
fax-no: +234-1-3201268
e-mail: george@siotel.net
e-mail: gopara@mailcity.com
nic-hdl: SN1917-ORG
changed: shaibu@siotel.net 20000929
source: RIPE

person: Shaibu Ali
address: #5A Karimu Kotun St.
address: Victoria Island
address: Lagos, Nigeria=20
phone: +234-1-3201260
phone: +234-1-3201261
phone: +234-1-3201262
phone: +234-1-3201263
phone: +234-1-3201106
fax-no: +234-1-3201268
e-mail: shaibu_ali@yahoo.com
nic-hdl: SA4434-RIPE
changed: shaibu@siotel.net 20000929
source: RIPE

Posted by torque at 4:22 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 25, 2003

Could it be a... scam?

I received this suspicious mailing this afternoon... what do you think? Anyone else get this? It's nice that they are so nice to inform you ahead of time that they are keeping 70% for themselves... A common way that these things manifest themselves, though for smaller amounts, is that someone in Africa will offer to buy something from you. They will send too much money, and then, after you've deposited the money, ask for you to send back some of the money. Well, guess what, after you send the money you'll find out that the check is bad... sorry, you lose. So... be careful. This can happen with bikes, horses, or even boer goats! After reading it check out a special mailing from Alex Moroka... sound familiar? Seriously, here's what you SHOULD do if you get one of these.

X-Message-Info: 6sSXyD95QpUUyx1lS9BGBYqXmoycg6uv Received: from web20709.mail.yahoo.com ([216.136.226.182]) by mc7-f17.law1.hotmail.com with Microsoft SMTPSVC(5.0.2195.5600); Mon, 25 Aug 2003 15:38:42 -0700 Message-ID: <20030825223839.64466.qmail@web20709.mail.yahoo.com> Received: from [62.56.191.150] by web20709.mail.yahoo.com via HTTP; Mon, 25 Aug 2003 23:38:39 BST Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 23:38:39 +0100 (BST) From: "=?iso-8859-1?q?Dr.Tony=20Williams?=" Subject: STRICTLY CONFINDENTIAL: To: _______________ MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Return-Path: drtonywilliams4@yahoo.ie X-OriginalArrivalTime: 25 Aug 2003 22:38:42.0642 (UTC) FILETIME=[A2F03B20:01C36B59]

From:Office of the director,
AUDTING AND ACCOUNT UNIT.
BANQUE INTERNATIONAL AFRIQUE
DE L' OUEST,LOME,REPUBLIC
OF TOGO.

Dear ____________,

I am privileged to write you through the Internet as
the DIRECTOR OF AUDITING at the account section of
BANQUE INTERNATIONAL AFRIQUE DE L'OUEST here in LOME
REPUBLIC DU TOGO (B.I.A).

Our late Customer, a national of Your Country who died
along with his wife and his Two sons in an auto crash
accident along Sagwamah express road LOME over 3 years
now was an astute businessman, an oil merchant and
contractor here in TOGO and he left behind a deposit
of Eight Million,Two Hundred Thousand United States
Dollars only($8,200,000.00usd) in his domiciliary bank
account in above mentioned BANQUE INTERNATIONAL
AFRIQUE .

Efforts made by the Bank to get in touch with of any
of his relatives proves no success and due to the
perceived possibilities of not being able to locate
any of his relatives or business associates( since no
record of any relatives is known to us) made the
management of this bank under the influence of our
Chairman and some members of the Board of Directors,
to have series of meetings and decided to declared the
fund 'unclaimed' and subsequently send it to the
Government Suspense Account for funding of the
purchase of arms and ammunition to further enhance the
course of War in Africa.

In order to avert this negative development, I on
behalf of my trusted colleagues now seek your
permission to have you stand in as next of kin to Our
late Customer so that the fund will be released and
paid into your account as the beneficiary's next of
kin now that the bank is still expecting a next of kin
or relative of the deceased. Infact we could have done
this deal alone but because of our position in this
country as civil servants, we are not allowed to
operate a foreign account and that would eventually
raise an eye brow on our side during the time of
transfer since we still work in this bank, this is the
actual reason why we required a second party or fellow
who will assist us forward claims as the next of kin
and also provide either an existing bank account or to
set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this
fund, even an empty a/c can also serve for this
purpose.


Note that all needed documents to enable the fund get
to your account will be carefully worked out and
meanwhile,all the whole arrangement to put claim over
this fund as the bonafide next of kin to the deceased
and to get the required approval and transfer this
money to a foreign account has been put in place and
all necessary information will be disclose to you as
soon as you indicate your interest and willingness to
assist us.

On smooth conclusion of this transaction,you will be
entitled to 25% as gratification for your assisting
us, while 5%will be set aside to take care of expenses
on our both sides that may arise during the time of
transfer and also for telephone bills, and the
remaining 70% will be for me and my partners.

Meanwhile we will be monitoring the whole situation
here in this bank until the money is confirmed into
your account and we shall come down to your country or
any nominate place for us to meet for subsequent
sharing of the fund accordingly as indicated above and
further investment, either in your country or any
country you advice us to invest in. All other
necessary information will be send to you when we hear
from you.

Bear in mind that this proposal is 100% risk free.

I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible
stating your wish in this business Via
twilly1@zwallet.com

Yours faithfully,

Dr Tony Williams.
+228-903-7431.

Posted by torque at 3:49 PM | Comments (48) | TrackBack

August 23, 2003

Paul Baloche

He wrote "Above All", a song we'll be singing tomorrow AND he has an online songbook available for free. What a nice guy! How did he swing this with his publishers? God bless him.

Posted by torque at 10:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Salad buffet bonanza

After so many years, Fresh Choice remains high up in my favorite restaurants. Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes are good too. All of them are clean, kid-friendly, and serve unlimited good food. What more could you ask for? In case you decide to go, make sure you print out the coupons from the website. Here's the August coupon:

Posted by torque at 10:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vineyard Music

Preparing for worship practice tomorrow (err, today), I stumbled on an excellent resource, Vineyard Music. I especially appreciated the free mp3's and the audio clips of Tim Hughes. This week we'll be singing "Above All" by Lenny Leblanc and Paul Baloche. Great lyrics.

Posted by torque at 2:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 21, 2003

The Lord's mercy

'And I will bring Israel back to his pasture and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan, and his desire will be satisfied in the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead. In those days and at that time,' declares the LORD, 'search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.' - Jer 50:19-20

Those days refers to the days that the king of Babylon and his land are punished (vs. 18). Does that mean that this has already happened? Who are the remnant? What a blessing to be pardoned.

Posted by torque at 8:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2003

God can change hearts

He can.

Posted by torque at 12:51 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 15, 2003

Oops - Recovering Files

I accidentally deleted a few GB's of something I really didn't want to delete from my AFS account. Fortunately, Stanford regularly backs up - and fortunately, I found instructions before they re-backed up. Whew.

Posted by torque at 3:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 14, 2003

4 INT DEATH STAR - MAIN DOCKING BAY 4

The DEATH STAR COMMANDER, MOFF JERJERROD, a tall, confident technocrat, strides through the assembled troops to the base of the shuttle ramp. The troops snap to attention; many are uneasy about the new arrival. But the Death Star commander stands arrogantly tall.

The exit hatch of the shuttle opens with a WHOOSH, revealing only darkness. Then, heavy FOOTSTEPS AND MECHANICAL BREATHING. From this black void appears DARTH VADER, LORD OF THE SITH. Vader looks over the assemblage as he walks down the ramp.

JERJERROD
Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We're honored by your presence.

VADER
You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I'm here to put you back on schedule.

The commander turns ashen and begins to shake.

JERJERROD
I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.

VADER
Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

JERJERROD
I tell you, this station will be operational as planned.

VADER
The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.

JERJERROD
But he asks the impossible. I need more men.

VADER
Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives.

JERJERROD (aghast)
The Emperor's coming here?

VADER
That is correct, Commander. And he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.

JERJERROD
We shall double our efforts.

VADER
I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

Posted by torque at 3:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 8, 2003

Donating a piece of yourself

I was able to give some platelets and plasma today at the Stanford Blood Center. The procedure took a little more than an hour, but it got me thinking about other things that I could donate, and not suffer too much for. I ended up signing up and donating some blood for typing to the National Marrow Donor Program. Although the chance of a match is quite small, this sort of thing really makes a difference. They now have a couple ways of getting the blood stem cells (what they really want) from the body. The old way is to stick a rather large needle into your femur and extract the marrow. The new way is to chemically force out the stem cells from your bones and extract the cells using apheresis. Blood stem cells are what produce blood cells in your body. Some people don't have this or have limited capacity - as you can imagine, it is a pretty bad scene... so if you can, give some blood and think about donating blood stem cells.

Posted by torque at 4:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 7, 2003

What is Man's Purpose?

Well, it's a new day again, and until midnight, there are 18, gloriously blank hours waiting to be filled. How will I fill them today? The Westminster Shorter Cathecism says that "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." So, my goal should be to fill those 18 hours with glorifying and enjoying God.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.... Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. -- 1 Corinthians 6:20, 31

07:45-07:59 Read the first entry in Training Hearts, Teaching Minds.
08:00-08:59 Breakfast with the family, went through the Passages of the Day.
09:00-09:14 Changed diaper, rushed teeth, washed face, got ready for the day!
09:15-09:34 Changed diaper (again), had vitamins with sweetie, washed dishes.
09:35-09:44 Took shuttle to library.
09:45-09:59 Got key for dissertation room...
10:00-12:59 Tried to write, struggled with electrochemistry
13:00-13:29 Fixed my Pine mailbox
13:30-14:29 Went home for lunch with sweetie and Linus
14:30-15:59 Shopped for food at Ranch 99
16:00-17:59 More electrochemistry at library, some database stuff
18:00-19:14 Dinner and clean-up
19:15-21:44 Fellowship
21:45-11:59 Shower, etc., talking with sweetie - ahhh where did the day go?

Posted by torque at 8:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 17, 2003

Nokia Cark-143

I'm going crazy... but it's getting better. We recently purchased a car kit (CARK-143) from Nokia USA to go with our 7250i. Installation was straight-foward, since another kit had already been installed. However, I noticed that the ignition sense did not seem to be working. The problem had three possible sources: the phone, the car kit, or me. I spent quite a number of hours checking and rechecking connection voltages, so much so that I know it isn't me. So, I emailed nokia and I got some canned message back about how they would not support the 7250i since it had not yet been released in the US even though the CARK-143 webpage clearly states that this car kit is for the 7250i.

Introduction
The Nokia full car kits have three nice features that make them worth purchasing: (1) ignition sense, (2) radio mute, and (3) an antenna coupler.

Ignition Sense Woes A search on google revealed that I'm not the only one with this problem. From several, posts, in particular this one, it seems to be that the problem is the phone - that it doesn't support the ignition sense. The funny thing is that my dad claims that his works, which leaves me quite puzzled. The way to find out is to probe the inputs to the phone (there are only like 6-7) and see if any of them change when you shut down the vehicle. If there is a signal, then the car kit is doing it's job. It does appear that certain Nokia phones just do not support ignition sense. Here, Club Nokia replies that the 6310i does not switch on or off with the ignition and that this is a change in design. Here's another post that says that Nokia decided not to include ignition sense "in lieu of other phone features". Hmmmm.

Customer Service Well, for the record, here are my emails with customer service...

Date: Tue, 10 Jun 03 13:56:02 -0400
From: NokiaUSA.CustomerCare@nokia.com
To: torque@stanford.edu
Subject: Re:Concern about Accessories for my phone RequestID:  1-KKSN0

Dear Elwyn,

Thank you for contacting Nokia Customer Care regarding problems
encountered with the CARK-143 and your Nokia 7250i phone. We
understand your frustration and apologize for any inconvenience.

A specific release date for the new Nokia 7250i phone you are
inquiring about has not been determined.

We do not have information available for Nokia products that have not
been released in the United States.

Nokia is pleased to honor the one year warranty on our phone models
manufactured and sold by authorized Nokia dealers in the United
States.

Nokia does not promote the export of phones outside of the country of
origin. Phone models, purchased in another country, that are in need
of repair must be taken back to the point of purchase or the cellular
service provider.

As Nokia continues to develop and introduce new phone models and
accessories in the United States, we will update our U.S. website at
www.Nokia.com/us.

If you would like to learn more about the features of your phone and
receive special offers on ring tones and accessories, please sign up
for our Free monthly newsletter at https://www.nokiaconnections.com/.

If you have additional questions, please contact us. Thank you for
choosing Nokia for your cellular needs.

Sincerely,

Yezid
Customer Care
Nokia Inc.
Nokia.com/us

P.S. In an effort to continuously improve Nokia's service to you,
please complete our E-mail Customer Care Survey at
http://www.klcsurveys.com/surveys/custcare_0603c.htm. Please copy the
link and paste it into the address field of your browser.


Date: Tue, 10 Jun 03 18:34:18 -0400
From: reply.customercare@nokia.com
To: torque@stanford.edu
Subject: Re:Concern about Accessories for my phone RequestID:   1-KKSN0 
      RequestID: 1-KLA8T

Dear Elwyn,

Thank you for your response to Nokia Customer Care regarding the error
message displayed on your Nokia 7250i phone when attached to your car
kit.

We have not made any announcements regarding the Nokia 7250i phone,
nor have we heard any issues regarding the error message you are
receiving. As the Nokia 7250i phone has not been released in the
United States, we do not have specific information or technical
support for your phone at this time.

Please contact Nokia Customer Care in the country you have originally
purchased the phone from. Nokia warranties are valid only in the
country where the product was purchased and is limited to Nokia
Original products. Thus, Nokia does not promote the export of Nokia
products outside the country of origin.

Malfunction issues pertaining to Nokia Car Kits could be isolated as
one of three areas:

(1) Not recognizing what is normal operation of your car kit (such as
operation of the handset or LCD/keypad).
(2) Improper installation and testing of the car kit after
installation.
(3) A component of your car kit is not working properly.

Recognizing what is normal operation for your car kit may be the
issue. A brief review of one or two features may be helpful. For
example, when the phone is connected to the Kit, the menu functions
for Backlight Control, Keypad Tones and Ringing Volume will be
different from those available in normal hand portable use of the
phone.

Independent levels for each of these functions will be stored for
handset mode and for handsfree mode.For example, if you are in handset mode when you select any of these
levels, the level will apply only when the phone is operated in
handset mode. Conversely, if you are in handsfree mode when you select
any of these levels, the level will apply only when the phone is
operated in handsfree mode.

When the phone is connected to a car kit, the keypad lights are
continuously on if the lights (Menu 4) option is set to ON. Otherwise,
the lights remain on for 15 seconds once any key is pressed.

If any component of your Nokia Car Kit is found to be functioning
improperly by your installer, they should remove the part or parts,
and send them directly to the Nokia Repair Center. If some small
portion of the car kit becomes broken or cracked, such as the handset
or cradle, simply send that part to us for replacement. Nokia will
repair, or replace, at Nokia's option, any part(s) that will not
properly operate for their intended use with new or factory rebuilt
replacement items.

When a malfunction beyond the normal use of your phone or car kit
occurs, you must take the car kit and phone to the point of
installation. You may find that returning a car kit to the point of
purchase is less time consuming if the item is in stock. Return
policies for merchandise will vary with each dealer. Please consult
your particular retailer for details.

If your car kit was purchased within the warranty period of three
years and you prefer, you may send the entire car kit directly to us
for warranty coverage.

You may find that returning the car kit to your dealer or service
provider is less time consuming if the item is in stock. Return
policies will vary with each dealer. Please consult your point of
purchase for details.

You may also wish to bring your car kit to a local authorized repair
center to be examined by a technician.

You can search for an Authorized Service Center in your area by
visiting our web site, www.Nokia.com/us. Click on the "Support/Repair"
section on the blue navigational bar. On the subsequent screen, please
enter your ZIP code to search for a repair center.

Please call these locations prior to your visit, to verify the
necessary equipment for the repair of your car kit. Each Authorized
Service Center is independently operated; repairs offered and fees may
vary among the different locations.

If you prefer, you may send the car kit directly to Nokia for warranty
coverage at the following address:

Nokia Repair Center
795 W. Nasa Boulevard
Melbourne, FL 32901

We recommend that you include a short note with your Nokia accessory
describing the problem and detailing your mailing address.
Additionally, please include a copy of your proof of purchase for
warranty purposes. Per the warranty agreement, Nokia will cover the
cost of replacement and shipping of the new accessory item.

Allow approximately 7 business days for the turn-around time of your
accessory.

If you have additional questions, please contact us. Thank you for
choosing Nokia for your cellular needs.

Sincerely,

Michelle
Customer Care
Nokia Inc.
Nokia.com/us

P.S. In an effort to continuously improve Nokia's service to you,
please complete our E-mail Customer Care Survey at
http://www.klcsurveys.com/surveys/custcare_0603a.htm. Please copy the
link and paste it into the address field of your browser.
Posted by torque at 6:51 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

June 7, 2003

Praise the Lord

Looking for worship songs for tomorrow I stumbled upon Daniel Azuma's music. Wow, I almost started crying - it brought to mind all the wonderful things that God did at Tech, and how much hope I had. It is a blessing to me - thank you Daniel.

Posted by torque at 12:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack