Monday, November 23, 2009

Good Internet Monday: This video.

Blerg. Fighting off the remnants of a cold; fighting with my code to get some results.

What I need right now is more videos like this:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Let there by PYTHON!

I finally got things straightened out with my laptop last night, which means I can finally post about how hard Python rocks.

I'll start with my first Python-generated figure that will be going into a paper I've written:

I'll explain what is going on here eventually; for now I'll just say that creating this image was surprisingly easy.

Next, I'll share a sneak peak into a project I've just started: PyBats! Open source tools for reading and visualizing BATS-R-US output!

Again, I'll explain all of this later.

My Python experience has been very exciting so far. I hope to release quite a bit of code through Source Forge in the future.

Healthcare Email RAGE! Part 4: Here Comes God!

So after I let our good friend Pat know exactly what I thought of his reply, he was quick to send me another email. This is a pattern- I spend some time putting together a thought-out email only to have Pat respond within an hour. Of all the ones I've received so far, this one is the worst. It's almost as if he thought to himself, "Gee... what's the most ridiculous way I can support my beliefs?"

Here comes a WALL OF TEXT:
The notion of truth is very elusive and IF you really wish to search for "TRUTH " I encourage you to look to the One that created the heavens and earth you explore and maybe you would have a different perspective on who really is TRUTH ; it isn't found in your liberal educated world nor my common sense conservative world nor based on fact but upon one thing that as you grow older will be more important to you and your family then anything which is who you trust and who you put your faith.
Although I was never as smart as you proudly convey to others , I like yourself was once very naive .
I believed in so many lies in so many areas of my life over the years that were told only to promote personal , political , business, union, religious , educational , etc. etc. etc. agenda that the only basis of real truth that I have is by learning from my own experience & past history and those occurrences that I have physically or visually seen that lead me to a certain set of beliefs .
I pray for wisdom in order to make the right decision for myself and others I care about and hopefully without turning people off or out ; I feel convicted to share my own perspective of the truth.
You cite numbers which I will not dispute because in your abstract world I think you will at some point realize that : Figures can't lie but LIARS can figure.
Without excusing the numerous faults that you believe the insurance industry and the capitalist society that gave you the ability to succeed have ; it will be interesting to see if you will be as condemning when your personal efforts and resources are shared with the growing number in our society that feel they are entitled to them without contributing.
I personally believe that one of the major reasons other countries have a better health system then the U.S., is because their government and their society does not allow for the major abuse of the health care system that we have in place.
Many perceive insurance as a maintenance plan where every little ache or pain is something that should be paid for by insurance while they fail to take care of their health by over indulging themselves with Big Mac's and smoking and drinking while being couch potatoes and not exercising.
Obviously you feel like taking care of these folks with your social altruism .
Many of the Canadians I have met and inquired of , in our country that winter in Florida, are becoming more dissatisfied with the system that prevents them from so many of the freedoms we have with our current system like the ability to receive health assistance from who and when we want without being put on a waiting list.
Ask your Canadian peers what their tax rate is as opposed to ours in order to fund their benevolence and then decide if that is agreeable to you as a young man just starting to undertake the responsibilities of family while others in our society conveniently will let you carry the load for them and their families also.
I will not waste your time nor have you waste mine on a continuance of our differences but I will respond to #2 of your request by telling you that I am one of those that do not have health insurance ( other then catastrophic major medical ) because of the outrageous cost but as I stated before , I do not put the blame on the greed of insurance companies but the greed of those looking for something for nothing and those in the legal profession that "ambulance chase" looking for opportunity to sue doctors, hospitals and other health care providers because many of those that represent us in the political arena are either attorneys or sold their soul to the legal profession.
God has blessed me with great health and I thank Him for that but if I were not to be so fortunate , I would not expect others to be responsible for my misfortune or lack of preparing for the advent of medical bills ; that I have personally seen hospitals write off as uncollectible ( from those that were collectable ), only because it was easier for them to over inflate their services to others to offset the deadbeats thievery .
You may know more about science then I will ever know , but you have much to learn about life and I hope you are blessed with the health and wisdom from God to understand that everything you perceive as the TRUTH communicated by those you trust may come back to you as it has to me to be something or someone that exploited your naivety because of their credentials instead of their character.
I will close by sharing with you a couple of visuals that hopefully will open your eyes to the social leadership you trust. and encourage you
NOT to trust me but trust your eyes and ears from the testimony of those in leadership that you have placed your trust......and then decide.

F.Y.I. : Rep. Pete Stark is a 30+ year career politician representing the state you currently reside and a graduate of M.I.T. who previously was a banker ; with his superior condescending philosophy , how would you like him to be running your personal finances as he does with the countries and how much more does your social insurance endorsement add to our debt load ?

Click here: Theo Spark: Video: 7 Lies In Under 2
Minutes (

Many believe that an opposing viewpoint to current leadership is based upon bias, prejudice or ignorance but fail to hold those leaders they blindly follow like lemmings to adhere to the promises they make and are critical of the rest of us that although growing older are not yet senile to remember what leaders of both major parties wish we would have no recall .
Thank You Al Gore for giving us the Internet !! LOL!!!
With Respect

Wow, this has it all. Be sure to check out his fantastic and relevant videos. I have a hunch that Pat is a fan of Glenn Beck. Just a hunch.

Currently, there are two more emails to post and it is my turn to send a volley of words towards Pat. I'll keep 'em coming so long as it doesn't get boring.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crashy Crashy.

This should have been a glorious post about Python, but alas, it is not to be.

Fink, the package manager for Mac OS X, went haywire last night. The dependencies got screwed up and I could not update anything. I needed some Python updates and couldn't get at them. After hours of screwing around, I decided to wipe my Fink install and start over.

But I couldn't. My disk permissions are screwed up and cannot be fixed through the disk utility, so the installer wouldn't work. This leaves me without EVERYTHING: a proper Python install, Emacs, Ghostscript, LaTeX, and everything else. This sucks, hard.

Today, I've found a work-around for the installation and am working on reinstalling EVERYTHING, but it's a slowwwww process. Blerg.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Numba Two!

Well, actually number 9, but the second frame in a slide show.

Tom's Hardware (they're hiring, by the way...) has a list of the top 10 threats to the internet; solar storms come in at number 9.

It's nice to be acknowledged.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Healthcare Email RAGE! Part 3

It is only fair that after posting Pat's words verbatim, I should do the same for myself. My proudest moment? Certainly not. I am quite sick of these type of people, so I let loose...

My dearest Pat,

You end your last email discussing the notion of truth. Perhaps the biggest difference between you and I is that I spend most of my time searching for the truth while you spend most of your breath assuming it. Allow me to explain.

I present to you the following statistics; each is a vital measure of a society's overall quality of health and health care system (I refer you to the excellent text by Koop, Pearson, and Schwarz, "Critical Issues in Global Health"):
Maternal death rate, US: 1 in 4800 (42nd overall for all countries surveyed.)
Infant mortality rate, US: 7 in 1000 (tied for 47th overall.)
Life Expectancy, US: 78 (tied fo 34th overall.)
Data collected from

In each case, the countries of the United Kingdom, Sweden, China, and Canada are far ahead of the United States. These are countries with nationalized health care systems. I am good friends with persons from each of these countries (an easy feat at Los Alamos, where foreign nationals are in great supply), and each is surprised and frustrated with the cost and quality of the U.S. system despite the health plans provided to lab employees of which they are entitled. Also note that often the U.S. is surpassed by countries considered to be underdeveloped compared to the United States (e.g. Cuba, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc.) A strong contributor to this trend is the prohibitive cost of health care and the castration of health care professionals by insurance providers. Both of these symptoms effect not only the 13% you condemn but also a large proportion of the remaining 87%, whose "insurance" is a poor excuse for health care.

As we both come from the fine state of Michigan, I shouldn't need to expound on the effects of the cost of health care on the economy. Look across the river to Canada, where factory workers are paid nearly as well as Americans, but it is far cheaper for manufacturers to hire workers there because benefits cost so much less.

And what, good sir, is your position? You do not want to have less money, and someone else has told you that a public option will take away your money. In both of your emails, you do nothing to substantiate this point yet gloat over your "common sense." Ah, yes! Do compare our ages! Do bleat on about naivety and experience! So long as you do nothing else to substantiate your case, why should I believe what you say?

Furthermore, the only thing more ridiculous than your statement of "if it's not broke, don't fix it" is ending your email by quoting Edmund Burke concerning "good men doing nothing" after DIRECTLY urging others to go to the town hall meetings and ENSURE that good men indeed do nothing.

I now turn to the thick hypocrisy of your more recent email. While I could speculate on why you find yourself in direct opposition to educated people, I will ignore that point at current. Rather, I wonder aloud how you can assert that people with whom you disagree "can't extend a sensitivity to others." I would love to hear you expound upon this point after doing your best to ensure that 13% of Americans (that would be 40 million people, as I'm sure you are aware) do not deserve health care because it would cost everyone a lot of money (again, a point you merely assert without backing it up with even a hint of critical analysis.) If it was you who was denied care because of lack of insurance, would it still be common sense? If your family was escorted out of the hospital, still ailing and without a hint of medical attention, is it the wisdom of experience then? As your children are repeatedly denied coverage, would you take solace knowing that 87% should not suffer the yolk of a tax increase? Certainly you would explain to them that their "Life" should not interfere with others' "pursuit of happiness" and their tears would vanish.

I now extend two challenges to you:
1) Respond to this and back up your position with facts and critical analysis. By all means, verify the truth granted unto you by common sense. I invite you to substantiate your point and prove me wrong. I warn you, however, that ridiculousness will be met with ridicule (as it should in such matters.)

2) Find someone without health insurance. Ask them about their experiences. Then, look them in the eye and read your first email verbatim. If you are indeed the man you describe in your most recent message, I doubt you will find this difficult.

I sincerely look forward to your response.

Pat responded, and believe me when I say it's a doozy. I just sent a response to that response, which I'm sure will also entertain.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Whiskey Tango Friday: Arguing with Idiots.

Brace yourself. To end RAGE WEEK, I'm pulling out the worst of WTF. It's Glenn Beck's video contest to promote his new book, "Arguing with Idiots". I spent just a few minutes there. The dumbassometer went through the roof. The Ironymeter broke. The RAGE was pure and strong.

Are you ready? Here it is:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Edumacation in the ameiricka and like such as.

A bit more RAGE before this week ends:

A few weeks ago, the in-laws were in town. It was good to see family and was good for The Wife and my daughter to see their extended family, too.

During a discussion with my father-in-law, it came up that I have very few natural born citizen friends that I have met at the Lab. An off-the-cuff analysis:
  • I have to take three steps up the chain-of-command before I reach a superior who is a natural born citizen of the United States..
  • Of the postdocs in our group, natural born citizens are in a minority.
  • Of the people that my wife and I consistently hang out with, zero are citizens. All are either employees of the lab or spouses of employees.
  • A clear, though not rigid, trend forms when examining age of scientists here along with nationality: most of the natural born U.S. citizens are of the cold war era; the US-born scientist is an aging generation.
This was no surprise to me, as I have become used to being in the minority back in graduate school (when I graduated, I was indeed replaced by a Chinese student.) This was a great surprise to my father-in-law, however. Like electronics, most cars, and everything from Walmart, good scientists are frequently becoming an imported commodity in the United States.

Why is this? We kicked around several ideas during our conversation, ranging from the overall quality of the education system in our country to the attitude towards science and math in mainstream culture. We were just speculating; it was a rather grim endeavor.

One of my pet theories is the demonizing of the educated populous by those who glorify ignorance. See Exhibit A. When did stupidity become a source of pride?

Health Care Email RAGE: Part 2

RAGE week continues!

As I said earlier, "Pat" was quick to respond to my request that he not send me his unlettered, poorly informed garbage:
Dan ,
Sorry to hear that as you gaze into the stars that your head is in the sand!!!
I have not had the opportunity to know you personally but know that your mother is very proud of you and your personal and educational accomplishments, as well she should .
I have always found myself at polar opposite of those educated individuals that consider themselves superior to the rest of Creation that they can't extend a sensitivity that others, though being inferior to them intellectually, may be superior to them when it comes to common sense and the realities of how politics and the decisions those in leadership make affect our lives.
We obviously have differing opinions politically and maybe even socially but I base my observations on the reality of approximately 65 years of living and observing my own success and failure but also observing the success and failure of others.
I have lived most of my life being ignorant and apathetic to the decisions our leaders make for us and if you chose to do likewise , then I shall comply and remove you from my social networking.
If telling the TRUTH as I see it is perceived as a diatribe then you can be assured that your chastisement and opinion will not deter me from continuing to tell the TRUTH and as Jack Nicholson shouted in A Few Good Men ; obviously you can't handle the truth!!!

I was a bit slower to respond, but the rage was still at 100%. I'll post that tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Healthcare Email RAGE!

The health care debate is a sensitive, complicated subject. Obama's controversial plan has both benefits and issues; determining the outcome of such a plan is difficult but enacting reform critical.

That is why I absolutely loathe people who are opposed tooth and nail to ANY sort of change due to misguided, poorly reasoned motivations. Case in point: this email sent to me by my ex-auto insurance agent (only because I left the state) who is also a good friend of my Mom (this will come into play soon enough).

Recently the Monroe Evening News published an Associated Press report with the beaming faces of Michigan's John Dingell & California's Nancy Pelosi proudly proclaiming in their best Socialistic voice the accomplishment of the most recent Government Invasion of our freedoms ( ? ) : the Government Option ( ? ) .
The news report validates the concern ( see link below [Note: link is a video of Bill Rogers saying the same things written here] ) of common sense Rep. Bill Rogers ( also from Michigan ) concern relating to the bottom line numbers we are trying to assist , and the price tag for that assistance.
By these ( Dingell, Pelosi & their like ) financial and economic whiz kids own admission ; we are trying to assist and incorporate 13% of the uninsured public by taking benefits and revenue away from 87% of the citizens , who have no reason to change from the current system.
I have never been a proponent of status quo agenda and decision process but if something is not broke : Don't try to fix it !!!
Do we have a health care and delivery problem and system that could be improved ? : ABSOLUTELY ; but do we look to the leadership that wrought us the current problems with Social Security , Medicare, Medicaid, U. S. Post Office , Illegal Immigrant , Etc. Etc. Etc. to solve & remedy or do we look to those that can and have successfully modified and improved upon decisions that work for the majority?
I personally can live with any situation that works 87% of the time instead of passing a legacy of "debtors prison" to the generations that follow.
Please consider coming to the next town hall meeting ( flyer attached ) concerning this cross roads decision and problem if implemented and voice YOUR opinion .
Pat [Full name withheld]
Having heard all of this , you may choose to look the other way ; but you can never say again that you did not know . William Wilberforce 1759- 1833
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men & women do nothing ( paraphrased from the words of philosopher Edmund Burke )
Well, then. Where do we start with this shit-mess? Point out the ignorance of the term socialism? Shed light on the lack of any evidence, critical thinking, or hard numbers? Call out the purely reactionary politics of an ignorant man? Perhaps I'll just let him know that such unsolicited emails are as appreciated as unsolicited text messages:

Pat -

While I have sincerely appreciated the service you have provided my family and myself, I do NOT appreciate politically driven, unsolicited, poorly informed emails such as the one below. Please exclude me from such diatribe in the future.


Yes, I was quite terse, but this is the kind of garbage that spawns RAGE WEEK!

We have each exchanged a single email and I expect more. I shall continue to share them as the week progresses.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kick of RAGE WEEK with chain-texts!

RAGE WEEK begins with a random text message from a phone number I didn't recognize. I'm not sure I can describe the ensuing exchange properly, so I will post it here verbatim:

Random Person: FWD: FWD: A man you love is gonna show you how much he NEEDS you on monday but you have to send this to 9 girls.No joke. (punctuation and spacing hers.)

Me: If you ever send a message like this to me again, I swear to god I will stab you in your face.

Random Person: Gosh (:Ryley:)

Me: who the hell is this and why should i not stab you in your face?

Ryley: Its Ryley from gymnastics (:Ryley:)

Me: well this is dan from new mexico. stop sending me messages. i don't know who you are, i'm not in gymnastics and i'm not a chick. (:stab:)

Ryley: Oh whoops (:Ryley:)

That's $0.30 worth of text messaging charges I won't get back.

This Week is RAGE WEEK!




I've had enough things piss me off that I shall rant until I feel better. I invite readers to rage along with me in the comments. Once the raging has finished, I shall return to my regularly scheduled blogging.