Archive for January, 2011

Getting Burnt… Pellet Quality

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

The burning season is almost at an end, while I’m impressed by the progress in the stove technology, the quality of pellets is somewhat less sparkling.    Since it has been 20 years since my last pellet stove experience, I decided to purchase pellets by the bag this time around.   The idea was to try various brands in the stove, gauge the amount of pellets used, so as to make a smarter bulk purchase in future seasons.   Here are some brands I tried in our Quadrafire Mt. Vernon AE…

(more…)

Celebrating 40 years of Misspellings!

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Circa 2010 chopstick wrapper….

For 40 years, this chopstick manufacturer has cranked out these ubiquitous Chinese bamboo utensils, every one of them with multiple spelling and grammar errors.   So after 40 years, perhaps its time to acknowledge their contribution to the vernacular.   They have given us new words, such as “tuk” “cultual” “glonous” “thurnb”  and  “tirst.”   So I say “thurnbs up” to these glonous additions to our language and cultual.

I like the quirky phonetic pronunciations  and graphical analogies.  For example,  “thurnb” where the rn looks enough like m that you might miss it.    It would be a sad day indeed to find these had been corrected, signaling that decades of subtle chopstick amusements had come to an end.

Autism: A Magnet For Junk Science

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

I'm Gambling With Your Kids Health!

Today Jenny McCarthy defends the fraudulent research of Andrew Wakefield often cited as proof that the MMR vaccine causes autism.   Despite the revelation that Wakefield faked the data, Jenny McCarthy takes the moral high ground:

The mainstream media is in a frenzy over a new “study” claiming that Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper was fraudulent. For years, the media has mischaracterized Wakefield’s work as implicating the MMR vaccine in the autism epidemic. This was never true, as Wakefield himself wrote in the conclusion to his paper:

“We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described.”

We hope the media will take the time to read the actual Lancet study, rather than repeating the message of a vaccine-industry funded media circus.

Excuse me?   Today’s allegation is that Wakefield faked the data.   So Jenny McCarthy tells us to read the study withdrawn from Lancet in Feb. 2010, and now shown to be a fraud.   Why?   And then follows up with a trite “well Wakefield never said he proved the vaccines caused autism.”

(more…)

Its Perihelion Day!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

The Earth’s slightly elliptical orbit means that we are about 3% closer to the Sun in January than in July.   Today the Earth will again be at its closest point to the Sun, aka perihelion.   The seasonal changes caused the earth tilted axis of rotation overshadows the slight difference in solar radiation ( about 7% ) due to our elliptical path around the Sun.   Last July, I took a shot of the sun and made this side by side comparison with one form today.

Shot With My Fuji S100fs + Welder's Glass Filter

My camera rig is not really up to the challenge of capturing fine detail of the solar disk.  But you can still make out a sun spot at about the 10 o’clock position.   I set the S100fs to maximum zoom and use the 2x digital zoom with a green welder’s glass filter.   Then color corrected to give the sun a more natural appearance.