Thursday, December 28, 2006

Public Prayer Power

These catholics and muslims supposedly worship the same god. Haggling over permissions for muslims to worship in a church, or catholics to worship in a mosque, is the same sort of bullshit involved in the school prayer issue here in the USA.

It's not about prayer. It's about power.


The picture below is what I've been using as an online avatar for several years. It is the fundamental plus the first two odd harmonics of a Fourier series (the bold line is the sum of those three terms).

I'm just trying to get the thing reloaded into my Blogger profile directly from a Blogger URL in the hopes that the distortion it displays on my blog page will somehow be corrected. (The more conceptually obvious solution, modifying the image dimensions in the template, eludes me so far.)

Coheed & Cambria sounds pretty good on iTunes as I fiddle with Blogger. I'd never heard of these guys until my friend Chris recommended I check them out. I'm glad he did. Their Good Apollo album has been a good use for the iTunes pre-paid card Santa left in my stocking.

Update: I guess I'll have to either find a way to reduce my avatar to 80 X 80 pixels without the distortion, or find out how to modify the profile to allow the slightly larger image. How to do that is not obvious to me, and Blogger's new template modification features apparently don't allow for that particular modification.

Update again:
I used the Snag-It preview editor to resize (below) the 95x95 pixel jpg to 80x80. Let's see how that looks.

Update yet again:
That didn't work either. Looks like Blogger won't use an internal URL for the profile picture. I wound up posting the properly sized picture to my Flickr account and using that URL for my Blogger profile picture.

Why did I bother? Who cared? Same reason I blog, I guess.

In any event, it does look a little bit better, I suppose.

Before and After:

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Principles of Policy Analysis: Final Exam

Well, I'm just a dumb engineer barely able to spell "policy analyst", but for some reason I thought Mark Kleiman's post - a public policy final exam - was very interesting. He didn't provide an answer key, but I found myself thinking up answers anyway, wondering what conceptual blocks he might be trying to expose and so on.

Clearly, Kleiman knows a great deal, and I know next to nothing, about public policy analysis.

Kleiman is a prohibitionist with respect to drugs, whereas I think our national drug policy is the stupidest goddamn thing I've ever seen.

Should I defer to Kleiman with respect to drug policy on the basis that he knows a great deal about public policy analysis while I know next to nothing?

Naa... Interesting test though. Probably has something to do with the fact that Kleiman's blog remains on my read list while my collection of unclicked links grows and grows.

Friday, December 22, 2006


"It's tough to make a forecast, especially about the future."
-- Yogi Berra (presumably)

I have no forecast. The one I started to post met the delete key. I deleted it not because I thought it was wrong, but because I hope it is wrong.

Certain things seem more likely than others, though. I think Martin Rees is a bit of an optimist. Eric Pianka is probably right. Albert Bartlett is probably right.

Time will tell. Que sera sera.