Cleveland: Keeping Christmas at Home
Ramona: The War on Happy Holidays
My daughter and I spent much of Friday and Saturday in cosplay at Otakon, but I got to watch some of NBC's Olympic coverage — which in some events seemed more obsessively focused on Americans than ever.
On Saturday morning, I did catch Alexander Vinokurov's surprising and crafty victory in the cycling road race. Vino followed the younger legs of Rigoberto Uran to get ahead of the pack, then the Kazakh sprinted for the line while the Colombian was still foolishly looking back at what had long ceased to be the main threat. Vino is another rider with a long history of doping scandals, banned in 2007 and associated with now-banned-for-life Dr Michel Ferrari.
Athletes, especially Olympians, are to be seen and not heard, or even read. Remember when Crash Davis explains the perfect sports interview to Nuke Laloosh? [Read more]
Davis: You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time."
LaLoosh: Got to play... it's pretty boring.
Davis: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.
Found this on the Dish. When I was a child, Redd Foxx was a guest on some talk show. He and the host were talking about hitting dogs while driving, and throwing out these huge numbers of dogs they had hit. I asked my mother why they would hit dogs, and she said they hit them by accident, but it sure sounded like they didn't care much.
I used to work in Central Pennsylvania — just PA to anyone from there. I was there long enough to realize that Penn State was both a revered institution and an 800 lb gorilla. I suppose that's true of other schools, but I have lots of family and friends who attended or worked for PSU, and still do.
Loyalty to Penn State and faith in JoePa continues to be very strong. On Saturday, in a stealthy 6 AM maneuver, PSU removed the Paterno sculpture, calling it a "distraction." The faithful are appalled. Even my liberal, union brother-in-law is resentful, claiming that the Freeh report is not the last word in the investigation. [Read more]
Although initial stories reported 14 dead, WNYC's The Takeaway and ABC News are saying that the death toll has been revised down to 12, with at least 50 injured.
I was struck by how routine such stories have become on local news. WBAL spent a few minutes on the shooting, then went back to the "Big Story": a political fight over the Maryland Dream Act. One of my daughters lives in Colorado, not that close to Aurora, but not that far, either, so perhaps that makes it more personal. I'll feel better when I hear from her. [Read more]
PBS is running a BBC show centered around an English town called Kibworth. History of England's host narrator Michael Woods flits between an archeological dig, nearby fields and local archives to illustrate stories about British history. It's informative, but also funny to watch, because when an archivist or archaeologist pulls out some old parchment or bit of bone, Woods' enthusiastic gushing sounds much like the appraisers on Antiques Roadshow. "That's a really nice tibia, dear." It is also clear that Brit reenactors have a lot more history, and costumes, to work with than Americans.
In Episode Four, Woods talked about Henry V putting down an insurrection of Lollards — heretic peasants led by Henry's old friend Sir John Oldcastle (a probable model for Falstaff). Henry's forces were alerted, dispersed and executed the insurgents forthwith, and years later Oldcastle was slowly burned at stake, but Woods blithely reassures the audience that the government eventually granted the religious freedoms they and their predecessors who followed Wat Tyler had wanted. So it was all good. [Read more]
Have you heard, this new movie, the Batman movie -- what is it, the Dark Knight Lights Up or something? Whatever the name of it is. That's right, Dark Knight Rises, Lights Up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in the Dark Knight Rises is named Bane. B-A-N-E. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran, and around which there's now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date's been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?" - Rush Limbaugh
In between following sports and writing haikus, I've noticed that the Leaf can't catch a break. As if temperature management problems in Phoenix weren't enough, the NY Times' Wheels blog and Plugin Cars each report that for eleven Leaf owners, something has gone haywire between the Nissan Leaf and the GE Wattstation, leaving their batteries severely damaged.
TTAC's Alex Dykes offers a clear explanation of charging an EV or plugin hybrid in the US. Briefly, the EV's onboard system manages the charging as long as the charging station meets the minimum Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) J1772 standard. What could go wrong? Dykes speculates: [Read more]
Assuming there is no design fault inherent in the Wattstation’s “control pilot” design (and we might assume this logically because the issues are limited to Nissan Leaf vehicles only), the most likely possibility is a problem with an underrated or faulty D1 diode in the Leaf’s charger that makes the control pilot circuit more susceptible to transient current and failure. While it does seem fishy that the problems are only reported with the Wattstation and not the popular Leviton and Nissan branded chargers, the issue likely comes down to surge suppression and bad luck. It is likely that Nissan uses a D1 diode with a lower rating (and therefore affording less protection) than the Volt and Prius plug-in. With so few EVs on the road, and little public information on the specifications of electrical components in the chargers it is hard to say for sure.
I biked home last night, took a quick swim, then turned on Democracy Now. As I sorted laundry, I listened to Amy Goodman interview the presumptive Green Party presidential nominee, Dr Jill Stein, and her veep nominee, Cheri Honkola. In the first interview Goodman asked Dr Stein what she would do after elected, and she spoke about a Green New Deal and Medicare for All. "But how's she going to get Congress to approve anything? That's what I'd ask her." I thought. She also felt that the ACA, "basically pits the very poor against the near poor."
At the end of the second interview, Goodman said, "We’ve been speaking with Jill Stein, who’s the Green Party’s 2012 presumptive presidential nominee. The vote will take place tomorrow here in Baltimore, where the Green Party convention is underway." "What?" I thought. While local news told me that a detective had resigned after being caught stealing groceries, and that more speed cameras were being placed near school zones, they hadn't mentioned that the Green Party's National Nominating Convention was being held at the Holiday Inn near the Convention Center. Sheesh. [Read more]
Last week in Mississippi, strange bedfellows former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, former RNC chair Haley Barbour and former President Bill Clinton grandly unveiled the MyCar — an EV made in America. [Read more]
"Too many people have given up on American manufacturing, saying manufacturing jobs are not coming back. But GTA set out to prove them wrong," said Terry McAuliffe, chairman of GreenTech. "For too long, America has been inventing products here and sending the production jobs overseas. But we're part of a rebirth for American manufacturing. We're proud to bring manufacturing jobs back and prove that the U.S. is still the world leader in technological innovation and manufacturing."