Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dubai, UAE

Well folks, we finally pulled in to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for Christmas. I'm posting this from the Dubai Seaman's club where there are a lot of US Navy sailors relaxing right now. Once again, I'm not in the navy, I just happen to work for them. I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and have a happy holidays! I'll be standing the midnight to 0800 watch on my ship tonight (morning?) so I'll probably take a nap later.

By the way, you want to cheer everyone up? Just shout out a hello to any sailor/soldier you know (They don't even have to be navy sailors, they could just be away from home and unable to come home). This is my first Christmas away from home, and its tough. I miss my parents, my older sister, my younger sister (she's in the navy, but she's probably home for xmas, she's on the USS Ronald Reagan and they don't leave till january), but most of all I miss my cat.

Anyways, enough of sob stories. We get 3 days here for christmas, when I stand watch tonight @ midnight, I'll be making holiday pay, 'cause it's christmas! That and maybe I'll get to blow soot all over santa's sled (if he shows up in the area).

Merry xmas and Happy Holidays!
-Henry W. Scharf IV
3rd A/E
USNS Mount Baker

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Gettin to be that time of year

Well folks, there are christmas decorations in the engineering log office here aboard the USNS Mount Baker. I'm quite a bit more settled in than I was a month ago. I've more or less gotten the hang of the plant, so when things go haywire, I'll be a bit more ready to take control and prevent disaster in the middle of the ocean. By this point, we won't have any real port stay until Christmas, and there is no garuntee as to how long that stay will be. Of course, we'll still be on duty then, so those of us on watch will still be standing watch, and those that do day work will still work during the day (hey man, holiday pay, and life aboard ship NEVER ceases). We're still not within sight of any land, and we just had alligator for dinner tonight. It tastes too much like seafood for my taste. I think I'll stick with the beef that I also had (new york cut steak, lovely stuff). Whenever they put pork on the menu, I go ahead and grab it. Being out here in the gulf, it's pretty tough to get pork anywhere (them strict muslim rules, just as strict as jewish laws). I hope all of you will have a pleasant holiday season and peaceful shopping time. I'll be posting a bit more frequently (I hope!). It's about 7:35 PM here in the Gulf, and I have to head down to watch in the engine room right now, so ciao!

Henry Scharf
3 A/E (watch)
USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34)

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Well folks, today, November 27th is my birthday. I am now a whopping 24 years old. I would like to thank my mother YEARS ago for not aborting me and allowing me to live (bad joke), and for her putting up with 24 years of my shit (literally and figuratively!). I'm still on the USNS Mount Baker as a watch 3rd Assisstant Engineer, and will be here for Christmas, too.

I would also like to pass out a Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this, and to all who are too busy/lazy/don't care enough to read this as well!

Please leave me a message in the comments section, or email me at
Henry DOT W DOT Scharf DOT CIV @ msc DOT Navy DOT mil

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Alive and kickin'

Well folks, I figure it's time to send another update. We're somewhere in the area, I don't exacty know where either IN Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, or that little sea between, whatever that is (I don't quite have a map). What I do know is that we won't go into port for quite some time, so I can expect to be surrounded by water for a good while.

I just got a switcharound on my watch team. My junior engineer and one of my engine utilities had a screaming fight over a 60 cent soda, so long story short, I have a new junior engineer (they got switched). I much prefer this one due to his work ethic, willingness to learn, and respect for my authoritah! Yesterday we just switched out motor pump units underneath one of the evaporators (mm overtime). The opportunities to earn overtime on this ship are boundless. Being on watch, I am pretty much garunteed at least 16 hours of overtime each weekend (all watches on Saturdays and Sundays are considered overtime, even while at sea), and every other day, I stand meal relief for the 1600-2000 watch (an hour of overtime), so that's at least 33 hours of overtime every single pay period garunteed. I'm completely in charge of running the evaporators, and making our water so I better not screw up, hah.

It's still a little weird being someone who is literally in charge of the entire engine room for the 4 hours that is my watch. I'm not only in charge of the engine room, I'm the watch supervisor, so I'm in charge of the other people who are on watch, doing the little things like checking levels, taking readings, watching the fires, etc...

Meanwhile, I should probably get going. I just got off of the 0800-1200 watch and am pretty freakin' starving.
Henry Scharf
3 A/E (watch)
USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

On the Baker

Hello everyone from onboard the USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34). Yes, I'm on board an ammunition supply ship working for MSC as a 3rd Assistant Engineer on watch. We're moving around somewhere in the Persian Gulf, ready to supply other ships, but I don't really care about that, I just care about the engine plant downstairs. Luckily, we get some television (The AFN or Armed forces network), so we can watch SOME television, but only programs "approved" by the military. I suppose it's better than nothing (there is an overwhelming amount of news programs and sports programs being shown). Oddly enough, there is limited internet access (I say limited, I mean speed, we DO share satellite bandwidth with the other communications devices), and we also have our shipboard email by which I am sending this post.

Before you ask, I am NOT in the Navy, I am a civilian working FOR the navy, hence my current email address is
HENRY-dot-W-dot-SCHARF-dot-CIV-at-MSC-dot-NAVY-dot-MIL.  (I wrote it in this format to avoid spammers, the lowercase are the periods and @ symbols). If you wish to contact me, go ahead, I relish daily contact with the outside world. Plus, since the internet access is so slow, there is very little chance I will be checking my blog for comments or my other email (gmail, yahoo) for messages, but my ship's email I'll be checking at least twice daily.

I'm sorry for being away, but I'll try to update by emailing to my blog every now and then.
Thanks for your patience my fellow friends.
-Henry Scharf, Civilian
3rd Assistant Engineer (watch)
USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Finally got news

Ok you guys, I finally am going. I'll be leaving tomorrow, Saturday, October 15. I'll be going to sail as a 3rd A/E on the USNS Mount Baker. Just to let you know the area I'll be in, I just got a smallpox vaccine (I've NEVER had one). Wish me luck.

Fair winds and following seas....

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Another Update

I'm back in Norfolk, Virginia in the pool waiting to be assigned to a ship. Considering the amount of people in here, it might be a while.
(I'll try to let you guys know when I do).

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hello Again!

Hey I'm currently in New Jersey for the training school that MSC is putting me through. I'll be here 2 weeks before I finally get assigned to a ship. The school actually has a wireless signal so I can only access it while @ the school (the hotel doesn't have a signal), just letting you know I'm still alive.

Thanks for the thoughts!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Not Here

As of Sunday Evening, September 18, 2005, I will not be able to come online for a while. I am flying to Norfolk, Virginia to be employed with MSC and once I'm finished with the new employee orientation, I will be sent to a ship just about immediately. I'll be on that ship for at least 4 months straight, so everyone wish me luck.

I'm sorry for leaving you all like this, no hard feelings?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bear Flag League

I am now a member of the Bear Flag League:
The Bear Flag League

I would like to thank them for allowing me to join, I hope I will not disappoint ;)

Monday, September 12, 2005

I was right

Recently I've been getting a lot of search result hits for "FEMA Debit Card misuse".

Now I know why.

I guess I was right all along.

It wasn't big screen televisions, it was Louis Vutton handbags.

I'm in Purgatory

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

State of Louisiana EOP 2005

Excerpts and commentary from The State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Plan:

The American Red Cross (ARC) has a primary response function to mitigate suffering by providing emergency mass care, food, clothing, shelter, first aid, supplementary nursing care and aid to individual families. The ARC may also furnish medical care, health items, essential household furnishings, occupational supplies, equipment, and emergency rental for housing, transportation and temporary repairs.

So apparently, their State Department of Homeland Security violated its own EOP.

The Governor is responsible for the coordinated delivery of all emergency services, public, quasi‑volunteer, and private, during a natural, technological and/or national security emergency/disaster situation. The Governor has delegated the LOHSEP Director the authority to implement this plan, and to direct State‑level emergency operations through the regularly constituted governmental structure

governer blanco was in charge of the whole thing and is responsible for how emergency efforts are panned out in her state.

In the event of an emergency/disaster, the needed elements of State government will be in the State EOC located at 7667 Independence Boulevard in Baton Rouge. Should the primary EOC become inoperative, isolated, and/or unusable, the LOHSEP Director shall issue relocation instructions to deployment teams for the preparation of the alternate State EOC at Camp Beauregard or at another location to be determined at the time

No comment needed, just pointing out where all emergency services were...waiting.

Local governments are responsible under all applicable laws, executive orders, proclamations, rules, regulations, and ordinances for emergency management within their respective jurisdiction. Local emergency management organizations shall function from designated EOC's and are subject to the direction and control of the executive heads of government, in coordination with the Governor and the LOHSEP Director.

another way of saying that New Orleans was also responsible for its own fate.

Rudolph Guliani vs Ray Nagin

Mayor Ray Nagin missed a golden opportunity to garnish national public support (even though obviously he wasn't the only city affected).

He missed cues from (I'm quoting MSNBC-or was it CNN- here)"The nation's mayor" in how he dealt with the tragedy that occured 4 years ago yesterday.

What did Rudolph Guliani do? He didn't foist blame anywhere about the disaster response. What did he do? He never complained about what his city needed. What did he do? He moved in and got stuff done. He went EVERYWHERE in New York, especially at Ground Zero, kept up appearances and assured all who were watching that The Mayor was present and keeping order.

What did Ray Nagin do? He kept pointing fingers at people. What did he do? He kept screaming about "come help us we need this". What did he do?
He left to go to Baton Rouge. He used his position as mayor to get 100 VIP's out of the city ahead of his own constituents in the Superdome. I don't recall seeing ANY television footage of him at the Superdome nor convention center.

End of the World as we know it

And yet, I feel fine:

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and
snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid.
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn - world
serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs. Feed
it off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength, the Ladder
start to clatter with fear fight down height. Wire
in a fire, representing seven games, and a government
for hire at a combat site. Left of west and coming in
a hurry with the furys breathing down your neck. Team
by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped.
Look at that low playing. Fine, then. Uh oh,
overflow, population, common food, but it'll do to Save
yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,
listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and
the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic,
patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign
towers. Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself
churn. Lock it in, uniforming, book burning, blood
letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate.
Light a candle, light a motive. Step down, step down.
Watch your heel crush, crushed, uh-oh, this means no
fear cavalier. Renegade steer clear! A tournament,
tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions,
offer me alternatives and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I dreamt of knives, continental
drift divide. Mountains sit in a line, Leonard
Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester
Bangs. Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You
symbiotic, patriotic, slam bug net, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel
(Credits to R.E.M.)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I am the eagle

What military aircraft are you?

F-15 Eagle

You are an F-15. Your record in combat is spotless; you've never been defeated. You possess good looks, but are not flashy about it. You prefer to let your reputation do the talking. You are fast, agile, and loud, but reaching the end of your stardom.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


In recent times, the victims of Hurricane Katrina have often been called refugees, a controversial term. Many have suggested that it is because of race. I disagree. I think they are called refugees mainly because of a misunderstanding. has the definition of refugee:


From Houghton Miffilin:
One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.
From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law:
Main Entry: ref·u·gee
Pronunciation: "re-fyu-'jE
Function: noun
: an individual seeking refuge or asylum; especially : an individual who has left his or her native country and is unwilling or unable to return to it because of persecution or fear of persecution (as because of race, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion)

The main point is that a refugee is a displaced person who has crossed international borders.
The proper term for these poor unfortunate souls would be displaced persons, or evacuees.

I apologize for any misunderstandings that I may have caused and/or hurt feelings (although unwarranted) that may have ensued because of any misuse I have had of the term when posting here, or commenting elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Second String US Squad holds Guatemala

U.S. Extends Shutout Streak

Marcus Hahnemann kept the sixth consecutive
clean sheet for the U.S. in World Cup qualifying.

After clinching a spot in the 2006 World Cup by defeating Mexico, Bruce Arena (the US Men's National Team Manager) chose to field the second-stringers in what appeared to be a well-fought match with some excitement, but with little to show for it. Both sides ended up with some exciting chances on goal, each side having one of their shots hit the post (Guatemala had a shot bounce off the side goalpost, USA had a shot hit the crossbar), with more than a few chances as well. Guatemala and the USA both pick up a point each, with team USA holding its lead in the standings only on a technicality. Mexico and USA both have 19 points in the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) final round standings for World Cup 2006 qualifiers, but with USA holding a better record on goals for and against.

Also, Mexico qualifies to the World Cup with a 5-0 win over Panama.

Katrina tops Bush

Report: 400,000 jobs lost to Katrina

Hurricane Katrina did what Dubya could never do, "The economic impact from Hurricane Katrina will wipe out 400,000 jobs, cost consumers 40 percent more for gasoline this month and slash previous estimates for growth this year" according to the post-gazette.

All satire aside, in the same story :
"FEMA, which has been spending $2 billion a day, will give $2,000 debit cards to stranded evacuees without insurance or any means of survival, such as those in the Houston Astrodome and other shelters. Bolton estimated as many as one million people may get the cards."
I wonder if they are going to buy big screen televisions with these friggin cards. It should have "FOOD AND NECESSITIES" stamped all over it to make sure they aren't misused. And people wonder why oftentimes we don't give money straight to bums on the street? Damn booze-hounds.

And interestingly, in the same story, the CBO report actually stated there would be more jobs lost than it seems, but there would be jobs created due to the reconstruction efforts:
It said the job loss would have been higher -- as many as 729,900 people no longer are working because of storm damage -- save for the eventual new construction, which will boost the need for construction workers and a range of goods and services, from plywood and concrete to engineering and finance, that will accompany the effort.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

US Soccer Fans

need I say more?

Chief Justice Rehnquist passes on

Breaking news, Chief Justice William Rehnquist (1924-2005) died tonight of thyroid cancer.
Godspeed, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and with President Bush and the rest of Congress for the next appointee to the Supreme Court.


The United States' Gregg Berhalter (3) and Mexico's Francisco
Fonseca (17) collide during the first half. (AP)

Joining an elite group of countries around the world, USA defeats Mexico in Columbus, Ohio 2-0 to clinch a spot in FIFA World cup 2006 in Germany. According to ESPN:

It was the first time since 1934 that the Americans were the first team into the World Cup for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Early on in the game, USA showed its prowess by coming out strong, showing a few early chances while stuffing Mexico's chances completely. Both teams came out playing a little jerky, not showing much action in the first half. Every time a team would attempt to get some flow and a good pass upfield for a chance on goal, a leg would pop out and knock it aside. Both teams showing strong defence in the face of their arch-rival. When the second-half started, both teams started stepping up, each getting a few early chances (even Kasey Keller had to make a save or two). Then, in the 55th minute, off of a free kick chance, Oguchi Onyewu headed the ball so it directly hits the post, bouncing up right at Steve Ralston, who easily knocked it in. Then, just 2 minutes after that, off of a corner kick, Claudio Reyna received the ball and easily knocked it forward to Demarcus Beasley, who slid it just past the Mexican Goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez' outstretched fingers right into the corner of the net, clinching the 2-0 victory.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Aftermath

I'm copying this entire post from Paul over at Wizbang. I hope he understands becau it is an excellent read and everyone needs to heed his message.

A Note to My Fellow Bloggers and the MSM

To: My Fellow Bloggers and most of the MSM

From: Paul at Wizbang on behalf of himself and serving as self-appointed spokesman for Hurricane Katrina victims everywhere.

With all due respect guys and gals... Chill out.

I've never seen one event inspire so many silly posts. Many of you need to put down the mouse and walk away. ;-)

I've seen the same blogger complain both that the coverage of Katrina was "Hurricane Porn" beforehand and in a separate post whine that the media did not do enough to convince people that they should have evacuated.... You can't have it both ways.

I fully understand if bloggers were disallowed from complaining about the media and politicians, that modem and broadband sales would suffer double digit sales slumps.... But take a break.

If you think you are more qualified to run the city then the people running it, then by all means when the next election cycle comes around, come on down and throw your hat in the ring. If you think you could have stopped the hurricane if only everyone had listened to you... well I can't help ya.

There'll be plenty of time to show off your 20/20 hindsight next week. For now, accept this for what it is... a natural disaster of biblical proportions.

If you want to do something, quit yer whining and do what blogs and bloggers do best... Use information to change the world.

99% of us have no idea how our neighborhoods did. Somebody try to find and compile (reliable) damage reports from specific neighborhoods. Sure it takes some local knowledge, but google maps will fill in the blanks. [Update: The levee broke and the whole damn town flooded so I guess we can check this one off the list.]

We don't know how FEMA works. Somebody read the news reports on what FEMA is doing and what it is not... Somebody read their site and distill it for those of us who don't have time for red tape.

Flood insurance? I know the feds handle it. Who do I need to talk to? What do they pay?

Every natural disaster I send the Red Cross my standard $100 donation. I have no idea how to get money from them. It is a grant or a loan?

If I don't actually cancel my phones and my bill is auto-debit do they still bill me?

If I shut off my phone will I lose my number?

Heck- Somebody make an "Evacuee survival guide" with laser precision information on how to get help without clicking 50 links or waiting on hold 2 hours. If you can save 25,000 people 5 hours of looking up the same information, think of the power in that!

Think of the simple things- Thousands of people lost their glasses. Somebody set up a website where they can coordinate donations of (known) prescription glasses from people who no longer need them. Get a freight company to donate the freight. I bet FedEx will give you an account number that will route all the glasses to some agency in New Orleans.

If you do something to help the victims, ping this post... If there is a lot of people helping out, Kevin will set up a post with the links. (I just volunteered him ;)

Think about it for a second from my chair... (I'm not whining but) I'm almost 40 years old.... Here is the sum total of all my worldly possessions: 4 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of blue jeans, a box of family pictures, 2 flashlights, a piece of trench art my grandfather brought back from WWI and my father's hammer. (Hey, it means a lot to me!) That's it. Everything else is gone. And BTW, I'm unemployed.

I tell you that not to whine but to let you see the tree thru the forest. Multiply my situation by about a million. Stop and think about that... A million people homeless and unemployed.

If you're a blogger then (by near definition) you're a self proclaimed talented person. Prove it. They'll be plenty of time for punditry and pontification next month... In the mean time there is work to be done. Figure out how to help the victims.

Please (for the sake of all of us who actually understand the situation) please stop whining about the evacuation. It was a stunning success. Please stop saying that the levee at 17th street and Canal St. broke... There's no such place. (and no, FOXNews, even if there was such a place, I assure you, it would be on the south side of the lake and not the north side of the lake where you showed it on your map)

So here it is in a nutshell... Let's get some work done and play Monday morning quarterback sometime in early 2006. There's about million or so of us who would prefer it that way.

Everyone please do what they can and hopefully America can get through this disaster.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Differences between Camps

Another great blogger that has posted a great piece from personal experience about the two camps down in Crawford, Texas is the Texican Tattler. This Post is an excellent discussion about the differences between the two camps. go check it out!

Camp Cindy and Camp Reality

Ever heard of The National Review Online?
Well one of the subsidiary blogs is called "The Buzz". And at The Buzz, there is a daily play by play at the two camps in Crawford, Texas. I love it because it tells the real story instead of just the one-sided view that we see on television. Has anyone else noticed that we only see the one sided view that there is only one camp at all in Crawford, Camp Cindy. However, according to The Buzz:
Despite liberal accusations to the contrary, the number of Americans coming out to support President Bush is growing with each passing day if not hour.
Go check it out, it is updated daily (ever since the guy showed up in Crawford), and the oldest post is at the bottom of the page, newest at the top.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Update on Yahoo

Well Yahoo is a bitch.

so far the issue of my previous yahoo i.d. is unresolved and I cannot get my account back. If anyone out there who knows me and gets some messed up email from my old account (scharf_iv at yahoo dot com), then know IT ISN'T ME.

My email is now hscharf-at-gmail-dot-com, and my new yahoo i.d. for anyone who wants to know is trance_portation.

All this has pissed me off and if anyone is out there who has had similar problems with yahoo:


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Yahoo Account disabled

For some unexplained reason, my main yahoo! account: scharf_iv had its information changed today. I couldn't login to Yahoo! Messenger or my Yahoo! email. Currently I checked and my user profile and photos page are unedited, so the possibility it was hacked is only slightly remote. There is a strong possibility, though, because I tried by using the "information" I provided when I created the account (birthdate, zip code, and country), and it doesn't like me.

I had plenty of personal emails on that, and someone rampaging around with my messenger name and/or email account could seriously damage my reputation and relationships.

For those unaware, my new email account is hscharf-at- gmail-dot-com

Operation Iraqi Children

Think before Pain

Saw on Google! News:
Report Finds Fetuses Feel Pain Later Than Thought
Why did they do this research do you ask?
Taking on one of the most highly charged questions in the abortion debate, a team of doctors has concluded that fetuses probably cannot feel pain in the first six months of gestation and therefore do not need anesthesia during abortions.
... Are they serious? They cannot have it both ways! Is the fetus a living thing or isn't it? Did life begin at conception? If it did, then abortion is murder. If life began later, then why do we need to give an unliving thing anesthesia?

"Oh lets give the poor thing some pain medication so it doesn't feel itself being killed." Sounds like swabbing an inmate's arm with alcohol before administering a lethal injection.

Sometimes I just don't get it...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Road to Germany 2006

The United States men's national soccer team is currently ranked at an all time high of 6th in the world, and is currently in the third and final round of CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football). Currently, the US men's national team is 2nd in CONCACAF with 15 to Mexico's 16, with their next match against Mexico on September 3rd in Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, their last match was against Trinidad & Tobago, with a win of 1-0.

If you wish to show your support in the match against Mexico, I'm sure the match was sold out in a matter of minutes, but otherwise, please visit Sam's Army. It was started after the World Cup was hosted here in the states in the 1994 world cup when the founders realized that there was no support or following for our national teams! Now, if you watch the match on television, there will be a sea of sam's army behind one of the goals (that is their chosen spot if I'm not mistaken) all clad in red!


Apparently, I've become the discussion piece over in one of the comment sections in RightWingSparkle's Girls just want to have fun piece. The post originally was about an ultra-uber feminist who made the deciding choice to wait and keep from having rampant sex (something the rest of her uber-feminist sisters seem to abhor...apparently they love being used by males). Well in the comments, I came out with my own positions, then all of a sudden a troll by the handle of blEh comes out with this gem :
PS. Henry, you're probably a closet-homosexual if you really believe that crap!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Greenhouse Gases to Natural Gas

I was reading up about Edison International (an Southern California Edison subsidiary)'s deal with Stirling Engine Systems to produce a 500-850 MW plant in southern California using solar energy completely to power stirling engines (instead of using...say...photovoltaic cells) (hat tip from Paul over at Wizbang!), when I discovered something else over at Pure Energy Systems.

Apparently a company called IAUS ( International Automated Systems), the group that pioneered self-checkout lanes (that we all love so dearly), has come up with a way to produce natural gas from carbon dioxide economically. If you read all the way down past the solar turbines (which sound really neat), you get to this part:
Solar to Methanol -- Natural Gas

Another process that the company is capable of involves a method of producing methanol from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. This technology is already developed and in existence elsewhere, but their apparatus will make it more economical, to the point where methanol could be made available at approximately the same cost as gasoline.

The UV energy from the sun will split CO2 (carbon dioxide) into CO (carbon monoxide) and O2 (oxygen). Then the CO along with hydrogen (H) bubbles through a catalytic unit containing copper and zinc powder suspended in a kind of oil. The CO and H combine into CH2OH (Methanol). The H is released through electrolysis from water.

The catalytic process requires about 600 psi, and 500ºF. The heat from the solar collectors initiates the process, and once it takes off, it generates excess heat, which can then be used to turn the turbine, to create more electricity by which they can run the electrolysis.

The IAUS concept is to produce methanol fuel using carbon dioxide -- a primary greenhouse gas -- from the environment -- at a cost comparable to gasoline. The CO2 could come either from ambient air, or from a smoke stack, to help clean it up the atmosphere.

Being a very small molecule, methanol, or natural gas, burns much more cleanly and efficiently, resulting in less emissions when it is used as a fuel.

This method solves the Hydrogen transport problem as well. The solar panels generate electricity to split off hydrogen from water, and rather than having to then ship the hydrogen, which is problematic, IAUS runs the hydrogen through this process to convert it to methanol, which can easily be contained and shipped.

Now this does sound promising, but I will believe it when I see it (and the levels of carbon dioxide in the air holding steady at least...we don't want the levels to go down, because then what will our plants and trees get to breathe?).

Sunday, August 14, 2005

My apologies

I've been fairly busy the past week or so getting ready for my employment with Military Sealift Command, and my blog has come secondary to this. Thank you for your understanding.

-Henry Scharf

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Gmail invites

I know have 50 Gmail invites, if anyone wishes to have them, just ask and I'll give them to friends!
(On another note, Gmail4troops has plenty of invites and doesn't need anymore soon, but you can always keep checking, and there is also Gmail for the troops )


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Yes, those rumors are true!

I am back! Here's a quick sample of some of the pictures that I took, and some of the places I've been recently.

Trip to Belgium/France/Turkey/Spain/Portugal/New York

Long story short, Turkey was really cool, I don't have any of my Ephesus pictures up yet, but it was awesome. Ancient Ephesus made the whole trip worthwhile. In Antwerp, a few other of the watch officers and I did a day trip to Paris, and that's where you see the Paris pictures. They had these ugly "Paris 2012" signs everywhere, apparently Paris was the favorite. Too bad London got it ;-).

Antwerp was really fun though, there were a lot of irish pubs right within walking distance (the only places open after 11:00 PM anyway), and Belgian waffle stands everywhere. They love their waffles! Mallorca was a great party and beach island (as you saw my previous post), and Lisbon, Portugal was just funny...they had these guys walking around with sunglasses going..."you want sunglasses? you want sunglasses?" then after you brush them off...they turn back and in a slightly quieter voice go "you want hashish? good hashish!". They had a wad of hashish in their other was actually quite hilarious.

Anyways...the trip was awesome, awesome views of New York on the way back in...

Friday, July 01, 2005

BCM (Planet Dance)

Right now I´m @ an internet cafe in Palma de Mallorca.

The island of Mallorca, Spain is pretty amazing. The beaches are picturesque, the European ladies are all hot (half of them tan and romp around on the beach topless), and the club scene is a million times better than that of the states. BCM (Planet Dance) is an amazing club, I saw DJ Sammy perform live. I´m not a huge fan of his, but he is world-renowned for his tracks and music.

our next port is Lisbon, Portugal...whoop whoop!
(of all the keyboards I´ve had to deal with, the ones in Turkey were the weirdest. even worse than the Chinese or Japanese ones. The ones I remember in Korea were just about the same)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Well i'm gone for 60 days. Wish me luck!

Hello New York

Well I finally landed a job. It's only a temporary one, but it definitely sounds interesting. I'll be sailing aboard the T.S. EMPIRE STATE, the training ship of the State University of New York (SUNY), as a licensed watch officer. Yep, a training cruise...on the OTHER side of the grades!!!

Only this time, I'll be sailing in the Atlantic instead of the Pacific Ocean!
Ports they will be visiting:
Fort Schuyler, NY (home port)
Antwerp, Belgium
Istanbul, Turkey
Cesme, Turkey
Palma, Mallorca
Lisbon, Portugal
Fort Schuyler, NY (home port)

trippy eh?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Angels & Demons

Well I just finished both of Brown's famous controversial books:
The Da Vinci Code
Angels & Demons
This guy is a novelist, not an historian. I especially ran across it in certain elements on Angels & Demons. This guy, maybe doing a little research, didn't do enough. On page 5, I discovered discrepancies! I have a slight bit of knowledge that, when used, easily refutes what he used about hypersonic (above Mach 5) jets. The X-33 was a research vehicle that was supposed to be a RLV, or Reusible-Launch-Vehicle. Not like the shuttles of today, but more like an airliner, a space-liner, if you will. There were numerous problems with the X-33 R&D, and the project was cancelled in 2001. There even is a conspiracy theory surrounding the whole project. As of now, fastest air-breathing manned vehicle is the SR-71 Blackbird, traveling at speeds of up to Mach 3.3. The fastest air-breathing unmanned vehicle was the X-43a, reaching speeds of Mach 9.8, so speeds of Mach 15 (as mentioned in the book) by any manned vehicle are a definite problem.

I'm still reading the "Secrets of" series for both books, and its interesting, they pretty much call Brown's bluff and obliterate his "this is entirely factual" references.

you should check them out yourself.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Pictures are in!

go here to see pictures of my graduation from The California Maritime Academy.

I guess I should rewrite my title sometime soon, eh?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

job apps

well currently I'm waitin on msc, I just filled out an application for open third's positions for NOAA in Seattle, so who knows where i'll sail out of. The worst part is the timing of everything. I have to wait 2 weeks up to a month before anyone can actually decide ANYTHING.

oh well. back to filling out thank you notes for all my checks and gifts!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I dun gradiated

A few things I am now:

-Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
-3rd assistant engineer available to sail on any steam, motor, or gas turbine vessels of any horsepower
-Engineer-in-Training #121595
-Certified Plant Engineer-in-Training

I walked on Saturday...I will post pictures as soon as I get them from my dad.

Thanks to Jihad Jimmy from the SHoP, welcoming me into the ranks of Engineer-in-Trainings. Thanks to all of you who have wished me congratuations (especially you, amy, I miss you!)

Update 2:
Don't worry, the pictures WILL come, and yes I'll be wearing "choker whites" the common name of the dress whites.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Getting there

Now that the project is completed, the report is done, and the presentation went well...just winding down. All I have left is to finish up a take-home final for Automatic Feedback Controls, and finish up a last homework assignment for Energy Systems Design.

Then I'll be college grad.

sounds weird doesn't it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Pictures from when we test-fired our water balloon launcher, and were recording firing pressures and distances. For those who can't figure it out, we are protecting the balloon from bursting by using a cradle that slides down our barrel, and then is prevented from going down-range with a parachute. In the shots below, the yellow object is the waterballoon, and the big blue thing behind it is our parachute deploying, stopping our cradle.

One of the launches, ours is the black one to the left, a competing launcher is sitting next to ours (ours is more compact)

Another test shot (no, I'm not in any of these pictures yet)

There I am! I'm on the right. So far we've been able to shoot a water balloon up to 180 yards. We know we can go farter because the other group (with their barrel painted gray) was able to shoot up to 255 yards (about 1/7th of a mile!)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Stupid people piss me off

*looks at the current world's population* You must have a lot of frustration then.

What pisses you off?

Created by ptocheia

Friday, April 15, 2005


For those who don't know my senior design team has designed and is building a waterballoon launcher. We finally constructed it to a point that we pressure-tested our receiver for leaks, and we dry-fired our cannon today (about 8 shots). We put it on its frame and rolled it outside, aimed it down the waterfront road, and fired a few empty barrel shots. Man it's awesome making something that SOUNDS SO COOL (and works). Then just to be ornery, we stuck a lil plastic ball (about the size of a tennis ball- our barrel is 6 inches in the air might have just rushed past it...), and it launched the ball almost 200 feet!

We're going to take pictures tomorrow and start test-launching actual waterballoons.
THE DECIMATOR: Front Angled View THE DECIMATOR: Rear Angled View

Update 1:
Well, today we painted everything black then we test-fired a waterballoon with our protective/sealing cradle and it worked! We first tested it at 40 psi and our gate valve 1.5 turns open, the line that prevents our cradle from going downrange held but the waterballoon only went about 30-40 feet. We then tested 60 psi with the gate valve 3 turns open, and the waterballoon went about 100-130 feet...but the line that held our cradle snapped :(
Back to the drawing board for that!

Update 2:
Well we got the cable to hold, but then the cradle was destroyed by the jerk at the end of the line. We ended up using a parachute idea. We made a parachute out of tarp and attached it to the back of our slider/cradle, and just sending it freely down the barrel. Today we tested a number of different firing pressures, keeping our gate valve fully open, and recorded distances, then we held our pressure constant at 40 psi, then throttled down on our gate valve to get the accuracy shots of 25, 50, and 75 yards.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Just recently got a Gmail account. 2 gigabytes now.

For those who are about to ask, no I don't have any invites yet.

For those paying attention, Yahoo is about to offer 1GB email storage space to their free service members now.

Coming soon! 1GB of storage, free to all users
There's more in store with Yahoo! Mail. By early May, all free Yahoo! Mail users will receive an email storage increase to a whopping 1GB. That's enough space to keep thousands and thousands of emails -- so you'll never have to delete those important messages again!
And to those who wish to update their address books, will soon be no longer my email address. I'll have two accounts I'll check regularly now:

Still busy

Still busy building our senior design project and finishing up school.

I'll post pictures when we're done (maybe even post a video of our senior design project's a water balloon launcher for those who don't know).

Thursday, March 31, 2005


I passed Electricity on Monday with a 77%, and General Subjects on Thursday with an 87%!

Now I really am an inch away from graduating...!

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Well I'm taking a break from posting and maintaning my blog until I retake the Electricity and General Subjects Coast Guard exams during this coming week, I apologize to my "loyal fans" out there and I will be back.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

CND - Hypocrites

Initially discovered through Wizbang!
The Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament is a very hypocritical organization. From their website:

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
CND campaigns non-violently to rid the world of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and to create genuine security for future generations.

So that means they are opposed to every country who either has nuclear weaponry, or countries who are obviously developing nuclear weaponry. Of course protesting America having nuclear weapons is one thing, but when you protest a campaign by a nation with high moral standards against a fledgling nation who is in the process of nuclear armament
19 March: No More Bush Wars - End the Occupation of IraqAs pressure builds up
against Iran, now is the time to say No to further pre-emptive wars in which
nuclear weapons may be used. National demonstration 19 March 2005, 12 noon
Speakers Corner Hyde Park, London.
Oh, the fact that we haven't physically attacked Iran to date doesn't mean anything, the fact that Bush's administration has stated it will not attack Iran doesn't mean anything. But their hypocrisy doesn't stop there. One of their campaigns apparently has attacked the America v Iraq war (which was won successfully). The stabilization period is currently under way and so far seems to be working. Not only that, but on the same page, they want a body count (the sick bastards).

Count the casualties campaign

We urge you to email Jack Straw to ask the
government to commission a comprehensive, independent inquiry to determine how
many Iraqis have died or been injured since the 2003 invasion. You can do so by
going to:

I am still not sure why they aren't protesting Iran's possible nuclear armament strategy instead of protesting Bush's information campaign. After all, according to their own website:
CND supports the establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East,
as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 687. The presence of nuclear
weapons in this region undermines the Palestine-Israel peace process, and
Israel’s secretive possession of nuclear weapons provides a convenient excuse
for other countries in the region to pursue the bomb. Until Israel signs and
complies with the NPT, it will be difficult
to fairly enforce the treaty upon
other countries in the region.

Further reading:
Money? Meet Mouth (sortapundit)
Protests (Wizbang!)
Protests, Pictures, Commentary And "Finger Woman"! (Digger's Realm)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My Beef With Bush

While working on my Energy Systems Design Research paper on Scramjets (Supersonic Combustion Ramjets), I discovered that recently (as of November of 2004!) NASA shattered all sorts of speed barriers by launching the research vehicle X-43A at literally undreamed of speeds of Mach 9.8 (7,000 mph!). The next two vehicles in the Hyper-X project have been cancelled due to changes in NASA's strategic goals, the X-43B and the X-43C (a little amount of research found the cancellation article on the X-43C, I couldn't find one for the X-43B so it could still be on the table?). Well what brought about a change in those goals?

(click on link to view videos, video opens in new window, links extracted from NASA website Javascript)
Windows Media High
Windows Media Low
Download 15.2MB Winzip (right click and select save as)

To be sure, he outlines a lofty plan and some lofty goals, and that isn't a bad thing. But when those lofty goals cut short funding for proven successful projects, such as the Hyper-X project, he destroys a good thing. Further research into scramjets could even help the space industry move along! Imagine a space delivery system that needs less than half the fuel it does now.

You've seen pictures of the space shuttles and the huge tanks attached? Well those are rockets, and rockets are powered by a fuel, and an oxidizer. That oxidizer weighs a LOT. The Liquid Oxygen weighs at least 3 times as much as the shuttle itself! Scramjets, on the other hand, only need fuel. The oxygen is provided for by the oxygen in the atmosphere itself! Oh sure, rocket fuel with oxidizer will be needed once the vehicle exits the atmosphere, and the oxygen level is too low to sustain combustion, but during ascent, turbojets (or air-assisted rockets, such as the X-43B would use)could be used to launch the vehicle into the air, and then the scramjet could take over at about Mach 6, launching the vehicle until it exits the atmosphere, at which point the thrusters and rockets will take over.

Further Reading:
[PDF] Air-Breathing Hypersonics Research at Boeing Phantom Works
Aerospace Technology - NASA X-43 (Hyper-X) Hypersonic Aircraft
Dryden Education - Potential Collaboration Research
X-43 - Hyper-X
NASA Developing Hypersonic Technologies; Flight Vehicles Only ...
[PDF] Microsoft PowerPoint - Symposium Briefing May 17 2002.ppt
Boeing X-43 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Same ol Same ol

(Hello Digger's Realm readers!)
Via Google News
From Reuters (who else?)

LONDON (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of protesters against the war on Iraq marched through European capitals on Saturday, but President Bush said the invasion just two years ago had shielded the world from "grave danger."

"George Bush ... Uncle Sam. Iraq will be your Vietnam," chanted 45,000 protesters winding through central London as they put down a black cardboard coffin with the slogan "100,000 dead" scrawled on the lid outside the U.S. embassy.

I thought we've been through this already. Now the Europeans are jumping on the hippie bandwagon, two years down the road? I thought we understood that the 100,000 dead figure was a dartboard. Are they claiming that every person that was killed (that wasn't an American) an upstanding citizen of lovely Iraq?

Apparently these Europeans don't like the idea of Iraq having elections. They also would prefer Saddam Hussein to Iraqis governing themselves. After all, Arabs sure as hell can't govern themselves, they need an "elite" figure who knows how.

The organizers of the London protest, the Stop the War Coalition, said they had tried but failed to deliver a letter to the U.S. embassy insisting that Bush and Blair pull their forces out of Iraq.

"We demand that you set an early date for the swift withdrawal of our troops from occupied Iraq, as the Italian government has been forced to do, and restore full and unconditional sovereignty to the Iraqi people," the letter said.

I thought that was the point of our going into Iraq in the first place. The actual Iraqi people NEVER had sovereignty before we went in there. Saddam Hussein and his ilk sure as hell kept the Iraqi people from ousting him. Some days you just wonder what the heck news Europeans have been watching. CNN?

Update: Kevin at Wizbang has the story on other recent protests.

Update 2: Carnival of the Trackbacks 3 (a term that I coined ;-) )

Something cool

Let's forget politics and such for a little while, and just applaud people for their ingenuity!
By Clown Staples via Albino Black Sheep

Update: Bonfire of the Vanities - Week 90

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

GRAIN protest

To those of you not in the know (like me), GRAIN - GrassRoots Anti-Imperialist Network - held a protest at York University in Canada recently.

I only found out about it by one gentleman's attempt at photojournalism at the following event, and he posted it at AlbinoBlackSheep. It was a rather interesting photo essay, I especially thought this one was VERY interesting:

Crazy kids. Wearing their school bags upside down.

This bag has a patch of Che Guevara, the most brutal and murderous communist revolutionist of the Americas. Beside this patch is a button that says "War is Murder". He doesn't know his hero and this button are related, and both are upside down.

Pretty much shows the hypocrisy eh?


I saw the musical Evita at the Golden Gate Theatre in Frisco last night, it was pretty good. I just barely caught on that the narrator was Che Guevara (in the play that is). I think both sides of the fence, the Perons and "el Che" were wrong in their approach to helping people. Eva Peron was about the spur of the moment little bits of "wealth" that lasted like a week, and Che was...well we all know what Che was. The Perons were never about helping people anyway, they were fanatical about their own power, quite fascist even.

The movie was portrayed perfectly by madonna, a woman who slept her way to the top.

End of the world

An interesting take on the end of the world.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bookmark the Day!

PETA, otherwise known as People Eating Tasty animals has long been known for its controversial tactics. Meryl Yourish came up with clever controversial way to deal with PETA. It's third annual eat-a-tasty-animal-for-PETA day!

(via Wizbang!)

Monday, March 07, 2005

Doonesbury move over!

Finally something to rival Doonesbury. I've seen the DaybyDay comics before, but nothing really made me sit and notice until when Chris Muir, the gentleman who runs DaybyDay (and draws) commented on my blog. I find his comic strip witty and wonderful. Move over Doonesbury, the right has its own comic strip!

*I enjoy the strip so much I added it to my blog above (in case you didn't notice)

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Power of Spam

This is what unsolicited spam will do to your warned!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Korn's guitarist finds God

I was reading Michelle Malkin's blog when I ran across this piece.
"NEW YORK - Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch has parted ways with the hard rock act, citing a recent religious awakening. Welch broke the news Sunday on Bakersfield, Calif., station KRAB-FM.

"I had it in my heart to come here and explain to you," Welch said. "I'm good friends with Korn. I love those guys, and they love me, and they're very happy for me."

Addressing the aggressive tone of the music he made with Korn, Welch said, "Anger is a good thing, and if kids want to listen to Korn, good, but there's happiness after the anger. I'm going to show it through my actions how much I love my fans.""

This just hit close to home. I grew up in Bakersfield. I went to school with Jonathon Davis' half brother (ex-lead singer of Adema), Mark Chavez. Interesting Story, Michelle is right, I hope they have more on this story (either here or at KRAB).

Crazy Funny Stupid

And here's to Saturday:

Numa Numa Dance

Why would anyone want more of this? Apparently it was huge, the guy appeared on CNN and VH1.

Dancing Banana

I now am going to bang my head against the wall a few times until I bleed.

Terror alert color on the same Dancing Banana

This is so stupid I added it to my sidebar.

Update 1:
She frickin' blocked me

I wonder how many poor guys this happened to ;-)

Carnival of the Trackbacks

Kevin at Wizbang started what I call the Carnival of the Trackbacks, He put up a post just for the idea of smaller blogs sending in links to posts that they think are worthwhile reads.

I must applaud Kevin's efforts to get lesser-known and lesser-read blogs more traffic and more readers. If it weren't for Wizbang, I probably would still be a slimy mollusk. ;-)

Global Warming or is it?

Paul@Wizbang on News by Press Release.

Welcome Wizbang! readers.

I know there have been a lot of posts, scientific studies and such, but I wonder if anyone has pondered that perhaps its just one giant heat transfer problem.

In modeling the earth as a heat transfer system, one must look at three different parts, the conduction (and somewhat of convection) from inside the earth to the surface. From the center to the outer crust, its a convection problem, making the assumption that there is nothing but magma in the center, and since magma can flow and change course, we have to assume convection heat transfer properties. From the inner surface of the earth's crust to the outer surface of the crust, its heat transfer, even though its a very small amount.

Earth's composition data
*Picture taken from The Interior of the Earth

I'm not going to go too much into detail about the conductivities of the various materials, but suffice it to say that there WILL be heat transfer. There always is. Its the "Zeroth" law of thermodyamics, If there are two objects in contact, one at a Higher temperature than the other, then (in layman's terms) heat will always flow from the higher temperature object to the lower temperature object until their temperatures are equal.

Ok to start off this problem, that-which-was-our-solar-system was fleeing the big bang (probably didn't want a repeat incident) and spinning at an uber-fast rate. At some point, the earth was flung off of that huge ball of matter and continued its orbit around the sun at a super high speed. To make our problem simple, let us assume that it was all a constant temperature (the temperature of the huge ball of fire that which was our sun). That's pretty freakin' hot! How can you complain about global warming when the earth was super hot to begin with?

Anyways, as I mentioned above, there are three modes of heat transfer, radiation, conduction, and convection. Conduction is the heat transfer of two solid objects in contact. Convection is the heat transfer when dealing with a fluid flow, its basically conduction, but with moving particles, and thus has to be modeled differently. Radiation is a whole other ball game. Heat transfer by radiation has to do with the the difference of energy states of two objects. Radiation is the only mode of heat transfer that can occure through a vaccuum, if it weren't for radiation, we wouldn't have the life here on earth.

Back to the problem, as heat was given off by the earth through radiation to other particles out in space somewhere, the outside temperature of the earth cooled and formed a "crust" layer. This crust layer slowed down the rate of heat transfer because its temperature is closer to the temperature of the "outside surroundings" out in space and since heat transfer is related to the temperature difference (actually radiation is the temperature to the fourth difference-- Tsurf^4 - Tsurr^4), the heat transfer lessened.

Now the heat transfer from inside out is increasing because the temperature difference between the core of the earth to the crust is increasing, so the heat starts flowing even more to the outside, as that heat starts to flow more, then the surface temperature heats up as the crust matter stores more energy. When the temperature on the outside surface of the earth heats up again, then it gives off more energy to the surroundings in outer space, cooling the surface of the earth again, continuing the cycle.

Considering that our planet is probably a quite young planet as the universe goes, the earth will eventually find an equilibrium state, but Notice that the surface temperature of the earth went from VERY hot to VERY cold (read, ice age!!!), back to mediocre warm, to mediocre cold, and as it continues to "hunt" to find the steady state condition, the surface temperature of the earth, and by convection, the atmospheric temperature, will continue to vary up and down a little.

Of course, the sunspots and radiation from the sun throws a few curveballs, but the basic premise holds true.

Not just silent

Sorry everyone, I'm currently working on post off and on about the possibility of the varying temperatures due not to "global warming", but instead due to forces beyond our control.

Such as radiation heat transfer back and forth between the sun and the earth and other objects out in space (as well as heat loss from the core through the magma up through the crust out into outer space).

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Busy Busy Busy

Lately I've been studying for my Coast Guard exam retakes as well as homework and my senior design project work, so I've been busy. Apologies.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Silence is deafening

Apparently I'm not the only one who attempted to comment at Wizbang recently, only to have my post denied (for content??!?!?).

Update For Paul:
No, its not rewording. I just tried posting "hmm" and it didn't go through.

Update again:
Trackbacks don't go through, either.

Final Update
working again

Text Messaging

Well Verizon's text messaging service has always fucked up for me. Every text message I try to send just doesn't work out, POS. Not only that when I go to Verizon's Picture Messaging site, and I try "joining up" (you have to join up in order to be able to login), and I try putting my mobile number in the box, i hit "register" and it claims that it sent the auto-password to my phone....but NOTHING HAPPENS. I tried it numerous times, I then tried calling verizon and I was on hold for 20 minutes.


Update 1:
Thank Goodness its Verizon. I called the customer service people just now and I got through after 1 second on hold. The guy was (of course) friendly and apologetic. It seems the problem is that when Verizon "activates" text/picture messaging on your account, it apparently sometimes doesn't remove the block on incoming text messages. He removed the block and I received the confirmation.

Playboy Interview with Kid Rock

Yes, I have a subscription to Playboy (and yes I do actually read the articles, you perverts!)

In the most recent (March 2005) issue, they interview both the Rock and Kid Rock. Playboy is known for its own views regarding Bush (they're liberal as hell), so this one question they asked Kid Rock was obvious. Kid Rock's response, however, was priceless:

I won't necessarily always agree with the president, but I'll support him and stand by him. To be honest, I'm not educated enough to speak about it, and I don't think any of these other motherfuckers are, either. I'm pretty sure Janeane Garofalo's and that chick from the dixie Chicks' educations don't stretch that far. Look up Condi Rice's or George Bush's education, where they went to school. They've been doing this shit their whole fucking lives, while we've been out dicking around with guitars, entertaining people. Fuckers in Hollywood who want to use the camera to be like, "Guess who I'm fuckin' now?" and "Oh, stop the war!" - all that shit just makes me sick. It really makes my stomach turn.
Sometimes you just can't say it better yourself.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Harvard President Makes Sense - Part 1

Paul at Wizbang discovered the actual transcript of the Harvard President's famous speech.
(** Note, this is going to be a fairly long entry, apologies)

First and foremost, I'd like to say that his first remarks are hilarious in hindsight. He literally said he'd rather be provocative.
I asked Richard, when he invited me to come here and speak, whether he wanted an institutional talk about Harvard's policies toward diversity or whether he wanted some questions asked and some attempts at provocation, because I was willing to do the second and didn't feel like doing the first.
He then states in his preamble (his introduction, if you will), that the fact there are so few women in science and engineering fields (the left-brained people) causes there to be so few role models for even younger women to take up those fields.
It is after all not the case that the role of women in science is the only example of a group that is significantly underrepresented in an important activity and whose underrepresentation contributes to a shortage of role models for others who are considering being in that group
Not only that, he even gives examples of other areas of underrepresentation right after that:
To take a set of diverse examples, the data will, I am confident, reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture. These are all phenomena in which one observes underrepresentation, and I think it's important to try to think systematically and clinically about the reasons for underrepresentation.
He gives "three broad hypotheses" for what he believes are the sources of such underrepresentation:
One is ... the ... high-powered job hypothesis. The second is ... different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is ... different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search
Then he starts into his first, the high-powered job hypothesis. He discusses that there WERE large numbers of women enrolling in college 25 years ago, and he talks about what happened that there are so few women in the "high-power" jobs:
Twenty or twenty-five years ago, we started to see very substantial increases in the number of women who were in graduate school in this field. Now the people who went to graduate school when that started are forty, forty-five, fifty years old. If you look at the top cohort in our activity, it is not only nothing like fifty-fifty, it is nothing like what we thought it was when we started having a third of the women, a third of the law school class being female, twenty or twenty-five years ago. And the relatively few women who are in the highest ranking places are disproportionately either unmarried or without children, with the emphasis differing depending on just who you talk to. And that is a reality that is present and that one has exactly the same conversation in almost any high-powered profession.
At first glance one could assume that there might have been discrimination, and he might talk about the sex discrimination in hiring practices and promotions, but he instead discusses something else:
...the most prestigious activities in our society expect of people who are going to rise to leadership positions in their forties near total commitments to their work. They expect a large number of hours in the office, they expect a flexibility of schedules to respond to contingency, they expect a continuity of effort through the life cycle, and they expect-and this is harder to measure-but they expect that the mind is always working on the problems that are in the job, even when the job is not taking place. And it is a fact about our society that that is a level of commitment that a much higher fraction of married men have been historically prepared to make than of married women.
He says that its not discrimination on the employer's part, its the willingness to commit so much to such demanding positions that is inherent in the employee!
Another way to put the point is to say, what fraction of young women in their mid-twenties make a decision that they don't want to have a job that they think about eighty hours a week. What fraction of young men make a decision that they're unwilling to have a job that they think about eighty hours a week, and to observe what the difference is.
He sums the first hypothesis with a simple question:
...who wants to do high-powered intense work?

The second hypothesis is where his famous controversy a month ago came from, inherent aptitude.
It does appear that on many, many different human attributes-height, weight, propensity for criminality, overall IQ, mathematical ability, scientific ability-there is relatively clear evidence that whatever the difference in means-which can be debated-there is a difference in the standard deviation, and variability of a male and a female population. And that is true with respect to attributes that are and are not plausibly, culturally determined.
He then discusses some statistics, all the while he kept claiming that his calculations were crude, his calculations were probably wrong, and so forth:
If one supposes, as I think is reasonable, that if one is talking about physicists at a top twenty-five research university, one is not talking about people who are two standard deviations above the mean. And perhaps it's not even talking about somebody who is three standard deviations above the mean. But it's talking about people who are three and a half, four standard deviations above the mean in the one in 5,000, one in 10,000 class. Even small differences in the standard deviation will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out. I did a very crude calculation, which I'm sure was wrong and certainly was unsubtle, twenty different ways. I looked at the Xie and Shauman paper-looked at the book, rather-looked at the evidence on the sex ratios in the top 5% of twelfth graders. If you look at those-they're all over the map, depends on which test, whether it's math, or science, and so forth-but 50% women, one woman for every two men, would be a high-end estimate from their estimates. From that, you can back out a difference in the implied standard deviations that works out to be about 20%. And from that, you can work out the difference out several standard deviations. If you do that calculation-and I have no reason to think that it couldn't be refined in a hundred ways-you get five to one, at the high end.
He finds about a 5 to 1 ratio male to female in the "3.5 to 4 and up" standard deviations, basically the top of the top of the top! When you are a top research physicist at an established University (especially one that might be known for its physics research department), you are there because you earned it. Note that this can also tie in with the previous hypothesis because those positions are also high demand jobs.

He then talks a bit about his third hypothesis (socialization), with awonderful example:
I just returned from Israel, where we had the opportunity to visit a kibbutz, and to spend some time talking about the history of the kibbutz movement, and it is really very striking to hear how the movement started with an absolute commitment, of a kind one doesn't encounter in other places, that everybody was going to do the same jobs. Sometimes the women were going to fix the tractors, and the men were going to work in the nurseries, sometimes the men were going to fix the tractors and the women were going to work in the nurseries, and just under the pressure of what everyone wanted, in a hundred different kibbutzes, each one of which evolved, it all moved in the same direction.
How true. When Israel was first started, life was really tough, just about every arab around tried to exterminate them at some point, the rough life was pretty much the norm. Girls weren't "socialized" to "nurture", everyone was socialized to help out in any way they could. However, he turns around and says that isn't necessarily true, though starting with an amusing anecdote about his own children:
So, I think, while I would prefer to believe otherwise, I guess my experience with my two and a half year old twin daughters who were not given dolls and who were given trucks, and found themselves saying to each other, look, daddy truck is carrying the baby truck, tells me something.
At two and a half years, girls are as girly as can be. Same with boys, coming out of my own past, I had two sisters, who had a ton of barbie dolls. My older sister would sometimes force me to "play" with them, and I would bring along my Voltron (anyone else remember Voltron? Think Power Rangers, but older-mid 80's- and Japanese). My parents told me that I would drive them around on Voltron and make war sounds, my parents would laugh their butt off at that.
First, most of what we've learned from empirical psychology in the last fifteen years has been that people naturally attribute things to socialization that are in fact not attributable to socialization. We've been astounded by the results of separated twins studies. The confident assertions that autism was a reflection of parental characteristics that were absolutely supported and that people knew from years of observational evidence have now been proven to be wrong. And so, the human mind has a tendency to grab to the socialization hypothesis when you can see it, and it often turns out not to be true.
So, we can understand that socialization shouldn't always be considered the cause, that there are inherent abilities and behaviors.

Continued in Part 2 (later)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

For the Ladies

On President's day, the uniform of the day (required) was our dress blues:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

CNN goof

via JuliusBlog, via The Brad Blog

Apparently, a nuclear facility is located in Iran AND North Korea, according to CNN, in Brad's update, however, he says CNN fixes their mistake

**Note that one picture is the subset of the other
CNN has added the following text to the Korea story:
An earlier version of this article included an image that was incorrectly identified as an aerial photograph of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear plant. The photo was actually a commercial satellite photo of a nuclear facility near Natanz, Iran.

The updated picture is here:

For more information on the story head over to The Brad Blog

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Linked Titles in Blogspot

It is fairly easy to create clickable linked titles in blogspot that you don't have to constantly keep adding the html to your title bar, and the clickable title for your entire blog, too!

You adjust your template (one feature of blogspot that I find sooooo freakin' lovely, the ability to tweak the html of your blog)!!!!

**Note, since this will be using tags, I cannot show the straight html code, so, instead of less than and greater than, I will use parenthesis: (a href= "")(/a)

For a clickable blog title to your blog url on your main blogspot page.
1. Log in to blogspot, and click on the Template tag.

2. Scroll down in the template to find this text:
(h1 id="blog-title")

(ItemPage)(a href="($BlogURL$)") (/ItemPage)


(ItemPage) (/a) (/ItemPage)


3. Remove the (ItemPage) tags - this will cause your blog url to be a clickable link on your blog title even on your main page.

4. Save Template Changes and Republish Index!

To add a clickable title for each post
1. Log in to blogspot, and click on the Template tag.

2. Scroll down in the template to find this text:
(h3 class="post-title")

(BlogItemUrl)(a href="($BlogItemUrl$)" title="external link")(/BlogItemUrl)




3. Change the


to look like

(a href="($BlogItemPermalinkUrl$)")($BlogItemTitle$)(/a)

4. Save Template Changes and Republish Index!