Saturday, February 28, 2009

Did you know?

Did you know that Black Holes evaporate? (Well, maybe)... Hawking radiation, it's called.

From teh wiki:

Hawking radiation (also known as Bekenstein-Hawking radiation) is a thermal radiation with a black body spectrum predicted to be emitted by black holes due to quantum effects. It is named after the physicist Stephen Hawking who provided the theoretical argument for its existence in 1974, and sometimes also after the physicist Jacob Bekenstein who predicted that black holes should have a finite, non-zero temperature and entropy. Hawking's work followed his visit to Moscow in 1973 where Soviet scientists Yakov Zeldovich and Alexander Starobinsky showed him that according to the quantum mechanical uncertainty principle, rotating black holes should create and emit particles.[1] The Hawking radiation process reduces the mass of the black hole and is therefore also known as black hole evaporation.

Because Hawking radiation allows black holes to lose mass, black holes that lose more matter than they gain through other means are expected to dissipate, shrink, and ultimately vanish. Smaller micro black holes (MBHs) are predicted to be larger net emitters of radiation than larger black holes, and to shrink and dissipate faster.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Skewed Priorities

Just what was RS our vendor thinking?

Who needs a pallet of napkins!

Wouldn't our resources have been better spent on coffee - an item we are dangerously short of at the moment?

Shouldn't some portion of the value of the napkins have been spent on dishwasher detergent instead - an item we are also dangerously short of at the moment?

This is weirdly reminiscent of the plastic silverware incident - but likely to have a longer effect. Please, RS, restrain yourself!

UPDATE: Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa... We misinterpreted the rumor going around, and somehow attributed the error to our own RS - a grievous error on our part - instead of vendor incompetence.

HSI regrets the error.

...but we still need coffee and dishwasher detergent.

It's Friday!

...and not only that, AZ will be joining us for Tea this afternoon.

The cheese place will be partially fresh - and what fresh it is! Thursday's product placement Habanero Cheese will be a featured addition to this week's fromage.

Libations this week will include a truer form of mango juice, as well as peach and guava (if memory serves).

We wonder two things:

1) Did NT remember the dominoes?
2) How is VS enjoying her last day of singlehood?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eat, Drink, and be Merry

For tomorrow, ostensibly, we fast.

Here are some shots of Carnival from around the globe.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Arturo's Restaurant (Westboro, MA) is no longer owned by Arturo. Staff and menu changes will be minimal for the near future.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Nationalize The Banks?

Tea? Tea you say?

Today's tea, avec un plat de fromage frais, will be held at the usual time.

Recombinant (i.e. augmented, synthetically) fruit juices (Grapefruit Tangerine, Mango Mix) will be served.

RD will not be present, as he is busy buying a ten- or fifteen-gallon hat and some shit-kickin' boots before returning to the ranch, so to speak.

The mass

I AM the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.

Carl Sandburg (1878–1967). Chicago Poems. 1916.

A good visual explanation of the TARP

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hate agreeing to Software License Agreements?

Have your cat do it instead.

Meeting of Madoff Creditors to Take Place Friday

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Stephen Harbeck, president of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which maintains a special reserve fund authorized by Congress to help investors at failed brokerage firms, and Irving H. Picard, the court-appointed trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) of New York, NY, issued the following joint statement today:

"On Friday, February 20, 2009, Irving H. Picard, the Court-appointed trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, will preside over the First Meeting of BLMIS Creditors. This meeting will be held at 10 a.m. EST in the Auditorium of the United States Bankruptcy Court. Detailed meeting information is available here.

"Due to the logistics and potential burden on Creditors of attending this meeting in person, the Trustee will be providing a listen-only audio facility for this meeting, via a toll-free dial-in telephone number for interested parties.

"U.S. callers should dial 1-877-419-6600 (toll free). Those outside the U.S. should dial 719-325-4864. (All international callers must use this toll number, and will have to add the appropriate country code.) Callers will be asked by an operator to identify the call and must state that they are calling for the 'Madoff First Meeting of Creditors' to ensure they are placed in the correct call."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SEC moves on Stanford

SEC Charges R. Allen Stanford, Stanford International Bank for Multi-Billion Dollar Investment Scheme

Washington, D.C., Feb. 17, 2009 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Robert Allen Stanford and three of his companies for orchestrating a fraudulent, multi-billion dollar investment scheme centering on an $8 billion CD program.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another Ponzi Scheme?

Another Ponzi Scheme? Another 50 Billion?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

"One of the most acute challenges is the absence of the availability of capital."

....-- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Monday, February 09, 2009

Obama FAIL

The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.
Greenwald: Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability -- resoundingly and disgracefully

Yesterday, enthusiastic Obama supporter Andrew Sullivan wrote about this case: "Tomorrow in a federal court hearing in San Francisco, we'll find out if the Obama administration intends to keep the evidence as secret as the Bush administration did." As I wrote after interviewing Wizner two weeks ago: "This is the first real test of the authenticity of Obama's commitment to reverse the abuses of executive power over the last eight years." Today, the Obama administration failed that test -- resoundingly and disgracefully...


What makes this particularly appalling and inexcusable is that Senate Democrats had long vehemently opposed the use of the "state secrets" privilege in exactly the way that the Bush administration used it in this case, even sponsoring legislation to limits its use and scope. Yet here is Obama, the very first chance he gets, invoking exactly this doctrine in its most expansive and abusive form to prevent torture victims even from having their day in court, on the ground that national security will be jeopardized if courts examine the Bush administration's rendition and torture programs -- even though (a) the rendition and torture programs have been written about extensively in the public record; (b) numerous other countries have investigated exactly these allegations; and (c) other countries have provided judicial forums in which these same victims could obtain relief.


That the Obama DOJ -- when faced with its first real test to determine what it intends to do in these areas (as opposed to engaging in symbolic rituals and issuing pretty words) -- explicitly adopts exactly the Bush position is about as inauspicious a start in these areas as one can imagine.


One of the judges on the three-judge panel explicitly asked the DOJ lawyer, Doug Letter, whether the change in administrations had any bearing on the Government's position in this case. Letter emphatically said it did not. Instead, he told the court, the new administration -- the new DOJ -- had actively reviewed this case and vetted the Bush positions and decisively opted to embrace the same positions.


What this is clearly about is shielding the U.S. Government and Bush officials from any accountability. Worse, by keeping Bush's secrecy architecture in place, it ensures that any future President -- Obama or any other -- can continue to operate behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy, with no transparency or accountability even for blatantly criminal acts.
Read the whole thing, as they say.

Indulgences are back!

“Why are we bringing it back?” asked Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who has embraced the move. “Because there is sin in the world.”

Trouble is - you gotta go to Brooklyn to get one, and achieve "complete detachment from any inclination to sin".


Friday, February 06, 2009

Apropos of exactly nothing

Apropos of exactly nothing, we'll be having Brandy Alexanders for today's Tea.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Who knew AO was so sensitive?

Who knew AO was so sensitive? He's got music from the 1920's and '30s playing on the manufacturing floor.

Is it sympathy shared with the workers being flooded into the unemployment line?

Does it represent a resonance with the Dow's downward lilt?

Does it bespeak the need for bathtub gin and clandestine meetings?

Inquiring minds need to know.

Madoff's "Customer" list is available.

Bloomberg is reporting...

Bloomberg is reporting that the beautiful Erin Callan (of our refrigerator fame) is taking a leave of absence from Credit Suisse. This is just five months after she joined them, after that nastiness at Lehman Brothers.

Callan is being coy about the reasons for her leave, not answering her cell phone when Bloomberg called. There are rumors that the issues may be psychological, if you know what we mean.

Life, Art. Art, Life.

Neddie's got a nice example of life imitating art.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Reprieve For Analog TV

Today the House passed a reprieve for analog TV, until June 12th.

The executioner is coming, Broadcast Analog TV, he is coming. Soon you'll only be found on cable, and soon enough, not even there.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Teleportation only a matter of time

Well, that's being a bit optimistic. BUT, scientists have demonstrated "Long Distance Teleportation Between Atoms" [PDF].

For the first time, scientists have successfully teleported information between two separate atoms in unconnected enclosures a meter apart – a significant milestone in the global quest for practical quantum information processing.
The New York Times has more. It's not very efficient yet:
The method is not particularly practical at the moment, because it fails almost all of the time. Only 1 of every 100 million teleportation attempts succeed, requiring 10 minutes to transfer one bit of quantum information.

“We need to work on that,” Dr. Monroe said.

But he said that a success rate of just 1 in 10,000 would be high enough for some uses. Such systems could be used as “quantum repeaters” — reading the information from one photon and then imprinting it on a new photon for the next leg of its communications journey.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

So much for the Cardinals.

Steelers, Mucho Gusto.

Zona might just win

John McCain must be proud!