Charter Member of the Sub-Media

November 30, 2006

I'm not exactly taking the blogosphere by storm with my return, am I?

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Posted by Nathan at 10:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

November 29, 2006

What Does China Want?!? « China/Taiwan »

Here's one likely answer, based on excellent analysis by Sun Bin.

In an early posting of this blog I have argued that it does not matter what China's intention is, because in the medium term (i.e. 20-50 years) it will focus on economic development (and maintaining the hope of re-uniting with Taiwan some day in future), beyond that China's leadership would have changed a few times and it won't matter what it wants now, the optimistic case is that it will probably become a democracy joining the West (or be like Singapore, if not Japan). Therefore, the major concern for the West is not what China intends to do today, but to prevent major disaster in China's path of reform and development, because that may derail the risk-averse do-nothing path it is taking currently.

Apparently the CCP leadership did form some ideas on what they want for China in the longer term (on top of the near term goal of feeding its people and playing "economic catch up"), i.e., not surprisingly, China still aspires to restore the glory it enjoyed centuries ago, and want to become a "Great Nation".

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Posted by Nathan at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 28, 2006

A Strange Thought, in Passing « Stuff Important to Me »

Am I the only one who has no freaking clue how much I should save for retirement?

Full disclosure: I'm just short of 40.
Most paranoid line of thinking:
Unless I get hit by a truck or betrayed by the U.S. media and killed, I should live to at least age 80, based on demographics and genetics.
-But life expectancy marches ever higher.
-Technology is merely steepening that curve, if anything.
-There's a decent chance I might be of the generation that manages to continually live long enough for the next age-boosting tech to appear, at least for a couple decades...or even a couple of centuries.

Less paranoid thought process:
I'm pushing for a military retirement. That could net me between $3000 and $4800 per month in 2006 dollars, depending on my final rank and how long I stay beyond 20 years (or not). Over the last 5 years, I've saved $25k in my supplemental retirement fund; assuming I stay in 10 more years for a total of 22, I should have $100k in savings (due to steady percentage of increasing earnings), two homes paid off (one in China, one in the U.S.), a paid-off, reliable car, and $3600/month in 2006 dollars. I'll also be 47, young enough to keep working if I want...but hopefully I'll have embarked on a writing career of at least marginal financial success. (I'm about 20 pages into what will be my first finished novel, still gaining acceptance as a sports writer, too...and who knows what will happen with the blog?)

Is that enough?

If it isn't, what do I do?

They say you should have enough money to have 80% of your final income. That makes sense...your tax burdern should be reduced significantly by retiring, so you should only need 80% of your pre-retirement income to live at exactly the same level...plus, you can perhaps stop worrying about investing for retirement when you are actually, you know, retired. But being retired, isn't that the time you want to travel more? And perhaps get a little luxurious in your retirement?

When can I start flying first class?

And if, at age 65, you don't know if you're going to live 3 years or 30 years, how do you plan?

I'm hoping that with houses paid off, we will be able to live comfortably entirely within my retirement pay. Then if/when I earn anything with writing, it's gravy...then I can fly first class if the gravy allows it.
The problem is, maintaining a house and keeping touch with families on two different continents will make travel between the two expensive...probably 4 plane trips a year for two people...first class could make it prohibitively expensive.

Maybe I'd better get a movie deal out of one of my books...

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Posted by Nathan at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Are U.S. Soldiers Dying for Partisan Media Lies? « GWOT »

It's possible. Nay, it's probable.

AP has been using a stringer for months to report false atrocities.

An agenda is being pushed that does not benefit the U.S., its citizens, or its soldiers. It seems to only benefit Democrat politicians and the news media.
The Democracy Project has more:

Theres, also, little reason to doubt that much of the reporting were getting, which is feeding despair among many Americans, is unreliable. The major media has not been forthcoming about its reporting practices, so we are left in the dark with our -- possibly excessive, but definitely debilitating fears.

The major medias failure to examine itself and to share that with its customers is nothing short of malfeasance of the highest order. The medias influence on the fates of hundreds of millions of people and the future of nations requires such transparency, and quickly.


(links/quotes/evidence provided at that site)

For all the effort the media made to convince Americans we invaded Iraq on the pretext of a lie (which is absolutely wrong, on all counts: we didn't invade solely or even mainly on Saddam's WMD possession, and he clearly did possess a capable, albeit dormant, WMD program), the media is making an equally strong effort to get us out of Iraq based on their lies. They work hard to expose the U.S. military attempting to use news media to influence terrorists into quitting, then wittingly and willingly allow themselves to be used by terrorists and insurgents to influence Americans into quitting.

War by other means, indeed.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 24, 2006

Know Your (Fake) Boobies « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

Test your discrimination.
Not safe for work if your boss is looking over your shoulder, but nothing you'll get fired for. Probably. Best to wait until you are browsing from home.

I got 80%.
In 5 cases, ones I thought were augmented were real. In one case only, what I thought was real was augmented. Not too shabby.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Chiefs Beat the Broncos Despite Green « Kansas City Chiefs »

I'm a happy boy.

Jake had a pretty mediocre night. Green had a pretty bad night. Denver's defense made LJ pay for every yard he got. He had 157 yards...but on a 4.6 yd/carry average. That's alot of tough yards.

The edge in the game, though, was KC absolutely shut down Denver's running game. The Chiefs had more carries as a team than the Broncos had rushing yards. Michael Bennett had more yards on one carry than the Broncos had rushing yards, total.

Amazing.

The thing that most scares me is that Trent seems to be fulfilling my prediction that he's over the hill. His QB rating is an abysmal 66.0, and his best game is sut 75.5. He's thrown 2 INTs in just 53 attempts. No TD passes. He's fumbled twice in just 6 sacks. He has only 3 passes longer than 20 yards. He's missing short touch passes horribly. He rarely hits his WRs in stride. The one good thing is he seems to make Samie Parker a better (decent) WR. I hope he's just rusty...I hope he gets up to speed quickly, or he will lose important games for us. We can't afford a QB with a 66 QB rating.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 23, 2006

Apologies For the Mess « Blogging »

This blog was idle for far too long, and it looks like there are some errors in the code or something making things look really screwy.

The blog is due a facelift, and will be done soon.

Also, in my time off, I've moderated many of my views, particularly socio-political views. I hereby retract my arguments against the people opposing Intelligent Design, so ignore those posts. I'm going to leave 'em up because I don't believe in hiding my embarassments. Anything else you want me to retract? Let me know and I'll consider it. You would probably have a high rate of success with such requests.

So if you are stopping by here, you'll still get insight and analysis, but much less of the combativeness and touchiness when you criticize my opinions.

Fair enough? I still hope to make this an enjoyable place to visit.
I'm going to focus more on the Kansas City Chiefs, leadership, writing, and music. I'll have some original mp3s of my guitar playing, and midis of my compositions up eventually. Hopefully soon. More pictures, too, I think. We'll see.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ10 « Stuff Important to Me »

I happily and unreservedly recommend the Panasonic Lumix FZ10 digital camera to anyone who wants to take great pictures, but doesn't want to spend the money it would take to buy a Digital SLR camera.

You can buy the camera for only about $400 these days. You can get barrel adapter tubes for $14 to let you add other lenses. Filters and such are also easily available.

It's not the newest camera on the block, so maybe recent upgrades are even better. But I won't be replacing the camera any time soon. I love it.

I originally decided to purchase it due the reviews and pictures at Steve's digicam reviews. In my opinion, it's one of the best resources if you are looking for a new camera.

Here's what I love about my camera:
It has a great lens. It does great in close-ups, and can zoom forever (or at least feels like it). I've never noticed any barrel distortion. In my amateur opinion, it captures colors perfectly, particularly skin tones. It does video with digital sound quite ably.

It uses proprietary lithium ion batteries, but I just purchased an extra one and keep it charged and in the camera case. I've never come close to running out of juice. It uses SD cards, and I have two 128MB cards. Again, I've never come close to running out of room, not even on my honeymoon when I took lots of video of waterfalls and such.

It has all sorts of different settings on a dial on the body for various uses. You can get into the menu and change some settings, too. But for the most part, I just point, adjust the zoom, and shoot. And I get great shots. I've been complimented on my photography several times. I have to tell them, truthfully, that I have good subjects living in Hawaii, and I have a good camera that makes normal shots look beautiful and luxurious.

There are a few drawbacks, but those are dependent on your desires, mostly. -There is a button that makes the camera shoot 3 rapid-fire exposures with one press of the shutter button. Unfortunately, the button is located right next to the shutter button; I've had some opportunities missed when I asked a stranger to take a picture of me, and their unfamililarity with the camera led to the rapid-fire shots, and none came out well due to movement.
-It is a near-SLR camera, so it can't fit in your shirt-pocket. You should use a case/bag to protect it, and its lens size means you just about have to use a small videocamera bag.
-Again, it is a near-SLR, so it takes a second to extend the lens before it is ready to use. This isn't a big deal, as it is far faster than most of the point/shoot cameras. I haven't yet missed a shot waiting for it to get ready, but I admit I have had to anticipate a good shot and turn on the camera a few seconds earlier to get the shot in time.

Here's some examples. Unfortunately, my blog wouldn't let me upload them full size. I hope it didn't lose too much impact/beauty in the conversion.

View image

View image

You can see what the zoom function does. The first was on zero zoom, the 2nd was full zoom, if I recall correctly.

View image

View image

This also shows some of the color brilliance and low-light performance. There is some "noise". I can live with that amount.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

November 22, 2006

I Hope I'm Wrong, But Green May Be Over the Hill « Kansas City Chiefs »

Herman Edwards says, "You play to win the game." If he really believes that, I'm not sure why he's putting Trent Green back in to start. Trent Green is 36 years old and has missed the last 8.5 games to a severe concussion. He received the concussion, in part, because he wasn't playing as well as he had in the past. I took a look at several Hall of Fame and Pro-Bowl QBs, most of whom were known for their longevity (I included Kenney and Krieg because they played for the Chiefs). I tried to look at QBs who played into the 80s, at least, in reflection that more is known now about the importance of conditioning. What is striking is that even among top-flight QBs, most of whom have won a Super Bowl and been to multiple pro-bowls, very few have good seasons after the age of 35. Based on this subjective list, Green has less than a 50/50 chance of playing good anymore. And that's only if you consider Green to be in the same class as Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, and John Elway. I think it more likely Green doesn't reach that level of talent. His general abilities seem equivalent to Aikman, Everett, Kelly...none of whom played well past age 35.

I picked the "last good year" based on a 60%+ completion rate and a positive TD:INT rate, or the last year the QB went to the Pro-Bowl. When the skills go, the drop-off was always dramatic. I hope Trent Green beats the odds, but it isn't very likely.

All stats from Pro Football Reference Dot Com

Player	        Age	Comp%	TD:INT	Age at last Pro-Bowl
Troy Aikman 	33	59.5	17-12	30
	        34	59.5	7-14	
				
Ken Anderson	33	70.6	12-9	33
	        34	66.7	12-13	
				
Terry Bradshaw	34	52.9	17-11	31
	        35			played 1 game, retired
				
R. Cunningham	35	60.9	34-10	35
	        36	62	8-9	played only 7 games
				
Len Dawson 	37	57.4	13-12	37
	        38	65.3	2-5	
				
John Elway 	38	59	22-10	38
	        39			retired
				
Jim Everett 	32	60.8	26-14	27
	        33	57.5	12-16	
				
Brett Favre 	35	64.1	30-17	34
	        36	61.3	20-29	
				
Rich Gannon 	37	67.6	26-10	37
	        38	55.6	6-4	played only 7 games
				
Jim Harbaugh 	34	61.2	10-4	32
	        35	56	12-11	
				
Jim Kelly 	                35	55.7	22-13	32
	        36	58.6	14-19	
				
Bill Kenney 	32	56.4	15-9	28
	        33	50.9	0-5	
				
Dave Krieg 	36	61.8	14-3	31
	        37	58.3	16-21	
				
Dan Marino 	37	57.7	23-15	34
	        38	55.3	12-17	
				
Joe Montana 	38	60.6	16-9	37
	        39			retired
				
Warren Moon 	41	59.3	25-16	41
	        42	56.2	11-8	
	        43	33.3	0	backup
				
Fran Tarkenton	36	61.9	17-8	36
	        37	60.1	9-14	
				
Kurt Warner 	30	68.7	36-22	30
	        31	65.5	3-11	played only 7 games
	        34	54.5	11-9	
	        35	62.6	5-5	benched for rookie
				
Steve Young 	37	62.3	36-12	37
	        38	53.6	3-4	played 3 games, retired

These are, for the most part, the best of the best. Bledsoe, Brady, Manning, Rivers, Brees, et al, aren't old enough to be included. I could have included Rypien, Eason, Kenny O'Brian, Doug Williams, Vinny Testaverde, Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Tommy Maddox, Neil O'Donnell, Bernie Kosar and the like but had I done so, Green's chances would look even worse. Still, even among these pro-bowl QBs, many first ballot sure-thing Hall of Fame QBs, very few play at a pro-bowl level past age 35. Most don't even make it to 35, much less play at the same level.

Even multiple NFL MVP winner Brett Favre showed a significant drop last year, and this year he's hurting his team's chances to win in order to try and break Marino's records. He's improved again somewhat this year, but completion percentage is way down, and he does his best as a game manager, trying to make the safe throw and avoid mistakes. Is there any hope Trent Green can do any better this year?

I'm hoping I'm wrong. I hope he comes out and throws accurately and smartly against Denver on Thanksgiving. I hope he doesn't come out flat and throw in the dirt like he did Sunday against the Raiders. I wouldn't want to bet significant money that he'll return to pro-bowl form this week, or even this season. I think his career as an elite starter is probably pretty much over.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Man, Global Warming Sucks « Social Issues »

It's wiping out islands as fast as the earth can form them!

Check this out:

Images obtained on 12 and 14 November from NASA's Terra satellite, for instance, suggest that the island has shrunk in surface area by about a third since early October. Small volcanic lakes on the island have also disappeared.

Home Reef last erupted in 1984, when it created an island of roughly the same dimension which also later vanished beneath the waves. Alain Bernard of the Free University in Brussels says he expects the new island to be gone within a month.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 21, 2006

And Another Thing

I want to tear down the template and build from scratch.
I'm taking bids. If no one makes any offers (or if the price is too high), I'll do it myself. It probably won't be pretty.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Well, I'm Back « Stuff Important to Me »

I guess.

I haven't done this for a while.

I've changed alot in the time since I stopped blogging here, and even more during the time I stopped blogging over at Chiefly Musing.

I may surprise some people. Then again, I was always a little weird, anyway, so maybe nothing can shock you people. We'll see.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 20, 2006

Test

I'm back. FWIW.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)