Thursday, April 27, 2006

Exxon profit surges

Exxon Mobil reported higher quarterly profits Thursday as the price of oil surged. But the company missed analyst estimates and failed to top last quarter's record earnings.

The company said it earned $8.4 billion, or $1.37 per share, in the first quarter of 2006.

Last quarter Exxon earned $10.7 billion, or $1.71 a share. It was the biggest quarterly profit for any corporation in U.S. history.

Exxon also posed the biggest yearly profit ever recorded in the U.S. in that quarter. The company chalked up $36.1 billion in earnings for 2005, or $1,146 a second, a 31 percent increase from the year prior.

Exxon profit surges - Apr. 27, 2006

Blurry drive-by


Here's a picture of a woman who passed me on the way to work. Driving a very large Ford Explorer. She was by herself and driving 80+mph. The greatest thing too is that she has a handicap parking tag hanging from her mirror (and she's obviously not handicapped) right next to a dreamcatcher.

There was so much about this scenario that I dont like.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bike ride

Today was the first time in my life I have ever driven a motorcycle and I think I did pretty decent for my first time. I laid it down once in the grass because I hit the front brakes too hard and the grass was kinda wet.

After a couple laps thru the yard, I dawned my new helmet and my friend had me doing drills in a local parking lot. Pavement is MUCH nicer than grass. Sheesh if I would have known I would have skipped the yard cruise and went right to the black top.

Hopefully I will have some more time tomorrow to take it out or Friday.

Inedible - no shit


I took this pic with my cell phone. I walk past these barrels everyday going to work and I chuckle almost everytime that the word "inedible" has to be written on something as crusty as these things. Like anyone is going to walk thru this alley and be like "man I am hungry - Oooo look at those rusty greasy barrels, I think I will eat whatever is in them since there is nothing telling me not to."

Then again there are people who have to eat out of barrels. There's another homeless person holding a sign up at our exit ramp off I75. I am used to see homeless at other places I've been and lived, but it's pretty shocking seeing that around Wapak. I think it's the same guy I saw before winter if it is I should ask him how my killer umbrella is. I gave him this kick ass ninja-weapon-umbrella I had because it was so bad out. I could hit the button thing on it and knock a pop bottle off my desk and send it flying.

First time riden in 12 years


Here is a picture of us bringing the bike home from getting new tires, front brakes and front fork seals. This was it's first official ride in about 12 years. She's still needs a bath and a bit more TLC, but she is fully road ready now. Hopefully I will get some time to ride it tonight to get some practice under my belt.

Just seeing it moving under it's own power reminds me of all the good times my Mom and Dad had on it and I know he would be glad to see it going again. :)

Global warming behind 2005 hurricanes

MONTEREY, California (Reuters) -- The record Atlantic hurricane season last year can be attributed to global warming, several top experts, including a leading U.S. government storm researcher, said on Monday.

'The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's happening now,' said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Holland told a packed hall at the American Meteorological Society's 27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology that the wind and warmer water conditions that fuel storms that form in the Caribbean are 'increasingly due to greenhouse gases. There seems to be no other conclusion you can logically draw.'

CNN.com - Experts: Global warming behind 2005 hurricanes - Apr 25, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I honestly tried to forget you

Sometimes in your life you are faced with something that touches every part of your soul. It reaches down into the very fiber of your being and makes you better for having known it.

I recently have realized just what I have been missing in my life and the amount of pain and anguish I have gone thru in trying to forget it is too much to bear.

I am coming back to you, whether you want me or not. Whether you've missed me or not. I will accept no other course of action. You were mine and you will be mine again.

*deep breath*

I am coming back to you Outlook.

hehe ... Ugh, I tried Thunderbird, which wasnt bad, but I just cant leave all my fun Outlook goodness.

It already feels like I am halfway home.

Monday, April 24, 2006

CNN.com - GOP leaders urge price-gouging probe on gas - Apr 24, 2006

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congressional GOP leaders on Monday formally called on President Bush to launch an investigation into possible price gouging by oil companies, as gas costs shot up nearly 25 cents a gallon in two weeks.

'Anyone who is trying to take advantage of this situation while American families are forced into making tough choices over whether to fill up their cars or severely cut back their budgets should be investigated and prosecuted,' House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, wrote in a letter to President Bush. 'Therefore, we believe that Federal law enforcement agencies and regulators should take every available step to ensure that all Federal laws protecting American consumers from price-fixing, collusion, gouging and other anti-competitive practices are vigorously enforced.'

Hastert and Frist asked Bush to direct the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to investigate the rising oil prices and also will request that certain areas be exempt from having to use a more expensive but cleaner blend of gasoline.

CNN.com - GOP leaders urge price-gouging probe on gas - Apr 24, 2006

I wonder why the hell it took them this long. It's not like they had all the oil company execs in for questioning last year - oh wait they did. And despite repeated attempts by a democrat (Boxer I think) to get them to swear in, Arlen Specter(R), denied them and let them testify without the oath. Maybe it's because it's an election year now and they are afraid for their jobs (which they should be).

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Think Global Warming isnt doing anything?

The BBC has some side-by-side photos of just how our planet is changing.

I wonder if they would make a law putting a warning label on ALL gas pumps like the ones on cigarettes.
Warning: The use of this product is known to create emissions that are harmful to the environment and will ultimately lead to drastic Earth changes that may result in the extinction of our own species.

Nah people would be too dumb to pay attention even then.

The Titanic President

It's ALIVE (again)

Yay my motorcycle is running. Today was the first time I started it up this year.

Now once the parts are in the front brakes, front fork seals and two new tires will have it ready for the road.

I am SUPER excited.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Oh God what's wrong with me?

I am now seeking ways to move to Thunderbird and Sunbird for my mail/calender and tasks.

AND...

I even thought *gulp* about running OSX. *shiver*

WOOT!

Well I found someone to help finish the work I need on my motorcyle. The front brakes, fork seals and two new tires and she will be ready to ride.

Well I need to get new tags for it.

I am so totally excited to get riding this thing. I want to use it as a daily driver, especially with gas prices going up and up and up with no chance of stopping.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Time to say goodbye?

Is it time to say goodbye to hotmail? I have been using it since way back in the 1990's before Microsoft even bought it. I have had my current address for years and years.

Trouble is that it isnt keeping up with the times and the new Live update for it is not Firefox compliant and awkward.

I never really tried to give Gmail a chance, mostly just use it for junk. So maybe I will give them a try or Yahoo's nice too. Not too sure yet.

Anti-gay church sparks free-speech fight

Image: Westboro members protest at a military memorial service Christopher Berkey / AP

Margie Phelps, right, and her nephew, Gabriel Phelps-Roper, 10, center, protest at a memorial service at Fort Campbell, Ky., for soldiers killed in Iraq.

They are members of the Westboro Baptist Church.


"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my bretheren, ye have done it unto me."

Matthew 25:40

Anti-gay church sparks free-speech fight - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com

Free speech, hate speech clash - Nightly News with Brian Williams - MSNBC.com

Anti-gay church protests at GIs’ funerals - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com

Friday, April 14, 2006

AT&T, Group Challenge U.S. Spy Program

"SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - AT&T Inc. (T) and an Internet advocacy group are waging in federal court a privacy battle that could expose the reach of the Bush administration's secretive domestic wiretapping program.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said it obtained documents from a former AT&T technician showing that the National Security Agency is capable of monitoring all communications on AT&T's network.

'It appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the Internet, whether that be people's e-mail, Web surfing or any other data,' whistle-blower Mark Klein, who worked for the company for 22 years, said in a statement released by his lawyers."

AT&T, Group Challenge U.S. Spy Program

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ubisoft ditches StarForce

"Shacknews is reporting on a forum thread on the Ubisoft Heroes of Might and Magic forums where a developer claims that the StarForce copy protection system won't be used in the next version of the game. Ubisoft did not state the reasons behind its decision to discontinue StarForce, but the company will reportedly switch to another copy protection system. This follows the filing of a $5 million class-action lawsuit against Ubisoft for its use of StarForce in a series of games, including XIII, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Silent Hunter 3, and Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory. "

The Tech Report - Ubisoft ditches StarForce

The Cyborg Name Decoder


Lifeform Yearning for Kamikaze Infiltration and Nocturnal Sabotage

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why the ground is brown

From space, Earth looks blue and green. But put your nose to the ground, and you'll probably see just brown.

Where does the brown ground come from? Green plants, a new study reveals.

As plants wilt and die, their leaves and limbs drop off, bringing carbon that they've stored for a living to the soil.

Tiny microbes in the earth rip the dead plants apart with specialized enzymes, which break the chemical bonds in the plant material, cutting meals into the perfect size for microbes.

The hungry microbes process a large amount of the carbon in the soil, even incorporating some of the element into their own cells.

As busy as they are, microbes can't get all the work done.

"They're not quite a hundred percent efficient," said Steven Allison, an ecologist at the University of California, Irvine. "There's carbon that doesn't get eaten by a microbe and there's carbon in their biomass. Then they die. That carbon then goes into the soil. It's a cycle, there's always carbon left over. This small bit of inefficiency accumulates over time."

The microbes' abundant leftovers, called humic materials, have piled up over thousands of years. The hoard of microbes' carbon scraps gives earth its dirty brown color. Carbon absorbs most colors in sunlight's spectrum, reflecting back only brown light.

The ground isn't brown all around the world, however. Some deserts appear sandy white. Hawaii's soils, rich in iron, have a reddish tint. Dig down beneath some brown dirt and you'll find other colors below.

"If there isn't so much carbon in the ground, soils appear yellow, red, and gray. They take on the color of the minerals that make up the soils," Allison told LiveScience.

The findings are detailed in the June 2006 issue of the journal American Naturalist.

Why the ground is brown - LiveScience - MSNBC.com

Issues with Oblivion

I've been wanting to post some of the issues I have with Oblivion now that I have played it enough (57+ hours and counting) to feel I have a good understanding of the game thus far. Some of this stuff might be "bugs" and could be addressed in an upcoming patch though, shrugs.

1) There is no directional attack indicator

Someties you are getting shot at or something swings down and hits you and you dont realize the best direction to move to as cant be sure which direction it came from. A simiple red line on the side of your crosshair to show left or right would have been super nice.

2) Your wandering horse

Sometimes when fast traveling to a town your horse wont be outside the gate or at the town's stables like it tells you it is. You go back out to get him and he's not there. You have to fast travel to another spot for him to show back up sometimes. Also if you leave your horse sit in the wild and wonder way off, something may attack it and he will go crazy to beat the things ass - sometimes he comes back, sometimes not. It's hard to keep track of him, but it's nice when he helps you in combat by kicking guys in the head.

3) The swimming "breath" bar doesnt ever increase and is way too short

4) You get stuck in "something's chasing you mode" even though that thing is miles and miles away.

Yes Oblivion's landmass is 16 square miles to scale.

5) No keychains

I have like 80 keys and it takes FOREVER to scroll past all of them. In fact the whole interface needs a much better stacking or grouping system.

6) No armageddon

Main quest NPC's will never die. They simply get knocked out (not sure for how long). Morrowind would just warn you that if you killed guy XYZ that the main quest would be dead - I liked that better. It ruins the idea that I like to entertain about making a super spell to nuke the planet, but some people will just survive no matter what. Hell you could even kill Lord British if you found the glass sword.

7) No seasons

This game as the best outdoor elements of any game ever. If you say there's a game out that does "outside" better than Oblivion you are high on crack. But this beauty could have been better if it morphed thru a seasonal cycle at least thru the middle temperate section of Cyrodil.

Hello from Iraq

My friend called me from Iraq today! YAY! She's doing great and working hard, only about 8 months more to go (on this tour :P).

It was amazing to hear her voice and know that she was okay, letters just arent the same.

She also told me that her mess in the Green Zone (1 of 5) consumes $80,000 worth of Gatorade a DAY!!! So if you know of a loved one (or anyone) in Iraq mail them some Gatorade to make their day.

Six in Ten Americans Critical of Bush on Leaks

USA Today/Gallup Poll reveals that 63% of Americans believe Bush acted illegally or unethically regarding the Plame Leak Investigation.

21% say he did something illegal
42% say he did something unethical
28% say he did nothing wrong

25% say they are following it closely
39% say they are following it somewhat closely

So, according to the poll, the closer someone follows the case the more likely they are to believe the President acted unethically or flat-out illegally.

61% of Republicans say he did nothing wrong
30% of Republicans say he DID do something wrong

And 70% of Independants think he did something wrong. That's the number that gets people elected or not.

Six in Ten Americans Critical of Bush on Leaks

Monday, April 10, 2006

Big Yellow Chomper


Woot Pac-Man and Galaga are coming to XBOX Live Arcade. WOOT!

GamersReports screenshot

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Quote of the Day

"The Bush administration is wondering when Iraq will have a functioning government. I want to know when we're going to have a functioning government."
John Kerry

Thursday, April 06, 2006

US Citizen Harry Taylor speaks his mind to Bush

"CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) -- President Bush, told by a critic he should be ashamed of his policies, defended the government's secret eavesdropping program Thursday and said he would not apologize for listening in on the phone and e-mail conversations of Americans talking to people with suspected al Qaeda links.

A man who identified himself as Harry Taylor rose at a forum here to tell Bush that he's never felt more ashamed of the leadership of his country.

He said Bush has asserted his right to tap phone calls without a warrant, to arrest people and hold them without charges and to revoke a woman's right to an abortion, among other things.

He was booed by the audience, but Bush interrupted and urged the audience to let Taylor finish.

'I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration,' Taylor said, standing in a balcony seat and looking down at Bush on stage. 'And I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and grace to be ashamed of yourself.'

Bush defended the National Security Administration's surveillance program, saying he authorized the program to protect the country.

'You said would I apologize for that?' Bush told him. 'The answer is absolutely not.'

The challenge to the president came near the end of a lengthy appearance before the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, where he took questions from the audience."

CNN.com - Bush defends domestic spying program - Apr 6, 2006

This is awesome. I applaud Harry Taylor for being brave enough to stand up and speak his mind right to the President. And Bush told him he isnt about to apologize for the things he's done. He right there says he doesnt care what people think and he will do what he wants. He didnt even try to give a political-blow-off-apology to Harry or the millions of people who agree with Harry. But then again a lot of criminals feel totally justified in committing their crimes and would never apologize for them.

CNN.com - Libby court papers: Cheney said Bush OK'd intelligence leak - Apr 6, 2006

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide told prosecutors that his boss said President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame's CIA identity."

CNN.com - Libby court papers: Cheney said Bush OK'd intelligence leak - Apr 6, 2006

There you have it. The President told him to leak information to the press. When the President wants information out to the press he has many legitimate ways of doing so. This is NOT a legitimate way of doing things so the only reason for doing it this way is for illegitimate means. They were up to no good and the President authorized it. Where's the accountability?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Playstation 3 Will Be $499 to $734 ?


"Gamasutra reports this morning on the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe dropping a Playstation 3 price during an interview with radio station Europe 1.

George Fornay said that the Playstation 3 will be hitting Europe for €499 to €599 or about $612 to $734. Fornay also confirmed that the PS3 will be hitting Europe this November. Finally, Fornay reiterated that the dealy of the Playstation 3 was due to last minute changes in the Blu-ray’s copy protection."

Gamasutra - Report: Sony France Boss Comments On PS3 Price

Another article here pegging the price a bit lower but still more than the 360.

Oooo I wanted to save this for tomorrow's Thursday Gaming News, but I couldnt sit on it for that long.

DHS spokesman arrested in child sex sting

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday at his Maryland home on charges he used his computer in an attempt to seduce a child and transmitted harmful materials to a minor, according to the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff's Office.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, is charged with seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor, according to a sheriff's office statement.

In interviews with police, Doyle confessed and has agreed to waive extradition to Florida, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

On March 12, according to a police statement, Doyle contacted a Polk County computer crimes detective posing online as a 14-year-old girl 'and initiated a sexually explicit conversation with her ... Doyle knew that the 'girl' was 14 years old, and he told her who he was and that he worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.'"

CNN.com - DHS spokesman arrested in child sex sting - Apr 4, 2006

This guy is a total moron. Make sure you read this whole article for how truly stupid he was. Wow. Nice to know they got smart, stand-up people like this at the DHS.

Tax cuts a windfall for rich

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Bush's tax cuts for investment income have significantly lowered the tax burden on the richest Americans, reducing taxes on incomes of more than $10 million by an average of about $500,000, according to a report Wednesday.

An analysis of Internal Revenue Service data by The New York Times found that the benefit of the lower taxes on investments was more concentrated on the very wealthiest Americans than the benefits of President Bush's two previous tax cuts.

The Times analyzed IRS figures for 2003, the latest year available and the first that reflected the tax cuts for income from dividends and from the sale of stock and other assets, known as capital gains.

According to the study, taxpayers with incomes greater than $10 million reduced their investment tax bill by an average of about $500,000 in 2003, and their total tax savings, which included the two Bush tax cuts on compensation, nearly doubled, to slightly more than $1 million."

Congress is now debating whether to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Report: Tax cuts on investment income a windfall for rich - Apr. 5, 2006

I guess the theory here is that the rich will reinvest the money and create new jobs to stimulate the economy. But if they werent doing that already with their own personal $10million a year income, I dont think this added $1million they are now saving will really do all that much good. No this is just another way for the rich to help the rich and piss more on the poor. Call or email your Congress person and express your views on this.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Once-in-a-century moment

Call it a coincidental sign of our digital times or a reason to stay up late and stare at the clock. Either way, early Wednesday morning the time and date will be 01-02-03-04-05-06.

At 1:02 a.m. and three seconds on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, it will be the first hour of the day, the second minute of the hour, the third second of that precious minute on the fourth month's fifth day in ... uh oh. It’s not really the sixth year.

It’s actually 2006 — only in our shorthand is it ’06."

Mark a once-in-a-century moment - Science - MSNBC.com

Monday, April 03, 2006

Funny Bush Impersonation

Wow this guy's impression of Bush is dead-on. He's got some makeup on and looks a LOT like Bush too.

Sad thing is him acting like this isnt far off from how dumb Bush really is. When you click on it, it might take awhile to load.

George Bush Impersonation (swf)