Archive for November 18th, 2007

18
Nov
07

Glowing Mountain Dew

You’ve probably seen the video on the Interwebtubes about the glowing Mountain Dew soda pop. Snopes has proven the concotion to be false. That said… can you imagine the potential of an innovative soda manufacturer coming up with a zero health impact soda that not only glows… but makes your pee glow, too? I get a nickel per can royalty on the idea…

Advertisements
18
Nov
07

Subprime Mortgage Fondue

  

“You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”. Obi-wan should have been talking about the mortgage industry. Let’s face it, this situation was caused by a spectacular combination of greed and stupidity. Mortgage lenders were eager to loan money at usurous rates to folks who had no business borrowing the money. They created loan instruments that were certain to melt down and folks who were in no position to borrow eagerly gobbled them up. Is anyone really shocked that the thing imploded? And all this righteous indignation for folks who couldn’t afford the loans, losing the things they never had, and couldn’t really afford to buy anyway… Bah. This is how economics works. Everyone understands the repo man. This just has to do with a home instead of a car (that you probably couldn’t afford, either).

The people who couldn’t afford the homes in the first place are losing them. The people who were stupid enough to loan them the money in the first place are losing their asses on their balance sheets and in real terms. The only thing that could make this better is government intervention. Hold on, wait for it…

The House this week voted 291-127 to pass the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, Congress’ first major attempt to prevent a recurrence of the ongoing subprime meltdown. The bill, supported by every Democrat and 64 Republicans, stabs at the heart of the meltdown by:

  • Establishing a national licensing and registration system for mortgage lenders;
  • Establishing the Office of Housing Counseling within HUD to help borrowers avoid foreclosure;
  • Banning loans that a borrower cannot reasonably repay;
  • Banning lenders from steering borrowers towards loans with predatory characteristics;
  • Making banks that securitize mortgages liable for violating lending laws.

I’m just surprised that their isn’t legislation afoot to bail out the borrowers and the lenders from their own greed and stupidity. It’s not here yet, but there’s still lots of election pandering to come.

18
Nov
07

Better Bootleg?

There is hardly a music collection in existence that does not or should not contain the seminal work of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It’s been a fan favorite for… well, forever. I’ve got it on vinyl and on CD. I bought one of those fancy “master” CD’s, too. But I drew the line when it was re-released in 2003 as a 5.1 SACD (yes, I have a 5.1 system, thank you very much). But did you know that there was a much older, original surround sound master that was made? I’m talking original 4.0 Quadrophonic by sound engineer Alan Parsons. Here’s a review for geeks to salivate over. This is an original master recording, not a re-master, etc. And if your Google-fu is strong and you know how to navigate various bays, you can get yourself a listen…

18
Nov
07

Coast To Coast, Straight Through

I’ve got millions of miles in my airline accounts. I’ve flown so many places and so far so often that flying does not have any allure for me. Really. My first frequent flyer account started with Eastern Airlines and I probably still have original miles. When I’m on my time, the last thing that I want to do is get on a plane. I prefer to drive.

And I still drive quite a bit. I’m getting older, though, and my ability to stay behind the wheel for marathon stretches has become somewhat diminished. Such is not the case for Alex Roy. He just beat the “Cannonball Run” record by driving from New York to Santa Monica in 31 hours, 4 minutes. That’s 13 states at an average of 95 miles per hour (although he pushed 160mph on a few stretches). Roy is sufficiently vague about exact dates so as to avoid prosecution.

18
Nov
07

Need Space?

Let’s say that you have a need to store 1/70th of all of the data in the Library of Congress. You could do it easily and cheaply now. And you would not even have to crack open your computer to do it. Best Buy is now offering the 1 Terabyte Hitachi USB 2.0 external drive for a mere $199.99 plus shipping. That’s a far cry from when I bought a 200 Meg internal hard drive for well over $500 some years ago. Personally, I’m waiting for an affordable Yottabyte drive to come out.

18
Nov
07

It’s Hell Being Ranked

 

If one is a fan of college football, it is an absolute necessity to show pity upon the ranked teams. While playing havoc with the BCS standings, ranked teams have managed to play with their hands around their own necks and choke themselves repeatedly and in dramatic fashion this season. Witness un-ranked Texas Tech de-frocking hallowed Oklahoma last night. Poof! There goes the country’s 3rd ranked team. Did I mention that the Cinderella story Oregon Ducks blew their #2 run on Thursday? Hell even Vandy looked like they were going to beat #19 Tennessee until they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

LSU has to play Arkansas and then the SEC title game and win both to stay in the BCS title bout. Presumably, unbeaten Kansas will now slide above Oklahoma and Oregon in the rankings. They have #6 Missouri coming up and then a title match with either Texas or Oklahoma (currently both have identical conference and overall records in the Big 12 South). If you are confused, send me your social security number and bank account details. I’ll share the Italian Lotto winnings that I have been notified about with you and we can spend all our money on creating a college football playoff system.