Saturday, October 18, 2008

Checking out the scene.

My wife and I went up to Lowell this afternoon to check-out the race course. We walked from the starting point, an otherwise undistinguished street in downtown, to the end, which is the baseball stadium.

Here and there, we would see runners: They had white and blue race packet bags and were all skinny bony types. This caused me a little panic since I am neither skinny nor bony. I am not as young as these people looked either.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


All Recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Campaign Contributions, 1989-2008
Name Office State Party Grand Total Total from PACs Total from Individuals
Dodd, Christopher J S CT D $165,400 $48,500 $116,900
Obama, Barack S IL D $126,349 $6,000 $120,349
Kerry, John S MA D $111,000 $2,000 $109,000
Bennett, Robert F S UT R $107,999 $71,499 $36,500
Bachus, Spencer H AL R $103,300 $70,500 $32,800
Blunt, Roy H MO R $96,950 $78,500 $18,450
Kanjorski, Paul E H PA D $96,000 $57,500 $38,500
Bond, Christopher S 'Kit' S MO R $95,400 $64,000 $31,400
Shelby, Richard C S AL R $80,000 $23,000 $57,000
Reed, Jack S RI D $78,250 $43,500 $34,750
Reid, Harry S NV D $77,000 $60,500 $16,500
Clinton, Hillary S NY D $76,050 $8,000 $68,050

And way down the list...

McCain, John S AZ R $21,550 $0 $21,550

And McCain has been in the Senate for around 20 years to Obama's 2. Source

Added note: McCain is only a couple of points behind Obama even though he has been outspent 2 to 1.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Astronomy done in your head...

On my trip this last weekend we were driving back from hiking and noticed the Moon. It was low in the sky and looked to be a couple of days away from being full. It was hilly country, but the sky was bright and I thought it might be right at or right before sunset based on how light it was. The Moon was high enough that I figured it rose before sunset. I didn't know the answer yet, but figured that given what we know about the moon we should be able to figure out if it was getting fuller or less full. (Waxing or Waning, I know)

I tried to picture the above sketch in my head and got the answer exactly backwards: Now that I have the sketch (and assuming I am right that the moon orbits from West to East) the Moon should be growing if it rises between sunrise and sunset.

Now I will go check the Internet tubes to see if the Moon is waxing...

Hmmn. It is full tonight and it wasn't full on last Saturday, so I guess I got it right.

Monday, October 13, 2008

In 1492...

And in 2008 Google commemorates....Paddington Bear.

Meanwhile, the kids are off from school today since, as we all know, public school teachers are such huge fans of Columbus. Their minds are so full of admiration for the bravery and intellect of the great Italian explorer, they couldn't be expected to concentrate on mundane math, reading & etc. Best to just keep them home today.

Photo from here

Who "caused" the mortgage crisis?

I think the problem has more causes than what this video presents, but it is right as far as it goes. Other issues were the trade imbalance with China. They had to put their $'s somewhere and they put them into US financial markets, which depressed interest rates and drove up property values. Also, who doesn't know at least one person who used their home appreciation as a piggy-bank?