Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Name the Movie 3:  Wednesday’s Final Clue

Gil Gerard's superior officer and Ricky Shroder's step mother.

Posted by Rich
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Name the Movie 3:  Wednesday’s Answer

David from Void Where Prohibited gets the right answer on the first clue! Which is cool, but too bad because this clue would have been very interesting to track down. In fact, I'll leave it up and see if anyone can track through the labyrinth.

Today's star had a guest appearance on Mr. X's starred in an episode of Mandy Patinkin's costar's replacement's first series.
Mr. X currently stars as the replacement for the actor who played Mandy Patinkin's partner in a buddy cop movie with a twist.

So who is Mr. X?

Posted by Rich
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Name the Movie 3:  Wednesday’s Second Clue

She has starred in two TV series adapted from Sci Fi movies.

Posted by Rich
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Name the Movie 3:  Wednesday’s First Clue

This model turned actress was born on Hawai'i, one more reason to love the Aloha State. She appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.

Posted by Rich
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Impulse Tourism

WVLT teased a story last night, about how the Knoxville Zoo was worried that the Smart Fix change to I-40 will decrease the number of people who go to the zoo.

So, exactly how many times have you been driving down the interstate on your way somewhere and you said, "Oh my, a zoo. Let's stop and go see the animals!"

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Voter ID:  Why Is This a Controversy?

The Supreme Court has ruled that it is OK for a state to require voters show a photo ID in order to vote, throwing local blogger The Crone Speaks into a tizzy.

Not everyone has a certified birth certificate lying about, the cost to obtain that document is around $10, plus time and money to get to the point of even ordering one’s certified birth certificate. Then there is the time (including travel) and cost of updating/obtaining a Social Security card, then the time and cost of getting to a Motor Vehicle agency that provides photo ID’s. So, no, obtaining a photo ID is NOT free. It may be free at the point of obtaining the ID at the motor vehicle office, but to get to that point can be costly for quite a few people.

You know, the last time I checked, you needed a photo ID to cash a check, fly on a plane, rent a car, or to get a library card. Obviously, the benefits of having a photo ID extend far past voting, so why assign all the costs of obtaining one to voting?

And isn't ensuring that only those eligible to vote do vote worth a little bother? Voting is one of the few activities I can think of where the state has a vested interest in confirming identification.

The AP story has this bit of inadvertent humor towards the end. When discussing programs to ease the burden of acquiring a photo ID for the poor, Bob Brandon, president of Fair Elections Legal Network, a nonpartisan network of election lawyers said, "Who's going to show up and sign an affidavit saying 'I'm poor'?"

Umm, the same folks who show up and sign one to get WIC, Welfare, etc?

Posted by Rich
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Bubba Gets It Right! (Not Really)

Too bad he wasn't serious.

Over at Knox Views, R. Neal links (Here's the url in case Mr. Neal is still trying to hide his ravings from careful critique: to a post showing atmospheric data that indicates that the tropical troposphere isn't heating up the way the best AGW models predict. Following that post back to its source leads you to Steve McIntyre's blog Climate Audit, and the post Tropical Troposphere.

Now before I get too deep into this thing, let's make something very clear. The issue at hand is NOT whether we are in the midst of an increase in global temperature due to man; the issue in this post is simply, "Is the troposphere reacting as the models predict?" You have to remember that all of the fuss about global warming comes from the predictions of computer models, models whose accuracy has been spotty at best.

The simplest way to put it is this: The models, based on thermodynamics predict that tropospheric temperatures will rise sooner and faster than surface temperatures. The models go on to say that the earliest indicators and the greatest movement will occur in the tropics.

So far, they aren't.

This doesn't mean that AGW isn't happening, although it does raise several important questions. What it does mean is that the predictive models we are using to forecast the extent and the severity of climate change incorrectly model the actual physical processes occurring.

In short, they're wrong.

Yet it is these very models that Al Gore preaches on every time he gets out of his Gulfstream.

Instead of reading the article, picking up the background knowledge required to understand it, and reading through the extensive discussion in the comments, Mr. Neal, would rather dismiss the problems generated by real world data out of hand, primarily because it doesn't fit within his orthodoxy.

Put simply, in deference to Mr. Neal, he'd rather stick his fingers in his ears and say "La la la la la," rather than hear the facts.

Here are the facts.

Thermodynamics is the study of how heat (thermo) moves (dynamics). Obviously, an understanding of thermodynamics is essential to understanding the greenhouse effect, and how CO2 emissions affects it. I learned basic thermodynamics while learning how to run a nuclear reactor. While the system is different, the laws governing the transfer of heat are the same.

OK, say you want to make a pot of tea. The first thing you have to do is boil water. You want to raise the temperature of the water from room temperature, around 70F to the boiling point of water, at 212F. In order to do that, you turn on the stove. Now, if the burner only heats up to 70F, will your water boil?

Obviously not. In order to transfer heat from one body to another, the body losing heat must be at a higher temperature than the body gaining the heat.

This is crucial to understanding how heat is transferred. It always must go down to a lower temperature body. In order to raise water to 212F, the stove burner is going to have to get hotter than 212F. It will also have to heat up the pan holding the water to greater than 212F.

The second thing to understand is that the rate of heat transfer is directly proportional to the difference in temperature between the two bodies. The greater the temperature difference, the faster the heat will transfer.

The final thing to understand is exactly how heat is transferred. There are three methods;
  1. Conduction. The two bodies are in physical contact.

  2. Convection. The two bodies are separated, but are surrounded by a gas or liquid.

  3. Radiation. The two bodies are separated, but heat is transferred directly by photons.

Now let's take a look at the greenhouse effect. Now, let's look at our thermodynamic system. The Sun radiates heat to the Earth in a steady, constant stream. (For the purposes of this discussion, will ignore the various solar cycles.) This heat passes through the atmosphere unhindered, and reaches the surface and warms it. Heat is sent back up through the troposphere but things have changed. Where before the outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere was transparent to heat radiation, this is no longer the case. By giving up energy to the surface, the photons carrying the energy are now blocked by stratospheric CO2 and CO. These gases act almost like a one way blanket around our atmosphere. They allow energy in, but not back out again.

Remember what we talked about before? The rate of heat transfer is dependent on a difference in temperature. Since the temperature of the troposphere has gone up while the surface temperature has remained constant, the difference between the two has dropped, resulting in slower removal of heat from the surface. But the Sun is still pumping out the same amount of energy, so what happens to surface temperature? Well, if you're putting more energy in than you're taking out, the only thing that can happen is that surface temperature will go up. And as surface temperature goes up, the differential between the surface and the troposphere goes up, and the rate of heat transfer goes up until we reach a new equilibrium.

That's the greenhouse effect folks, and it makes life possible here on earth.

Now then, let's look at AGW, man made global warming. According to the theory, humans have dumped massive quantities of CO2 into our atmosphere, which has caused a pronounced increase in the ability of our atmosphere to trap heat. This mean that the troposphere is now trapping more heat, causing a rise in surface temperatures until we reach a new, higher equilibrium.

And now you see why tropospheric temperatures are so critical to AGW modeling. If the troposphere is not heating up, and by the data in this post it isn't, then the proposed mechanism for AGW is in big trouble. Not only that, but the models forecasting gloom and despair are also completely off.

What Steve McIntyre's data shows is that tropical tropospheric temperatures are not increasing significantly. In fact, they're down compared to reference temperatures.

Does this mean AGW is not happening? No, but it raises questions both about the mechanics of our climate, and about the predictive value of the models. Asking those questions is the first step to learning the truth about our effect on this planet.

Posted by Rich
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Movie Quiz 3: Tuesday’s Answer

Congratulations to Cathy from Domestic Psychology who correctly guessed Barry Corbin.

Recently appearing in the Oscar winning No Country for Old Men, Barry Corbin has had a long career playing nice men with a gruff exterior, and not so nice men with a gruff exterior. The third clue, concerning mechanical bulls comes from two of his earlier projects, Stir Crazy, and Urban Cowboy. The final clue, of course, comes from WarGames.

Posted by Rich
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Name the Movie 3: Tuesday’s Final Clue

Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks.

Posted by Rich
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Hollywood thinks Roman Polanski should be forgiven for his crimes but wants to keep punishing Mel Gibson for his.

How odd.

Posted by Rich
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Name the Movie 3: Tuesday’s Third Clue

Mechanical bulls? Sure! Two of 'em in fact.

Posted by Rich
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Open Letters to Jimmy Duncan, Bob Corker, and Lamar Alexander

Mr. Duncan,(Sen. Alexander, Sen. Corker)

I play poker. I also vote.

In 2006, under cover of darkness, Sen. Bill Frist attached the UIGEA to a port security bill.


Because he didn't have the votes to get it passed in open session of the Senate.

It was an unpopular bill, unsupported by the majority of Americans, but Sen. Frist decided that he knew better than his constituents, so he used strong arm tactics and back room politics to get it passed. Those tactics will be remembered and will come back to haunt him when he runs for governor.

Do you also believe that you know what's good for me better than I do? Are you going to try and protect me from myself?

That's not your job. It is the job of government to protect its members from the actions of others. It is not the job of the government to protect its members from their own actions. That's the difference between being a citizen and a subject. You are not my caretaker; you are my representative.

Although you voted in favor of H.R.4411, I ask that you support HR 2610, the Skill Game Protection Act, that clearly exempts the great game of poker from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). Poker is a game of skill; while there is a component of luck involved, there's luck in every competitive endeavor. The key factor is whether skill wins out over luck over the long haul.

Take NASCAR for instance. Drivers are competing for a cash prize, and their ability to win depends primarily on their skill at maneuvering their car around the track. But how many times have we seen one of the top drivers get caught up in somebody else's accident, and lose all chance of winning? How many times have we seen a driver lose a lap because he was trapped in the pits when a caution came out? Luck determined his outcome for that race, but over time, a top driver's skill will overcome any bad luck he may have, and he'll win a championship. Just ask Jeff Gordon or Richard Petty.

It is exactly the same with the game of poker. Luck determines the cards you are dealt; over time, every player will get the same good hands and bad hands. To win consistently, you must have skill. You not only have to be able to evaluate the worth of your hand, you must be able to evaluate the worth of your opponent's hand. This is a skill that takes years of practice to refine, and it's why the same names keep showing up at the top of the money winners list year after year.

Poker, like racing, is a skill game; it's not gambling.

I also ask that you support H.R. 5767, recently introduced legislation that places a moratorium on the enactment of the badly flawed UIGEA regulations.

As regulations to implement UIGEA come close to their effective date, our nation's financial institutions are warning the Congress that these regulations are unworkable. Louise Roseman of the Federal Reserve testified that it will be very difficult to enforce the law "without a more bright line on what is included as unlawful Internet gambling". Even if this "bright line" were defined, however, she stated that payment systems are not designed to perform this type of function. Representatives from the American Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Financial Services Roundtable and Wells Fargo fully concurred with this assessment. Dozens of other banks have submitted similar comments to the Federal Reserve and to the Treasury Department. The principal comment of the American Bankers Association is a concise summary: "We maintain that the UIGEA is a fundamentally flawed response to those challenges."

I encourage you to cosponsor H.R. 5767. Banks should be responsible for managing their deposits and their loan portfolios, not for policing the behaviors of Americans in their own homes.

I also encourage you to support HR 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act that regulates online poker via stringent licensing regulations for poker site operators.

These safeguards will work - the June 8, 2007 House Financial Services Committee hearing on Internet gaming proved conclusively that Internet poker can be effectively regulated. Note that neither HR 2610 nor HR 2046 forces any state to permit online poker, as states can opt out if they wish.

What's most important to me is your support for my rights. Please respond to this letter and let me know if you will support my freedoms. I will be watching your actions on this issue closely. I hope that I, along with my nearly one million fellow Poker Players Alliance members, can count on your support.

Thank you for your consideration.

Posted by Rich
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Name the Movie 3: Tuesday’s Second Clue

He's worked with the man with no name and with Eugene Jerome.

He was in his first movie in 1980 and is still working today.

Posted by Rich
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Name the Movie 3: Tuesday’s First Clue

He's played prison wardens, sheriffs, and generals. His gruff style and bluff exterior are used to good effect in any part he takes on, whether he's trying to stop a war or win a rodeo.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Today’s Winner!

Congrats to Barry, from Inn of the Last Home, who correctly guessed Terry Kiser.

Character actor Terry Kiser is the first clue for this week's puzzle. Remember, you can Google and IMDB all you want for the daily puzzles, but try the weekly puzzle is all up to you.

Posted by Rich
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