Friday, July 22, 2005

He's Dead Jim...

For those who didn't hear, James Doohan, "Scotty", died Wednesday at the age of 85.


Two Years to live...

I'm currenlty working with a physics experiment called CMS (Compact Muon System). This is a large collaborative experiment with 1000s of experimenters all over the planet. I'm working this summer on helping to build a tier 2 computing center here in Nebraska. All the things I didn't like about being on DO are magnified a thousand times on CMS. Thousands of people all working on a single experiement and hardly anyone wants to help anyone else. So what do you get? People re-doing tons of work with hardly any oversight. I hate it.

Nothing I've done this summer has felt like I've added a bit of wisdom to the project. My entire existance could be replaced by a fairly adept email bot. Its horrible. So where does that leave me? I can't stand being in a position where I feel useless, so what I thought would be my professional future here at UNL is looking very unappealing. My physics career is back to two-years to live.

I'm on a teaching contract here at UNL to teach pre-meds. Its a fine job and I enjoy teaching, but I don't think I'd care for teaching at anywhere but a fairly large 4-year college. I can't get a job at at a large 4-year school without an impressive research resume. It's appearing more and more that I'm just not a good researcher (at least in HEP), hell I don't think I'm a very good physicist period. So my entire career as physicist might just stop in two years.

So now I have to figure out where to go from here and the clock is once again ticking.

When will this shit start getting easier?

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Face of Evil

As most of my friends know I have two sisters, a 'good' sister and a 'bad sister'. We've recently had another chapter in the saga that is my bad sister.

Last week I called my mom to tell her happy birthday. Almost in mid-expression she asks,"So, what are you doing this weekend?" Being a little slow on the uptake I said, "I don't know, why?" Big mistake. My bad sister, who lives in central Nebraska had gotten evicted. My mother was under the belief that she had just a week to move out. "She needs to be out by Saturday."

"Aren't there laws about how much time you have after an eviction?", I naively ask. "She asked for more time but they wouldn't give it to her", my mother hotly replied.

So my mother wants me and my wife to once again rush up home to help my good-for-nothing sister haul 5 metric tons of sh*t from one place to another. I was, to say the least, pissed.
Now you may be saying to yourself, "This Carl seems like a prick. Why not go help your poor sister out?" The history is a little deep to go into, but my sister is a user of the first order. She does nothing but live on the kindness of family and strangers. If there was ever a reason why I can't abide socialism, it is my sister and the example she provides.

So I call my mother back the next night and say "I can't, in good conscious, come help her move." Her reply was understated and sullen, but the message was clear, "If you don't do it, who will?"

I'd be happy to help if I thought it would change my sister's behavior in the slightest. She's 43 years old and acts like she's 10. For the past 25 years my folks have been going above and beyond the call of duty to bail her out. Now the entire family is sick of it, only my mother keeps enabling her to behave this way. My folks are in dire financial straits and can barely get by even without the added load of my sister's incredible mooching.

To add hot sauce to the diarrhea, my good sister was home visiting when all this broke. She too refused to help and told her children that it was up to them to help or not. They refused to help outright. My mother was completely unforgiving about the whole deal. She even stopped talking to my good sister because she was so upset that she wasn't helping.

I've come to the conclusion that my bad sister isn't stupid or lazy, she's just plain evil. I mean a Dr. No, Goldfinger, Darth Vader, Britney Spears level of EVIL.

Maybe I'll put to digital print some of my sister's more incredible activities and see if you agree. Or maybe I won't. You'll just have to trust me.

By the way, my sister was evicted June 9 and the landlord had already given her an extra week to get out.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Liberal Media

I've always been one that maintains that the mainstream media is quite leftist. My more liberal friends have claimed I'm nuts. Well I'm starting to come around. Why? Well I've been introduced to the world of podcasting and real leftist media.

I subscribed to a bunch of podcasts that sounded interesting. One of them is called '2600, the Hackers Quarterly: Off the Wall'. I thought "Cool, a L33t computer show." My mistake. Basically the guys on the the show talk about politics from what I would catagorize as an anarchist viewpoint. Their overwhelming contention is that all government is bad.

I appreciate the change of perspective, and I'll continue to listen to these New York elitists, but some of the things they say make me question their understanding of reality. I know that I'm taking them out of context, but I assure you I'm not coloring the meaning by much.

Some quotes from the show anchor (Emmanual Goldstein, aka Eric Corley) include:
About the bombings in London: "Tony Blair has succeeded in bringing a little Iraq to London."

I see, so the bombings are Tony Blair's fault. Stop the investigations, we now know Tony Blair is behind this horrendous act.

"All the media could talk about after the London bombings was how Wall Street would be affected."

I was watching MSNBC after the bombing and yes, they talked a lot about what stocks would be affected by the bombing. Why? IT WAS THEIR FINANCE SHOW. THAT'S WHAT THEY TALK ABOUT. No other new outlets or shows even mentioned the affect of the bombing on the markets. One of the other guys on the show pointed this out and was discounted immediately.

"...this cop racially profiled himself he said, 'How does a small Chinese guy like me fit in a car like this?' I was like, why are you being racist towards yourself. Apparently this is something you get taught in the (Philadelphia) police department."

Nice. No Comment.

There's a real undercurrent of distrust with these guys. They distrust the government, they distrust corporations, they distrust the mainstream media. After listening for a couple of shows its clear that they have no faith in anything other then themselves. Sad.

They make many good points, mostly about personal freedom and privacy, but their tone of distrust really undermines their credibility with me.

Another show I've listened to is 'DemocracyNow'. The 2600 guy interviewed Amy Goodwin from Democracy Now about their show. Amy was very angry with the media and their 'complicity' with the Bush administration. She went on and on about all the thing that the Bush administration has done that she takes issue with. Fine. Then she says "But we're not partisan. We go after both sides." I said, "Great, let's hear some examples of what she's gone after liberals for." She then gave examples from an interview she had with Bill Clinton while he was still in office. Everyone of her 'hard hitting' questions were basically attacking Clinton for being to far to the right.

Basically she goes 'after both sides' by attacking conservatism in any party.

My favorite quote: "We're supposed to be there to bring out the full diversity of opinion...Its not just about a Truth, but about the many Truths."

The implication being that there's no such thing as 'truth' and if there was she wasn't responsible to report it.

These podcasts are pretty interesting and very eye opening. I'll probably continue to report on these shows in the coming months.


Monday, July 11, 2005


I heard this morning (written Monday) that the death toll in London now stands at 52. I'm as saddened by this event as I was by 9/11. Its even more frustrating that England was attacked simply because of their support for the U.S.

After one of these events I often hear the rhetorical lament of "why do terrorists do these things? What do they want?" It may be strange, but I have no doubt why terrorists do the things they do. Terrorists are impotent people that can't find their own solutions so they strike out at those who appear to have what they need hoping to get what they desire.

You can see the same behavior in undisiplined children. Go to your favorite toy store and watch the parent with the spoiled child. The child, upon not receiving what they desire will lash out. At that moment its no longer a struggle for what they asked for (a toy) but a struggle to achieve control (getting their way). Its the same with terrorists. Its no longer about what they say they desire, now its about gaining control. Spain capitulated to the terrorists after the Madrid bombing. Certainly the ire of the terrorists will move on, until Spain again tries to assert its will against them, then they will once again be subjected to attacks.

Its clearly a case of it being easier to destroy than to create. Its easier to demand solutions than to work towards goals. Terrorists are trying to get the U.S. and England to hand them the solutions they have no ability to work towards. Its not about policy. Its not about troops. Its about control and discipline.

I don't hold any illusions about the U.S. being a purely altruistic country with nothing but goodness in our hearts, but I know we're better than those S.O.Bs that blow themselves up for a cause that's nothing more than a protracted temper tantrum.

I hope our good friends in Britian find justice and help to move us toward a world where this type of things is only read about in history class.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fun with plastic models...

Well, it's time for a post. Here's some shots of my AT-ST that I bought on my Birthday.