Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Voter turnout update

Following up on yesterdays post, the voter turnouts for the other states where protests are growing (remember the national average was 40.7%):
  • Indiana - 37.3%
  • Ohio - 44.6%

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

But how many people voted for Brett Farve for MVP?

To start with, let me be clear about one thing. I don't live in Wisconsin, I don't work in Wisconsin, I can't even spell Wisconsin the same way twice. As such, I don't believe I get to have an opinion about what is happening in Wisconsin. Sure, I can have a personal opinion about the utility or futility of public unions, and I can reasonably ponder what I would do if the same changes were happening in my state, but the fact of the matter is that this is between the voters of Wisconsin and the duly elected governor of Wisconsin.

The key here the phase "duly elected". A review of Governor Walker's speeches and interviews leading up to the election make it very clear what his intentions were. Anybody who was reasonably paying attention should have had a idea of what would happen if he was elected and given a majority in the legislature. And sure enough, Governor Walker was elected with 52% of the popular vote, a full 123,000 votes clear of his opponent and a GOP majority of assembly and senators were elected, many of them by very large majorities. The 2010 voter turnout  for Wisconsin was a healthy 51.7%, far above the national average of 40.9%.

Flash forward to the present. Recent polls show that 51% of voters in Wisconsin disapprove of Walker and another survey puts support for the union as high as 67%. But here's the interesting thing. When you crunch all the numbers, Governor Walker was elected by 25.7% of the voting age population of the state of Wisconsin. Luckily for him, Tom Barrett only managed to wooed 23.2% of the population and the Governor's mansion went to Walker.  Assuming that Walker's voters still back him, that Barett's voters oppose him and we take the more conservative of the surveys above it follows that 23% of non-voters in 2010 now support Walker and 27% of oppose him. If just 4% of the slim majority of non-voters who oppose Walker had voted for Barett, he would have gained 175,561 votes  and the governorship. Again, I think its important that Walker didn't pull any fast ones on the population - he campaigned on his policies and for the most part has implemented them. So why now does the population react?  The futures of many people and many political careers hinge on the 4% who could not be bothered in November, yet rage against the machine now.  I'm the last person to say that people don't have a right, nay, an obligation to protest grievances against the government, but I have a little bit of a problem with the empty protests of people who should have seen this coming and did nothing in response.  In this upcoming election season, please, educate yourselves and for the love of crumbcake VOTE!.  The only sure thing about the future is that some crazy shit is going to go down in 2013, and if you aren't part the solution, you have a problem.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stranahans Whiskey Sour

We made lemon pepper orzo tonight, and we used one of those large juicy lemons that are common in the supermarket this time of year. I had enough juice left over for a whisky sour, so I whipped one up with Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey. If you are like me, you probably like your Stranahans neat, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work very well in mixed drinks.
  • 1 1/2 ounce Stranahans Colorado Whiskey (accept no substitutes)
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup*
  • 3/4 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 dash bitters (optional)
Normally the recipe for a sour is 3:2:1 (booze, lemon juice, syrup), but on the advice of Jordan Kaye and Marshall Altier in How to Booze, I went with more whiskey and dialed back the lemon juice (or upped the syrup if you prefer). Bitters are not usually in a sour, but I've found that they are never a bad idea when whiskey is involved. Shake very well with ice and enjoy.

* Simple syrup is umm... simple.  1 part sugar to 1 part water, nuke for 15 to 20 seconds until the sugar is dissolved and then let cool.  Make it on demand, or toss together a large batch and refrigerate it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thats no moon, its a virus!

This is the winner of the International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge: a 3D visualization of the HIV virus.  The grey stuff are host proteins, and the orange stuff is the virus proteins.  Check out the video for some animation.  So beautiful, yet I look forward to when we destroy the little bastard forever [visualization gallery].

2012 Daytona 500 rescheduled to avoid conflict with Super Bowl

Let there be no doubt as to which sport is the much bigger fish in the pond.  NASCAR is trying to spin it as an improvement for the schedule, but really they know that even though the Daytona 500 is insanely popular, they will lose nearly all their eyeballs for the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beer by beer tour of the United States

Beautiful stuff from GOOD (click on the link for their flashy webby thing).  Note the qualifier: best tasting, sustainably brewed, independently owned, community-oriented.  You could spend hours just debating those qualifiers let alone the beers behind them.   There is much to quibble with on the list - they seem to focus on the rock star breweries where I know they could probably come up with some better choices that fit the spirit of the criteria a little closer (among these: Lagunitas, New Belgium, Flying Dog, Dogfish Head, and Big Sky Brewing).  As far as Colorado is concerned, New Belgium is good, don't get me wrong, but focus on it and you will ignore the other four big independents of Northern Colorado:  Oskar Blues, Lefthand, Odells and Boulder Beer.   Truly, we are blessed.  I approve the selections from my other two "home" states - beer in Wyoming beings and ends with Snake River Brewing, and there is nothing wrong with Squatters, though I would toss in Red Rock as a worthy foe.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Android App: Circle Launcher

Just installed this, but I'm already a huge fan. It is a home screen widget that pops up a (dare I say, MacOS like?) launcher for apps, contacts or folders. Its clean and useful, and I already used it to replace the individual contact buttons on my home screen. Give it a shot, I don't think you will be disappointed. [Android Market].

PS: Hey Google. Maybe I didn't look close enough, but I don't see a single option to show the QR code on the web market. WTF up with that? Also, Why only a "tweet" this link on the market page? Not even a buzz widget? Get on it, give us the HTML code and other social mediaish things that are damn near mandatory these days. I thought that maybe AppBrain would fall out of use when market.android.com came online, but I still use it to get the information you won't give me. For shame.

Flu Shots

I managed to get the flu this week, so I've been down in the dumps since Wednesday, both trying to fight the virus and making sure the rest of the family didn't get it.  I got the flu shot las November, so its clear that whoever has to make the choice of which strains to attack got it wrong.   Can you imagine what sort of pressure that guy (or girl, I suppose) must be under?  Not only if you get it wrong people get sick anyway, but on top of that you just reinforce the idea that the flu shot is useless anyway.  People depend most on their own experiences to guide their decisions, and if you repeatedly see people get sick with the shot then you will naturally assume that the shot is worthless.  To be fair, I think they get it right more often then they get it wrong, but we don't notice the years when they get it right, because not being sick is normal, and it doesn't emerge as a noticeable pattern.  So next year, will the people around me toss down $15 bucks for a flu shot?   Will I?

Let me answer that question - yes.  Flu shots save lives, for you and for the at risk people close to you.  Yes, they missed this strain, but they might have squashed some other strains that we haven't seen.  And don't forget, this year's shot had H1N1 in it, and we know that bastard is out there.  You are right, sometimes they get it wrong, but the important thing is that they usually get it right.  Say yes to the shot.