Archive for July, 2010

 

What Burst Bubble?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal has a nice spread of a house for sale in Gloucester. It’s on the water with beautiful views. The house has some nice amenities, but a rather ordinary looking kitchen. The article explains that the owners paid $125,000 for it in 1977 and are asking $2,650,000 now. It further explains that they undertook some renovations in the “late 1980′s early 1990′s” and that the home has new windows.

Putting aside the supposed renovations, for the home to appreciate in value to $2.65 million, it would have had to appreciate at an average rate of 9.7%, which is a pretty incredible return for a piece of property. According to Wolfram Alpha, the inflation rate in the United States for the period from 1977 to 2010 is 272.6%. By that measure, the house should currently be worth $338k, or an average annual rate of 3.06%. But the family did put in some renovations. Are we to believe that the value of those renovations were $2.3 million? Perhaps we could believe that had the house been totally dilapidated when they bought it, but they lived in it for a decade before beginning their renovations, meaning it couldn’t have been a gut rehab kind of thing.

Nope, the housing boom is alive and well. And it will continue so long as the federal government continues to put the full weight of its muscle behind the housing market.

 
 

Dirty Pool

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

I’m beginning to despise Google.

I started noticing that Google appears to have disabled YouTube when its embedded in a web page for mobile safari. Used to be that on the iPhone it would show a graphic of the video, and when tapped would open the YouTube app. On the iPad, it would actually play in the webpage, with the option to go full screen. As of now, so far as I can tell, nothing appears at all.

Please let me know in the comments if you’re experiencing the same thing. Just scroll down a few entries and tell me if you can see the video of me reading the Declaration of Independence on your iPhone or iPad.

It strikes me as awfully suspicious that they should do this simultaneously with launching the new mobile YouTube site. I’m guessing what they’re trying to do is to get you to log in to your Google credentials in your web browser so they can associate your mobile web surfing with your desktop web surfing. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google shut down the YouTube app altogether. In fact, I’d be surprised if they didn’t.

Google really is evil.

 
 

Huh?

Friday, July 16th, 2010

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Via the Presurfer.

 
 

Naked Pictures At The Airport

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

So I went to Chicago this weekend. I flew Southwest into Midway, a great flying experience overall. I’d never flown into Midway before, and its a great little airport that’s right close to downtown. Highly recommend it.

Southwest just started flying out of Boston, and as a result, they’re the only airline flying domestic flights out of the nominally International E terminal. I suspect that is why this section of the airport had those full body scanner naked picture machines installed, instead of the normal metal detectors.

So despite the airport being pretty non-crowded (is there an opposite word for crowded?), the line to go through security was painfully slow. It’s probably accurate to say they take 3-5 times as long to get through as the normal machines. You have to stand with your legs apart and your hands on your head while the machine renders a 3-D image of your naked body. Oh sure, the signs tell you your privacy is assured, but I don’t believe it.

Its only a matter of time before a cache of these images winds up online. I watched as a father and his 13 yr old son went through the machines in front of me. I couldn’t help but think that these machines make being an airline screener a pedophile’s dream job. I cringed as I watched the 13 yr old spread his legs and pose for the naked picture. I’m reminded of the posture photos that were taken of college kids back in the 1960′s. I never understood how people were convinced to pose for those things. And yet they did, in the thousands. History repeats itself I guess.

In any event, I requested the pat-down. I believe I told the TSA woman I didn’t want nude photos taken, and would like the pat-down. They had me walk through the machine to the other side, where I received a lengthy pat down from a man. I was annoyed that they wouldn’t walk me around the machine, but I didn’t put up a fuss about it. Maybe I should have. I assume that it wasn’t scanning anything as I walked through. During the pat-down, they asked me if I had anything in my pockets, and I told them my wallet was in my pocket. I didn’t put it through the scanner because it was full of money. A different TSA agent took my wallet and thumbed through it in front of me and handed it back to me, telling me to hold it out while I got the pat-down. The TSA agent who did teh pat-down must have been 25 or so, and he seemed nervous and maybe a little embarrassed doing it. He wore rubber gloves, and literally patted ever inch of me other than my junk, because terrorists would never hide a bomb there. In any event, it eventually ended and I gathered my things and proceeded to my gate. Oddly enough, they never put me through the metal detector.

These machines are seriously stupid and need to be removed. While I was the only person requesting the pat-down, I was not the only person annoyed. The father of the 13 year old told the TSA agent that they either needed to figure out how to be more efficient with these machines or they needed to go. And it generally seemed that everyone in line was annoyed with the process. I’m going to take a wild guess and say these machines get dumped in a landfill in a year or so, but what do I know. I would have thought that Sarbanes Oxley would have been repealed by now after it single-handedly killed the IPO market, but it lives on. Maybe congress will double down and force everybody through the machines and eliminate the pat-down option, as they’ve done in London.

 
 

Declaration of Independence

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Check out this fat guy reading the Declaration of Independence, on an iPad no less…

More pics here.

UPDATE: Marshall’s write-up is here.

 
 

Modern Declaration Of Independence

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

May God save us…

 
 

Ugly

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Last year, I made the case against Sonyo Sotomayor based on the fact that she was ugly. Now it looks like the meme has caught on, with respect to Kagan:

Inside and out, Elena Kagan is vile and ugly (and I rarely, if ever, comment on a woman’s unfortunate genetic endowments but will forego that compact just this once, her outer being more likely a product of her inner self.)

I’m afraid I would have to agree with the sentiment.