Good news!

Mar. 23rd, 2011 08:04 pm
erinlefey: (Bouncy SG)

Marca got the news today that as of next Wednesday, her temp assignment will be converted to actual employment. She'll be a permanent employee of LegalZoom!

Go, Dear Spouse!!!!!
erinlefey: (Default)

"I don't believe in evolution! I mean, has anyone ever found a half-ameoba, half-human?"
"Hmm. Probably a sea sponge, I'd think."
"Fine. But no one has ever seen a half-sea sponge, half-human!"
"Some sort of eel, I'd imagine."
"Half-eel, half human! No? Didn't think so!"
"Fish. Got the whole 'limbs' thing going on."
"Half-fish, half-human?"
"Uh...half-mouse, half-human?"
"Prolly a lemur of some kind."
"Half-lemur, half-human? No such thing, right?"
"Pretty sure we're at monkey, now."
"But no half-monkey, half-human, right?"
"None that I can think of, no."
erinlefey: (Default)

AKA: Mentos and Diet Coke cause the deaths of millions

Do I have your attention? Not yet? I will. I'd like to share with you the most recent way I've learned that the Earth can fuck you up.

Exploding Lakes.

Technically they're called limnic eruptions. I include the link so you'll realize I'm not making up this thing out of my fevered imagination, go check it out later.

Here's what's involved:
1) A lake with CO2 (carbon dioxide) saturated water coming in.
2) A lake where the local temperature doesn't really change much. Think equatorial.
3) A volcano or fault line nearby that can make the lake rattle on occasion.

That's it! A recipe for disaster! Why? Well, CO2 saturated water is heavier than oxygenated water, so it sinks to the bottom. In the overwhelming majority of lakes, seasonal differences change the temperature of the lake, and it "turns over", gradually releasing the stored gases and moving the oxygenated water throughout the lake.

In three lakes in the world, Lake Monoun, Lake Nyos, and Lake Kivu, CO2 saturated water comes in and the lake does not "turn over" seasonally. This means the CO2 stays at the bottom of the lake, under increasing pressure. The water at the bottom of the lake becomes saturated with the carbon dioxide over the course of years, pressurized like the soda in a bottle of Diet Coke.

Then something nearby rattles. A fault line. A minor earthquake. A mudslide. Whatever. It rattles the lake enough that a bit of the pressurized CO2 saturated water comes to the surface. That acts as the Mentos in the Diet Coke bottle. Boom. The entire lake surface then looks like the bottle top of that Diet Coke bottle. A surface-wide geyser of carbonated liquid shoots hundreds of feet in the air. The lake level can drop by as much as three meters due to the removal of all of that pressurized CO2.

Awesome, huh? Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters should totally do this!

Well, except for the mass death. Why? CO2 is heavier than oxygen. All of that realized CO2 comes out as a huge invisible cloud, and it hugs the ground. It will gradually be dissipated into the surrounding atmosphere. But until it does, it is pulled by gravity, slowly coasting downhill.

Did I mention that animals, including my favorite species Homo Sapiens, cannot breathe CO2?

Lake Monoun's eruption in 1984 killed 37 people. Lake Nyos' eruption in 1986 killed about 1,800. The latter eruption released 80 million cubic meters of CO2. The cloud passed through valleys and villages, where people realized they were breathing oddly, were briefly puzzled, and then fell over dead. People were killed as far as 15 miles away

Now here's the kicker: The third lake, Lake Kivu, hasn't erupted in centuries so far as we know. Geologists, now that they know what to look for, have solid evidence of mass extinctions in the area every 1000 years or so. Lake Kivu is 2000 times larger than Lake Nyos. There are 2 million people living along it's shores. How's that for a potential disaster?

There's a way to degass Lake Kivu. Pretty easy, actually. Stick a huge pipe in it like a straw, pump up some of the water from the bottom, and as the CO2 saturated water comes up, it does the Mentos/Diet Coke trick into the air. You can even turn off the pump at that point, it will be self-sustaining.

But the cost is high, as you'd need dozens of such pipes. And it's hard to find money for anything in that region, let alone for some hypothetical future disaster avoidance. So, sometime in our lifetime or in our children's lifetimes, millions of people will die in Africa at one instant, due to an exploding lake.

Earth is a terrifying place to live.
erinlefey: (space)

It gets better.

250 years ago, the majority of the American colonies thought that people with certain skin colors were barely human at all. In fact, the upcoming Constitution actually specified that they were worth three fifths of other people. Women were regarded as little more than property, and had no say in the world other than the influence they might have over men in their personal lives. Homosexuality was hidden and shamed, not to mention a criminal act.

It gets better.

200 years ago, the new United States of America was divided over the issue of slavery, which would fester into a civil war. Women were still unable to vote. Homosexuality was still shamed into hiding and illegal.

It gets better.

150 years ago, the United States was recovering from the civil war. Slavery was abolished by presidential order, although the lives of the former slaves were little different than the way they had been before. (Slavery would still be constitutionally legal for another five years, and black people still could not vote.) Women were becoming more vocal and outspoken in the public sphere. Women's Rights conventions were being held. Homosexuality was becoming more common, but still hidden and shamed.

It gets better.

100 years ago, black Americans were legally allowed to vote nationwide, although they were pressured in many areas not to do so. Dozens of black Americans were lynched every year. Women were able to vote legally in many states, but not all. Birth control information was legally classified as obscene. Homosexuality was still in the shadows, with the first gay rights organization still 14 years away.

It gets better.

50 years ago, Rosa Parks was only recently told to move to the back of the bus. Segregation was common, with "Coloreds Only" bathrooms and water fountains. Sit-ins were common to challenge segregation in businesses. Laws forbidding interracial marriage were common. Women had gained the right to vote, but still experienced common discrimination. Birth control pills were approved by the FDA. The first national gay rights organization had been formed. No state had yet decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults in private. Homosexuality is listed as a mental disorder.

It gets better.

Today, women can vote and control their own bodies. There are still acts of discrimination against women, but they are more rare than they have ever been. The President of the United States is an African-American, with a white mother and black father. Discrimination against people of color still occurs, but is denounced when it happens. Homosexual behavior is no longer a crime, nor a mental disorder. Several states allow same-sex marriage.

Never doubt that things get better. No one vote, no one person, makes the difference, any more than one drop of water carves a canyon. But over time, all of us together, form a raging river that the rocks of intolerance cannot resist.

It gets better.


Oct. 5th, 2010 07:52 pm
erinlefey: (Disgruntled)

I've possibly made a horrible mistake.

I just discussed the amusing concept of micronations with my Dear Spouse. The things we find on Wikipedia! Oh, the jocularity!

I believe she is filling out citizenship applications as we speak.
erinlefey: (Default)

Sounds complicated, and I don't understand. Here's Optimus Prime doing "The Evolution of Dance" instead.

erinlefey: (Angry Shadowed)

Turns out Ken Mehlman is gay.

Now, there's only about 10 of you who will know, or care, who Ken is. He was the head of the Republican National Committee. He was a major advisor for George W. Bush. He has been a major player in the anti-GLBT movements of the last 20 years.

Apparently he someohw didn't know he was gay. Oddly, everyone who watched politics knew he was gay. As John Aravosis of Americablog said, he was apparently the only closeted straight guy in politics, as he'd never answer the question whether or not he was gay or straight.

Assorted 'major figures in the GLBT movement' are supporting him. Coming out is tough, after all. It's challenging. Show him respect for his conflict!


Let me reiterate. FUCK NO.

You are an outcast, Ken. Not welcome. You don't get to attack people all of your career, and the embrace them afterwards. You played a part in harming untold millions of people. Work to fix that. Apologize. Make restitution. When you have helped just ONE more person than you have hurt...I'll welcome you.

Until then... Fuck off.
erinlefey: (Default)

I'm really, really trying to avoid the "Democrats=Good, Republicans=Bad" arguments. It gets us nowhere. Life's more complex than that. There are great views on each side, if they are analyzed carefully. There's also a lot of stupid views on both sides.

That being said, there is a particular...thing...going on with Republicans right now that just baffles the crap out of me. During the ongoing Supreme Court confirmation hearings, top Republicans complained about a judicial activist, someone whose views were out of the mainstream, a judicial philosphy that concerned them greatly.

No, not Elena Kagan. They were talking about THURGOOD MARSHALL. They mentioned him 35 times. As a side note, Justice Marshall was already confirmed by the Senate...43 years ago. The man died in 1993.

I don't get it.

Elena Kagan is going to be confirmed. It's pretty well guaranteed, unless she sets the table on fire during questioning or jumps onto the table to do a strip-tease. Republicans could say nothing, or read a magazine, it wouldn't change the outcome one whit.

So why, repeatedly, would they talk badly about one of the most well-known and honored justices of the last century? One who happens to be a major Civil Rights leader. Who is the first African-American justice on the Supreme Court. He's the lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education and won! Ended "separate but equal"! Appeared before the Supreme Court 32 times, and won 29 of them! Won Browder v. Gayle, which ended the Montgomery bus boycott! Seriously, go look up Thurgood Marshall in Wikipedia. He was crucially involved in so many civil rights victories.

Republicans want to clarify that they are against THIS?

And, just to make the optics worse, one of the Repblicans leading these charges is Jeff Sessions. Properly known as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III from Alabama. You can't get a better "Old South" name than that.

I mean, was there a point to this? All I can see is cranky old white people fussing about the world being different from the 1950's, and they don't like it, with a nice dose of "uppity black people" thrown in.

Is there something there other than that? I really want there to be. Help me out.
erinlefey: (Default)

I was having dinner out with some friends at a Mexican restaurant yesterday, when we noticed an odd addition on the menu. One of the breakfast tacos had, next to it in bold print, "TRY IT WITH HAM!". Seemed odd to us. A little mor forward and punchy than is usually associated with breakfast tacos.

But then, we realized that the phrase really works in any circumstance, anywhere, and is especially useful in the workplace environment. For instance:

"I'm sorry your vehicle repair wasn't done to your satisfaction. If you'll bring it back to the dealership, I'll contact the Service Manager and they's TRY IT WITH HAM!"

"All right, I've corrected the billing on your insurance policy. Remember, next month you can pay by check, debit card, or TRY IT WITH HAM!"

"I've reset your password, so type in TRY IT WITH HAM!. Yes, it is case-sensitive."

Comment with how you can incorporate TRY IT WITH HAM! into your personal and work life!

Music meme?

Jun. 8th, 2010 05:28 pm
erinlefey: (Default)

Lots of music memes going around. What is my most hated song of all time? Easy.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, by Gordon Lightfoot.

I'm not linking to it, nor embedding a video to it. I suspect that it is a proto-virus, equipped to cause chaos in any system, human or electronic. The things that man did to the English language in that song should be criminal.
erinlefey: (Default)

Deaths come in threes, as I'm sure you well know. The final one of the current trio passed away. Many regards to:

Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, and Rue Mcclanahan.
erinlefey: (Angry Shadowed)

They just had to deal with "crush videos".

If you don't know what they are...I envy you. I now know. (I'll define it in the comments if you really want to know.) And I have never come across a concept that literally made my stomach spasm and attempt to vomit based on the IDEA. I initially said that I hate to be a member of the human race now. I've rethought that. People into that are not human. Y'all know that I'm a live-and-let-live, your-kink-is-OK kind of girl. But if I find someone who thinks such things are nifty, I'm rebooting them into the next reincarnation.

Comment away. But don't joke. My sense of humor is absent on this subject.
erinlefey: (Default)

No, no, no. Not THAT "The Fog". You must be thinking of the classic from the 1980's. This is the one from 2005, the anti-classic. We watched the "unrated" version on DVD. We're not sure why it was listed as unrated. There was certainly nothing there to indicate any reason for such a rating, unless the rating board simply got bored halfway through the rating process and died right there in the screening room.

Review below, and aye, there be spoilers here! Of course, you don't actually want to see it anyway.

Cue up Remy Zero's 'Somebody Save Me', would you please?
Read more... )


Apr. 6th, 2010 08:10 pm
erinlefey: (Angry Shadowed)

"Any Scrabble fan will tell you that knowing how to spell Beyonce, Timbuktu, or Quorn would never help you win the game.
But now, to the horror of the purists, the game's makers are throwing out the old rule book and allowing proper nouns.
Worse still, not only will the names of places, trademarks and people be permissible, but even words spelled backwards or placed unconnected to other pieces."


Did I mention, "No"?

Apparently the game will still include the 'older' rules. That will be the version I play. I'm open-minded, but proper nouns in Scrabble? UNCONNECTED words, you can just plop down anywhere? BACKWARDS? Over my dead body.

EDIT: The lovely and erudite [ profile] emilydm did her research and discovered that Mattel was being mildly disingenuous. They're listing these rules as part of a "Scrabble Trickster" game they're releasing in the UK. Hasbro, who owns the US rights, has no interest in such shenanigans. Whew!
erinlefey: (Default)

"Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus." - John Fugelsang
erinlefey: (Default)

Bunch of fuss going on recently, socially/politically/everything-ally. Try this for an antidote: A guy decided to use the Internet's power of connectivity to arrange a beautiful original choral work, with over 100 singers in 12 countries. As near as I can tell, none of them have ever met each other in person.

"I’d like to take the virtual choir a step further, and see if we can really start to make some delicate, nuanced music together. Our goal this time will be to sing with unified dynamics, vowels, and cutoffs, and to use only a conductor and a piano reduction as our guide.

First, I’ll record a conductor track this week, with me conducting and a friend playing the reduction on the piano. I’ll also record a separate video where I’ll discuss the piece, and try to illustrate a few musical concepts that everyone should try to achieve while performing their individual parts.

Charles Anthony Silvestri will post a video talking about his translation of the text. He’ll also speak each of the words with pure, perfect Latin vowels.

Then, Scottie will make individual part videos, one side of the screen showing the sheet music for the part you’ve selected to sing (soprano, alto, tenor, or bass) and one half of the screen with my conductor track."

erinlefey: (Angry Shadowed)

A 25 year-old just told me I had to lower her auto insurance rates because President Obama said I had to.

She said this seriously.

After inquiring why she would think this, she said she saw it online.

I pleaseantly advised that this was not the case, and that we could look at other ways of reducing her premium costs (while not going into the Constitutional ramifications of the Executive branch of the Federal government imposing decisions upon state-regulated auto insurance).

She then asked me why something would be online if it wasn't true.

I weep.
erinlefey: (Bouncy SG)

I would like to report that I beat [ profile] terriblelynne at Scrabble this morning.

That is all.
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