I have not. Vanished that is. I’m at a job, near Chicago but far enough that I’m not staying at home, starting early finishing late … and the hotel has iffy connection. Anyhow, I’m collecting links, probably alas a monster post of stale links will be posted later this week. Maybe tonight?

Vacation and Some Questions

Well, a week off. Due the inability of our family to make a definite decision in a reasonable amount of time, we waited until low rates for airlines and such had passed (and the time is somewhat fixed by this being the week of spring break). Our first choice had been to go to Sante Fe for the break. But instead we are driving to St. Louis for the week, in part just to get away we a have no clue what we are doing. Any suggestions of “things to do” in the St. Louis area would be appreciated.

On the drive, I read one of the “econ” books recommended/linked Friday (I think). It was purported to give an overview of economics. Anyhow, I have a question for those who might have a more substantial background in economics. In the micro-economics section they show a plot of supply/demand curves. These curves plotting price and quantity (if I remember correctly). The slope at the intersection points seem to be termed “elasticity”. What also seems to be assumed is that these curves are monotonic, smooth, and well behaved. These assumptions however do not seem to be realistic. An example of non-monotonic behavior would be the assumption that if a price there will be higher demand or that more of a thing will be sold. But product that prides itself on being “high quality” will not necessarily sell at a lower price because that lower price nobody would believe that high quality would be possible. High price can also signal elite/elitist products. These products would not sell more, their cachet is in part inseparable from their high price.

So here’s my question. Are these curves assumed to be mathematically well behaved in these ways. If they are not, what breaks done in their models?

Some Housekeeping

Of a personal nature. OK. Remember the “emergency car” thing, having to replace the MIMA enhanced Honda Insight (typical mileage 70/85 when the temp was above 50). Well, I got used Nissan Versa 6 speed manual. It gets somewhat crappy mileage, i.e., about 30 city and 38 highway (it’s listed as 24/29  but that’s what I get). Our family will be receiving a hand-me-down VW Jetta TDI from my parents later this year … both are likely destined to be passed to my girls who are both in High School. Someday, somewhere regulatory barriers keeping out that 2 seater that gets 150-200 mpg highway will drop and it will be on the market, and then I’ll be able to drive the car I want. And on the car subject, if you drive a car without real-time MPG readout (average and instant) and you think conservation is important … there is a word for people like that, we call that being a hypocrite. You can get a inexpensive gauge like the ScanGauge or EcoGauge for about $150/100 respectively … which means the price of the gadget is not an excuse.

Also, I haven’t been biking so much. I want to get back into it but other time constraints make this difficult. Right now I’ve gotten back into lifting weights as an interim sport for the last 9 months or so … in part because the time constraints are more flexible. My bench-press (one metric … and fun lift) has gone up from 145 or so at the beginning to a one rep max about two weeks ago of 215. Back in college I lifted weights semi-seriously for a few years. My lifetime one rep bench max is 230. I’m getting close … and should be able to eclipse that by the end of the summer.

And while I’m not a fan of CFLs, as I don’t think they last very long and their mercury content is problematic. LED tech is more promising. However, my family on the other hand, doesn’t like the four Phillips 10W 800 (60W incandescent equiv) lumen dimmable LEDs I just put in the kitchen chandelier. Allegedly they will last 22 years … although judging by the CFL lifetime claims that means 5 … but we shall see. If they do last that long, I’ll be replacing them when I’m somewhat over 70.

A Quick Question

Recently jobs numbers came out … two data points are of interest and can be used, perhaps, to judge the bias of the sources. One set, points out that January job numbers are up and by one metric unemployment has dropped to 8.3%, getting firmly below 9. The other set, which is new as well, points out the divergence between two proxies which normally track but recently have diverged. Unemployment, as tracked by those applying for unemployment benefits and jobs, normally tracks well with the number of unemployed. Yet in the last 18 months this tracking has diverged. More and more people have (according to the second unemployment proxy) have given up seeking work. By that second metric, unemployment is above 10.5%.

Honest reporting would, I offer, report both points. There are many, who for political reasons, decide on or the other figure is more significant. Are there good reasons besides the nominally “bad” political partisanship ones for not noting both?

Oh, by the by, I’ve got to run early to get to a job site about an hours drive north. My links post will go out tonight.

Admin News and a Short Unrelated Question

OK. Well all is not well in the deep dark underbelly of this blog. Sometime soon I’ll get to the bottom of it. Regular blog posting will resume tomorrow (noon? night?). Tonight I’ve got to head to bed early to catch an early plane home. Things went successfully and the next job is local. I’ve started reading a bunch of things on which my regular discussion fellows likely have read more than I, that is neuroscience and evolution … and I still want to write more on the Ratzinger/Habermas discussion.

The rss feed works … but google is ignoring it and I’m trying to figure out why. Well, that should shake out.

Can anybody explain why Mr Obama (and his Democratic) supporters believe that the “regular grassroots” $5 contributor had (and will) be the mainstay of his fundraising efforts when there are 72 million voters (of both parties) eligible, 60% of those vote and only half of that 60% for the Democrat … and he is expected to raise 1 billion? How’s that logic work out?


Customer emergency calls me on the road today. Links might be doubled up tomorrow if I don’t get some free time after a long drive and a fire to deal with. Links tonight if I’m in a hotel, otherwise … if I’m driving back late, likely not.

MPG Silliness

Yesterday driving to a job site (24 miles) mostly on 2 lane not-limited access highway with a 45-50 speed limit (I was mostly driving 40-45) in moderate traffic I clocked 107 mpg and on the return in heavier (some stop/go traffic jam) that dropped to 94 mpg for the whole trip.

Anyhow, 107 mpg (actually 106.7) is a new record for my car although the trip was only 24 miles (94 mpg for 140 miles was my prior record).



I’ll be on vacation this week … and will be completely out of the reach of all electronic devices and networks. We’re canoeing for the week in the BWCA (Mon-Fri) … and unless the local moose are wired to the net … I’ll be completely offline. Kinda like Mr Adam’s weekend WSJ article on the value of boredom. Hopefully I’ll be back with kids full of stories to tell and with my battteries recharged.

Travel Update

Today’s schedule … links tonight. We’ve been moving “vacation/early” to drive to the next locale, and do stuff when we arrive. Evening I’ll have some free time.

Testing Test

I got a new toy, err, gadget. An Android tablet (the Asus Transformer). The sooper sekret plan is that if I manage to write some apps for use at my workplace, probably porting our supervisory java applet panels to the tablet, I’ll be likely able to expense it. If I don’t have the time to attack that, oh well, I still have the toy.

Anyhow, I’m posting this with a free wordpress Android app.

Links Will Be Late (Early Evening)

Sorry about the lack of posting. My laptop had “boot” difficulties because of, well, Microsoft and some stupid human tricks (that last part would be me). The time yesterday morning when I was going to be be collecting and posting my links post was spent rehabilitating the system. Then, later yesterday and today I’ve been on the road and my internet connection has been firewalled heavily or very slow.

But, in the meantime I hope everyone had a joyous and blessed Pascha/Easter.

A Quick Update (on my relative silence at this spot)

Sunday night I was directed to fly out for an emergency service call with the East Coast customer at which I’d been during the last two months. Daytimes have been busy and during the evenings Internet has been very very (repeat the “very” for a while) sluggish. Anyhow, I should be home Thursday night at which time … life will resume.

For now, I’m going to try to catch up on sleep and read on the Kindle, at least there the page turns don’t take 3 minutes.

Posting Update

Travel delay, finally (really) the NJ job is up and running and I’m leaving the site for more occasional remote support. Because of yesterday’s snow conditions I felt a later flight time might have a better chance of not being delayed. I’ll post links in the early afternoon if matters go as planned.

Travel Update

Done. Back home … to return by flight for a few days next week. But I get home for family, class, church, and a CSO concert … and a belated birthday celebratory dinner. 

For those who might be curious, I got 69 mpg for the 340 miles I drove Thursday evening … and 60 mpg for the 500 today … for a 63.3 aggregate. Not a whole lot better than the way out (which was just under 62). The reason for the drop today was the temperature was 15 degrees lower and the pavement was wet for much of the drive from the various snowfall regions. During the drive Thursday the average was 74 until I hit the snow. By the time I gave up it was down to 69. During the evening the temperature dropped (and was got colder as I progressed West). 

I’ll catch up on comments and do links this weekend well. 

Ancient Chinese Curses and Suchlike

There is an saying, attributed commonly I believe (without resorting to Wiki or Google) to the Chinese, “May you live in interesting times.” Well … It was offered at work because of snow conditions in Northern Indiana perhaps I should postpone my drive a day or so. I Googled, and didn’t see much.

Well, Northern Indiana was OK. Central Indiana not so much. That part of the drive was “interesting” but while traffic slowed to 40 or so for about 20 minutes of the drive the three or four cars in the ditch were unoccupied, indicating that the occupants had already been eaten by bandicoots. Uhm, I mean that traffic safety personnel marked the cars and transported the affected individuals to warmth and safety. Eastern Ohio and Western Penn on the other hand with night falling and lots of blowing snow was a bit more ridiculous. Lots of cars off the road, many still with occupants. I have driven longish distances on snow covered roads (Green Bay to Chicago in a storm for example). This was some of the worst conditions I’ve experienced. In the blowing snow the roads were mostly OK in Pennsylvania on I-80 (in Ohio prior to Youngstown on there was significant buildup on the roads) but the visibility was quite bad. Most of the traffic on the roads were trucks. One thing I’ve never seen, the truckers all kept flashing their emergency lights when conditions got bad. Most of us car drivers followed suit. 

Anyhow, I’ve stopped a little West of where I’d planned to be … but will be in Jersey in the late morning. 

Oh, links won’t come out tonight. Sorry. I’ll do a double length post in the morning.

Travel Advisory

… or something like that.

Today begins a long business trip … which because of its duration and proximity in time and space to the holidays and my parents home … means I’m driving and going to be away from home (Illinois/Lemont) for about a month. Today I’m driving and hope to make it most of the way to New Jersey where my parents live and the job site are located. Wish me luck. Links + comments and maybe I’ll have time for a post.


Links will be late (like late afternoon/early evening). I doing some testing and net-less this morning … and I’m going to be jammed until end-of-day today.

The Battery Saga (Part One)

My primary car that I drive (our family has two) is a 2000 Honda Insight which I purchased used a few years back. Mid summer after some heavy rainfall I drove through some deep water and tore a plastic panel off the underside of the car. Two months ago the “IMA” and “Check Engine” lights came on. IMA is the term for the Honda hybrid system, the acronym IMA means Integrated Motor Assist. Thus begins the battery saga.

So … I took the car to the Honda dealer with which I had previously been taking the car for checkups and tuneups. They informed me that the panel could be replaced but that three units related to the IMA system cause the IMA light to trigger. They said the MCM, BCM, and the big NiMH battery pack all needed replacing and that would come to about $6.8k. The two control modules would came to about $4.4 and $2.2k for the battery pack in the cost breakdown. I had them replace the panel and told them I’d “think about” the other repairs.  Continue reading →


Well, the hotel tonight had no Internet tonight. I’m posting this in the morning from the public kiosk.

I’m on a startup, which could be very very busy, or have lots of work interspersed with lots of waiting. If it’s the latter, links and other stuff will be posted in the morning. Otherwise it will wait until evening … and hopefully they’ll have the net thing sorted out.


Will be late.

In unrelated news, my youngest finally succeeded in a yearlong campaign. We now have a puppy (a yorkie/cairn terrier mix from a rescue shelter @ 9 wks old). Cuteness has overrun our house.

Three Quick Not(ic)es

  1. Today’s Links will be posted during lunchtime (CST), I worked a 2nd shift at PADS (homeless shelter) last night and slept in.
  2. A few weeks ago I bought a Sony (Daily) reader, which supports pdf and epub quite well. At some point I’ll discuss how its changed my reading habits.
  3. On the subject of purchases, my two daughter’s and I have started a new hobby, “plinking” or target practice. Wednesday night’s are now “range night.” To support that, I bought a .22 target pistol, which will give me a better appreciation for gun laws as well.

Travel Update

Well, I made it one-eventfully to Dallas. I’ve hand written two posts which will be up very shortly … and a third explaining the “one-eventfully” as well. One post is an honest (on my part) pointed question for the left on healthcare the other on anthropology and economics and their influence on hermenuetic. Anyhow, I’ve also collected links, and they will be up shortly … as I can find time between tasks during the day.