Friday, July 21, 2006

Again With The Random Ruminations

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power. ~P.J. O'Rourke

Some days there is no shortage of inspiration.

Missing the point - I should have been thrilled about this story concerning Tesla Motors. What we have here is a guy who approached the problem from the battery side, borrowing the best technology to make a better battery. This meant ignoring everything Detroit was doing and looking at what the computer guys were doing, because those computer guys really needed small, fast charging, long lasting bateries. So, Tesla develops a car capable of freeway cruising speeds that has a 250 mile range.

Unfortunately, that's not sufficient for company mastermind, Ron Eberhard. He's got to make an electric version of a Ferrari capable of 130 MPH, costing $80,000. Just what we need: Another rich guy's toy. You can't legally go 130 MPH anywhere. At 80 grand, the average person who could actually benefit from an electric vehicle can't afford it. But, of course, the Google boys, Brin and Page (the party plane fellows) who are major investors along with a PayPal founder and an ex-eBay boss, aren't interested in what you and I can afford. They want a trophy to show off to their fellow millionaires.

Think about it. If Eberhard cuts the weight to a mid-size car and limits top speed to, say, 90 MPH, you can probably increase range to 400 miles at a cost per mile that would remind us of buying gas in the 1950's. Instead, he thinks Silicon Valley and Hollywood types are going to dump their roaring Lamborghinis for his silent wonder. Oh, well, maybe someone will buy the place at the bankruptcy sale and do it right next time.

Spaced Out - How stupid does any kid need to be to mess with MySpace? These days, I suspect that half of the MySpace pages belong to equal measures of predators and undercover cops. As if giving your personal information to strangers isn't bad enough, some of these kids post pictures of themselves engaging in illegal activities, while their teachers are posting nude photos of themselves.

It should come as no surprise, given the apparent intelligence deficiency of many MySpace posters, that MySpace placed a banner ad at the top of their main page that will load adware and/or spyware on your system. After all, if these folks are spilling their life histories and personal information or trying to lure someone posting their personal information into illicit activities, they would be unlikely to have anti-spyware or anti-virus programs on their systems.

Sort of like going to a hooker and getting VD, isn't it?

And Now, from the Department-of-the-blindingly-obvious - Evidently, the folks at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, England, got a government grant from the Ministry of Unnecessary Studies. They have discovered that people in the lower social classes age faster than those who aren't. Specifically, doing menial labor (translation: hard work) will age you faster than sitting on your butt being waited on by someone doing menial labor. Mind you, they used DNA analysis to figure this out. Evidently, simply looking at work-worn people compared to those who aren't wasn't sufficiently sophisticated enough to justify their grant.

What next? Let's see, they could determine that people who live in famine areas have less body fat than people who live in Beverly Hills. Or they might check out the possibility that people who can't read have trouble getting jobs as CEO's. I tell you, the possibilities are endless.

FEMA has competition - How's this for an opening line to an article: "The Homeland Security Department wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars last year on iPods, dog booties, beer-making equipment and designer jackets, congressional investigators have concluded." Yes, those people who are guarding our lives by perusing our phone records, in a department that was created to eliminate duplication and waste while improving cooperation between law enforcement agencies, appear to have spent most of their time making the wasting of money more efficient instead.

Ten thousand of these people have government-issue American Express cards with a spending limit of --and it's in the article, so I am not making this up -- $250,000. This is like locking a kid in a candy store and expecting him not to stuff himself sick.

Not to be completely outdone, FEMA was also mentioned in the investigation for, among other things, losing 12 of 20 boats they bought for $200,000. To think that people allowed themselves to be conned into voting the Republicans into power based on their promises to cut waste and reduce government bureaucracy.

Finally, an appropriate medium for ads - Just in case you're ready to barf after that last section, US Airways is going to start putting advertising on their vomit bags, so you'll have something to peruse while you're ... well, you know. There's something wonderfully appropriate about this particular ad placement. It's a little hard to understand, though, exactly when the victim, er, US Airways customer is going to find time to read the cleverly place intelligence.

I mean, let's face it. When you're ready to use the bag, you're not going to stop, read the Dramamine plug, and think, "Gee, I wish I'd taken some of that." If you do, you're liable to make your fellow victims, er, passengers very upset with you for having delayed using the bag. And if you wait until after making your deposit, you're really not likely to spend a lot of time examining the stupid bag then.

Oh, you say, the vic-er, passenger will read the bag before taking off. Right. I know the airline magazine they put in the seat pocket is insipid, but are you really going to read the sicky bag as an alternative?

What next? An ad stuck to the oxygen mask dropping from the ceiling that says, "Next time -- if there is a next time -- take the train."

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