Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I wrotez a poem

Actually, I don't write poems. They grab me by the throat and demand to be set down.

Last night was one such occasion:

Grade Crossing, Prairie, Night
Black box silhouettes hurtle across my path, invisible, from horizon to horizon
A million tons of treasure, trinkets, tabletops, marbles, alarm bells
Made in China (and its suburbs) for purchase in our own
A single light the only warning.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Peggy Noonan on "The Speech"

I love it when someone really smart agrees with me. It gives me hope that I'm not a total dunderhead. Peggy Noonan also thinks Romney did a very good job, and that he missed an opportunity in not reaching out to people of no faith.

"The Speech"

Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech.

Hewitt may be right. As a political event, Romney may have hit a grand slam given the attention given to it. Or not, if you read other's opinions.

IMO The Speech rates a B+, maybe an A-. It was a very good speech (though not quite Peggy Noonan quality), competently delivered. However, it fell short of Reagan's dulcet tones (and was unsettlingly reminiscent of W's choppy delivery - do I want to listen to that or to Rudy for the next eight years?).

He made no mention of non-Abrahamic worldviews. Buddhists and freethinkers may not be a large voting bloc, but the intelligentsia and media elite hold them in high esteem. A couple of sentences could have undercut paragraphs of criticism.

Minor verbal whoops such as "two century laters" show that he's human, at least.

It'll be interesting to watch the polls over the next few days as the spin works its way out to the folks who not only didn't live-blog it, but aren't quite sure who this Mitt Romney fellow is.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Geese fly in V formations.

This lets each goose (except the lead, of course) surf on the wingtip vortex generated by the goose ahead, reducing the amount of energy needed to stay aloft. The aerodynamics of wingtip vortices is well-understood. It's the reason that most modern airliners have "winglets" - those small vertical blades at the ends of their wings.

The winglets reduce the size of the vortex produced by the wingtip, and therefore reduce the drag.

Of course, geese don't have winglets - they're gonna create vortices. But as a group, they can work together. Like NASCAR drivers "drafting", geese maintain a precise relative position to take maximum aerodynamic advantage.

But did you ever notice that the V is almost always asymmetrical? One side is usually longer than the other. Turns out there's a precise mathematical reason for that, too.

There's more geese on that side.