Mike Beversluis

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Funny Ha ha

Hipsters ruin everything, part 1 and Hipsters 2.

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christmas list

Gift Ideas for Mike in no particular order:
  1. A cool business card holder.
  2. Kitchen scale.  An old fashioned scientific balance beam scale would be nerdtastique, but of course a simple digital scale works better, which is also, um, nerdtastic.  Either way, I'd be happy.  No doubt Christopher Kimble has caustically expressed a firm opinion about which model is the best.  Unlike Jeremy Clarkson, he's probably right.
  3. A small toaster.  The bachelor pad's appliance garage is small, but something set to scale and retro-cool would be sweet.  Bonus points if it's the Alfa-Romeo of toasters and occasionally burning your fingers is part of the charm because it's so sexy.  Double infinity points if it is an Alfa-Romeo. Then again, please see the note above about C.K. and his kitchen gadget opinions.
  4. One of them new fangled magick mice.  Yes, it's spendy, but so was Steve Job's new kidney liver.
  5. Some more Miles Davis Quintet to listen to while I tool around in my Lamborghini Miura.  Incidentally, like-new used CD's on Amazon are the best thing for buying music ever.
  6. I have lusted after a Vaja Wallet for awhile but just haven't pulled the trigger.
  7. Tasteful ties (long). I like silk brocades with their contrasting textures and finishes.
  8. DVD's:  The Royal Tenenbaums.  Or some Hitchcock: To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest, or Vertigo.
  9. Edward Tufte's latest, or a good coffee table book: Infrastructure: A field guide to the industrial landscape.
  10. A nice basic Timex calendar watch with a black leather strap.
  11. A nice art print - I've been thinking about Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Winter painting (or for more $ a really nice print of his Summer Harvester).
  12. A stacked Japenese lacquere box to store my remote controls out of sight.  These seem surprisingly hard to find online.

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    Friday, November 27, 2009

    not a big fan of shopping




    [from]

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    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    well, that's not something you see everyday



    [via]

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    This time, the narcisism is explicit

    25 Things about Mike

    1. I was almost born on Mother’s Day, 1975. I’ve been just as punctual ever since.

    2. I like to cook, and every once in awhile I will invite a bunch of people over as an excuse to do something big and fun. Hence Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s also a good motivator to clean up the apartment clutter.

    3. I sometimes play Powerball lotteries when the prizes get over $150 million. The odds of winning are roughly 1 in 150 million, so at that point, your expected winnings (odds times the prize) is equal to the cost of the ticket. Ignore taxes. And the odds for multiple winners. And other details. THEN it’s a mathematically sound investment strategy! If the prize goes up to 200 million, you should expect to make 25 cents! [insert joke about the stock market in 2008 here! LOL]

    4. I like my car, and it makes me feel good every time I get in it and zip around, but I do not want to be one of those guys who takes a picture of themselves standing next to their car, and even worse, posts it online.

    5. I want to buy a Persian rug someday – one of the expensive ones. They are the most beautiful thing I think I could own. I also want to buy a Wegner chair and a Shaker side table. There's an element of status symbol here, but they are also intrinsically beautiful, and being near such things on a regular basis is a small part, and not the most important, but still, of a good life.

    6. I want to build a house someday. I constantly doodle house plans on SketchUp. If it weren’t for that minor detail of having to make clients happy, I’d like to have been an architect.

    7. I don’t buy orange juice any more, just oranges.

    8. I have 20/10 vision, but I suspect it won’t last forever. I think I'll miss it, but then my glasses will help me look smart.  Or at least smrt.

    9. I really like Belgian beer, but a cold Budweiser after a hot day outside is wonderful.

    10. I’m going to see Tom Waits someday in concert. More generally, despite how much I like music, I don’t go to many concerts, and maybe I should change that.

    11. I’d like to live in Austin Texas someday, but often times I’ve found I liked the idea of something more than the thing itself. That goes for things like mountain biking or stereos, or some of the things on this list, or getting my PhD, or moving here and there. The best places I’ve lived were really only so because I had a good group of friends around.

    12. I have a weird fascination with hot-rod Volvo’s. It makes no sense. I’m hoping that this is just a phase.

    13. I like most any BBQ or grilled food – yeah, duh.  It's funny that BBQ is one of those things that causes people to become obsessed with naming or tracking down the best.  Very good is good enough, very close to the top is close enough, and you can keep your perfectionism and OCD.  On the other hand, I'm happy those people are around to drive the pile forward.  Just don't want to be them.

    14. I think graduate school is a bad idea for just about everyone (80% of those who apply). Just say no to pyramid schemes, because that’s what academia is, in a time-labor sort of way. Actually, college isn’t that great an idea for some people (25%) too.

    15. I like Eric Hoffer’s aphorisms.  For instance: “We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.”

    16. I want to age gracefully into a cool old guy, perhaps with a pipe. People are too obsessed with looking young. How about a little dignity instead?

    17. Baseball on the radio is a good thing.

    18. Last year I had a sinus infection, and it strongly affected my hearing so that guitars and pianos sounded really out of tune. It was bad enough that I couldn’t listen and enjoy any music much until it cleared up.  It was odd that I wasn’t deaf, but that everything sounded wrong. Which was bad in its own surprising way.

    19. I like machine shops, and would probably make a good $3 an hour machinist. I’d probably make a good $4 an hour auto mechanic too. Okay, $3. I’m thinking of buying a Sherline mini-milling machine because I belong to the more money than ability club.

    20. I want to see a shuttle launch. Also, I want to go to New Zealand (to see Bret and Jermaine’s childhood homes). I would like to drive a 911 on the autobahn, or even the ‘ring. I’d like to go to London. Possibly France.

    21. I like P.G. Wodehouse’s books, and people who also like them too have excellent taste and are good eggs.

    22. The “Stuff White People Like” list applies way too much to me.

    23. I believe that no good comes from meetings over thirty minutes, so make up a reason to leave. If you have an assistant, arrange for them to call you 25 minutes into the meeting, and beg forgiveness when you “have to leave for this emergency that you were just told of…"

    24. I think the two blinking red lights on the Washington Memorial look like snake eyes.

    25. Men should not wear shorts or sandals if they are not at the beach or in the water; So I don’t.

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    Coolography 23




    Guns are cool like smoking is cool, and let's not kid ourselves, smoking is cool.

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    Monday, November 23, 2009

    More translations - Are they markets or casinos?

    Are they markets or casinos?

    By Francesco Giavazzi

    Sono mercati o case da gioco?

    The more time passes, the more the probability that this crisis will be a wasted occasion increases. There is not the faintest sign of reforms of financial markets, whose urgency was shown with evidence by the unfolding of the crisis. And yet these reforms would be the only benefit of a crisis which has been so costly.

    The problem is not the lack of analyses and proposals. It is months since the Financial Stability Board has identified the rules that should be changed. Reforms aren't made because the interest and determination of national governments, on which the task of translating those proposals into laws and regulations falls, have waned. In the U.S. Congress, where the need of reforms is strongest, the discussion has just started, and on a wrong footing. The independence of the central Bank is put into discussion, but nothing is done that could irritate the bankers.

    In the meantime financial markets have started to work exactly as they did before the crisis, with the same rewards and incentives and the same weaknesses.

    Postponing reforms means choosing not to do them anymore, because the more time goes by, the more banks mend their balance sheets, the more their power increases, as well as their ability to convince policy makers not to do anything that could make a dent in their profits.

    The focus of public discussion is now on bankers' remunerations. But it is a trap: the shrewdest among the bankers are in reality quite happy that the debate is focused on this and their apparent opposition is strategic, that is, it is a way to avoid rules that could decrease banks' profits. If the profits are large, a way to distribute them can always be found, whatever the rules on remuneration are. If the criteria for bankers' pay and bonuses will change, but all the rest will not, the system will remain as weak as it was before the crisis.

    Is there anything that the Italian government could do to avoid this disaster? The major Italian contribution to the financial industry has been the creation of the "Mercato telematico dei titoli di stato" (Mts)(in English "Electronic Market of Government Bonds"), one of the first examples of a transparent public platform for bonds' negotiation, a model that has become the standard in many countries. The government could leverage this success of ours and ask that the G20 adopt - just as the Fsb has proposed - a norm to forbid "over the counter" exchanges, that is exchanges through a bank, and to move the buying and selling of financial products onto transparent platforms. This norm could be adopted tomorrow and would transform financial markets. Not only because it would enforce transparency and therefore traceability of transactions. Today the monies that whoever buys a bond must deposit as a guarantee are used by banks as if they were their own assets, and are one of the sources through which activities that leave the bank balance sheets exposed to inappropriate risks are financed. Transparent platforms consider the guarantee monies just for what they are, that is guarantee monies, not chips for casinos.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Gnarly

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    photography can be art



    Most of it isn't*, but yeah, this cover shot is good. [via]


    *Not unlike sculpture; They're both media that tend to produce a lot of crap, which gets gussied up with pretention and chin-tugging into "art". Which I don't like because my six-year old could do that.  HARUMPH.

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    Friday, November 20, 2009

    red and white




    I think I may have posted these before. That's okay, as I like them that much.

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    Coolography 22


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    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    yes, Yes. YES!



    (Assuming, of course, that this smoke is due to a burnout. If that's a picture of a Shelby 500 KT on fire, well, then: No NO NOOO)

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    Check out the F-22 thrust vectoring at the end...

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    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    And my two front teeth



    If I had a garage, I'd love to pick up this perfect, perfectly executed nostalgia drag car.  Truth be told, I'm a little indifferent to the idea of a Dodge Polara 500, but with a lumpy 383 and excellent stance and wheels, it is ever so choice.  And for $13.5k?  How can you go wrong?  Can you imagine driving this into work (I have a parking spot in the city).   Hence it's on the Christmas list which I have just fired off to the North Pole.  Fingers crossed.

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    Better Homes and Gardens 2



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    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    I wanna pistol, I wanna gun

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    when mama's not around there's no tellin what we'll do

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    I'll be your whatever you want

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    Undoubtably the result of a good woman's love

    Ice Cube, before and after.

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    People have been acting silly since just about Day 2


    The Yodeling Meter is very scientific.

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    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Speaking of the Pixies...


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    Makes me think of Frank Black and the Catholics

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    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Via Eric

    Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears - Bitch, I love you.

    And, here's the live version:

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    Swords for hire, 2nd part

    Swords for hire, 2nd part

    (The short story I'm translating).

    Coolography 21







    She's got moxie - edition

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    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    economists

    I tend not to write a whole lot here, as the long essay isn't one of my strengths.  Superb taste in outward bound links?  Sure.  And the thread that holds them together? That's the subtext, my friend. And if you didn't/don't pick up on the sub-text, that's just because it's so... subtle..  Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Anyway, going back to this post about writing non-fiction - Just, to make my point a little more openly, isn't it just like an economist to think that whatever he's working on is, by definition, one of the five most important topics to think about in the world??  And don't tell me that isn't how he thinks about it, because it is.  Talk about the dismal science.

    Here's $0.02:  Don't worry about being read.  Don't worry about your topic.  Writing represents a maladjustment to life, and those things don't have any impact on your maladjustment.  And if I really believed that, I wouldn't be doing this.

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    The good ol' days

    From this entertaining set of comments on things that have worn out their welcome and are a bit threadbare now, as we come to the end of the ennui-filled post-millenial aughts..:

    Peter Burnet said...

    From the Me decade to the Meh decade? Sounds like a bestseller to me. My additions: Halloween ("Oh boy, more candy!"), explosive video graphics on sports shows, animated Disney films, social justice, American healthcare, synchronized swimming, being accused of confusing phenotypes with genotypes, Twitter, endangered coral reefs, Africa and condoms, libertarianism, Jon & Kate, Prince Charles, packaged holidays, reports of new species in Asian jungles, American Idol, the clash of civilizations, mystery novels about women cops being chased by serial killers, gay parades, tirades against modern poetry, pregnant women in tight tops, organic food, Dr. Seuss, beach volleyball, thongs, nachos, computer geeks, Olympics opening ceremonies, Jennifer Aniston's love life, the multiverse, Sweden,...I could go on.

    Nothing but butterflies and rolling in cow shit left to awaken our repressed childlike sense of wonder. Maybe cupcakes too.

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    kick out the jams!!!!!11!1



    2:52 is good. GOOD.  Jack Kerouac was... odd.

    PS.  They all dress like they just escaped from Creedence Clearwater Revival.

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    through the gateless gate




    Fascinating.

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    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Calder


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    Reverse Halloween




    N.B. - originally there was a web page that explained the photo, but it disappeared into broken link land, and I've put a link to the photographer's web page there instead.  I'll look for that original link's text someday, but the important bit is that she's in a pediatric hospital where they dressed up the kids and the staff went around and brought them candy (instead of the kids going around and getting the candy). Really touching.

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    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Don't believe the hype

    The Science is Settled (or not).

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    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    in which I admit my limitations to myself

    I have only bought manual transmission cars, yet when I read about how to shift a semi-truck, I'm pretty sure I'd want an automatic after about 3 city blocks.

    Also, reviewing semi-truck tractors is kinda genius. The money quote paragraphs belongs, as you'd suspect, to the transmission:

    There are no synchros, which means every shift requires a double-clutch maneuver: clutch in, shift to neutral, clutch out, wait for revs to drop on upshifts or add 200 rpm on downshifts, clutch in, select gear, clutch out. Simple, right? Mess that up, and you’ll be anxiously hunting for a gear that correctly matches the road speed with engine speed, all while the road speed quickly drops off. Haphazard shifter wiggling commences, and the gears make their displeasure heard. Put simply, the transmission hates you and wants you to fail. And I did, several times.

    Negotiating the 18-speed shift pattern is a confusing, mind-numbing, who-the-heck-thought-this-made-sense-to-begin-with nightmare. The shift gates are laid out in a dogleg pattern, with low (think of it as gear zero) to the left and down. To the right lie one through four in an H-pattern. From here, the shift pattern follows more of a modified double-helix arrangement. Positions five through eight are the same as one through four but accessed by flicking a switch on the front of the shift knob that chooses among the ranges. Those keeping score at home might notice that that’s only nine speeds. To account for the rest of the ratios, zero through eight are further “split” into low and high, selected by another switch on the left of the shift knob. As a result, there’s a low version of low (or zero) gear found in the lower range. And there are four reverse ratios. No kidding. A diagram on the center console attempts to simplify all of this; we’ve included it in the gallery to confuse you further.

    Hunter Thompson couldn't have said it better. I'm going to wait to see what makes Consumer Report's Best Buy, tho...

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    Coolography 20



    Slightly macabre edition.

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    a rough way to put it

    An important rule for writing:  Nobody wants to read your s***. [via]

    Also, Seven Guidlines for Writing Worthy Works of Non-Fiction. Number One with a bullet:
    1. Pick an important topic. If someone asks you, "What are the five most important areas to think about?," and you're writing about something that isn't on your own list, you should be disturbed. How do you know if a topic is important? My test: If everyone on earth read your book and believed it, would it make the world a better place? (Note: That's a test of importance, not truth!)

    If I had to pick the five most important areas to think about right now... Wow, this is a little harder than I thought, but, a first stab at it is:

    Consciousness.
    Public choice theory.
    The 100 best movies.
    Why are girls so pretty?

    I'm not so worried about making the world a better place with all of them.   Also, I ran out of steam a little early.

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    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Coolography 19


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    fyi

    The official rules of shotgun.  Just in case you're still in high school or college.

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    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Coolography 19



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    semi-unbelievable

    Stunt plane passenger accidentally activates ejector seat.

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    Planning for a million-year nap


    Yucca Mountain

    BLDGBLOG: A Million Years of Isolation: An Interview with Abraham Van Luik

    Abraham Van Luik is a geoscientist with the U.S. Department of Energy; he is currently based at the nuclear waste-entombment site proposed for Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Yucca Mountain, a massive landform created by an extinct supervolcano inside what is now Nellis Air Force Base’s Nevada Test and Training Range, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is the controversial site chosen by Congress for the storage of nuclear waste. Its political fate remains uncertain. Although the Obama Administration has stated that Yucca Mountain is “no longer… an option for storing nuclear waste,” Congress has since voted to continue funding the project—albeit only with enough funds to allow the licensing process to continue.

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