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Messages - Antdude

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201
Everything and Nothing / Re: Migraine Scotoma - I got a bad brain.
« on: December 03, 2008, 01:39:48 PM »
"The causes of migraines are not extensively known. Though originally it was thought that migraines
were due to restriction and constriction in blood vessels in the head, doctors now believe that the
predisposition to migraines is a hereditary abnormality in cell control in the brain. Other factors that
can contribute are stress, food allergies or intolerances, a sudden drop in stress levels, lack of food
or sleep, exposure to light, or, in women, hormonal imbalances. These triggers do not cause the
migraines, but they are thought to activate the process that leads to them
."
Heredity, definitely a factor in my case. The food allergies are a real problem for my sister. Caffeine, chocolate, or anything with MSG, is basically off-limits.  I'm not quite as bad with food, but I can't drink alcohol anymore. Anything aged, especially bourbon or wines, with all the sulfites, will trigger a migraine before I even feel the buzz from the alcohol. Insomnia is another problem I have. Lack of sleep, or erratic sleep patterns cause a lot of problems for me.
Ironically, it's one reason I like ambient music. It helps me to sleep.  ;)

202
Actually, it looks like the Big 3 are each burning through 2.5 billion a month, according to FBN.  So, it's even worse than we thought.

I think the A) scenario is feasible, as there is already precedent, since Chrysler got a 1.5 billion dollar loan in the '80's, and most importantly, paid it back in full. So it's not like this money went down a rathole. I believe the loan option is the way to go, provided there is strict oversight on business operations, and the companies involved show good-faith efforts to change their practices. Just making it a 50 billion dollar cash give-away will only make it possible for them to come back in a year and say, 'We need more money.' The bailout just puts off the inevitable.

Having said that, I don't think this can go forward without a sacrifice. One of the big 3 may have to fall on its sword in order for the industry as a whole to survive and move forward.  It's horrible to consider, but the auto industry needs to understand there is no going back.

203
Quote

I'd recommend the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? for anyone curious about the events around the EV1, which was GM's aborted attempt at an electric car. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Killed_the_Electric_Car

Once you see this, though, you're likely to be so angry at GM that you'll want to see the company go bankrupt.  GM certainly had a chance to get a head-start on the rest of the world, but they decided not to pursue it, for whatever reason.


Here's my thought about bailing out the Big 3: I'm against it. Yes, Mike, you're right, there will be bloodletting,  and many people will be hurt by it. But at this point, I don't see how you can make GM/Ford/Chrysler change their ways. Just giving them 25 Billion dollars when they're already burning through 1 billion a month will not change anything. Give the Big 3 that money now, I guarantee they'll be back in a year, asking for another bailout.

Someone has to be allowed to fail. The industry will fight change until there is a catastrophic loss that makes them realize the old way of doing things is done. Declare bankruptcy, restructure, reorganize, and streamline your operations. There has to be outside oversight. There are still gas-guzzlers on the drawing boards there. Didn't GM just introduce a new Hummer? That kind of thinking needs to stop Today.

It takes years to get a car from the drawing board to the showroom, that's just the nature of automotive design. Once GM makes the choice and says, 'Yeah, this is our next car for the new year,' a plant somewhere has to begin the massive retooling effort to start manufacturing those cars. None of this happens quickly.

If our money is to be used to bail these companies out, it is perfectly reasonable for us to demand that those resources and money be directed into forward-thinking, efficient cars that will eventually replace the cars of today with cars that take the company, as well as the country, into the future. Left on their own, the executives will try to continue business as usual. They are already fighting the suggestion that they be told how to spend the bailout money.

The union stranglehold on the companies will have to be loosened as well. They will have to make concessions on their end. The joke in the auto industry is that Ford, GM and Chrysler are these huge medical care providers that also happen to make cars on the side. The operating costs for retirees alone are staggering.

None of this could be done without shedding thousands of people and jobs. The companies, unions, contractors, line workers and support companies, etc, would all be profoundly affected by this. Not to mention the cities and states that would be devastated by the effects of a vastly reduced auto industry.

But the alternative is to watch at least one of these companies suddenly stagger and collapse under its own inertia, as Lehman Bros. did. Watching one of its own die will be the catalyst that makes the other car companies finally see the light, and start working together. 

Adapt or Die.

And no one wants to buy these cars anymore anyway. They want to pay less for gas, people want cars and vans that allow them to get around, and for soccer moms to get their kids around. And we know there are cars out there that will deliver, but they're not coming out of Ford, GM, Chrysler. They can offer incentives to buy these cars, but you can't take a young family with 1, 2 kids and shoehorn them into a new 8-cylinder Ford Mustang Bullitt.

The mindset in Detroit still seems to be muscle cars and Hummers. People would like to drive more fuel-efficient hybrids, if they could plug them in at night. I see very little effort at the state level to offer support for hybrids. A couple token spots to refuel your electric car....

Change comes from within. Let's see what GM's current 5-year plan is, and then decide whether it's worth rescuing. If there's no real fundamental shift to newer technology that puts hybrids on the streets in massive numbers within, say, two years, then clearly the company isn't planning ahead, and our money shouldn't be used to prop up an outdated business model.

204
Got the CD this week. Most excellent album, it'll be on my 10 best this year.

205
Everything and Nothing / Re: Concession speech = classy
« on: November 07, 2008, 12:41:30 AM »
Not really sure what I said that could be offensive, but then again, I tend to do that often.
Sorry. :-[

Not sure what I said to provoke a negative response(I didn't see it), my only point was that whatever our personal preferences, the election is now behind us, and that it was time to look forward.

I'm looking forward to listening to Eluder's The Most Beautiful Blue. Great new title from Jason@Infraction.  ;D

206
Everything and Nothing / Re: Concession speech = classy
« on: November 05, 2008, 06:25:42 PM »
More importantly, now that the campaign is finally over, it's time to show our support for the new President. Half of us are elated, half of us are depressed (all of us are exhausted), but in the end, the citizens of the United States have a new Commander-in-Chief. Recriminations have to end. We have a country with serious issues that need our full attention. Let's give Obama a chance to show what he can do.





P.S. Bad news...I heard someone say, 'Today is the first day of the 2012 campaign.'  :(

207
Everything and Nothing / Re: Where would you rather live?
« on: October 05, 2008, 11:44:35 PM »
I've been around the world a few times, and seen a lot of places. I still prefer to live near the ocean. I was standing on a prairie in North Dakota a couple years ago, and actually felt claustrophobic, surrounded by all that North American continent. Pretty weird, but I feel like I need to be near a coastliine. I think maybe it's the sound of the waves, that white noise effect, that keeps me calm.

The shot below is 2 minutes' walk from my home, so I can't complain much, except I'd like this to be the view from my balcony one day.   :)



208
Everything and Nothing / Re: RIP Richard Wright
« on: September 16, 2008, 12:35:08 PM »
Really sad about this. Pink Floyd was the first band I ever saw live back in '71-72, when they played the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. Seeing 'Echoes' performed live was an experience I'll never forget. I saw them again a few years later at the infamous Sports Arena concerts(talk about second-hand smoke!) with the 'revolutionary' quadrophonic sound system.

Ummagumma, Meddle, and Dark Side of the Moon have been in heavy play here since yesterday. I was never a big fan of Wish You Were Here, or Animals(heresy!) but The Wall was a great return to form. More than anything, Pink Floyd was a band that really shaped my musical tastes at an early age and for that I'll always be grateful.

Back to the Great Gig in the Sky...

209
Everything and Nothing / Re: Migraine Scotoma - I got a bad brain.
« on: September 10, 2008, 03:50:11 PM »
I've been dealing with migraines for about 15 years now. Finally started getting medication to deal with it about 5-6 years ago. Mine usually creep up from the base of my skull to the back of my left eye(I've come to call them 'Eye-ball Bouncers), and then settle in there for hours. The really bad ones, the ones that seem to wrap around my head, forced me to go hide in a dark place, as well, and a few have been so bad as to require shots, usually a Toridol/Compazine combination.

Seems to run in the family. My sister gets them even worse than I do, and she can't use some of the medicines i can. I'm a little worried about that.

210
Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Spore Video Game
« on: September 09, 2008, 04:32:08 PM »
Great to hear your music made it into the game. I'm one of the people who really enjoys game music when it's done well. Will Wright's games have always been a bit of magic in a box.

That said, I'm really on the fence about this title. EA's ridiculous DRM rules are getting out of hand. 3 installs tops, and then you have to call EA support? Internet connection required? I call shenanigans.

DRM just punishes the legitimate owners and makes upgrading your own hardware an exercise in frustration. I was going to buy the game as a gift for someone, but until the DRM is either eliminated or seriously patched, i'll pass.
 

211
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: August 27, 2008, 12:50:32 PM »
Just starting Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, the first volume in The Baroque Trilogy. Very, very dense stuff. I hope I can stick with it. Reminds me of when I read The Gulag Archipelago years ago. Made me wonder if I was biting off more than I could chew. Any other Stephenson fans here? I loved Snowcrash and The Diamond Age, but this is decidely different.

212
Everything and Nothing / Re: Gold Farming
« on: August 26, 2008, 01:29:49 AM »
Virtual game economy is very unstable, and it changes constantly, even from server to server!  Something like an expansion pack coming out can change the market drastically.  Wow has around 200 servers +  so you can get some idea of the instability of the market. 

But...my father is a bit of a stocks and shares man, and really, is there that much of a difference between virtual economy, and market shares?  He sits at his laptop selling shares all day.  Sounds a bit like a hardcore gamer to me. :)

It's fascinating to watch an online game economy evolve. I've watched the WoW economy move from a handful of entrepreneurs playing the auction houses to most anyone having several thousand gold with little work. Of course, as in real life, inflation plays a big part in this economy and prices for goods have jumped as well. In another game, Eve Online, the developer has hired a full-time economist to watch and report on the trends in the game universe. He puts out quarterly reports on the state of the game. I've seen the spreadsheets and charts on this and it's literally the GNP of a country on display here. Raw and processed materials, sales of goods and services, industry fueled mostly by corporate construction of fleets of ships(Eve has corporations rather than guilds), shifting borders controlling the price and accessibility of materials, and hundreds of other aspects of an economy in microcosm. Of course it's a bit easier to track since all the game's players are on one server instead of multiple 'shards.'

Many European companies have their executives playing the game by creating a corporation, and seeing how they respond and grow (or fail) to the demands of the game world, so I think your point of real-world and virtual economies being indistinguishable will become even more true as time goes on. Even if you're not into playing these games, there is a fascinating subculture developing in front of us, where virtual goods will have a growing value in the real world.

213
Everything and Nothing / Re: Latest ultra-realistic character animation
« on: August 19, 2008, 07:02:53 PM »
True, motion is the acid test and things like what we've seen from WETA Digital and others the last few years point to the future. What I was impressed with was the final image's skin, with its reflective characteristics and realistic pores, instead of shiny smooth skin with the Saran Wrap look.

In other news, Blizzard will be unveiling their latest cinematic for World of Warcraft in Leipzig this week. it will be fun to see how far they push the boundaries again.

214
Everything and Nothing / Re: Latest ultra-realistic character animation
« on: August 19, 2008, 04:28:43 PM »
Here's one that blew me away:

http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=4006

Especially interesting was how the artist made the eyes more expressive, which is usually the dead giveaway in CG animation.

215
Since we're posting youtube clips, I thought I'd contribute to the Sunday conversation with this clip of Vladimir Horowitz's 1986 recital in Moscow.

         


 It was my first laserdisc purchase  ;D and this was my favorite piece from that performance. I love Scarlatti and this is a beautiful interpretation.

216
Just listened to the samples on Saul's site. What a tease. This album needs to be released right now.

Thanks.


217
New Entia Non.

Or Oophoi's next release.  ;)

218
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: July 07, 2008, 11:44:42 AM »
Quicksilver - Neal Stephenson Volume 1 of the Baroque Saga. I wonder what I've gotten myself into....

And if you're interested in some good books on the computer industry, I'd recommend Accidental Empires by Robert X. Cringely or The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll. Both are entertaining, accessible books that show the very human side of technology and how it's evolved over the last 20 years.

219
Everything and Nothing / Re: WALL - E
« on: June 30, 2008, 12:54:17 AM »
I saw it on Friday. It's everything you expect from a Pixar film. It has humor, warmth, heart, pathos(without schmaltz) and a genuine love of its main character. Someone told me once about characters in animation, "Get the eyes right, and you're halfway there." Without going overboard in anthropomorphizing a mechanical trash compacter, Pixar has created a character whose eyes are literally windows into something more than electronics. Wall-E lives and breathes personality from the first moment he's on-screen.
 It's not just in his look and mannerisms, but in the way he attempts to fill the days when he's not creating gigantic, neatly organized mountains of compacted debris. Wall-E's a collector, and the stuff he chooses to keep says a lot about his attempts to understand the people who left it all behind. Without literally saying a word, the first half hour of the film is brilliant visual storytelling that gives you everything you need to understand the character before his real adventure begins.

Is it perfect? No. The third act stumbles a bit getting the characters and events rolling to a very emotional finish, but it's one of Pixar's best films and in my opinion, should be a nominee for Best Picture next year. It's got more soul in 90 minutes than all of the dreck produced by Dreamworks.

Visually, it's got more going on than one viewing can take in. Not only are there numerous in-jokes, but there's so much going on at the edges of the frame, you'll probably want to see it again. I know I'm going to.

220
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 13, 2008, 01:09:47 PM »
Stars of the Lid - Carte-De-Visite (The tour-only CD. Just arrived today. Magical. Buy this from Kranky before they're all gone.)

Thomas Koner - Nuuk, Kaamos (Isn't he working on a new CD for release this year? Please?)

Tim Hecker - Indigo Aerial

After listening to Carte, I have a feeling this will be another SotL weekend.

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