Utterly Meaningless

BOO!

Filed on November 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm under by dcobranchi

Yes, it’s a little late for Trick or Treat. And these peppers are definitely on the “Trick” end of the scale.

P1110562

I’m a chili-head. The hotter, the better. I use Dave’s Insanity sauce by the spoonful. I’ve taken, and beaten, the Phaal Challenge. And these Moruga Scorpion peppers are just ridiculously hot. Almost too hot for me.

“H” IS FOR “HUNGARY”

Filed on November 1, 2013 at 10:36 am under by dcobranchi

We have a Thanksgiving tradition in our home of not having the traditional turkey, dressing, and all the fixings dinner. Boring! Instead, we roll a 26-sided alphabet die. Whatever letter turns up, we look at the list of countries that start with that letter and pick one. I rolled an “H” this morning. We’ll be having chicken paprikash and Hungarian goulash for T’giving. Woot!!!

IDIOTS!

Filed on October 21, 2013 at 6:00 am under by dcobranchi

Once again, we look like a bunch of mouth breathers. This time, it’s all about the Common Core:

Walker’s resolution is substantially similar to the resolution approved by an overwhelming majority in the House, but inserts a provision explicitly exempting home-schooled students.

“Parents who choose to educate their children at home … retain their independence and control over their children’s education and are not subject to Common Core State Standards or the Smarter Balanced Assessment,” the text of the resolution reads.

State school law already exempts students who are educated at home from complying with the department’s education standards and testing requirements, and the adoption of Common Core by the Michigan State Board of Education did not require religious schools or parents who home school to use the standards…

Several home-schooling groups, however, have spoken at legislative hearings on the standards over the summer, alleging that keeping the standards in place would effectively outlaw non-public education, as college admissions tests like the SAT and ACT will be based on Common Core.

Anyone want to guess how many initials those “home-schooling groups” have in their name?

As for the claim that the SAT and ACT will be based on the Common Core, boo fuckin’ hoo! If you choose to homeschool, you cannot expect the rest of the world to match their assessments to your personal curriculum. Having to do extra work for SAT prep is the price that you and your kids will have to pay if you choose not to teach (or they choose not to self-teach) the concepts on the Common Core. The math standards are, for the most part, “common” sense. The only thing that seems new to me is the Modeling section. You don’t want your kids to learn algebra, geometry, and statistics? Well, don’t count on that academic scholarship to MIT. And the English Common Core standards are all based around literacy. That is, reading comprehension. Breaking News: The SAT test currently includes major sections on “Passage Based Reading.” So, once again, if our kids are doing all right on the SAT now, chances are they’ll be fine when the Common Core is fully implemented.

Why do these home educators continually fall for the hype put out by certain “home-schooling groups” that the latest legislative initiative represents the end of homeschooling as we know it? Are they just too dumb to see that it’s all about the money (IAATM)? Tell those “home-schooling groups” to pound sand. Either teach your kids at least as much of the Common Core so that they can continue to do well on the SAT or quit whining!

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: DAY 9

Filed on October 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm under by dcobranchi

Hey, Boehner! Just a reminder: Obama doesn’t have to run for re-election in ’14. You and the other idiots Republicans do.

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: DAY 8

Filed on October 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm under by dcobranchi

NASDAQ down another 2% today. Thanks, Boehner!

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: DAY 5

Filed on October 5, 2013 at 6:14 am under by dcobranchi

And the assholes wingnuts morans TEA partiers take the shutdown into the weekend.

Where is Ted Koppel when we need him?

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: DAY 4

Filed on October 4, 2013 at 7:59 am under by dcobranchi

Must read of the day: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/10/shutdown-debt-ceiling-explained

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: DAY 3

Filed on October 3, 2013 at 8:52 am under by dcobranchi

I wish there were a Hell so that Ted Cruz and the rest of the TEA Party could rot in it.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Filed on at 7:28 am under by dcobranchi

What not to do with a Ghost pepper:

1) Take a bite to see if they really are as hot as “they” say. Trust me. They are.

2) Fry one up without first opening all the windows, turning on some fans, and donning a gas mask.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

DEFECTIVE PRIUS WINDSHIELD UPDATE

Filed on October 1, 2013 at 8:31 am under by dcobranchi

Toyota replaced the windshield with a special order one that they promised would fix the problem (which they continue to pretend doesn’t exist). The fix worked. Now they need to acknowledge that there are many, many bad windshields out there (2010 – 2013, at least) and recall them.

HAPPY 123rd BIRTHDAY, YOSEMITE!

Filed on at 5:48 am under by dcobranchi

Too bad you’re closed. Thanks, morans Tea Partiers.

CHICKEN SANDWICH RECIPE

Filed on September 22, 2013 at 7:47 am under by dcobranchi

This is for the hearty souls among you.

To a hamburger bun, add one smallish boneless chicken breast, grilled. Douse liberally with B-Dubs “Blazin'” sauce. Add 1 chopped up Thai chili and 1/2 of a chopped up Trinidad Moruga chili. Eat . . . but . . . very carefully . . .

SOME PEOPLE ARE MORANS

Filed on September 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm under by dcobranchi

Read this and then realize that all of the folks described have probably graduated high school in the US.

AYE, MATEY

Filed on September 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm under by dcobranchi

Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day.

UPDATE: In honor of TLaPD, I’m wearing Bay Rum aftershave. Pirates were pretty stinky after months aboard ship.

EASTERN ANALYTICAL SYMPOSIUM — PRICE CUT

Filed on September 14, 2013 at 8:59 am under by dcobranchi

Well, sort of. We’ve never had a clear policy on whether grad students were eligible for the student rate of $25 or had to pay the full conferee rate of $195. If you are a grad student, the correct rate to register for the meeting is $25. The website will be updated to make this clear.

Hope to see lots of new analytical chemists-in-training at the meeting.

HEY, TOYOTA!

Filed on September 9, 2013 at 5:58 am under by dcobranchi

Fix the damn defective Prius windshield.

QOTD

Filed on September 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm under by dcobranchi

Guess who said this:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.

That was Ronald Reagan in 1980. And the sentence that preceded the quote above?

Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.

Happy Labor Day!

WEST VIRGINIA– WHERE ALL HEKs ARE ABOVE AVERAGE

Filed on August 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm under by dcobranchi

I had forgotten this bit of WV homeschooling law:

West Virginia requires homeschoolers to score at or above the 50th percentile on certain standardized tests or to show improvement upon last year’s results in order to demonstrate “acceptable progress.” While this may be an unreasonable requirement (most states that require tests do not require such results: New Hampshire is 40%, Minnesota is 30%, Ohio is 25% and Colorado is 14%), the law does provide alternative options for homeschooling families such as an end-of-year narrative and a review by a certified teacher.

400 CARNIVALS!

Filed on August 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm under by dcobranchi

That is a lot of posts about home education. Congrats to the dedicated gang who has kept it going. Especially Henry Cate.

AN OPEN LETTER TO TOYOTA

Filed on at 3:48 pm under by dcobranchi

Fix the damn windshield!

**************************************

August 28, 2013

Defective windshield in 2013 Prius 2– Safety issue

I purchased the vehicle new from Bert Wolfe Toyota on 8/2/2013. It was purchased for my wife and she is the principal driver. On 8/18/2013 I drove the car for the first time in the dark. I immediately noticed that headlights of cars approaching me appeared to be distorted. They were tripled with dimmer copies of the lights above and below. These copies showed a distinct rainbow effect. This is very distracting for the driver. I also noticed that the further away the oncoming car was, the larger the spread between the two copies. Basically, the angle between the main light and the copies was constant. Further distance meant a larger spread. Upon reaching my destination I contacted the original salesperson via email to detail the problem. The email is dated 8/18 and is included below:

“There’s a problem with the car that you WILL want to notify corporate about. Technical problem with the windshield. The vinyl is defective. Anisotropic refraction causes “sundogs” at about +/- 5 deg from the vertical on any bright point source of light. This problem likely affects many many vehicles made with vinyl from the affected rolls. The windshield will need to be replaced. There is no repair possible. Please feel free to forward this to Toyota corporate. They’ll understand the jargon. And feel free to call me @ 910.635.2502.”

Further emails led to the decision to contact Toyota corporate’s complaint line. That call was made on Monday 8/26 and was assigned case #1308260215. Toyota corporate suggested I visit my local dealer (Superior Toyota) for service. This service visit was attempted today, 8/28/2013. While waiting to catch up with the service manager, I did a bit of internet research and discovered complaints about this same phenomenon going back several years. Replacement OEM windshields do not fix the problem. And this makes sense if there really is something wrong with the plastic polyvinylbutryal interlayer. As long as the manufacturer of the plastic has not changed their process, there is a significant chance that replacement windshields will exhibit the same effect.

As the evidence supports the notion that the manufacturer of the vinyl interlayer has had an ongoing problem for several years, I do not want an OEM replacement windshield employing vinyl from that manufacturer. Instead, I would like the windshield replaced with an aftermarket replacement glass (ARG) windshield from Safelite®. Safelite® does not use polvinylbutyral interlayer sourced from Japan, so it seems unlikely their windshield would suffer the same problem. I am willing to make the arrangements with Safelite® to have my windshield replaced if Toyota will reimburse me for the out-of-pocket expenses. Alternatively, if Toyota wishes to remove and replace my windshield with an ARG windshield at Superior Toyota, that would be equally acceptable. From the point-of-view of troubleshooting, Toyota corporate may wish to have access to this defective windshield.

At this point my wife will not drive the vehicle at night due to this distortion. As this is a brand new vehicle with a known and demonstrable defect, I expect Toyota to make it right. Toyota has had, in the past, the reputation for making some of the best and most reliable cars on the market. The last few years have tarnished that reputation somewhat. How it handles this safety issue will speak volumes about whether they are serious about addressing their shortcomings or are a company on the decline.

Sincerely,

Daryl Cobranchi, Ph.D.

******************

Find high quality car electronics on DHgate.com

WARNING!

Filed on at 7:15 am under by dcobranchi

For your and your family’s safety, avoid purchasing a 2010 – 2013 Toyotoa Prius. There is a dangerous manufacturing defect in many (most? all?) Prius windshields. This defect manifests itself as a distortion of bright lights (like oncoming headlights). The distortion causes the lights to appear to be tripled vertically with the two outside lights smearing into a muddy spectrum. The cause is unknown, though I have some strong suspicions. Toyota is denying responsibility in most cases, though it most certainly is a flaw and a safety concern. There is no fix possible, other than replacing the windshield. Here’s an example:

CAN WE IMPEACH MARK LEVINE?

Filed on August 17, 2013 at 10:10 am under by dcobranchi

Mark Levine, the dumbest of dumb batshit crazy wingnut bloviators is (again) calling for Obama’s impeachment. Why? Because Bo the First Dog flew on a Marine Osprey to the family vacation in MA.

Savage also condemned “the goofball in the White House” for sending his dog to Martha’s Vineyard on its own helicopter (FREE audio).

“Any other president would be impeached on the spot for such a slap in the face to our military and to the nation,” he declared.

High crimes and misdemeanors, indeed.

The truth is that Bo flew on a plane that was carrying support personnel. He didn’t get his own plane ride.

WE ARE 1%ers

Filed on August 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm under by dcobranchi

The local paper here reports today that there 252 HEKs in the county. My two represent approximately 1% of the total. As an aside, I’d like to suggest that whoever wrote the hed probably should have paid more attention in math class.

Home school numbers increasing…

There are only 252 students approved for home-schooling this year.

For the last three years, the number of home-schooled children has grown, peaking last year at 372 students, he said.

Hmmm. Last year 372. This year 252. I’d say the numbers are decreasing. Let’s hope the editor wasn’t home educated.

SOYLENT IS PEOPLE!

Filed on June 29, 2013 at 2:05 am under by dcobranchi

Someone please tell me that this is a joke! Surely, no one could be stupid enough to name a food product “Soylent,” right? And to name the company “Soylent Corporation?”

The ingredients list seems to have left out the main ingredient: people!

Real people vs. HEKs

Filed on June 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm under by dcobranchi

Yes, I haven’t had two homeschooling-related posts in a single day in years, but I can’t pass up this idiotic quote:

“Administrators should consider allowing, or even encouraging, partial homeschooling when a family expresses strong wishes to have their child receive ‘more’ during the school day,” says Deborah Ruf, an educational consultant for families of gifted children. “If the school isn’t set up for full-time gifted immersion programming, allowing the family to set up other opportunities for a portion of the school day can be an ideal solution.”

Partial homeschooling can provide the best of both worlds, Ruf says. If they’re fully removed from school, “bright students will miss out on knowing what ‘real people’ are like. We want our future policymakers to be grounded in real life without having to sacrifice their own high abilities and talents.” [emphasis added]

Right. HEKs don’t meet “real people” in “real life.” The only place “real people” show up are in the public schools.

We’re getting ready to start the home stretch for our home edumacatin’. Chelsea will graduate a year from now and Jonathan will be starting “high school” this autumn. We’ve been at this for, I think, 12 years. When we’re finally done 4 years from now, it will feel very strange.

********************************************

“I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I apparently write like a baboon.” I scored a 56 out of 100 on this post. Of course, I didn’t actually make any of their suggested changes. What kind of crazy software thinks “edumacatin'” needs correcting?

PROVE IT

Filed on at 2:32 pm under by dcobranchi

Bad stat of the day.

The number of children who are homeschooled nationwide increased by 75 percent last year and the trend is noticeable in our area too.

FREE (AS IN BEER) PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE

Filed on at 12:16 pm under by dcobranchi

Fotor requested a paid review of their Photo Effects photo editing software. They didn’t request any kind of control of what I said or even the right to review the, er, review prior to publishing.

I’ve been playing with it on and off for a couple of weeks now. It’s pretty powerful compared to other free software available (i.e., Picasa). It’s all basically push button options. A nice feature is that there’s a thumbnail version of what your photo would look like with each of the various digital filters applied.

Capture

Some of the filters are pretty slick. Here’s a before and after using Comics B&W.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hogwarts B&W

A minor quirk, clicking Save As doesn’t bring up the normal pop up unless you first change the file name.

Although I haven’t tried any of them yet, there are downloadable versions for most common platforms (Sorry, COD, no Linux).

If you’re looking for some nice free editing software, Photo Effects is worth a look.

TSA FOLLIES

Filed on June 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm under by dcobranchi

Why are active duty military exempt from having to remove their shoes at airport security? Since 2001 there have been 23 terrorist attacks on US soil. One of those was by active duty military. Since about 1% of the population are in the armed services, basic statistics would indicate that a serviceman or -woman is ~4x more likely to commit a terrorist attack than is a civilian. Do I actually believe that? No. But I don’t believe that there’s any evidence that they’re less likely, either. So, have them remove their shoes/boots or let us keep ours on.

NIGERIAN (CALENDAR) SCAM

Filed on June 13, 2013 at 4:05 pm under by dcobranchi

Hmmm. I just had an “event” pop up on my Google calendar. A Nigerian scammer. The message bypassed gmail’s spam filters and went straight to my calendar. I hope this is not the first of a trend.

ExxonMobil still living in the 19th century

Filed on May 30, 2013 at 6:03 am under by dcobranchi

ExxonMobil shareholders, at the request of the Board of Directors, rejected a proposal to add sexual orientation to the categories of folks it’s against policy to discriminate against. The company claimed that their policy already covers LGBT folks. Here’s the policy, downloaded from their website a few minutes ago. You decide if they’re being completely honest:

It is the policy of Exxon Mobil Corporation to provide equal employment opportunity in conformance with all applicable laws and regulations to individuals who are qualified to perform job requirements regardless of their race, color, sex, religion, national origin, citizenship status, age, genetic information, physical or mental disability, veteran or other legally protected status. The Corporation administers its personnel policies, programs, and practices in a nondiscriminatory manner in all aspects of the employment relationship, including recruitment, hiring, work assignment, promotion, transfer, termination, wage and salary administration, and selection for training.

As I read it, it’s okay to discriminate against gays and lesbians if they happen to live in a state in which LGBT is not a “legally protected status.”

There are only two companies on my personal boycott list: BP (for the Gulf disaster) and Lowes (for their craveness in the face of right-wing demagoguery). ExxonMobil has now made it three.

FREE (AS IN BEER) RESOURCES

Filed on May 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm under by dcobranchi

I haven’t used anything from OpenU but I like the concept. I’m not sure I get their business model.

It might be worth a look for upper level high school age HEKs.

LinkedIn Folly

Filed on May 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm under by dcobranchi

Is this a Nigeria scam for chem geeks?

Why Why Why …there are so many professors ,experts ,Dr, and chemical engineers registered in this website No honest one can clean Anti-freeze Bill s/notes?
Anyone who has the knowledge and skills to clean Anti-freeze banknotes please contact with me : Qingzhuwu@hotmail.com
Reward is $100,000.00USD after cleaning in Beijing China. Good Luck!
It not only sounds a good job in fact it is a Golden chance to get a big money by one’s knowledge and Skills and nothing to do with money laundering at all but also if you missed this chance to get a big money it never come again to you.
Don’t Miss this chance which will not come again. If you have the ability to clean Anti-freeze banknotes Contact : Qingzhuwu@hotmail.com You will not be disappointed !!!

I responded that I’d be happy to develop a process for cleaning anti-freeze out of bank notes, but that I’d need a few “samples” for the method development.

TOTALLY GEEKY

Filed on May 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm under by dcobranchi

If this movie doesn’t get your geek factor excited, well, you must be reading the wrong website:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oSCX78-8-q0

TOO BAD, SO SAD, SUX2BU

Filed on at 7:46 am under by dcobranchi

The whiners at the FRC have made CNN’s Belief Blog. They’re claiming that Christians (their flavor of Christianity, anyway) are becoming a hated minority.

I hope they’re right.

Edit: It has come to my attention that some folks are misreading this post as a condemnation of all of Christendom. It always helps to click the links and read the articles. But for those not so inclined, the post (and the linked article) is about the Family Research Council. They have been designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Any group earning that title deserves to be a hated minority.

GMAIL CH-CH-CH-CHANGES

Filed on April 2, 2013 at 7:16 am under by dcobranchi

Hey Gmail programmers,

The new “compose” plain sucks.

Yours truly,

Daryl Cobranchi (formerly dcobranchi@gmail.com)

GO, GOOGLE!

Filed on March 31, 2013 at 8:39 am under by dcobranchi

Google has the American Taliban up in arms today over its doodle. Darn!

SHOCKING RESULT!

Filed on March 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm under by dcobranchi

Vaccines still do not cause autism.

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics Friday may put them at ease. Researchers found no association between autism and the number of vaccines a child gets in one day or during the first two years of the current vaccine schedule…

“When we compared those roughly 250 children with ASD and the roughly 750 children who did not have ASD, we found their antigen exposure, however measured, were the same,” said DeStefano. “There was no association between antigenic exposure and the development of autism.”

The researchers also found no association between antigenic exposure and ASD.

I’m sure this will finally satisfy the anti-vaxxers. Right?

MUST READ OF THE DAY

Filed on March 20, 2013 at 5:54 am under by dcobranchi

For dads.

HOLE IN ONE

Filed on March 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm under by dcobranchi

He’s in the hole!

QOTD

Filed on March 9, 2013 at 10:09 am under by dcobranchi

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” — William Shakespeare

YET ANOTHER REASON TO HOMESCHOOL

Filed on February 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm under by dcobranchi

This little girl’s life is complicated enough without adults making it more difficult on her. Five or maybe ten years from now, this will not be an issue. But, for now, homeschooling is a really good (and safe) option.

AMAZON’S KINDLE DEAL OF THE DAY

Filed on February 3, 2013 at 7:29 am under by dcobranchi

Interesting that AMZN is pushing this book:

In this chilling novel, Anderson (Burger Wuss; Thirsty) imagines a society dominated by the feed a next-generation Internet/television hybrid that is directly hardwired into the brain. Teen narrator Titus never questions his world, in which parents select their babies’ attributes in the conceptionarium, corporations dominate the information stream, and kids learn to employ the feed more efficiently in School. But everything changes when he and his pals travel to the moon for spring break. There Titus meets home-schooled Violet, who thinks for herself, searches out news and asserts that “Everything we’ve grown up with the stories on the feed, the games, all of that it’s all streamlining our personalities so we’re easier to sell to.”

So, a company that thrives by selling us stuff that we probably could live without, using push/internet technology is selling a book about companies that thrive by selling kids stuff that they probably could live without, using push/internet technology.

And an HEK shall lead them.

SCIENCE IS APOLITICAL

Filed on January 26, 2013 at 11:44 am under by dcobranchi

But we scientists know which side respects science and which side doesn’t.

One of the great political shifts in the past decade has been the move of scientists toward the Democratic Party, a casualty of the Republican Party’s war on reality. It’s not about politics for scientists, it’s about the fact that only one party accepts scientific findings on everything from global warming to evolutionary theory to what does and doesn’t prevent pregnancy. Only 6 percent of scientists identify as Republican, whereas 55 percent identify as Democratic.

NOT EVEN AT $2.99

Filed on January 16, 2013 at 7:14 am under by dcobranchi

Amazon’s Kindle deal-of-the-day is Glenn Beck’s Agenda 21. If they were paying me $2.99 to download, I might consider it. Maybe.

WOLVERINES!

Filed on January 12, 2013 at 9:40 am under by dcobranchi

Neo-con hack Thomas Sowell has determined that public school teachers are sapping American kids’ will to die in a nuclear war. Apparently, when Iran drops the big one, we’ll all turn French.

In France between the two World Wars, the teachers’ union decided that schools should replace patriotism with internationalism and pacifism. Books that told the story of the heroic defense of French soldiers against the German invaders at Verdun in 1916, despite suffering massive casualties, were replaced by books that spoke impartially about the suffering of all soldiers — both French and German — at Verdun.

Germany invaded France again in 1940, and this time the world was shocked when the French surrendered after just 6 weeks of fighting — especially since military experts expected France to win. But two decades of undermining French patriotism and morale had done their work.

American schools today are similarly undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally. If there were nuclear attacks on American cities, how long would it take for us to surrender, even if we had nuclear superiority — but were not as willing to die as our enemies were?

WAITING FOR SANTA ON A SNOWY MORN

Filed on December 22, 2012 at 11:27 am under by dcobranchi

Ash & Jynx, hoping for some new toys

THANKS A LOT, MIKE

Filed on December 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm under by dcobranchi

Farris is a tool. And he makes us look evil.

BETTER ODDS WINNING POWERBALL

Filed on November 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm under by dcobranchi

There are approximately 314,860,079 people in the US. I’d say that Mitt Romney’s odd of being named the next Treasury Secretary at slightly less than one in 314,860,079.

DEAL OF THE DAY

Filed on at 12:55 pm under by dcobranchi

Area rugs at Lowes for $10!

AS USUAL

Filed on November 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm under by dcobranchi

Michael Farris makes homeschoolers look bad.

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