Actor "regrows" amputated leg

Blame Photoshop, Not Diabetes, for This Amputation
A blunt new poster from the Bloomberg administration shows an overweight man on a stool, his right leg missing below the knee. A pair of crutches leans against a wall beside him. The advertisement, being placed throughout the subway system, warns that ever-growing portions of fast food and sodas could cause diabetes, which could lead to amputations. But it turns out that the person shown in the advertisement did not need crutches because his legs were intact. The health department confirmed on Tuesday that its advertising agency had removed the lower half of the man’s leg from the picture to make its point: the headline over the image reads “Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations.” When city officials announced the campaign on Jan. 9, they did not let on that the man shown — whose photo came from a company that supplies stock images to advertising firms and others — was not an amputee and may not have had diabetes. The city did not identify the man, and efforts to reach the agency that supplied the photo were unsuccessful. The photographer who took the picture, Morten Smidt, said he did not know the man’s name. Mr. Smidt said on Tuesday that he had not seen the advertisement. In response to a description of it, he said, “Well, it is an illustration now, clearly not the picture I did.”
Comment: More on (screen snip above). First link has image of "amputated" leg.

Moon Base folly

A moon colony is a waste of money

Newt Gingrich has absorbed a fair degree of ridicule for his campaign proposal to build an American colony on the moon. Before focusing the laughter solely on Gingrich, however, let's recall that it is the declared policy of the U.S. government to return a human being to the moon by 2020, in preparation for sending a human astronaut to Mars. If Gingrich is wrong (and he is), he's not wrong alone.

As you read this, an international space station is orbiting Earth, staffed by a crew of six (currently, three Russians, two Americans and one astronaut from the European Union). Cost to date: $100 billion.

... The useful space science these days is done by unmanned probes and satellites: the Cassini-Huygens mission that returned amazing images of Saturn and its moons; the Calipso mission to monitor the health of Earth's atmosphere; the Juno mission now en route to Jupiter. In November 2011, NASA launched its latest Mars probe, Curiosity. Curiosity should reach Mars by August.

Here's the great thing about all these missions: They do not need to be engineered to zero defect, and no plans need be made to return them home. Unmanned space exploration need not worry about food and water or the effects of isolation and low-gravity on the human spirit and body. But once human beings are inserted, everything changes. Lives are put at risk. Costs soar. And for what? Most of the research purpose of sending human beings into space is to test the effects of sending human beings into space. The missions exist to test whether the missions can continue. This seems the very definition of futility.

... The pictures from Saturn are pretty wonderful, and so will be the pictures from Jupiter, and no astronaut was needed to capture them. The hard truth to deliver to the laid-off engineers on Florida's space coast is that space exploration is another industry where automation has reduced the number of human employees needed. To propose putting 13,000 human beings on the moon is a lot like proposing to return to the days when steel mills employed tens of thousands of people. It's not a vision of the future. It's nostalgia.
Comment: Image: Clavius Base from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Smart move for Koman

Komen cancer charity halts grants to Planned Parenthood


The nation's leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is halting its financial partnerships with numerous Planned Parenthood affiliates. The result is a bitter rift, linked to the national abortion debate, between two iconic organizations that have assisted millions of women. Planned Parenthood says the cutoff, affecting grants for breast exams, results from Komen bowing to pressure from anti-abortion groups. Komen says the key reason is that Planned Parenthood is under investigation in Congress — a probe launched by a conservative Republican who was urged to act by anti-abortion activists.
Comment: Koman is a good organization and this is a good move!

Lenovo T410 Fan Error

Matthew Peet - Fan Error

  • My work laptop that is about 15 months old
  • I was to work from home yesterday and the laptop would not boot. I ended up taking the day off (I have a cold anyway and that's why I was working from home
  • Much on the Internet on this (Google "Lenovo T410 Fan Error")
  • Interesting that a guy named "Peet" had the same problem! Image above is from his website!
  • Fix was easy for our tech support. They picked up my laptop at 8:15 and had it back to me in about an hour

Fraud: Nip it in the Bud

Comment: On the value of checking one's credit card daily ... nip fraud in the bud! I checked the temporary and posted transactions today. See the image above. The $ 8.95 item is an adult content site. Unsure what the $ 57.86 is. I reported to Wells Fargo and they closed the card. New cards being Fed Ex'd out to us.


System D: "the second-largest economy on earth, after the United States"

Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy Excerpts:
There’s a French word for someone who’s self-reliant or ingenious: débrouillard. This got sort of mutated in the postcolonial areas of Africa and the Caribbean to refer to the street economy, which is called l’économie de la débrouillardise—the self-reliance economy, or the DIY economy, if you will. I decided to use this term myself—shortening it to System D—because it’s a less pejorative way of referring to what has traditionally been called the informal economy or black market or even underground economy. I’m basically using the term to refer to all the economic activity that flies under the radar of government. ...

The sheer scale of System D is mind-blowing. ... If you think of System D as having a collective GDP, it would be on the order of $10 trillion a year. That’s a very rough calculation, which is almost certainly on the low side. If System D were a country, it would have the second-largest economy on earth, after the United States. ... Half the workers of the world are part of System D. By 2020, that will be up to two-thirds. ... Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive: They sell lots of products through the little unregistered and unlicensed stores in the developing world. And they want their products in those stores, because that’s where the customers are. ...

Basically, they hire a middleman. Procter & Gamble, for instance, realized that although Walmart is its single largest customer, System D outposts, when you total them up, actually account for more business. So Procter & Gamble decided to get its products into those stores. In each country, P&G hires a local distributor—sometimes several layers of local distributors—to get the product from a legal, formal, tax-paying company to a company willing to deal with unlicensed vendors who don’t pay taxes. That’s how Procter & Gamble gets Downy fabric softener, Tide laundry detergent, and all manner of other goods into the squatter communities of the developing world. Today, in aggregate, these markets make up the largest percentage of the company’s sales worldwide. ...

A good example is UAC Foods, which is based in Nigeria but active throughout West Africa and traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. It’s a highly formal company that was originally incorporated by the British more than 100 years ago. UAC Foods owns hotels and restaurants, but it also has this product called the Gala sausage roll. You never find Gala being sold in normal stores. It’s sold only by unlicensed roadside hawkers and at roadside kiosks. Basically, UAC recognized that this product wasn’t going to sell well in a normal store. But sausage rolls are in demand where people are on the go, when they need a quick snack on the side of the highway or in a traffic jam. So UAC relies on this informal phalanx of thousands of unregulated hawkers who sell Gala sausage rolls all over the streets of African cities. This is UAC’s distribution channel for this one product.
Comment: UAC foods. Image of Gala sausage roll above.

Canadians put man in space

Teens send toy above the clouds


It's very cool that two 17-year-old Canadians sent a flag-toting Lego figurine into the sky on a weather balloon, as part of a weekend project that cost less than $500. It's cooler still that they got back some fantastic video of the toy silhouetted against the backdrop of a curving Earth beneath a black sky. But let's not call it putting a "Lego man in space." Even though the balloon ascended to around 80,000 feet, that's only a quarter of the way to the boundary of outer space.

That distinction doesn't take anything away from the feat that Toronto teens Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad pulled off this month: The high-school students worked during four months' worth of free Saturdays to put together their balloon-borne experimental package, including four cameras, a cell phone with a GPS app, a home-sewn parachute and a Lego "minifig" holding a Canadian flag.

When the wind conditions were right, as determined by a website that calculates balloon trajectories, the teens headed out to a soccer field in Newmarket and sent their rig up on an $85 weather balloon. The data suggest that the balloon rose to somewhere around 80,000 feet over the course of 65 minutes, then blew apart. The Lego man and the cameras came back down to Earth, buoyed by the parachute and protected within a plastic-foam box during the half-hour descent. Eventually, the cell phone guided the kids to a field about 75 miles away from the launch point.

Comment: NASA is envious


Daily Commute: Freeway or side streets

Interstates fastest during snowy commute -- or not


Many commuters have different plans of attack for surviving the rush. "I seem to experience less frustration on the side streets," said Tomasz Majewski, 32, of Richfield. "Side streets even after snow seem to move at the speed limit, as opposed to the freeways, where the speed seems to be cut in half." Naomi Miller, 32, commutes from Plymouth to work on the University of Minnesota East Bank campus every day. She claims that with ever-changing road closures around the U, the interstate is more reliable. "Generally, for my commute, I stay on the freeway, because I would have to go through downtown," she said. "Because of construction, it is more congested to go through downtown." The average commute time in the Twin Cities is 22.9 minutes, according to Census figures. Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said that during a storm, it can take two to three times longer. Experts disagree on how exactly to speed that up.
Our 16 years of experience:
  • Our commute is to 255 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55479. We have contract parking at 100 S Washington Ave
  • We live on the East side of Plymouth near Old Rockford Road and Zachary.
  • The freeway route (map above) is 12.5 miles
  • With years of experimenting, we have found the side street route to be the consistently easiest route. Not always the fastest! But the easiest and I believe the safest. (see map below - 10.5 miles)
  • On the inbound it avoids the elevated I-394 which we have found to be treacherous when icy. This section of highway has a speed limit of 55 mph but drivers often drive 65 or more along that section.
  • One the outbound the side street option avoids the pinch point where I-394 commences
  • If we work late ... say until past 6:30 p.m., we've found the freeway the fastest route home
  • If we work on a weekend day, the freeway is the fastest as well




Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, DNS, file sharing and much more. Webmin removes the need to manually edit Unix configuration files like /etc/passwd, and lets you manage a system from the console or remotely.
Comment: The new PC arrived today and is now unpacked and has Debian loaded. It's been some time since I've done anything with Linux so I feel I am back at the newbee stage. I found this very cool system administration tool.


That's what Thelma & Louise said!

Comment: Thelma & Louise. Just give him another 4 years!

The 401K 59½ to IRA option

Now investing gets scary! In my 401K I have 16 different investing options. I even find that complex! Now that I am past 59½ I can move funds from my 401K to an IRA and have thousands of investing options. I'm not sure how accurate this is but Googling this - there are:

  • 2773 stocks that trade on the NYSE
  • 2788 stocks listed on the Nasdaq
  • 7691 mutual funds
  • 700 ETFs available on the market
  • Plus untold # of bonds, options, etc
This month we are moving a portion of our 401Ks to IRAs with Wells Trade (100 free trades per year. We hope to beat the returns on the 401K. Target return would be 5%.


Gingrich Fizzle

Romney's Rivals Fizzle in South Carolina Excerpt:

Running for a Republican nomination as an anticapitalist is not the smartest politics. Doing it even as you acknowledge taking $1.6 million from taxpayer ward Freddie Mac is the opposite of smart.
Comment: Gingrich the anticapitalist ... A complete disappointment ....


I decided to get a new PC

I had an epic fail on the disk formatting with the Debian install (see previous post). The HD is pre-SATA and it would not format.

This is about the cheapest new one (CybertronPC) I could find from Tiger Direct. Has 2 Gig of memory and 250 Gig hard drive.

Powered up an old Linux desktop

I have a little project I am working on. Today I hope to install Debian Linux on an old tower PC. I have it set up on the dining room table for now. I just powered it on after it had been powered off for 5 and a half years. (It was gathering dust and cobwebs under the stairs in the basement). Suse Linux 9 came right up and believe it or not I remembered the password. (The last log on was 10/30/2006).

Target Funds miss

Target Funds End Year Far From Bull's Eye Excerpt:

Often billed as the fund and brokerage industry's quick fix for retirement planning, so-called target-date funds took an unexpected turn for the worse in 2011, according to new data.

The funds, which have become an integral part of many Americans' 401(k) plans, are designed to protect investors by decreasing their exposure to stocks and increasing their bond holdings as people get closer to retirement, or their "target" year. But the average fund with about four years until its target date fell 0.4% in 2011

Comment: My own experience with a 2015 fund confirms this. This year I am taking a partial distribution of my 401K (using the 59½ rule) and managing it myself in a new IRA I set up. My 401K has 16 investing options ... the market thousands). I have a very modest investment objective which is 5% gain: 3% from dividends and 2% from market growth.


Strait of Hormuz: Flipper to the rescue

The Navy Is Depending on Dolphins to Keep the Strait of Hormuz Open Excerpt:
The invasion of Iraq was the last time the minesweeping capability of dolphins was widely-touted. "Dolphins - - which possess sonar so keen they can discern a quarter from a dime when blindfolded and spot a 3-inch metal sphere from 370 feet away -- are invaluable minesweepers," reported The San Francisco Chronicle. In 2010, the Seattle Times reported that the Navy has 80 bottlenose dolphins in the San Diego Bay alone. They are taught to hunt for mines and drop acoustic transponders nearby. The photo above shows a dolphin with a tracking device attached to its fin. According to a report in 2003, the dolphins only detect the mines. Destroying them is left up to the Navy's human divers.
Comment: Flipper

Bank of Some of America

Bank of America Ponders Retreat


Bank of America Corp. has told U.S. regulators that it is willing to retreat from some parts of the country if its financial problems deepen, according to people familiar with the situation.

Executives at the Charlotte, N.C., financial giant put the potential move on a list of emergency scenarios submitted to the Federal Reserve last year, these people said. While people close to Bank of America insist that no retreat is imminent, even the possibility of selling branches and losing customers it spent huge sums to lure underscores the depth of its problems.
Comment: Bank of America is one of three coast-to-coast banks. The others: JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. WSJ article has a nice graphic that shows history of Bank of America growth. Image: retro BankAmericaCard

Commendation - Mark at Rainbow

I had a absolutely great experience at the Rainbow Foods in Plymouth this afternoon and I thought I would briefly blog about it to spread the word.

We are absolutely out of milk and out of OJ.

And we are having a guest for breakfast in the morning. I am working from home and Kathee is downtown. I didn't want to bother her to have to pick up items on the way home so at 4:00 today I set out to pick up these items. Because I walk with crutches, items like this are impossible to carry. I can carry a Coke can in my pocket or other small items; but a gallon of milk and a carton of juice are sadly beyond my ability.

 I wasn't ever sure when I left the best place to go for these items. Because traffic was already getting gnarly I decided for the shortest drive and pulled into Rainbow. I went in the store and found the first person who looked like an employee and asked for help. That help was Mark the manager. He picked up the milk and juice for me, shepherded me through the checkout (really I never go grocery shopping .... even swiping the card was different than what I was familiar with!), bagged my items and carried them out to the car. It is about 15 degrees out which is not comfortable but this gentleman reached out and helped me.

 I called the Rainbow customer support line just a couple of minutes ago to register my pleasure at excellent customer service but I am doubling up by recognizing him here too!


Smashing Moore's Law

IBM smashes Moore's Law, cuts bit size to 12 atoms


IBM announced Thursday that after five years of work, its researchers have been able to reduce from about one million to 12 the number of atoms required to create a bit of data. The breakthrough may someday allow data storage hardware manufacturers to produce products with capacities that are orders of magnitude greater than today's hard disk and flash drives. "Looking at this conservatively ... instead of 1TB on a device you'd have 100TB to 150TB. Instead of being able to store all your songs on a drive, you'd be able to have all your videos on the device," said Andreas Heinrich, IBM Research Staff Member and lead investigator on this project. Today, storage devices use ferromagnetic materials where the spin of atoms are aligned or in the same direction. The IBM researchers used an unconventional form of magnetism called antiferromagnetism, where atoms spin in opposite directions, allowing scientists to create an experimental atomic-scale magnet memory that is at least 100 times denser than today's hard disk drives and solid-state memory chips.

Comment: Literally very cool! "The experiment was performed at low temperature: about 1 degree Kelvin, which corresponds to about -272 °C (-458 °F). " | Wiki: Moore's Law (see interesting comparision between the Osborne Executive portable computer and an IPhone


Fun with MX Records

Sometime today I was unable to receive mail at the jrpeet.com domain. Earlier I had sent an email to my wife (her home email at jrpeet.com) about some financial transactions I had made and that mail went through. Then this afternoon I sent Kathee a link to a Star Trbune article and that failed. The first image above shows the error (I tried it about 10 times) Here's the text (from my company email account):
Delivery has failed to these recipients or distribution lists:


The recipient's e-mail address was not found in the recipient's e-mail system. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please check the e-mail address and try resending this message, or provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator. The following organization rejected your message: m1.dnsix.com.

It's been such a long time since I set up the Google Apps for jrpeet.com that I had nearly completely forgotten how it works.

The second image shows the Google mail settings for jrpeet.com. Note that m1.dnsix.com is listed first.

The next step was to go to Network solutions (my domain registrar) and modify the MX records.

The third image shows the modified MX records. I followed the Google standards (see link below).

It takes a while for the change to propagate across the Internet. So far it is beginning to work. An email sent from my corporate email goes through fine. Email sent from FastMail.FM is not yet going through .

More information on the MX Record is below. Followed by the Google Apps standard

MX record

A mail exchanger record (MX record) is a type of resource record in the Domain Name System that specifies a mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a recipient's domain, and a preference value used to prioritize mail delivery if multiple mail servers are available. The set of MX records of a domain name specifies how email should be routed with the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.
Comment: Google: Configuring Your MX Records: Network Solutions


"This is not something I ever thought I’d have to do"

Oh, the humility. Pittsburgh Mayor pays off wager – “Tebows” in Broncos’ uniform Excerpt:
In a comment to news media, Ravensthal said: “This is not something I ever thought I’d have to do, and it’s certainly not something I’m looking forward to,”
Comment: Reminds me of Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
I once told a Christ-rejecter, that someday he would bow before and acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. His response was "never".

California's High-Speed Rail Fibs

Estimating the cost to build additional highway and airport capacity in the absence of the rail line requires estimating how many people would be attracted to the train from cars and planes. But that's not how they did the math, judging by the methodology the authority published. Proponents based their estimate on train capacity (including empty seats) of 1,000. Their rail plan calls for trains with only 500 seats, but this fictional doubling of capacity nicely boosts the amount of highway construction they can claim would be needed if the train line isn't built. The authority also assumed that more than twice as many trains would run as they now plan to run when the line is complete. They even include the cost of some highway expansions that would not be needed for hundreds of years at normal growth rates. All of this is absurd. Empty seats do not increase the demand for roads (or airports, for that matter). Yet inflating the amount of new highways that would have to be built is the name of this game. By imagining huge new demand for train travel and other false premises, for instance, rail planners concluded that it would be necessary to add three lanes to each adjacent highway segment to handle the same demand, whether in the busy Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas or the far lower-demand segments in the San Joaquin Valley. They also doubled the supposed cost of road construction by assuming that the state would need to build three lane expansions on both Interstate 5 and the parallel state Route 99 between places like Bakersfield and Fresno.

Comment: Image source: The famous Train wreck at Gare Montparnasse, Paris, France, 1895. Trains is a real Obama favorite project ... whether it makes financial sense or not!


The best game ending play I've seen ... perhaps ever!

Tebow opens OT with TD; Broncos stun Steelers Excerpt:
Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas on an electrifying 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime, and the Broncos defeated the stunned Steelers 29-23 in the AFC wild-card playoff game Sunday. The play took 11 seconds and was the quickest ending to an overtime in NFL history.
Comment: I didn't expect the Broncos to win ... I was able to watch the end of the game!


Update on my case

I called the Plymouth MN City Attorney: Campbell Knutson Professional Association and talked with Nanette who is the Prosecution Legal Assistant for Plymouth cases. This is what I found out:
  • She has not received the paper work from the Plymouth police but she was able to verify that I was arrested.
  • I was arrested under the Gross misdemeanor cited earlier
  • The paperwork flow may take 2 months or more.
  • Ultimately I should receive a summons to appear in court. The summons may arrive as late as March or even later.
  • There are three levels of Misdemeanor: Gross Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor, and Petty Misdemeanor
  • Based on my driving record*, this should get pled down to Misdemeanor with a fine.
* Well this is good ... I don't think I've had a traffic ticket in over 15 years. I may have had 3 traffic tickets in my entire life of driving (46 years). Image source: Judge Roy Bean


A better Mr. District Attorney image

Comment: All cover art for comic series. I'm feeling less stressed. Hopeful!

In the hands of "Mr District Attorney"

I called the Hennepin County Court today and here is the process:
  • They do not show any charges against me (at this time)
  • She said that the Plymouth paperwork would go to the district attorney's office and there determination would be made whether to press charges. That process can take 3 weeks so I probably won't hear anything until towards the end of the month
  • If charges are filed, I will receive a summons from the court.
Comment: Maybe nothing will come of this ... or something little will come of this

 Hennepin County Court


Attorney hired

Stephen M. Goldfarb, Hennepin County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment: 40 years of experience! Waiting for the court summons.


Is Manning's future tied to Polian's?

Colts QB Peyton Manning 'surprised and shocked' at Bill Polian being fired Excerpt:

The Manning-Polian partnership began April 18, 1998, when Polian, in his first season as general manager, used the first pick in the draft on an All-America quarterback out of Tennessee. At the time, Manning conceded he knew little of Indianapolis, the Colts and their league-worst 3-13 record, or the players he would be joining. His father, Archie, offered reassurance. "I just remember Dad telling me that Bill Polian will straighten Indianapolis around, that he was the top football guy out there," Manning said. "That excited me. "I'd be the first to tell you that had Bill not been here when I was coming out for the draft, I'm not sure how I would have felt about coming to Indianapolis. He was just an unbelievable draw to come play for the Indianapolis Colts. To me, he defines loyalty. I'll be forever indebted for what he did for me and my career." The news of Polian's departure hit Manning like a pass rusher from his blind side. He never saw it coming.
Comment: See also Now, everything changes for Peyton Manning, Colts:
Given Luck's availability, the Manning health questions and a looming $28 million option bonus, does Irsay keep Manning and try to work Luck into the lineup later on? Does he let Manning walk in free agency? Does he trade the first pick for a ransom and go into Win One For Peyton Mode? It's hard to cut ties to the most important athlete the city has ever known, but it's hard to pass up a quarterback who is generally viewed as one of the best prospects to come along in decades. I know what they should do, and have written it so often, Manning playfully mentioned my newfound role as "Luck's agent." (What's zero percent of mega-millions?) But I don't know what they're going to do on the Manning front. I'm not sure they know. They have 21/2 months to figure it out.
My conclusion: the Peyton Manning era is done.

Congress Ends Taxpayer Funding Of Ethanol Subsidies


 .... two of the most wasteful subsidies ever to clutter the Internal Revenue Code went out with the old year. Congress declined to renew either the 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for corn-based ethanol or the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, so both expired Dec. 31. Taxpayers will no longer have shell out roughly $6 billion per year for a program that badly distorted the global grain market, artificially raised the cost of agricultural land and did almost nothing to curb greenhouse gas emissions. A federal law requiring the use of 36 billion gallons of ethanol for fuel by 2022 still props up the industry, but the tax credit’s expiration is a victory for common sense just the same.
Comment: Image source: Congress Actually Ends Taxpayer Funding Of Ethanol Subsidies. Subsidies skew the free market and introduce inefficiencies. Other examples: the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit (mentioned in the Wash Post editorial) that brought the Volt to the market; cash for clunkers, mortgage interest rate deductions, public transportation subsidies, etc.