Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

And to each and all, have a peaceful holiday season!

Monday, December 19, 2011


My friend across the pond posed the following:

So, being a baby wonk, I constructed a table:

This consists of numbers 1-98, the sum of the digits, that sum * 17 +1. The difference between the result at the first number. This gives the following plot:

As you can see, rather than ever having a zero value, it is monotonically increasing (in a sort of interesting way).

So, I doubt if one can find such a number.
Unless, on simple adds the number of digits as in this table:

Clearly the only number that would fit is 35 since by the time one gets to six digits the sum*17 + 1 is only 103.

I haven't looked at the answer. I'm probably wrong. In which case, I will slink away.

Ah, Ha! The Wizard across the pond shows me up. Of course I didn't extend my calculations beyond 100. If I had, I would have gotten the following graph of the difference:

What appeared from 1 to 99 as a dull, monotonically increasing pattern was part of a bigger pattern going the other way. (I should take it beyond 1000.) 

When the difference is taken gives this graph:

So, I slink away.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The War

With a whimper* we leave Iraq. (Not really. We leave the world's biggest embassy and a coterie of privately contracted security forces.)

For what?

Everyone thought America had responsible adults in charge. God help us.

(*TSE after WWI; refers to Guy Fawkes)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Friday Crab Blogging (late)

A contribution from across the pond. Cute, but no cigar.

I am not sure that crabs are into minnows for bait, but could be.

Madi constructed a story. Not sure what it is, but knowing Madi, its got to be interesting.

I like this one because of the nose. Sort of Venice Carnival spirit. (By Emma)

This is Dr. C. reacting to the Republican politicians running for President.

A while back we discussed how to tell male and female crabs apart. It has to do with their apron being either the Capitol or the Washington Monument. The males are, as Michalea has indicated (and did so last year), "Jimmeys," and the females are "Sooks." (though the word "sook" apparently means "baby" in Southwest England.).

We are into crabs.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday Crab Blogging (late)

 A little like a crab-spider but I'll take it.

 If Miss Piggy were a crab...

A rare example of the bat-wing poly pedic crab found only in Transylvanian habitats

Some interesting contributions from those who don't want to draw crabs (and lose points in the process)
How could I resist this one

A Wolf

A School Bus

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Day After

Things slowing down in Crabland. For inexplicable reasons (we've been good but not that good) little damage. Unfortunately, lots of flooding and crabs will be seen in places where crabs have never gone before! There were tornadoes, too. So, we had a HuriQuakeNado week.

Life is like a game of Angry Birds. What do the Birds Gods have in store for us next?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting the Beatles Back Together

This from my nephew, a musician.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Taking a Hostage

The use of other human beings in armed conflict, as well as taking humans as hostage in, say, a hijacking or other type of terrorist attack, goes to the very core of what it is to be civilized. While the use of civilians as hostages is probably as old human conflict, it was the practice of Khrash by the Mongol hoards that may be the most odious:
A commonly used tactic was the use of what was called the "kharash". During a siege the Mongols would gather a crowd of local residents or soldiers surrendered from previous battles, and would drive them forward in sieges and battles. These "alive boards" or "human shields" would often take the brunt of enemy arrows and crossbow bolts, thus leaving the Mongol warriors safer. The kharash were also often forced ahead to breach walls.
It is likely that this was used in the siege and destruction of Baghdad in 1258. For students of irony, one should perhaps compare this to the "Shock and Awe" attack on Baghdad by "allied" (i.e. American) forces in 2003. Lost in the glorification of that massive bombardment was that fact that innocent civilians lived there. Baghdad just can't cut a break.

There is no doubt about it, Boehner, Cantor and friends took the American people hostage in the recent Debt Limit debacle. There are still politicians, nay, presidential candidates, who feel America should have been let to default on their debt. That these supposedly intelligent candidates are still flourishing, nay, are considered lead contenders, speaks volumes to the level of political discourse in this country.

The basic idea is that when there is a conflict between the leaders of two groups, threatening members of the opposing groups with harm (the leaders, e.g. Saddam Hussein, Boehner, Cantor remain unscathed) has become, if not acceptable, then a common means of attaining one's end. Using the above examples, it is an observation that this method is used either when one of opposing forces is either overwhelmingly powerful with respect to the other (Baghdad then and now) or the attacker is basically powerless (terrorism). Perhaps one should lump both of these together under the rubric "terrorism" and simply say that "Shock and Awe" was a form of State Terrorism. Israel's invasion of Gaza with the subsequent loss of civilian life could be discussed in these terms.

One alternative is compromise. Since 1938, the word "compromise" has come to signify cowardice. If it is one thing that most humans fear. It is being labelled a coward or an appeaser:
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. It has been described as "...the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody, and possibly dangerous."
Alpha males don't compromise. To make their point, they sometimes even march across the fields of Gettysburg  and get slaughtered. John Boehner and Eric Cantor view themselves as alpha males. They view Obama, as one who seeks compromise and is therefore weak. Thus, Boehner after using the American economic welfare as hostage in the recent Debt Limit debacle, felt that he had gotten 98% of what he wanted. That was not a compromise, it was an appeasement. The long term effect on politics will be to, as they wanted, severely weaken the American's view and conception of Obama. Though probably unintended, it reinforces the stereotype of the black male being subservient to the white male, with that relationship somehow natural and acceptable. Racism runs deep in our Country.

Thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope. The recent plunge in the polls of Boehner's approval may mean that Americans have seen through the hostage ploy. I do know that none of us ever want to see it used again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Part of the Grand Capitulation, i.e. the "deal" that Obama negotiated with Boehner and McConnell, was setting up a committee of six Democrats and six Republicans to come up with a plan to slash the Debt by $1.5 Trillion. Today, McConnell and Boehner named the six Republicans. Each of these six have:
"signed a pledge to Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform that they will not vote to raise taxes."
Why even have a committee that is doomed to failure from the start? How can we possibly get out of this mess without raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, or at least rescinding those tax cuts put in place by George W. Bush?

We have become an illogical country.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Just a little Error

Apparently, behind one of these windows, there is someone with a calculator. That someone made a mistake. A two trillion dollar mistake. To paraphrase Everett Dirksen:

A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
I thought it ironic that a commentator named Emily on one of my favorite blogs (JSBlog), linked to an advertisement for that calculator:

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Friday Crab Blogging (late)

Note that there is both sunshine and rain. BIG drops.

Hailey told me this was a "Christmas Crab." ??????

Whose behind those Foster Grants?

Don't ask.

James has hidden the body well.

Trice has been watching the Ravens too much.

Local talent. Very nice young lady. Working her way through college. I wish I had this enthusiasm.