Politico on Obama, the Iran Deal, and Hezbollah

It’s a long read, but worth the time. Hezbollah funneling cocaine into the US for cash, US attempts to end it, and how they got away with it because ending it interfered with Obama’s desire for the Iran nuclear deal. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/obama-hezbollah-drug-trafficking-investigation/


Radical Transparency

Here is where I plan to take the Ratburger site in the near future.

Too many Web sites are based upon proprietary code or, even if they’re founded on 99% open source code, their developers foolishly keep the implementation of their sites secret.  Why?  Some believe in security through obscurity.  Others fear third parties critiquing their work.... [Read More]


Saving $$$ with Concierge Medicine

Some of you may know that after being forced into Obamacare four years ago as an independent contractor, we were hit by huge premium and deductibles increases.  By my calculations, the two years of Obamacare cost my family of seven (me, my bride, and five kids) $42,000 MORE than I would have paid out on our old plan.  We’ve since moved to a member-driven co-op for our insurance and concierge medicine for our primary care treatment.

Our concierge medicine costs are similar to a gym membership, and our family of seven pays $200/month, which gives us access as-needed to our primary care doc, and many, many free services such as basic bloodwork.... [Read More]


New poll finds Trump is divisive

PRRI stands for Public Religion Research Institute.  They promote liberal religion, which means they also promote Universalism and Leftist politics.  I have no reason to think that their polling is bad, but since they are Leftists they phrase questions in ways that I think are sometimes close to push-polling.

PRRI has released a new poll report.  Check it out.  There are no surprises here, but you might find something useful.... [Read More]


Saturday Night Science: Fun with Cosmic Rays

I took an international flight today, and did something I’ve intended to do for some time: monitor the background radiation flux as the plane changed altitudes.  I brought along a QuartaRAD RADEX RD1706 Geiger-Müller counter which detects beta particles (high energy electrons) and photons in the x-ray and gamma ray spectra and displays a smoothed moving average of the radiation dose in microsieverts (μSv) per hour.  The background radiation depends upon your local environment: areas with rocks such as granite which are rich in mildly radioactive thorium will have more background radiation than those with rocks such as limestone.

One important component of background radiation is cosmic rays caused by high energy particles striking the Earth’s atmosphere.  The atmosphere is an effective radiation shield and absorbs many of these particles before they reach sea level, but as you go to higher altitudes, fewer particles are absorbed and you experience a higher background radiation dose from cosmic rays.  Background radiation at sea level is usually around 0.10 to 0.13 μSv/h.  At Fourmilab, at an altitude of 806 metres above mean sea level, it usually runs around 0.16 μSv/h.... [Read More]


Illustrating a magazine article

This is one of those posts about the kind of job you do. I do graphic design and also quite a bit of illustrating – the hand-drawn kind.

One client I have is a trade mag for the hotel industry, for which I illustrate an article a month. I don’t know a whole lot about that industry, but when the editor emails me the article she answers any questions I have. Recently an article concerned the dilemma some hoteliers face when their brand headquarters demands they implement a PIP – that’s a Property Improvement Plan. Some hotel owners go through with the PIP to upgrade their hotel, but others opt to sell the hotel outright or ‘flip’ it to a new flag (hotel brand). Each of these choices has its own issues, expenses and time-consumption. The editor wanted me to illustrate the quandary of choosing between these options.... [Read More]


The Ratburger Way

I hope this site delivers the goods to various Members. I want you to think of it as three different restaurants. The first one is a ritzy place with tablecloths and superb wait staff. The second is a bistro with families and light fair. The third is a little Ratburger stand in the parking lot.

The ritzy place is “the long serious” posts that people write. Someone has taken the time to write something good and we should respect that. The entrance to that restaurant is by clicking on the category  Long, serious posts.  By clicking on that you get to see all the gourmet Ratburgers. There is a dress code in there. (They haven’t let me in yet so I don’t know for sure.)... [Read More]


TOTD: Inheritance vs Legacy

Back in the 1960s, as I understand it, anyone could walk into a hardware store and walk out with a gun very easily; which shouldn’t be surprising because guns, after all, are tools.  Some of these hardware stores would sell all manner of military surplus rifles, usually out of the barrel in which they were received.

My dad was a traveling pharma rep in the 60s before he went to med school, and he would stop in just about any hardware store he encountered on his rounds….and many, many times would walk out with a trophy.... [Read More]