Monday, November 21, 2005

That was the J. House campaign!?

Etan over at slcspin has been going on and on about how poorly run the Janneke House campain was. I finally clicked over and saw this post:On Being Progressive and LDS and read some of the other posts. wow. That is an embarassingly poorly run campaign. But, it seemed that Cliff Lyon dominated the campaign blog and may have over ruled Janneke House on how to pitch the campaign. Whether or not that happened, it makes a young candidate seem even younger when the campaign blog is that dominated by the campaign manager. why did Cliff just run himself? Also, could someone tell me how to say Janneke?

The strategy of making the LDS religion an issue and then pitting "a young democrat Mormon against her former Stake President" is just baffling. To buy into the stereotypes of conservative republican Mormons in order to pitch your candidate as a young democrat Mormon is confusing. I'm glad it didn't work and I don't even know anything about her stand on the issues or her opponent.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

MacZealots brave bare-chested brawls and drug deals all night for Utah Mac Store opening.

I made up that part about brawls and drug deals based on KSLs reportage of uban blight meets urban renewal at Gateway. Anyway, the grand opening seemed to go off without a hitch and MacZealots bonded in line all night.

One lingering question after the big game.

Is Utah's backup quaterback (sorry, I can't remember his name, I don't follow U of U football) really that good or is BYU's secondary really that bad?

Fortunately, Utah's starting quarterback is too injured for a "who should start the bowl game" debate.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I am a good, no, make that "great", parent

...because my two year old twin girls think the BYU cougar is "Daddy's cat" and yesterday they told my wife that they were "playing football" when they were throwing a ball back and forth in the living room. Fortunately, BYU returned to a succesful passing game for my girls' first real year of learning football (they were too little to get much out of football last year).

Solving excercise problems at BYU

Katherine Fajen points out that excesive amount of "flabby butts and back fat" on BYU campus can be blamed on the "five old treadmills, four ellipticals and four stair-steppers for almost 30,000 students!". The horror.

Memo to Katherine: if you want to run, climb stairs, walk etc, Go Outside! Provo has some of the best trail running within 5 minutes of a university campus in the world. The stairs between the Fieldhouse and Richards Building make a fine excercise station. Why, just the other day I saw the men's volleyball team running stairs and puking in the bushes in that very place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

BYU Cougar for sale

An enterprising Utah fan has placed a picture of the BYU Cougar for sale on ebay. Seller claims "has had all shots. Has been neutered, will be neutered again Saturday." Proceedes from the sale go to sub for santa. Current price is $26.00.

Update (11/18) The cougar was posted by, your friend and mine, Tom Barberri who now works with FM 97.5 and the price is up to $37. Back when I used to listen to Tom on KALL 700 or whatever it was, Tom really was the only voice of reason on some issues. Glad to see he's got a new gig.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Why Pete Ashdown will lose in Utah. And that's too bad.

Today in BYU's faculty parking lot I observed a car with three bumper stickers: "Leave no billionaire behind", "more tree less Bush" and "Pete Ashdown".

People, get this into your liberal heads: Bush has a 61% approval rating in Utah. Associating rabid anit-Bushism with Pete Ashdown is not going to get Pete Ashdown more votes.

So, I am going to buy some Bush 2004 bumper stickers and some Pete Ashdown stickers and put them on my rig (what Utah County conservative couldn't trust the bumper sticker on a 92 dodge pickup?) to start getting the right association going.

Update: You can get some high quality republican stickers at freedomhq and you can get your Pete Ashdown gear at CafePress.

Mourning the Loss of an 1848 Black Locust

An 1848 Black Locust was murdered in Salt Lake County today. I am an old-tree tree-hugger. Old trees take, well, a long time to grow. My favorite old trees (at the moment) are: the big tree in bicentenial park in provo, the tree in the middle of Cove Fort and the tree in front of Zion Lodge in Zion NP. (if you know any more, let me know to add to the list).

Squabling or normal legislation? Legislation for sure.

The DesNews calls it squabling over the food tax. John Valentine calls it rational, deliberative discussion that is part of the normal legislative process. Whom to believe? The president of the senate or a D-News reporter that has a deadline to meet before going home? I go to go with the President of the Senate on this one.

Blast from the Past: BYU's Bendix G15

The Daily Universe is doing a retrospective of BYU news from the 1960s. Today's articles included a piece on the new Bendix computer for the Mechanical Engineering Department.

The Bendix G15, which went for $55,000, does an astounding 50 floating point operations per second (flops)! These days, the Fulton Supercomputing Center at BYU has a machine, MarylouX, that does about 1 trillion flops.

To put that in perspective, if each computer moved one inch for every floating point operation completed, then the Bendix would move about 2 feet in 1 second and MarylouX would move back and forth from here to the moon 32 times and be almost done with the 33rd trip in 1 second. That's progress.

cold fusion meets 9/11 conspiracy theory at BYU, great.

A BYU physics professor, Steven Jones who studies metal-catalyzed fusion has decided that it is time for a "serious investigation" of whether or not it was demolitions charges and not passenger planes that cause the collapse of the twin towers in NYC.

And, he's got the paper accepted in "Reserach in Political Economy" for 2006. Research in Political Economy analyses "society in a manner that is consistent with classical Marxism". What?! A BYU professor publishing in a Marxist journal? What would the McCarthy-ites have to say about that!

Shouldn't BYU have some way of saying "you can't publish your stuff in Marxist journals that and then go talk to the press about it while waving around your University credentials because it is embarrasing"?

You may remember Steven Jones from the cold fusion days in Utah. While Jones wasn't one of the main "we have cold fusion" guys (that honor goes to S. Pons and M. Fleishmann), he did support their claims. The claims turned out to be incorrect.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Life is good in the vocal minority

So my favorite issue for Orem politics, the CARE tax, passed on Tuesday. It is interesting to note that 88,619 residents of Orem will have to pay a tax to support recreation and the arts because 5,016 people, or just over 10% of the registered voters, voted for it. Fortunately, the opposition was not succesful in mobilizing its base.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How many cars are burned in France on an average day (before the riots)?

It turns out that French gendarmes were a little tardy in responding to the riots because...
initial nights of unrest did not seem particularly unusual in a country where an average of more than 80 cars a day were set on fire this year even before the violence. according to the New York Times.

Thanks to crack web analyst Joel Self for finding that quip. By the way, Joel will be graduating with an MS in Computer Science in a year or so. If you are looking for a good technical person, Joel is your guy.

We are ready to call the races in Orem

At 9:12 pm Tuesday Utahania news is ready to call the races in Orem. Based on our sophisticated statistical model, Utahania now predicts that Jerry Washburn will be re-elected as mayor in a landslide. Karen McCandless (our blogging city counselor, go Karen!, she learned to link pages this week, its been fun), Shiree Thurston will both be reelected to the city council and Dean Dickerson will win the third spot.

And, best of all, the CARE tax will pass by almost a 2-to-1 margin!

Wohoo! We are even more excited to live in Orem for a long time.

You heard it here first.

Orem Election results for 2005

Get 'em while they are hot

Sunday, November 06, 2005

YAEF-CARE: Don't rob Orem of its Soul

This is one is a little more specific in calling out the Utah Taxpayer's Association and you know I like that. My favorite thing about the anti-CARE tax signs is that the initiative is called "CARE" so the anti-CARE people can't say "Vote NO on CARE" because that's like saying that you don't care about your town. So they are left with "Vote no on the arts tax." So are you the heartless luddite that's going to vote "no" on the arts?

Friday, November 04, 2005

YAEF-CARE: Yet Another editorial in favor of CARE tax

The DesNews weighed in in favor of the CARE tax in Orem. I liked the arguements except I noted a conspicuous lack of recreation initiatives in the list of initiatives in the editorial. Let's not forget that the "R" in care means recreation and that means more trails. For what it is worth, I still support it even if it is "just" for the arts.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

How to die in the wilderness: Keep toothpaste in your tent

Any newspaper article that starts out "When Troy Larsgard set out for a camping trip last weekend, he never imagined his dedication to dental hygiene would cause him so much trouble" is going to be good. This is no exception.

It turns out that bears really do prowl Rock Canyon near Provo and BYU campus and that they like toothpaste. These guys were camping near Rock Canyon campground from the sound of it and the bear came for a visit around 3am. They scared it off and ignored the impression to "throw everything out of the tent."

The bear came back at 9am (these guys sleep in late for backpackers) and tore through the tent. "The bear entered the tent, and while Brent pulled his sleeping bag over his head..." That's great. There's a bear coming into the tent and this guy just pulls the sleeping bad over his head like its a bad dream.

Then "it turned to my brother and sniffed him in the ear and that's when I really started getting pretty nervous" Um, I think I would have gotten nervous when the bear entered the tent, but then again, I am usually 3 miles up the trail at 9 am and not still in the tent.

Another editorial in favor of CARE tax.

Larry Myler, who is developing "Midtown Village" on State Street supports the CARE tax. I was particularly pleased to see Larry point out that the long term cost of the tax is probably zero becaues of the increased revenue due to out-of-Orem visistors. Besides, you have to give Larry a lot of credibility on this one because he is like the only person doing anything to keep State Street from sinking into a dirty dangerous agglomeration of abandoned strip malls and storefronts.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Misinformation about CARE tax use in Orem

It has come to my attention that someone is claiming that the tax will benefit 2% of the population. A cursory analysis of the data suggests that this is pure hogwash. If you are going to use numbers people then at least make sure they make sense.

2% of Orem's population is 1,700. City Councilman Les Campbell points out in the Daily Herald that he has been to SCERA events with more than 1,700 people in one place at one time. He also mentions that the golf course had 1,400 golfers on one day over Labor Day weekend. Finally, SCERA reported seeing 125,213 in 2004. If we assume that all of those people were Orem residents (which they weren't, but we will get to that in a minute) then to get less than 2% of the population in the SCERA we would have to have seen 1,699 people go to the SCERA 73.7 times each during 2004. Not likely.

Now, suppose that only 1/3 of the people who go to SCERA are from Orem. Then we have two new issues. First, 2/3 of the people who visited SCERA are visiting from somewhere else. That's 82,640 people-visits to our fair city. Not bad for the local economy I should think. The remaining 1/3 is from Orem so that leaves 41,297 visits from Oremonians. To get less than 2% of the city participating in SCERA (which seems like kind of a moot point now that we got 82,640 other poeple to visit and hopefully leave money in Orem, but we will press on) we need each Orem visitor to go to SCERA 24.3 times. That's twice a month. Also doesn't seem likely, but maybe it is. If it is, then good for them and I am happy to support the arts at SCERA and I might even have to go myself and see why 1699 people are going twice a month all year.

Vote "yes" early and often for Orem's CARE tax

The proposal is to levy a 0.1% sales tax on ourselves (when we shop in Orem) and on other people when they shop in Orem. The money would support cultural arts and recreation. There are two reasons to vote for this tax. First, it has a snappy name. It is not as good a name as "ZAP" in Salt Lake, but CARE isn't a bad name for a kinder, gentler community like Orem.

Second, for the low low cost of $30 a year or less per family (see caveat below) we can do cool stuff as a community. Doing cool stuff as a community does two things for us. First, we get to enjoy the cool stuff. Second, other people from other cities come to our fair city and enjoy the cool stuff with us. Ideally, they also spend some money while they are here.

Caveat: I made up this number. I guessed that a family would spend $30,000 a year in Orem. This guess seems a little high to me, but even with a $30,000 estimate, the tax comes out to $30. If the math seems a little complex here, then another example might help. If a family spends $5,000 in Orem then they would pay $5. If the spend $10,000 in Orem then they pay $10. Etc.