Tag Archive: Countdown

Jan 24 2012

Countdown without Keith Olbermann 20120123

What has happened to Keith Olbermann?  

I know that he has some health issues, but for Chrissakes, he is younger than I am, and I NEVER miss a post unless something really important is happening.  And I do not make any money posting here, either.

Nov 10 2011

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 11.09.2011

Worst Persons: Michele Bachmann, Bill O’Reilly, Joe Paterno

Oct 31 2011

Pique the Geek 20111030: Heat and Temperature

This might sound like a foolish title, but actually the concepts of heat and temperature are quite different.  Obviously things that feel “hotter” must have more heat in them, right?  Actually, that is not always, and is often NOT, the case.  The two concepts are quite different, but are related.

In a bit we shall go into specific definitions of what heat and temperature actually are, but it is more interesting to look at the historical thoughts about them.  Back before quantitative physics, the higher the temperature that an object had, the more heat that it was thought to have.  That is correct for a specific object, as the temperature increases, the amount of heat in it also increases.

But it is easy to show that for dissimilar objects, the amount of heat is quite unrelated to the temperature.  I shall show you that ice might contain more heat than red hot steel!  Ready to look more deeply?  Then let us go to it!

Oct 26 2011

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 10.24.2011

Worst Persons: Chris Myers, Fox & Friends, and Herman Cain

Find out why Mayor Chris Myers, Medford, N.J., is WORSE; Dave Briggs, Alisyn Camerota and Clayton Morris, hosts of the weekend edition of Fox & Friends on “Fixed” News, are WORSER; and Herman Cain is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for Oct. 24, 2011.

Oct 17 2011

Pique the Geek 20111016: All about Soap Part II

First, please allow me to apologize for not posting Popular Culture Friday last.  I was occupied until late in the day and did not have enough time to write a quality piece for the series, and I would rather post nothing rather than a poor piece.  It shall return this coming Friday.

Actually, this is not about soap, but rather synthetic detergents, although we often call then “soap”.  In the companion piece to this one from last week, here, the terms are explained in detail.

There are a couple of reasons for using synthetic detergents over actual soap.  Part of it is economics, because both vegetable and animal fats, essential ingredients for soap, tend to be fairly high in cost.  Most detergents are based on petroleum, so when oil prices are low then can be cheaper to produce than soap.  When petroleum is high in cost, then detergents become less economically favorable.

Oct 10 2011

Pique the Geek 20111009: All about Soap

Before we start, here is an important public service message brought to you by Translator.  There is a fraudulent email going around asking that gmail users verify their accounts by the end to the month to avoid suspension.  This is a fraud!  If you get an email from Gmail@carrierzone.com, do not respond and delete it.

We take something as mundane as soap way too much for granted.  It is not an exaggeration to say that soap has saved more lives over its history than modern medicine has over its history.  Of course, soap has a much longer history than modern medicine, but soap is still essential as a medical adjunct.

The actual origin of soap is lost in prehistory.  I suspect that the first soap like materials were plant saponins, and we shall get to them in just a bit.  Before we get into the nuts and bolts of soap (and by extension detergents), it is important to understand just how these materials work.  At first it does not seem to make a whole lot of sense, but as we continue I promise one of those “Aha!” moments.  Ready to get going?  I am!

Oct 07 2011

SCOTUS: A Question of Ethics

In 2010 the public advocacy group Common Cause linked Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia to the billionaire Koch brothers. At issue was their presence at private parties hosted by the brothers just before the infamous Citizens United decision. More questions have now arisen about Justice’s Thomas’ objectivity and ethics and whether he should recuse himself from any review of the Affordable Care Act. Thomas’ wife Virgina’s involvement with the conservative groups, the Federalist Foundation and Liberty Central, her very vocal opposition to the ACA and his failure to disclose her income have raised a “specter off bias”:

The Obama administration filing a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is news, but a side issue might draw more attention: whether Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself.

Thomas’ wife, Virginia, was employed for several years by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Heritage has long opposed the health-care law. Last March, Heritage staffers published six op-ed pieces in The Dispatch, all criticizing the law and covering topics ranging from the law being unconstitutional to its purported cost savings being illusory.

According to political watchdog Common Cause, Mrs. Thomas earned $686,589 from Heritage between 2003 and 2007. As a member of the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas was obligated under the federal Ethics in Government Act to disclose his wife’s employment, but he failed to do so between 2004 and 2009. Finally, on Jan. 21, 2011, Justice Thomas submitted to the Committee on Financial Disclosure six letters, one for each of the six years.

These latest revelations about the lapse in the justice’s financial disclosures forms precipitated a call from House Democrats for an investigation into ethics violations by the Judiciary Committee:

“Public records clearly demonstrate that Justice Thomas has failed to accurately disclose information concerning the income and employment status of his wife, as required by law,” Democrats led by Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter (pdf) Wednesday to leaders of the Judiciary Committee. The Democrats also question whether Thomas accurately reported gifts and inappropriately solicited donations.

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“There is now more than enough evidence to merit a formal inquiry as to whether Justice Thomas willfully failed to make legally required disclosures, perhaps for as long as 13 years,” Common Cause president Bob Edgar said in a statement Wednesday. “Given that we now know he correctly completed the reports in prior years, it’s hardly plausible–indeed, it’s close to unbelievable–that Justice Thomas did not understand the instructions.”

Democrats contend that the Supreme Court’s protocols for such disclosures should be more transparent. “Because the Court continues to operate without a binding code of ethics or a transparent recusal process, it is time for Congress to exercise its Constitutional role and become involved in this process,” Blumenauer said in a statement.

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), one of the signers, appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann not only calling for the Judiciary Committee investigations but “exploring “retroactive recusal” in cases like Citizens United, which would nullify Thomas’ vote and overturn the ruling.” “Countdown” contributor and former White House Counsel to President Nixon John Dean joined Keith to discuss the case for “retroactive recusal” (transcript contained in the link).

Oct 03 2011

Pique the Geek 20111002: The Things we Eat: trans Fats

We hear a lot about trans fats in food and the negative health effects of them.  However, most folks without a background in chemistry do not really know what that means.  Tonight the object is to clear that up, and to point out sources that are high in them so they can be avoided.

Contrary to the opening statement, not all trans fats have deleterious health effects.  There are a couple that seem to be beneficial, but unfortunately they are sort of rare.  They are also some of the few trans fats that occur naturally.  By a huge margin, most trans fats consumed are artificially produced, and we shall get into that as well.

To understand the topic well, a chemistry lesson will first have to be given.  However, this IS Pique the Geek!

Oct 01 2011

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 9.29.2011

Worst Persons: Bill O’Reilly, Rep. Al Pscholka, Rep. Allen West

Find out why Bill O’Reilly is WORSE; Rep. Al Pscholka is WORSER; and Rep. Allen West is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for Sept. 29, 2011.

Sep 30 2011

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 9.28.2011

Worst Persons: Dick Morris, Sen. Rand Paul and CNN’s Dana Loesch

Find out why Dick Morris is WORSE; Sen. Rand Paul is WORSER; and CNN’s Dana Loesch is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for Sept. 28, 2011.

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