Check this out: my old boss just got back from Iraq.
…an 18-hour-day, seven-day-per-week workload for Allen, who is director of business services in the Office of Student Affairs.
Sounds just like him.
On March 7, he received the Bronze Star Medal for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States.” It’s an honor about which Allen is characteristically understated.
Such modesty! Well, he may understate it, but I’ll state the truth: he works his butt off in everything he does and he’s a true inspiration to me. Congratulations, Dan, and I’m glad you’re back.
Here’s a band that I’ve been enjoying recently: Level. I’ll just come right out and say this: they sound like Linkin Park. That’s not a value statement, it’s just the truth. If you enjoy LP, you should enjoy Level. If you despise LP, you will not enjoy Level.
Like Linkin Park, they feast on the heavy guitar licks and power chords, and lean heavily at times on the turntables. The lyrics are the typical fare: all angsty and quasi-angry and what not, but the vocals themselves are quite good.
I guess one could also compare them to Korn as well. They have those weird machine sounding guitars that sound like giant sheets of metal being blown around or pounded on or something.
In fact, that’s my verdict: Level = Linkin Park meets Korn. And I love it. So, go to their MySpace site and get their MP3s immediately!
I went golfing this weekend for the first time in a long while, with a buddy of mine. To sum things up, here’s a shot from the Neo Geo arcade classic, Neo Turf Masters:
Subtract the awesome haircut, and add about 32125123 more bogeys.
Anyway, here are some shots of me looking like an idiot at Valley View Golf Club in Lancaster.
Why didn’t anyone tell me that eBay has RSS feeds? Seriously, when did they start doing this? I can now put an RSS search on whatever I want to buy, and it comes to me whenever! This is incredibly exciting, especially if I don’t want to search for “Sesame Street Countdown” every week to see if someone is trying to sell it.
My cartridge collection has been increased by 2, and the NES collection in particular has gone from 119 to 121 with the addition of these fine cartridges:
These games are both rated “A-” for rarity by Mike Etler’s list. and rated “NAAA” for “Not awesome at all” on anyone else’s list.
Why is it that the rarest games are the least awesome?
Season 3 of Battlestar is coming up in October (along with Lost–I’ve got a lot of TV watching coming up). Spoilers from Season 1 and 2 below:
When we last left Battlestar Galactica (seems like ages ago), the Cylons had just found the year-old settlement on Caprica, with President Baltar still in charge as a somewhat malevolent ruler. Only the Adama family (and a few others, I imagine, although not shown), were orbiting Caprica in the two Battlestars and the rest of the fleet, and were hardly prepared to take on a fleet of Cylon Basestars (a sense of complacency and wishful thinking had overcome most of the people). So, they jumped away, leaving New Caprica defenseless.
Here’s the SciFi trailer for Season 3. And it looks to be a doozy of a season:
This is incredible, but all I kept thinking while watching it was “Geez, that must have taken all day!”
Some enterprising guys have invented this EDrive thing, which is a simple technology that allows you to charge up your Prius at home instead of just being limited to Synergy charging while in operation. They say you can get 100mpg with a hacked Prius, for a mere $12,500 more (dropping to $6500 soon, I guess).
So, 100mpg seems like quite a lot, but I think the cost alone of the modification negates any economic benefit of 100mpg. Certainly any environmental benefit would be negated because that electricity comes from evil corporations burning fossil fuels anyway. So, let’s look at the cost over, say 20 years or so. Well past the normal lifetime of a typical car. How does the Hacked Prius stack up to the Prius and other similar sized cars?
Recall these calculations from Sithlet:
2006 Honda Civic Hyrbid : MSRP $21,850. From Honda’s site.
Also potential tax savings if you buy a hybrid.
This is versus $14360-$18260 for a Civic Coupe or $14560-$18260 for for a Civic Sedan.
Then, you’ve got 49/51 MPG for the Hybrid, 30/38 MPG for the Coupe or Sedan.
At $2.10 per gallon (~current prices), this means you’ll need to get about 2638 gallons worth of savings. The average ratio of MPG for Hybrid MPG : non-Hybrid MPG is 1.4877… so you’re basically getting an “extra” half gallon per gallon you use. So you’d need to use ~5250 gallons to get your money back.
The tank holds 12 gallons, so 439 fill-ups — I guess it really depends on your car and how bad gas prices get, but that seems like a lot to me! Even once a week, that’s 7 or 8 years. With gas prices normally rising, I suppose that would go down some — but that’s still a while to break even on your investment.
I thought I could take these impressive calculations, and expound on them with a full analysis to determine whether the Hacked Prius was a good buy, and how a regular Prius stacks up to similar cars. I cobbled together a quick Excel sheet with the following assumptions:
- I compared the Priuses to 3 cars: Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Accent. All cars are similarly sized and have pretty decent gas mileage of their own. I tried my best to compare apples-to-apples; no Hummers or cement trucks here. Sithlet’s comparison of the Civic to the Civic Hybrid was very good, but I want to evaluate the Hacked Prius, and there is no Non-Hybrid Prius.
- MSRPs from the vendor’s websites. I tried to be conservative with my pricing. I went with prices toward the ceiling for the non-hybrids, and floor prices for the hybrids.
- Fuel economy from HybridCars.com. I don’t know if this is highway or what, but that’s the number I’ll be using.
- 13000 miles of driving per year.
- Gas price of $2.819, which is what it is right now in my zip code according to GasBuddy.com
- Hack kit cost of $6500, and 100mph fuel economy for the hacked Prius
- $0 in electricity usage for the hacked Prius (maybe you’ve already bought a bunch of solar panels or you can just steal from your neighbor)
- Gas price stays at $2.819 for the next 20 years (this makes it simpler to calculate).
- No maintenance costs or anything like that–let’s assume they are the same for each car, though I have no idea if that’s a fair assumption one way or the other.
- Tax break for the Prius is $2000. I think this is accurate.
Please feel free to download my Excel sheet and play with my assumptions. I’ve made it as dynamic as possible so all you have to do is plug in your own numbers.
You can see on the graph below that the Hacked Prius just about (but not quite) converges with the normal Prius at the 20 year mark. Add in electricity costs, and the Hacked Prius is a terrible idea–even from a purely environmentalist-hippy standpoint (unless you have solar panels all over your roof and the roofs of places you go to).
Also note that with gas prices at $2.819 (up from $2.10 in Sithlet’s calculations), the Prius breaks even with regular cars at about 4 years of ownership. Just for fun, get the Excel sheet and see what happens if gas went up to $10, or see what happens if you drive 26000 miles a year.
If one were to assume that gas prices are going to go up, the Prius is certainly a good buy, but only because of the tax break from the government. Without that break, the Prius wouldn’t break even with other cars until around 7 or 8 years of ownership. Is this a good thing? I’ve always been in favor of just about every tax break ever conceived, but in this case, the tax break might act as some sort of innovation stifling crutch. Toyota only has to be X-$2000 good, not X good.
Anyway, Hacked Prius conclusion: bad idea. The up-front cost vastly overpowers the gas savings.
And then there’s this: Hummers consume less energy from start to finish than hybrids. Certainly they will cost you, the driver more than a hybrid (or other low-cost car) to own and operate, but if one is basing their decision on pollution, energy consumption and what not, the Hummer may be a good choice. Something to think about.
Here are the top 185 reasons that MySpace is maligned (almost as much as AOL at this point).
I’d like to submit my sister’s MySpace as exhibit number 185. It is ghastly.
A quick search of Google News for “condemns israel”:
- Iran (of course), Italy, Spain, Germany
- South Africa
Now a search for “condemns hezbollah”:
So, is condemnation of the terrosist organization Hezbollah implied? Is that the deal? Or is this just unbalanced hating on Israel? Most of the top list countries claim that Israel is taking “disproportionate” action, but I think Israel gave more than fair warning. “Give us back our guys, or will we blow things up.” They didn’t get their guys back, and guess what…they started blowing things up. Would negotiations with a harbored terrorist organization be a better idea? Perhaps a fruit basket?
Or maybe we could take the hippy route offered up by Pootie-Poot:
“I consider that all sides implicated in this conflict should immediately stop military action,” Putin said.
The literal Russian translation actually was: “HAY GUYS STOP ALL THE FIGHTIN’! IN SOVIET RUSSIA, WAR FIGHTS YOU!”