Archive for April, 2011

My fun weekend at the Royal Wedding with Willy and Kate

I had the best time this past weekend. You see, it was the weekend of the much hyped Royal Wedding of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales & the newly proclaimed Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, at Westminster Abbey. Prince William – or Willy, as he prefers me to call him – is really a very down-to-earth guy (but a horrible bluffer at strip poker, I found out this weekend). Willie, Kate and I had so much fun all day long. Not wanting to steal any of their thunder, I tried to stay in the background as much as possible. After all the day was about them, not me.

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  • Published On Apr. 29, 2011 by TEJ
  • In Defense of Big Oil

    Not long ago, I took on those left-wing tree huggers in my insightful commentary titled The Myth of Global Warming.  I thought I had shut those nutcases up once and for all.  Seems I was wrong (go figure!).  Now they are up a tree again, this time barking about our over-dependence on oil.

    These bicycle brains warn that the US has become overly dependent on oil from countries that don’t particularly like us, which puts our national security at risk.  Since when does the USA care about winning a popularity contest? Someone has to be the world’s policeman, and policemen don’t become cops to be liked. Some Chicken Littles are panicking that we might run out of oil in the next fifty years –  like I’m gonna be around to care.  And let’s not forget those socialist sympathizers yammering on about “rich oil executives getting paid too much!” Wah, wah, wah!  Enough with all the whining.

    Let’s take a look at some of these latest ridiculous, alarmist claims.

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    • We bicycle brains are not as stupid as you think. You think Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs? No…
      John Pickett
  • Published On Apr. 22, 2011 by TEJ
  • Kids, don’t try this at home – My (Disastrous) 10th Grade Science Experiment

    [Author’s note: the following is a painfully true, 100% accurate story and it’s the reason I knew at an early age that I would NEVER become a scientist.]

    When I was in tenth grade, I had a science experiment to do and I was running very short on time. It was due in a couple days and I had only barely started on my experiment. I decided to do an experiment involving “rust” and the rusting process, and how some elements can accelerate the rusting process while others tend to inhibit or decelerate it.

    Anyway, I had one final experiment to do — to test the rust-inhibiting or accelerating effect on metal of boiled linseed oil. I had never heard of linseed oil (I was just reading from a book of high school science projects and one of them was about rust). So I made sure to precisely follow the experiment’s procedures as set forth in the book. One of the elements it suggested using to test the rusting process was “boiled linseed oil.”  So I went to whatever store sells linseed oil and came home and began the experiment at about 4:30pm. I should note at this point that my father, for reasons still unknown to me, chose this day of all days to come home at 5pm rather than his usual 6:30pm. The relevance of this point will become clear in a couple paragraphs, so be patient.

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  • Published On Apr. 15, 2011 by TEJ
  • Watson vs. Palin in mock presidential debate – Who will win?

    [To LISTEN to an audio podcast of this week’s column, press the PLAY button arrow below.]

    [buzzsprout episode=”22195″ player=”true”]

    Last week I told you about the phenomenal Watson Super Computer from IBM. Watson appeared on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! and completely dominated the competition against his two human opponents, the two most successful champions in the quiz show’s history.

    As a result, I told you about Republican plans to vet Watson as a possible 2012 presidential candidate. And so far, so good. You can read last week’s column here.

    As I mentioned last week, thanks to incriminating photos I have of House Speaker John Boehner, this reporter has obtained exclusive access to a private debate prep session in which GOP strategists pitted Sarah Palin against Watson in a mock presidential debate. The candidates’ responses showed pronounced differences in approaches to confronting the nation’s problems. Here is an excerpt from that debate, moderated by Larry King.

    King: Do you believe global warming is a real phenomenon, and if so, do you believe man has played a part in escalating it? Watson?

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  • Published On Apr. 08, 2011 by TEJ
  • GOP eyes Watson the Computer as front-runner candidate for 2012 election

    [To LISTEN to an audio podcast of this week’s column, press the PLAY button arrow below.]

    [buzzsprout episode=”22194″ player=”true”]

    Last month, the nation was introduced to the world’s smartest computer: the IBM Watson. Watson is an example of the incredible strides made in artificial intelligence (A.I.). With four terabytes of storage capacity, including all of Wikipedia. Watson knows the answer to virtually any question, from Lady Macbeth to Lady Gaga.

    Even more impressive than Watson’s depth of useless trivia is his … er… its ability to answer questions in a natural language.  Fittingly, Watson made his television debut on Jeopardy!, challenging the two most successful contestants in the show’s history, neither of whom were computers.

    It was a grueling competition of man vs. machine, reminiscent of IBM’s Deep Blue vs. Grandmaster Garry Kasparov in chess. Watson was gracious in victory, never bragging or trying to fist bump his fans (which may have been in part due to his lack of fists). Watson easily trounced his two non-digital opponents.  In his Final Jeopardy answer, contestant Ken Jennings acknowledged the lopsided outcome, writing, “I welcome our new computer overlords.”

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  • Published On Apr. 01, 2011 by TEJ