Archive for June, 2009

Bad Science and Economics Coming Your Way

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

The Cap and Trade bill has passed through the House by using typical pork barrel politics to get enough members of the house to go along with the bill so that it will pass. Doubt me? Take a look at the parts added to the bill to get House members from the farm states to go along. Your cost of food is going to go up more as farmers will be enticed by the higher amount paid to help fight global warming.

Which brings us to the next matter. The science of global warming is flakier then then the jelly doughnut Al Gore is eating. Anyone can do the Chicken Little act and scream “Global Warming!” “Global Warming!” but the rational mind should look at the evidence and make decisions based on this. Congress lacking a rational mind means we get Chicken Little laws. Nevermind that temperatures have actually been dropping during the last decade but that the tie between CO2 and global warming doesn’t have the evidence to support. On the other hand the evidence supports a link between solor activity and global warming but as Congress hasn’t figured out how to tax solar activity, yet, they go down the route where your wallet is located.

The final part of the bill I want to address for now are the statements on how it will create more jobs. Sure it will create jobs in those sectors where the government is tossing money, but how will this effect jobs in other areas? Gabriel Calzada an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain has published a report telling us what to expect. Spain bought into the green jobs via renewable energy. The results? The highest rate of unemployment at 18.1% that is double the European Union average. On top of this these renewable energy projects are costing the government even more money, not saving money. The only way these projects can survive is with government subsidies, over a million dollars a year in some cases. So far the evidence tends to say that going with renewable energy comes at the cost of higher taxes to support the projects and higher unemployment rates.

If this bill becomes law hold on to your wallet and pray you don’t lose your job.

Hell Is Too Good For Some People

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Jonah Goldberg posted this AP story over on The Corner:

WASHINGTON — A Duke University official has been arrested and charged with offering his adopted 5-year-old son for sex.

Frank Lombard, the school’s associate director of the Center for Health Policy, was arrested after an Internet sting, according to the FBI’s Washington field office and the city’s police department.

According to an affidavit by District of Columbia Police Det. Timothy Palchak, an unnamed informant facing charges in his own child sex case led authorities to Lombard.

Authorities said that Lombard tried to persuade a person – who he did not know was a police officer – to travel to North Carolina to have sex with Lombard’s child.

The detective’s affidavit charges Lombard identified himself online as “perv dad for fun,” and says that in an online chat with the detective, Lombard said he had sexually molested his son, whom he adopted as an infant.

The court papers say Lombard also invited the undercover detective to North Carolina to have sex with the young boy, and even suggested which hotel he should use.

In my book before he burns in Hell, Lombard should die a slow lingering death. Even then it would be enough for what he has done.

How To Get Past A Password Protected VBA Project In Excel

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Had this come up at work recently. Someone left the company, report they created in Excel needs to be changed, no one knows the password he used to protect the project. So what do you do?

I found some instructions on Schmitti’s page on how to do this. This describes how to get pass, i.e. crack an Excel 2000/XP/2002 where the VBA module has a password you can no longer remember (or someone left the company and didn’t tell you the password). This will not work on Excel 97 and has not been tested on versions of Excel newer then 2002.  BE SURE TO SAVE A COPY OF THE EXCEL FILE BEFORE TRYING THESE STEPS

  1. Get a hex editor. A couple of free ones are Free Hex Editor Neo or HexEdit.
  2. Open the Excel file with the hex editor
  3. Search for the bytes 44 50 42, or for the chars DPB. Be sure there exists after these chars the strings “GC=” and “[Host Extender Info]. Some programmers try to protect projects with a dummy-row within a sheet. Several programs for breaking VBA passwords find this dummy-row, consequently a wrong location. So you should find the right locations above “[Host Extender Info]”
  4. Change the chars DPB to DBx After that, save the file and close the hex editor
  5. Now open the file with Excel. You receive a corresponding error, click “Yes”
  6. Click “OK” to any other error messages that come up.
  7. Access the VBA editor and enter a new password. You must enter a new password.
  8. Confirm and save the file. You can then remove the password if you like.

Which Way Am I Going?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Jake Steinmann over on the Honest Philosophy Blog made a post with his thoughts to a post by Rory Miller. Three being the magic number I decided to add where I think I am.

The posting consider the stages of a martial artists and how they may evolve as a martial artist. Miller describes people in the martial arts as going through three possible stages, novice, collector, and stripper. The novice is the one where all martial artists start, we learn the moves,we learn the katas, and earn rank. After this some people will continue to the collector stage. Here the person is learning new techniques, going to seminars, expanding their toolkit, etc. Then after this fewer will go to the stripper stage. These are the collectors that have discovered, often through a bad scenario, they know too much stuff to grab at any one time so they start to strip their tool bag down. This is a brief overview of Miller’s post and I suggest you read his entire post to get a better idea of what he is talking about.

For me, I started in Taekwon-Do a little over 20 years ago while living in California. I went to classes, and even a few seminars. I was in the beginning of a collector stage. Then I ended up moving to Maine and searched around for a TKD school, in a style I wanted to do, and couldn’t find one. I did find one school, tried it, didn’t care for the direction the school took compared to my old one. Thus ended my martial arts career in TKD with the rank of blue belt.

Several years down the road my son started karate at Pelletier’s Karate. I took him to classes, watched what was happening, thought about joining, but had no real desire to just do katas. Then the head instructor (and my current sensei) Rich Pelletier announced that they were going to start some sparring and grappling classes for adults. For some reason this caught my attention. Not because I wanted to be the next MMA star but because I could see a real practical use now, fighting especially fighting to protect myself. So I enrolled.

Needless to say sparring and grappling was not for everyone and soon it would just be one or two of us for those classes and they ended up being canceled. However I had started to learn about Tony Blauer and his S.P.E.A.R. system from my instructor (he is a certified S.P.E.A.R. instructor) and this started my in the collection of the teachings of Tony Blauer.

Currently I see myself as a collector, although a specialized one. I look for seminars to attend but all focused around self-defense/reality based combat. In class when items are being explained I examine them with an eye towards self-defense. Some people may consider this being a stripper, but I don’t think I’ve learned enough to actually examine my own tool kit and start tossing things out. Just because a move is presented as being for self-defense doesn’t mean it is a good move. I’ll continue stadying and learning and perhaps one day I’ll make it to the stripper stage.

Web Site Review: Healthy Fellow Blog

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Healthy Fellow is a blog that seeks to provide information on diet, exercise, and natural health related issues. The blogging categories range from Alternative Medicines to Women’s Health.

Browsing through the blog I read the article on Red Yeast Rice and Cholesterol, mainly because high cholorestrol is a health concern of mine. I found the article interesting and didn’t realize that it Red Yeast Rice (RYR) behaved like the prescription statin drugs for cholesterol. The article was wise enough to mention the dangers of statin type of drugs, which RYR would fall into in this case, and effects of CoQ10 in the body.  A good over the counter CoQ10 supplement can counter these effects.

Overall the blog covered a wide range of topics, check it out and you may find an area of interest.

Natural Medicine Talk

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Natural Medicine Talk is a forum out there for people to ask questions. What type of questions? Well those related to natural medicine of course. Activity is fairly good with not a lot of meaningless postings. Topics range from men and women health issues to talk about alternative medicine.

I actually enjoyed browsing through the posts dealing with recipes as I enjoy cooking. I found some interesting recipes and even a little discussion on how to use chopsticks, a technique I was already familiar with. I also enjoyed browsing through the discussions of supplements as I prefer to use these whenever possible instead of over the counter or prescription medicines.

So if you have a question about natural medicnes, or just curious in trying to learn more about them, check out the Natural Medicine Talk.

DVD Review; S.P.E.A.R. System: For Women & Self Defense Coaches; Rape Safe

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

S.P.E.A.R. System: For Women & Self Defense Coaches; Rape Safe is a two volume set available from Tony Blauer and his company Blauer Tactical Systems. Combined these two DVD’s weigh in at over 3 hours in length and focuses on a wide variety of topics aimed at the main topic: self defense for women in a rape situation.

In a nutshell, this series covers what Blauer refers to as the 3 D’s: Detect, Defuse, and Defend. While too often many self-defense system focus on only the Defend part, Blauer spends lots of time talking about the other two parts. If one thinks of self defense as being layers between you and a predator, the outer layer is Detect, the middle Defuse, and the inner layer Defend. Blauer points out the importance of these three layers and how our goal should be to stop the threat at the outermost layer that we can. Blauer provides various tools and techniques to be used at each layer along with examples of using them in different scenarios. These range from situational awareness, non-violent postures, and his Closest Weapon Closest Target (CWCT) concepts. In all Blauer provides very useful information in all three of these areas.

This set also offers a good overview of many of what I’ll call Blauer’s philosophies. Blauer talks about his S.P.E.A.R. System, or Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response, which I consider the heart of his teachings. Blauer breaks this down and explains how our natural flinch response can be used not only to defend out also as a launching point for an attack. Also presented is a Powerpoint slide explaining his “Cycle of Behavior”, which is a probably most simply described as explaining how we behave. Myself I found this presentation very interesting and really ties together the concepts presented in this series. I actually watched this section a couple of times to wrap my mind around the concepts presented here. Trying to explain all of this is beyond the scope of this review but in the end all good information.

Is there a downside to this series? In the information presented, no. But as the disclaimer says at the beginning this is DVD presentation of analog videos that in some cases were filmed over twenty years ago. The video and sound quality is not the best. If that is the biggest knock I have against this, which it is, then that is something I can live with.

Does the DVD meet its goal as stated in the title? I would say yes. One just needs to remember you don’t learn self-defense from a video, or a book. You need to take the concepts and practice them, and practice it like you mean it. When you are learning to drive you just don’t watch a video then get a license, you practice the skills. Same thing here. Any woman getting this video to learn self-defense needs to also practice the techniques presented. A self-defense coach could learn much too and it could help them determine “am I teaching my students the right things?” Outside of the target audince I would add that anyone looking to learn more about self-defense, both the physical and psychological aspects, would benefit from this series.

Paper Tiger Black Belts

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Today in karate class we focused mainly on boxing techniques, grappling, and some basic escape techniques from a grappler. Being an early morning Saturday class there was only 3 students in the class. One of the students was a teenager and he has pretty good karate skills, he even is part of demo team. During this session he was struggling quite a bit as these were not your typical karate type of techniques. At the end of the class he commented on how we struggled and was frustrated as he usually picks up things easily. Our instructor’s response? “Hey, I don’t want any paper tiger black belts.”

What he meant by this is that he wants his students to be well rounded. Not just in karate but also as a fighter. He wants to make sure that if the worse thing happens on the street that we are able to protect yourself. That should be the point of any martial arts school. If your students, especially at the black belt, lack the skills to adequatly protect themsleves on the street then how good is your martial arts?

Red, Blue, and Unemployed Too

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

The June 22, 2009 issue of National Review had an interesting little sidebar article showing the current unemployment rates compared to how areas voted in Presidential elections. What it shows that the longer an area voted Democratic in the Presidential elections the higher their unemployment rates were. On the flip side the longer an area voted Republican the lower their unemployment rates were.

Granted this is a simple cause and effect type of argument, but it does raise some interesting questions. The main one for me is does Democratic policies cause undesireable economic effects? On the surafce it sure looks like.

What Scares Chuck Norris?

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It seems President Obama scares him.  Lou Pritchett and many others are probably scared too, including me.