All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Monday, May 29, 2006

17 days, 3 time zones

This might make it appear as though gas prices don't affect my travel plans. I didn't let them affect my plans to be at my World War II veteran grandpa's 88th birthday party in Wisconsin on June 10th. Three days after his June 12th birthday, my grandma will be 32,000 days young! That's the vacation part. The rest of the trip is part vacation, part business.

May 31: Traveling: Alexandria, VA to Chicago, IL

June 1: Staying: in Chicago, IL

June 2: Traveling: Chicago, IL to Minneapolis, MN to Fergus Falls, MN
June 3: Traveling: Fergus Falls, MN to Great Falls, MT [wireless service unlikely]

June 4-7: Staying: in Great Falls, MT [wireless service unlikely]

June 8: Traveling: Great Falls, MT to Fergus Falls, MN [wireless service unlikely]
June 9: Traveling: Fergus Falls, MN to Minneapolis, MN to Elcho, WI [wireless service likely in a.m.]

June 10-13: Staying: in Elcho, WI [wireless service unlikely]

June 14: Traveling: Elcho, WI to Chicago, IL [wireless service likely in p.m.]

June 15: Staying: in Chicago, IL

June 16: Traveling: Chicago, IL to Alexandria, VA

So, if you see some strange picture, text and audio posts here for the next few weeks, that's why!

10,585 days

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Praying for the President

"President George W. Bush, beset by public doubts about his leadership, has opted for a more humble tone in discussing the Iraq war, including admitting mistakes, as a way to rebuild his credibility, analysts said on Friday.

"Bush's shift in attitude during a Thursday news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair was an indication he understands the depth of public discontent with the war and the criticism that he is too stubborn to adjust his policies, they said." ...

Life Maintenance Suggestions

From Mark Driscoll:
  • Fill your plate
  • Exercise
  • Do not allow technology to be your Lord
  • Sabbath
  • Pick a release valve
  • Work on your life, not just in it
  • Leave margin
  • Spend most of your time training leaders
  • Work from conviction, not guilt

Driving: the new 'down time'

"Results from the second annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test suggest that licensed Americans lack basic driving knowledge and exhibit alarming behaviors on the road."

"The study revealed that one in 11 drivers—nearly 18 million people—would fail a state drivers test. The study shows drivers deliberately disregard pedestrians and treat driving as the new 'down time,' where they catch up on the day's activities, diverting their attention from the road." ...

Hillary Follows the Money

"The manufacturer of Plan B is Barr Laboratories of Pomona, N.Y., and they are the ones who petitioned the FDA to allow over-the-counter sales in the first place. Evidently the pharmaceutical giant can sell more of this emergency abortifacient if it is placed in the grocery store aisle along with aspirin and cough syrup." ...

Home Traveling

"Higher prices don't seem to be hurting sales of one big gas-guzzler: the RV. In fact, RV owners say that when you think about it, they are really economical."

"People in their 30s, many with families, make up the fastest-growing market in the $14 billion a year RV industry." ...

Medical Tyranny in Virginia

"Fifteen-year-old Abraham Starchild Cherrix never intended to challenge the medical establishment when he refused chemotherapy earlier this year.

"He simply believed the treatment was poisoning him, rather than saving him from Hodgkin's disease. What he wanted was a more natural approach, which he sought through an alternative treatment clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.

"That decision has led to a courtroom battle, accusations of parental neglect and the possibility of being removed from his Chincoteague home." ...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tropics Expanding

"The tropical regions of the world have been expanding since 1979, according to a study by US climatologists who are unsure whether the phenomenon is caused by global warming or natural climate change.

"After analyzing satellite temperature data collected from 1979 through 2005, researchers estimated that the tropics expanded by two degrees of latitude, or 225 kilometers (140 miles), during that period.

"The phenomenon could explain the increase in droughts and decrease in precipitation observed in recent years in the subtropical regions of southwestern United States and Europe's Mediterranean basin, the scientists said in a paper published in Science magazine's May 26 issue."

"The tropical zone, geographically speaking, lies between the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5 degrees north latitude and the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5 degrees south latitude. Meteorologists, however, generally consider that the tropics extend 30 degrees latitude north and south of the Equator.

"Should the tropics 'move another two or three degrees poleward in this century,' said University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor and study co-author John Wallace, 'very dry areas such as the Sahara Desert could nudge farther toward the pole, perhaps by a few hundred miles.'"

"Earth has two polar jet streams at polar latitudes, one in each hemisphere, and two subtropical jet streams closer to the Equator, also one in each hemisphere. The data show that the jet streams in both hemispheres have moved toward the poles.

"'The jet streams mark the edge of the tropics, so if they are moving poleward that means the tropics are getting wider,' Wallace said." ...

Kurt Wise has discussed the likely positive changes of global warming to our existence on earth.

The Sahara Desert sits between 16 and 30 degrees North.
Israel sits between 31.2 and 32.6 degrees North.

Thus says the Lord: "'I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,' says the LORD."

Eminent Domain Used Against Wal-Mart

"A developing city east of San Francisco is the first place in the country to use the Supreme Court's eminent domain ruling to keep Wal-Mart out of its area."

"The Hercules, Calif., land in question consists of a 17-acre stretch next to new homes, offering a view of the San Pablo Bay. The city did not want Wal-Mart to be the centerpiece of its planned waterfront.

"Instead, city planners have looked for a more historic-looking development, with buildings that include apartments on the second floor and shops and restaurants on the ground floor."

"Towns from Virginia to California have fought Wal-Mart in the past, claiming the chain would kill local businesses. But many more have welcomed the chain for its jobs and tax revenue, even using eminent domain to bring the chain in."

"'It's not right to take private property for political purposes,' said Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Loscotoff."

"Wal-Mart has never gone away quietly, so this could be the start of a battle for the California town." ...

World's Largest Oil Reserves

"The future may lie under the Orinoco River in southern Venezuela.

"If these fields can be exploited efficiently, they'd give Venezuela the world's largest reserves and the United States a powerful rival to the south for many years to come." ...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Summer Vacations: All Systems Go

"[AAA] predicts 452,900 people in the area will hit the road for their holiday weekend destinations and travel 50 miles or more from home. That's a 1.4 percent increase over last year.

"'They may change their commuting patterns, they may take the Metro, they may car pool, but they will not give up their summer vacations,' says John Townsend, with [AAA] Mid-Atlantic." ...

I would be one of those joining those summer travelers—not this weekend though.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The White House News Channel

Vaughn Ververs over at CBS News proposes an all-business-day line-up of briefings the White House could produce catering to the various segments of the media: Arabic, (keep the Gaggle), Bloggers, International Press, (keep the Daily Briefing), Faiths, Global War on Terror, a Closer.

I like the idea, and I think it would make the White House Communications shop more targeted and responsive to the various segments of the world population and its interests.

Of course, it would be good to leave a little time for internal briefings and discussion, too.

2nd Amendment Hurricane

"Alarmed by the way authorities confiscated guns in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the National Rifle Association called on all police chiefs and mayors Thursday to sign a pledge that they will never forcibly disarm law-abiding citizens." ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

NBC employee: FOX is must-see TV

"While waiting online to get into Radio City Music Hall, the following telling conversation was overheard between some NBC employees. One said to his co-workers that he hoped the party after the presentation didn't go on for too long because he needed to get home to watch '24', the hit show that airs on Fox. Another co-worker quickly pointed out that he probably shouldn't make that comment in front of the media buyers." ...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Think Outside the Thumb

Seth Godin thought Nintendo made a huge mistake by naming their new game console Wii (pronounced the way the French communicate, yes).

What he didn't realize a couple weeks ago was that Wii has a Magic Stick. And, Nintendo has people telling a story!

Anyone in the world of gaming knows the hilarious comedy of watching the frustration of a novice taking one of the original NES controllers and fling it up in their hands trying to make Mario jump up in the air. "The controller can't feel you, dear; to jump you must press the 'A' button, of course!"

Not anymore. Nintendo has promoted the world of gaming beyond the thumbs. They are showing the world this week that gaming is more about fun than graphics and that's why they are stealing the show.

Seven Wonders of the World

The Seven Wonders of the World are as follows: I've heard the reference forever, but never actually stopped to figure out what they all are.

The Great City of Rhakotis

"Traces of pollutant lead found in harbor sediments have revealed that Alexander the Great did not found the Egyptian city of Alexandria—he just rebranded it."

"The find supports the description in ancient texts of a pre-Hellenistic settlement named Rhakotis in the area where Alexandria stands today." ...

Quoting Brian Williams

From Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News:

"My favorite China statistic is this: more Chinese are currently learning English than there are Americans who speak English."

"There's also evidence from studies suggesting Nightly News has a calming effect on children."

May 11 recap

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Congestion Tax

"Sitting in traffic is costing you more than time, it's costing you precious gasoline—so one local government wants you to think about that as a congestion tax." ...

Inverse Popularity

Here's another inverse relationship: diet and exercise. Guess which is more popular with searches and which is more popular in the news. (Or, take a look.)

Google Trends is more addicting than I first thought. Not only is it easy to think of more comparisons after a first visit, but its news links also fuel ever more trend-watching.

There's one other thing Google could do here that would really ensure a productivity drop: incorporate Google Sets.

Sets is the last of the original toys in Google's technology playground. I'm impressed it's still around. Most other ideas disappear after a while, or "graduate" to become an official Google Service.

The secret behind Sets' staying power is it's fundamental nature. While Sets has never graduated, it's base code has been implemented in Google extensively. Just think of any related site link in search results, Finance, or wherever.

Here's why I think it would be helpful in Trends. The types of queries in Sets and the types of queries in Trends are nearly identical. For example: George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in Sets and in Trends.

The information from sets could be included in that big blank white space on Trends under the news links and to the right of the geographic and linguistic breakdown section. Call it "Related Searches" or something like that.

The terms could be linked directly to their own trend search, or there could be checkboxes for people to pick the related items they wanted to compare!

I think that would be really interesting.


"If evangelism is telling people about Jesus,
missions is understanding them before we tell them." ...

President Bush, 44? 45?

"The current commander-in-chief said Wednesday that younger brother Jeb would make a great one, too, and has asked him about making a run. The first President Bush likes the idea as well." ...

Google Trend: Jeb Bush vs. George W. Bush, Bush vs. Clinton

Not 'Deaf Enough'?

"Their protests don't sound like those on any other college campus, because many students at Gallaudet University, the nation's preeminent college for deaf and hearing-disabled students, have trouble speaking." ...

I've always wondered what it would look like to see a person get angry in sign language. If they weren't so serious, this would be quite humorous.

Google Trend: blind vs. deaf

Google Zeitgeist Goes Dynamic

Google has launched an impressive new service called Google Trends.

Think Google Zeitgeist meets Google Finance.

What's so impressive about this is it's dynamic. It's not some automated and static weekly list of names. It's whatever you want.

Even now, I can compare, Mother's Day to Father's Day, the four seasons (Reston tops the list!?), the World Cup vs. the World Series, Jesus vs. Mohammed, red and yellow, black and white, cities going south, love/hate, hope/despair... This could get addicting.

Here's an interesting one: heaven and hell. There are more people searching for heaven than hell, but more news about hell than heaven. Although, the news about hell is probably more metaphoric than expositional.

And then, they add in news trends, to boot. The alphabetized peaks with news correlations is just too cool.

Perpetually lit water bottle

designverb highlights a solar LED water bottle.

What would be really cool is if it could absorb and reproduce water the same way it recycles light!

Reminds me of a story about living water.

Forecast for 2022: Showers

"A new and detailed view of a crumbling comet will help astronomers figure out how strong a predicted meteor shower in 2022 will be." ...

Kidnapping a moon

"Back when the solar system was young, when planets and their growing brood of satellites were angling for clear orbital slots around the sun, Neptune might have nabbed its giant moon Triton from a pair of passing sister planets, a new study says." ...

Monday, May 1, 2006

The White House Correspondents Dinner

Saturday night was the annual dinner put on by the White House Correspondents' Association. I enjoyed Bush and his invitation to Steve Bridges to play his double next to him.

Steve gave voice to Bush's thoughts, in particular about the media. It was great fun. I especially appreciated Bush's closing.

George W. Bush: "Ladies and gentlemen, that ruggedly good-looking guy right there is Steve Bridges. He's a fine talent. In fact, Steve did all my debates with Senator Kerry. He done most of my news conferences.

"Steve, you could have done a little better in the debates.

"I want to thank Steve for accepting my invitation to be a part of this fun evening. As most of my predecessors have known, it's really important to be able to laugh in this job. And I thank you for giving us the chance to laugh tonight.

"I got one more thing I want to share with you on my mind. It's something that's never far from my mind: God bless our troops. God bless the cause of freedom. And God bless America."

One thing I have to say: the man really cares about people. He knows them by name—even those who make people laugh at him on a regular basis.

He was followed up by Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's Colbert Report. Stephen had a few funny lines, but it was apparent not long into his routine that he didn't really intend to be funny.

Stephen Colbert: "And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has a right to their own religion—Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior."

He intended that to be a laugh, and people did. But it's also very true. It reminds me of the Apostle Paul who said, "whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice."

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