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Articles: 2008 January

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Page 1

Hell Yeah the Plane Takes Off
Thursday, 2008 January 31 - 9:10 am
For fans of and/or Mythbusters, I'm sure you were very interested in last night's Mythbusters episode, where they attempted to answer the old "plane on a conveyor belt" question. I've blogged about it before, but here's the problem again, in case you haven't seen it:
A plane is standing on a runway that can move (some sort of band conveyer). The plane moves in one direction, while the conveyer moves in the opposite direction. This conveyer has a control system that tracks the plane speed and tunes the speed of the conveyer to be exactly the same (but in the opposite direction). Can the plane take off?

The answer is, as Kottke put it, "HELL YEAH THE PLANE TAKES OFF". Mythbusters demonstrably proved it, not just with a model airplane on a miniature conveyor, but with a real airplane sitting on a giant sheet of tarp, being pulled by a truck in an opposite direction of the airplane.

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Posted by Ken in: interesting

Florida Primary Results
Wednesday, 2008 January 30 - 9:00 am


  • McCain: 36% (57 delegates)
  • Romney: 31%
  • Giuliani: 15%
  • Huckabee: 13%
  • Paul: 4%


  • Clinton won the Democratic vote, but Florida was stripped of its delegates by the Democratic Party for moving up its primary date.
  • Florida is a winner-take-all state for delegates.
  • Giuliani is widely expected to drop out of the race today, and possibly endorse McCain. Giuliani had counted on a strong showing in Florida.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

In Further News
Tuesday, 2008 January 29 - 8:26 am
If you happened to be driving by our house last night (which you weren't, because we live in the section of town known as "the boonies"), you would have seen clouds of billowy white smoke pouring out of every orifice of the house, and a few orifices of me and Amy. We THOUGHT we had pressed the "Self Clean" button on the oven, but apparently, we pressed the "Generate Toxic Smoke" button. You know, oven manufacturers really ought to remove that button.

This may have something to do with the layer of turkey grease that lines the bottom of the oven. Apparently, that is the fuel that enables the Generate Toxic Smoke button to work.

Now, some ten hours later, the house still smells of smoke, and the cats are still angry at us. "Hey, providers-of-food-and-cleaners-of-litterboxes, what's up with the smoke, yo? Also, we need more dangly bits of string."

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Posted by Ken in: life

South Carolina Democratic Primary Results
Sunday, 2008 January 27 - 9:52 am


  • Obama: 55% (25 delegates)
  • Clinton: 27% (12 delegates)
  • Edwards: 18% (8 delegates)


  • John Edwards won South Carolina in 2004. His distant third-place finish must be disappointing to him, and should be a sign of his increasing irrelevance in this race. Time to move on, John.
  • Bill Richardson dropped out of the race on January 10th. Somehow I missed that.
  • Dennis Kucinich dropped out of the Democratic race Thursday. Political blogs continue, though, to keep close tabs on his hot wife.
  • Fred Thompson dropped out of the Republican race Tuesday. Political blogs continue, though, to keep close tabs on his hot wife.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Oh No, It's American Idol Season
Wednesday, 2008 January 23 - 12:04 pm
... and, as my several long-time readers will know, it will soon be time for the tediously detailed analyses of American Idol performances... which will compete for blog space with the tediously detailed analyses of Apple, Michigan football, and national politics.

It occurs to me that perhaps I should split this one blog into several independent blogs... an Apple blog, a Michigan football blog, a political blog, and a personal blog. That would possibly let me expand my readership; an Apple blog might get linked from MacSurfer, a Michigan blog might get linked from MGoBlog, and a political blog might get linked from any number of political sites. But then again, that'd be four times as many blogs to let wither through neglect. I guess I'll only go down that path if I think I can make some money doing it.

So anyway, American Idol... it's started, but it's only in the early rounds. Best moment from last night's show: 20-year-old Valerie Reyes fancies herself to be as good as Mariah Carey. She's watched all the previous seasons of American Idol, and has enjoyed laughing at all the losers who embarrass themselves in the early auditions. When she gets rejected by the judges, she comes to a horrifying realization: "OH MY GOD... now I'm going to be on the 'rejects'". Brilliant.
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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstelevision

Big Mistake, Dr. Jones
Wednesday, 2008 January 23 - 11:48 am

I accidentally taught Amy how to say "yellow man" in Japanese.

This may not go over so well when we travel to Japan.
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Posted by Ken in: funnyhaha

Apple Posts Record Profit, Stock Plunges
Wednesday, 2008 January 23 - 11:46 am
Sometimes I think Wall Street investors are a bunch of idiots.

Yesterday Apple announced its fiscal 2008 first quarter results: $9.61 billion in revenue, resulting in $1.58 billion profit ($1.76 per share). Compared to the same period a year ago, that represents a 54.4% increase in earnings and a 35.4% increase in revenue.

Overnight, the stock lost about 13% of its value. Why? Because Apple's conservative second quarter forecast came in below expectations, and is seen as a further sign of a weakening economy.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarytechwatch

Restaurants: London Fish and Chips
Sunday, 2008 January 20 - 1:23 pm
There's a new fish-and-chips place open in Cary, London Fish & Chips. (British folks would call this place a "chippie", which is kind of funny to me, because here in the Colonies, a "chippie" is a prostitute.)

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Posted by Ken in: foodreviews

Nevada and South Carolina Results
Sunday, 2008 January 20 - 12:37 pm

Democrats, Nevada:

  • Clinton: 51% (12 delegates)
  • Obama: 45% (13 delegates)
  • Edwards: 4% (0 delegates)
  • Kucinich: 0%
  • Richardson: 0%

Republicans, Nevada:

  • Romney: 51% (18 delegates)
  • Paul: 14% (4 delegates)
  • McCain: 13% (4 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 8% (2 delegates)
  • Thompson: 8% (2 delegates)
  • Giuliani: 4% (1 delegate)
  • Hunter: 2%

Republicans, South Carolina:

  • McCain: 33% (19 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 30% (5 delegates)
  • Thompson: 16%
  • Romney: 15%
  • Paul: 4%
  • Giuliani: 2%
  • Hunter: 0%


  • Duncan Hunter dropped out of the race, after yesterday's results.
  • John Edwards admits he got his "butt kicked" in Nevada, but vows to press on. My guess, though, is that if he has a poor showing in South Carolina, he'll be pressured to drop out of the race. It's looking very much like a two-horse race. (Why Kucinich continues to campaign is beyond me. And I imagine Richardson must be discouraged by his poor performance in a Southwestern state.)
  • The wide disparities between results in the Republican race reflects, in my opinion, a severe internal conflict in the Republican party. Romney appeals to libertarian-leaning, pro-business conservatives; McCain appeals to values-oriented conservatives; Huckabee appeals to evangelical Christians. The likelihood of a third-party candidate "Nadering" the Republican vote this year seems to be growing.
  • Giuliani continues to pin his hopes on the upcoming Florida primary, and the 22 "Super Tuesday" states that vote on February 5th.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Not As Advertised
Friday, 2008 January 18 - 12:42 pm
This looked a lot more appetizing in the picture on the box.

Palak Paneer

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Posted by Ken in: food

Friday, 2008 January 18 - 12:38 pm
From our vet's office:


"Only one of us gets to eat this week, kitty, and it's not going to be you."
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Posted by Ken in: funnyhaha

Michigan Primary Results
Wednesday, 2008 January 16 - 9:37 am


  • Romney: 39% (24 delegates)
  • McCain: 30% (5 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 16% (1 delegate)
  • Paul: 6%
  • Thompson: 4%
  • Giuliani: 3%
  • Hunter: 0%


  • The Democratic Party stripped Michigan of all its delegates for having its primary too early, so Democratic vote counts are essentially meaningless.
  • The Republican Party stripped Michigan of half of its delegates.
  • Liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas had called for Democrats to vote for Mitt Romney, since the Democratic primary was meaningless, and a Romney victory would complicate the close Republican race (and tie up campaign dollars in the primary).
  • McCain now has a dominant lead in national polls, ahead of Huckabee; former front-runner Giuliani is a distant third, and Romney is fourth.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Apple Watch: Additional Macworld Thoughts
Tuesday, 2008 January 15 - 3:37 pm
There are a few questions and observations that have popped into my head since Steve Jobs' announcements at the Macworld keynote.

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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Apple Watch: Macworld Keynote Live Blog
Tuesday, 2008 January 15 - 11:35 am
Well, technically, this is a live blog of other blogs covering the keynote, since I'm not at the Macworld Expo, and there's no live video feed. Recycled news, that's what we do best here at the Real Kato Online.

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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Christmas in January!
Tuesday, 2008 January 15 - 8:37 am
Well, not really. It's just that I'm finally getting around to blogging about some of the stuff I got for Christmas.

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Posted by Ken in: foodlifetechwatch

Apple Watch: Macworld Today!
Tuesday, 2008 January 15 - 8:02 am
Well, the big Macworld Expo keynote is today, and Jobs is widely expected to announce the "MacBook Air", a subnotebook. Also expected is an iTunes movie rental agreement with several major studios.

Here's how I think it will go:

- News about Mac OS X Leopard
- News about the iPhone, and the upcoming development kit
- News about AppleTV enhancements, and the movie rental announcement
- Brief recap on the new Mac Pro and XServe
- Announcement of the MacBook Air
- One more thing?

Live blog starting at noon EST.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Mallett, Manningham, Arrington Leaving Michigan
Wednesday, 2008 January 9 - 2:06 pm
It just became official; quarterback Ryan Mallett is leaving Michigan, in search of a program that better fits is pro-style passing skills. He is considering Tennessee, where former Michigan offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and former Michigan quarterbacks coach Scott Loeffler are reportedly being considered for jobs.

Meanwhile, coach Rich Rodriguez said last night that Arrington and Manningham are also leaving Michigan for the NFL.

With only two inexperienced scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, Steven Threet and David Cone, it has suddenly become critical for Rodriguez to land some quarterback recruits. You can expect that Rodriguez will call for an all-out-blitz to land top high school prospect Terrell Pryor, a mobile quarterback who would do well under Rodriguez' spread offense.

At wide receiver, Michigan has had success in previous recruiting classes, and depth is decent; however, there will surely be a drop-off from Manningham and Arrington, who each had dazzling performances at times during this past season.
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Posted by Ken in: sports

Apple Watch: New Mac Pro and XServe Models
Wednesday, 2008 January 9 - 9:29 am
Apple announced speed bumps to the Mac Pro and the XServe, a week in advance of the MacWorld Expo.

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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

New Hampshire Primary Results
Wednesday, 2008 January 9 - 9:08 am


  • Clinton: 39% (9 delegates)
  • Obama: 36% (9 delegates)
  • Edwards: 17% (4 delegates)
  • Richardson: 5%
  • Kucinich: 1%


  • McCain: 37% (7 delegates)
  • Romney: 32% (4 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 11% (1 delegate)
  • Giuliani: 9%
  • Paul: 8%
  • Thompson: 1%
  • Hunter: 0%


  • Delegate counts are estimated.
  • Obama had led significantly in polls in the days leading up to the election.
  • Exit polling reveals that women voted heavily for Clinton, as did voters in big cities.
  • Republicans voted for McCain based on his character, despite agreeing more with Romney on issues.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Charity in the Blogosphere
Tuesday, 2008 January 8 - 12:22 pm
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the biggest charity contributor in the world. I shun mega-charities like the United Way, I don't tithe, and I just hate those guys who come door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions for "a good cause". The little girl from next door who came selling Girl Scout cookies? It pained me to buy my requisite two boxes, knowing that my money would be swallowed up in the giant coffers of the Girl Scouts organization, and I would never know who benefited from it.

What I do like is when I can help a specific person with a specific need, especially when that person didn't ask me for anything... and I especially like it if I can do it in a manner that demonstrates the power of the internet community.

So I present to you a series of posts on The Anchored Nomad (links here, here, and here, where the esteemed Portuguesa Nova describes the plight of a classmate trying to raise funds to take a nursing exam. I only know this blogger because I followed some link somewhere years ago. I read the blog now because (a) she lives in Ann Arbor and (b) she has this maddening way of blurring out her own face whenever she posts pictures, and I hope that one day before I die I finally get to know what she looks like.

Anyway, she put a "donate" link up on her blog, and I threw a few bucks her way, and hey look! Free publicity for my own little blog here.

It's this sort of thing that makes the Internet great, more so than Google or Yahoo or all the porn sites. It's the fact that we can build communities even when we're worlds apart, when our only connections are through a tenuous series of hyperlinks on an ephemeral set of web pages.

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Posted by Ken in: bloggers

College Football Recap
Tuesday, 2008 January 8 - 11:03 am
A look back at the Michigan game, and comments on last night's championship.

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Posted by Ken in: sports

Monday, 2008 January 7 - 1:39 pm
I'm just not into it today. I feel all logy.

I'm still stewing about a poker game from Saturday, and it's not just that I lost. It's a particular incident that happened in the middle of the evening.

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Posted by Ken in: life

Iowa Caucus Results!
Friday, 2008 January 4 - 9:31 am


  • Obama: 38% (16 delegates)
  • Edwards: 30% (14 delegates)
  • Clinton: 29% (15 delegates)
  • Richardson: 2%
  • Biden: 1%
  • Dodd: 0%
  • Kucinich: 0%


  • Huckabee: 34% (17 delegates)
  • Romney: 25% (12 delegates)
  • Thompson: 13% (3 delegates)
  • McCain: 13% (3 delegates)
  • Paul: 10% (2 delegates)
  • Giuliani: 3%
  • Hunter: 0%


  • I'm going with media projections of Republican delegates; the actual numbers may change. Updated with CNN's delegate projections, January 20, 2008.
  • Clinton received more delegates than Edwards despite receiving less of the popular vote, due to the mechanics of the Democrat's Iowa caucus system.
  • Giuliani did not campaign in Iowa.
  • Joe Biden and Chris Dodd dropped out of the Democratic nominating race after the Iowa results.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Apple Watch: 2008 Predictions
Wednesday, 2008 January 2 - 10:17 pm
It's that time of year again! Here's a look back at my 2007 predictions, and a look ahead at 2008.

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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

The Field
Wednesday, 2008 January 2 - 9:30 pm
Completing my series on presidential candidates, here's a brief look at the remainder of the Democratic and Republican field.

In earlier posts, I made some detailed observations about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards on the Democratic side, and Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney on the Republican side. For the rest of the field, I'll keep it brief.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Mitt Romney
Wednesday, 2008 January 2 - 8:58 pm
Continuing my series on presidential candidates, here's my look at Mitt Romney.

If there's a Republican equivalent of John Edwards, it's Romney. Polished. Handsome. Robotic.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

John Edwards
Wednesday, 2008 January 2 - 8:03 pm
Continuing my series on presidential candidates, here's my look at John Edwards.

Pretty boy. Rich lawyer. Inexperienced. Power-hungry. We heard all the criticisms in 2004, when Edwards ran for President and eventually became the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Democrats. And here he is, making another run.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Live-Blogging the Michigan Game
Tuesday, 2008 January 1 - 1:27 pm
Well, almost live... I'm starting on a twenty-minute DVR delay.

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Posted by Ken in: sports

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