Random Musings: Loud shirts, Falkirk Wheel, World Series, Pain, Halloween gorging,

I’m wearing a loud shirt today. Not the flourescent-hued hawaiian variety, but the new, stiff, never-been-worn variety. Every time I move it makes rustling sounds (yes, Bill, it sounds like it’s stealing cattle). It’s rather distracting. I need to wash this shirt a couple of times before I wear it again.

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For your engineering coolness fix of the day, may I present: The Falkirk Wheel! It’s how the Scots get a barge 76 feet into the air and into another canal without a multi-mile series of locks–using only the electricity equivalent of boiling eight kettles of water.

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I don’t think I’ve ever watched a single game of a World Series. But for Game 7 between the Cardinals and Rangers tonight I may have to make an exception. Now that I have a greater appreciation for the game, it sounds like I’ve been missing out. There’s been all kinds of drama, not the least of which the underdog Rangers turning the tables on the Cards, forcing a very dramatic finish in Game 6 for the Cards to keep their hopes alive. Good stuff!

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As I often point out, nothing is simple in politics, and unintended consequences are common. Take for example the Flat Tax that several presidential candidates are promoting right now. It sounds like a great idea on paper, just like ending all the loopholes for businesses promoted by the current administration. But, as Yahoo News points out, the tax preparation industry is big. Simplify things too much and you put around 800,000 people out of work.

I’ve remarked to colleagues that for every loophole that gets closed there is probably at least one accounting clerk per large company that will lose their job. There are entire industries that have likely grown up around tax loopholes that would be shut down.

Does that mean we should never change anything? No. I think some ideas are worth the short term losses in order to reap the long term gains. But as Westley says in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” There is no easy way to make big changes. The sooner we as a country realize that, the sooner we can actually get down to the enormous and painful task of fixing our problems.

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And just in time for Halloween; dentist claim gorging on candy is better for your teeth! Actually, it makes sense. A large amount of sugar in a short period of time is better than lower-volume, but continual snacking. So let ’em gorge ’til they puke, then brush their teeth good! Wooooo!