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Archive for February 20th, 2008

Lights Out for PARI

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emerging from eclipse There’s our moon at 9:53pm CST, just 2 minutes into emerging from its last total eclipse for the next three years. In awe we await the rebirth of the light of the full moon. This side of a total eclipse, rising back up out of the shadow, is in so many ways even more moving than the moon’s darkening was.
lights out And then quite suddenly, without warning, the moon disappears!! What is this, did our bad weather interfere with our military’s aim, making them mistakenly blast down the moon with their missle instead of hitting that defective satellite they thought they shot down?

No, but it’s almost as comically criminal: an astronomical organization that apparently does not know when a major astronomical event is still very much in progress. Quite abruptly, without any advance warning, PARI turns out the lights on its telescope webcam less than 5 minutes into the moon’s emergence from last total eclipse they’ll have the opportunity to show us for the next 3 years. Bye bye, suckers.

I know, I probably shouldn’t be such a pissant, should instead be fawning all over Pisgah for its so very “generous” gift of even this incomplete glimpse of the promised land. After all, that second pic is all we had up in our Houston skies, what with the rainy weather NASA didn’t feel like cloud-seeding away for eclipse-viewers’ benefit.

But that doesn’t excuse an astronomer flipping the switch as soon as the light starts peeking back after a total eclipse Nor was PARI’s little disclaimer to the effect of only committing to showing the event as long as its telescope webcam happened to be turned on – are they so in the dark that they haven’t heard of an automatic timer to plug into the outlet, even if they were going to pack up and leave before the best scene of the show?

PARI’s success is dependent upon volunteers, tax-deductible financial contributions, and donated equipment. PARI is a not-for-profit public foundation recognized by the IRS under section 501(c)(3).

That’s PARI panhandling for donations. Hey, I was seriously so grateful to be able to see the last full lunar eclipse of the decade through the clouds, that I was considering joining the ranks of Friends of PARI. Seriously. But if I had written out my check at 9:26pm CST during the moment of deepest total eclipse, I would have ripped it up just half an hour later. They don’t need friends so much as they need to stop making enemies.

bumper sticker [] - umop3pisdn

Written by macheide

20 February 2008 at 10:00 pm

Posted in umop3pisdn

No Sense In Trying

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no sense in trying

Them’s raindrops you see there in our pool, and that’s a completely overcast dusk sky you see overhead, and there’s only about 3 hours left to go before tonight’s total lunar eclipse. So tell me, what good does it do to live in Houston, if NASA can’t reschedule the eclipse for us on account of bad weather?

*sigh* So I guess I’ll be over at the PARI website instead, watching it online through the webcam for their West Observatory telescope.

bumper sticker [] - mother nature

Written by macheide

20 February 2008 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

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Doing My Best To Make the World Happier

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It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.

Oscar Wilde

As one can see from my Internet journaling, I’m doing my part to fix things. *smirk*

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Written by macheide

20 February 2008 at 5:30 pm

Posted in huckleberry

Rules Rule When Principals Ignore Principles

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Try as it may to steer in the direction of principles-based accounting standards, FASB seems too frequently to feel that old drag of the current toward the Niagara of its rules-based mindset.

Watch, for instance, its deliberations toward supposedly improving pension asset allocation disclosures. (See the discussion beginning on page 7 of the February 13 Board Meeting Handout.)

Mind you, the current condition of employers’ pension disclosures leave much to be desired. You’ll not find more than a handful of people in the entire world who have a better collection of pension and OPEB disclosure data from 10-Ks than I have at my fingertips, so I speak from experience when I nod at the complaints that the existing pension asset allocation information by and large is of very limited value, if at all. But the direction in which the Board’s project is headed is badly misguided, piling on complicated rules and costs without any promise of improving the value of the disclosures.

The existing principles under SFAS 132R are more than sufficient until more fully vetted through phase two of the Board’s comprehensive pension accounting project, if only companies and their auditors would follow those principles. SFAS 132R does not require solely the disclosure of asset allocations in equities, fixed income instruments, real estate, and other investments, as FASB itself has finally noticed too many companies have been allowed by their auditors to get away with. The standard already states “shall include, but is not limited to….” Like the rhetorical question goes, which of those words is not being understood?

But before FASB itself can complain, it ought look in the mirror: if the Board says what it means and means what it says, then there ought be no need for even a staff bulletin to expand or clarify SFAS 132R. This current FASB action is reminiscent of those silly, wasteful highway signs that command drivers, “Obey all traffic signs.” Like the driver who simplifies everything by disobeying that sign, where is the requirement to make auditors follow any new FASB staff guidance or amendment of the standard, if SFAS 132R is not being implemented properly as it stands?

Just one practitioner’s opinion, but not only is this proposed action unnecessary, but it has no promise of being any more effective than the underlying standard unless and until disclosures actually apply the standard that in and of itself ought have already been sufficient as it stands, without amendment or clarification.

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Written by macheide

20 February 2008 at 4:02 pm

Posted in άctuary

notes for patty

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i was transcribing comments from our discussions, writing neatly handwritten notes in th margins around th print on each page. patty was intrigued and came over to talk with me about th notes. i could not understand her question, so could only stare blankly at her and hope that in every note handed out to th general public she would find th caring secrets hid there for her

back to my desk, i piled up all my devices at my right hand, my camera and cell phone and mp3 player and pda along with all th ones i’d used over th years and never thrown out. i wanted her to see i’d been doing this all along

pastor stan came out of his room and i called him over to th desk. i could not remember what i had wanted to ask him so that i would know that it would be acceptable to donate what i was planning to give toward th dog we wanted to get on behalf of th congregation. so i just went ahead and handed him two 50 dollar bills as i’d intended, leaving myself th scrappy wrinkled handful of ones. as he returned to his room to put th donation in safe-keeping, i recalled my question: whether my donation would imply that i ought be forced to spend that amount or more on things that others saw as being any greater priority based on their values versus what i’d wanted. i didn’t voice this question as i recalled it, yet th question became th impression others would have from not knowing that my donation would eventually be th only one toward a dog for our group

i saw th reb hobbling on crutches down th sidewalk past th park. i grabbed my camera to snap a shot. following down to find her again, i passed bill r, who was heeding weather warnings and packing up to leave, although everyone else was still lounging around waiting for th weather to actually hit. he seemed concerned that i might be taking a candid pic of him, so i just caught him in th corner of a frame of a pic of where i thought th reb might have gone. she was not in th cluster of people jammed down near th concession stand, but i did find her struggling to sit down with a few friends off in a corner on the way back up. i just missed catching a great face she made as she fought with her crutches, but she only thought i was teasing when i asked her to repeat it, so she would not replay it for me. i did not recognize either of her friends, although they seemed familiar with me

a young man behind me had lain out on blankets there that were mine. he had nothing but a shrug in response to my question about what he was expecting to talk with them about, so i made him get off th blankets while i muttered about how today’s youth just didn’t have a clue


Bumper Sticker [] - oneirra

Written by macheide

20 February 2008 at 4:04 am

Posted in oneirra