### Post election notes

Sadly, Prop 19 didn't pass in Tuesday's election. Score one for the old drug warriors and failed drug policy. But I'm encouraged because A) we're having this conversation B) the process led to a lighter punishment for possession (misdemeanor down from possible prison term) and C) it didn't lose by much. Losing by a 4-point swing isn't bad for an initiative that every major CA newspaper was against (see my LA Times review). Plus, the prohibitionists got their chance to roll out their best arguments and, well, they looked pretty silly in the process.

In better news, Prop 23 failed. I didn't post about this evil little initiative, but I'm glad it's gone. Basically, two Texas oil companies pushed to have clean air laws rolled back. "We're all about clean air," they said. "But let's roll back the laws just until unemployment drops below 5.4% for four straight quarters. Jobs and stuff!" In other words, let's just suspend sensible environmental laws until unemployment drops to a level it's only been three times since 1980, for a period of time that we've seen in, um, never. Or until pigs fly, whichever comes first. The voters saw through that lame idea.

Anonymous said…
Glad California voters saw through the lameness on the air quality laws. We (as in, the voters, not me specifically since I did not vote for him) just voted in a new governor in Florida that is threatening to do much the same with our environmental regulations. Working in the industry, I find this cringe-worthy. Yes, there's a lot of regulation, but sometimes that's a good thing when it is helping the environment and your citizens' quality of life.

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…

### The Long Con

Hiding in Plain Sight

ESPN has a series of sports documentaries called 30 For 30. One of my favorites is called Broke which is about how professional athletes often make tens of millions of dollars in their careers yet retire with nothing. One of the major "leaks" turns out to be con artists, who lure athletes into elaborate real estate schemes or business ventures. This naturally raises the question: In a tightly-knit social structure that is a sports team, how can con artists operate so effectively and extensively? The answer is quite simple: very few people taken in by con artists ever tell anyone what happened. Thus, con artists can operate out in the open with little fear of consequences because they are shielded by the collective silence of their victims.
I can empathize with this. I've lost money in two different con schemes. One was when I was in college, and I received a phone call that I had won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was p…