My Morning Jacket

Friday night we went to see My Morning Jacket at Chastain. They are a modern current band, but a lot of their music is drawn from the same vein as the 70’s classic rock I like. Thanks to the wife’s connections, we were in the 9th row, and were able to walk through in front the front row a couple times.

My Morning Jacket 1

My Morning Jacket 2

The internet is amazing. The next morning I was listening to the show already, check it out. I recommend Where to Begin. Mrs. Muttrox accurately nailed it as Neil Young sounding (the slide guitar is straight out of Harvest).

Good times!

Links o’ Interest

Off to My Morning Jacket tonight!

Fighting a particularly horrible parking ticket

Why all records sound the same

How to make a Nicholas Sparks movie

Orwell irony

Baby kangaroos at the beach aww….

Sure it’s milk. Sure.

You can’t be cynical about this.

It’s all your fault

The Batman on Chatroulette

Things that look like other things

Check out the caption on the photo

A great baseball play: baserunner jumps completely over the catcher

Where your tax dollars go

The implosion of Texas stadium, from the inside

Fan Fiction

“Look”: an entrancing video

Say chee— hey, who are they?

Writing under the influence

Beating Obesity

Propaganda: Inside the North Korean information machine

After the end of the Civil War, Col. Anderson of Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, asking him to return to work for him. Here is his reply.

Security Questions

Good security questions are not as easy to make as you might think. Many of them are terrible. Asking for your mother’s maiden name or the last 4 digits of your social security number doesn’t help at all. If someone else is impersonating you it is easy for them to find this information.

A good security question should be something that

1) Bad guys don’t know (and can’t easily find out)
2) I know

The second issue sounds obvious, but it’s a very real issue. “What is your mother’s maiden name?” can be stymied by the complexities of modern life. I have at least 3 maiden names to pick from, due to the divorces and re-marriages of my parents. Some days I can’t remember which one I picked originally.

Emigrant Direct went above and beyond the call for failing on the second issue. Look at the security questions they have.

How many of these could you answer unambiguously, and be confident that the next time you went to log in, you would give the same answer? The only one I know for sure is my Grandmother’s first name. And that’s only because one grandmother wasn’t really part of my life and the other one is awesome. (By the way, happy 101st birthday Grandma!)

  • What is my favorite sports team? It’s the Celtics! No, wait, it’s the Patriots. I honestly don’t have just one answer. And do I write it as “Celtics”, “Boston Celtics”, or “The Boston Celtics”? It’s a good thing I hate baseball!
  • How about a childhood friend. Um.. .which one? A couple of you are reading this blog right now. Let’s see, I probably meant Chris W. No… maybe Andrew B? No? Michael W? I hope it’s not Michael, I’ve been spelling his name wrong for forty years. Did I use both names, or just a first name? This one is impossible!
  • Who’s my favorite president? I don’t know. Clinton? Lincoln? LBJ? I read Theodore Roosevelt’s biography lately, he’s awfully incredible. Would I have used first names?
  • Obviously I attended more than one school as a child.

They have five mandatory questions, and not one of them is a good question! All five of them allow for ambiguity. Going zero for five is something special. That takes effort!

Emigrant does redeem themselves a little. Besides the five mandatory questions shown, you can also make a set of questions yourself. (They then ask you any two of the combined set.) These are great. For example I used, “What’s my nickname for my college roommate?” I will never forget that as long as I live, and hardly anyone else on the planet knows it. I can ask a trivia question about The Who, one that’s hard to get even via Google. Or, how old was I when I _____? Or, what did I want to name my first child? Or, what was the first name of the kid who almost drowned me at camp in the 70s? All these questions are ones that I know the answer to instantly and anyone else would have a very hard time guessing. That makes for an ideal security question. (For most people you can also use the name of their first pet. That doesn’t work for me. “Muttrox” is kind of public…)

So Emigrant Direct, I award a D. You allow free-form questions, which is excellent. But your mandatory questions are so awful that I’ve had to get my password reset both times I needed to answer these questions.

Social Security Update 2010

The 2009 data is out. If you’ve followed any of my previous posts, you’ll understand that this is the key figure, the long-term projections:

SS Projections

Due to the economic crash of the last couple years, we are turning into the bad parts of the curve. We are no longer adding to the SS surplus, we are starting to draw on it. How long can that last for? Using their scenario II (in another post I’ve shown why this is overly conservative), it lasts until 2037 or so. The Congressional Budget Office has their own calculations, and they show the fund lasting until 2043. After the fund runs out, we pay out more than we are taking in. We come up with a way to balance the books then, or make minor changes to balance the books now.

The last time we checked in, the fund was depleted in 2041. So in one year, it’s gone down four years. That is not good. However, this is nothing like bankruptcy. This is like saying your expenses have gone up and you are spending more than you make, but fortunately you have an enormous nest egg that you’ve diligently saved up. I can’t show the image here, but check out Figure 3 of the CBO report. You’ll see why there isn’t much to worry about.

So sleep well. Even with the economic disaster of the last couple years, social security is in good shape.

Links o’ Interest

What makes a fart: Hands down the most edifying interview I’ve ever read.

3 invisible….

Jim Henson’s characters breakdown

The untold story of the world’s biggest diamond heist

The underseas internet map

Bubbles Perv

An interview with history’s youngest chess champion

Drew Brees vs Olympic Archer. Guess who’s more accurate?

Dew in the morning: Wonderful pictures

Worth it

Rock on cloud

Willie Wonka reenacted by Christopher Walken and Jack Nicholson


The still face experiment

It’s the end of an era. Audience lets crowd diving Iggy Pop fall


A helpful lesson on resource locking

Gods Soldiers

The life of a letter to the President

Another cover of Don’t Stop Believing. Don’t these kids know enough to know how uncool they are? No they don’t, that’s what makes it so nice to watch.

Japanese experimentation in WW II. “He is a cheerful old farmer who jokes as he serves rice cakes made by his wife and then he switches easily to explaining what it is like to cut open a 30-year-old man who is tied naked to a bed and dissect him alive, without anesthetic.”

This Speeding Law Sounds so Good

Georgia is proposing a law that makes it illegal to drive too slow in the left-hand lane. At first it sounds great. We’ve all been behind those people who just don’t get it. The fast lane is for going fast. Let’s go people!

However, it’s crazy as written. You can now be busted by the police for going one mile over the speed limit, or one mile under the speed limit. It’s a situation that is asking for selective enforcement, a situation where everyone is guilty all the time, and the police can ticket you at any time.

Update: The article I read had it wrong. The actual violation is for driving “a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” Much better!