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This shampoo and conditioner are expensive, but my wife insists that they leave my hair cleaner and softer than any other product I've used. I'll take her word for it. Amazon seems to be one of the best places to buy it - it's hard to find in stores, and seems to be cheaper on Amazon in any case....Read more
I have a beard, so I find a foil shaver much more effective than a rotary (I have to shave around the places where I want my beard to be, or it starts halfway down my neck and grows up to my eyes like some kind of werewolf). I've had a Braun 7526 for many years, but when it stopped holding a charge it was time for a change. Overall, I've found the 790cc to be superior to the 7526, with a couple of caveats.
- The 790cc is much quieter.
- It is better at cutting long hair (for instance, if I go a couple of days between shaves).
- It appears to hold a charge longer than the 7526 did even when new, and the charge indicator is better.
- I don't like the alignment of the mustache trimmer, which comes out at a 90 degree angle to the body and is sometimes a little hard to position.
- While effective at cutting long hair, it's fairly painful.
- The 7526 was completely straight (like a candy bar) whereas the 790cc is somewhat angled (I can't think of a better description than a Star Trek Next Generation phaser). I thought that would annoy me, but I find that it doesn't seem to make any difference.
- I do a light cleaning daily by opening the head and tapping out the residue. I use the cleaning process once per week. This seems to work fine and allows the cleaning solution to last quite a long time.
Overall I'm very pleased so far, and if it lasts as long as the 7526 did I'll have no complaints.
So, asbestos armor on, and into the breach... *SPOILERS AHEAD*
I don't share a lot of others' objections to this movie. Yes, the characters are somewhat different - they are different actors. And sure, the movie differed from whatever TOS or TNG or whatever episode or movie any individual viewer may find best - but those episodes and movies differed a lot from each other. And yes, some of the dynamics changed, but as others have pointed out, it's a parallel universe changed by altering the timeline.
But... What bothers me is the laziness. The changed timeline excuses almost anything, but what it can't excuse is fundamental changes in someone who went into cryosleep a century before the timeline was changed. Why does Khan look so very different? Why is he an order of magnitude stronger? Why does he have miraculous healing abilities?
And what kills me is this could all have been addressed with a few lines of exposition. How about this:
Spock: "There is no record of him existing until a year ago. And yet, one of the earliest records we have is of cosmetic surgery to alter his appearance. Why change the appearance of someone with no records in the first place?" Because that someone is an infamous, exiled war criminal, of course. This could start the audience really wondering, "Who is this guy?"
Then change the order of some of the exposition, so the Admiral does a bit of a reveal of Harrison's nature before they confront Khan on Kronos: "We're outclassed as a species. The Romulans, the Klingons, they're warrior races. So... we experimented. A bioenhancement. It made the recipients smarter, stronger... Much smarter. Much stronger. Able to heal from almost any injury. Immune to disease. But the test subjects couldn't take it. So many of them died. The strongest, the ones with the most willpower, went insane or their bodies went haywire. We needed a stronger host. And we found them. We found the records of a an old sleeper ship, where they exiled the last tyrants of the Eugenics Wars. We found them, gave them the serum - and it worked! By God, it worked! Better than we could ever have hoped!"
Now you've got the audience who remembers Space Seed going "Cr@p, Khan is back and now he's stronger and smarter and invulnerable?!"
And you've explained the change in appearance and abilities, and why he's more psychotic, and the "magic blood," all thanks to thirty seconds of additional dialogue.
If you want to be a little more ambitious, add a couple of scenes:
Khan as a prisoner tempts Kirk. "Imagine, Captain. We few, we perfect specimens, we can transcend mortality." [Looks at Kirk appraisingly] "You could survive the serum, I think, Captain. You could be one of the elect." Throw in a little morality play, the essence of humanity, morality of biotech, etc.
At the end, have McCoy tell Kirk they filtered all the serum out of him. Then cut to a scene with a couple of Federation scientists. "He tolerated the serum amazingly well." "Yes. Fascinating." (I'm thinking the second scientist is Vulcan.) Pan to a fetus in a canister of liquid with a label reading, "Kirk, James Tiberius." Fade out. When the movie series starts to flag, trot out a superhuman "Tiberius Kirk" villain as an homage to the "evil Kirk" TOS episodes.
So that's about two minutes of additional easy footage.
If you want to be more ambitious, change the opening sequence on the alien planet to a planet where the Admiral and his co-conspirators have been abandoning the insane, twisted survivors of the initial serum experiments. Maybe the volcano was artificially induced when the conspirators decided to eliminate the evidence after Khan went rogue. Maybe the crackdown on Kirk for violating the Prime Directive is really driven by paranoia that he interfered with and almost discovered the cover-up.
Obviously that's just an example of a slightly different way to go, but it feels like it would have been so easy to fix the continuity issues that Abrams wasn't even trying. Instead, we get throw-away references to TOS - tribbles, Gorns, and of course "KHAAAAAN!" I'm sorry, and I know I'm in the minority, but it just feels lazy, and to be honest, that really bugs me.
First, I will confess that I gave up about halfway through the book (excluding the footnotes). In part my dissatisfaction had to do with tone. The authors take an extremely condescending tone that implies (and in some cases states outright) that anyone who disagrees with them is a fool or a knave. That sets the bar pretty high for the authors to provide facts and logic justifying the mantle of moral superiority they've donned, and I don't think they accomplish it.
The authors' thesis is a simple one - that banks should have a lower permitted debt-to-equity ratio. I don't disagree with that assertion. But the authors' reasoning strikes me as flawed on multiple dimensions:
1. They routinely criticize bankers for using imprecise analogies, but their own analogies are often very weak. Early on, they introduce a hypothetical homebuyer named "Katie" and lay out her personal balance sheet, then say that Katie is equivalent to a bank. Except what they lay out isn't Katie's balance sheet, it's the home's balance sheet. And the home, not Katie, is more closely equivalent to the bank. While the agency theory problems of management vs. owners get some play in the book, I will oversimplify by saying that the analogy is flawed and is taken beyond the point that logic will bear.
2. Perhaps the biggest flaw is that the authors choose to assume that equity can be easily measured. They argue that the riskiness of assets, and indeed the value of assets, can be hard to measure (an argument against Basel III). Now, I don't know all that much about finance, but I do know quite a bit about auditing balance sheets. Under current accounting principles (either US GAAP or IFRS), equity is essentially the residual of assets - liabilities. If you don't really know the value of assets, you don't really know the value of equity. To take an example: let's say a bank has $100 of cash, which it obtained from $20 of shareholder equity and $80 of debt. At this point the bank is totally safe - it can pay off its debts with cash. But let's say the bank then goes out and buys a troubled competitor for $100, with only $1 attributable to the competitor's net assets. The remaining $99 the bank paid will be assigned to goodwill, another class of asset. So the bank still has $100 of assets, $80 of debt and $20 of equity. But it now has no cash, $1 of net assets it got from the competitor, and $99 of intangible value that it believes was the excess economic value of the competitor over its net assets. So the equity position is unchanged, but now the bank is completely illiquid and arguably insolvent. Note that if the bank were holding nothing but cash on the asset side, it would be safe even if it had only $1 of equity... whereas after buying the competitor it would be illiquid and arguably insolvent even if it had $80 of equity and only $20 of debt. Because the actual fair value of an asset (and in some cases a liability) is very difficult to determine, and can change quite dramatically, the true value of equity is very hard to determine.
3. In further defending their thesis, the authors argue against the bankers' claim that debt is cheap relative to equity. The authors say the cost of financing for a company must, in the aggregate, be the same, no matter the ratio of debt and equity. They argue that this is true because the overall risk of the company is the same however it is financed. But that's not true at all. The company transfers risk to its creditors and shareholders. And because banks are judged "systemically important" and in some cases "too big to fail," risk is also implicitly (and under Dodd-Frank, explicitly) transferred to other parties such as taxpayers. Generally speaking, banks' creditors have been shielded from losses, whereas equity holders have not - so in fact, debt should be much cheaper than equity, because much of the risk borne by the debtholder is in fact transferred to taxpayers.
None of these points disprove the authors' thesis, that banks should be better capitalized - but they do make the authors' arguments for that thesis completely unpersuasive.
And in fact, I believe the much larger problem resides in the implicit or explicit "too big to fail" guarantee mentioned in #3 above - which, according to an op ed I just read in the WSJ, grants the largest banks an $83 billion annual subsidy on their cost of debt financing.
As is typical in Abercrombie's stand-alone novels, we have some new characters and some who are returning. This is good, unclean, violent fun that continues to hammer in Abercrombie's usual themes of moral ambiguity, revenge, redemption and utter lack thereof...
I found this to be one of Abercrombie's better works. Despite the Western theme, he is generally treading what is for him familiar ground, but he does a good job and I had a lot of fun watching him do it.
First, this book is really funny. It's quite a page turner for a philosophy text, even a mass market philosophy text. Of course, the frequent repetition of the word a-hole appeals to those of us with a low sense of humor.
Dr. James begins by attempting a definition of the a-hole. He then, amusingly, names a variety of people he considers a-holes in public life. While Dr. James is a self-described liberal, he's pretty even-handed in apportioning a-holiness to the left and right. (He reserves particular distaste for Fox News, which he regards as the "gold standard" of a-holiness; desipte being a conservative myself, I find it very hard to disagree with him). He goes on to offer classifications of various types of a-holes.
The later chapters are more philosophical. He inquires, for example, why a-holes tend to be male, and why they tend to be produced more frequently in some cultures rather than others. For example, he considers Italy, Israel, Brazil and the US to be particularly prone to a-hole generation, while regarding Japan as almost incapable of producing a-holes. I'm not sure I agree with him here - I think the interactional style of Israelis (with whom I work pretty extensively) tends to lead others to believe they're a-holes when they're not. And I suspect (although I have little direct experience to validate this hypothesis) that Japanese interactional styles lead Americans to conclude that Japanese are never a-holes when in fact some of them probably are - we likely just don't understand when a Japanese a-hole is being an a-hole to us.
The question of whether a-holes are begotten or made is further explored - Dr. James concludes that there is some genetic predisposition to a-holiness but that society plays a critical role in forming a-holes. He also comments on a-holes in positions of power. Discussed but left insufficiently explored, in my view, is whether a-holes naturally ascend to those positions, or whether the positions turn individuals into a-holes. This distinction becomes important for the political turn the book takes in the chapter "a-hole capitalism."
Dr. James' thesis is that an a-hole is characterized by feeling entitled to special advantages. In discussing a-hole capitalism, Dr. James turns his sights on those who could be viewed as directly or indirectly exploiting others; those who feel entitled to an ever-greater share of the pie. While not ever quite explicitly saying so, he clearly has the rich in mind, although I don't think he means to imply that being rich necessarily makes one an a-hole. And as I look around myself, I can clearly see that sense of entitlement among some of the powerful.
But interestingly enough, I think Dr. James' focus on entitlement strikes at the heart of the current political division in the United States. The left views conservatives as a-holes because conservatives feel entitled to the rewards they have earned through market mechanisms, even if those mechanisms have given them rewards that are disproportionate to any common sense justification. The right views progressives as a-holes because progressives feel entitled to lay claim to things that they have not themselves earned in the market. So in fact, each side views the other as a-holes because each feels the other is laying an unfair, "special" claim to entitlement.
Does this suggest a solution? No, not really. These competing views of entitlements are subject to quite a lot of analysis in academia, in the press, and around water coolers. But perhaps a good starting point for discussion would be with the injunction, "Don't be an a-hole."
All in all, I found Dr. James' book both amusing and thought-provoking, which is all I could hope for. He brings together some of what I've recently read of Stiglitz on inequality and Tomasi on free market fairness in a way that is arguably more coherent, and certainly funnier, than either of them.
As others have said, this short story is... short. If you are a big Coldfire Trilogy fan and want to read just a little more about Gerald Tarrant's backstory, this is for you. Otherwise, there isn't a lot here (in the most literal sense). I had a pretty good idea what I was getting and wasn't disappointed.
On a dollar/page basis, you're certainly better off looking just about anywhere else, but then, that's not really the point of this, is it?
This is pretty much what it looks like - a plush Angry Birds Darth Vader. Two notes:
1. Unlike the original Angry Birds plush toys of this size, this one doesn't make any noise. Up to you whether that is good or bad.
2. The surface is not as soft as other Angry Birds plushes. That could be a slight disadvantage for those (like me) who use these toys mostly in plush toy fights with their kids, as it may hit a little harder when thrown. However, no one has complained about it yet. And the lack of sound means it doesn't have a hard sound box.
I bought this watch directly from Sea-Gull's US distributor, where it is slightly cheaper. As to the watch itself...
While I could compare the Dragon King to something like the Orient Mako, I believe Sea-Gull is aiming higher with this model. This watch has a sapphire crystal and a hacking, hand winding, 28,800 bph movement cloned from the ETA 2824 - the Sea-Gull ST-21 in Sea-Gull's top grade, AAA. As such, I'll provide some comparisons to my Baume & Mercier 8779 and the Edox C1, both of which use an ETA 2824 movement. The B&M cost me around $900, although it is currently selling for more. I got the Edox as a gift for a relative on a daily deal site for $270, but it regularly sells for around $450.
The DK comes in a very solid cardboard box with a Chinese dragon in gold on it. Inside, the watch rests on a pillow inside a cardboard separator. I would say the box is a bit nicer than the typical Seiko box, not at the same level as the typical Swiss box. The watch shares the box with a unique warranty card featuring an embossed dragon, the invoice, and a truly awful instruction manual translated by someone who didn't speak much English. "Automatic mechanic watch that is winded by swing rotor, so regular exercise (Don 't designedly), and wearing the watch at lest 8HS every day." Interestingly, although the watch is called "SEA-GULL" on its dial, it is called "Seagull" in the manual. The watch was very securely wrapped in plastic inside the box.
This is a large watch, by my standards, at 43mm. The lugs are well contoured and it fits me very well. The bracelet is one of the most comfortable I've encountered, despite a lack of half links. Seagull attempts to make up for that with micro-adjustments on the clasp, but there is only one adjustment point. So if you don't get lucky with the length of the links, you could be in trouble. The links also feature push pins rather than the B&M and Edox's screw pins, not surprising at this price point. They were fairly easily removed, however. The bracelet also has an attractive combination of brushed and polished metal - polished on the outside, brushed in the middle, but with a sunken, polished strip down the center. The clasp is a very solid single fold with a double push button action. Other than the lack of half-links and screw pins, I would consider the bracelet to be at least as good as the B&M's, and I certainly like the clasp better than my Ulysse Nardin's. The clasp has "SEA-GULL" engraved on it. After months of use, I still find it very comfortable despite its size and weight.
The case is brushed, with a consistent finish, and feels very solid. The crown is polished, screw-down and has an embossed "S." It is protected by a conventional crown guard. The action is firm - not as solid as the B&M, but the overall design is probably a bit better than the Edox. The bezel is a very typical Rolex Submariner homage, nowhere near as interesting as the B&M's dodecagonal model. It's not quite a literal Sub (the 0-15 scale is not marked differently from the other indices) but it's pretty close, down to the scalloping. The 120-click bezel does not quite align properly with the dial - one of the two flaws that keep this watch from quite matching its Swiss competitors.
The dial itself is matte black with SEA-GULL / Automatic / Dragon King / 200M printed in white. It somewhat resembles an Omega Seamaster. A number of different fonts are used, but it works pretty well. There is also a blue chapter ring with minute indices and 5-minute numeric indicators, with an orange "60" at twelve o'clock. The printing is crisp, not quite at B&M levels but perhaps slightly better than Edox. Indices are applied, simple lozenges with large bits of white lume painted on. The indices are not as refined as the B&M or Edox, and on a couple of them the lume is not quite centered. You can't see that with the naked eye but it's visible with a 10x loupe. Again, quality is probably comparable to Edox, not at B&M levels. The hour and minute hands are standard batons, heavily lumed. The second hand is a little more interesting, with a large counterweight and two lumed dots towards the end. The second hand reaches the end of the indices, the minute hand the mid-point. The hour hand doesn't quite reach the indices.
Speaking of the lume, Kevin Ma (Sea-Gull's US dealer, and a real pleasure to deal with) admitted on the WUS forum that it wasn't up to Seiko levels. That's definitely true. And it's not even close to the B&M's league. This is not for lack of lumed material, which is abundant - the quality of the lume just isn't there.
The back of the watch features an engraved Chinese dragon that looks great, and, along with some other text, an indication that this is #23 of 800. I doubt a limited edition Sea-Gull is all that collectible - I suspect Sea-Gull will have a Dragon King II when this edition runs out, which may be better.
It seems to have settled at about +12 seconds per day, pretty comparable to the B&M. What remains to be seen is the durability of the black anodization on the bezel. The B&M really shines there - despite being one of my more abused watches, there isn't a scratch in that anodization, whereas my wife's Orient sub homage is all scratched up despite much less wear. I will report back after further use of the Sea-Gull - after a couple of months of light use, it's still looking good.
Finally, and disappointingly, unlike other Sea-Gulls this one does not say "China Made" anywhere on it. I think I know why they did that, but it's disappointing that they won't advertise the national origin of their new "flagship."
This is a watch that is almost fully competitive with brands like Hamilton for a significantly lower price. I struggled with the question of four vs. five stars - it is a great value for the money. So why did I settle on four? Because it's intended to be a dive watch, and the slightly mis-aligned bezel and inferior lume detract from that intended function. If they improve the alignment of the bezel and the lume on the next edition, this watch will be an easy five star watch, fully competitive with a good, basic Swiss automatic, at a substantially lower price.
I encountered these on a trip to Wisconsin, and they're great - they taste good, and they're relatively healthy (as beef sticks go).
They also lasted through about a week of non-refrigeration during the Hurricane Sandy power outage. (Old Wisconsin recommends refrigerating them, and I'm not endorsing leaving them out, but we still ate them and didn't get sick.)
My oldest son goes through these things like Tic-Tacs. Just ordered a second six-pack. The Amazon price is very good (at least as compared to buying them in the Green Bay airport).