Sunday, August 19, 2007

Everything I know about golf


(Insert blank lines here)


Now that we have THAT out of the way, here are some things that I THINK about golf.

A) Equipment
There are four components to the golf clubs that we buy:
  1. Head
  2. Shaft
  3. Grip
  4. Hype
If you want a golf club that performs well at a reasonable price, buy one with good quality in the first three and none of component 4. The local guys that make clubs for a living or for a hobby can do this well. I tested a Cobra driver, found that it worked better than my existing equipment, and had a generic version fitted exactly to my specifications for half the price, by a local clubmaker with a swing analysis machine.

B) Instruction
More instruction has been written about how to execute a golf swing than perhaps any other human activity. Magazines make their living selling the same basic golf tips month after month, explained in different ways.

I am the owner of a couple of DVD sets of competing instructions. What one says you should do, the other says you should not do. For my money, Swing Machine Golf makes more sense than anyone else selling golf instruction. Does it make me a scratch golfer? No, not yet, and frankly, not even close. But if you are going to fill your head with instructions, you might as well have something that is consistent and sensible for every shot from driving to chipping and putting.

Never mind my specific recommendation, just think that if you have been doing something for a decade or two and you aren't getting better, there is probably something wrong about what you are doing that you don't know. Hint: get some professional instruction.

C) Why bother?
Here is the most important thing about golf. You have to know why you bother playing. Surely there are better things to do with 5 hours of your life than hit a golf ball and swear about what just happened. Read the book called Extraordinary Golf and reflect on what the author is saying, and then consider going deeper into the moment.

Golf is a beautiful game and a chance for an extraordinary experience. It is a shame to ruin the beauty by the way we typically approach it, and it is an even greater shame to think that this is normal.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reason #83 that I'm glad I don't have to learn English

How is it that "second to none" means the opposite of "next to nothing"?

As in:
Q: "How would you rate her knowledge?"

A1: Second to none
A2: Next to nothing

And did you know that "in" means "out of"?

"He works in the San Diego office" = "He works out of the San Diego office"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Irony (bumped by request from Kobayashi Maru-san)

The anthropogenic global warming movement:
It's the religion that appeals to atheists, the organized rule that appeals to anarchists, the big business that appeals to greenies. Everything that these people scorn the rest of the world for is embodied in one movement that has their support.

The irony would be delicious if the stakes weren't so high.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

One more rant on Global Warming

Here's the conclusion I have come to re the whole global warming debate. The earth is warming, indisputably. CO2 concentrations probably make the warming somewhat warmer still. And then warmth begets higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations as it comes out of ocean-water solution.

At this point the science takes a back seat to the other agendas. Who is to say that warmth is worse than cooling? More people die because of cold weather than warm weather. Who is to say that warming is more important than any other widespread problem that we face? The answer to the 'who' questions keeps bringing me back to people who are against economic development on principle, who believe that the earth would be a better place if all these filthy people were not on it, and those who believe that their rules for how people should live trump any individual's preferences. The kind of people who would scratch a large SUV with a key to show their disapproval.

There are legitimate environmental / public health issues which get little debate, and no publicity. Malaria would be the best example; water and air quality in developing countries ought to be next. But it is reminiscent of why AIDS gets more funding than breast cancer, or prostate cancer -- the public is influenced by a vocal campaign that makes us take action to prove that we care, even if we don't know why we care about this issue compared to the others that we might care about. We get 'guilted'.

The heat balance in the earth's atmosphere, and the relative impacts of CO2 vs water vapour vs solar radiation vs ocean temperatures vs whatever else we might consider, are still poorly understood. The satellite and radiosonde temperature trends still agree with each other better than they agree with the surface records, and it is only the surface records that show much heating. I question even the basic surface records, as many surface temperatures are now being taken in the proximity of air conditioning units. Here is a link that shows an extreme example, but one that is far from unique. Or this one: Check out more at

So when we hear of record temperatures being set, recognize the source of the temperature data. Then ask why someone isn't removing these second rate measurements before telling us that the trends are unmistakable and we have to take drastic action.

My own opinion? GW has become a religion. There are believers and non-believers, and the debate that we experience is a religious debate between fanatics and heretics.

As a society, we have limited resources, and unlike Shiites taking on Sunnis, it matters to me personally when industrial policies and tax systems are changed as a result of this religious debate. The precautionary principle, so often invoked at this point in the discussion, works on the assumption that the matter in question in unmistakably the most important one to be addressed. When we are being asked to lower our standard of living, the consequences will be real at the individual family level. And for me, the evidence both about the extent of the warming AND about the implications for our planet does not justify any extreme action. I don't believe that warming is even a bad thing, taken on balance.

I always ask the Greenpeace people the same question: is it morally right, or morally wrong, to give people the opportunity to live longer lives? Then I ask what has led to our increased lifespan in the past three generations, and how they would decide which people on the planet should be denied the same opportunity. In the end, the debate comes down to whether mankind should look out for himself on the planet, or look out for the planet at the expense of himself.

End of rant.

Wow, has a month passed already?

And THIS is all I have to show for it?