Archive: March 28, 2010

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week of 3/22, redux

Sunday,  03/28/10  09:50 AM

And so I am back from a week in Washington DC, an amazingly busy and productive week attending the U.S. and Canadian Association of Pathologists annual conference, squeezing in a couple of DICOM meetings, a visit to the National Cathedral, a visit to the National Zoo, and an unbelievable celebration dinner at which a magnum of 1996 Araujo Eisele was consumed which could possibly be the best wine I have ever had...

(and not to mention back from riding a double century yesterday)

...but while all that was happening for me, all this was happening for you:

Well, the health care reform bill was signed (aka insurance reform), so What Happens Now

My little city of Westlake Village has applied for Google's Fiber for Communities program; the entry included this video to make the case: Why the City of Westlake Village is the right choice for Google's Fiber for Communities project.  Yes, that is Westlake Major Pro Tem Ned Davis dressed as The Flash, alongside current Major Mark Rutherford.  Pretty cool - I hope we are selected! 

Bringing improved support for Flash to Google Chrome.  And so we have Apple vs Google playing out in Flash support too.  No way Apple are going to support Flash on iDevices, but I guess Flash will be everywhere else.  Question is will it matter? 

Hendrik Hertzberg: Some Nukes (making the case for nuclear power)...  Hendrik is an Obama apologist and I often disagree with him, but in this instance he is dead on.  Let's hope we get some change on this issue. 

As you know I love Alex Ross, the New Yorker's music critic, and as another example why I offer Battle of the Bands, his column in the March 22 issue.  "In the space of thirty-one days, from the end of January to the beginning of March, Carnegie Hall held an unofficial orchestral Olympics, presenting thirteen concerts by symphonic ensembles from six states and three foreign countries...  The impulse to pit one orchestra against another is as regrettable as it is irresistible."  I swear I am becoming a classical music (and opera) fan simply by reading Alex' columns ;) 

Tim (XML) Bray is a Sun employee who didn't want to get absorbed into Oracle and so has joined Google, he will be blogging about it from the inside.  A preliminary assessment: Life at Google

Way cool: the virgin flight of Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise.  This was a "captive carry", meaning the spaceship itself didn't fly, except as a passenger of WhiteKnightTwo, it's mother ship, but still it was another forward step along the long road to space travel.  Onward! 

How cool would it be to be Richard Branson, who is wealthy enough and energetic enough to start stuff like this?  Really cool :)

The story of bottled water.  Entirely a marketing concept, as most tap water is at least as good (if not better) than bottled water, especially in the United States.  Ironically the people most likely to drink it are "greens" who would be horrified if they understood the environmental impact of bottled water vs ordinary tap water.  Clean plentiful running water is one of the miracles of our civilization. 

With Apple's iPad imminent, a great cluster of articles from Wired: How the Tablet will Change the World.  The main article is great, as is all the side takes; my favorite was Marshall McLuhan's...  On a meta level it is interesting how readily Wired has embraced the tablet as a potential delivery channel, and yet Wired remains a magazine with value as a magazine; although their ads are down I could seem them lasting a lot longer in paper form than, say, Time. 

Pretty nice point from Jeff Atwood: the opposite of Fitt's Law.  It isn't only important to make things users do all the time easy, you want to make things users hardly ever do hard. 

This looks amazingly cool: Photoshop CS5's new Content-Aware Fill.  I use the world's oldest version of Photoshop (v6, from ahem 2001), perhaps *finally* I have a reason to upgrade.  [ via Slashdot

The Tivo Premiere makes its debut, and is reviewed by Engadget.  In the kiss of death department, note this: "Let's talk about that lag for a moment, since it's inescapable: it feels like the entire UI reloads every time you do anything."  Sigh.  A sluggish UI will kill a consumer product faster than anything. 

From Technology Review: the Slow Rise of the Robot Surgeon.  "Robot-driven procedures are popular, but surgeons say the technology isn't evolving quickly enough."  That's certainly one point of view, from another, a slow steady rise is preferable to fast growth followed by pullback when there are problems.  Robotic surgery has tremendous value - my daughter Megan had open heart surgery to repair an Atrial Septal Defect when she was four, done by a surgeon with a robotic arm, and it was incredibly successful - but the challenges are significant, too... 

I've posted this before (I think), but it bears re-posting: a graphic which shows all the aircraft carriers in the world.  You can click through for an interactive enlargement - please do - but the thumbnail makes the essential point, the U.S. has twice as many carriers as the rest of the world combined, and bigger and better ones, too...  no other country comes close.  Russia has one, and the U.K. four [smaller] ones.  When you factor in our edge in the planes which fly off these carriers and the ammo they carry, our superiority is amazing. 

Well this is cool: Boonen to ride Tour of California.  Wow, with Cancellara in the mix, looks like Levi will have some serious challengers this year...  I can't wait! 

Steve Almond: Why it's okay to love Styx.  "They've been slagged as embarrassing, over-earnest, everything wrong with '70s music.  Forget that: This band rules."  Indeed, and if you aren't enjoying them, it just means you aren't listening to them loud enough :) 

ZooBorns of the week: thermonuclear otter pups.  ("They are so lethally cute, we have dubbed them the Thermonuclear Otter Triplets.")



the unGooglable man (NY 3/22/10)

Sunday,  03/28/10  10:28 AM

...I love it...

(I am the opposite, a uniquely Googlable man, thanks to a sufficiently unusual name :)


Solvang Double Century, x3: in 11:53 elapsed

Sunday,  03/28/10  11:07 AM

Yesterday I rode the Solvang Double Century, hard upon my return from Washington DC the day before, and I must tell you I had a great ride.  It was a spectacular day, Spring has sprung, and I managed to break 12 hours elapsed for a double for the first time (11:53!).  Solvang isn't the world's hardest double - about 7,200' of climbing - but no double is easy.  Making this one just slightly more interesting, I broke my rear derailleur cable descending Drum Canyon at the very end, and had to ride the last ten miles in my biggest gear.

I came out of the Washington trip on a total high... and it spilled into my ride.  I loved replaying the week in my mind, all the things which happened; it was an amazing week.  Oh and I replayed the music too; when I ride I am music driven...  it was great.

Some pictures:

the route: 200 miles, 7,200' from Buelleton up to Morro Bay and back
initial climb is Foxen Canyon, final one is Drum Canyon

the peloton gets started in the early morning light

grapes sunning themselves in Foxen Canyon; beautiful!

wow, PURPLE; Spring has sprung on the road to San Luis Obispo

turnaround point in Morro Bay with the famous rock in the background
102 miles down, and it's all downhill from here :)

riding along the beach makes me happy

some amazing seaside vistas in Avilla Beach

climbing Drum Canyon, the world's worst surface
actually broke my derailleur descending the backside

one happy camper with another double under my belt
11:53 elapsed, 10:38 riding time (!)

Onward!  Next up the 260km Tour of Flanders...


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