Archive: June 1, 2009

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 I club NY (New Yorker, 6/1/09)

Monday,  06/01/09  08:08 PM



shining a light

Monday,  06/01/09  08:15 PM

Way back last Christmas my kids gave me a Rolling Stones concert DVD called Shine a Light, filmed by Martin Scorcese.  I like the Stones, but have never felt they were necessarily my favorite band, you know...  but they have created a metric ton of great music over the years.  And I've always respected them for their longevity and purity, they've always been, well, who they are, and they still are, even though who they are is a lot older :)

So I've had this DVD, and kind of set it aside, and recently kind of re-found it, and last Friday I watched quite a bit of it while stuck in traffic (don't ask).  And it is great!  Really, really, really great.  In addition to being a pretty nice movie of a pretty great concert, it is interspersed with lots of interesting flashbacks and interviews and personal vignettes which really give you a feel for the band as people.  I'm going to say they are masters of the fine art of just being who you are.

One little example: so they interview Ronnie Wood, and they ask him: "who is better on guitar, you or Keith?"  And he kind of hems and haws and finally says "well I am of course".  Laughing.  And then they interview Keith Richards, and ask him the same question.  And he hems and haws and says "oh I don't know", and they tell him "well Ronnie said it was him".  And Keith says "yeah he would say that".  And then he adds "the truth is we're both pretty lousy, but together we're better than ten others".

And that sums up Keith and Ronnie and Mick and Charlie and the whole band for me.  They're each pretty lousy, but together they're better than ten million others :)


Monday,  06/01/09  08:53 PM

Blogging from Great Neck, New York...  may have a slight Long Island accent :)

Driving around Glen Cove (where I had dinner, Bistro M, really nice pistachio-encrusted halibut), and Bayville, and Oyster Bay, and Great Neck, I am struck by the fact that the fractal dimension of the East Coast coastline is far higher than the West Coast.  It is almost 2, and ours is barely 1.  (That is to say, on the East Coast there are a lot of bays and coves and peninsulas and islands and all sorts of "stuff" going on, whereas on the West Coast we have a beach, and that's about it.  A nice beach, of course :)  There is so much surface area along the shores of Long Island, lots and lots of land for people to have houses on the shoreline.  Interesting... 

One more observation about Long Island: the radio stations kick ass.  I listened to 88.7 for a while (WRHU, Radio Hofstra University) and they played seriously excellent stuff, great old hard rock.  And not just the really popular classics either, but stuff that made me say "wow, I remember that song".  Made me wish my little Ford Fusion had a better stereo...  anyway I miss stations like that in L.A.  KMET, oh where you have gone...

So GM is bankrupt.  Government Motors.  Good thing we taxpayers pissed away all that money to save them, huh?  Does anyone really think they are going to turn themselves around and become viable again?  No way.  They are going to be a joke, a bad, expensive joke, for a long time... 

GM and Citi have been replaced by Cisco and Traveler's in the Dow Jones index.  So be it.

Good call: TTAC declares the end of their GM bankruptcy watch.  They saw it coming long before most of us (although I must say I believed them).

This sounds really cool: World's largest laser to attempt nuclear fusion.  "Laser enthusiasts everywhere, rejoice. California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory just unveiled its $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility, a 10 story building as wide as three football fields that contains the world’s largest laser. When it goes online the facility will focus 192 laser beams on a 2 millimeter ball of frozen hydrogen gas in an attempt to create nuclear fusion - the holy grail of clean energy. If the machine does succeed, it stands to monumentally alter our energy landscape - one cubic kilometer of sea water has the fusion energy equivalent of the entire planet’s oil reserves."  Yeah, baby.  What a great time to be alive! 

The best way to join two canals which aren't at the same height?  A Falkirk wheel, of course!  How cool is that, a very clean and economical solution.  Much better than locks. 

An interesting profile of the lock-hacker who can "bump" Medeco locks.  The capabilities of lock-pickers are always amazing to me; it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to make an un-pickable lock, but it is, apparently... 

Wow, someone's in line for a Palm Pre already.  That's incredible.  I'm going to get one as soon as I can, but I'm not willing to sit outside for days to do it :)  I suspect they'll be available online, from the comfort of my web browser... 

John Gruber: Why Palm Pre's sync with iTunes can't be legit.  Wherein "not legit" is not the same as "not legal"; seems to me they're entirely free to do this, just like the way all browsers say "Mozilla" in their user-agent.  The question of whether Apple will block this is interesting; I think they will not.  The upside from more music sales will exceed the downside of greater competition for the iPhone from the Pre.

Taking attendance with iPhones, in Japan.  A new location-based service! 

Comparing [many] different programming languages for size and speed, graphically.  Interesting technique for showing the characteristics, although the results don't contain any surprises.  Natively compiled languages like C/C++ are fast, and bytecode interpreters like Java/C# are not.  And scripting languages like Perl and PHP are really not.  So be it. 

ZooBorn of the day, and in fact ZooBorn of all time: a Panda bear cub.  If that doesn't make you smile, then you may not read my blog anymore.



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