Critical Section

Archive: February 25, 2017


Archive: February 21, 2016

Going Gaga over Bowie

Sunday,  02/21/16  11:04 AM

A Saturday night filter pass ... wow, it's all happening ...

2016 Grammy's: Lady Gaga's tribute to David BowieDid you watch the Grammy's?  Yeah, me neither.  I love music, but I don't necessarily love all of today's music, and I especially don't love today's music's culture.  But.  If you, like me, did not watch the Grammy's, you must still watch Lady Gaga's incredible tribute to David Bowie.  A wonderful performance, and the technology was out-of-this-world.  The Thin White Duke would have loved it...  and he probably did.

Good to know: Lady Gaga's robotic keyboard had some help from NASA.  When they're not making space travel posters, they're helping musicians create cool performances.  Our tax dollars at work.

NASA: astronautI don't know whether it was the travel posters, Lady Gaga's keyboard, or [more likely!] the success of The Martian, but NASA have been inundated with astronaut applications, 18,300 of them.  Mine is somewhere in that pile, but I'm not sitting next to the phone.

Virgin Galactic VSS UnityMeanwhile in the real world of space travel, Virgin Galactic unveils the new Space Ship Two (named the VSS Unity).  You might recall their previous SST broke apart during an October 2014 test flight; they've regrouped, and now this is the vehicle they hope will enable them to take people into space.  (Where by space, they mean, about 100km up, not necessarily visiting moons and planets...) 

I rate a "space flight" by Virgin Galactic significantly more likely to occur than a manned mission by NASA...

So ... today we had the South Carolina primaries, and as expected Donald Trump won, but as perhaps not expected Marco Rubio finished second, and Jeb Bush dropped out.  At the conservative Powerline Blog, Scott Johnson regards this as bad news (because Trump remains ahead), while John Hinderaker sees reasons for optimism (because Rubio is emerging as they alternative).

And Scott Adams finds reasons for humor ... the Pope vs Donald Trump:

Scott Adams: the Pope vs Donald Trump 

Speaking of humor, wow, Steve Martin performed stand-up last night for the first time in 35 years.  Would that I could have been there...  I've searched YouTube in vain but so far no video of the performance has surfaced.

how a sewing machine works!You might find this interesting (as I did), how a sewing machine works.  This sort of ancient mechanical magic is always cool, right?  The problems that people were able to solve without computers before computers...

Chris Nuttall on publishers raising e-book prices: Reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.  "I recall a story from the night the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. The crew, realizing the ship was in trouble, started launching lifeboats, but the passengers were largely reluctant to believe that the unsinkable ship could actually be sunk. Accordingly, the first set of lifeboats were largely empty. Unsurprisingly, as the ship continued to sink below the waves, there weren't enough lifeboats to take the remaining passengers."  The value of a book doesn't come from its production cost, but people will balk at paying the same prices for e-books as hardcovers...

And here we have a breathtaking fairytale home worthy of a Hogwarts wizard.  The woodworking on those floors is definitely wizard-ly magic :)

fairytale house worthy of a Hogwarts wizard


Apple HAL

Sunday,  02/21/16  06:47 PM





Archive: February 25, 2015

Wednesday,  02/25/15  09:51 PM

Still coding away, in between doing higher level stuff like giving demos and presenting to potential investors :)  And still blogging...

Where is MH370?How crazy am I to think that I know where that Malaysia Airplanes plane is?  Well...  nobody else seems to have a good idea, either.  Jeff Wise thinks it is in Kazakhstan.  Could be...

Guy Kawasaki: Hindsights.  Good observations, if not groundbreaking; I like #5, "Learn to like yourself and change yourself until you can like yourself."  Happiness comes from liking yourself :)

Dave Winer: comments on the Node Foundation.  I've coded for a long time now without paying serious attention to Node, which is an environment to write server-side applications in JavaScript, but it definitely has a lot of fans.

Amazon FireflyInteresting: Amazon's product-finding Firefly lands on Fire HD tablets.  When Amazon first announced Firefly along with the Fire Phone, I thought it would have significant impact on visual search applications, but it turns out Firefly is less about raw visual search and more about barcode reading and optical character recognition.  Still Amazon is not known for giving up; they will keep making it better and better and more useful to consumers.

classic rock plays by yearAsking the important questions: Which rock is classic?  I'm tempted to say "you know it when you hear it", but this is a more quantitative analysis.  It does seem to have more to do with how it sounds than with when it was releasedJust the other day I was surprised to realize Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" dated back to 1987; when it was released, it wasn't classic, but it sure is now.  What of today's music will be considered "classic" in the future?


Archive: February 25, 2014

perfect timing

Tuesday,  02/25/14  10:46 PM


(click to enbiggen)



Tuesday,  02/25/14  10:54 PM

riding PCHDay two of the CorpsCamp, and another fine day of riding, this time along PCH...

Wither Bitcoin?  So Mt.Gox, the largest and best known Bitcoin exchange, have gone off the air; trading is halted amid rumors of a large internal theft.  Yikes.  The currency will survive, but like any bank credibility is essential.

surfing on smartphonesUnsurprising: we now spend more time using smartphones than surfing the web on PCs.  I'm not part of that "we" - yet - but I can so easily see that most of you are...

Paul Graham: lessons learned from 630+ Y-Combinator startups.  I'll have more to say about this, but for now, most interesting.  There are some surprising observations, but this isn't one of them: "Product development should most always take precedence."  Indeed.

So: Facebook email is gone.  So be it.  I commend them for removing something which the market had already killed.

best-picture math: most important tagsGetting ready for the Academy Awards: Best-picture Math.  Among other things, the tags associated with a movie can be a good predictor of whether it might win.  I think American Hustle is going to win this time, because of "buzz", but it wasn't nearly as good as Dallas Buyer's Club.

Oh, and here's every single best actor ... and every best actress too.  My picks: Christian Bale (though I would have chosen Mathew McConaughey), and Sandra Bullock (I agree).

Glass for the battlefield.  Of course!

Interesting: project Tango, a prototype phone from Google that creates a 3D-model of the world around it.  Should be a nice enhancement to Glass someday :)

ZooBorn: teeny Giant Aldabra TortoiseToday's ZooBorn: a teeny Aldabra Giant Tortoise.  They will grow from 50g to 400lbs.  Wow.

(oh and it will take them over 100 years to do it :)


Archive: February 25, 2013


Archive: February 25, 2012


Archive: February 24, 2011

back to Earth

Thursday,  02/24/11  09:58 PM

return from Orlando...I am back to Earth, literally and figuratively, whew.  When last you left me, I was high in the sky, blogging, on my way to the HIMSS Venture Fair in Orlando.  That went well, you can read all about it in my report on my Aperio blog, but the return trip was a series of disasters; I didn't get back until midday Monday.  (see diagram at right :)  So be it, whew.  And then it was home for a night, and the rest of this week has been spent attending and presenting at Aperio's annual sales meeting. 

Team Aperio 2010 - the mug!A highlight was distributing the Team Aperio 2010 mugs (see at left); a tradition I started and of which I am inordinately proud; this is now the eighth year.  (Yes the mugs are collectors items, especially the early ones of which so few were made.)

Anyway today was my first "normal" day in quite a while, and there is little peace ahead, as I leave for San Antonio and the USCAP conference on Saturday.  Double whew!  Still there is much else going on in the world, let's take a look...

Jobsnote of note: the iPhone announcementI am surprised that my Jobsnotes of note post hasn't received more traffic.  Doesn't everyone need to see these?  Guess not :)  Anyway I am prepared to add to my collection as the iPad 2 announcement appears nigh...

Apple smacks Readability in the face with subscription rules.  Huh.  Seems like this will just push services like Readability out onto the web; that does not seem to be in Apple's best interest.  And they are very good at tuning things to be in their best interest :)

Josh Newman considers dining hall trays: What a tool.  "Of course, it isn’t just dinner plates and dining hall trays. Indeed, nearly all of modern life seems to operate at the same juncture of manufactured stuff and unclear self-assessment; thus, we make things, which in turn re-make us. Which is to say, we create technology (say, a plate) to assist us with an ill-understood instinctive behavior (eating food), and then find that the technology has led to unexpected consequences in the very behavior itself (how much of the food we eat)."  I would put smartphones in this category :)

TechCrunch's MG Siegler: I Will Check My Phone At Dinner And You Will Deal With It.  Interesting isn't it how quickly protocol regarding this has changed?  I distinctly remember a dinner at our house ten years ago with a PayPal colleague who checked his Blackberry during dinner.  Shirley was horrified.  But that was then, this is now.  We do have a "no phone" rule for family dinners, but it does fly in the face of convention.

Okay one more in this vein: the end of the IT department.  "The companies who feel they can do without an official IT department are growing in number and size. It’s entirely possible to run a 20-man office without ever even considering the need for a computer called 'server' somewhere."  Fascinating.  I wonder how long it will be necessary to have desktop or laptop computers?  Or phone systems?  Seems like handheld computers aka smartphones might trump them all.

site type mapAmong the many things I don't get, Quora is one of them.  I gather it is a place where one asks questions, and your friends answer?  Huh.  I feel like posting "why should I use Quora", but I'm entirely confident of getting negative noise in response.  Anyway... TechCrunch compares StackExchange to Quora, a truly weird comparison.  I *get* StackExchange, it's a place to ask technical questions.  The signal to noise is rather high, due to a Slashdot-like rating system.

A great article from McKinsey: The Programmers Dilemma, building a Jeopardy champion.  To me, playing Jeopardy comes much closer to passing a Turing Test than defeating grandmasters at chess.  The natural language parsing involved is ferocious.  Just shows that while progress in artificial intelligence is slow, it remains steady.  One day we'll be interacting with computers as if they are beings, and we won't even find it remarkable.

Oranje cricket! - Ryan ten DoeschateMy colleague Kiran tells me the Dutch are doing well at the Cricket World Cup.  The Dutch play cricket?  There's a World Cup going on?  Who knew... anyway, Go Oranje!

Wouldn't you agree, no sport anywhere is as inscrutable to non-fans as cricket?

Levi Leipheimer is favored to win the TOC - and Mount BaldyYes!  Mount Baldy could decide Tour of California.  I cannot wait, and yes of course I will be there; would not miss it.  In fact as per previous years when I've climbed Balcom, Palomar, and (last year) Rockstore, I will ride it myself before watching.  I guess we could agree that Levi Leipheimer (left) is the favorite, not only for the Baldy stage but the whole tour.  He's won it three of the last four years, and a mountaintop finish should suit him well.

This is excellent: Ohio Girl Scouts accepting mobile payments for cookies.  How cool is that? 

Lessons not learned: What happens after Yahoo acquires you.  "Both sides talk about all the wonderful things they will do together. Then reality sets in. They get bogged down trying to overcome integration obstacles, endless meetings, and stifling bureaucracy. The products slow down or stop moving forward entirely. Once they hit the two-year mark and are free to leave, the founders take off. The sites are left to flounder or ride into the sunset. And customers are left holding the bag."  Yikes.

the Yellow Treehouse restaurantMost excellent: Incredible yellow treehouse restaurant rises above New Zealand.  This is the kind of thing Inhabitat often blogs about as a planned project, but it would appear this restaurant actually exists.

ZooBorn: King Vulture chickWrapping up my back-to-Earth post, a King Vulture chick!  Wow, does he ever look out of this world :)


whale of a tale

Thursday,  02/24/11  10:32 PM

whale of a tale...From a longtime friend:

If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.

She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.

She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.



bam, one year later

Thursday,  02/24/11  10:39 PM

bam!It was one year ago today that I was out riding and was hit by a car.  Bam.

"Could have been so much worse.  Good for about a quart of adrenaline and some philosophical thoughts.  The sky is bluer, girls are prettier, and music sounds better :)  I will not soon forget".

Interestingly it has changed my life.  The sky has remainder bluer, girls have remained prettier, and music has continued to sound better.  And I don't think I will ever forget.  Onward!


Archive: February 24, 2010


Wednesday,  02/24/10  08:39 AM

bam!Hey guess what?

So last night I was out riding and got hit by a car!   Bam.   First time in twenty+ years of riding…   My bike and I went flying across the intersection but we are both okay with only minor scrapes.   Could have been so much worse.   Good for about a quart of adrenaline and some philosophical thoughts.   The sky is bluer, girls are prettier, and music sounds better today :)

I will not soon forget yesterday.  Onward!


Archive: February 25, 2009

Dilbert: the bailout hearings

Wednesday,  02/25/09  09:10 PM

Dilbert: the bailout hearings

(I love it :)


Wednesday,  02/25/09  09:15 PM

Another long day today...  Ha! fooled you.  It wasn't a long day!  Well at least I got up with the sun instead of the moon, and had some think time and productive time as well as meeting time, and did get in a nice ride.  And am blogging at 9 instead of 12.  Who knows, might even be able to read a little later...  still enjoying High Fidelity on my Kindle (thanks Kathy) and look forward to reading from it every night.

Looks like the markets didn't like President Obama's speech last night, but then again they don't seem to like anything these days.

My friend Peter says there is a silver bullet, all we have to do is repeal the "mark to market" accounting rule change.  And he thinks this will be done, and it will trigger a rally.  And he thinks it is being timed carefully.  So be it; I have to admit, he called this whole crisis, so he has credibility in calling a turnaround...

John Battelle thinks Twitter = YouTube.  In making a case for why it is worth a lot, and why Google wants it.  Hmmm...  I guess both are big traffic drivers with no obvious path to profitability :)

tunnel with 40,000 LEDs simulates lightspeedTunnel with 40,000 LEDs Is the Closest You'll Ever Get to Light Speed.  It looks cool - really cool - but I hope to get closer to light speed than this someday :)

TTAC asks how fast is fast enough?  I love this quote from George Carlin: "Everyone who drives slower than you do is an idiot; everyone who drives faster than you do is a maniac."  I find there are far more idiots than maniacs out there :)

Palm energizes developers for the Pre phone.  "With the Pre just a few months from launch, Palm is wasting no time courting developers - the one group that is arguably most critical to the new phone's success.  So far, it looks like developers are taking the bait."  I am so excited, this product is going to change my life, I know it :)

the deep-sea fish with the transparent headAnd here we have a fish with a transparent head.  "Since 1939, scientists have thought the 'barreleye' fish Macropinna microstoma had 'tunnel vision' due to eyes that were fixed in place. Now though, Monterey Bay Aquarium researchers show that the fish actually has a transparent head and the eyes rotate around inside of it."  Wow.  Just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you thought.

ZooBorn: baby Fennec foxZooBorn: What's cuter than a Fennec Fox cub?  Nothing!


Archive: February 25, 2008

Monday,  02/25/08  11:58 PM

Light posting tonight - I'm on negative time trying to get a project delivered.  I'm too tired now to make much progress on the project, so I might as well blog :)  Judge this post accordingly...

George Hincapie wins the Rose BowlDid you watch Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California?  What a great race; the perfect ending to a perfect week.  Big George wins from a 90 mile break in the pouring rain.  That guy is a beast, and the worse the weather gets, the stronger he gets.  And what can you say about Levi, and Astana?  What a great performance.  I loved watching it live on my computer, too; they finally have the Flash front-ends for these events to the point were they really work.

ISS in spacePicture of the day: the ISS hangs in suspended in space, with Earth as a backdrop.  Awesome.  (Click pic to enlarge)  Looks like a scene from a movie!

Dog bites man: Castro rejects idea of political change.  Who would have predicted that?

Wired: Free - why $0.00 is the future of business.  "The rise of 'freeconomics' is being driven by the underlying technologies that power the Web. Just as Moore's law dictates that a unit of processing power halves in price every 18 months, the price of bandwidth and storage is dropping even faster. Which is to say, the trend lines that determine the cost of doing business online all point the same way: to zero."  Go ahead, click through; you can read it for nothing :)

Cory Doctorow characterizes Free as the "divide by zero" problem.  "The market for digital goods isn't a market for goods at all: since the potential customers can choose to get all digital goods for free on the darknet, the digital goods market is actually a digital services market."  Right.

Here we have wiperless windshields, courtesy of that morally repellent nanotech.  There's plenty of room at the bottom.

I am totally perplexed by Twitter, or what's good about it, or why anyone would use it.  But Russell Beattie has a clue: Nearly a million users, and no spam or trolls.  Huh.  Great insight.  (Weird how I completely disagree with Russell on many things, but love reading his opinions anyway.)

Have you been reading about how Google Docs are the latest big threat to Microsoft Office?  Well here's a nice dose of reality: Google Docs is chock full of fail.  The points are well taken.  I'm not switching from desktop apps to web apps for my daily work anytime soon - if ever.

Meanwhile, Internet Explorer 8 is entering beta.  Oh goodie, another incompatible browser to support.  Who ordered that?

line squall over Kansasline squall over KansasWell we had the picture of the day already, so can these be the pictures of the year?  Photos taken of a line squall in Kansas; I swear they do not look real.  WOW.




Archive: February 25, 2007


Archive: February 25, 2006

morning coffee

Saturday,  02/25/06  07:25 AM

It's a Saturday morning, a cold crisp one, and I'm huddled over my Peet's, checking out the world...

George HincapieSo yesterday George Hincapie won another stage in the Tour of California, but Floyd Landis kept his overall lead.  Reading the blow by blow, it sounds like it was an interesting race, with a big climb, a breakaway, and several interesting lead changes.  Today the Tour goes from Santa Barbara into Thousand Oaks, ending up at the Amgen campus.  I'm going to try to watch it - I've never seen a pro bike race in the flesh - stay tuned.

Wow, this is unbelievable, Cheryl Crow undergoes cancer surgery.  Right after splitting with Lance Armstrong, too.  I sure wish her the best, I guess her prognosis is much better than Lance's was...

Bob de JongDid you watch Olympic speed skating last night?  Dutchman Bob de Jong put on an amazing performance in the 10,000 meters, winning with a time slightly off the world record, despite Turin's "slow ice".  American Chad Hendrick finished second, and promptly put a skate in his mouth.  "'My heart,'' Hendrick said, tapping his chest with his fingers, 'is bigger than everybody else's out there.'"  Yeah, Chad, that's why you finished second.  "He can say a lot,'' de Jong said.  'He can say America rules.  But today Dutch rules, and he cannot beat me.'''  Hendrick is an embarrassment.  Meanwhile what can we say about De Jong.  You cannot imagine the effort it takes to skate six miles at top speed.  Awesome.

Malcom Gladwell has a blog!  (He's the author of Tipping Point and Blink, and one of my favorite contributors to the New Yorker.)  "In the past year I have often been asked why I don’t have a blog.  My answer was always that I write so much, already, that I don’t have time to write anything else.  But, as should be obvious, I’ve now changed my mind."  Subscribed!

So, with all the brains and money behind blogging and RSS and browsers, you'd think there would be a one-click way to subscribe to a new blog's feed, right?  You would think.  And yet, you still have to copy the blog URL from your browser into your RSS reader, hope auto-discovery of the feed URL works, and then manually subscribe.  Clearly there is work to do before RSS reading becomes mainstream.

Oh, and by the way - how does one "use" OPML?  I kind of understand what it is - a standard XML format for encoding information in hierarchical form, such as blogrolls or reading lists or even blogs' content.  But where is there a simple description of what it is and what it does?  Where is there a simple description of how to use it?  As Dave Winer notes, we have work to do...

Mark Frauenfelder reports Richard Dawkins hosts UK TV show about religious faith.  Wow, I have to find this online somewhere, how awesome!  (This review of the show makes it sound even better.)  I am reading Daniel Dennett's latest Breaking the Spell right now.  Dawkins and Dennett are probably my two favorite philosophers.

Wired notes Earth hurtles toward 6.5 billion.  "The planet's population is projected to reach 6.5 billion at 7:16 p.m. EST Saturday, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and its World Population Clock."  Ominously and in support of Unnatural Selection, "The highest population growth rates emanate disproportionately from the poorest regions of Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent."  Yes, rich countries are making it possible for poor countries to increase their population.  The effect of this is already being felt, and the trend is not positive.  Sigh.

SpaceX "static fire"Finally, there's a new  SpaceX launch update.  "The tentative launch window for the maiden flight of Falcon 1 is March 20 through 25.  The gating items are receiving a shipment of liquid oxygen (LOX) from Hawaii and switching out the 2nd stage tank."  So be it, marking my calendar...

The picture at right is of the "static fire" performed the day before the last attempted launch date.  This is where the whole countdown proceeds as if for launch, all the way up to starting the engines.  After the last one they learned some things and delayed the launch, let's hope fourth time's a charm.

CollegiateTimes writes Simplicity key for Musk's rocket science.  "'I said I wanted to take a large fortune and make it a small one, so I started a rocket business...   the ultimate goal is to make life multi-planetary.'"  Elon is amazing.


heavy medal

Saturday,  02/25/06  07:36 AM

Sports Illustrated has an awesome cover this week, celebrating Generation Y:

Sports Illustrated - Heavy Medal

This picture seems to capture the spirit I was trying to describe perfectly.
I used to think including "X sports" in the Olympics was a mistake, like, they aren't real sports, you know?  But I've changed my mind, I now think including them was the best thing that could have happened.  I look forward to seeing "X sports" included in the Summer Olympics as well (e.g. freestyle bicycling, and roller blading).
Hannah Teter, Seth Wescott, Shaun White, Danny Kass, Gretchen Bleiler, Lindsey Jacobellis. 
They rock :)


viewing the Tour

Saturday,  02/25/06  02:03 PM

I'll start by saying what everyone says the first time they see pro bike racing in person: WOW.  Today my friend Peter Simons and I stationed ourselves at the top of the last grade of stage 6 in the Amgen Tour of California.  It happens to be a climb we've done together many times - slowly, gasping for air - and it was an amazing experience.  This was a 90 mile stage - short, by pro race standards - with four categorized climbs.  Here's the stage profile; the little green arrow is where we were:

Amgen Tour of California stage 6 profile

We got there about two hours before the race arrived, armed with folding chairs, water, cameras, and cellphones (so we could monitor the race via VeloNews' blow-by-blow blogging).  There was a pretty good crowd, which got bigger as the race got closer, and more excited.  Here's the view up the hill, and the view down:

stage 6 - view up the hill
view up
(click for larger pic)

stage 6 - view down the hill
view down
(click for larger pic)

Pretty soon cars stopped coming by, so we knew the road was closed.  Then race vehicles started coming up the road, with lights flashing, and highway patrolmen with sirens blaring.  The excitement level built.  Oh, and there were trucks with swag, too; I scored a chocolate Cliff bar.

stage 6 - tour vehicles
tour vehicles
(click for larger pic)

stage 6 - scoring swag!
scoring swag
(click for larger pic)

Finally there were helicopters overhead, and a cavalcade of motorcycles, and then - there they were, the race leaders!  The crowd erupted in cheering and yelling as the riders flashed past.  I must tell you, they crested this climb like it was nothing.

stage 6 - Mavic mobile
the cavalcade
(click for larger pic)

stage 6 - the leaders!
the race leaders
(click for larger pic)

And close behind the leaders, the peloton flashed past.  Amazing.  A sudden burst of color and sound and motion, a whoosh, and they were past.  Here's a little video I shot with my camera of the passing of the peloton:

stage 6 - the peleton!
the peloton
(click to view movie)

As I said, WOW. 

What's cool about bike racing is that unlike every other sport, the competitors are right there.  It is possible for anyone to just go and see a bike race, and stand by the side of the road, and have professional racers zoom past within six feet of you.  I don't know how many people total saw this stage (I'm guessing there were thousands at the finish on the Amgen campus), but all of them had a front row seat.  Excellent.

Now that I've seen a race in person, I'm not going to miss any other chances to see another.


Archive: February 24, 2005

Thursday,  02/24/05  11:39 PM

Here's something I agree with 100%: Suppressing Intelligence Research: Hurting Those We Intend to Help, by Linda Gottfredson.  Don't get me started.  Anyway read the article, it makes great points in a very balanced way.  [ via GNXP ]

If you liked that one, check this out: Anti-racist multicultural math.  "The school department was recently forced to publicly admit that the sixth-grade MCAS math scores have steadily declined over the past three years to the point where 32 percent of sixth-graders are now in the 'warning' or 'needs improvement' category..."  And yet "In 2001 Mr. Young, Mrs. Wyatt and an assortment of other well-paid school administrators, defined the new number-one priority for teaching mathematics, as documented in the curriculum benchmarks, 'Respect for Human Differences - students will live out the system wide core of 'Respect for Human Differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors.'"  I'm not sure unbelievable is the right word.  I actually do believe it.

Wired wonders Wither the Wall Street Journal?  "The paper still carries a lot of weight in the business world, but some clumsy decisions about web content are making it insignificant in the online world."  I think this is an example of the echo chamber in action.  There are still millions of businesspeople who read the WSJ and who don't even use a computer, let alone know what a blog is...

Oh, look, the AP now has RSS feeds!  Cool.  I'm going to try their headline news feed, but I'm guessing it will be a firehose.  I'll probably have to rely on bloggers to filter it, first.

AlwaysOn reports the video rental business generates $8.2B per year.  Wow.  People sure will pay a lot to entertain themselves.

So, do you think Apple will buy Tivo?  That would be interesting, for sure, but actually I'm not sure what Tivo would bring to Apple's party.  Seems like Apple will be able to execute an IP-based video strategy without them.  George Hotelling reviews the pros and cons...  It would put an end to the Tivo deathwatch :)

Monowi, NebraskaThis is a great story.  Monowi, Nebraska, a one-person town with a library.  Why does this make me happy?  I don't know why, but it does.  [ via Mark Frauenfelder ]

Los Angeles skiingDoc Searles: Without the Smog, everyone would freak.  Yes, you can ski in Los Angeles!

So, are you following the debate about the  new Google toolbar?  Apparently it automatically highlights terms in whatever you're browsing; essentially, it modifies what you're looking at.  Dave Winer thinks this is the top of a bad slippery slope, similar to Microsoft's ill-fated SmartTags.  It seems okay to me, as long as they make this an option.  Could be a test of whether the new, bigger, more powerful Google is truly "not evil".  [ Later: Here's Scoble's take. ]

P.S. As a Firefox user, who cares?  I have a Google search bar built in already.  Yet another reason, if any were needed to check out Firefox...

Samsung 102" plasma TVHere's what I want for Christmas whenever - a Samsung 102" plasma TV.  Wow.  I know it costs a bizillion dollars but I want it anyway.

Heathkit amplifierThis is really cool: Heathkits, a walk down memory lane.  Yeah, I remember Heathkits, boy do I ever; as a kid I used to help my Dad build stuff for our boats.  Here's the Heathkit virtual museum.  Wouldn't it be cool if they were still around?  You could make your own iPods, 'n' stuff...


Archive: February 25, 2004


Archive: February 25, 2003

Tuesday,  02/25/03  08:36 PM

Bush to U.N.: the decision has been made to go to war.  Now, are you irrelevant?  By the way, in case you think we're rushing to war, see this list...

I'm adding L.T.Smash to my blogroll.  He's a reserve officer stationed in Kuwait.  I like him.

AOL's Music Net service is set to debut.  But they don't get it - burning CDs will cost you $18/month.  Yeah, like that's going to stop Kazaa...  These days you can buy a movie on DVD for less than you can get its soundtrack on CD.

Sadly, master chef Bernard Loiseau has killed himself, apparently because a leading restaurant guide marked down his world-renowned La Côte d'Or.  After reading Burgundy Stars I've always wanted to go there...

After 30 years, Pioneer 10's signal has faded out...  my father wrote computer simulations to test its circuits.

Thinking of trying three degrees?  Read this review first...

"There are two types of data: those that have already been archived by backup and those that have not yet been lost."  Tom's Hardware reviews tape backup solutions.  Of course if you don't back up, you can always see a data loss psychologist.  I am not making this up.


About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji The Nest Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
the big day
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?