Critical Section

Archive: February 21, 2018


Archive: February 21, 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 20, 2015

Friday,  02/20/15  10:36 PM

CCATomorrow I shall be called upon to arise at 3:30 for a quick trip to San Francisco, taking Meg to visit California College of the Arts.  That should be "fun".  And so I should be sleeping ... and so I'm blogging instead ...

Scott Walker's new specialty: punting.  "Sometimes the best answer to a question is a refusal to answer."  Especially when the purpose of the question is a gotcha, rather than an honest attempt to learn.

Mark Cuban says Net Neutrality will f*ck up the internet.  I'm not sure I'd put it that strongly, but more government regulation is never the solution to any problem.  And it isn't clear there even is a problem here.  It bothers me that so many people think net neutrality is obviously right* and don't even understand the issue.

* the way the issue has been named is quite clever, because we're all coached to think "neutrality" is a good thing.

cricket, explainedWell played: An animated guide to Cricket.  Now you, too can argue infinitely about whether someone was LBW.

2015 ATOC route announcedExcellent: 2015 Amgen Tour of California Route announced.  Love that they're heading to a mountaintop finish on Mt. Baldy again, and yes, of course I am going to ride it and watch the finish.  Great stuff.  So glad an America bike race has become one of the top one-week stage races in the world!

frozen Hudson RiverGlobal Warming update: The coldest day ever.  "Temperature records broken across the country by the 'Siberian Express' cold snap as Manhattan hits 1F."  Did not realize Al Gore was visiting New York.  Click through to see the pictures, they're beautiful as well as impressive; that's the Hudson River, frozen, at right...

Mars / Venus Conjunction tonightI'm too cold to check this out: Mars and Venus Conjunction tonight.  It's pretty rare to have the Moon in the mix too, wonder what that means?



Archive: February 20, 2014

underpowered solar

Thursday,  02/20/14  09:58 PM

Everybody is rooting for solar power, myself included; at first glance solar power seems to have all the right attributes for a green source of energy.  (Entropy!)  But on closer examination, it isn't even a contender.

Consider the recent blog post on Inhabitat, celebrating Ivanpah, the world's largest solar thermal plant switching online.  "The world's largest concentrating solar power plant, officially started generating energy for California’s electric grid. Located just southwest of Las Vegas, the massive solar facility can produce a whopping 392 megawatts of solar energy.

Whopping?  Let's just ask, how much electricity does a typical nuclear power plant generate?  "In 2012, the 'average' nuclear power plant in the United States generated about 11.8 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh)... The Palo Verde plant in Arizona has three reactors with the largest combined generating capacity1 of about 3,937 megawatts (MW).  Fort Calhoun in Nebraska had the smallest capacity with a single reactor at 502 megawatts (MW)."

Okayyy.  So the smallest capacity nuclear reactor in the US has a capacity nearly 25% more than the world's largest solar plant.  But what about cleanliness?  Well let's go back to Inhabitat: "Despite these impressive numbers, Ivanpah has been mired in controversy for its high operating costs and for reportedly killing and scorching alarming numbers of the local wildlife."  Hmmm, doesn't sound quite so clean, does it?

The reality is that solar power, like wind power, just isn't ready for prime time as a replacement for fossil fuel power plants, or for damming rivers.  The only technology that can deliver the kind of power we need - and the only technology which is truly "cleaner" - is nuclear power.  It is so sad that the association with nuclear weapons has put nuclear power on the wrong side of environmental advocates.  It is truly our only option.


Archive: February 21, 2013


Archive: February 21, 2012


Archive: February 19, 2011

blogging while high, again

Saturday,  02/19/11  11:07 PM

blogging while highOn the road again... starting with a whirlwind one-day trip to Orlando, to attend the HIMSS conference, before spending the week with Aperio's sales team in Vista.  I am presently high above ... Arizona? ... en route; thank you Delta for the WiFi.  Whew.  (Does this count as cloud computing? :)  I did manage to have a productive morning; cranked out some stuff I've been waiting to finish for weeks.

Please do not mention the word "compliance" to me.  Just ... don't.

And so I am off!  And meanwhile, this:

federal spending vs jobsPowerline: what the house did last night.  That graph of federal spending vs total jobs is rather scary.  So much for the stimulus, huh?  And meanwhile we are left with a crushing debt.

Wired in 1997: how to save ApplePretty amazing: A detailed follow up to Wired's "101 Ways to Save Apple" from 1997.  I remember that issue well, and I remember thinking "why does everyone always have so much advice for Apple?"  And it is still true today; even now, as the most successful tech company on Earth, everyone is always telling them what to do.  Even me :)

Apropos: Apple in the Sky with Diamonds: A cloud-based safe deposit box.  I love the title (!) but also the discussion; so many people are now saying that the next iPhone/iPod whatever will not have local storage, but will instead rely on cloud servers.  I don't think so.  Apple is all about the product experience, and accessing your information "in the cloud" is a lousy experience.

The AOL way claims its first victim: Engadget editor Paul Miller resigns.  Wow, too bad.  I love Engager, I hope this doesn't mean the start of a slow decline, but I fear it does...

is this how the Escher Waterfall Machine works? (clever!)So, is this how the Escher Waterfall Machine works?  You have to see the linked video, pretty amazing, even if it isn't "real".  How cool is that?  (BTW the reverse engineering is clever; even if it isn't right, it's a good guess!)

cutest ZooBorn ever? : a baby TapirWow this could be the cutest ZooBorn ever: a baby Tapir.  Awww.

Oh, yeah, we survived the invasion!  In fact it all went amazingly well.  A great group of kids had a great time.  How great is that?


Archive: February 21, 2010

Camino Real Double

Sunday,  02/21/10  09:58 AM

Yesterday I rode the Camino Real Double, my first of the year (first of the decade!)  I had a good ride; although it started a little rainy and was coldish and windyish all day, it was on the whole pretty pleasant.  I spent a good part of the ride alone, and finished in 13:43 elapsed time, ended up 30th out of 170 riders, not too shabby...  I am quite pleased with myself.

Some pictures:

Sunlight off the water, passing through San Onofre

The beauty of the Camp Pendleton wilderness adjacent to the ocean

at the 150 mile mark, still able to smile
then the climbing began, and then it got dark

During this ride I ate hardly anything, instead I ate as much as possible beforehand, and drank Hammer constantly.  It seemed to work.  Near the end I got some string cheese and at the last stop they had soup and chili...  that was pretty nice.  The memorable part of this ride is always the last leg through Santiago Canyon in the dark, surrounded only by cactus while you are only a few miles from the urban sprawl of Orange County.

Next up is the Solvang Spring Century on 3/13, despite being a mere Century I always seem to bonk.  Stay tuned!


Sunday,  02/21/10  08:33 PM

Still in recovery mode from yesterday's double century, hobbling around but feeling great.  (And eating everything in sight :)  That's how it goes with ultra cycling.  I do have another busy week ahead - with a bunch of travel - but let's make a filter pass first, shall we?

Tesla's Elon MuskTesla's Elon Musk wins the 2010 Automotive Executive of the Year Innovator's Award.  Congratulations!  Richly deserved; Tesla are clearly going where everyone else wants to go but nobody else has...  true electric cars.

Is Yahoo doomed to the be the next Alta Vista?  Short answer: yes.

Little known fact about Elon Musk: he sold his first company Zip2 to Alta Vista in 1999, back when Compaq owned them.  Compaq?

Saba airportHere we have the world's 18 strangest airports.  Islands, short runways, long ones, runways with hills in the middle, and roads crossing; they're all here.  Very cool.  The runway at Saba airport, shown at right, is barely longer than a carrier deck.  Whoa.

Slashdot considers cheaper pico-projectors as standard equipment on cell phones.  You know this is only a matter of time, right?

Slate: Why there are so few great, inexpensive wines from California.  The simple explanation is that markets work.  If an inexpensive wine is great it is soon becomes not-inexpensive.  Especially in California.

leaping polar bear (click to enbiggen)Wildlife picture of the day: a leaping polar bear.  Beautiful!  (click to enbiggen...)

"miss me yet?" billboardHa, you could see this coming: "Miss Me Yet?" Bush Merchandise a Hit Online.  Truly a sign of the times :)

Dave Winer: what we don't understand.  Truly computer UI complexity it too high.  One reason iPhones have been so successful is that they're so simple.  It may bode well for the iPad, we'll see...

AppleInsider: Inside Apple's iPad: Adobe Flash.  "The iPhone's lack of support for Flash does not appear to have had any impact on its popularity, but clearly has played a significant role in devaluing the importance of Flash in mobile devices, even if other platforms are enthusiastically embracing Flash."  It seems pretty clear that iDevices will never support Flash, so Adobe's Flash to iDevice cross-converter is the best solution.  It also seems clear that over time Flash will be less important as a result.

Slashdot: Why Flash is fundamentally flawed on touchscreen devices.  The argument is that mouseovers aren't supported, but that's pretty weak; there are plenty of ways to build a great Flash UI without mouseovers...

Jaguar XF SuperchargedAutoblog reviews the Jaguar XF Supercharged.  "There have been very few cars like the 2010 Jaguar XF Supercharged, and that's a shame. Yet it's difficult to explain why this car is so special..."  This really seems to be the first Jaguar in some time which *is* special, recapturing some momentum for the brand.

Ice dancer Tanith BelbinIce dancers Ben Agosto and Taneth BelbinAnd the Olympics featured Ice Dancing tonight!  Yay!  Truly one of my favorite "sports", especially when Tanith Belbin is involved.  Slate has a round up of ice dancers and their costumes :)  Some of them are rather unusual...

ZooBorn: baby Meerkat (named Picasso)And our ZooBorn of the weekend would be: a baby Meerkat named Picasso.


Archive: February 20, 2009

at the Tour: Solvang Time Trial!

Friday,  02/20/09  09:52 PM

Today my friend Peter and I visited the Amgen Tour of California - the Solvang Time Trial.  Wow, how awesome!

We had a great time, hung out in the town for a while, oogled the Kestrels used by the Rock Racing team, checked out the start house, and then rode the course, and stationed ourselves on the famous tight turn at Baseline and Refugio, and took pictures of all the riders as they came around the corner.  In a new innovation we chalked a ruler on the street and measured how wide each of the riders took the turn :)  After watching all the riders come through, we rode back into town just in time to watch Levi Leipheimer (the last rider since he was in first place) finish, winning the stage and extending his lead.  Then we hung out amongst all the vendor booths and checked out new bikes, hardware, riding clothes, and the various attractive representatives :)  A wonderful day!

I took a bunch of pictures, please find them here:

2009 Amgen Tour of California, stage 6, Solvang Time Trial

And following are some selected ones, for your viewing pleasure...  (click each to enbiggen):

The streets are filling up in Solvang!
The streets fill up in the town of Solvang

the Rock Racing compound
The Rock Racing compound

Kestrel RT800s (not to be confused with RT900s)
Kestrel RT800s (not to be confused with RT900s)
Man I really like these bikes.  I really really like them.  Really.

in the starthouse, ready to go...
In the starthouse, ready to go...

out on the course, the weather is perfect
Out on the course, the weather is PERFECT

the fans are ready (OMG how cute)
The fans are ready (OMG how cute)

the corner - Baseline and Refugio + remembering my friend Daniel Jacoby
The sharp corner of Baseline and Refugio, where we were stationed
and remembering my friend Daniel Jacoby who passed away from cancer in 2004

Freddy Rodriquez has a flat tire, but after a quick change, he's off
And we're under way!
Freddy Rodriguez has a flat tire, but after a quick change, he's off...

Floyd Landis is back! (NB 2006 TOC winner)
Floyd Landis is back!  (NB 2006 TOC winner)

a huge crowd has gathered for the final riders
A huge crowd has gathered for the final riders

David Zabriske - US TT champion, finished 2nd
David Zabriske, US TT champion, finished 2nd

Lance Armstrong - the one and only
Lance Armstrong - the one and only

Michael Rogers finished 3rd on the day
Michael Rogers finished 3rd on the day

Levi Leipheimer, started in yellow and won the day to extend his lead
Levi Leipheimer, started in yellow and won to extend his lead!

the final scoreboard - Chris Horner "won" with the widest turn :)
The final scoreboard - Chris Horner "won" with the widest turn :)

the finish line - with Levi on the podium
The finish line - with Levi on the podium

a beautiful Orbea Orca in red
A beautiful Orbea Orca - in red

Garmin Felt
A Garmin Felt

Rabobank Giant
A Rabobank Giant

me and the Liquigas girls

All in all a pretty great day!  And so tomorrow we have stage 7, a reprise of last year's classic which finishes at the Rose Bowl, and then Sunday, stage 8 including the magnificent climb up Palomar mountain.  I intend to be there at the top - stay tuned!


Friday,  02/20/09  10:14 PM

Some quick notes while recuperating from today's perfect day at the ATOC Solvang TT...

This is pretty funny: the [aerodynamic] cost of water bottles.  I wish I was fast enough that the difference between having a bottle on a down tube and having a bottle on a seat tube mattered :)  Right now there are other things like the cheeseburger I had yesterday that seem to matter more :)

Darwin: very gradual change you can believe inYesterday I noted the wonderful Darwin: change over time poster.  Here's one that's even better: Darwin: very gradual change you can believe in.  I love it!

Maserati Quattroporte GTSPopular Mechanics reviews the Maserati Quattroporte GTS (and really likes it!)  But the Instapundit still thinks it looks like a Buick.  Which might say more about him than about the car :)

John Gruber: Untitled Document syndrome.  I agree with this on several fronts, first, the syndrome itself (there is friction associated with that first "save as"), but more importantly the principle behind the syndrome [paraphrasing] "you don't have to do much before you can do what you want to do".  This is a key principle in all computer design.  Get the user into doing what they want to do as fast as you can...

the TealOS brings the Pre experience to a CentroThis is rather intriguing: The TealOS brings the Pre experience to a Centro.  I must experiment with this, please stay tuned.  That would be pretty cool if true...

ZooBorn: baby MeerkatsZooBorn of the day: you can't go wrong with baby Meerkats.  Click through to see the video, it is pretty great; first, the baby Meerkats are awesomely cute, but also check out all the photographers; most of their lenses are bigger than the little animals :)


Archive: February 21, 2008

Thursday,  02/21/08  07:26 PM

So about tonight's debate between Obama and Clinton in Texas, can I just say if anything would push me into the arms of John McCain, it is that sort of weak crap, and second, I think Hillary failed to win which is to say Barack won, and thus it looks to me as if it will be McCain vs Obama come November.  Steven Green did a great job of drunkblogging: "Once again, Clinton is asked if she really thinks Obama is unqualified to act as CinC. And once again, she's dodging the question. There's blood in the water, all right - and it's hers. My prediction: Obama will win Ohio and get as-good-as-a-draw or better in Texas. This race is over."  I agree.  Hic.

I would write about the hypocrisy of Hillary and Barack talking about poor downtrodden Americans, but Victor David Hanson already did: Ivy League Populism.  "In these gloom-and-doom narratives by the well off, we less fortunate Americans are doing almost everything right, but still are not living as well as we deserve to be. And the common culprit is a government that is not doing enough good for us, and corporations that do too much bad to us."  This rings so true for me - I am becoming a Republican in my old age!  Who would have thought?

anti=satellite missileDid you ever wonder if Star Wars would work?  Looks like it does; the Navy shot a wayward satellite out of the sky before it could land.  "The missile hit the satellite about three minutes after launch as the spacecraft, roughly the size of a school bus, traveled in polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph."  That's pretty fast for a school bus :)  [ Update: LGF links a YouTube movie showing the hit.  Wow. ]

I love Scott Adams, author of Dilbert, and I love his blog.  But he sometimes misfires badly, usually in connection with politics, which he over-simplifies to the point of absurdity.  Consider Making Decisions, in which he writes "Take the war in Iraq as an example for this method of decision making... I do know for certain that fewer American soldiers would be targets if they left."  Now how does he know that?  We were all targets on 9/11, and could be again if we're not careful.

Levi wins SolvangVelonews' headlines aptly summarize the Tour of California thus far: Astana's Levi Leipheimer takes the lead after third stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, and The Tour of California heads south as the podium battle narrows.  There are now five riders with a chance to win, four of them excellent time trialers: Levi, Fabian Cancellara (13s), David Millar (20s), and Dave Zabriske (21s).  Yeah, I'd say the Solvang time trial tomorrow will be decisive, which is why I'm planning to be there :)

I took the picture at right last year as Levi won the Solvang TT and went on to win the TOC (click pic to enlarge).  I predict the same things will happen again.  Stay tuned!

Speaking of the TOC, here's a great story from a guy who temporarily donated his wheel to help Bobby Julich finish stage 2.  That's really cool.  [ thanks, Adam, for the email link ].

One more cycling note: here's an article on Slowtwitch about CSC's camp in Agoura Hills.  "Bjarne Riis said this was the best Winter camp his team had ever had. Better than Solvang? Yes. Better than the South of France and Mallorca and all of that? Yes, the best. Very good climbs."  Bet your ass - that's my daily stomping ground.  Where else would you live?

Liron Shapira is someone I've never physically met; we've exchanged a lot of email over the years, and linked each other's blogs.  I think he was fifteen when we started, and now he's teaching a course at Berkeley called X-treme Thinking.  Very cool; reading the course notes, it seems like a class I would like to take.  Check it out.

Brad Feld thinks the momentum behind software patent reform is building.  That would be nice.

Joel Spolsky: Why the Microsoft Office file formats are so complicated.  There are some good reasons, as Joel notes, but also some bad ones; a result of the fact that Microsoft hires smart but inexperienced programmers.  I believe Joel was one of them himself :)


(New Yorker - 02/21/08)

Thursday,  02/21/08  08:12 PM

how Grandma sees the remote


This is so true.


Archive: February 21, 2007


Archive: February 19, 2006

ski report

Sunday,  02/19/06  03:51 PM

Apple Airport ExtremeSo, we're skiing!  And having an excellent time, too.  I couldn't be prouder of Alex and Megan, they're skiing like they were born to it.  (Actually to be technically accurate Alex is snowboarding, not to be confused with skiing; much cooler, apparently :)  So I'm in a condo at Mammoth, and only have dial-up to a local ISP, but of course I brought my trusty Apple WiFi hub and therefore we are all on WiFi here, sharing the 48K dialup.  And surprisingly it doesn't suck.  Not as fast as DSL, of course, but I've had worse.  Anyway, the blogosphere didn't hit pause just because I left town, so let's see what's happening...

Levi Leipheimer wins the Tour of California prologueThe Tour [of California] started today, and Levi Leipheimer took the prologue.  This doesn't surprise me in the least.  Ever since he beat Jan Ullrich in the Tour of Germany, he's been my pick for this year's Tour [de France].  Tomorrow is a sprint.

Apple - snowboardersGizmodo notes Apple's free Olympic publicity.  "Though Apple doesn’t specifically target athletes, Olympians from figure skater Kimmie Meissner to snowboarder Shaun White have been spotted using Apple’s little music device during their runs.  Burton Snowboards even designed outfits for the athletes to wear that have pockets designed especially for the iPod."  Pretty cool.  I was pleased to read that Shaun White listens to Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.  I guess that music still has the power it had for me when I was 19!  Overall if there is one result of these Winter Games for me, it has been to make X-game sports like Snowboarding seem more "legit".

Shani Davis wins goldLet's hear it for Shani Davis!  Not because he's black - so what - but because he won gold in speed skating for the U.S.!  I guess he made the right decision to skip the pursuit, he concentrated on his event, and won.  Excellent.  [ via Horse's Mouth, who very properly asks "Bryant would you like a glass of whiskey with that crow?" ]

Guy Kawasaki: How to suck up to a blogger.  "Blogging has flipped traditional PR on its head.  It used to be that ink begat buzz...  Nowadays buzz begets ink.  Journalists no longer anticipate or create buzz--rather, they react to it."  [ via Dave Winer, who notes of Guy "He knew how to blog before he knew he knew" ]

If you're in the market for a new car or just want an entertaining read, check out Confessions of a Car Salesman.  If you're in a hurry, start at Part 9 - the concepts and recommendations.  Pretty useful stuff.  Not surprising, but it verifies all the stereotypes you've heard.  Yes, car salespeople can be pond scum.  And it also reveals that there are honest car salespeople out there who try to figure out what you want in a car (gasp!) and sell you a car that gives it to you (double gasp!).

This is what we do at Aperio - we call it solution selling - and it has two incredible benefits; first, the customer is happy (because they get what they want) and second, the salesperson is happy, because they don't have to lie and so on, they just have to ask a bunch of questions to understand the customer.  Seems simple but apparently it isn't.

Tim Bray on PHP.  "So here’s my problem, based on my limited experience with PHP: all the PHP code I’ve seen in that experience has been messy, unmaintainable crap.  Spaghetti SQL wrapped in spaghetti PHP wrapped in spaghetti HTML, replicated in slightly-varying form in dozens of places."  I have the same problem, and I have it with every web scripting language; whether it be PHP, Perl, ASP, or KSH.  There is no separation of data encapsulation from business logic, and no separation of logic from presentation.  You can force this - with stored procedures, templates, etc. - but the language doesn't, which can lead easily to kludging.  Yet having said that, it is productive, it runs rather well, and it is designed for web interactions and database access.  Tim has appended a "virtual comment section" with emails he's received.  A great discussion.

Scott Loftesness asks What's your favorite Mac stuff?  Then he answers the questions with a good list of his favorite Mac stuff.

I wonder what Scott thinks of, a new site trying to be "eBay for money".  The NYTimes reports its Like lending to a friend, except you'll get interest.  "Prosper's users lend money to and borrow money from other people on the site at what the company says are better interest rates than those available through traditional financial institutions and without some of the risk that comes from typical person-to-person loans."  Quite an interesting concept.


Archive: February 21, 2005

Monday,  02/21/05  10:14 PM

I had a good day today, thanks for asking.  One of those days where you clean up a lot of loose ends, and feel virtuous as a result...

"the world" - an island development opportunityHere we have "The World", 300 islands in the shape of the world, a unique investment opportunity.  Amazing.  You, too, could own California - or France.  Check it out!  [ via Tom Coates ]

"the Posiden" - underwater hotelIn the same vein, here we have "The Poseidon", a five-star $1,500 per night hotel under water in the Bahamas.  [ via Cory Doctorow ]

John Stanforth: Why do we overcommit?  Read it all, but essentially, we are better at measuring tangible resources than we are intangibles like time.  Oh.

Yippee the Economist has RSS feeds.  Welcome to the party, boys.  This is one of the few magazines left that adds value; I look forward to getting updates in between issues.  And stay tuned for links :)

For a typically insightful articles, consider The Economics of Sharing.  "Economists have not always found it easy to explain why self-interested people would freely share scarce, privately owned resources.  Their understanding, though, is much clearer than it was 20 or 30 years ago: co-operation, especially when repeated, can breed reciprocity and trust, to the benefit of all."  There is no such thing as altruism, but enlightened self-interest is another story...

Flash kaleidoscopeThis is pretty cool, a kaleidoscopic use of Flash.  Move your mouse back and forth for extra weirdness.  Kinda makes you want to inhale, doesn't it :)  [ via collision detection, in a link titled "dude" ]

parallel linesIf you like that, you might enjoy this graphic, too.  Just too weird what your brain does after it gets the signal from your eyes, huh?

Thrasymachus at GNXP considers The Flynn Debate.  "Possibilities: 1) The Flynn Effect is based on bad data.  2) The Flynn Effect tracks non-g rises in IQ.  3) The Flynn Effect measures a rise in g. Therefore better environments improve g a lot.  4) The entire concept of g is somehow faulty  5) The entire concept of IQ is somehow faulty."  I like (1), but he likes (3).  I'm pretty sure g is not that tied to environment...

Basketball.  Whoa.  [ Via Jane Galt, via Marginal Revolution, via Ottmar Liebert. ]

Via Dave Winer, Howard Greenstein links the User's Guide to the Brain.  Looks like a cool book, I've one-clicked it.  I have a brain, but I never got the user's guide.  I guess I'm one of those people who never read the manual.  It would be nice to hit F1 for online help once in a while :)


wish you were here

Monday,  02/21/05  10:48 PM

From Steven Wright:

A friend of mine once sent me a post card with a picture of the entire planet Earth taken from space.  On the back it said, "Wish you were here."

Every so often, I like to stick my head out the window, look up, and smile for a satellite picture.

I'm moving to Mars next week, so if you have any boxes...

I have a map of the United States... Actual size.  It says, "Scale: 1 mile = 1 mile."  I spent last summer folding it.  I also have a full-size map of the world.  I hardly ever unroll it.  People ask me where I live, and I say, "E6".

You can't have everything.  Where would you put it?

When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction.

tap, tap.  crash :)


Archive: February 21, 2004


Archive: February 21, 2003

Friday,  02/21/03  08:21 PM

Sorry for the darkness yesterday.  Hey, I was busy coding!  Didn't seem like much happening in networld, either.

Could this be the final straw?  Iraq has been ordered by the U.N. inspectors to destroy hundreds of missiles by March 1.  This is right before a new moon, too.  And the WP writes about what happens later: Full U.S. Control Planned for Iraq.

Did you know Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia disaster, was part of the Israeli squad that bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981?  I didn't, either.  Quite a guy.

So again no America's Cup, race 4 has been postponed again due to light winds.

Keith Olberman blasts News Corp on Salon; Sandy Koufax has quit as a special instructor for the Dodgers because Dodgers owner News Corp also owns the New York Post, which has run unsubstantiated rumors that he is gay.  I really miss the O'Malleys.

A Business 2.0 article examines Digital Rights: A Thorny Issue.  Interesting because of the examples of unintended consequences associated with the DMCA.  A clear violation of W=UH.  Meanwhile it looks like Office 2003 is going to include DRM.  Terrific, I can see the message now: Outlook blocked an email attachment because you don't have the right to receive it.

The Why Nerds Are Unpopular article I linked the other day remains a strong meme around the web.  Everyone I know who's read it has a take - if you haven't, please do.  I keep thinking about it, not because of nerds, but because of my two older daughters who are not nerds (one's a junior doing battle with high school, the other made it through, though not unscathed).  Related: Eve Tushnet has an interesting take on home schooling.

I'm about ready to stop visiting the L.A.Times website, you get such a blizzard of popup ads on each visit.  No, I'm not linking to them, they don't deserve it.  Maybe the L.A.Examiner, eh?

Looks like Salon is in dire straights (again).  I'll miss them.  Remember when people thought 'zines like Salon and Feed were the future of media?  (The new replacements are blogs - and hey, Salon hosts blogs!).

I've decided ESPN's new ESPN Motion thing is cool, but too intrusive.  I now have a little icon in my taskbar (I hate those), the video launches by itself, the music is loud, and - gasp! - there are commercials.  Just a little too much like TV.  (Probably what they were going for...)  I like the download-in-the-background technique, just not what they did with it.

Web users are amazing, they expect cracks to be available for everything.  I've been watching my referrers and a bunch of people have come by with search strings like "virtual+spectator+crack" and "free+virtual+spectator".  I guess I did enough bragging about Virtual Spectator to make it into the Google-sphere for those strings.  If you're one of those idiots looking for a crack, let me give you a clue; it costs $10.

{ A crack is a hacked version of software which doesn't require a license key. }

Finally, I'm linking to Dave Winer's dumpster watch.  Everybody please click through, I want him to be amazed at the traffic this brilliant and interesting post is generating.


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?