Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm mortified!

I'm mortified!

One of the "10 ten things on the Internet" (according to, Warren Ellis, who writes the absolutely brilliant FreakAngels weekly graphic novel, BLOCKED me on Twitter.

That's like . . . I don't know . . . Angelina Jolie arresting you for being a stalker or something!

Here's the tweets:

Official: I am one of the ten best things on the internet (?):


@warrenellis YOU'RE NOT EVEN IN THE TOP 5. Come off your high horse.


@jsteig ...okay. That was a weird response. Let me help you out with the block button there, strange shouty person
I laughed at being called "shouty person" and then I realized . . . he'd blocked me from his feeds on Twitter. Me, out of 12,000 something!

OK. It was a weird response. I'm sorry! I was joking like the inarticulate fool that I am, Warren, trying to say that really you should be in the top 5. I shouldn't have twittered that tweet. I really, truly think you're in the top 5! Nothing stops me from reading FreakAngels, nothing. I am terrified that somehow you could reach out into the Cloud and somehow block THAT from me. Please, please don't. A little help here anyone?!

How it's supposed to be done

To our Seattle, Bellingham and Vancouver friends and family who are suffering under about a foot of snow (30cm!), where the towns and cities don't even own plows, here's what it's supposed to look like: 6 am on the morning after a snow and even the sidewalks on a back street have had a sidewalk plow clear them out. Best wishes for warmer weather for you!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vancouver from Big Picture

One of many photos of the 2008 year, from This is looking out to Vancouver from Cypress Park, the mountain above the town where I grew up. The link is to part 2/3. Make sure you look at the other ones too. LINK

Honda FCX Clarity

The new Toyota Prius-fighter from Honda is already visible on the horizon. It's the Honda Insight (LINK) and it will be available in 2009. It looks a lot like a Prius and is supposed to be a little less expensive. I want one. But further out in the future is a much bigger innovation, the Honda FCX Clarity, a fuel cell powered car that's actually on the road today--if you live in the L.A. / San Diego area and were selected to have the right to lease one.

Here's a video of James May of TopGear driving this new Honda. Unfortunately, he doesn't really explain why the Clarity is so much more ground breaking than the battery powered electric Tesla. He keeps pulling up the strawman of cheap, little electric cars that take forever to charge and go hardly any distance before running out of juice. He only suggests but never clearly explains why the Clarity is the car of the future instead of the Tesla. What he suggests is that it's because the Clarity is more like the car of today. Instead of having to charge it up for several hours (minimum 3.5 according to Tesla), you can fill the Clarity with hydrogen in just a few minutes.

via Jalopnik (LINK)

Will we ever see hydrogen filling stations proliferate like gasoline filling stations? Or will we instead see fast electric charging stations or even stations for hot swappable, pre-charged batteries?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Facebook and social ability

When I was growing up, I wasn't friendless but I didn't have many friends. I was shy and wasn't very good at navigating the world of my peers. I think Facebook would have helped.

There's been for years a lot of casual talk about how "we don't talk to each other anymore" and "we're always on the computer and don't talk face-to-face". And certainly in some ways this is true. The "Creepy, Sexy Robots" post (LINK) by my Zygote Games colleagues is one example of how technology can be used to get around real human contact. But my experience is that Facebook and its ilk, blogs and the proliferation of online, consumer generated media content, and even the "old fashioned" tools of e-mail and mobile phone greater opportunities for real human interaction rather than fewer.

This has been further reinforced this week by my son. I introduced him to Facebook. Actually, I had to push him a bit to sign up. That was Sunday. Today is Tuesday, he has 45 friends and counting, and he's addicted. What does it use it for? Chatting. That and AIM, which he only signed up for the day before Facebook, have been his focus the last few days. He's online now whenever he can. Games like Runescape has dropped by the wayside. We've had to set down a rule that he has to do his homework before he goes online. And that's all cool. In the physical world he's always been a more social kid than I was. But he's still more like me than not. I'm both happy for him that there are these extra tools to enhance his social ability and also a bit envious that I didn't have them when I was an early teen.

Older, wiser parents may snicker at what they perceive as my naivete. We'll see. I think this will be on balance highly beneficial.

Addendum: What I should have emphasized here is that online activity has actually been shown to augment and in fact increase not reduce human interaction and at least in my observations, this is definitely true. I'll get the references . . . unfortunately, the Queen of this space, danah boyd, is driving across country or some crazy idea like that (in the middle of winter??!!) and off-line for 6 something weeks! But I'll mine her blog and pull some references.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My boys in cubicle land

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New world of transport

In the context of the probable demise of some or all of the U.S. auto industry, I found this picture of an IBM rep on a Worksman Cycle (made in New York) particularly timely. From the Worksman Cycles photo library (LINK) via the great blog, Copenhagenize (LINK).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why is Jon Stewart considered so great?

Here's why:

(And Huckabee is going to be a force in 2012. Level-headed, articulate and calm. Though I utterly disagree with him, that has to be said.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"the world is not divided simply into gay and straight"

"In the largely indigenous communities in and around the town of Juchitán, the world is not divided simply into gay and straight. While Mexico can be intolerant of homosexuality; it can also be quite liberal. In Mexico City, for instance, same-sex domestic partnerships are legally recognized. But nowhere are attitudes toward sex and gender quite as elastic as in towns like Juchitán in the far reaches of the southern state of Oaxaca."

NYTimes article: LINK

Posted via web from Joseph's posterous

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My imagination or does Laura look really relaxed here?


Bike Commuting Bag

I've known about this bike commuting bag for a few years--the Ortlieb Shuttle-Bike (LINK) but hadn't seen a review until now. Bicycling Photographer has his Part 1 review up (LINK) via Bike Commuters (LINK).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Micro-payment concept / reality

"The cost of inflating your own tire, the manner of payment - a coin thrown into the tub of water used to check where the air is escaping from." (LINK).

I found this photo by Jan Chipchase really special--makes direct and real one form of meaningful micropayments .

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bush not shaking hands. Subtext???

WHAT is the subtext here or the different interpretation if any? Watch this video in which world leaders (the "G20") walk across a stage shaking hands, except for Bush43, who neither offers nor is offered a handshake. Is there something going on here that I'm missing? Honestly. Or is it simply that they all can't stand him and/or he can't stand them?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Does he have her back? And she his?

I've noted before the election that if you look at the body language between Obama and Clinton you have to be struck by how incredibly comfortable and close they seem. But who knows? As Thomas Friedman suggests, they'd better be tight or it's not a good appointment.

Friedman rises above the riff raff on the issue of Clinton as Secretary of State (riff raff meaning strays like Dick Morris for example LINK -- not meaning to insult dogs here) pointing out that as long as the world knows that Clinton speaks for Obama and that he has her back, she'll do great. He says that what distinguished James Baker as a great Secretary of State was that the world knew he spoke for Bush41. By speaking to Baker you were speaking to Bush41. With Powell, as a different example, the world didn't know if Bush43 would backstab or second guess. Clinton-Obama had better be Baker-Bush41 not Powell-Bush43. The past would suggest more of the Powell comparison, but the body language? LINK

What can you buy for US$5?

(Relatively) new Nokia sponsored "What can you buy for $5" website at You can post your own pictures of US$5 items to their Flickr group. (via Jan Chipchase, of course LINK)

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Monday, November 17, 2008

socialism vs fascism in America

Interesting how the Right is now interpreting every little move of Obama's as impending Socialism. During the last eight years, every little move of the Bush administration was indication of impending Fascism. The hot button of civil liberties for the left is by some measure quite equivalent to the hot button of overreaching taxation by the right.

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Sunday, November 16, 2008

completely agree with Bush 43

Can't say there's anything I disagree with anything in this piece by Bush 43, "The Surest Path Back to Prosperity." LINK to the WSJ.

What it leaves out however is the support that government has historically provided to key infrastructure needs of an economy and in research and development and education. The challenge for the United States is that these components have been neglected for too long. Will an Obama administration be able to hold the line on regulation, believe enough in the power of entrepreneurship, yet also provide the right investment in the right places (like a new energy grid and funding for science and education)?

Here's an article on investing in innovation by Henry and Manzi that goes to the heart of why Bush's half side of the equation is dangerous in its ommissions: LINK (via Kirsner LINK)

We need a green bubble?

Jon Stewart makes Thomas Friedman admit that he's a proponent of bubble economics.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Originally uploaded by lenovophotolibrary

Political visualization

These wonderful visualizations are from an election maps results site (LINK) via Brad Feld (LINK). I wanted to see 2004 and 2008 on the same page.

This is a map of the US according to which states went Republican or Democratic in the 2004 election but with the map scaled by population, not land area.

And here is the same map for the 2008 election again with the map scaled by population, not land area.

That's a close of a "landslide" as you get these days.

Map of the SHIFT to Democratic Party

a lot of blue. from Krugman LINK

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Enough. Onward!

That last post about George Bush . . . enough. I won't do that anymore. I just watched Rachel Maddow interview Barack Obama (October 30, LINK ). She questions him about why he never talks about how the Republican party has been bad for the country. Obama says that he believes that the Republican party was high jacked by minority group of incompetent extremists. He believes that there are many self-identified Republicans who like him believe that the Bush administration has been bad for the nation. He doesn't want to alienate them and he chides Maddow for always cruising for a brawl. These comments indirectly point the finger at McCain and Palin and the way in which they chose to divide and alienate the electorate. It's no wonder they lost. And it was sad to see McCain give his concession speech, free now of the physical tics that had bedeviled him throughout the campaign, emerge as the McCain that people remembered, evoking a little of the sort of sentiment that Obama carried with him every day of the campaign.

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

George to Barack: "Go enjoy yourself??" He still doesn't get it!?!?!?!?

George Bush to Barack Obama: "What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself.''


What is that??

Perhaps it's out of context but all I could think of was George following this with, "You get to watch pre-release movies, get free food, have a big house for your friends, and land on aircraft carriers and stuff! It's a blast, this job! You're going to have such a fun time--I did!"

And Barack saying: "Well, at least clean-up your room before you leave. I hope it's not as much of a mess as you left the world."

Again, I'll admit it could be out of context but . . . that's what occured to me. It's about time that we had someone who brings the level of seriousness and intellect to the job that President of the United States demands.

Sorry my Repub friends, but come on! At some point people have to accept that they are responsible for the impression that they leave with people, whether that impression is "true" or not. George, John and his ilk are just so out of sync.


Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Yes Jezebel, I did tear up

LINK to Maya Angelou. Yes, Jezebel you're right. I did tear up.


Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It is not a wealth transfer from rich to poor that the Bush administration will be remembered for. It is a wealth transfer from the future to the present.

We are all going to have to pay, because this meltdown comes in the context of what has been “perhaps the greatest wealth transfer since the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917,” says Michael Mandelbaum, author of “Democracy’s Good Name.” “It is not a wealth transfer from rich to poor that the Bush administration will be remembered for. It is a wealth transfer from the future to the present.”

From Thomas Friedman: LINK

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

John McCain's best performance

Really, a job well done.

It does say something truly good about America that senior politicians are willing to do this sort of thing.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Let's track these Obama "certainties"

Pete du Pont in a WSJ editorial (LINK) says that these seven things are "certainties" with an Obama administraiton. It will be interesting to track du Pont's predictive capabilities.
  • The U.S. military will withdraw from Iraq quickly and substantially, regardless of conditions on the ground or the obvious consequence of emboldening terrorists there and around the globe.
  • Protectionism will become our national trade policy; free trade agreements with other nations will be reduced and limited.
  • Income taxes will rise on middle- and upper-income people and businesses, and individuals will pay much higher Social Security taxes, all to carry out the new president's goals of "spreading the wealth around."
  • Federal government spending will substantially increase. The new Obama proposals come to more than $300 billion annually, for education, health care, energy, environmental and many other programs, in addition to whatever is needed to meet our economic challenges. Mr. Obama proposes more than a 10% annual spending growth increase, considerably higher than under the first President Bush (6.7%), Bill Clinton (3.3%) or George W. Bush (6.4%).
  • Federal regulation of the economy will expand, on everything from financial management companies to electricity generation and personal energy use.
  • The power of labor unions will substantially increase, beginning with repeal of secret ballot voting to decide on union representation.
  • Free speech will be curtailed through the reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine to limit the conservative talk radio that so irritates the liberal establishment.

Rise of the Obamacons

From The Economist (LINK )

How much do these Obamacons matter? More than Mr McCain would like to think. The Obamacons are manifestations of a deeper turmoil in the Republican rank-and-file, as the old coalition of small-government activists, social conservatives and business Republicans falls apart. They also influence opinion. This is obvious in the case of Mr Powell: Mr Obama is making liberal use of his endorsement to refute the latest Republican criticism that he is a “socialist”. But it is also true of lesser-known scribblers. At least 27 newspapers that backed Mr Bush in 2004 have endorsed Mr Obama.

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Obama and the reality of the change message

I just watched Obama on Jon Stewart, an interview from a few days back.

At the end of the video Obama says something that can't be reassuring to a lot of swing voters.

First, he says that America is really a very conservative country, not politically, but in that Americans generally like the status quo and don't want to make dramatic changes. I could imagine swing voters nodding their heads at that statement. And then he goes on to say that this is just the time to make such changes, in the areas of energy, healthcare, the economy. That statement certainly contradicts the statements of people like Bill Kristol (LINK) and the WSJ (LINK and LINK) who suggest that Obama will be a typical, moderate liberal. Will he? Or will first hundred days echo all the fears of my conservative friends, particularly with respect to the economy?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mashavu, Dizziness Diagnostics, CalSolAgua, Robopsy, Minewerks

Mashavu, Dizziness Diagnostics, CalSolAgua, Robopsy, Minewerks, SurgyPack, ELF-SD, Nano Precision medical, Whole Tree

Names of student venture teams presenting at the ASME iShow (LINK )

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Proof that Governor Palin is a Socialist!!

"And Alaska we’re set up, unlike other states in the Union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of those resources occur." -- Governor Sarah Palin, to The New Yorker (LINK) and also (LINK)

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Greenspan, Einstein, Reich (by my brother)

Click here for his piece in RealClimate: LINK

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

"It’s pretty well safe. I wouldn’t worry about it." No wonder people are paranoid.

"It’s pretty well safe. I wouldn’t worry about it."

Comment about whether early voting ballots will count.

No wonder people are paranoid!

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Sunday, October 19, 2008

George Will: utterly out to lunch. Thinks Obama winning because liberals want to feel good for electing a black.

George Will, you are so lost, so last century. That is such a tired, tired line about feel-good liberals. And your comments about Powell supporting Obama based 2:1 on race? Powell has supported inexperienced candidates before like . . . George Bush. He would have been perfectly comfortable siding with McCain and Lieberman et al if he hadn't made a reasoned argument to himself that his old friend John McCain is first for himself in this campaign and second for America, as evidenced by his choice of VP and other actions by his campaign. Is it because of race that newspapers, even ones that have supported Bush in the past, are overwhelmingly going over to Obama? Or are judgments like these race-based when made by a black but not race-based when the same judgments are made by white guy editors? Wake up Mr. Will! And hey, isn't Obama 1/2 white?


Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

"Palin Dudes" don't realize Governor Palin isn't running for Super Awesome Girlfriend of the USA

Jezebel: LINK

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This is very funny . . .

but actually . . . my application is in . . . just in case . . . shhh.

Oops, but what about that Paul Martin character?? LINK

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ten rules to live by from Nicholas Taleb

via The Sunday Times (link)

1 Skepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be skeptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

2 Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

3 It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

4 Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behavior. You will always have the last word.

5 Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

6 Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximize trial and error — by mastering the error part.

7 Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

8 Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties.

9 Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

10 Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Taleb on e-mail: "Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones."

"Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them." LINK

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thoughtsful words from the (thoughtful) East Coast elite (or "You Betcha!")

"We cannot expect one man to heal every wound, to solve every major crisis of policy. So much of the Presidency, as they say, is a matter of waking up in the morning and trying to drink from a fire hydrant. In the quiet of the Oval Office, the noise of immediate demands can be deafening. And yet Obama has precisely the temperament to shut out the noise when necessary and concentrate on the essential. The election of Obama—a man of mixed ethnicity, at once comfortable in the world and utterly representative of twenty-first-century America—would, at a stroke, reverse our country’s image abroad and refresh its spirit at home. His ascendance to the Presidency would be a symbolic culmination of the civil- and voting-rights acts of the nineteen-sixties and the century-long struggles for equality that preceded them. It could not help but say something encouraging, even exhilarating, about the country, about its dedication to tolerance and inclusiveness, about its fidelity, after all, to the values it proclaims in its textbooks. At a moment of economic calamity, international perplexity, political failure, and battered morale, America needs both uplift and realism, both change and steadiness. It needs a leader temperamentally, intellectually, and emotionally attuned to the complexities of our troubled globe. That leader’s name is Barack Obama." LINK

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Balloons in my backyard

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Let's hope this always can happen

Somehow I wonder if the older, more genteel politics of the past are past. Somehow I wonder if Palin and Biden will ever show up like this when they're older. I didn't find this piece interviewing George Bush 41 and Geraldine Ferraro about their Vice Presidential debate particularly interesting in the details of its conversation, except for the fact that it did happen and that they appear so comfortable with each other. Does time ALWAYS heal all wounds?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Come on, can we just elect this guy now and be done with it?

I'd seen this before, but it is so well done:

Innovation is hard work

". . . progress took shape in setting goals, testing, tweaking and then setting more goals."

Very good article on VC Kleiner Perkins, well worth reading by a wide audience: NYTimes LINK.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Beetles and a McCain White House

Imagine what would happen if a new beetle infested the Iowa corn crop during the first year of a McCain administration. On Monday, we spray. On Tuesday, we firebomb. On Wednesday, the president marches barefoot through the prairie in a show of support for Iowa farmers. On Thursday, the White House reveals that Wiley Flum, a postal worker from Willimantic, Conn., has been named the new beetle eradication czar. McCain says that Flum had shown “the instincts of a maverick reformer” in personally buying a box of roach motels and scattering them around the post office locker room. “I can’t wait to introduce Wiley to those beetles in Iowa,” the president adds.

On Friday, McCain announces he’s canceling the weekend until Congress makes the beetles go away.

Barack Obama would just round up a whole roomful of experts and come up with a plan. Yawn.

excerpt from Gail Collins NYTimes column (LINK)

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

"... a smallish, grayish, slightly grumpy guy with a grizzly obsession."

"... when the wandering debater finally showed up Friday night, he just looked like a smallish, grayish, slightly grumpy guy with a grizzly obsession." LINK

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

New Bianchi steel

Bianchi was essentially done with steel bikes last year. But they're being reintroduced. For those in love of new retro, here's a Flickr stream (LINK) from Bike Commuters (LINK).

OH! And now up on the Bianchi site: LINK.

Debate better for McCain by radio?

I had a a 90 minute drive on the night of the presidential debate that started right at 9:00 EST, so I heard almost all the debate on the radio rather than TV. Reading the comments the next morning, what strikes me is how radically different it seems the impressions of the debate were if you were watching on TV rather than just listening to the audio. My impression was that McCain handily sounded more confident, more competent, spoke more clearly, and came across as a stronger, better, leader who knows foreign policy cold. Obama came across as a graduate student, debating his professor. But it if you were watching the debate, the body language told you a whole different story about confidence and leadership. Obama was confident enough to look straight at McCain and also at the audience. McCain seemed uncomfortable and angry. And the polling seems to prove out that impressions of Obama were at worst that he tied and in many ways that he surpassed McCain. (LINK)

Update: or maybe not. Christopher Hitchens suggests it was worse on radio because you could hear McCain wheezing: LINK.

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'd rather sleep with Hillary than Sarah


From Rebecca Traister,

In this "Handmaid's Tale"-inflected universe, in which femininity is worshipped but females will be denied rights, CNBC pundit Donny Deutsch tells us that we're witnessing "a new creation ... of the feminist ideal," the feminism being so ideal because instead of being voiced by hairy old bats with unattractive ideas about intellect and economy and politics and power, it's now embodied by a woman who, according to Deutsch, does what Hillary Clinton did not: "put a skirt on." "I want her watching my kids," says Deutsch. "I want her laying next to me in bed."


Makes me recall Michael Moore saying something to the effect of, "Bill, WTF?? Why would you want to fool around with some silly intern when Hillary is so beautiful?"

This "I'll vote for her because I'd like to sleep with her" is so completely wacked I feel like jumping out a window.

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Microsoft is the anti-borg

More at 11:00!

(or perhaps more on the weekend)

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Thursday, September 11, 2008

$6 from BWI to DC. Wow

I'm reflecting on the value of a Vice-President from Alaska when the majority of the country lives in relatively urban areas and, because of high fuel prices, are increasingly taking advantage of our substandard public transit system. In contrast, the candidate from the "Washington Beltway" takes the train all the time back from DC to his own in Delaware. Which candidate really understands the needs of ordinary working Americans--at least in this important domain? 

Posted by email from Joseph's posterous

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Velo Orange at Eurobike

A nice album of photos from Eurobike via Chris Kulczycki of Velo Orange. Blog: LINK. Photos: LINK.

Letterman on climate change: "WE ARE SO SCREWED."

(Thanks Bill Stevenson at the Lenovo "Heart of Business" blog. Now there's an extra reason why I use and love your computers! LINK)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Graphic of words used in conventions

Nice graphic by NYTimes (who generally take the cake for visualization) of the relative (and absolute) number of keywords used in both the DNC and RNC. (LINK)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin: Thanks but no thanks??? [uh uh]

Here's what Governor Palin says she said to Congress about the "bridge to nowhere", as an example of her saying "no" to pork barrel funding:
"Thanks but no thanks!"
Here's what she really said (emphasis added):

"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer. Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. Much of the public’s attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened." (LINK) and WSJ links (via TPM LINK and direct LINK)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Putin, the tiger

I find this story about Putin saving a TV crew from a tiger by shooting it with a tranq gun very hard to believe. Do tranquilizers really work that fast? LINK

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bill Cunningham and Bikes

More from "on-the-street" fashion photog Bill Cunningham but this one about bikes. A wonderful watch and listen slide show. LINK

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bike lust

This image from the VELORBIS Danish bike website is just too much! But check out their site (LINK). Bikes as fashion items and replacements for automotive lust. (And on a somewhat related subject, check out this link about bikes and . . . porn: LINK.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why my blood is blue

From John Kerry's speech at the convention (LINK):
How insulting to suggest that those who question the mission, question the troops. How pathetic to suggest that those who question a failed policy, doubt America itself. How desperate to tell the son of a single mother who chose community service over money and privilege that he doesn’t put America first.
Years ago when we protested a war, people would weigh in against us saying, ‘My country right or wrong.’ Our answer? Absolutely, my country right or wrong. When right, keep it right. When wrong, make it right. Sometimes loving your country demands you must tell the truth to power.
For all his faults, Kerry is my kind of person.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Facebook, LinkedIn, Business vs. Personal

I've been working on a new program, Venture Well (LINK) and in this process have created a Facebook page for this activity. What I'm beginning to observe is how differently people make use of Facebook.

In Facebook, pages can now be created for businesses, organizations, activities, events etc. in contrast to standard personal Facebook pages for individuals. You can sign up to the Venture Well Facebook page (LINK) and by doing so get updates and information about the program. If you sign up (by becoming a fan) you don't need to "friend" me. What this allows is for people to restrict their personal Facebook pages to their personal network, but still use their Facebook identity to sign up to more work oriented pages, like Venture Well.

As I've attempted to "friend" people who have signed up for Venture Well it's clear that for some people, even if they know me in a business context, their Facebook personal page is still a place for their social friends alone. For others--and this is probably true of younger and more tech-oriented people--there is simply no distinction between personal and work. It's all part of a consistent and fluid brand. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't allow the user to moderate this distinction. It would be great if you could simply tag friends as "personal" and as "professional" or some similar distinctions and make a distinction also in the items you post to your personal Facebook page between your personal and professional networks, so that your profile could be nuanced depending upon the observer.

Some people use LinkedIn for their professional life and Facebook for their personal life. But although I've also created a LinkedIn group for Venture Well (LINK), the functionality of a LinkedIn group is so much less than a Facebook page (or group) that for the most part, we'll make use of Facebook until LinkedIn increases the level of its offering.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


What's this? I snapped this shot of a T-Shirt on the back of a big guy leaning against his Chevy Suburban and talking on his mobile phone.

What's it say? "Honor, Respect, Loyalty, Integrity" . . . and SKIN! With an outline of a sexy woman in high heels.

What a weird and disturbing juxtaposition of words and images.

Does "Skin" refer, in part, to tatoos?
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Sustainability and choices

We went fishing on Sunday, with a small "party" boat of about 30 people. Bluefish were running and our party of six caught four. It was my son's birthday, and this is what he wanted to do. We had two adults, two thirteen year-olds and two ten year-olds. I didn't fish. Probably the only person on the boat who didn't. I baited everyone's hooks with smelly 18 cm herring--right through both eye sockets, down through the center of the fish and then throught the tail. Probably did it 25 times. I gutted and filleted the four fish. So it wasn't squeamishness that prevented me from fishing. It was that there are just so few fish in the sea. It's like catching the last bison, but we just can't see the devastation because the ocean is impervious to most of our eyes. At the end of the four hours of fishing the boat was covered in blood. Seventy fair sized bluefish will do that. They're aggressive fish, with sharp teeth, that have to be gaffed and don't die easily. They spill a lot of bright red blood. My moral compass didn't allow me to fish because we're so overfished. But I participated in all that killing neverthess, draiwng the line at actually throwing in the line. It doesn't feel to me like a weak line to draw, but it probably is. Should I have just refused to take my son fishing?
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Wet Coast

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Wet Coast

It's not supposed to rain here in the West in the summer . . . days like this are intended to scare away the tourists and the Easterners.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Feeding the flying rats

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Proofreaders are very expensive in China, I suppose

"Leading the Trends of Century"

Especially expensive because of the Olympics, perhaps?
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Non-salmon ok if farmed

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No farmed salmon

It is almost impossible to find farmed salmon in Vancouver, even though there are many salmon farms. There has been such an effective campaign against farm raised salmon, based on the effect of sea lice in farmed salmon on the wild salmon population, that none of the farmed salmon seems available for sale. Where does it go??
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Saturday, August 16, 2008


Old style above, circa 1950. New styles below, 2000's. All four of these houses are in a row, starting with the old style one above and continuing up a hill in the Vancouver area.

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