Thursday, December 24, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
It all makes me think of the Philip Pullman series His Dark Materials. In these novels you learn that there are parallel universes where the laws of physics, chemistry, biology behave differently and magic is real. The first book exists in one of those parallel universes. Later in the series you learn that our world does indeed exist within the story and that with a special knife--the Subtle Knite--you can cut the barrier between the worlds and slip from one to another. Perhaps homeopathy does work but in some different world, and all the true believers are escapees from that world, unable to comprehend this world and the realities of science here.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
We interview Martina of Swift Industries, an independent maker of panniers in Seattle. She tells us about the bag making process. She also shares with us the conflicts she has with doing businesses in the current economy.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
via Edmunds LINK
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
These thoughts rose to the surface recently as controversy and questions appeared in the last few weeks around the launch of Honda's Accord Crosstour vehicle on Facebook. (Warning: here's where this conversation becomes very niche.) The vehicle is a hatchback version of the four door Accord and the photos on the Facebook site have elicited some very negative comments. Things got so bad that Honda posted a note to the fan page saying, effectively (1) the photos didn't do it justice, so here's some more that you can also hate on (2) it's not a wagon nor designed for wagon buyers so if you want the Euro Accord wagon, that's a different topic and (3) the styling isn't for everyone but it works well for people who want a crossover, so if you don't like it don't buy it.
This "crossover" category has been done before in various cars but epitomized by the Lexus RX series. That's not the Crossroad. No, what the Crossroad and it's ilk are really is a redo of the large five door hatch. Why Honda et al think they can do better than the Mazda 6, for example, which had such a variant a few years ago I don't know. But several vehicles emerging at the higher end of the automotive spectrum with the Porsche Panamera, BMW 5 Series GT (Edmunds LINK) and Audi A5 Sportback (Edmunds LINK), all similar to the Crosstour in utility. Toyota has already launched its version, the Venza, for which the Crosstour is the sole U.S. direct competitor. The automakers' gamble is that people want something that (a) doesn't spell "SUV" (b) is or appears to be stylish and luxurious (c) is more utilitarian than a sedan but (d) doesn't spell "wagon".
(Until these cars came onto the scene, the Toyota Prius was the only above-subcompact 5 door hatch on the U.S. scene. Does that car spell a, b, c and d above? Totally aside from its fuel economy, it's a car with almost magical space utilization, something that might have sold well aside from its hybrid engine not just because of it.)
This "doesn't spell wagon" thing is an anathema to a niche group of people. They (we) see wagons as the epitome of automotive design: efficient, sleek, utilitarian, stylish. Many on the Facebook site had hoped for the svelte and beautiful wagon version of the European Accord (which in the U.S., in sedan form, is sold as the Acura TSX). Many of us, I bet, covet the BMW 5 Series wagon (which barely makes sales of 1000 per year and is in danger of disappearing in the U.S.). What we got instead is a car that appears to be some amalgamation of bulbous shapes from the successful Nissan Murano merged with the more classical proportions of the very nicely designed U.S. Accord. The Crosstour targets a different audience than the wagon crowd. What Honda is playing to with the Crosstour is a mainstream group that isn't so obsessed with cars (and also, perhaps, doesn't have the time) to become fans on a Facebook page of a CAR. What Honda got on its Facebook page was, in part, people like me for whom Soichiro Honda is a god and a legend and for whom Honda is a company that is almost morally superior because it focuses on efficient and perfectly engineered vehicles like the Civic or the Cub (and doesn't make a V8).
It's reminiscent of the controversy when Porsche launched its Cayenne SUV and Porsche-philes were up in arms. That vehicle saved Porsche and enabled it to get the money to continue its 911 and Boxster magic (and also enabled it to immolate itself in a fantasy of automotive dominance over VW and the world, but that's an unrelated story). Hopefully cars like the Crosstour will sell tremendously well and allow Honda to stay true to its roots as a company that cares about engines, engineering, excellence and independence.
Being in the same category as the Porsche Panamera can't be all bad, can it? So Honda, rack up sales of the Crosstour and then throw us an Acura TSX wagon née Euro Accord Tourer (third photo at right). Please also drop us a Civic 5 door hatch with push button start, six speed standard, and diesel (fourth photo at right).
Crosstour on Facebook
Autoblog: Official Honda Crosstour Facebook page all lit up with early negativity
CNET: Bloggers Bad-mouth Honda's new hatchback
TTAC: wagon comparison review
(REVISED) For those who care, here are the real wagons plus the variants on the U.S. market. I am quite sure nothing has been missed: Mazda is definitely out of the running with the redesign of their "6" and Mercedes as of this writing has no United States wagon offerings aside from the R Class mentioned below, though it's expected the true wagon version of the E class will return. I haven't included small hatches like the VW Rabbit, Honda Fit and Insight, Subaru Impreza, Kia Rio, Mazda 3, Suzuki whatever. And of course I haven't included all the crossovers like the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge, Mazda CX7 and CX9 etc etc etc etc.
UPDATED TRUE Wagons (typically squared off variants of sedans, but also other squared back offerings)
Acura TSX (2009-10-28 just announced for late 2010! LINK)
Audi A3, A4, A6
BMW 3 Series,
Cadillac CTS Sportswagon
Chevrolet HHR (not sure if this is being killed off)
Chrysler PT Cruiser (I think this is being killed off)
Hyundai Elantra Touring
Mini Cooper Clubman
Saab 9-3 and 9-5 SportCombis
Scion xB (no sedan variant but this is definitely a wagon)
Subaru Outback (the Impreza is a hatchback)
Volvo V50, V70, XC70
VW Jetta, Passat
Small wagons that due to their height are slightly more van-like
Some people think these are wagons but they're more like small hatchbacks (angled backs)
Toyota Matrix (used to be more of a wagon in an older iteration)
Aston Martin Rapide (just announced)
Bugatti 16C Galibier (just announced)
BMW 5 Series GT
Honda Accord Crosstour
Looks like a large hatchback but isn't
BIG Country Squire-type wagons
Audi Q7 (this thing is massive--it just goes on and on and on)
Ford Flex (don't tell me it's a crossover)
Mercedes R Class (same kinda BIG wagon as the Ford Flex)
Example wagons that blur the line but shouldn't confuse people into thinking they're SUVs
Recently "dead" wagons
Chrysler Pacifica (still listed on their website)
Ford Taurus X
Pontiac Vibe (same as Toyota Matrix but more squared in back)
and perhaps my favorite of all, the 2001-2005 Lexus IS Sportcross. Now THAT's a nice looking 5 door hatch variant of a sedan!
Saturday, September 05, 2009
For the most part, I restrict Facebook to people with whom I have relatively close ties. I use Twitter for weak ties and Linkedin as a hyper-linked addressbook that connects me to "colleagues of colleagues".
In contrast, my kids and most people I know in their 20's allow very weak ties to be friends with them on Facebook. My friend said that being a Facebook friend is a step you take before even getting someone's phone number. Then he said something fascinating: as he's entered the business world, the public space that he's entered, and the exposure he has on Facebook, has not made him more careful about what goes onto his Facebook page but instead has made him change the way that he lives in the real world. This "living in public" isn't a bad thing for him at all. Rather, because he wants to be a person in the world who has a big and positive impact, it's an essential and welcome tailoring of his real life. He's not tailoring his Facebook profile. He's tailoring his real life so that his Facebook profile reflects a new reality.
This is how an entrepreneur thinks versus someone who sees themselves as a worker in a machine (Facebook as the panopticon). It's seeing as a threat how much a boss or future employer might find out about you (LINK) versus seeing this view into one's life as an opportunity to change oneself in order to be more successful in the world.
Monday, August 17, 2009
1969 Type III (switch from semi-circular turn signals up front to pointed ones plus high back seats). What a wonderful 2 door station wagon that was. Sorry the nighttime camera phone shots aren't any better.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Main point: the campsites are very very small! There are 23 campsites in total, only one of them a "single". The other sites are all doubles, which means that you are placed immediately adjacent to another campsite with only a row of small boulders separating you from the other site. Therefore, if you want any semblance of privacy at Smelt Bay or if you want some room and are pulling a pop-up trailer, you must reserve two sites. Then you'll be in good shape because for the most part all the doubles are separated from other doubles by a decent length of woods. These double sites are great if you're traveling with another party. Most of them are, I'd estimate, about 30ft long x 20ft deep (I may have those dimensions a bit off) and many have small, somewhat secluded tent spots accessible by a set up concrete stairs up into the woods. If you've gone ahead and taken one of the eight reservable sites in advance, you'll be given a site that's at the entrance to the campsite road loop. These aren't bad sites, but when you arrive you may want to relocate to a nicer "first come, first serve" site further down the road. Campfires are rarely (ever?) allowed because of fire hazard.
Smelt Bay campground is a wonderful, small, secluded place and from what I could tell from our visit, relatively underutilized. The ocean and Smelt Bay itself is a short walk down from the campground and features an extensive sand and pebble beach. Smelt Bay is named for the fish that spawn ashore by the tens of thousands in late September and early October. Unfortunately, we were too early for that sight.
If you've never been to Cortes, you'll find the island is sparsely inhabited, compared to others of the Gulf Islands. Groceries are available at Mansons Landing, about 2/3 of the way from the ferry to the campground. There's both a more conventional grocery store and a wonderful vegetarian coop plus a relatively new restaurant that looks great (we didn't eat there). At the coop, prices listed are for members--non-members pay 15% more. If you're going to spend more than $200, it makes sense to pay a onetime membership fee.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
"It was recently discovered that someone has hacked around the bottom of the tree, preventing the sap flow and dooming the tree to die.
"This tree's death will represent a very sad loss for the neighbourhood."
Friday, August 14, 2009
I've been thinking about this more as the rumors about an Apple Tablet kindle more brightly. Of course the word "kindle" is used with intention. One has to wonder right now how many gadget boys and girls have paused in the last few days before hitting the "buy" button on the Kindle at the Amazon store with the Apple Tablet potentially in sight. (Rumor #1 was September 7, 2009 but Rumor #2 says it's out to 2010.) After all, the assumption would be that the Amazon app for the iPhone and Touch would also apply to the Tablet. If you've ever flicked through a set of photos on the touchscreen of an iPhone or iPod Touch or the pages of a digital book, you know that the interface is so perfect, so natural it's about as close as you can get to oneness with a consumer electronic. Will an Apple Tablet be just too seductive and incinerate Kindle and Sony Reader sales? The Kindle (Gen 2) has some wonderful physical aspects to its design. Primary for me is the lightness of the device and therefore the ability to read holding the device with one hand for a long time. But it's well tailored Oxford cloth vs skin-tight tight leather. Which are you going to rub up against?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Here's the book on Amazon LINK and the LINK to the author site--the book's now in English; the above trailer to the forthcoming move is in Swedish.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Another article on the topic: LINK.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
go to Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness (LINK) for an explanation of the meaning of this
Friday, May 01, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Thursday, April 09, 2009
But the real unanswered question is, do Hannity, Bachman et al really hate American as much as it seems they do? ;)
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Baracknophobia - Obey|
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
That's just wrong, in my experience. My experience using the Kindle so far (and granted, only a few days) is that it's so much more personal than a book and it makes reading a much more intimate, less mediated experience. When you're reading a book, so often something is wrong. It's too heavy. The type is too small (or too large). The paper is too thin (or too thick). The cover is ugly. The font is strange. And every book is different! How can you have an intimate relationship with so many objects? (OK, you could say how can you have an intimate relationship with ANY inanimate object, but that's a different conversation.) What is so wonderful about the Kindle is that no matter what book you're reading on it, the tactile feeling is the same. The text is the same (or almost). And because it's always the same--unlike a book--the object that is mediating your experience of the words can more easily disappear. So much more so than a book, with the Kindle it's just me and the words. Really. To me it's a dramatic and revolutionary sensation.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
First off, I hope you had the most beautiful and love-drenched Valentine's weekend imaginable, so that your every breath was a sigh of happiness and every heartbeat a canter of joy at the sweet and brilliant wonderment of life. :) Thank you, all, for all your amazing hearts and the hard, hard work they do. (Thub-dub.)
This week's free gifty, from Gaia's latest sponsor, isn't about your heart, though. It's about your brain (though yes, yes, it's true those two systems can't really be separated!). If you click below, the lovely people at Centerpointe will send you a free demonstration CD of the Holosync program, an audio technology that induces the same brainwaves or brain state found in deep meditation.
I know there's already all manner of Gaians devoted to the Holosync system, but for those of you who haven't yet tried it's a lovely offer and a wonderful way to taste a profound meditative experience. :)
So because last weekend you tended to your heart, this next one (or maybe the next; I'm not sure how long it'll take to get all the freebies delivered) you can spend with your mind. After all, whose brain doesn't need a little soothing once and a while?
To all your theta brain states and the heartbeats (thub-dub!) that make them possible,
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
The ideas promulgated by the previous U.S. administration that our boys (and girls) overseas will take care of the bad guys, and that our job was just to keep on doing what we've been doing . . . so much nonsense.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Long ago, there was a company called Zoza that made a cycling suit with little features like hidden trouser cinches to prevent oil soils. They went bankrupt before I could snap one up. I've been waiting for someone to make fancy dress clothes for cycling.
A shop in Brooklyn (I think) is selling gorgeous trousers: Outlier. Rapha has some nice stuff but it's more performance oriented.
But I just found, via The Epicurean Cyclist and a Flickr photo from the "Tweed Run", this site called Dashing Tweeds.
What a great idea to weave reflective thread right into the pattern of a tweed!
(Too bad the bike doesn't do justice! That's like having a fashion model posing next to a bottom line Subaru Impreza.)
Oh! And these convertible trousers are brilliant too! (LINK to their blog.)
Monday, January 19, 2009
I just have to say it, because I have to say it: the idea that somehow Bush43 has kept us "safe" these last seven years is just such ludicrous nonsense.
First, our state security apparatus and our military has undoubtedly been successful in thwarting any number of terrorist attacks. But what really has that success to do with the administration over the last seven years?
What the administration did NOT do is anything to anticipate the "economic Pearl Harbor" that has occurred, to quote Warren Buffet (LINK). Perhaps most of us were living with blinders on with respect to this Pearl Harbor, but if a comparative analysis were possible, I am sure that many Republicans and Democrats would have at least paid better attention as commander in chief and raised a higher level of concern earlier. The fact that we haven't suffered a military terrorist attack under Bush43 does nothing to prove that he prevented one. This economic Pearl Harbor however does definitively prove that he didn't keep us safe and that an "attack" much more effective and insidious has occurred than any terrorist could have devised. And we've done it to ourselves. During the watch of Bush43.
Other thoughts here: LINK