Thursday, December 24, 2009

I LOVE and WANT the Copenhagen Wheel

I LOVE and WANT the Copenhagen Wheel . . . maybe next Christmas.



via Copenhagenize. The Copenhagen wheel is a collaboration of the city and MIT. If this can't force me to buy an iPhone, nothing can.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Musings on homeopathy and His Dark Materials

A challenge when debating homeopathy practitioners is that they simply don't understand how the science industry works, they don't realize that if there were a shred of possibility that homeopathy made any sense there would be an ARMY of scientists all over it, elbowing each other aside for the fame and the glory ... and the probable Nobel. The whole homeopathy thing exists in an utterly different universe and therefore no Nobel is available. The quoting by homeopaths of a study here or there as evidence that homeopathy works would be simply laughable if it wasn't used as justification for a whole industry created out of magic cloth. You can't make something real by using stray threads that aren't repeated by further studies; stray threads are insufficient to make a whole cloth.

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

spirited ramblings with a homeopath

read from bottom to top, of course (LINK to the same stream on Twitter)




The silliness of the statement about acetaminophen and surgery is particularly striking. It is true that acetaminophen isn't entirely understood. There are aspects of how it works that are still being explored. But that's science! Unlike with homeopathy, there is a rigorous, ongoing series of peer-reviewed studies and debate, all within the context of the laws of physics, chemistry and biology. As to surgery, double blind surgery is a standard practice. It's just that it's done with animals rather than humans, for obvious reasons.

Runway test for solar powered aircraft

via Wired LINK

Sunday, November 22, 2009

war = stimulus = healthcare reform // They're all about US$1 trillion

The war, the stimulus, and healthcare reform all are each about US$1 trillion, give or take. Debatably the war is the largest trillion, because it has the least long-term economic benefit and was based on false intelligence and therefore was of highly questionable utility. The stimulus may or may not, in the long lens of history, be judged cost effective, after the effects of not doing it are calculated. And healthcare reform--if anyone looks at it objectively--is unquestionably cost effective to the nation if the legislation that passes does indeed bring down our unconscionable national cost/benefit equation to be more in line with other developed nations. So who is a fiscal conservative? Someone who votes for the war, the stimulus, or for healthcare reform? And where, therefore, do you place an Obama, a Bush, a Palin, or a McCain on the grid below? Does healthcare reform count as $1 trillion? Does the stimulus? Even conservatives, at least when they're running their own businesses, invest via debt.

Bailout blues

Was the bailout of Wall St. (AIG etc) not likely to result in direct and excessive benefits to a few (Goldman Sachs for example) and in uncertain benefit to the economy as a whole? That has certainly been the general sentiment of skepticism expressed by the "American public" since the beginning. This report in the New York Times about Neil M. Barofsky, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, validates this belief. Barofsky states of his inspector general work that “we’ve done a good job of instilling a greater degree of skepticism that what comes from Wall Street isn’t necessarily the holy grail.” Unfortunately this skepticism has been developed by fiscal policy makers only after the fact, after the bailout.

Monday, November 09, 2009

more pics of the insane insane insane Bugatti 5 door

This five door concept from Bugatti is just spectacular. I love the split rear window and how that carries forwards in design elements right through to the split hood opening. Via Edmunds LINK.




Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sad Type III Squareback



I thought it was a '68 because but apparently a 1971 model, from Jalopnik LINK

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Path Less Pedaled and Swift Industries

This is a very nicely put together video by The Path Less Pedaled about Swift Industries, a two person firm in Seattle engaged in the art of creating bike panniers.


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.

www.pathlesspedaled.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

car aficionados can now be at peace

There will be an TSX Wagon in the late 2010, the Euro version of the Honda Accord Wagon. No longer any reason to heap hate on the U.S. Accord CrossTour. (And there's no longer any reason to buy a Cadillac CTS wagon.) Via Edmunds LINK and Acura press relates LINK

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MORE Fastback love, now from Jaguar

Jaguar is reportedly working on a new five door variant that will have a side-swing door like the immortal E-Type (pictured). Via Edmunds LINK

(picture via EBay: LINK)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MORE Fastback roofline love, this time from Aston

Honda really IS in great company with their Crosstour. More Fastback roofline love, this time in the form of the 2010 Aston Martin Rapide, joining Porsche, BMW, Bugatti. Via The CarConnection. LINK

More wagon love from Ford

As much as I admire Ford as a company, there isn't a single product in their line-up about which I even fantasize buying, money no object. This little wagon is something I would buy, in reality not fantasy. According to Edmunds, it's coming to the U.S. in 2011 (which might mean Fall 2010). LINK

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Fastback Roofline love, this time from Bugatti

In a bizarre and extreme advancement of the return of the fastback roofline initiated by Porsche and BMW and exacerbated by the contoversial Honda Accord Crosstour, we now have Bugatti, the supercar of supercars, joining the fray. Can anyone say "TREND"??

via Edmunds LINK

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Return of the Fastback Roofline" NYTimes

A good discussion of the return of the "fastback" roofline in cars and the fade of the wagon in the NYTimes: LINK.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lexus HS Hybrid: is it not just an expensive Toyota Corolla?

I don't understand why no one has made this comment yet, but doesn't the new Lexus HS Hybrid (bottom) looks pretty much like a Toyota Corolla (top)? Of course they come from the same manufacturer. But up until this point Lexus has had a distinctly different style than Toyota. And they are almost exactly the same size--the HS is 5 inches longer, but that's about the only dimensional difference. Certainly there are differences. The HS has a more sloping rear roofline and it appears to have a more cab-forward design. But still, won't friends of the HS buyer say, "You paid WHAT for a Toyota Corolla!?" I'll bet the average person on the street can't tell them apart.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Identify, automobiles, and the wagon

The connection between people's identities and their automobiles in America is both fascinating and disturbing. There is simply no other object that shouts so strongly who one is or what one wants to be. A house certainly counts but not as many people see it. It can be hidden away, address undisclosed. Clothes matter more in Europe than in the U.S. One's car however is a public object that provides identify and also to which we imbue such a high degree of affection that the mechanical object because almost an animal (and of course literally named so in some cases). I'm certainly guilty of this to a greater extent than most. I often remember someone's car before I remember their name.

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).

LINKS:
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, 5 Series (5 Series wagon dead for the 2011 model year)
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
Lincoln MKT
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)
Toyota Venza
Volvo V50, V70, XC70
VW Jetta, Passat

Small wagons that due to their height are slightly more van-like
Kia Rondo
Mazda 5

Some people think these are wagons but they're more like small hatchbacks (angled backs)
Dodge Caliber
Toyota Matrix (used to be more of a wagon in an older iteration)

Larger hatchbacks
Aston Martin Rapide (just announced)
Bugatti 16C Galibier (just announced)
BMW 5 Series GT
Honda Accord Crosstour
Honda Insight
Porsche Panamera
Toyota Prius

Looks like a large hatchback but isn't
Lexus GS

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
Honda CRV
Mitsubishi Outlander
Subaru Forester
Toyota RAV4

Japanese cubes
Honda Element
Kia Soul
Nissan Cube

Recently "dead" wagons
Chrysler Pacifica (still listed on their website)
Dodge Magnum
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

tailoring yourself on social media as threat or opportunity

I had a interesting conversation with younger friend yesterday about the different ways we use Facebook. He's early 20's and I'm mid 40's.

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

Gorgeous 1986 VW Type III

Gorgeous 1968 (or 1967?) VW Type III Squareback on the streets tonight. Perfectly restored . . .


. . . with the exception of the nice wheels and the tach replacement for the original clock! The smell of the engine brought back memories of my parents' red 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.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Smelt Bay campground, Cortes Island

Because there is very little online about the campground we stayed at for three nights, I thought I'd write a blog post about it. Hopefully those interested in staying at the Smelt Bay campground in Smelt Bay Provincial Park on Cortes Island, British Columbia, will find this of value.

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.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

pears, grapes, corn and more, growing next to the railroad tracks



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the price of a view to the water

"Due to a despicable, and cowardly act of vandalism against nature, our century old Norway Spruce does not have long to live.

"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."
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Friday, August 14, 2009

the touch point between human and machine is an essential component of design

I'm typing this right now on a Lenovo X61s. My finger tips are slightly warm, but not uncomfortably so. Still, I wish that a little less heat was conducted up from the processor and into the keyboard. But the keyboard is otherwise perfect and that feature alone makes it hard for me to switch devices. Further, the little red nubby thing--the trackpoint--of a Lenovo (nee IBM) Thinkpad is essential. I don't even want to have a trackpad on my laptop because they give me carpal tunnel almost instantly. The physical interface between body and machine is at least as important as the visual interface of the operating system. The touch point between human and machine is an essential component of design.

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?

Mini Cooper S Sidewalk?

When you think about it, branding a special edition Mini Cooper S with the name "sidewalk" is jarring and strange. But I guess they had their reasons.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Alternatives to True Blood

In which I come clean as a recent devourer of vampire fiction and lover of kick-ass heroines...

Here are some enjoyable alternatives to True Blood, for those of you who are weirdly intrigued by vampire fiction and love the mash-up of romance novels, violence and fantasy that it represents.

The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Mercy is a VW mechanic and shape shifter who lives in Eastern Washington and can transform into a coyote. She has run-ins with vampires, some friendly and some less so, with other creatures, and most frequently with the local pack of werewolves that live in her neighborhood. She shares a fence line with the Alpha and of course they . . . well, won't spoil it for you. LINK

Very well written as this genre goes, good plot lines, and romantic tension. Four in the series so far plus a spin-off series about an Omega werewolf (female couterpart to an Alpha). I ran into the author doing tarot card readings at our local B&N which was disappointing because the series feels much more authentic and original than stuff like those tired and silly cards.

The Hollows series (aka the Rachel Morgan series) by Kim Harrison. Rachel is a witch. Her best friend is a vampire named Ivy. Who wants to get in her pants. And onto her neck. Or not. Rachel cavorts with demons. And lots of vampires. And a few Machiavellian elves. And a rasta hip hop type dude who lays tracks that only vamps can hear. I haven't read True Blood (and certainly haven't read that vampire series that's made it to the big screen) but I'm sure Rachel and Ivy can take Sookie Stackhouse and her kin any day of the week. LINK

Six books in this series and I seem to recall there will be nine in total. Complex plot lines that weave consistently throughout the series and put the JK Rowlings to shame.

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. If I had to pick the bottom of this heap of four, it would certainly be this series. There are three so far. I didn't read #2. It's decent enough. It's the only one where vampires aren't the classic sexy goths but are instead scary remote controlled creatures that are sort of like big human spiders. You have to give the author credit for not going the party line there. Kate--like Mercy and Rachel--is a kick-ass heroine but she too does in the end fall for the man she doesn't think she'll fall for. In this case it's a shape-shifter boss-man who lives on the other side of the tracks. The author is particularly imaginative when she introduces some strange creatures out of Indian mythology. That all holds promise but the writing just isn't quite as tight as the other series. Still, if you like this sort of stuff, Kate Daniels should make you happy. LINK

The Marla Mason series (Blood Engines, Poison Sleep, Dead Reign, and Spell Games) by T.A. Pratt (aka Tim Pratt). The only of these four series written by a man, it's also the only one where the lead female character doesn't in the end fall for the muscled allure of a strong male lead and temporarily transform into a heroine in a supermarket romance. She does have sex, but she's less consumed with it and the attendant romance than Rachel, Kate or Mercy. All four books in this series are good, but the standard set by the first book for strange and fantastic antagonists isn't quite reached in the subsequent three. LINK

Another distinguishing characteristic of the Marla Mason series is that it has a different cover artist, one who doesn't appear to be moonlighting from his job as a van customizer or romance novel illustrator--all three of the other series have covers that show their heroines to be fantasy babes of comic book proportions, doing some injustice to the characters of Mercy, Rachel and Kate (though Ivy in the Rachel series certainly does look just like the cover art).

And of all the heroines, Marla relies least on magic (except for that demonic cloak). This is the series that got me first hooked because Blood Engines was and still is offered on the Kindle for the wonderful price of $0.00. So Briggs, Harrison and Andrews can thank Pratt for the subsequent revenue they got off of me.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a drug of a novel



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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sex with Ducks



Riki "Garfunkel" Lindhome and Kate "Oates" Micucci sing a pro-gay marriage song in response to a Pat Robertson quote that legalizing gay marriage would lead to legalizing sex with ducks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Adderall or Provigil?

A facinating article in The New Yorker called "Brain Gain" about the underground world of "neuroenhancing" drugs. LINK

A colleague said that supposedly "druggie" Hampshire College, our alma mater, has no issues with these performance enhancing drugs because the pressures are so different than at a "normal" school.

Another colleague said that Adderall is a "staple" among students at University of Massachusetts.

Another article on the topic: LINK.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

London mayor almost killed while riding a bicycle



The video shows the Mayor leading a group of cyclists. As a lorry passed them, its door snags a passing car and throws it into the lane. More at the Guardian: LINK

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jesse and Sean



I don't like Jesse's new hair, but you got to hand it to him, he doesn't back down in a beautiful way

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Defenders in tights



Not to be shameless plugger for Google . . . ok, I am. But anyway, this is a fun video.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Elon "Tesla" Musk on Letterman



So strange that some of the most serious interviews come on "comedy" shows (Letterman, Stewart).

Continuation of the video here: LINK

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's great we now have a President who understands American values

To CIA employees: "What makes the United States special, and what makes you special, is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it's hard, not just when it's easy; even when we are afraid and under threat, not just when it's expedient to do so. That's what makes us different. So yes, you've got a harder job and so do I. And that's OK." LINK

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Speaking crazy to power

I wish he'd said a little bit more about the the craziness of conservatives suggesting that it's Obama rather than Bush taking away our liberties, but this is a decent piece that gets to the heart of the matter: they are "confusing 'tyranny' and 'losing.'"

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 StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

"While it's hard to be poor, it's even harder to have a lot of money."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DON'T MESS WITH THE PEACOCKS!



Utterly brilliant, via HuffPo: LINK

Thursday, March 05, 2009

love the Jon Stewart smack down of CNBC

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What country did Bush think he was living in? Russia?

I just don't get the unAmerican activities of the Bush administration. What country did they think they were living in? Russia? What "American way" did they think they were protecting? I do have severe doubts about leaping into a prosecution of the Bush administration ... at least right now ... LINK

You read THAT in the Bible??



Good Book, by David Plotz: LINK

Monday, March 02, 2009

Why the Kindle is more personal than a book

There's been a lot of talk by people who haven't used an Amazon Kindle . . . you do know what a Kindle is, right? The Amazon created reading device that's just gone to V 2.0--amazing how many people I talk with don't know about it. Anyway, there's been a lot of talk by people who probably haven't used a Kindle about how they could never give up their books, the intimate engagement with paper, ink, the feel of the book, how the Kindle is so impersonal, electronic etc.

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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Image of Virginia Woolf on the Kindle 2


This is one of the many images that appears on the device when you turn if off, and stays on the device (with no additional use of power) until you turn it on again.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And you wonder why people are not taking you seriously?

From an e-mail (my emphasis)

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,

"Where is the moneyed class today?" in this crisis, asks Zbigniew Brzezinski

Monday, February 16, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

global economic turmoil outpace terrorism as most urgent threat facing the United States

As I said earlier (LINK), we're not safe. And the new director of national intelligence in the United States said just that when he "told Congress on Thursday that global economic turmoil and the instability it could ignite had outpaced terrorism as the most urgent threat facing the United States." (NYTimes LINK)

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.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reflective tweed urban cycling suits!


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 . . . we're not safe . . .


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.

Posted via web from Joseph's posterous

THE treatise on social networking

THE treatise on social networking, a PhD thesis by danah boyd who has emerged as a leader in thinking about social networking, and was just hired by Microsoft Research in Cambridge. It's 406 something pages, and no, I haven't read it yet . . . but if you want to know the latest thinking on social networking . . . LINK

Other thoughts here: LINK
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

How to plow


"Our" little sidewalk plow, finishing up on our sidestreet. To our "wet" coast friends, that's how it's done. Because it's a Sunday, they didn't get this done until early afternoon.
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