Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Weird

Huh, I wonder what's going on with this?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wow

13-year-olds get it, why doesn't the US government?

Also, an AWESOME video

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Xeni raises a good point about this. The MSM was all over the creepy guy in Austria who kept his daughter locked up for years. Why aren't they all over this new creepy story?

Wired has a good article about early detection systems for cancer

Plus, see for all of you Gordan Ramsey nuts see video of him as a child

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Neat Design Article

Interesting article from worldchanging about products that force people to act in sustainable ways.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good insight

TNR has a good article on the new Secretary of Education and how his pick offers insight in the the coming Obama administration.

Also a neat video

Saturday, December 13, 2008

James Polous has some interesting thoughts about Pakistan. He characterizes the situation in Pakistan as something the US shouldn't be involved in because it isn't a problem to solve but rather a situation that exists and needs to be left alone. In his words it is an "uncrackable nut". I'm not sure I agree with him but I do think that he makes a valid point about how American arrogance lead it's leaders to think that any bad political situation could (and should) be solved.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Really quick post

I need to drive somewhere before the roads start freezing so I'll be really quick

1. Neat video
2. Good idea
3. Jaw dropping

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Design Idea

In sustainability articles in the MSM one thing that doesn't get touched on much is efficiancy. It's more exciting to talk about new technology and projects than making existing things work better, however being efficient is a huge part of "the solution". Take packaging for example.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poetry

I have my own (private) journal of poetry and art that I keep but this poem was so beautiful that I want to share it more widely. It's by Rowan Williams (I only recently discovered his poetry) and seems very appropriate for the season. All hail the Holly King!

Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

Good Science

I found an oldish example of a WONDERFUL science article, illustrating (to me at least) why science can be exciting. So want to know how bees are connected to quantum fields?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Missed a couple

Grrr, I missed several articles from my digest post.

1. Wow, I had no idea that it would be this easy to make Earth maps look like Middle Earth maps.

2. Article from Wired about an amazing (and somewhat creepy) music video. Watch the video first.

3. Amazingly designed website about cities in the 21st century. I first started really thinking about this after the Long Now Seminar talking about how cities will probably be the political powerhouses of the 21st century (I think it was Philip Longman but I'm not sure). Obviously current trends could change but if they don't I think the implications are huge. I can't wait for Stewart Brand's book on the subject, assuming he ever finishes it!

4. A new reality show about busting cops on illegal drug raids. Barkingshaman follows this way more closely than I do and I'm curious about what he thinks. I guess I'll just have to ask ;)

5. Good article by Malcolm Gladwell about finding good teachers. Yes I know it's really long but I think it's worth the time investment. I wonder what teachers think of some of the ideas he mentions (and the source of his inspiration for teacher recruiting techniques) .

Backlog

I've built up a backlog of sites/articles I want to post about so I'm going to do another "digest" edition of AFITH today.

1. Check out the tools section below, I've added a bunch of cool software apps that I use or want to use.
2. I think everyone should read Philip Jenkins article on the intellectual origins of the fundamentalist and extremist Islamic groups operating today. Please read with a critical eye because although I can find examples of good journalism in his background I don't see obvious experience in the matters he touches on in the article. To my eyes the article makes sense and is interesting but others may feel differently.
3. A moving op-ed by Asif Al Zardari about the attacks in Mumbai. I like the sentiments but I'm not sure how much impact he will have.
4. Worldchanging (briefly) reviews The Atlas Of Hidden Water. It's a really neat PDF with profound political implications. Note, for example, how much water crosses international boarders.
5. My top five favorite Obama speeches from his campaign

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Interesting but not sure about long term consequences

I've heard about this before, and I'm skeptical for exactly the reasons discussed here. I just worry that having millions of them would effect climate in unanticipated ways.

Pretty

This is just a beautiful example of craftsmanship (also makes me thing of Merlin's bag)

Whoa

I want to believe that he's faking it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where are we going?

Wow, this sounds like so many science fiction books I've read

Monday, December 1, 2008

In a hurry

I want to get home so you get to have the short short version of my thoughts today.

1. I can think of a million things to do with this. The Erisian potential abounds!
2. One of my favorite places to go on the internets is Worldchanging. Here they have another good article, this one about "Enlightened Capitalism". Mental note: forward this to my uncle Steve.
3. Good article about the future of communication by security consultant Bruce Schneier (what a sucky name to spell, bleh!) who I've referenced before.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bad day

Today was not a good day, watch here for details (post isn't up yet but he said he'd probably post info). I'm really sad and recently I've been going here when things get too heavy.

Free CAD program

So I'm going to add google sketchup to my tools. It seems really neat (for a free CAD program) considering that industry standard programs like Solidworks costs $5000+

What games should have been called

Nice collegehumor article about more descriptive names for famous games (most of which you need to have played to get the joke unfortunatly)

I'm linking to the boingboing post because I love the comment "Monopoly, when played properly, should end in tears." hehe

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So it goes...

Today I'm declaring a day of blog silence to commemorate both a sad and a happy event.

The Pope (in the most Discordian sense of the word), Bruce Sterling, of the Viridian Design Movement has declared the movement a (qualified) success and as such has ended it.

Why should this matter to you? If you look around you, you may realize that Viridians have attained some important wins in their drive to create a sustainable culture. A certain brand of environmental aesthetic has become chic, the victory of Obama (and the people he brings with him) has brought Viridian allies to power in the US, and the massive increase of immaterial consumables was one of the most important goals and profound insights of the movement.

I do think this matters more to me (and a small number of philosophical technologists) more than the vast majority of people to might read this blog. However when I read the introductory manifesto (written in 1998, and yes it is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, that's his style) and the final note (written today) I find it a moving mental bookend of the last 10 years.

The goals of the movement are nowhere near complete, but as Joseph Campbell might have said, we've managed to change the metaphor (btw I only include myself as a believer, I didn't actually do much of with anybody outside the people I've met personally) .

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ashes

"For causes are ashes where children lie slain"
-Stan Rogers

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Interesting Documentary

I just watched some of this documentary on the extremely odd way money is created and used in our society (be warned, it's long and sometimes dry but be patient, I think it's worth it). The creator/narrator is obviously biased and somewhat kooky so anyone who sees this should take it with a huge grain of salt...

...However he does make some good points about how our current monetary system is pretty odd when you take a step back and think about it. Take a look and tell me what you think. Is this guy crazy or prescient?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Advice From New Gingrich

Here's a thought-provoking article he writes in businessweek. Basically he's arguing that that the concept of adolescence needs to be retired. I agree that there needs to be a rethinking but I'm not sure if the entire concept needs to be ditched. What bothers me about the concept is that you have (young) people acting like adults (working, taking drugs, having sex, committing crimes) but not required to pay the consequences like adults. I believe that biology makes treating adolescents as fully adult inadvisable but it does seem like there's a grey area that needs to be rethought.

Friday, November 14, 2008

David Brooks is back

I haven't been a fan of recent David Brooks columns. Often they seem like warnings to me and sometimes those warnings sound either too striding or too backward looking. This weeks warning however, is of the kind I like; well reasoned, forward looking (but understanding history), and with some empathy toward the people he is warning about.

Pretty!!!

No idea how useful "Luminescent Fiber Optic Wallpaper" will be but it sure looks cool

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama Administration

Pundits and analysts are digging for clues about what an Obama administration will actually look like. Here's a post from Marc Ambinder trying to tea leaf read using Biden's new chief of staff appointment as his starting point, and here's a long article from the New Yorker using a variety of sources to try and figure out how Obama might change things.

Scary Map

This new map of underground aquifers around the world seemed really cool until I read the sentence "So far, the organisation has identified 273 trans-boundary aquifers...". Think of how much tension and how many wars that could lead to if the world water situation doesn't get better. I've said before that the only reason you don't here more about the Great Water Panic of the 21st Century is that the Great Energy Panic of the 20th-21st Centuries gets more press. I'll be keeping an eye on water developments as time goes on...

New tech tools

I don't have quite enough information inputs to need this yet but I can see the day when I might. Pretty creepy that to live in "modern" world we need this kind of thing huh?

This open-source curriculum center sounds really cool. I don't have a current use for it now but I might in the future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Really silly

This game is scarily like Super Mario Brothers, it's even a little fun

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

KK

I really admire KK, I like the way he thinks about the future (no coincidence that he's super involved with the Long Now Foundation, another favorite of mine).

Here are two neat things from him

1. An essay on the connection between technological progress and population.

2. A review of one of my favorite maps: a graphical representation of the ENTIRE American budget.

New discoveries

Coupla things...

I love reading Cleantechnica, they have all sorts of posts that make me happy and give me hope that well used technology can really help people live better lives. So reading this, and this made for a good day.

Dean Kamen seems to be working on an electric car based on his stirling engine, we'll see how that works out.

A new tool for evaluating the embodied water in objects (Dune much?)

Blargle

Link
/Internal monologue on
Must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see must see
/Internal monologue off

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ok... this is getting silly

Ok, a little background first.
1. According to Slate the idea for Congressman Santos's character on the West Wing came from a series of conversations that West Wing had with David Axelrod about Barak Obama. Barak Obama has gone on to win the election in a very Santos-like fashion
2. Some sources say that the character of Josh Lyman was modeled on the very real life Rahm Emanuel

We now learn that Rahm Emanuel has been picked to be Obama's chief of staff (for those television trivia nuts Rahm's brother Ari was the model for the Entourage character of the same name), WTF?????? This is life imitates art going nuts (if Maggie Williams becomes Michelle Obama's chief of staff and marries Mr Emanuel I will hide under a desk)!

I'm actually not very glad about this, for why start with this NYT article. Here's what I think.

1. After looking at the profiles around I think you could safely characterize Emanuel as a partisan hack.
2. He is fairly high drama, just look at the press around this announcement as an example compared to "No-drama Obama".
3. The chief of staff is an incredibly important position in the White House, s/he determines who gets access to the President and often gets in the last word in any debate (Cheney being somewhat of an exception in recent years). Maybe Emanuel has changed, maybe Obama will choose other moderate advisers who will counterbalance him. However, having disclaimed myself, I don't think is the pick of someone who genuinely wants to reform. Think of Josh, when he talked about reform and how Washington needs change, he often simply meant Washington needs more democrats. I knew that Obama would have to pick people I don't like, but as someone who supported him for his post-partisan rhetoric, this bothers me.

On the bright side Emanuel is intelligent, experienced, talented, and relentless. With him in the White House, things will get done. Whatever Obama sets as the agenda, it will be a lot more likely to become reality with Rahm as the chief of staff.

Why iTunes sucks

/Rant on
Webmonkey has a summery of iTunes issues and suckage.
/Rant off

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Really pretty

Just look at these beautiful photographs of a perroquet. The colors are almost shockingly bright.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dept of Precient Articles

I've loved the Onion for years but I had no idea they would be so on the money about Bush's performance in office. Nor that they could predict 2008 campaign personalities.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Interesting blog

This isn't really my shtick but I think some of my friends (who hopefully read this blog) will be interested in this link. It's a blog (often NSFW) of morbid art and history, some of the images are nasty, some are REALLY cool, and some are just pretty. I think you may like it.

Good essay on the future of free speech

One area that hasn't gotten a great deal of legal attention (that I'm aware of). Is free speech legislation on the internet. Here, BoingBoing links to a great summery of some of the issues and dilemmas.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

TRON!!!!!!

Enter your own 80s fantasy! Be Tron!!

Changing sound

Check out Reality Sandwich's (counterculture magazine that has some good stuff from time to time) article on how sound technology is changing. I'll be interested to see how some of this pans out.

I'll be watching this

If Obama wins on Tuesday I think that his supporters will inevitably be let down (he isn't perfect and he's working within an imperfect system). In particular I think he might disappoint supporters on how he deals with the presidential power policies established by the Bush administration. I do think he will reverse some things, like torture, Guantanamo (although probably not as soon as you might think). However, there will be a great deal of pressure for him to "stay the course" in some areas. TNR has a good article about one area: authorizing strikes in other countries. So I'll be keeping an eye out for reports of special forces strikes in countries that don't make sense.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm speechless...

Possibly the best political ad aimed at twentysomethings of this campaign, I give you... Wassup

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I sooo want to do this

BoingBoing shows us what vegan zombies eat

Friday, October 24, 2008

Appeal

Dear Readers,

I'm writing to ask your help for a political cause. I try not to do this very often 'cus when people spam me with political requests I tend to find it obnoxious. As you may or may not know there is an initiative (Proposition 8) on the November ballot in California that would amend the state constitution to "eliminate the rights of same-sex couples to marry in California" (http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/bp_11042008_pres_general/prop_8_titlesummary.pdf). Because of my own beliefs about relationships, my feelings about gay marriage as propounded by the cultural left and orthodox LGBT advocates are a bit mixed.

That being said, this ballot initiative (as it is worded) is wrong and discriminates against a minority (when did anything good start with "eliminate the rights..."). Because of that I think:
1. Every eligible voter in California should VOTE NO on Prop 8.
2. Every ineligible voter in California should oppose this in every reasonable way they can.
3. Everyone outside of California should oppose this by contacting friends and family in California and persuading them to VOTE NO on Prop 8 or by donating money to the cause.

There are two reasons why am I sending this now.
1. The people who want to ban gay marriage are winning. Because of massive donations by special interests (see next reason) polls show that the race is either very close or leaning slightly toward banning gay marriage (http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/10/prop-8-toss-up.html).
2. The "ban gay marriage" campaign seems to be backed by christian conservative special interests (Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic has been covering this recently, see this http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/the-mormon-chur.html and this http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/the-mormon-fact.html). As far as I can tell this race appears to be so close not because Californians are really divided but because special interests have injected tens of millions of dollars to one side. That doesn't sound democratic to me.

Info:
For background info start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_8_(2008)

For info on why you should vote yes on prop 8 and ban gay marriage, go here: http://www.protectmarriage.com/

For info on why you should VOTE NO on prop 8 and keep gay marriage, go here: http://www.noonprop8.com/about/why-vote-no-on-prop-8

I've looked at the arguments, thought about them, and I've decided to both give money and try to find persuadable California voters who will vote no on Prop 8. I hope you'll do the same by forwarding this message (or some version of it) to people who might be able to make a difference and/or by making a donation at https://secure.ga4.org/01/socialnetwork?

I'm never going to Australia ever again

I've gotten over my issues with spiders to a certain degree but seeing this was like a 50lb sledgehammer on my "spider" button.

So to my friends, family, and loved ones: I love you and if you go to Australia I wish you well, but after seeing this I'm not sure I can go with you.

Interesting (and sad) piece on airport security

The Atlantic's Jeff Goldburg has an article on the stupidity of the TSA's security. Some back and forth with the TSA here

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Negative campaigning evolving?

Every since I've become politically engaged I've hated Negative Campaigning in politics. I think it lowers the level of public discourse. If I'm watching TV and a negative add comes on, I just switch off. So reading this article about how the internet can make negative campaigns back-fire makes me a bit hopeful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Programs to have

Slate lists 18 programs they think (and I tend to agree) everyone should have on their computer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Interesting Article from Damn Interesting

Damn Interesting is a great site that runs interesting articles about once a month on historically events that have been under-reported or forgotten. This months article about the once secret Russian Nuclear town of, now the most polluted place on earth (according to WorldWatch) is no exception.

Wait, Obama can be funny????

As CNN has noticed both Barack Obama and John McCain were REALLY funny last night at the Alfred E. Smith dinner. Both videos are great but I think Barack Obama's was better if only because he's historically had such a dearth of humor. Whoever wrote their jokes deserves a big bonus.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This is really funny

Everyone who watched Dr Horrible this year should enjoy this post. As you may or may not know the Evil League of Evil sent out a request for new applications a few months ago. Tilzy.tv picks their top 5 favorite responses (DO NOT forget to look in the comments section lower down on the page, I particularly loved "The Vengeful Vegan".

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nice Video

This video, created to celebrate the 60th aniversiy of the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should be seen by everybody.

Good quote

I'm not a huge fan of Gail Collins most of the time but I liked this quote from one of her op-eds

"Remember how we used to joke about John McCain looking like an old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn? It’s only in retrospect that we can see that the keep-off-the-grass period was the McCain campaign’s golden era. Now, he’s beginning to act like one of those movie characters who steals the wrong ring and turns into a troll.

During that last debate, while he was wandering around the stage, you almost expected to hear him start muttering: 'We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precious.'"

Also some conservatives are upset by the tone McCain's taken recently

The DOW sucks

So I'm told from sources I trust from left and right that if you really want to know what's going on with the financial crisis you shouldn't watch the DOW. You should be watching the TED spread.

Slightly OT But...

I can feel my mother voice in my head for this post...

The current furor over Angelina Jolie's picture on W magazine annoys me. Apparently people are OUTRAGED that she un-wholesomely exposed her breasts on the front cover of a magazine. My question to those people: have you ever seen any of her movies?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why you shouldn't go out and buy Blu-ray discs

'Cus they'll probably be replaced by these in a few years

This article doesn't help my mood

CNN runs this sort of article from time to time. They make me sooooo nervous. Bleh

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I soooo want to go here

Awesome private collection of assorted books and cool artifacts profiled by BoingBoing

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'm Surprised

Here are some reactions from Culture11 (leans rightward) that are pretty friendly towards Obama that surprised me. I expected them to be more negative.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

'Nother good David Brooks Column

Check it out. I disagree with some of what's in the column (I'd put less blame on the traders he refers to).

Bruce Springsteen fans pay attention

How Bruce Springsteen's songs have helped Obama, particularly "The Rising"

Cool Concept Car

Mazda has a neat new concept car focused around the idea of water.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Insight Looks Neat

Wired has a review

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I agree with this

Why Palin will "win" tonight

It may just be my background but...

I found this deeply moving

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wow

Such a cool legal idea.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Prizes

So I'm going to participate in this contest and I think everyone should. Lots of people have good ideas, and they should air them. Doesn't matter if you're an inventor, designer, technologically savey, you all have good ideas and should participate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Break

I'm taking a break from regular blogging. I don't think this will be blog death, just less frequent posts for a while.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Scaaarry

This video is really scary.... and somewhat funny

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Futuristic sea "eco-rigs"

This article makes me think of that quote; "the future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed". Japan has been big leader technologically for a while and this is yet another example. This is the kind of project that I wish we were seeing seriously pursued in the US. I see projects all the time like this in the US and you know what the difference is? They're pipe dreams. Plans by architecture post-grads with good media connections, politicians or business moguls trying to get attention by announcing a "forum" or "committee-formation" to discuss some incredible idea that no one will actually pursue. This seems like it might actually have some resources behind it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The road to zero emissions shipping

A great article from Wired about various technologies that people are working on with the goal of making international shipping a zero emissions business. I've posted about the resurgence of sails in shipping and here's more in that vein. I find this idea really interesting because one of the assumptions of many local food advocates is that international shipping will always be less environmentally friendly that buying local and I just think the situation is more complex than that. I'll be keeping an eye on this.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Virtual Twins

A good NYT article on the study of virtual twins (I had never heard of this before), a new thread in the nature-v-nurture debate.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cool wind power design

Wow! This looks so awesome. It probably won't be useful for large scale stuff but using it for small scale home stuff might be really good.

Great David Brooks column

In some ways this blog was started so I could say "Dammit, this man's a genius!!!" every Tuesday/Friday :)

But seriously folks, he has an insightful column up today.


P.S. For your amusement; Heinlein's fan-mail solution

Monday, September 8, 2008

My brain is melting

I saw this article title: "Colbert's DNA to be shot into space" and I HAD to know. After reading it, all I have to say is thank you CNN, you've truly outdone The Onion today.

I think my favorite is the sentence: "In the unlikely event that Earth and humanity are destroyed, mankind can be resurrected with Stephen Colbert's DNA," Garriott said in a statement. "Is there a better person for us to turn to for this high-level responsibility?"

Issues

Sometimes (in economics, foreign policy, civil liberties) I find myself disagreeing the "liberal" positions (I'm toying with the idea of self-identifying as a progressive) on those issues but on social issues I almost never come down on the conservative side of issues. So here are some good pieces that I just found that I agree with.

Sarah Vowel in an NYT op-ed on John McCain



And just for chuckles take a look at this video from comedienne Sara Benincasa

Somewhat heartening article about transfolk in the workplace

A nice article about how transfolk are getting better treatment in the workplace. We'll see if this trend continues.

AWESSSOOOOME

Wired's top 10 physics videos!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Totally pie-in-the-sky plan for the Sahara

I'm skeptical that this plan for using solar power to create greenhouses in the Sahara will come to reality (although some of the creators have had successes elsewhere), but it's still neat to think about. Very Dune in some ways.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I'm going to follow this

This could be really neat, an ebay for learning things, sort of. Too bad it's only in the UK, I hope it moves to the US.

Friday, September 5, 2008

They're breeding!!!!

A new and horrifing species is spreading: fear the movie trailer announcers!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A new broswer

Google's just put out a browser, I'm trying it out now. So far so good, better than IE and Safari, probably better than Opera, not sure if it's better than Firefox

Additions to the blog roll

As you may notice there have been some changes to the blog roll over the last couple of weeks. I've removed some science sources (physorg, Scientific American etc) and I may remove some of the political sources because of information overload. I'm also making the following additions:

1. What: Schoolhouse Rock
Why I added it: I'm interested in becoming a professional teacher. I may discover that this interest will peter out like many (but not all) of my interests. For now though I'm going to start blogging about education topics that interest me. I've started with education reform politics (something I'm a little familiar with) but I may move on to other topics such as technique, pedagogy, education theory. If I find myself posting about this often enough I may move this topic to another blog, we'll see.
Example article: teacher merit pay

2. What: Inhabitat
Why I added it: this seems to be the best of the "environmental aesthetics" news sources that seem to be popping up. Many of their posts are too fashion oriented for me but they do have some neat things from time to time.
Example article: The Accordion Shelter

3. The Times - Environment Section
Why I added it: I've been looking for an environmental news perspective from across the pond and I've decided to give this one a try. If it doesn't work out I may try The Guardian's environment section.
Example article: Ghost ships control climate change

This tickled me

From the Onions department of "oh so wrong, but oh so funny" I give you this article

Yaaaay, a good news day

The last couple of days have been pretty interesting-news-lite but today I've found a bunch of cool stuff. First I'll lead off with something I find really depressing: Sarah Palin's speech last night was really good, according to at least one source. I agree that it was very good, so good in fact that I couldn't watch it. Why? Because I disagree with so much of what she had to say AND I she looked so damn good saying it. It came out easily, she was funny, confident, and could do a great deal to close the enthusiasm gap that currently exists thanks to McCain's lackluster rhetoric. I was slightly (very slightly) cheered up by this article saying that her speech was going to make an impact no matter what she said.

The other thing that really pisses me off is that the republicans (and McCain specifically) seem to have finally started catching on to the fact that the only way to win this election is to run on a reform platform. Up till now I felt a good deal safer because it didn't seem like the republican leadership was really going to get behind the idea of a "reform" campaign. That would have lead to lots of infighting (McCain the reformer fighting with the incumbent republican leadership) and a probable loss. Picking Sarah Palin (who does appear to have a genuine reform record) is exactly what I would have done, and then setting the tone of the convention as "Washington is Broken" (even if you're somewhat vague about what exactly is broken) is really the only way to win this thing. That depresses me because I think the democrats have way better ideas and I really want them to win. Grrr.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I've been aware of this site for a while but haven't posted about it

If you like graphs check out this article and the site it links to.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Light on Posts

Sorry dear readers, the news hasn't been really inspiring lately. So for now, have a funny video!!!

I have to get this USB stick for someone

The increase in strange USB sticks has amused me but this one is really funny. Maybe I'll give it to someone as a gift

Monday, September 1, 2008

Kitties on Treadmills!!!!

SILLYYYYYY

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Good Profile of Shai Agassi

One of the smoking hot leaders of environmental business. Shai Agassi's concept for an electric car system is generating tons of interest. Wired has a nice full detailed profile. Check it out

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kinetic Motion Energy storage device

Ok, Winter and I have talked about this for a long time and I've been more on the "con" side that the "pro" side but this charger is really cool! Maybe I'll have to rethink my position.

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain VP Pick

First of all, I'd just like to confirm the awesomeness that is my correctly picking McCain's VP (although I was way wrong in my Obama pick, my thoughts were that the probability was: Gore, Sebelius, Schwietzer, Richardson, Biden). Secondly, isn't this article on how Sarah Palin rose in the republican consiousness nutzo??

Good Obama Acceptance Speech

Really good speech, not as much soaring rhetoric but it did exactly what I've been looking for. One of my major complaints about Obama is that he hasn't been able to connect (for me) the message of change and his specific policy proposals but this time he did it and did it well.

More to come on VP stuff later

Hell hath frozen over

John Kerry's convention speech was actually really good

Really funny

I love this site, props to HBO for the marketing coup

Archeological Discovery

Mayan underworld "discovered" (I'll be looking for independent confirmation of this). I just have one questions: how soon will the Indian Jones movie arrive?

Neat new energy storage idea

A newish idea for wind energy storage. I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not but it should be looked into.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Apple Sucks Article

Slate theorizes on why Apple doesn't seem to care that it's products increasingly suck.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cute cake

Frozen Han Solo as a cake - so cute!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cute political ad

I'm sorry, I try not to give into Obamamania too much but this ad is actually pretty good.

David Brooks nails what we should be looking for at Dems convention

Another great article from David Brooks. Someday I'd love a chance to talk with this guy.

Alvin is being replaced

NYT has a profile of the new submersible that is replacing Alvin. Some of the construction photos are really neat.

Abandond Building Photos

Neat series of photos of an old hydroelectric plant from boingboing

Friday, August 22, 2008

Neat Long Term Back Up Post

Long now blog has a post on backing up languages for 10000 years.

Cool!

Appropriate tech solar power, nifty!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Copy and Paste for the iTouch/IPhone

Wired has an article on a new ap to copy and paste

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm torn about this

On the one hand the idea that this is out there I find really disturbing (what if there are errors? What about the potential for abuse?). On the other I found myself actually wanting to use it on a few people that I know, but feel suspicious of.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Energy saving software for your computer

I'll have to download this and give it a try.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sad analysis of the Genocide in Darfur

I was reading this article and "I Kissed A Girl" came onto the music program I'm listening to..... and my brain exploded.

It made reading the article so much sadder.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New developments in solar tech

I wasn't going to post about this because there's been some skepticism from the scientific community but I haven't seen an outright refutation of the science yet so I might as well post. From MIT a "major" new development in solar energy storage.

Interesting city law

LA wants to ban fast food restaurants in certain areas for health reasons. Seems a bit draconian to me, on the other hand health care costs to affect all of us. Also treating "food like cigarettes" would start an interesting legal trend. I haven't made up my mind about this.

Internet diagnosis

So we've been hearing about the critical internet "flaw" for a while now and here are some details.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New diseases

I remember in my college biology class my teacher talked about new forms of disease emerging has demographics changes. I don't think contagious cancer will be a problem for us soon, but imagine how horrible it would be if it came. I've been following the Tasmanian Devil face cancer for a while and it's always deeply disturbed me. Just sit back and imagine what would happen if something like this happened to humans? Now Hapers has an excellent article on the subject.

Microsoft Tries to catch up

I've been having the feeling for years that Microsoft is behind the technological trend. This news about how they're developing a different kind of OS, one that isn't tied to an individual PC, is interesting. I'll keep my eye on this.

The end of globalization?

A series of posts from Worldchanging, Gristmill, and NYT, all theorizing that increases in energy prices could reverse globalization. I'm pretty skeptical, globalization is a powerful trend. Thomas Barnett has another take here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gassification idea

I really love this guy. His posts are always long and well thought out. Here he has one on how high oil prices might change international shipping. Interestingly he suggests coal gasification as a replacement if, and only if, the oil price gets high enough to make that worthwhile. I think I really need to find the coal gasification break-even oil price. Is it $5? $10? $20? I'll research.

Micro-nuclear plants? Sounds creepy to me

The idea of having a "hot-tub" sized nuclear power plant scares me a little bit but it might be neat (assuming the companies claims are true).

Environmentalists get excited

Mr. Williams-Derry seems to be a little bit over-excited about this new solar low interest loan program to California residents. Nonetheless it might help encourage more solar power.

New Energy Mapping tool

Renewable energy maps have been available for a long time, but you had to know where to look and what to look for. This new mapping tool helps makes things easier. I like

COOL ZOT


Shazam!!!!

Somewhat interesting NYT op

Check out Thomas Friendman's new column. I just like the sentence "climate change means “global weirding,” not just global warming"

Very creepy article about natural mind controling animals

This just gives me the shivers. I've heard about the parasite that controls sheep but I hadn't heard about most of the critters in this gallery. A critter that controls humans could make a great horror movie plot (and it sort of has, but most of them are about aliens controlling humans, not something from Earth).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Depressing statistic

About 1% of the US population is now in prison. Something is wrong...

Vertical Farming

Interesting video about vertical farming. I've linked to vertical farming articles before and I'll continue to until we hear more about it. It sounds like a real pie in the sky kind of idea but I think it'll be really important because as things stand cities have somewhat unsustainable supply chains. That will only get worse as more and more people move to the cities.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

CNN covers an interesting trend in the increase of human generated electrical power.

Facinating Story

This is an amazing long article about trolls and internet bullying. Some of the people interviewed really come off as villainous (i.e. I can see them as bad guys in a James Bond movie).

Pretty

This video is very well put together and very pretty.

I'm not sure what to think of this

This video is very....odd. Also I'm tired and in pain so I apologize for bad grammar in this and other posts from today.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lots of Posts coming

So I've been sick over the last several days and haven't posted at all. Never fear though! I have a whole bunch of things I want to post about over the next couple of days.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Neat biomass energy tech development

So I've been following the development of algae based bio-energy for a while and this was a really clear and concise article that explains how it could be cool (watch the video that he links to, even if it is biased).

I feel like this could be important but I'm not sure why

I feel like there's some opportunity for biomimicry devices or new technology after reading this but I can't see it yet. Anyone else?

I like this way of looking at problems

So here's a neat summation of how to do a certain kind of innovation (engineering innovation as apposed to random? Not sure about the difference, I'll have to think about it) via KK.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wow, I'm agreeing with Scalia

After reading this article from Slate I find myself agreeing with Antonin Scalia for once: if people are competent to stand trial, they're competent enough to represent themselves. It shouldn't be the government's business to judge levels of competence (with a few exceptions).

Interesting Idea

I wonder how this Canadian program for Green Bonds will work out. I've always liked the metaphor of WWII preparations to describe sustainability problems and I'm glad to see another item in this trend.

I want to go to this bar

So I think having a bar inside an ancient try is really cool. I'd love to have a drink inside a living 6000 year old tree. Take a look

How did I miss this??????

This video is awesome!!! Apparently it's been out for a while and I can't believe I've missed it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Amazingly cool update on the Antikythera device

I'm so excited!!!!! There's been some further developments in figuring out what the device is and what it does. Go here first (you MUST watch the video) then go here for the Long Now take.

Daft Punk video

So I really liked the video of the two sexy women dancing to Daft Punk that was huge a couple of years ago, and I just found a video with some sexy guys doing the same thing. I have to confess I actually like it better (it's the sunglasses I think).

Interesting Obama post

I've read many profiles of Obama; long ones, short ones, friendly ones, unfriendly ones and I actually found this profile of him as a teacher more compelling that almost any other one. Thoughts?

Neat

Cool Long Now seminar about art (I'm interested in the mention of Rodan's Crater and the lightning field), covered by Worldchanging.

Veepstakes update

538 has some veep speculation, check it out. Of the contenders who haven't bowed out I still think Sebelius makes the best pick for Obama (although I like Schweitzer) but I could be completely surprised by his choice. I'm not sure if Palin still makes sense for McCain, she's currently embroiled in what appears to be a minor scandal (via 538) and McCain doesn't need any more of those. That being said I still think she's the best pick. Romney's a snake, Pawlenty is clean but unexciting, and Huckabee is crazy (although he may end up being picked).

LHC Comes online in August

I'll let an expert explain what the LHC's all about

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A technology resurgent

I first thought about the potential revival of wind-powered ships years ago but it's interesting to see how it's becoming a reality.

Developments in armor technology

Brings a whole new meaning to Dragon scale armor no? Check out this neat article about armor based on an ancient eel's skin.

TV linked to autism

Old post from Slate on a study showing the above. I haven't heard anything about this, has it been discredited?

Solar Power Gathering momentum (again)?

In a new post on Yale's blog Jon Luoma goes over the recent rapid expansion of solar power. My reasons for supporting solar power over other forms are somewhat complex (an not completely developed) so I may post in more detail later but suffice to say I'm glad to hear this. Although it should be said that we've heard this story before.

The city rising

Check out this long, but interesting, article from TNR on how inner cities may be becoming gentrified. The rise of the city is something I've been keeping an eye since I started listening to Long Now seminars. I think the sustainable way of the future is the way of the city. There are increased dangers to be sure (terrorism, nuclear strikes, epidemics) but my sense is that the potential benefits outweigh them (increased efficiency, decreased transportation costs, increased connectedness). Your thoughts

A ven diagram for you

Slate comes out with great graphics (as does 236.com) for news related items. Here's a new one on the major players in the various Bush schemes. It's good.

Exciting developments in physics

So I've been keeping an eye on the debate over Garret Lisi's new theory of everything. It's been making waves in the popular science (not to be confused with the magazine) community. I think that's partially due to Lisi's personality and partially because his theory is cool. Unfortunately his talk at the TED conference does not appear to be available yet but I'm eagerly awaiting it. To slathe my thirst for more news I found this video on youtube. I also went and took a look at the actual paper that codifies the draft of his theory but couldn't make head nor tails of it. *sigh* I wish I could take a couple of years and learn enough maths to actually understand this but I think 'tis not to be.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Coincidence makes message more powerful

Reading this just after finishing this made it even more powerful.

This was achingly familiar

This article from Wired on WoW really hit home for me. People who haven't MMORPG'd are amazed at the lengths went to acquire items when I was playing Everquest. One thing that's hard to get people to understand is how relaxing it was to grind out xp and items. Sure the teamwork, exploration, "danger", and item collection all had their own charms and fit into the puzzle that is the success of online worlds, but the most satisfying part was the grinding. In this article the author really puts his finger on why it works. It makes me want to go back to playing. Check it out.

Hits a nerve

After Barkingshaman's issues with his Ipod touch this article about Apple's failings hits home

Hon, this goes out for you

Via Sullivan, a new blog I think you should check out ;)

Another disaster to prepare for, oh joy

From Sci-Am, who, along with Popular Science, occasionally publishes a scary article like this about some immanent disaster (during slow months I assume). Nonetheless a massive solar flare could really screw things up for our modern digital world.

Greenland....Ascendant?

Another chapter in the (mostly) unforeseen consequences of climate change; apparently Greenland is agitating for independence from Denmark, and probably will get it. Global warming makes many more resources available as the ice moves. Weird huh.

Busy Weekend

So there are like 11 things I want to post about today. So as not to clutter up assorted inboxes I'll spread them out over the next couple of days.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Apple missing a marketing opportunity? WTF

Nancy Scola makes the excellent point that apple seems to be missing many opportunities to score points for their environmental friendliness? Any thoughts as to why they're doing this?

Define Irony

When a discovery of huge oil resources in the Arctic is made possible by global warming, that irony.

Soooo Granite Countertops maybe not so good

Interesting article from the NYT on how some granite counter tops seem to be dangerously radioactive. Weird

Thursday, July 24, 2008

This really scares me

I wish Scientific American would site their sources for this report (I'd love to learn more details) but assuming they know what they're talking about this is a really scary illustration of a worrying trend: the disappearing of freshwater resources worldwide.

Mental note: buy the hardcopy of the august edition of Sci-Am

Just neat

An interesting article from Slate on how lockbreaking is becoming a sport/hobby through internet communications. Check it out
I'm glad people are finally becoming more aware of greenwashing. Check out this CNN article (via Barkingshaman)

War Games

Slate paints a frighting picture of future warriors who fight remotely. Nothing super new but it's a scary trend.

A good point

Ashley Lin over at Breakthrough Gen makes an excellent point; assorted politicians are advocating drilling for oil, wouldn't it make much more sense to advocate drilling for something renewable, say geothermal power.

Pretty Pictures

I love pictures of light, here's a neat example of some light photography

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pretty

Someone has a list of the 10 most amazing ghost towns. Very sad, but pretty.

Funny

I thought this was funny

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Innovation Engine

InnoCentive is another company trying to promote collaborative innovations. Check out the NYT's profile, I've already registered and I'll keep checking it out.

Cute and Funny


Cute kitty!

I've wondered about this

Where are all the government hackers taking down al Qaeda websites? Wired ponders

New developments in AT

So there's a new tongue motion controller for wheelchairs, I think it's neat.

Monday, July 21, 2008

*sigh* Brings back good memories

This solar collector is really neat, I remember working on a very similar project in college

This could be good

I like hearing about non-lethal replacements for conventional handguns so check out this article on variable speed bullets (sort of)

I wonder how this will turn out

Some reforms in Shenzhen as covered by the Washington Post

Funny Fix



Be afraid, be very afraid.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Facinating video

Friday, July 18, 2008

Could be good?

Check out the Watchmen Trailer

I love the Onion

This perfectly captures some the articles Time and Newsweek run.

This could be good...or not

My sense is that the derivatives market does need more regulation but I want to hear more about this bill. I'll be keeping an eye out for a more comprehensive analysis.

G&S Meets Sci-Fi

Wow, this was totally inevitable (and funny)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Veepstakes!

So I figure I might as well get my VP musings up before the candidates actually announce in August. First I must say that predicting who will be picked to be VP will inevitably fail because the first, and most important, criteria in a VP candidate is the relationship he or she has to the candidate. That information is not publicly available so any predictions of mine are doomed to failure. That being the case I will focus more on what I would do if I were in Obama or McCain’s shoes.

So, first I’ll lay down what I think is the criteria for being picked
1. Chemistry
This one is really simple; the candidate and potential VP need to like each other. You can’t give someone the codes to the missiles if you don’t like and trust them. For sure, candidates have won without good chemistry (see JFK and LBJ) but it’s probably the most important qualification.
2. Skills as a vice-president
a. Plausible surrogate
The VP needs someone who could be a believable president. This person should have decades (at least 15 years) as a public servant, at least 5 years on a national level either in the pentagon, a cabinet position, member of one of the legislative branches, or governor of a state. The VP pick also needs to be a plausible surrogate for the candidate’s beliefs i.e. he or she needs to be able to speak articulately about the candidate’s positions and act like zhe agrees with them.
b. Good XO
In completely the opposite direction this person needs to be an excellent XO. He or she needs to be good at taking direction and obeying orders. Not that they need to be totally silent, in fact they should have good advice and opinions to offer the president, but when he makes a decision they should be baking him 100%.
3. Balance the ticket
a. Qualifications
Obama has the following negative perceptions about him: he’s too inexperienced, he’s too liberal, he has problems with Latino voters, he has problems with Clinton supporters, and he has problems with white working class voters. McCain is seen as too old, not conservative enough (or too conservative depending on who you’re talking to), and unskilled at domestic politics. Whether these perceptions are true or not (debatable) picking a VP that makes one of these perceptions go away will be an important consideration.
b. Geography
Pundits seem to be saying that getting a VP from a particular state means that you will win that state in general election and I just don’t think that’s true. That being said, if you had a public official with a high popularity rating in a big swing state, who met all the other qualifications it would be very tempting to pick them.

Considering that criteria we go from millions of people down to about 100. This includes popular senators and representatives, popular governors, mayors of the biggest cities, former high ranking military officers, former senators and representatives, former governors, and possibly a few people from business.

Ok from that who would go onto my shortlist?
Obama’s choices break down into three categories:

1. The secret insider. Someone older who has a great deal of Washington experience but has been out of the field lately and thus can bring a message of experience AND a message of change to the ticket. My picks: Sam Nunn, Tom Daschle, or Al Gore
2. The rising star. Obama might pick another youngish person for VP. Probably someone with executive experience and a history of bringing government reform. My picks: Tim Kaine, Brian Schweitzer, or Kathleen Sebelius
3. The fighter. Someone who can really act as a point person on politics. Someone who can go to other countries and wrangle concessions or speak with authority on issues at the UN but who does not have a huge influence on policy. My picks: Bill Richardson or Chuck Hagel
4. Heavy weight. If Obama feels like his experience might be an issue in office or in the election he might pick a very experienced person to provide "weight" to the ticket. My picks: Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, or Colin Powell

I think McCain has less choice about who he can pick to be VP: he needs someone somewhat younger than him, with excellent domestic policy credentials, who can attract independents without pissing off conservatives too much. My picks: Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, or Charlie Crist.

The above I think is fairly plausible, it agrees with the analysts who’ve written on the subject and with the leaked information from the campaigns. So we have the short list, who should they actually pick? Again, this is not who I think they will pick -I can’t know that, I don’t know what the interpersonal chemistry is- this is who I would pick.

I think McCain should pick Sarah Palin.
Why? When you look at Sarah Palin and her record you can imagine a new face on the Republican party (although not one I’m super fond of). Pros: she’s young, she’s conservative, she’s about as far away from the Bush administration as you can be (literally), and she and McCain agree on many areas. Cons: not a ton of experience (might hurt arguments that Obama’s inexperienced), not a lot of appeal to independents.
What does McCain get? Picking Sarah Palin might do two things: energize the conservative base a bit, attract pro-life democrats, and attract people who are focused on domestic issues.
What does Palin get? A chance to be the president after McCain

I think Obama should pick Al Gore
Why? Gore can talk eloquently about change (see his book Assault on Reason), on many issues he’s fairly moderate, he’s been out of politics for long enough that most people will have forgotten the scandals associated with him, but at the same time he extensive legislative experience and foreign policy experience. Cons: he has even more name recognition that Obama.
What does Obama get? The most important thing he gets is a connection to the democratic establishment; I think Al Gore might help his numbers among Regan democrats and older democrats.
What does Gore get? Gore has been “taking a break” from politics for the last 8 years and has even said he isn’t trying to be VP, but not trying and refusing to serve are very different things. I think if he was approached and offered the opportunity to pass the environmental and technology laws he tried to pass earlier in his career he would be tempted.


Update: I guess Gore staffers read my blog. This morning he gave a pretty Shermanesque statement on serving as VP again so it's probably reasonable to count him out of the candidate pool. If not Gore the choices get a little murkier. Want to appeal to the democratic establishment? Pick Chris Dodd. Want reach across the isle? Pick Brian Schweitzer. I guess if I had to pick I'd plunk for Kathleen Sebelius but I'm not very confident about that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who is the "doer" of US foreign policy?

First, read this article

The basic question raised in the post is worth pondering: with all of the development overlapping with military conflict in the 21st century who or what is the appropriate agency to conduct applied foreign policy? The standard answer for a long time was the State Dept and clearly that is no longer the answer. In the past 10 years the military has taken an increasing roll in applying policy on the ground. Why is this an issue? There are many reasons but the first ones that come to mind are:
1. It's bad public relations. I don't care how you spin a big military presences in development projects it ALWAYS looks like we're trying to create an empire.
2. People sign up to the military because they love our country and want to defend it, possibly by by killing shit (an huge oversimplification which I hope you'll forgive me). I don't think those people are necessarily suited to doing good development work.

What should we do? I don't think throwing more money at the State department is the best way to go. The conflicts that loom in the future seem like they'll require a combination of hard military action and follow up development work. I think the best way to go is something like the way Thomas Barnett has advocated.

Summary from wikipedia:
  1. In recognition of its dual role, the US military should organize itself according to two functions, the "Leviathan" and the "System Administrator."
    • Leviathan's purpose is employ overwhelming force to end violence quickly. It will take out governments, defend Core countries, and generally do the deterrence work that the US military has been doing since the end of WWII. The Leviathan force is primarily staffed by young aggressive personnel and is overwhelmingly American.
    • The SysAdmin's purpose is to wage peace: peacekeeping, nation building, strengthening weak governments, etc. The SysAdmin force is primarily staffed by older, more experienced personnel, though not entirely (he would put the Marines in SysAdmin as the " Mini-me Leviathan"). The sys Admin force would work best as a Core-wide phenomenon.
Thoughts?

Wow, neat website

So I went to Instructables a long time ago and decided that it was kind of ehhh. I just visited again and the site has gotten soooo much better. I may add this to my science blogroll

I have my daily funny fix

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Why The Apocalypse Won't Happen

First read this article

I find my self conflicted about this article. I do think that there are serious issues in the world that could cause an "Apocalypse" but I've increasingly come to believe that we are going to see a vast transition that will neither be as easy as some hope nor as catastrophic as some others fear. We'll see...

I try not to advocate giving money willy-nilly but...

This guy made me laugh with his cartoons about his run for office in Kansas (via BoingBoing). I may not give the $8.34 he's asking for but I might give something.

Update: Grrr.... it looks like all the boingboing visitors crashed his site

Wow this would soooo suck

Environmental destruction causes a world without chocolate? Kill me now

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sounds like just another cooky idea but...

I wonder what it would be like to live next to a farming skyscraper. huh *ponders*

WOOT!!!

Dr Horrible Act I is up!!!

Update: looks like the dr horrible website is down due to traffic

Beautiful and Creepy

On the one hand this video about bird formations is really pretty, on the other it reminds me of the The Birds (plus the lack of sound is creepy)

Funny

Check out this well animated short film about shrews

Chuckles

Check out this Vegan Zombie Tshirt

Monday, July 14, 2008

Really Hard

It was REALLY hard not to buy this today. I clenched my teeth and thought of my car bill and eventually the desire faded. However, if anyone were to happen to buy this for me as a birthday present I would be suuuper grateful.

I can never decide...

....do I post about the amazing scientific discovery? Or the cool technology that comes from it? Today I'll err on the side of scientific discovery. I think it's really neat and slightly disturbing that people are creating new DNA base "letters".

Why I'm not Libertarian

I kind of waffle between Democrat and Libertarian politics. This past year has been more on the Democratic side but I could see going back. One of the reasons I'm not part of the Libertarian Party (as it currently exists) is that I worry about what kind of environmental policy they'd have. Doing good environmental policy requires the kind of big picture thinking that I don't hear libertarians talking about. For example, what do you think Bob Barr's position on energy and the environment is? If you answered "he doesn't have one" you win! Personally I think that's a bit... err... crazy.

Alan Jacobs puts in well:

"... However, we also know that no empirical claim could possibly be better established than this: People, left to their own devices, simply do not make wise decisions about their natural environments. They almost invariably chose short-term goods that leave their descendants with damaged and impoverished conditions; and often the damage is irreversible. And even when hard lessons are learned by one generation, they are likely to be forgotten by the next, or the one after that.

Moreover, these the stakes in these matters are raised dramatically in technologically powerful ages such as our own. If a libertarian with a hands-off environmental policy were to be elected President in this country, and were to implement such a policy, the vultures would descend so quickly and do so much damage — especially to water resources, and especially in the West — in a single four-year Presidential term that recovery could take decades if it could be achieved at all. I think this would be a tragic result, and my reasons for thinking so are simultaneously civic and Christian (the latter deriving from the Biblical mandate for what people are now calling “Creation care”). Is a significant increase in personal freedom worth such a price? I don’t think I can say that, not given my current state of knowledge, anyway.

Of course, this is all speculative in the extreme. Bob Barr is not going to be elected President, and even if that miracle did happen he’d be faced with a Congress that wouldn’t let him do much of what he wants to do (repeal the 16th Amendment, for instance). So it might be worth my while to cast a symbolic protest vote for Barr, and I may well do that. But it makes me uneasy to contemplate casting a vote for someone whose candidacy I can’t truly endorse."

David Plouffe is sexy hot!!

I realized something today; David Plouffe looks a little like an older version of John Barrowman. Big donations from from gay men..... suddenly explained.

I think this is neat

Sounds like it might be fun. On the other hand, people might totally ignore it.

Giving meds to pets? Discuss

This article disturbs me. Any other takes/comments?

Neat explanation

Check out this detailed explanation of Barrett's Privateer's terminology.

Lawrence Lessigs new project

Soooo Lawrence Lessig has done some things that I admire, mostly having to do with taking IP law in a good direction. He's starting a new project called Change Congress, basically to fight the implicit corruption that (arguably) exists in Congress today.

I think I'm going to sign the pledge he has up, why? First of all I think the way Congress conducts politics is pretty fucked right now. I won't make all the arguments about why I think it's fucked (Mr. Lessig actually makes them pretty well in this long lecture) but suffice it to say that I agree with him. The question I have ask myself is why is it worth to sign onto the pledge, I mean it's tiny operation that is highly likely to fail. Two reasons:

1. Mr Lessig has accomplished quite a bit and I'm not willing to say this has a 100% chance of failure.
2. This is related to the kind of open-source politics that I believe, why? Simply it has a very high RIO for us as citizens. As Mr. Lessig says in his lecture I can spend 20mins at home in my underwear and potentially change the way politics is conducted. The key is that I'm connecting myself. If I've understood anything about innovation generation is that connections matter. You lose the potential to influence a process when you disconnect yourself from it. This is a tiny way of connecting myself to something much larger but I'll take it, because the RIO is so high.

A series of depressing events

If you want good news, skip this post.
1. An NYT op-ed covering the new book by Jane Meyer on torture in the Bush administration (gotta love the title). I'll pick up the book but I'm sort of torn on this. On the one hand it sounds like everything I've wanted to hear ("it was just a few evil people", "as soon as they're gone things will get better", "they were soooo evil") but so far life has shown me that it's never that simple. More thoughts to follow when I read the book.
2. An editorial covering the recent raid on a slaughterhouse in Iowa where hundreds of illegal immigrants were rounded up. Lots of HR abuses, misuse of taxpayer funds (IMO), bleh.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Interesting definition of future heros

I'll have to chew over this post from WorldChanging's Alex Steffen for a while. Basically he's talking about a kind of post-apocalyptic missionary. Huh (*mental gears start moving*), maybe I'll have something more interesting to say about this when I've thought about it more.

Umm....isn't it a little early for these stories

Obama post warning!

Here are two articles analyzing what an Obama administration would look like. One from TNR focusing mostly on foreign policy, and one from The Economist focusing more on what his agenda might be.

Solar Windows, Neat!

Interesting work from some people at MIT who are developing a way to make your standard everyday window collect solar energy.

Oldy by sort of goody

Some times meandering, sometimes profound post from WorldChanging

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'd like to see it...

Check out Slate's review of Hellboy II
I'll see it, maybe not in the theater but some day

An interesting message from BP

BP discuses renewable energy

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I knew it!

The Slate editors and me seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to movies and tv. We seem to being seeing the same connections between movies and politics; first it was West Wing now it's Predator.

Not sure if this is going to succed but I might as well post about it

So now (or soon) you'll be able to acquire a home hydrogen generator.

Arctic Development

The rush to exploit the arctic kind of saddens me in some ways, especially since people are getting interested in methane-hydrates reserves which are a) far more larger than oil reserves and b) far worse for the environment if used (for more reading start here). Anyways here's a good post on the matter from Yale's Environment Blog.

Also, if WWIII were started over disputes around Arctic exploration (don't laugh, when Russia, Canada, America, Europe, and China all have legitimate or semi-legitimate claims to the vast natural resources you realize that it isn't funny) I'd be really pissed

Normally I don't post stuff link this but...

This was just too funny and stupid to ignore: ban on saggy pants

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Watercooling Silicon

Interesting article from The Economist on the move to water cooled chips. I'm not actually as facinated by that as by the last two paragraphs that focus on cooling the silicon in solar cells. Quote:

"Water-cooling of this sort may also make a more direct contribution to the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, by promoting the use of solar energy. Solar cells are also made of silicon, and the latest fashion is to concentrate sunlight on them using mirrors. That means you need less silicon to make a given amount of electricity, but it also makes the silicon very hot—as hot as a commercial microprocessor.

By cooling such devices with liquids, IBM reckons it can increase the amount of sunlight that can be focused on them without destroying them, thus increasing the amount of electrical energy they produce. Supratik Guha, a researcher at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Centre in Yorktown Heights, New York, has put this to the test and found that he can concentrate 2,300 times more sunlight on a cell than nature would provide, while maintaining that cell at a (relatively) cool 85°C. Without the cooling system, its temperature would rapidly exceed 1,500ยบ, causing it to melt. With cooling, the cells can manage an output of 70 watts a square centimetre—a record, according to IBM, and a demonstration that plumbing, too, can be a high-tech form of engineering."

Interesting...

Ventura vs Franklen? The mind boggles

Thanks TNR
Ok, he hasn't actually said he would run, but wouldn't it make for an interesting race if he did run?

Yay building codes

Here's an interesting article from grist on how towns could have a major impact on sustainability through smart building codes. This ties into a larger trend that I'm keeping my eye on: the rise of the city. Demographics tells us that more and more people will probably live in cities in the coming decades. In the past this may not have made a huge difference politically but in the kind of interconnected world we probably will live in it might make a bigger difference. In the past landlocked cities (say...Denver) could not conduct foreign policy, now they can. City governments can move faster and more efficiently than federal governments ever will be able to. Something to keep in mind....

Um, why?

Elfquest is apparently going to be made into a movie. Any reaction from people who've read the comics?

Why Development Sucks

Good post on Design Observer on Third World Development. I've been hearing for a long time, and from many sources, that the way the west has done development for the past several decades is misguided. If you want to know more, read the article and watch this video for starters.

Nice post from Breakthrough

Good post on anti-consumerism and why it isn't as great an idea as others think. I may write more on this later

Unbearable cuteness



Fear the cuteness!!!!

Unbelievable

Take a look at this amazing photography. I'm going post my favorites over time I think.

Wow

Very impressive works of sand art. How the heck does this guy do this in one day??????

Another post on why dirigibles might come back

NYT on new technologies and applications for dirigibles. I'm not especially enamoured of dirigibles myself ("whatever works babe, whatever works") but I do think it would neat if they came back.

SNAAAAAAAAKKE!!!!!!

Very strange new technology for generating renewable energy

Ok, what lessons can we take from this

TNY publishes a nice in depth article on Scandinavian town that has pretty much moved to using 100% renewable energy. My question is: what lessons can we take from this project that are applicable elsewhere or scalable (if any)?

Rumsfield's Genius?

A counter point to most liberal media blatherings on Rumsfield. My sense is that he's being a little overly generous to Rumsfield. Everything I've read has said that he sucked as a SoD but maybe I'm guilty of succumbing to oversimplification.

VP Puns

I love this post over at TNR. Nunn's a good idea for other reasons but the puns....think of the puns.

Taking Power Away from The Executive Brance

This op-ed in the NYT speaks to a theme that concerns me. It seems to me that the executive branch of the government has gotten too powerful over the past half-century. I won't pretend to know all the reasons but it seems like one aspect is that congress has gotten less efficient. Bills take forever to pass, and if they do they're pretty week. I don't know how exactly how this could be fixed, I think part of it is reducing the ties between the president and his political party (so the president isn't assumed to be the leader of his party), part of it would including reducing the massive amounts of money that go into campaigns.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Heartwarming Ad



This ad made me happy

A Confession

After reading this post on Breakthrough: Gen I think I need to confess something: I'm part wonk. I'm not saying all I want to is be a wonk, but there is a wonk streak running through my intellectual pursuits (especially recently). One of my favorite tasks EVER was writing a public transportation technology policy recommendation for the NYC MTA. So when I saw the following paragraph:

"You all should really check out this McKinsey Global Initiative’s Energy Markets page. Just reading the titles–'The case for investing in energy productivity', 'Wasted energy: How the U.S. can reach its energy productivity potential', 'Leapfrogging to higher energy productivity in China' give me goosebumps and make my spine tingle"

it made me smile.

The Economist on Global Governance Trends

I'm just a posting machine today...

Anyways, The Economist has a new article on global governance and where it's going. I think it's a good article so you should check it out.

I follow developments in global governance because some problems facing humanity require international dispute resolution (water, energy, trade, terror, pollution etc), which in turn requires (often) a body that can legitimately oversee said disputes. So over time you'll see more like this.