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Archive: April 27, 2015

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what a week

Monday,  04/27/15  09:40 AM

at BacaraWhew that week flew by, eh?  And what a week.

I had a great long weekend; drove up to visit friends in Montecito, explored the backwoods of North Santa Barbara county, stayed in Pismo Beach, and rode a century in Creston (through the wine country East of Paso Robles).  On the way back we spent the afternoon at Bacara (pictured).  Intermingled was some great think time.  To be repeated soon and often!

Okay, time for a filter pass...

Samantha Cristoforetti selfie from ISS with SpaceX capsuleEpic selfie: Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti points to SpaceX resupply capsule from International Space station, while dressed as Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek.  Love it!

(and ... love that this tech actually exists, not just in movies ...)

Interesting question: would you rather have 2014 standard of living and 1964 health care, or vice versa?  Easy answer [for me]: I'd choose 1964 standard of living (better) and 2014 health care (much better).

Sexy conservatives will out-breed barren liberals.  "Liberal women, encouraged by the sour crones of the radical feminist movement, often wait far too long to marry and to begin families. They were lied to - you can't have it all.  Life is choices, and a family is a choice that means trade-offs.  Choose unwisely, and one may not be able to undue the relentless ticking of the biological clock.  And as far as liberal men go, well, just look at them."  Hehe.  Instapundit's perfect comment: Troll level, grandmaster.

Carly FiorinaApropos: Fiorina has Hillary defenders worried.  She'll make a great VP.

Did you know?  Just seven percent of journalists are Republicans.  Worth remembering when you read anything in the media.  I continue to maintain, the brightest people don't become journalists, so journalists are not the brightest people.

TomorrowlandLooks promising: trailer for Tomorrowland.  On the list.

(I've had an uneven experience with movies lately; walked out of Kingsman [hated it], walked out of While We're Young [boring], and loved Woman in Gold [compelling].  It's all about the target IQ in the Director's head [memo to self, must look up political affiliation of Directors of movies.]  So there you are.)

Totally agree: What really caused the world's worst financial crisis (in 2008).  Here's the formula:

  • The federal government pushed banks and Fannie/Freddie to lend more money to poorer-than-average Americans so that they could buy houses

  • The flood of money on easy terms (0% down, etc.) drove up the price of houses to the point where poorer-than-average Americans could never hope to pay off loans

  • By 2008 half of all mortgages in the U.S. were essentially subprime

  • Fannie/Freddie told everyone that less than 1% of their portfolio was subprime (a lie)

  • When people discovered that the U.S. mortgage market was primarily subprime they panicked

  • Mark-to-market accounting rules made banks look great on the way up but exacerbated the panic on the way down

Worryingly, the same conditions that caused the crash of 2008 are still present.

Glenn Reynolds notes: An inconvenient truth about homeownership: Policies aimed at decreasing inequality by helping the poor buy homes often do the opposite.

this is ArtIn re: Regarding Art, Vulture on the New New Museum, the Whitney.  "Museums have changed - a lot. Slowly over the past quarter-century, then quickly in the past decade.  These changes have been complicated, piecemeal, and sometimes contradictory, with different museums embracing them in different ways...  The museum used to be a storehouse for the art of the past...  Now the museum is a revved-up showcase of the new..."  Yes!  All art was once contemporary!

the Kano modelWhy you'll hate the Apple Watch.  Linkbait for sure, but an interesting discussion.  TL;DR: you'll hate it at first (because it doesn't work well as a watch), but you'll love it over time (for the other things it does).

This will be big: Like Uber but for shipping stuff, Shyp raises $50M.

Sniff: Makerbot's saddest hour.  Could be another case where a big not-cool company (Stratasys) buys a small cool startup and kills it.  I love my Replicator 2 - the best toy ever - but I am not tempted to buy a new one.

Graham Bower: How to turn great IOS app ideas into something real.  You need an amazing developer :)

Alejandro Valverde wins Leige-Baston-LeigeLast week was big in cycling, with the Ardennes Classics, and also big for Alejandro Valverde, who finished second in Amstel Gold, then won Fleche Wallonne and Leige-Baston-Leige.  He's one of my favorite riders despite his alleged doping issues back in 2008.

Onward!  A big week ahead featuring a little road trip to Pahrump, Nevada and a little climb up Towne Pass in Death Valley.  Stay tuned...

 

the Hubble at 25: Celestial Fireworks

Monday,  04/27/15  10:46 AM

Wow, cannot believe, the Hubble Space Telescope has turned 25!  So interesting that the original images were a huge disappointment, due to spherical aberation, but new cameras and computational techniques overcame the limitations and turned it into an even huger success.  Unquestionably one of mankind's most important space missions.

Here's the Hubble image NASA have chosen to celebrate its 25th birthday, entitled Celestial Fireworks:

(click to enbiggen)
(click to enbiggen)

Awesome!


 
 

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