Archive: November 20, 2008

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"Reflections" (New Yorker 11/17/08)

Thursday,  11/20/08  09:04 PM



The New Yorker celebrates :)  Well done.



black is the new black (New Yorker, 11/18/08)

Thursday,  11/20/08  09:12 PM


I must admit, the New Yorker staff are better winners than losers.
The 11/17 issue was their post-election celebratory effort, and although there was a little gloating, mostly there was good analysis and some sober contemplation of the road ahead.  Now that they won, perhaps they can go back to non-partisan analysis instead of being such incredible shills.  We'll see...



Brazilian food innovation

Thursday,  11/20/08  09:18 PM

The other day in my travelogue from Brazil with more from Rio I mentioned a little hole-in-the-wall where I ate lunch, which featured an interesting innovation, apparently common throughout Brazil; a buffet where you pay by the pound.  It was a nice system, you pay only for what you eat, and you can have a lot or a little depending on how hungry you are (and how good the food looks :)  Brazil has a lot of people, a lot of poor people, a lot of people who don't have enough to eat every day, and in consequence serving you only what you want to eat is an important meme.  Even the wealthy do not waste food.

One night we had dinner in a fantastic Churrascaria, a Brazilian steak house, where the staff brought a continuous stream of joists of meat right to our table. 

You choose which ones look good, and they slice off a piece for you.  I say continuous but actually there was a simple pacing mechanism, a little round card which was green (Sim = yes) on one side, and red (Não = no) on the other:

Put the card green side up, and meat comes to your table, red side up, it stops.  This seems like a great system.  First, you get to see exactly what you're going to eat, and it is served hot, right from the barbeque.  Second, you only eat what you want, no food is wasted. And third, you can eat at your own pace.  All the accompaniments to the meat are available at a buffet - salad, grains, vegetables, etc...  again, you take only what you want.

I have to smile as I recall this São Paulo restaurant was named "Texas de Brazil"; just as we think of Brazilian or Argentine meat as being really good (and it is), they think of Texas.  The grass is always greener...

The emphasis on eating only what you want is important, I think we could use this in the U.S.  There are restaurants I frequent - you do too, I'm sure, (the Claim Jumper chain comes to mind) - where you get a huge serving, more than anyone could possibly eat, which you have to pay for, and the remainder of which after you eat is subsequently thrown out.  Not only is it wasteful and expensive, but you are encouraged to eat too much :)



Thursday,  11/20/08  09:36 PM

I need an attitude adjustment...  spent the whole day "behind" (after being up late last night, and sleeping in), and never caught up.  I have more to do than I could possibly do in a day, nothing different about that, but it is the negative delta that makes me feel behind.  Some days you have more to do at the end than the start, blech.  Even worse I felt so behind that I didn't ride, which of course took away something which makes me feel good and added guilt :(  Maybe blogging will make me feel better?  We'll see...

Jason Fried explains why the Drudge Report is one of the best designed sites on the web.  Despite being really ugly.  I have to agree, actually.  I don't visit the Drudge site often - I use the RSS feed - but the one-page site is definitely iconic. 

Philip Greenspun has an economic recovery plan for the United States.  It's pretty comprehensive and defies synopsis; please click through and check it out.  I don't agree with Philip on everything, but he makes sense. 

Topspin CEO Ian Rodgers on the death of the music CD business: "I don't care".  Nobody does, least of all artists or fans.  The music business is thriving, but it has changed dramatically, too. 

This looks Amazing: the Oblong demo, courtesy of Brad Feld, an investor.  The interface is very Minority Report -like.  Whether it could be used for useful programs remains an open question; it sure would be great for games...  Slashdot has more

The other day I noted Google's new voice search for the iPhone... well it turns out apparently it uses private iPhone APIs to interface to the proximity sensor.  How interesting... now we have to ask, did Apple provide the info to Google?  If Google reverse engineered the APIs, did Apple know?  They've apparently allowed an application which violates their terms-of-service to be in the App Store, did they do this deliberately? 

The cutest thing you'll see today (or possibly any other day): the furby-like Indonesian Pygmy Tarsier, thought to be extinct but now found!  How great is that? 

Very cool: Adobe releases a C++ compiler for the Flash runtime.  This could potentially be really helpful for me / Aperio...  a way to port server subroutines into a cross-platform client.  Performance could be an issue, but still. 

Bertalan Meskó on the Evolution of Writing.  I agree that blogging is an evolutionary step from writing, but not so with Tweeting...  that seems like an evolutionary step from texting.  I still don't get Twitter, even after Bertalan's explanation

Related: Robert Scoble left a message on FriendFeed: "I invested a lot of time this year in FriendFeed and Twitter instead of my blog. Was that the right decision?"  Bertalan thinks it was, but I don't, at least not if Robert's goal is to reach as many people as possible with his ideas.  Twitter and FriendFeed are echo chambers consisting of people you already know, while a blog is read by many more people many of whom you don't know.

Do I know you?  See :)



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