Critical Section

Archive: September 1, 2009

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Tuesday,  09/01/09  09:20 PM

And so it is September... already!  Soon it will be Fall, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and then 2010.  Where did this year go?  Man, I guess it seems like a lot has happened, but it also feels like this year fairly flew by...  cannot believe it.  And yet, and yet; I have blogged more this year than any since I started in 2003, and it has created an incredible record of all these amazing things that happened.  Cool.  I guess we'll see what September brings...  kids are back in school, football is back on TV, and at Aperio we're making a push for a great Q3 and preparing for the Pathology Visions conference, one of the highlights of our year.

I have to agree with Dick Cheney on this one: "We had a track record of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda.  The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it?"  Yeah, but...

L.A.'s Station FireI won't do much news-blogging here, but the fires surrounding L.A. are pretty horrible.  The Station Fire is the worst, and seems to be getting worse :(  Whenever we have these fires, I have to say I am so grateful to the firefighters; we are fortunate there are people who are willing to do those risky jobs.

supertanker - a firefighting 747One of the weapons used by the firefighters is this supertanker 747, which can drop 20,000 gallons of fire retardant chemicals in one shot.  Excellent...

Martin Mars flying tankerBut even more excellent is this Martin Mars, a WWII-vintage flying boat converted into a tanker which can scoop up and deliver 7,000 gallons of water at a time. How cool is that?

Apple event: it's only rock and roll (but we like it)Apple are planning one of their famous "events" on 09/09/09: It's only rock and roll (but we like it).  Fueling speculation about what will they announce.  Not their oft-rumored tablet, surely, not with that tagline...  actually the big rumor is that Steve Jobs himself will preside!

imaginary concertsThis is really cool: the New Yorker's music critic Alex Ross considers Imaginary Concerts.  "Some authors have accomplished the rare feat of inventing musical works that seem nearly as real as those we have heard."  And so now we have to ask, what makes them beautiful?  It can't be anything happening at the ear level, since this music doesn't even exist.  Somewhere in your brain you can synthesize the same sort of signal stream that results from sensory input.  I'm listening to Metallica's Enter Sandman just now...  in my head.

Hyundai Equus - a would-be Lexus competitor?So, is the Hyundai Equus a genuine Lexus competitor?  I don't know about that... it might be a fine car and seems to be not-hideous-looking, but the branding isn't there for Hyundai.  Very hard to live that "low-end" reputation down.  Although I guess it is worth noting, Toyota had it at one time, and they've successfully gotten rid of it...

Tesla Model S - the real competition for Lexus and EquusHere's the real competition, the Tesla Model S.  Beautiful and all-electric, and coming in for about the same price as the Equus.  Or so they say...

The New Yorker has a fascinating article about Elon Musk, Tesla's co-founder and CEO, and the quest to make a business out of selling electric cars.  They really seem to have a chance.

Space Shuttle blasts off (at night!)Boing Boing: Why the Space Shuttle should always take off at night.  It's those beautiful pictures, stunning, as the Discovery blasts off into space...

...but SpaceX has won a contract to resupply the ISS, replacing space shuttles for that purpose.  Congratulations to them, and to us taxpayers, that will save a ton of money.

An interesting concept: things that are better than a New York City hot dog.  I could think of a few, starting with an L.A. City hot dog :)  Actually it is a good list; I particularly like "Prince Edward Island", for sheer randomness.

Woman fired for using upper-case only in email.  AS SHE SHOULD BE.

George Hincapie wins U.S. Pro Road Race championshipDave Zabriske wins U.S. Pro Time Trial championshipCongratulations to George Hincapie, who won the U.S. Pro Road Racing championship (his third), and Dave Zabriske, who won the U.S. Time Trial Racing championship (his fourth).  They will represent us well as they wear the stars and stripes next year!

The ZooBorn of the day: An adorable newborn Zebra
Looks a little like George and Dave, doesn't it :)
ZooBorn: newborn Zebra


televisions everywhere (and it sucks!)

Tuesday,  09/01/09  10:19 PM

our future is BrazilHave you noticed, as I have, that TVs are sprouting up everywhere?  I guess you could hardly miss it, but what a horrible trend.  Just as everyone is bemoaning the death of mainstream media and how there's 600 channels and nothing on, we are slowly but surely turning into Brazil (the movie, not the country).

I've noticed this for a while now - flatscreen technology has made it easy to stick TVs everywhere, and somehow because something is possible it is considered desirable.  I hated it when airports filled up with CNN (still do).  I hated it when restaurants filled up with sports (still do).  Note: restaurants, not sports bars, we must keep the distinction clear, although what with TVs everywhere, soon there won't be a distinction.

TVs everywhere! - not a good trend...The other day I found TVs in my supermarket.  Time to change markets, but it won't help; soon every market will have them.  The other day I found TVs next to my gas station's pumps.  Time to change gas stations, but it won't help; soon every gas station will have them.  The other day I found TVs in my favorite breakfast dive, the Denny's in San Juan Capistrano.  Time to change places to eat breakfast, but it won't help; soon every breakfast place will have them.

The worst part of this trend is when the sound is on.  There's a little boutique hotel in Carlsbad called the West Inn, I stay there often, it's a nice place.  But in the breakfast room they have not one not two but three TVs, each tuned to a different channel, with the sound on!  And not a remote control to be found.  How anyone can eat breakfast with CNN, a reality show, and kids cartoons blaring at you is beyond me.  I shall no longer eat breakfast there, even though it's good and included with the room; it is a lousy way to start the day.

There's a TV in my company's lunchroom, always on, usually surrounded by people watching.  The new opiate of the masses, to be sure.  Anyway I hate this trend, I hate it.  I hate it a lot.  It's enough to make me carry one of those remote controls that turn off every TV.  Which will probably not work, just make me unpopular.  I must tell you, I regard this as a leading indicator of Unnatural Selection...


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About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained