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Archive: March 7, 2016

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Iditarod: day one! ... and they're off

Monday,  03/07/16  07:55 AM

And they're off!  In perfect weather, the 86 competiting teams of the 2016 Iditarod left Willow Lake yesterday afternoon, and are now mushing along.  Observers agree the trail conditions are perfect, hard and fast, but not icy.  The challenge for the would-be winners is holding their teams back so they have enough energy in another week.

Iditarod via Google street viewIf you're following along, here's another way: Google brings Street View to the Iditarod!  Cool.


Iditarod - bonfire at Finger LakeOne of the interesting thing about sled dog racing is that a lot of the action takes place at night; the dogs run better in the colder air, and the difference between experienced mushers who know what to do and rookies is more pronounced in the dark and cold.  The picture at left is classic Iditarod; the checkpoint at Finger Lake, bonfire burning, teams resting in the snow, framed by the Northern lights.

[The pictures are from the amazing Sebastian Schnuelle, a successful musher in his own right who is following and blogging the race, and taking a bunch of great pictures.  Be sure to follow him on the Iditarod website.]

The map below shows the location of all the mushers; most have past through Skwentna and are now on the trial to Finger Lake, with Nicholas Petit pushing ahead and leading the race.  From Finger Lake the teams start the long climb up the East side of the Alaska Range up to Rainy Pass.

Cheers and stay tuned!

Iditarod 3/7/16 at 6:48 AST - click to enbiggen
(click to enbiggen amazingly)

[All Iditarod 2016 posts]



Monday,  03/07/16  09:31 AM

A rare Monday morning filter pass ... I spent the weekend sick, and have now recovered ... did manage to get some interesting things done, including 3D-printing a fantabulous marble machine :)  And in the meantime, it's all happening...

Unbelievably, it is snowing in LA!  Yes indeed, when I left my house early this morning there was a serious downpour, and when I reached my client's office in download LA there was snow on the ground and on the cars.  Wow.  You live long enough you'll see everything.

the Reagans campaign in 1976Amid all the heated politics of this Presidential year, it's easy to forgot that this isn't the first Presidential race we've ever had, and some media are apparently unaware that America has seen hotly contested primaries before.  This is more proof, if any were needed, that the smartest people don't become journalists, and hence journalists are not the smartest people.  Ed Driscoll blogs about the "Gell Mann Amnesia Effect":

You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well.  In Murray Gell-Mann’s case, physics.  You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues.  Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward - reversing cause and effect.  I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories.  Paper’s full of them.  In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read.  You turn the page, and forget what you know.

This happens constantly.  Think about a subject you know well.  Does the media cover it accurately?  I'm confident to say no they do not, without even knowing what subject you chose.

This is why I'm not so worried about the decline of journalism.  Here's a boo-hoo article: What happens when no one wants to print stories anymore?  Well here's what happens: bloggers, Twitter, etc pick up the slack.  And somehow everyone is better informed than before, without professional journalists filtering the story.

I will admit there will always be a role for serious investigative journalism, like that chronicled in Spotlight.  But who will fund it?  A little appreciated site-effect of the awesome Craigslist is that it is putting newspapers out of business.

the Reagans in 1952 at the Stork ClubYou probably read that Nancy Reagan just passed away, at 94.  Here's a classic picture of the Reagans in 1952, at the Stork Club in New York.  Wow, another world.

Flyover Nation, by Dana LoeschSpeaking of another world, I love this: Flyover Nation.  The tagline is perfect: you can't run a country you've never been to.  It's bad grammar but makes a perfect point; our candidates generally come from the big cities on the coasts, but there's a whole big nation in between...

I see where Peyton Manning is going to retire.  So be it.  He had a great career and is going out on top.

Who could have predicted this?  The music startup meltdown.  "Startup founders overestimate just how much music matters to the average person.  When you love music, you surround yourself with similar people, and that creates a confirmation bias  - everyone wants to share playlists and discover new bands just as much as you and your friends!  But really, they don’t.  The average consumer is happy to listen to the radio or Pandora, see a few concerts or a festival once a year, and leave it at that."  Perfect point.

Apropos: check out These are the startups pitching at the Brooklyn TC meeting.  I go to a lot of these "speed dating for companies" events, and I must tell you 99% of all "companies" are really just "products", and not actually interesting ones at that.  I think too many people start companies to start companies, instead of having a genuine interest in solving a real problem.

TechCrunch sound a similar theme: After the gold rush.  "Those hordes of ambitious entrepreneurs still stampeding to the Bay Area in the hopes of building their Minimum Viable Product, getting into Y Combinator, and growing their app into the Next Big Thing–they're already too late. That era is behind us."  Mercifully.

the most dangerous writing app ... don't stop!Speaking of strange new products; here we have The most dangerous writing app.  You pick a time interval, start typing, and then you must continue to type, or you will lose everything.  Wow, *that* will blow up writer's block!  [Thanks, Josh!]

Did you see this?  Intuit are selling their Quicken business to private equity firm HIG Capital.  My longtime friend and ex-colleague Eric Dunn spearheaded this transaction, and will now be running the new Quicken business.  Best wishes to him!

Deep sea Octopus ... Casper?And here we have a brand new Octopus species discovered at 14,000 feet under the ocean: Meet Casper.  More proof that just when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is so much more than you imagined.



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Correlation vs. Causality
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Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
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how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
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your cat for my car
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world population map
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vote smart
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introducing eyesFinder
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still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained