Critical Section

Archive: November 17, 2019

 

Archive: November 17, 2018

 

Archive: November 17, 2017

 

Archive: November 9, 2016

a new beginning

Wednesday,  11/09/16  09:03 PM

return of the elephants

Yesterday, the American people sent a strong signal.  They didn't vote for President-elect Trump or the Republican party, and they didn't vote against Hillary Clinton.  They voted for change.  They did not like where we were headed, and they said so, loudly.

In 2008 after Barack Obama was elected President, the Democratic party controlled both houses, 29 governorships, and 27 state legislatures.  But in the four elections since the Democratic party has moved further to the left and left America in the middle.  Now Donald Trump has been elected President, the Democrats have lost both houses, and they are left with only 18 governorships and 12 state legislatures.  *That* is change you must believe in.

I didn't see this coming.  I don't like Donald Trump.  But I am delighted that the era of liberal policies, free-spending big government, victimology, and sanctimonious political correctness may be brought to an end.  We have serious problems and we need serious solutions.  We cannot expect our government to provide those solutions, we can only hope that they get out of the way.  Obamacare is only the latest in a long serious of fiascos where the government attempts to manipulate a market, and causes incredible damage.  (For an earlier example, see the government's subsidy of subprime loans via FNMA and FDMC, which caused the disastrous housing bubble of the mid-2000s.)

I would guess that 75% of you, my friends and readers, are more liberal than I am.  Many way, way more.  (You are great friends for all that.)  Same for the bloggers I follow (great bloggers), my Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc.  Since last night there has been a vast outpouring of anger and frustration and denial.  It will take time to understand what happened.  But I hope those who are angry and frustrated will take that time. 

This was not about race, not about gender, not about multiculturalism, not about trivial considerations of social correctness.  You and I, we live in a bubble.  We cannot easily identify with those who cannot find work, who see their towns shrinking, their kids growing up worse off than they were, the way of life they love slowly eroding.  But that is reality for millions of people, and those people voted for change.  They are Americans of all races, genders, and cultural backgrounds (check the stats, Trump received more minority votes and more support from women than Mitt Romney).  They want to make America great again.

Let's work together and make that happen.  We learn from the past, take all the best ideas, and move forward.  I am not angry or frustrated, I am excited and energized.  It is a new beginning, let's make the most of it!

 

 
 

Archive: November 17, 2015

 

Archive: November 17, 2014

the Silent Captive

Monday,  11/17/14  10:14 PM

Magritte: the Silent CaptiveSeth Godin asks: Is a photo of a Magritte painting better than the original?

At right, one of my favorite pieces of art, Magritte's The Silent Captive.  Is this a painting of a painting?  A picture of a painting of a painting?  Or simply an idea, visualized?

Seth wraps up with "When the idea is famous enough, what is the original, anyway?"  Hehe...  BTW I must tell you Seth is one of my favorite new bloggers.  New to me, anyway.  Subscribed!

Kottke: the Work of Art in the age of Mechanical Reproduction.  "Last year, Greenheart Games released a game called Game Dev Tycoon in which you run a company that makes video games. As an experiment, they secretly released a cracked version of the game for pirates to download...with one small difference: players in the cracked version would always go bankrupt because of piracy issues."  I love it.  Be sure to check out their message board posts :)

Am I the only one who sees The Silent Captive idea in this scenario?

the Made in Space printer ... now at the ISSBut of course: there is now a 3D printer in the International Space Station.  I wonder if it can print itself?

This is quite interesting on several levels: the Desk App, a desktop app for blogging.  For OS X, and compatible with most blogging platforms.  Of course I blog on Windows and have a home-grown kludgy system which isn't compatible with anything, but ... that could change.  And in the meantime I'm fascinated by desktop apps!

In the healthy spirit of dogfooding, I see the Desk App has a Desk App Blog.  Well of course.  Awesome!  (and ... subscribed!)

 
 

Archive: November 17, 2013

Sunday,  11/17/13  11:33 PM

Spent today coding and sailing - WLYC Turkey Day (a complete drifter, but fun anyway) ...

crazy mountain bikingOkay, is this the craziest possible mountain biking video?

crazy mountain biking, tooOr is this one even crazier?



crazy mountain biking, three's a charmActually I think this one ... you will not believe it!
(These GoPro cameras are everywhere...)

This is pretty interesting ... why indoor navigation is so hard.  If you've ever been in a hospital - or a large shopping mall! - you can appreciate the need for a solution.

From Powerline: the latest in the climate fail files.  "Japan is having to revise its target upward because of its rash decision to phase out nuclear power in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. You would think environmentalists would be pleased at this. But over 95 percent of Japan’s replacement energy is coming from hydrocarbons (coal, oil, and gas). Oops."  Yeah the rationale response would have been to make nuclear plants safer, instead of getting rid of them.  The cost would have been lower, too.

Coffman pre-ampThis is great: astonishing hi-fi components.  Using tubes, of course ... as pretty as they sound.

3D-printed space homesExcellent: USC professor receives NASA grant to develop 3D-printed space homes.



NASA's Maven probe, to MarsGood thing, because NASA is sending another neat probe to Mars.  Perfect location for the next housing settlement :)

the Willis tower in ChicagoSo ... which skyscraper is tallest?  It's complicated...  when is a mast a tower, and when is it "just" an antenna?  I love the concept of "vanity height"; the percentage of a building which is above the highest habitable point.



baby hedgehog!Wrapping up, here we have a baby hedgehog, after a bath.  You're welcome :)

 
 

Archive: November 17, 2012

 

Archive: November 17, 2011

 

Archive: November 15, 2010

blogging while high

Monday,  11/15/10  12:24 PM

blogging while high - 37,208'From the "I'm doing it because I can" department, here I am at 37,208' feet, blogging while high above Arizona on my way to Boston...  I must tell you I am not in a great mood, although I'm listening to Dance-y music and it's helping (Afrojack!).  Maybe I should have some Chardonnay, that might help even more...  stay tuned :)

An honest and introspective note from a failed startup founder: Why Wesabe lost to Mint.  A couple of pull quotes with my highlights:

“Mint focused on making the user do almost no work at all, by automatically editing and categorizing their data, reducing the number of fields in their signup form, and giving them immediate gratification as soon as they possibly could; we completely sucked at all of that.”

“You'll hear a lot about why company A won and company B lost in any market, and in my experience, a lot of the theories thrown about -- even or especially by the participants -- are utter crap. A domain name doesn't win you a market; launching second or fifth or tenth doesn't lose you a market. You can't blame your competitors or your board or the lack of or excess of investment. Focus on what really matters: making users happy with your product as quickly as you can, and helping them as much as you can after that. If you do those better than anyone else out there you'll win.”

This seems dead on to me.  Do you use Mint?

I have to agree with this: Obama's India trip was worth all the money.  Even though it seems he came back empty-handed, without even a token diplomatic victory.  The thing is, international strength comes from internal strength...

Instapundit quotes Ed Morrissey: Who could have warned us that a man who served seven years in the state legislature and three years in the senate would not have been prepared to be President?  John McCain did.  And so did Hillary Clinton.

This is awesome: a Dutch bricklaying machine.  Streets paved with brick look good and wear well, and now they are easier to make, too.

Chinese jetlinerHaving just visited Bejing and Shanghai, this seems entirely plausible to me: China to build own large jetliner.  We're going to have significant competition from Asia in every market, and we better be ready.

Let's abolish the TSA.  Yes!  Anyone who thinks all that rigmarole we go through at the airport enhances safety is kidding themselves.  They're constantly re-fighting the last war.  Apropos: How Israel handles airport security, "The word 'profiling' is a political invention by people who don't want to do security.".

From Wired: How to make amends in the digital age.  Good to know.  I especially like the advice about Tweeting something boring; same for Facebook and blogs!  Your penance is to do something sufficiently interesting to make it worthwhile :)

Garrotxa - the drug of choice :)Aha!  Cheese addiction explained.  Garrotxa *is* a drug, I knew it :)

I totally called this: GPS-enabled smartphones putting squeeze on GPS makers.  My Palm Pre phone has the best Nav app I've ever seen, including realtime traffic etc., for $0.  Meanwhile the system in my car sucks like a Hoover and cost $big.

Facebook - now with email?And so Facebook have announced email messaging, aka "the social inbox".  Here's Ars Technica's take, I haven't digested yet.  Huh.

Proof: just because you can, doesn't mean you should :)  My mood is improving, seems blogging while high helped!

(And meanwhile, tomorrow is just another day that you'll never forget...)

 
 

Archive: November 17, 2009

Origin of Species Revisited

Tuesday,  11/17/09  10:21 PM

Darwin and Origin of SpeciesHappy Anniversary to Origin of Species, Charles Darwin's amazing work, unquestionably the most important work of natural philosophy ever published.  On the occasion of the work's 150th anniversary, New Scientist has a great survey by Steve Jones, Origin of Species Revisited:

Unique among scientific theories, evolutionary biology finds its roots in a popular book by a single author.  Darwin presented a new and radical view of existence: that life has changed over time and space, in part through a simple process called natural selection.  To a modern reader Origin of Species seems lengthy indeed, with only a single illustration to enliven its 150,000 words.  But Darwin was a clear thinker and the book is an impressive piece of advocacy.

It is amazing that after all this time, all the evidence in favor, and all the debate, there are *still* so many people who don't think this theory is true.  Apparently about 40% of U.S. citizens.  Clear evidence of the ongoing influence of 2,000-year-old religious teachings in our present day lives.

 

Tuesday,  11/17/09  10:47 PM

A really long day, whew.  Up at 0400, drove down to Vista, and meetings and presentations and conferences all morning, over lunch, all afternoon, and over dinner.  I know, I know, queue the violins.

Cyclelog: squeezed in a tough 25 miler through Vista, down to Oceanside, and along the beach back to Carlsbad.  Man I needed that...

drinking and driving don't mix :)Maserati abuse!  If you drink, don't drive.  And if you drive like Michael Schumacher, don't mix a drink :)  [ thanks, Craig ]

Win 7 so far so goodToday was my first on the road with my new Win 7 laptop.  I enjoyed the battery life :)  Didn't have any problems with WiFi, which was good, but missed Sprint PCS (my new laptop has an Express Card slot, so I had to order a new Sprint modem).  Win 7 is rock solid at going to sleep and waking up, and hot docking.  I don't like the trackpad support; you have to click to give focus to a window before brushing the pad scrolls.  This might be a configuration option; must investigate.  Anyway still so far so good.

Actually I have to say there is one thing definitely better about Win 7: the way Explorer handles image thumbnails.  Under XP rendering thumbnails was excruiatingly slow and buggy.  Not any more.  Yay.

The eight best questions we got while raising money.  A guest post on TechCrunch by Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin.  They are all great.  Interesting that Roelof Botha of Sequoia is featured prominently; I remember Roelof as a colleague, he was CFO of PayPal in the early days.  Whip smart.  I am not surprised he is a successful investor :)

Bad Code Offset - 10,000 lines!The Alliance for Code Excellence is selling Bad Code Offsets.  I love it.

I know a few people / companies who should be investing in these...

 
 

Archive: November 17, 2008

Monday,  11/17/08  09:43 PM

Really back today, from Brazil, it already seems a bit of a dream...  and I'm back to reality, with commitments and deadlines, and a long todo list, all against a backdrop of steady gloom and doom from the economy.  I didn't even ride today, was too tired and too cold, ended up having a nice dinner with some colleagues though, in which we sampled the inimitable Stag's Leap "Artemis".  Perfect for washing down great fish and bad news.

Powerline analyzes the 2008 Presidential election and concludes It's all Relative.  "This year's presidential election came down to two questions: first, do we want major change and second, which candidate will provide it. Both questions proved fairly easy for the electorate to answer in the end: it wanted significant change and believed that Obama, not McCain, would provide it."  That seems exactly right to me.

Chris Cillizza in WaPo: Five myths about an election of mythic proportions [ via Althouse ]

  1. The Republican Party suffered a death blow.
  2. A wave of black voters and young people was the key to Obama's victory.
  3. Now that they control the White House and Congress, Democrats will usher in a new progressive era.
  4. A Republican candidate could have won the presidency this year.
  5. McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin.

I agree with his list.  #4 seems especially true.

Navy wind farmEco-geek tells us Navy-Funded Wave Farm Under Way in Hawaii.  "Ocean Power Technologies and the Navy have joined together to create a small wave farm off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. The company has installed one of its PowerBuoy units one mile off the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corp Base, with plans to install others in the near future to generate 1MW."  Excellent!  Although don't in any way confuse this with a viable alternative to fossil fuels.  That list has one entry: nuclear power.

You may have read that President-elect Obama is going to appoint a CTO for the country.  Robert X. Cringley volunteers for the job.  "The U.S. CTO would have to be a dynamic leader capable of speaking his or her mind and holding his or her own against a tide of critics and special interests. Hey, that's what I do every week (sometimes twice)! Maintaining and defending technology opinions is my only business and some people think I do it too well, which I take as a compliment." :)

the Rocker movieHas anyone seen The Rocker?  It looks pretty good... never heard of it though.  Apparently it features an iMac prominently, as a kid uploads video of her uncle the rock drummer, and it goes viral.

Volvo C30 T5Whenever you read about car companies lately, you read how they don't make good cars anymore.  Well, unless it is about Toyota.  So here's a nice review of the Volvo C30 T5 on TTAC (not noted for being kind :).  "The Volvo C30 T5 is all the car you need. The more I drove it, the more I was struck by the feeling that this is exactly what a car should be. And nothing more. To recap: it’s good looking with a great interior, has more than enough power and handles with class-leading aplomb.

I'll add parenthetically we have a 1998 Volvo station wagon with that same T5 engine; weirdly, it is a turbocharged sideways-mounted front-wheel-drive 5-cylinder engine.  It's powerful, thrifty, and lasts :)

supersonic business jetThis is excellent: Popular Mechanics says Supersonics Return: Engineers to Push Business Jets Beyond the Sound Barrier.  "Civilian aircraft designers have been trying to get back into the supersonic business ever since the 2003 forced retirement of the Concorde, but they have been hampered by the Federal Aviation Administration and international regulations that prohibit sonic booms over inhabited areas. Now, in a bid to bring Mach-busting jets to wealthy travelers, aircraft vendors including Gulfstream and Lockheed Martin are designing airplanes with features such as retractable nose spikes that may reduce these bone-rattling noises."  Can't wait to fly in one, it is when not if...  [ via Instapundit ]

Finally, did you know?  Unhappy people watch TV, happy people read and socializeAnd blog!!

 

 
 

Archive: November 17, 2007

 

Archive: November 17, 2006

 

Archive: November 17, 2005

 

Archive: November 16, 2004

Tuesday,  11/16/04  11:48 PM

The Ole filter makes a pass...

I got a nice chuckle from this Slashdot thread, discussing an image billed as the "largest digital photograph in the world".  It is a mere 7.5GB!  Of course my little company Aperio routinely creates virtual slide images which are 40GB or more...  (Check 'em out here.)

Nasa X-34A scramjetThis is cool: Nasa's X-43A Scramjet breaks Speed Record.  "NASA's X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books again Tuesday, demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.  Preliminary data from the scramjet-powered research vehicle show its revolutionary engine worked successfully at nearly Mach 9.8, or 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 110,000 feet."  Useful for commercial travel?  I don't know.  I believe at that altitude there isn't enough air to cause sonic booms, anyway.

Tim Bray considers Garden Walls.  "In 2004, America Online doesn’t matter much any more."  Amazing how true that is - I can definitely remember the time, not so long ago, when CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL were all bigger and "more important" than the 'net - in approximately that order.  How the might have fallen.  And Tim puts his finder on the reason - open vs. closed.

Eye TVPowerbook Central reviews the EyeTV, a software/hardware PVR for Macs.  Looks pretty cool.  I wonder if these PC/Mac-based PVRs will really take over from dedicated boxes like Tivo.  You still have the "last 30 feet problem" (the distance from your office [where your PC is located] to your family room [where your TV is located]).   [ via Matt Haughey ]

And this is bad news - Tivo to add banner ads when fast-forwarding.  Links this LATimes article, which reports "By March, TiVo viewers will see 'billboards', or small logos, popping up over TV commercials as they fast-forward through them, offering contest entries, giveaways or links to other ads."  I might have to get a PC/Mac-based PVR.  My instinct is that if this is true, it is the beginning of the end for Tivo.

Matt also reports on WM Recorder, an application that formalizes the "analog leak" by letting you capture streaming windows media to a file.  He notes "Seems like they'll be on shaky legal ground as many pay-only audio and video services use the windows media format solely to get around people doing this."  Yeah, like CinemaNow and MovieLink.  But isn't it too bad that building software which does something useful like this could be illegal?

You're all big RSS fans, right?  (You're not?  Well then please please please check out my RSS cookbook.  But I digress.)  Okay, so if you like RSS, do you like OPML ?  Do you even know what it is?  Dave Winer thinks "lurking in OPML is another big idea".  I agree, stay tuned for more...

dating at the Apple StoreLooking for love?  Then perhaps you should visit the Apple Store.  Is this a great time to be alive, or what?  [ via Cult of Mac ]

Okay, now I've heard it all: David Lee Roth is a paramedic in New York.  I am not making this up.  [ via Xeni Jardin ]

And speaking of Van Halen, here's a website which will sing any lyrics you want!  [ via collision detection ]  More proof, if any were needed, that you can find anything on the 'net!

 
 

Archive: November 17, 2003

Monday,  11/17/03  09:52 PM

Right now my frames poll is running 20% in favor, 69% opposed, with 9% undecided.  If this was a fight, they'd stop it.  Wow.  I guess it's goodbye to frames...

So Mr. Arnold is now Governor Arnold.  And he wasted no time living up to his first campaign promise by canceling the 300% increase in vehicle registration fees.  "Schwarzenegger now has to deal with a shortfall expected to be at least $11.5 billion next year -- a gap he promised voters he would eliminate without raising taxes or cutting education spending."  I see the world's biggest bond issue, coming up...

Dave Winer proposes we ask candidates to pledge to keep the Internet free of interference from the entertainment industry.  "It's a poison pill that a candidate we can trust would happily take."  Absolutely.

Garry Kasparov crushes X3D Fritz in game three to tie the match.  Some observers feel this was the best game a human has ever played against a computer.  "X3D Fritz looked completely confused almost from the beginning.  The opening moves of the game created a closed position with very little active play for the powerful pieces.  In such positions the human ability to make long-term plans becomes far more effective than the machine's ability to calculate variations."  So perhaps the chess-domain Turing test has not yet been passed!

SpaceX has posted an October update.  I love reading about these guys, who are attempting to send a man into orbit as a private venture.  (Note: this is not to be confused with the X-prize contestants, who merely are attempting to send a man into space, a much easier proposition.)

Meanwhile, NASA is debating how to kill off the Hubble Space Telescope.

MSNBC: Seven flights of fancy that fizzled.  #1 on the list is flying cars, of course.

Adam Cvijanovic 01
(click to visit gallery)

This work is just beautiful!  Check out Adam Cvijanovic's Bellwether gallery.  [ via Ottmar Liebert ]

Scoble links some awesome Sand Art.  Wow!

Dave Sifry: Technorati growing pains.  "Right now, we're adding 8,000-9,000 new weblogs every day, not counting the 1.2 Million weblogs we already are tracking.  That means that on average, a brand new weblog is created every 11 seconds.  We're also seeing about 100,000 weblogs update every day as well, which means that on average, a weblog is updated every 0.86 seconds."  Yep, it's just a fad.

Oritron networked DVD playerSlashdot has an interesting review of the Oritron networked DVD player.  Looks really cool!  I wonder how long it will take before all DVD players are networked as a matter of course?

You know that SPOT watch you've had your eye on?  Better be patient, as Microsoft, Partners delay SPOT watches.  So be it.

Seiko have figured out a way to charge batteries wirelessly!  Now that would be useful.  Almost as good as getting rid of batteries altogether.  Wireless power, anyone?

I'm going to let y'all stew on the hexagonal cubic bisection stuff a bit longer.  I know you've been working on it nonstop :)

 
 

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