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Archive: July 15, 2014

Le Tour 2014, rest day 1: pics and thoughts

Tuesday,  07/15/14  10:42 PM

Vincenzo Nibali looks solid to win the yellow overall jerseyWe've [finally!] reached Le Tour 2014's first rest day, and what's left of the Peloton must be quite grateful.  In sheer numbers this tour hasn't necessarily been more brutal than others, but seeing so many top riders like Mark Cavendish, Andy Schleck, Chris Froome, and Alberto Contador crash out has been amazing.  It leaves the field clear for Vincenzo Nibali to win - doesn't look like anyone is going to challenge him (assuming he makes it!) - but it also clears the field for a bunch of contenders to finish on the podium.  And most of the big climbs still lie ahead.  Should be great.

Peter Sagan has the green points jersey all but locked upOther interesting subplots include Peter Sagan - he's got the green points jersey pretty well locked up, but will he win a stage?  And Roman Bardet and Thibaut Pinot compete for the white best young rider jersey, as well as top Frenchman and possibly first Frenchman to be on the podium for many years.  And Joaquim Rodriquez' pursuit of the polka dot climbers jersey.

Mark Cavendish crashes out in stage 1Mark Cavendish crashes out in stage 1 ... did not win any stages this year, leaving the sprints for Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.

Chris Froome crashes out in stage 2Chris Froome crashes out in stage 5 ... didn't even make it to the cobbles.

Lars Boom wins stage 5, an iconic Paris-Roubaix stageLars Boom wins stage 5, an iconic Paris-Roubaix stage in the rain over cobbles.

Alberto Contador crashes out in stage 10Alberto Contador crashes out in stage 10 ... didn't even make it to the high mountains.

Thibaut Pinot and Roman Bardet battle for white best young rider jersey, and best Frenchman, and the podium!Thibaut Pinot and Roman Bardet battle for the white best young rider jersey, and best Frenchman, and the podium!

Joaquim Rodriquez looking good in the polka dot best climber jerseyJoaquim Rodriquez looking good for the polka dot climbers' jersey.

Cheers ... the Tour resumes tomorrow, with two lumpy stages which might see breakaways get clear, and then later in the week two serious mountain stages in the Alps.

[ Le Tour 2014: all posts | index ]



Tuesday,  07/15/14  10:52 PM

Fluffy, kernelized!We people are pretty visual creatures, even when talking about abstract concepts we "visualize them" to gain insights.  I was thinking back to the idea of visualizing algorithms, and reflecting on how much it helps with insight and communication.  All the more reason to have great visual search :)

The picture at right has been "kernelized" by eyesFinder's Vector Quantization algorithms, breaking the image into little circular regions.  I've found this visualization is a great way to share how the algorithm works, even if the underlying math is hidden.  Oh, and please click to enbiggen for the full effect.

IOS 7 vs IOS 6After giving IOS 8 betas the old college try, I've fallen back to IOS 7.1.2.  IOS 8 is simply too buggy, there are too many things that don't work.  And sadly it isn't any better; I was hoping Apple would retrench on some of their UI stupidity and go back to buttons that look pushable, sliders that look slidable, etc.  I totally wish there was a supported way to fall back to IOS 6.  I fear this "flat look" is going to be with us for some time to come, despite being both uglier and harder to use.  I've mentioned before, I have an original iPad running IOS 5 which I use from time to time, and every time I pick it up I wish we could have that look and feel back.

Apropos: the best way to get ideas is to suffer with something that doesn't really work.  Amen.  IOS 8 has given me a lot of good ideas :)

Star Wars trailer from 1976Wow, the first trailer for Star Wars, in 1976.  I remember exactly where I was when I first saw it - my room at college - and I remember exactly my reaction - I must see this!  Never mind the crappy non-CGI spaceships... they had me at hello.  Excellent.

Microsoft's CEO needs a new editor.  "Tortured statements from CEOs mean one thing: I have something to hide."  Um, yeah.  This is one of the things we liked about Steve Jobs, when he had something to say he just said it.  Oh, here is a translation.

Marcel Duchamp's Art Deco chess set (now 3D-printable)Awesome: 3D-printable version of Marcel Duchamp's art deco chess set.  I love that we can do this sort of thing now, and so easily.

Voronoi chess setAh, but is it cooler than my 3D-printable Voronoi chess set?  I don't know...

Dave Winer: comparing APIs.  "I just spend 3 months wrangling with the current Twitter API, and got more or less the same functionality from Facebook in four days."  I feel like Twitter never really wanted third-party adoption, while Facebook early-on realized it was a huge key to growth.

Also from Dave: Why doesn't Google have a Share This Search button?  Great question.  eyesFinder will have one :)

Nichola Tesla labElon Musk donates $1M for new Tesla museum.  Excellent.  The Oatmeal strikes again!

I hope they get Arc Attack to play at the museum's opening :)

Vantablack, the blackest black yetScientists claim creation of blackest black yet.  Hmmm...  this is tough to visualize :)

Does anyone outside of silicon valley want a smartwatch?  Good question.  I've been wearing my Pebble Steel off-and-on for the past week, and I kind of like it.  I wish it looked cooler, but the functionality is pretty nice and occasionally even rises to "useful".

ZooBorn: Scops Owl chickOne of my favorite ZooBorns ever: a Scops Owl chick.  He looks like trouble :)

I have to say that of all the blogs to which I subscribe, ZooBorns most consistently puts a smile on my face :)


complexity: Men vs Women

Tuesday,  07/15/14  11:04 PM



Archive: July 15, 2013


Archive: July 15, 2012


Archive: July 15, 2011

TDF stage 12 / mountains! - Sammy Sanchez wins as GC contenders take more time from Contador

Friday,  07/15/11  02:23 PM

(sorry couldn't post last night; we were celebrating Bastille Day in Pasadena ... we did toast Thomas Voeckler :)

Samuel Sanchez attacks on the final climb to win stage 12!Wow, did you see yesterday's stage 12?  Amazing!  *That* is why you watch the Tour, what a great stage.  You can read the blow-by-blow as Sammy Sanchez prevailed in the end (yay, he's a great rider, surprising to read that the reining gold medallist hadn't won a Tour stage before this one).  This was the first stage where we really saw how this Tour is shaping up, and here's what we learned:

  • Thomas Voeckler is magnificent!  On Bastille Day he hung right up there with the strongest climbers in the world to keep his yellow jersey.  Vive Le France!
  • Sammy Sanchez can pedal up an elevator.  When he attached on the final climb up Luz-Ardiden nobody could follow him, it was only a matter of whether he burned himself up.  He has the polka dots now and he could keep them all the way to Paris.
  • Frank Schleck is en forme.  When he attached at the end, the GC contenders could not go with him.  He ran out of road or he might have caught Sanchez too.
  • Ivan Basso is looking great.  He hung right in there with everyone, calm and cool, and finished in the lead of the GC contenders' pack quite easily.  He's a good time trialist and if he continues to climb like this, look out.  Remember he finished second to Lance twice.
  • Cadel Evans is looking great too.  As the guy with the lowest time of the GC contenders and as a great time trialist himself, he doesn't have to attack, just hold serve.  Which he did.
  • Andy Schleck was pushed.  Yeah he finished with the GC men, but he had to work to stay up there.  Interesting.
  • Alberto Contador is hurting.  He will heal and get stronger, but today he could not follow Frank's attack, and in fact he lost more time on the GC pack at the finish.  The key to this Tour is how fast he heals, can he be the Contador of old in the Alps?
  • Andreas Kloden was hurt before this stage, and fell again during.  I think he's too injured to be a factor.  Too bad, because like Basso he's finished second twice and he's a great rider.
  • Levi Leipheimer is a great rider but can't climb with the world's best.  He was dropped there at the end.  Boo.  The Shack are snakebit in this Tour.
  • Robert Gesink is too injured to be a factor.  Luis-Leon Sanchez is not a world-class climber.  Looks like Lawrence Ten Dam (aka "wolfman") is Rabobank's best hope for a high GC spot.
  • Johnny Hoogerland gave defending the polka dots a great shot, but he didn't have it, if indeed he ever did.  He gets the hero award for riding this stage with 33 stitches however, they should have a purple jersey for most courageous :)
  • Tom Danielson looks to be the top American on GC, riding for Garmen.  Christian Van de Velde will be a good ally for him, and Garmen have the second strongest team in the race.
  • Leopard Trek have the strongest team, no question.  Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Stuart O'Grady, man.  They drove the peloton up the hills in this stage.

I gotta say, I love Jens Voigt; not only did he absolutely power the peloton over the hills in this stage, he has a blog, and recently did a great interview of his teammates the Schlecks (PDF) in Bicycling Magazine.  Go Jens!

Tour de France stage 13 profileWell that was great, so what's on for stage 13?  Well it features an HC climb up Col d'Aubisque but given the distance from the summit to the finish, it doesn't look like a day for a climber to win.  I suspect a break will form and an all-arounder will prevail, as the GC men wait for stage 14 which is another killer.  Stay tuned!

[ Tour de France 2011: all postsindex ]


camping in Pasadena

Friday,  07/15/11  03:03 PM

Shirley and I spent yesterday in Pasadena, walking around Old Town and touring the Norton Simon museum, and generally having a nice day.  We enjoyed a great Bastille Day prix fix at Maison Akira (Beef Bourguignon, of course, with a nice Burgundy ... and of course we toasted Thomas Voeckler).  And then today we headed over to Azusa Pacific college to watch the "camp finals" of Megan's Cheerleader Camp; wow, is she good!  A nice couple of days...

Pasadena City Hall

in Old Town ... hats!

Green Castle

the Norton Simon Museum...

...with a lot of beautiful stuff to see

Auguste Rodin is amazing

the beautiful sculpture garden


I love this piece ... with its sense of peace

Claude Monet is one of my favorites

and Vincent Van Gogh ... what can you say
this piece has to be seen from across the room, it looks like a backlit photograph

a huge work which looks photographic from across the hall
up close it is all just blobs of paint

celebrating Bastille Day at Maison Akira

Go Cheer Camp!  Go Lions!  Go Megan!

Onward into the weekend!  A nice relaxing one ... before we head out to Paris and Amsterdam :)


TDF stage 13 / mountains - Hushovd wins improbably in most excellent fashion, GC unchanged

Friday,  07/15/11  06:05 PM

Thor Hushovd improbably but most excellently wins stage 13 with a great breakaway across the mountainsYou could have made a lot of money betting on Thor Hushovd to win today's stage 13 in the TDF, but you would have had to had big balls, exactly like the kind he displayed in getting into an early break, attacking from it, getting caught and passed on the massive climb of the Col d'Aubisque, but then blasting down the back at 70mph to win.  Wow.  You sit down, you turn on the Tour, and you never know what will happen.  Most of the rest of the peloton took the day off, but poor Andreas Kloden had to withdraw from his injuries, the fourth Radio Shack rider to do so.  Thomas Voeckler held the yellow jersey easily, and Jeremy Roy took over the polka dots by winning up the Aubisque.  By winning the stage Hushovd moves up in the green jersey competition (but can anyone explain why he didn't contest the intermediate sprint?)

TDF 2011 stage 14 profileOn to tomorrow, perhaps the decisive stage of this year's tour, with six climb on offer including a mountaintop finish at the top of Plateau de Beille, one of the most feared climbs in the Pyrenees.  I'm looking for a big break to take off over all those early climbs, with the GC leaders staying together, but then heavy attacking from the base of the final climb.  My own pick is Contador to win - he will assert himself, he has to - but Andy and Frank Schleck will stay close enough to avoid damage, and Cadel Evans will move into yellow.  Wild cards include Ivan Basso, who looked great in stage 12, and Samuel Sanchez, who won it and who could reclaim polka dots.  I cannot wait!

[ Tour de France 2011: all postsindex ]


pitch to the bishop (New Yorker, 7/4/11)

Friday,  07/15/11  06:12 PM


(winner of a New Yorker caption contest)


month one

Friday,  07/15/11  06:38 PM

mountain biking has been one way I've spent my time offSo ... it has been one month since I started my extended vacation, four weeks since I returned from a business trip to Europe and began ... "doing nothing".  I've done quite a bit of cycling, both mountain and road (including the Grand Tour and the Death Ride), and some sailing (including winning the Round the Island Race), and some traveling around (including touring the Sierras and camping in Pasadena), and planned for our cool vacation to Europe which starts next week.  I've spent lots of time hanging out with Shirley and my girls.  In between I've done a lot of thinking, too.  I have some stuff to work on, and I'm working on it.  So far it's been a great break.

Oh, and of course I've been following the Tour! and ... blogging!

high-speed rail: planned corridor designationsThis is too bad: Let's face it, High Speed Rail is dead.  Like so many of President Obama's promises, this one was not to be.  Go anywhere in Europe and you are immediately struck by how much better their public transportation is than ours.  I know, they have more density, and that is important, but we just don't invest in infrastructure anymore.

Similarly, we don't invest in R&D anymore: SpaceX: Life after the Space Shuttle.  I am a big supporter of private industry over government funding, let's hope SpaceX are successful.

Mona Lisa in 140 dotsThis is amazing: Mona Lisa in 140 dots.  Up close, nothing, across the room, well, you can see for yourself.  There are two effects working together here; first, the way your brain integrates dots of color into a coherent picture, and second, the fact that you've seen the Mona Lisa before, so you recognize it immediately.

Bonus question: okay, so the Mona Lisa itself is copyrighted, but what about this "piece"?  Are these 140 dots copyrighted too?  At what point does a derivation like this become a separate work?  Fascinating.

John Patrick considers Google+ and Facebook.  "Circles are a big deal and clearly the differentiator."  I agree all friends are not alike, and it is sometimes tough to decide who should be a Facebook friend.  (Or a LinkedIn connection.)  But I could see gardening your circles taking quite a lot of time.  Who gets to see what?  Which people belong in which circles?  If it becomes too much work, you won't do it.  Right now Google+ is new and people are spending a lot of time with it, but will they continue to do so?  We'll see.

BTW so far I have evaded Google+'s charms; I have a number of invitations but somehow having one more place to "do stuff" is not compelling.  I already have a little dance between my blog and my Facebook.

Bonus: What Apple could learn from Google+.  Huh.  I keep wondering, what is the problem they're solving here?

Eichhorn accordionsThis is awesome: a YouTube video about the Schwyzerörgerli, a Swiss accordion first developed by the company Eichhorn.  I love it!

'405' - in honor of carmaggedonTomorrow is carmaggedon!  In celebration, please watch this classic short movie, "405", a cult classic.  [ via Doc Searles ]


Archive: July 15, 2010

TDF stage 11 / sprint / Cavendish wins another in a wild and woolly sprint

Thursday,  07/15/10  11:14 PM

Cavendish outsprints the field - again - to take stage 11 convincinglyTDF stage 11 profile - field sprint!(Yawn)  185km of riding, an early break, swept up, and then 500m of furious sprinting, resulting in another Cavendish victory.  The sprint itself was kind of interesting, with Cavendish's HTC teammates mixing it up with Tyler Farrar's Garmin team and Alessandro Petacchi's Lampre boys; in the end HTC's #1 leadout rider Mark Renshaw was disqualified for unsportsmanlike riding.  The replays seemed to indicate it was a fair decision, as he head-butted one rider and nearly drove another into the barriers.  When the dust had settled Petacchi gained enough points to tie Thor Hushovd overall, taking the green jersey by virtue of his two stage wins.  It is certainly an interesting competition among the sprinters.

Tomorrow is a rather interesting stage; some Cat 2 climbs and a lot of rollers, with a really steep short climb up to the finish.  It seems like a day for a break, with some climbers fighting it out to the finish, but there could be a battle between the GC contenders at the front of the main field, too.  We'll see!

[ Tour de France 2010: all postsindex ]


Archive: July 15, 2009

TDF stage 11 / flat - (yawn) another Cavendish sprint win! etc.

Wednesday,  07/15/09  11:30 AM

Mark Cavendish blasts through finish ahead of Tyler Farrar and Thor HushovdWell so much for those who said Mark Cavendish wouldn't win today because the finish was uphill; maybe the stage from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau looked tough to others, but it didn't to him, as he blasted through the finish ahead of Tyler Farrar.  (Although as Velonews notes, behind the scenes, it is harder than it looks.)

Meanwhile I thought this was interesting: Bernard Hinault says the only way to beat Astana is to attack.  I know what you're thinking, "he would say that", but he's right; nobody is going to beat Astana by sitting in the peloton waiting for something good to happen.  Maybe not tomorrow, which is a rolling flattish stage that seems made for a breakaway, but Friday back in the Alps the Saxos and Cadel and Menchov and Sastre must try something, right?  And who knows, maybe Bradley Wiggins will be the joker in the pack.  Stay tuned!

[ Tour de France 2009: all postsindex ]


Wednesday,  07/15/09  10:40 PM

Making a filter pass after a great day.  Today Aperio celebrated it's 10th birthday (10! how cool is that!) and we had a nice BBQ and speeches and a little performance from the Frozen Sextions, our house band (who are BTW really good).  It was also a productive day, and I swapped a team dinner for a bike ride.  I will have to get back in the saddle soon :) meanwhile...

BNO news!This is way cool: Breaking News Online, how one 19-year old is shaking up online media.  A classic Christensenian attack from below...

And in the same vein, Dave Winer is rebooting the RSS cloud.  "In the early days of RSS, we had the idea that instantaneous updates would be the next step.  That was 2001.  It took a little longer than we thought, but now with 'realtime' as the Next Big Thing, it's time to reboot all that lovely stuff."  As well as RSS works, you would have to say the polling aspect is not a strong point.  Some kind of interrupt scheme would be great.

C'etait un Rendez vous aka Paris at 120mph!Jason Kottke: what fast looks like.  I've seen the classic C'etait un Rendez vous before, but I never tire of it; a Mercedes 450SEL flying through Paris in the early morning at 120mph, 9 minutes' worth in one take.  Whew.  (The sound is wonderful too...)  There are some other great examples here of what fast looks like; Mark Cavendish is not included :)

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince; seemingly qualitatively better than the predecessorsIt seems the about-to-be-released sixth Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is getting rave reviews, with everyone laying stress that it is qualitatively different from the others which came before.  I loved the books and the first few movies, but have sort of lost interest, guess it's time to get back into it...

Om Malik: Meet Google, your phone company.  Hello, I've been expecting you...  welcome!

From the WSJ's Daily Startup: Any liquidity is good liquidity.  I found this interesting:

Entrepreneurs shouldn’t focus on the valuation when negotiating a funding deal, says Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital Partners. The more important factor is what his firm calls the “promote,” which is the founding team’s ownership percentage multiplied by the post-money valuation. “It represents the $ value in the ownership that the founding team is carrying forward after the financing is done,” writes Bussgang, who neatly describes the significance of this calculation….

I love this: TheScientist asks "are trees evolving to start fires?"  Roll that around in your brain a little... you could see where it might be a good strategy.  Evolution is smarter than you are :)

FREE is Free - on the Kindle!FREE is now Free - on the Kindle!  Yay, downloading it *now*.

Awesome!  Microsoft is posting seven lectures by Richard Feynman online.  If you have never heard him speak, check these out; he is amazing.

ZooBorn: tiny TapirZooBorn of the day: a tiny Tapir.  Whoa.


Archive: July 15, 2008


Archive: July 15, 2007


Archive: July 15, 2006


Archive: July 15, 2005


Archive: July 15, 2004


Archive: July 15, 2003

Tuesday,  07/15/03  10:10 PM

Remember the war?  Yeah, that war.  Well Stephen Den Beste surveys current progress, and concludes things are going well.  He thinks the next step will be greater pressure on Saudi Arabia...

Motley Fool: The Twelve Simple Secrets of Microsoft Management.  #1 is Total World Domination: "Some companies focus on the bottom line. In contrast, every single Microsoft employee is single-mindedly focused on winning 100% of their target market."  Very interesting...

New Scientist: Creatures from Primordial Silicon.  Applied Darwinism to optimize silicon circuits!

Dodge TomahawkIt's a bird!  It's a plane!  No, it's the Troncycle, a new motorcycle from Dodge.  Okay, it's really called the Tomahawk.  But you can see it was definitely Tron-inspired :)

From we now have the Mozilla Foundation, "a new non-profit organization that will serve as the home for"  So be it.  We can only hope they'll keep the browser wars cookin'; right now they are on life support.  Meanwhile MozillaZine reports AOL cuts remaining Mozilla hackers.  In other words, is on their own.

Volkswagon and Apple have teamed up for a 'Pods Unite' marketing campain.  "VW buyers who take advantage of the promotion will receive a 15GB iPod and a 'connectivity kit.'"  Does this mean you can simply plug your iPod into the dash?  Don't know...

Grokster is releasing Grokster Pro, a $20 ad-free version of their file-sharing client.  Now you can pay to get free downloads.

Gizmodo wonders: if the FAA starts allowing cellphones in flight, will there be a non-talking section?  I hope so :)  Apparently Amtrak has designated "quiet cars" on many of its trains, but it doesn't work.


About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
Aperio's Mission = Automating Pathology
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
the big day
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?