Critical Section

welcome to 2009

Thursday,  01/01/09  11:27 PM

Welcome to 2009!  Yay...

Mark Sanchez and USC dominate the Rose BowlSpent today eating mostly, interspersed with hanging out with friends and watching football.  I ate about 25lbs of shrimp, followed by 25lbs of tamales with chili, washed down with 25 glasses of Pinot.  (And the less said about the See's candy with the Warre's port, the better, although it was excellent; thanks Kev & Cyn :)  I think I'm going to have to ride for a week to work it all off!  Although I'm not a fan of the way the college bowls have spread themselves out over early January, it does have the effect of reducing overlap on New Year's day; with a dual-tuner Tivo you can now pretty much watch all the games.  And we did :)  Sorry to you Penn State fans but the Rose Bowl was over in the first twenty minutes, and featured extended garbage time after that...  Mark Sanchez (right) looked every bit as dominating as his predecessors Carson Palmer and Matt Leinert.  Now we root for Ohio State to upend Texas Monday Night, and then for Oklahoma to defeat Florida in the "national championship game" next Thursday.  Then we can have the conversation - again - about whether the Trojans aren't really the best team in the country.  They sure looked it today.

It is interesting to read my post from a year ago bemoaning my Moxi.  I had such trouble recording the New Year's games that I vowed to replace it with a TivoHD.  Well I did, and I haven't looked back; the Tivo UI really is better, and it really does make a difference.  (And I didn't even have a hard time with the cablecards, it all "just worked".)

Regarding the situation in Gaza, Powerline links Alan Dershowitz: Israel, Hamas, and moral idiocy.  Imagine living next door to the worst neighbors imaginable, they're not only loud and obnoxious, but they keep heaving bricks over the fence into your yard, and occasionally kill your kids.  You would take action after a while, right?

In the same vein, Barry Rubin asks The Gaza War, is it really so hard to understand?  No.  Perhaps Israel just has to invade and take over the entire Gaza strip area.  Seriously, at this point that's the only thing I see that could work.

More pleasant news: French New Year's "revelers" torch 1,000 cars.  Of course the religion and social identity of the revelers is not revealed, but of course we know these are Muslim immigrants.  I wonder at what point the weirdness of our politically correct apologizing will stop?  ("The French Interior Ministry described the night as 'rather calm and without major incident.'")  Maybe in 2009 we'll come to our senses?  We can only hope.

weird storm over Greenland...I've been saving these pictures of a weird storm over Greenland.  Somehow they seem appropriate to thinking about Muslim terrorism and atrocities.  Imagine how cool it would be if these people just focused on improving their own lives, using technology and working together to make a better place for themselves.  Nobody cares what they believe, how they celebrate god, as long as they leave everyone else alone.  But sadly, they don't.

weird storm over Greenland(Please click through to see these pictures in more detail, the cloud formations are amazing...)

Some better news: Mars rovers approaching five years of services, still kicking.  "Together, the rovers have sent back over 250,000 images, traveled more than 13 miles, climbed a mountain, descended into craters, struggled with Martian sand traps and aging and failing equipment. They survived dust storms and sent back more than 36 GB of data via the Mars Odyssey craft permanently in orbit around Mars."  And their planned mission life was 90 days, how amazing is that?

the shopper's brainAnother fascinating article from the year-end issue of the Economist: The way the brain buys.  I can see now why they've tried piping chocolate smells into the Nordstrom's shoe department :)

Maybe this can explain why T.O. sales seem to be an exception to dismal season.  "Early indications are that retailers in the Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village area enjoyed a successful holiday shopping season, bucking the national trend and seeing an increase in shoppers and in sales."  So be it...  especially amazing considering that the two largest employers in the area are Amgen and Countrywide, both of which had a bad year.

driving while phoningIn Seattle, after six months drivers ignoring cellphone ban.  Yeah, in Los Angeles, too.  What a dumb law.  And now we have another which bans texting, too.  Next thing you know the government will presume to tell us whether we can eat while driving, or hold the steering wheel with one hand.  Please note: I'm not saying using a phone or texting is safe, I'm saying it shouldn't be the government's job to keep us from doing things that aren't safe.

Patterico's Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2008.  "It happens every year: I read every post I’ve written over the past 365 days about the Los Angeles Times . . . and I think to myself: this is just unbelievable. There’s something appalling and eye-opening about seeing an entire year’s worth of the paper’s bias, omissions, and distortions gathered in one post."  The LATimes has indeed become a joke.  And this year, a bankrupt joke.  But read the post anyway because it is truly amazing how biased a major newspaper can be...

Steve Jobs at MacworldThe Industry Standard has collected Ten Years of Steve Jobs at Macworld.  "The videos start with the July 1998 Macworld expo in New York, in which Jobs demonstrated the iMac. The videos end with his 2008 keynote in San Francisco, where he unveiled the MacBook Air. Other highlights include the iPhone announcement at the 2007 Macworld, and his 'one more thing' moment in 2006, when he showed off the MacBook Pro for the first time."  Great stuff, I learn so much from watching him, not only for his presentation style but his positioning.  He's the greatest tech marketing person of all time.

As a side note, it is incredible to view the clip from 1998 which starts the series, and to realize that was just ten years ago!  Wow, computers have evolved amazingly in that time.

From Bill Burnham: 2008 Internet IPOs in review.  A short story since there weren't any :)  I wonder if 2009 will be better?

I like this from "I couldn't possibly fail to disagree with you less."  I agree :)

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Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
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Moving Mount Fuji
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IQ and Populations
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visiting Titan
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Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
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how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
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your cat for my car
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world population map
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introducing eyesFinder
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where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained