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views from Washington DC

Monday,  04/18/11  11:56 PM

I am in Washington DC today, flew in yesterday, and had a sort of "day off" in between the CAP Futurescape conference last weekend and the ACLA conference coming up this week.  I'm at the Grand Hyatt just off "the Washington Mall" and spent the day visiting two of my spiritual homes, the Smithsonian Museum of Space and the National Sculpture Garden.  Great stuff.  And in the meantime, this:

My ex-boss (at PayPal) Peter Thiel on the Higher Education bubble.  "A true bubble is when something is over-valued and intensely believed...  Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus."  No Santa Claus? 

Scott "Dilbert" Adams: The Education Complexity Shift.  A subtle point; at one time, school was more complex than real life but more recently this has been reversed.  "That means the best way to expand a student's mind is by teaching more about the practical complexities of the real world and less about, for example, the history of Europe, or trigonometry."  And of course, students should study Dilbert :) 

Pearls before Swine: It's getting harder and harder to write a college graduation card

Philip Greenspun wonders Why doesn't the average camera automatically upload?  Yeah, I've wondered that too, and this more than even the increasing quality of cellphone cameras is going to make them obsolete.  I think the answer is that cameras are not on a cellphone network (if they were, that would cost money), and free WiFi is too sporadic. 

Huh, sad: Cisco to shut down Flip camera business.  Another industry subsumed by cellphones.  My daughter loved her Flip, and I did too (used it to record some excellent rides :) but now any phone can do just as well...  I must tell you I never understood Cisco's purchase of Flip in the first place. 

Related: Scoble asks Does anyone in Silicon Valley care about Windows anymore?  Um ... Windows? 

blog review: Atlas Shrugged on the Big Screen.  Sounds like it worked, despite the double challenges of interpreting a long iconic book and tiny budget ($15M).  Can't wait to see it! 

(I am rereading the book after 30 years and loving it :)

Of course Atlas Shrugged is more than a movie or a book or a movie made from a book, it is a statement of philosophy, and some are opposed to the statement and all embodiments of it on general principle.  And yet sadly the US today is a lot like the world of Atlas Shrugged' we've gone from fiction to fact in 52 years.  (Actually 54 years, that WSJ article is now two years old :) 

Video mashup: Atlas is shrugging already.  Excellent. 

The NR: Ryan's budget passes the house.  Excellent. 

WSJ: Obama opposes spending cuts right up to the time he calls them historic.  Excellent. 

Congratulations!  Philippe Gilbert repeats and wins the Amstel Gold.  Interesting how each of the Spring Classics has its own rhythm, and certain riders excel in certain rides.  Gilbert had this one at hello. 

Moving bikes stay upright, but not for the reasons we thought.  Huh. Who knew? 

The Science of Why We Don't Believe in Science.  Of course a lot of "science" isn't real, and that makes it harder to know what to believe. 

Wow, this is pretty amazing: Backstage at the Cirque du Soleil's KA.  Another one for my "must see" list, which is getting pretty long...  what am I waiting for? 

Sarah Palinism of the day: Caribou Barbie.  Perfect. 

Courtney Fielding: Table for two and a tablet please.  Will tablets replace waiters?  I doubt it...  but there is no doubt the waiter / restaurant ordering experience could be improved. 

ZooBorn of the day: Tiny Egyptian tortoise.  Awww... 

Hey I have a question for you: should I implement Facebook comments?  I'm torn.  I've never had comments, and I don't know if I even want comments, but this seems like the easiest way to do it (aka least likely to attract spam and hence require ongoing gardening).  You can't post a comment about this - yet :) - but if you have thoughts please let me know...