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month one

Friday,  07/15/11  06:38 PM

So ... 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!

This 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. 

This 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? 

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

Tomorrow is carmaggedon!  In celebration, please watch this classic short movie, "405", a cult classic.  [ via Doc Searles ]