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wow, May!

Monday,  05/04/15  08:59 AM

Wow, May!  And what a week it was ... I drove to Pahrump, Nevada to visit my ailing aunt, via Death Valley, and on the way parked in Stovepipe Wells to ride up Towne Pass (sea level to 4,900 feet in 17 miles).  On the way I explored the "spaceport" at Mojave airport (open but quite a bit of forgotten glory), the Inyokern airport (now closed), and beautiful Red Rock Park (very much open and very much not forgotten). 

It's a dangerous business, going out your door; you step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to...

Meanwhile, it's all happening:

I have little to add to the crappy situation in Baltimore, except to observe that it reflects a class problem, not a racial problem.  In this context: White House defends Obama's record on race relations.  So weird that they feel they have to do so, who would have predicted that six years ago when he was elected? 

This is very cool: a mesmerizing visual score of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto.  The parallels between music and abstract art become very clear. 

Unsurprising: Uber are quietly testing a massive merchant delivery service.  I look forward to having my Amazon purchases - and perhaps my dinner - delivered this way :) 

I like this a lot, from Leander Kahney: In praise of the ambitious, indispensable, Apple Watch.  It was popular to praise the Apple Watch sight unseen, and is now popular to disparage the Watch also, but Leander does more than either; he considers that once again Apple have taken a chance on making a new market, and that it may take time before the market matures, or even emerges.  What was the MP3 player market like when the iPod was announced?  The smartphone market like before the iPhone?  Tablets before the iPad?  Indeed Apple have created a new category, which all the Pebbles of the world never had done. 

Big boo: RSS Graffiti have stopped operating.  This was my chosen cool way to automatically relay blog posts to my Facebook (from whence they are further related to my Twitter).  I get it; a free service cannot burn pennies forever.  Now attempting to use dlvr.it instead, stay tuned! 

The services in this "business" follow a familiar trajectory; a service proves useful, gets adopted, gets shared, gets popular, and then ... gets acquired by a real business which wants to make money.  And which discovers that adoption and popularity are not always enough.

Beautiful: Forgotten wonders of the digital world: World of Warcraft.  I've never played WOW but this article makes me want to visit.  Reminds me of the virtual worlds of Reamde and Ready Player One, which were more compelling than the real worlds which spawned them. 

And so it goes: Mercury orbiter Messenger retired after successful mission.  After being the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, it was deliberately crashed into the planet surface, capturing this last photo as it did so.  Excellent. 

Seth Godin identifies an interesting phenomenon: Discovery Fatigue.  "When Napster first hit the scene, people listened to as many different songs as they could. It was a feast of music discovery, fueled by access and curiosity.  Now, the typical Spotify user listens to music inside a smaller comfort zone.

I've thought about this already, in the context of blogging; I can remember eagerly seeking out new blogs and diligently adding them to my blogroll, even as many others did the same.  Now, I mostly just pull over the same old feeds (including Seth's).  As he notes, once you're busy with what you've got, it diminishes your desire to get more. 

Earlier this week SpaceX successfully launched their Thales mission, but they weren't ready to retry landing the stage one booster again.  fXf for the next effort to do so on the ISS resupply mission in June.  But meanwhile Blue Origin launched their first rocket into "space", 300,000 feet up, but were unable to land their booster.  Space is hard. 

Hilarious: Tesla Club Sweden: Test drive of a petrol car.  "We also begun to understand why there must be so many petrol stations everywhere, if all petrol cars always have to drive to them to refuel. Imagine if you could charge your electric car only at the power companies’ most expensive fast chargers – and nowhere else!

Since this is Star Wars day ("May the Fourth be with you"), I have to note this excellent photo series: The Empire Reboots, presaging the new Star Wars movie to be released this Christmas.  Like you, I am having difficulty exercising Jedi patience to wait for it... 

Last night we watched Avengers (Age of Ultron), or should I say the first half of it, before walking out.  Bleh to the max.  We went home and watched the Empire Strikes Back, warming up for the new sequel.  CGI action is no substitute for an interesting story. 

May the fourth be with him, too: Star Wars fans angry about Scott Walker's tweet: "Hope for the Republicans, there still is."  Ann Althouse notes: If you strike him down he will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine :)