Saturday, June 30, 2007

"The 100 Acre Personality Quiz"


Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

HeraldNet: 1,652 filmed running lights

HeraldNet: 1,652 filmed running lights

This intersection seems to spawn recklessness. To be fair the ticketed, this light is poorly timed; I can think of several times that, in low/medium traffic I've needed to wait several cycles to get through the light. Not that it excuses running the light, but frustration increases the likelihood. I guess that makes this rather akin to road-rage.

This does force one to ask a bigger question, though. There is something rather Orwellian about this system. Is this the first step down a slippery slope towards perpetual governmental monitoring? It may seem paranoid, but I find the question interesting. At what point do we say "no" with a camera based justice system? Cameras at work, at the store, at school, on the bus, now intersections. Where is the "line", and how do we quantify it?

Friday, June 29, 2007

So damn tired...

I have no idea what’s up, but I’m just feeling wiped out. Some blasted bug, I guess. Argh…

 

It’s Friday, if you can believe it. And Sunday is July 1st; we’re officially over ½ through this year. Time’s moving fast enough that I’m starting to feel motion sickness.

 

I’m hoping the long anticipated healing of my car’s transmission will be complete sometime today. Though I do love taking the train, I do miss my car. Not particularly green of me, I know, but I like having flexibility in the morning (only two trains from Edmonds to downtown Seattle; the last leaves at 7:05). Plus, I’m rather anti-social in the mornings.

 

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lynnwood Beauty Academy

As a child of Lynnwood, this strikes way too close to home.

eMusic

One worry I had when I chose an iPod over sattelite radio was that my music would become stale. Howver, with so many podcasts, internet radio, and services like eMusic, Magnatune and the like, there is no excuse for musical stagnation. Heck, it's no effort at all, really. I love Irish music, and have spent my train ride to work listening to podcasts by LiveIreland.com and the Thistlepod (NPR's Thistle and Shamrock). All kinds of great new music. Life is good!

Our Family Hostage Crisis - New York Times

Our Family Hostage Crisis - New York Times: "Our Family Hostage Crisis"

It's stories like this that make me a fervent believer in critical importance of open, transparent government. The leaders of Iran believe that they are exempt from scrutiny, that they are accountable to no-one.

On only one point do I disagree with Professor Bakhash. The actions of Iran in these cases don't make the government look "inhumane", they make them look evil. This shows them to be beasts willing to brutalize anyone who, ever so slightly, diminishes their power.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Save Net Radio

I am a heavy user of net radio. As such, I’m a bit impacted by today’s “day of silence”. However, I fully support the efforts that our net radio friends are working on to save this medium. The way things are right now, net radio stations are looking at a 300% royalty increase that will be effective on July 15th. And that increase will be retroactive to January. The net effect (please forgive the pun) will be many of these stations imploding. I am in full support of artists being compensated for their work. However, this will remove a revenue stream as well eliminating a channel to expand their fan base. There are two big losers with this system: artists and listeners.

 

I urge you to head over to savenetradio.org to learn more about the issue. From there, you also will be shown how to contact your representatives in Congress, where there is legislation underway to reverse this. With all of our efforts, we can bring about a more sensible solution to ensure that artists are fairly paid and internet radio is able to stay on the “air”.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Facebook and MySpace are like chalk 'n' cheese

Facebook and MySpace are like chalk ‘n’ cheese

 

Steve O’Hear does an excellent job of breaking down the differences between the two popular sites. He really brings out the somewhat subtle differences (at least the MSM hasn’t caught them yet). After reading this, I’m breaking down and looking into Facebook.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Junior Boys Godard Mashup

The way this blends music with the film snippet is amazing. Plus, I love this 80's-esque electronica.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cars

As a "true" American, I have a deep love for the automobile. However, I'm a bit urban in my love. Though I have a deep respect for the historical American auto (watch my head turn after a Hudson or Packard), for my Modern car passions, I turn to Europe.

German cars, mostly Volkswagen, garner my focus (It is important to note that I currently drive a Honda Accord; necessity, not passion). (I don't know if I would have a wider range of loves if my wallet were fatter.) Comically, my favorite VW has been the van. Though discontinued in the US, the Multivan still exists. The fact that I covet one of these, and would be willing to ship it to the States (with a few years of saving my pennies, of course) marks me as a geek (as if I needed another marker). I guess I'll need to put the Linux penguin on the back window.

What I find fascinating is the "why". I can't put my finger on a particular wow factor. Some of it comes from my cyclist/outdoorsy days, where the VW van was so cool...I could transport my bike and not need to pull the wheels off! I get to my destination, pull out bike and ride. Woo hoo! Perhaps it's the link between the hippie and the bus. I think that it's pretty deep, deeper than the cool lines and advanced design. Because, let's face it, even the Multivan is not radically designed.

Well, who knows. I do love the things, though. And, yes, I'm planning my trip to the holy land of Wolfsburg someday.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yahoo! Go

I was just perusing the Yahoo Go website (Cingular section) and was quite surprised to see every single phone on the “coming soon” list. As I clicked around on the other carriers, I saw every phone with every carrier was “coming soon”. Then, bright guy that I am, I went to the main Yahoo Go page and saw that Yahoo Go 2.0 is coming this Friday (aka: tomorrow). We’ll see what comes.

 

Also, though the 750 is on the “coming soon” list, the 680 is not on the list, which bugs me. I’m not going to be in the market for anything as upscale as the750 for sometime. Oh well, I guess I’ll need to find another app to play with.

I wonder if Medusa's curse was purely optical. Perseus was able to handle her severed head, but not gaze upon it. Why?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

China overtakes United States as world's biggest polluter

Well, China has been working hard to catch up to the US in many areas, why not this one? As a response to Zou Ji’s comments (he of Renmin University and quoted in the article below). "When we become richer and richer, and feel safer and safer, then people will have more time and more resources to pay attention to something not directly linked to themselves", you need to realize that the costs of retrofitting your economy to both stop polluting as well as clean up your mess will be prohibitively expensive. China, both as a state and its citizenry, would be far better served by its leaders being more forward thinking. Additionally, the long-term health of their eco-system, of which their bodies are mere extensions, is something that’s hard, and expensive, to buy back. This attitude is much like, knowing you have cancer, to wait until you’re richer so the financial bite is less painful.

 

Anyway, as is so often the case, Grist says it so much better than me.

 

 

And They're Off
China overtakes United States as world's biggest polluter, agency says

The United States is no longer the world's biggest polluter. That honor goes to China, which emitted some 8 percent more carbon dioxide in 2006 than Bushland, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. But on a per-person basis, Americans pollute roughly four to five times more than folks in China. And while the emissions surge is tied to a booming industrial landscape -- China opens the equivalent of two coal-fired power plants each week -- that growth is spurred in part by Western consumers buying goods made in China, and by outsourced manufacturing. So: still your fault. While China's leaders work on a climate plan, observers say residents are more worried about their immediate environs: "Most people in China are either unaware of or uninterested in climate change," says Zou Ji of Renmin University. "When we become richer and richer, and feel safer and safer, then people will have more time and more resources to pay attention to something not directly linked to themselves."

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straight to the source: The Globe and Mail, Reuters, 20 Jun 2007

straight to the source: The Guardian, Jonathan Watts and John Vidal, 20 Jun 2007

straight to the source: BBC News, Roger Harrabin, 19 Jun 2007

straight to the source: The Guardian, John Vidal and David Adam, 19 Jun 2007

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Work with me, people!

On my drive in this morning, I watched a Krispy Kreme truck twice start to merge right with a line of cars where he wanted to be. Even if the driver’s eyes didn’t work, fortunately, the ears did. Part two of my saga: the fellow who tries to pass me on the left…when I’m in the left lane! Then the fellow just zips over several lanes without the slightest awareness of the wee little stick on their steering column. Then there was the several miles where I was stuck behind 3 cars, all in a row, dawdling along the highway. 30 in a 45 in the left lane…sigh…at least I made it in.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Google launches public policy blog today

Google launches public policy blog today

As a political geek, this will be fascinating, I’m sure. However, I haven’t had a chance to review this yet. I’ll take a peek and get back to you all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Woman dies in ER lobby as 911 refuses to help

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19207050/

 

I’m completely horrified; however, not as much at the 911 operators as at the staff of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital. To just watch someone bleed to death is horrific enough, but to have a job as a medical staffer and do so is a beastly low.

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Look who's joined the browser wars...

 

Safari on Windows? Right on! However, I can’t get it to work on my work computer since I can’t configure proxy settings. I’ll give it a whirl at home soon, though. Exciting news; but I’m not sure of what value it is. I would much rather had heard an announcement about .Mac upgrade/update/merge with Google. I’m quite close to dropping it altogether.

 

 

FW: Cell phone bill, text message ban signed into law

Several of my friends have been unaware of the status of this bill. If you live in Washington, get used to no texting while driving and you may want to spring for a decent headset. At least you have until January (texting) and July (handsfree) to get it all figured out.

 

Cell phone bill, text message ban signed into law

http://www.komotv.com/news/local/7470007.html  

Story Published: May 11, 2007 at 4:42 PM PDT

Story Updated: May 12, 2007 at 4:48 PM PDT

By Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Hang up or pay up: Using your hands to talk on the phone or tap out a text message while behind the wheel of a car will be illegal next year.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the measures into law Friday, flanked by children who suffered serious injuries after being hit by distracted drivers.

Under the new laws, drivers who read and compose text messages or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device could face a $101 ticket. The text-messaging ban takes effect Jan. 1; the cell-phone law will be enforced starting in July 2008.

Drivers are exempt in some situations, including emergencies, and neither offense will be enough to get a driver pulled over by the police.

But parents of children injured in collisions with such drivers said the new laws are still a major improvement.

Cindy Baker-Williams and her son Billy were among those who stood by as Gregoire signed the bills. Billy, 12, suffered a brain injury four years ago while walking to the school bus. Witnesses to the crash said the driver was talking on a cell phone at the time, Baker-Williams said.

"It's a very emotional time," she said. "Behind this bill, we see faces of people in our community who hopefully will never have to go through a pedestrian-car accident."

Billy Williams, who was in a coma for nearly a month and suffered injuries to his brain's speech centers, now helps his mom keep an eye out for distracted drivers.

"Every single time I see a person on a cell phone, I say 'A person on a cell phone!' I just, like, scream it out," he said Friday.

Drivers who cut in line at the ferry terminal also could get a $101 ticket and be sent to the back of the line, under another measure the governor signed Friday. The ferry-line law takes effect in July.

A fourth driving-related bill approved by Gregoire takes aim at dangerous commercial vehicles, including increased penalties for multiple safety violations.

The bill was inspired by two scientists who were killed in 2005 when a load of logs spilled from a speeding, overweight truck near Humptulips.

 

 

 

 

 

Fish Story

Well, this is probably the weirdest fish story I’ve heard in a long time.

Jumping sturgeon injures woman in Fla.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ROCK BLUFF, Fla. -- A woman was injured over the weekend by a leaping sturgeon, the latest incident involving the flying fish on the Suwannee River, officials said.

Tara Spears, 32, of Bell, was knocked unconscious by the animal on Sunday while boating on the river north of Rock Bluff, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported.

She was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was expected to recover, the agency reported.

The large, prehistoric-looking sturgeon have hard plates along their backs. They can grow up to 8 feet long and up to 200 pounds.

In April, a leaping sturgeon severely injured a 50-year-old woman from St. Petersburg who was riding a personal watercraft on the Suwannee River. She suffered a ruptured spleen and had three fingers reattached by surgeons, but she lost her left pinkie finger and a tooth.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1120AP_ODD_Leaping_Sturgeon.html?source=mypi

 

Monday, June 11, 2007

Word 2003 Fun

Every time I clicked on a word, the blasted “Research Pane” (pain?) opened up. Every single document that I opened was doing this, even after shutting down and restarting Word. I could not find a obvious reason for this happening, so I tried the standard Windows software repair tool: reboot. This seems to have worked.

News to consider

iPhone launches on 29 June
Apple meets scheduled release date

 

  • Though initially I was filled with geek-lust for the iPhone, I’m not so certain that I’ll dive into this market. Of course, the $1,500 I’m about to dump into my transmission might also help cool that lust.

 

 

Former Apple execs join Palm board
Rubinstein brings considerable hardware expertise; Anderson brings cash

 

  • I really, really hope that this can instill some vigor and innovation back into Palm. Next month I’m due to replace my Treo, and it’s very unlikely the next choice will be the 680. I’m leaning towards the Cingular Blackjack. More to come.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Quote of the Day

"To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking."

Johann Goethe

 

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rep. Jefferson

Diversity Inc. has an interesting piece on the embattled Rep. Jefferson. I’m not surprised that some folks are calling for his resignation, and that some are holding their tongue. The statement that “the Congressional Black Caucus is asking that Jefferson not be tried in the ‘chambers of public opinion’ after supporting the House vote” is what grabs me, though. I, too, would like for this machine to remain silent until due-process has been rendered. However, the chamber of public opinion is brutal, relentless and merciless. Unless he can be proven innocent, he will be ground by this machine, and probably so even with irrefutable proof. Such is the nature of this. If he’s innocent, I wish him the best of luck facing this. If he’s not, he would do well by all parties (especially himself) to resign. Only he knows the full truth, and he would be wise to act on that.

Quote of the Day

“Thus the paradox in all this abundance is that the easier it is to create and store info, the harder that info is to manage, and the greater is the threat that we will not be able to find something when we need it.”

 

– Deanna B Marcum, New York Times

 

I’ve certainly found this to be true as I navigate my information saturated life. Data, data, data! How doth I love thee even as I loathe with venom. Anyway, thank goodness for tools such as Google.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fox News and other gaffs

From Grist Magazine

The brilliantly irreverent folks at Grist say it better than I could. Enjoy!

 

http://www.grist.org/news/daily/2007/06/06/5/#comments

 

That's It, We're Not Washing Our Undies Anymore
Groups ask U.S. EPA to ban chemical in detergent that feminizes fish

Your detergent gets your clothes clean, sure -- but does it feminize your trout? Five green groups and a labor union are petitioning the U.S. EPA to ban a family of chemicals used in cleaning products that have been linked to gender changes in fish. Each year, the U.S. produces about 400 million pounds of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates, much of which ends up in waterways by way of sewers. In lab tests, the endocrine disruptors have been shown to cause male fish to develop female characteristics; finned fatales have also been found in the wild. While the effects on humans aren't known, the groups -- led by the Sierra Club -- say the environmental risks are "unreasonable." Some major companies, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble, have stopped using the chemicals, and Wal-Mart has asked its suppliers to phase them out as well. The EPA, which is instituting its own voluntary "Safer Detergents" program, has 90 days to respond to the petition. We'll give you one good guess on the outcome.

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straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Marla Cone, 06 Jun 2007

straight to the source: The Kansas City Star, Associated Press, David Dishneau, 05 Jun 2007