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Food and Food Systems

I just finished "The Wisdom of the Radish", by Lynda Hopkins. Once working in business practices and environmental affairs for a large coffee company in Seattle, sustainability is part of my ethos. Thus, this work connected with me. Additionally, I have been reflecting on our food system. Concerned with how much poverty one finds interwoven; about the "additives" into our food system, enabling us to transfer food across the globe, wondering if that's good or ill; and about our ability to sustain the rapidly growing population on this planet. I must write about such soon.

A different type of insight than you get from Michael Pollan's works, yet still very insightful. Lynda's book takes you into the mind of the farmer, one trying to implement sustainable and humane practices. For a nerd like myself, I enjoy the deeper dives into practices and issues they face. The poet in me delights in her stories, word style and structure and wit.

If you are a fan of fa…

'twas the Cold Before Christmas

'twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house
We all were coughing and wheezing
Especially my spouse.

My son was wheezing
And coughing up goo.
We're hot and then freezing
Just feeling like poo.

Medicines arranged
On the counter darn well,
With hopes these germs
Would be blasted to hell.

My wife with Kleenex
I had some too.
So often we sneezed,
Then the well worn "bless you".

Bumped into the table,
Drugs all go a clatter.
Onto the ground,
This stuff that just matters.

As I pick up the junk,
I hear a strange sound.
Santa, it seems,
Well, a sniffling sound.

Lite coughing I hear,
I feel bad that I gripe,
When his nose I see,
Upon his sleeve he gently does wipe.

I hand some Kleenex,
The stuff with lite lotion.
He pats my left shoulder,
Quiet emotion.

Up the chimney he goes,
With a cough and a sneeze.
I look out the window,
He then says out to me.

"Hair we fish sticks, do awe,
Odd may comfort find ewe.
Germs go awayed,
My no…

Innovation Thoughts

"When you wish to achieve results that have not been achieved before, it us am unwise fancy to think they can be achieved by methods that have been used before."

- Sir Francis Bacon

It's critical, then, to expand knowledge. Study areas and ideas unrelated to your focus. Only by expanding your understanding of the world can you grab new ways of looking at the problems we are attempting to solve.

A few thoughts for your Monday morning. May your week rock n' roll and transform the world.


Messages

Lights move,
Left, right,
Flowing across screen, deceptively
Page-like.
Words of greetings, news
Of friends, whether across the wall
Or apart by hemisphere.
Urgency.
A dance
Based on money's
Song.

Fears

Paralyze my forward motion.
Continuously reviewed; my past.
Parse, tear apart, drift away my focus
From now, here.

Unwilling to be wrong?
High standards gone awry?
Or just internal schadenfreude?
A delight in my own misery.

Always my past,
Drug forth, tortured.
Each fault extracted
My anguish revisited;
Reborn.

Both Sides : A Project Idea

Gaza is erupting into conflict, and my Twitter feed rolls along, snippets hitting every second. I have connections on both sides. One twitter friend in particular is making a point to retweet both sides of this conflict. That morphed into an idea.

This idea: a project capturing the myriad sides to a conflict, whether violent, political or cultural. First notion was to actively research, tweeting to the hashtag
#AllSides____ (adding the issue in the blank. i.e.: #AllSidesGaza. Spend, say, an hour of focused time just tweeting every article, RTing personal perspective, all into this one stream. My goal? Capturing as many perspectives on that issue as possible in one place. Collating/curating perspectives personal and analytical.

I feel a simple hashtag feed, though, isn't enough. Yet I'm unsure what to add. Build some kind of analytic tool? Infographics? Probably would be something to consider after to curation is complete.

Or maybe not. If done right, this would become co…

Fear's Relentless Burden

Children across my life.
Odd that none suffer.
Free of disease, lacking
Any ailments that
Chill the souls
Of parents.

I shudder, fear shakes
Hard, knowing statistics
Don't lie.
Our moment comes.
May my grace be strong
Enough.

Amen.

Texting & Driving, & ...

I've heard so much discussion about texting and driving. Mostly angry rhetoric about "those guys", and how terrible they are. But the real culprit here is our lack of taking driving seriously.

Operating cars is a core part of American culture, a rite of passage, cultural status symbol (what you drive says so very much about who you are), etc. We drive so much (we invented the 'Sunday Drive), and from such a young age, it's hard to remember how dangerous this is.

Thousands of pounds of mass hurtling through space, bearing an amazing amount of force. And yet we eat, apply makeup, text, talk...rarely do we fully focus on driving. Funny, really, that we minimize the power of driving. Such a powerful act, controlling amazingly powerful forces, keeping everyone around you (as well as yourself) safe. That wound be worthy of adding to your resume for anything less mundane.

The solution requires a more rudimentary cultural-psyche change than many realize. We must eleva…

War, Ceasefires and Respecting Soldiers

Pulling into work, my iPhone's AP app (here's CNN's bit on this) pinged me with the news that Syria had agreed to a four day truce starting Friday. Though magnanimous and all, my first thought was "why tomorrow?" I never understood why ceasefires aren't implemented immediately, regardless of whether we're talking about today's story in Syria or WWI's armistice. I understand that it takes time to communicate out to the lines. But why didn't the negotiators, or the government at a higher level, have a plan before they walked into the conference room. Perhaps its the finer details that need ironing out before communications can be launched. Perhaps the 1 day timeline is actually aggressive. However, it's hard to imagine anything more simple than a radio communication of "stop shooting". Mainly, I expect the Syrian forces are more organized and able to disseminate and act on this info quickly. The resistance, however, I expect to b…

Swimming in Contacts

A self-observation: I have several hundred contacts in my addressbook. Synced automatically with the cloud, my laptop, and OTA with my iPhone, I just haven't thought about them. I can search for who I want. Or, even better, when I'm typing an email, boom, it pops up. Done!

However, I'm certain I have duplicate info, and, worse for a data-driven geek like myself, bad data . I know I have expired email accounts, old phone numbers, and worthless addresses. A quick skim shows people I haven't talked to in years, as well as people I don't know. (I've long had the habit of making sure key project contacts were in there "just in case". Some never needed calling, and, thus, their relevance to me has faded form memory.)

Cheap storage and good search tools have made this something of a non-issue. But I like my data clean and accurate. Plus, this does provide opportunities for confusion. I have a few folks I infrequently email, and have with multiple email addr…

The Joys Of Spotify

I've been streaming via Spotify pretty exclusively for some time. Haven't ponied up for the premium plan yet, but look to do so. I really love having the whole world of recorded music at the tip of my ear.

Another piece I love: the ability to share music.

Here's one of my favorite tunes, by one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel.

Enjoy!

What I've learned from migraines

One thing I've learned from my migraines: limits. I can't do it all. My system stops me too often, and too completely. I'm completely ineffectual once a migraine sets in. Intense pain, light sensitivity, and an inability to focus collude to stop me cold. Sleep is the only way forward. Though my meds work amazingly well, they aren't perfect.

The scattered foci of my life can't flourish anymore. One main drive, with my other interests secondary. That's all I really can muster anymore.

Though part of me is saddened by this realization, mainly I feel relief. I don't need to save the world. Just do as much good in my place. Go in piece, I guess.

A Moment of Quiet Victory

Well, folks, I had one of those moments that I like to claim a minor life victory. One of those times when things just seem to layer against you; just one thing after another. Claim those moments, own them and hold them as banners of triumph when you're feeling vanquished. Anyway, this one, simple it may be, involves my glasses. My dear, sweet son decided it would be gloriously amusing to color my left lens...with a Sharpie. After a bit of research, which turned up all kinds of horrifying suggestions (rubbing alcohol, hairspray, WD40...on my glasses???), I finally turned to my creativity. A dab of dishwashing liquid, rubbed gently upon the lens, the left to soak during the day. When I removed the glasses from the water...viola! No ink at all! So, I'm quite pleased with myself. So, no, no, NO to the other solutions; they will damage your lenses. Gentleness, along with the universal solvent and time, saved the day. Cheers!

iOS & Gmail : Failing Flags

After I upgraded my iPhone 4S to iOS 6, one of the big issues I was faced with was flagging emails in my personal domain (which is hosted by google apps). This is set-up via Exchange. Turns out the problem is manically simple: the optional domain setting. Under Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > "account name" > Account, after "Email" (which is how you name this guy) & "Server" is "Domain". After changing this from blank to "google", the ability to flag in this account came right back.

iPhone on good health! I'll add more about my iOS 6 update journey soon.

I *Heart* SnorgTees!

Ha!




Brought to you by SnorgTees, purveyors of fine t-shirts. Dressing the best dressed hipsters for weeks...er, years...

Thought of the Day

Before we go too far aggrandizing America's contributions to global culture, let's remember we also gave the world Joanie Loves Chachie and David Hasselhof. I'm afraid the Internet, Klingon translations of Shakespeare, Chia Pets nor even Snuggies can balance that equation.

Monday

Tomorrow is neigh,
Monday lurks beyond the dark,
At dawn it shall pounce.

Ok, enough on tech. Time to return to some poetry for awhile.

May your next week be glorious and satisfying.

Some additional thoughts on tablets...what about Microsoft?

This week's news about the Kindle updates has me wondering about MSFT. Something not talked about much, but strikes me as critical:  Amazon's line-up and array of price-points. Allow people of "lesser means" get into this ecosystem. People will iterate up.

Google Android and Kindle understand this. Get us in, get us great content (which we happily (?) buy), let folks iteratively (I guess that is a word) upgrade; long-term, sustainable growth. Looking back at Microsoft, I worry they won't get this. They didn't with the Zune. Every Zune came with premium pricing. Perhaps now with tablets?

Plenty of MSFT devices are coming down the pike (here's a big run-down of different MSFT Windows 8 tablets & the Surface) and that gives me some hope. Right now, though, there are several Android-eque tablets out there for < $100...(really) and even more for < $200. Without something in this price range, I worry that MSFT will not even be close to relevant.

Well,…

The Kindle Fire, Tablets and Reading's Future

Watched the Amazon press conference today. Well, more apt, I watched the CNet life coverage. The CNet crew are awfully fun. Most importantly, I came away longing for a new Kindle Fire. I don't need or really want the HD features, and $150 is a comfortable price point for me.

But them I wonder: is the main attraction price point? Trying to cheap-out has always backfired on me. Well, perhaps price is what makes the Kindle attractive. I still like the Nexus. And, really, the iPad. If I was rolling in dough, I'd have one of each! I guess cash is a significant consideration.

So i should really start by considering my wants & needs. Primarily comes Google integration. Mostly email & calendar, but I'm pretty invested in Google stuff; so the more the better. But I'm also an Apple guy. Thus I have music, some video, and several apps from iTunes/iOS. However, not too much. Much of that came free, and/or with Android versions. I also need a solid web browser and Evernot…

Fund A Triathalete

Hey gang,

A good friend of mine, Daniel Flahiff, has qualified for the World Triathlon Grand Final Auckland this October. As you can imagine, raising the ~$4,000 for travel is out of reach. However, through the power of the internet, all of us have the opportunity to lend a hand. Via his Go Fund Me site, we all have the chance to share in funding this dream.

Besides have the vested interest in seeing a chum do something great and once-in-a-lifetime, I'm also pleased that the internet offers up ways to crowdsource solutions like this. Perhaps, pre-internet, a bunch of us would hold a car-wash, maybe engage a local tv or radio station, and have a small scale crowdsource through a local bank.

So, yay to www.gofundme.com for offering up such tools, the internet (Twitter, Facebook, et al) to broadcast this sort of thing out, and, of course, the generosity of strangers...which is, ultimately, what makes these sorts of things work.

Here's a video about the event:




Dream's Soundtrack

Woke to an unfamiliar song playing in my mind. Such events make me wonder. So, was this piece created by my mind, or is this some random thing, absorbed into my memory bank?

Consider all the songs I've been exposed: radio, movies, tv, myriad languages, styles and types. Music presented overtly & covertly, hidden in the current moment's background. I hold that my brain absorbed all of this, deep with in some analog archive.

Dreams often come laden with meaning. Some dreams, though, come laden with absurdity. Perhaps that means something. Perhaps my Mind's haunted by Lewis Carroll. Perhaps.

Foursquare Thoughts

I finally dove in and tried Foursquare. For a few months I tried remembering to check in everywhere I went. Once or twice, a coupon came through and I saves a few bucks. Ultimately, it was about maintaining connection with friends. However, few friends where active and fewer still significantly engaged. Additionally, becoming "friends" with a true stranger was quite uncomfortable; even for me (who is quite comfortable being public facing). The graph of Foursquare activity is quite intimate.

Summing up: keeping up with check-ins always felt tedious. There were a few fun exchanges with friends, but mostly nothing. For me, the experience was really devoid of value. I pretty much have abandoned the platform.

I'd love to heat what you think. Live the thing, hate it, think I was crazy to even try it? Drop a comment and let me know.

Cheers, all!

Musical Zeitgeist

Listen for music's zeitgeist. Harmonics: voices intersecting, creating sounds not uttered, rather vibrations overlapping, the whole greater than the sum of the parts.

Music offers us so very much, should we choose to listen. We may learn the value of each voice, whether frantically busy or quietly adding structure, all critical to the audio portrait of a piece. Each pitch and tone crucial to the landscape. Silencing one changes the whole.

We must learn to value voices equally. This summarizes the commandment to love.

Namaste!

Too Much Life, Not Enough Time

Life,
Laden with excitement
Delights brim from myriad sources.

Work,
So much needed
Too much pain, no sitting idle.

Time,
Human limits, faced by needed rest
Demands of family.

Limitations,
All I want to do
So much to care, to love.

Focus,
Unable to complete all I see.
Trim the lesser... and Live!



Instagram

Funny discussion recently: using non-phone photos on Instagram...cheating or no? Fascinating thoughts about purpose, medium, and veracity. To me, all art embraces a zen quality. Cheating doesn't exist. Well, not in this context. Plagiarism, another beast, another story.

So, the question remains, and no answer comes from me. You?

Hallelujah

The sun rose with filtered light,
Dawn's still stronger than the night
Hope arises, born anew
Even when the skies aren't blue.
Though we shake, we know the truth
That fear won't win, not absolute.
Redemption frees us from our doubt.
Then our silence becomes a shout.
Hallelujah.

Skyward

Skyward, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

Lonliness

Lonliness, originally uploaded by carl.setzer. A playground full of gear and children...with the swings ignored.

Death's Density

Death, dense,
Beyond neutron stars.
Black holes where
Nothing escapes
Light itself,
Impotent.

Light, space itself
Warped by the power
Of this empty absence.
All nearby, changed,
Bent, disformed.
Eternity.

Healing Development Mistakes and the Language of Global Affairs

Recently I've heard Chinese officials (and before that, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican and others) complain about the US "preaching", particularly about labor and environmental practices. A key piece of that, "why are you denying us the same benefit you had". This one saddens me deeply. We saw the destructive nature of our actions and seek to purge that from our psyche. No, this isn't an attempt to rob you of advantage, it's an attempt to help you avoid our costly mistakes. The US is still healing from the environmental degradations of our history. Still coming to terms the destruction from the dishonest and ill-treatment of our indigenous people, or slavery. 

The goal, for me, at least, isn't to maximize our grain. Really, it should be about avoiding the same costly mistakes we made in our development. The available mistakes to make are manifold, probably unknowable. Learn from us. If we're wise, we'll learn how to learn from the rest of the w…

Flashmob en Espana

Not your typical flash-mob in style or structure, but glorious nonetheless.

A Technologist Reflects on the Rory Staunton Case In New York

Re: "An Infection, Unnoticed, Turns Unstoppable"
Brief summation: boy gets infection via a superficial seeming injury. Multiple medical professionals fail to catch it as it escalates, eventually killing the boy. Reading this piece in the NYTimes is painful. As a parent, these stories rattle your paranoia. Parenthood seems to be that thing which shakes us from a "it can't happen to me" attitude. Yet my parental paranoia wasn't the only issue raised. I left wondering what could've been done differently, or, more specifically, how could technology help to prevent such tragedy.

Some key data were missed in the process, in particular several key elevated levels ("His bands were 53% (normal high is 15%); absolute neutrophils were 13.5 (normal high is 8.5); absolute bands were 7.8 (normal high, 4.2). On the other hand, a blood value associated with viral infection was low. His lymphocytes were 3% (normal low, 28%).") were, for whatever reason, not act…

Overwhelmed -or- My Inbox Is A Blizzard Of Data

My inbox is out of control. I know others feel this, too. This blizzard of information, inboxes, tweets, Facebook, texts, calls, news-sites...on and in it goes. We've gone far past data saturation.

I's wondered lately where we go from here. How do we cope with this? Tools are being developed, but most seem to focus on new ways to deliver. Perhaps different packaging, clever design; but the problem isn't readability, it's volume. How do we filter?

Our culture has never faced this before. Never has information been so commoditized. Never have we had all the world's assembled knowledge sitting in our pockets.

Most of us filter by ignoring, where it's views we don't like, voices we find annoying, or just deleting this one email "this one time". Yet, for me at least, that's unsatisfying. I value discussion. Value getting new voices heard, new ideas expressed.

Yet, without finding away to increase our absorption rate, it seems we're faced wi…

Brian & Melissa: Social Media Rows

Perhaps you've heard this trending story about Brian Presley (an actor) & Melissa (a model). (if not, here's a brief summation here) via Huffington Post

Just read David Amerland's piece, When Melissa Met Brian: A Lesson in Social Media Ethics over at Social Media Today.

So, my take. Melissa started with the assumption that Brian was attempting to cheat on his wife with her and ran with that. In analysis, this seems an act of arrogance on her part. (The man in the seat next to you is talking to you. The only reason is he wants sleep with you?)

Be that as it may, she unleashed the mindless reactivity of the internet. It's amazing how quickly that can get launched and how nearly impossible it is to put that "genie back in the bottle".

Sure, it's important for us social media users to think before we post, but we should also consider thinking before acting on something we read. Always remember there are two sides to a story.

(Mea cupla: I saw this as…

Edmonds Arts Festival 2012

Edmonds Arts Festival 2012, a set on Flickr. A few shots to answer "what I did this weekend".

Hope all of you had a great Father's Day weekend.

The Death of Advertising?

Earlier this week I read an article lambasting the advertising revenue model. I can't find it right now, but the basic critique was "it never worked and is even worse no"w.

Now, most newspaper revenues, in the recent past at least, came from advertising. Subscriptions didn't cover a fraction of expenses. Advertising covered the rest and provided profit.

Clearly that model is now damaged, but is it dead? It once worked. Can a business either lower expenses enough, or engage enough advertising to be profitable?

Clearly, businesses still see value in advertising. They still heavily invest in ads. I think part of the challenge for tge advertiser lies in the expanding advertising market. They need to spread the same dollars further.

Then there's the moral issue: everyone hates advertising. What do we do with that?

Anyway, my rambling early AM thoughts did a Friday. Cheers, everyone!


Seattle Science Festival 2012

Seattle Science Festival 2012, a set on Flickr. What I did this weekend. The Seattle Science Festival is a great way to get kids excited about Science. Yet it is way more.

Folklife 2012

Folklife 2012, a set on Flickr. My photo explorations from Folklife in Seattle last weekend. Had lots of fun, but it was way too short.