"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What Day is it?

Nobody thought of this?

Defense Tech: That Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Jet . . .

At $125-135Million apiece, Raptors (F22) gets confused at the International Date Line on first deployment to the "Far East" ... whoops!

Flight has to make it's way back to Hawaii

Location location location

Open your store in a red light district?

Second Life Opens For Business - Technology News by InformationWeek:

"Toyota, Circuit City, Dell, Sears, and Adidas have set up shop in the Second Life virtual world. But their stores are empty. Can businesses find a place with any real-world payback in this fantasyland of overindulgence?"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Good little summary ... Stewart Brand

Was follower of Stewart many many years ago, via Whole Earth Catalog, later, CoEvolution Quarterly
Got to know him via PCForum

Various conversations, and now a sometimes contributor to Long Now Foundation

Good Stuff
Stewart Brand - John Tierney - An Early Environmentalist, Embracing New Heresies - New York Times

Banana Peel

Maybe the Carry Trade???

U.S. Home - WSJ.com:
"The Dow industrials sank 416.02 points, or 3.3%, to 12216.24, their worst one-day decline since Sept. 17, 2001. The sudden retreat, triggered by a wrenching 8.8% selloff in Shanghai overnight, is forcing global investors to reevaluate their insatiable appetite for risky investments. A dramatic 200-point tumble at 3 p.m., the result of a glitch in the mechanism that calculates the average, marked one of the fastest drops in the Dow industrials' history."

Monday, February 26, 2007


Moments after 6PM
View across the lake

Plenty of snow on the ice now, at least a foot
May have to pull out the skis after all

Snow Sh_t Sherlock

We got some snow...
Didn't start till about noon Sunday, and wasn't all that bad ...
By 5:30 I'd decided to snow-blow the drive, maybe 6 inches.
Both Shirley and I had things scheduled today.

Got up around 5:30 to check ... yup, more snow.
At least another 6 inches.

Here's a shot down the road, unblown/unplowed.

(all plowed by the time I got home around 5:30 PM

But not bad, temps in 30's snow moved well, not all cold and fluffy

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rather pissy blog

Ran across this while researching info on spelt, hulled wheats and the like for Purity foods

Did lead me to some useful info

Saturday, February 24, 2007

North & South (Europe)

Charlemagne | Do as I say or as I do? | Economist.com

And East/West

Russia and America | Not a cold war, but a cold tiff | Economist.com

Speed Limit

Tom Walsh in the "Freep"
"Michigan, in today's time of crisis, has a prime opportunity to fix itself, to move beyond the annual migraine of budget deficit and blame game toward a sane tax structure and a strategy to make the state an economic leader again, instead of the industrial backwater it is fast becoming."

More here:
Michigan's budget crisis means we have to live like we're No. 25:

MEA and Prison Union have to change tune

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stranger in a Strange Land

"First, I spent the requisite time learning to move around and interact. I also wasted a good 15 minutes tweaking my "Boy Next Door" avatar beyond the default 85% gay anime life-study. Most of those minutes went to rectifying a mysterious bald spot that kept appearing whenever I adjusted my hairstyle. At the end of this process, my avatar was less gay, though somehow I felt that I, myself, had become more gay."

Read on:
HYPEWATCH: A tour of Second Life's big empty - Valleywag

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spring's still away's off

Following came in my email today...
Good enough to post.

To which I add Jim Harrison: :

"...and finally, love the detour. Take the longest route between two points, since the journey is the thing, a notion to which, contaminated by the Zen-fascist slogans of advertising (“just do it!”), we all pay lip service but few of us indulge."


Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.

Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the saddle.

Life may begin at 30, but it doesn't get real interesting until about 90 mph!

You start the game of life with a full pot o' luck and an empty pot o' experience... The object is

to fill the pot of experience before you empty the pot of luck.

If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.

Midnight bugs taste just as bad as noontime bugs.

Saddlebags can never hold everything you want, but they CAN hold everything you need.

It takes more love to share the saddle than it does to share the bed.

The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rearview mirror.

Never be afraid to slow down.

Don't ride so late into the night that you sleep through the sunrise.

Sometimes it takes a whole tankful of fuel before you can think straight.

Riding faster than everyone else only guarantees you'll ride alone.

Never hesitate to ride past the last street light at the edge of town.

Never do less than forty miles before breakfast.

If you don't ride in the rain, you don't ride.

A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.

Respect the person who has seen the dark side of motorcycling and lived.

Young riders pick a destination and go... Old riders pick a direction and go.

A good mechanic will let you watch without charging you for it.

Sometimes the fastest way to get there is to stop for the night.

Always back your bike into the curb, and sit where you can see it.

Work to ride & ride to work.

Whatever it is, it's better in the wind.

Two-lane blacktop isn't a highway - it's an attitude.

When you look down the road it seems to never end - but you’d better believe it does!

Winter is Nature's way of telling you to polish.

Keep your bike in good repair: Motorcycle boots are NOT comfortable for walking.

People are like motorcycles: each is customized a bit differently.

Sometimes, the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes.

Good coffee should be indistinguishable from 50-weight motor oil.

The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.

The twisties - not the superslabs -separate the riders from the squids.

When you're riding lead, don't spit.

A friend is someone who'll get out of bed at 2:00 am to drive his pickup to the middle of nowhere to

get you when you're broken down.

Catching a yellowjacket in your shirt at 70 mph can double your vocabulary.

If you want to get somewhere before sundown, you can't stop at every tavern.

There's something ugly about a NEW bike on a trailer.

Don't lead the pack if you don't know where you're going.

Practice wrenching on your own bike.

Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't.

Don't argue with an 18-wheeler.

Never be ashamed to unlearn an old habit.

A good, long ride can clear your mind, restore your faith, and use up a lot of fuel.

If you can't get it going with bungee cords and electrician's tape, it's serious.

If you ride like there's no tomorrow, there won't be.

Bikes parked out front mean good chicken-fried steak inside.

There are drunk riders. There are old riders. There are NO old, drunk riders.

Thin leather looks good in the bar, but it won't save your butt from road rash if you go down.

The best modifications cannot be seen from the outside.

Always replace the cheapest parts first.

You can forget what you do for a living when your knees are in the breeze.

Patience is the ability to keep your motor idling.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.

There are two types of people in this world, people who ride motorcycles and people who

wish they could ride motorcycles.

Never try to race an old geezer; he may have one more gear than you.

Gray-haired riders don't get that way from pure luck.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Goodbye Free Lunch

BOJ Moves to Raise Rates to 0.5% - WSJ.com:

Beginning of the end of "Carry Trade"

Carry (investment) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"The term carry trade without further modification refers to currency carry trade: investors borrow low-yielding currencies and lend high-yielding ones. It tends to correlate with global financial and exchange-rate stability, and retracts in use during global liquidity shortages."

"Specifically, the governor said the BOJ wanted to quench expectations that Japanese rates would stay very low for very long, which might cause them to take "extreme positions." He said the BOJ had in mind, among other aspects of global markets, the so-called "carry trade," where investors borrow money at Japan's low rates and invest it elsewhere where returns are higher. Mr. Fukui said such borrowing could present a risk to the global economy if unwound suddenly."

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Sunday, the 18th is Chinese New Year, the Year of the Boar (pig), and looking at the astrological calendar(Chinese Year Chart), I guess it's my year (along with several million others.

I would object to the translation "simple minded" ... preferring something like broad minded or polymath, interested in many things rather than just a few.

Astrology - Chinese Zodiac - Pig:

"People born in the year of the pig are steady and resolute in doing things, and honest and warm-hearted to other people. Competent and persistent as they are, they will spare no efforts in fulfilling any job assigned to them.

Though simple-minded, they always have their own opinions. They hope that everything will be peaceful and everyone happy. They can get along well with others because of their leniency and generosity, and they have patience in perfecting themselves and fulfilling their jobs, which makes them good teachers. However, they will fly into a rage when forced to, but they never harbor a grudge and stab another person in the back.

They are always faithful to friends and set a high value on friendship. They have an interest in giving and participating in parties. Besides, they are good peacemakers in others' eyes because of their honesty and trustworthiness."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Older? ... nah, just better

I'll start off with a message I got from a contact on topic of blogging:

"On another note. I recall that you are retired. I think I have that right? I have an idea working at the Times about writing a piece about retirees who blog. I'm not looking for "Hey, Grandpa or Grandma is blogging. Ain't that cool." I'm looking for examples of retirees who've become serious bloggers as a way to enhance their lives, add their experience and wisdom to their professions, stay current, and stay engaged in a way that was rarely possible previous to the advance of consumer generated content and social media. I wonder if you are an example of this and whether you can help identify other talented, wise, energetic, and serious bloggers who fit the profile?"

(To avoid any confusion, I have not "retired" ... still busy with many endeavors)

Of course, I immediately thought of Doc Searls.
NO Not that he's old, hell, we're only about a month apart, but because he knows so damn many bloggers.

His lead : Ronni Bennett

But this whole topic go me to thinking.
What is retirement, and how does/might it apply to us "Boomers"?

Big 6 Oh coming up for me this year.

Some/many will take the traditional "retirement" path, but :

a) as for myself, I find that I still tend to "think young" ... that may change, maybe as Ronni thinks, it's denial of change, but I'm not so sure.

Some aches and pains which modify my behavior a bit, but not all that much... yet.
Hearing is worse, but I'll accept that.

I use to say I was 50 going on 20, now maybe approaching 60 going on 35 (40?)
Note the ratio - maybe a sign of age.

b) patterning on the American Express ads with Dennis Hopper, this generation has always tried to do things "different"... maybe we'll be taking on "age" with a verve and passion for life and living. Therefore not "retiring"

c) what will be the accepted age of "retirement" as we tend to be healthier? This lends to the whole "Social Security" debate ... what is the right age to consider?
In other words, if one is healthy and productive well into their 60's - 70's and beyond, what is "retirement"?

Better nutrition, exercise, not to mention medical advances are changing the whole dynamic of demographics.

Then, this afternoon, I got back to my WSJournal and spotted a piece on "Aging Brains"
:The Upside of Aging "New research finds some brain functions actually improve with age. Our reporter on delayed retirement and how to stay sharp."


"The aging brain is subject to a dreary litany of changes. It shrinks, Swiss cheese-like holes grow, connections between neurons become sparser, blood flow and oxygen supply fall. That leads to trouble with short-term memory and rapidly switching attention, among other problems. And that's in a healthy brain.

But it's not all doom and gloom. An emerging body of research shows that a surprising array of mental functions hold up well into old age, while others actually get better. Vocabulary improves, as do other verbal abilities such as facility with synonyms and antonyms. Older brains are packed with more so-called expert knowledge -- information relevant to your occupation or hobby. (Older bridge enthusiasts have at their mental beck-and-call many more bids and responses.) They also store more "cognitive templates," or mental outlines of generic problems and solutions that can be tapped when confronting new problems."


Discoveries of brain functions that hold up, or even improve, through the decades could affect corporate and public policy. As baby boomers age, many are resisting mandatory retirement. In January, a special committee of the New York State Bar Association recommended that law firms abandon the practice. Air-traffic controllers are asking federal agencies to reconsider the requirement that they retire at age 55, and the Federal Aviation Administration in January proposed pushing back the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots, which is currently 60.

The emerging neuroscience is on their side. One of the most robust cognitive abilities is semantic memory, which is recollection of facts and figures. "Semantic memory is relatively resistant to the effects of aging," says psychology professor Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Semantic memory includes vocabulary, which increases with age so reliably (at least in people who continue reading) that a younger person should never challenge a sharp 75-year-old to a crossword puzzle.


The biggest benefit of an older brain is that fewer real-life challenges require deliberate, effortful problem-solving. Where once it took hours of methodical scrutiny to understand a prospectus, for instance, older lawyers and investment bankers can zoom in on crucial sections and fit them into what they already know.

Elkhonon Goldberg, a neuropsychologist who has a private practice and is a professor at New York University School of Medicine, finds that he can also grasp the essence of data presented in scientific papers more readily than he once could, something that more than makes up for losses in other mental realms. "I am not nearly as good at laborious, grinding, focused mental computations," he says, "but then again, I do not experience the need to resort to them nearly as often."

While younger brains solve problems step-by-step, older brains call on cognitive templates, those generic outlines of a problem and a solution that worked before. It's the feeling you get when you see that a new situation or problem belongs to a class of situations or problems you have encountered before, with the result that you don't have to attack them methodically. Yes, older people forget little things, and may have occasional attention lapses, but their cognitive templates are so rich that they more than hold their own. Their brains can keep up even with a diminished supply of blood and oxygen.


The benefits that come to the mind and brain with age extend beyond thinking. They also include a greater ability to put yourself in another person's mind, empathizing and understanding his thought processes -- emotional wisdom...A 2006 study of 250 people ranging in age from adolescence to their late 70s documented for the first time "positive changes in the emotional brain," according to the Society for Neuroscience, which publishes the Journal of Neuroscience. In the experiment, Leanne Williams of the University of Sydney showed the volunteers pictures of faces expressing emotions. Using fMRI brain imaging, it was found that circuits in "medial prefrontal" areas -- right behind the forehead -- were more active in older people than younger people when processing negative emotional expressions. The greater activity suggests better control of reactions to other people's anger, fear and the like. This greater sensitivity seems to translate into decreasing neuroticism, and greater emotional equanimity.

That doesn't mean older brains flatline when it comes to sensitivity. Instead, they often show a keen emotional intelligence and ability to judge character. Elderly volunteers given a list of behaviors that describe a made-up person ignored irrelevant information (favorite color, place of birth) when asked to judge the person's character and focused on revealing traits better than younger people did, according to research by Thomas Hess, a professor of psychology at North Carolina State University. They were more likely to infer correctly that the person was dishonest, kind or intelligent -- a skill that is arguably more important than the ability to memorize a list of words in a lab experiment.

Wow ... was that timely or what?

So, what lies ahead?

I'm just as curious as I have been for years, maybe a bit more reflective, but also am engaged in plenty of projects. With a broader view, maybe even more than in years past, I'm continuing to look to integrate and cross reference various threads, firms, connections and relationships, to see patterns and seek to enhance and build upon positive connections.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Is this what we get to look forward to as "Children of the 60's" reach their 60's?
ValleyWag :

What are they putting in the water over at Linden Lab?

mitch%20kapor%20will%20blow%20your%20mind.jpgPhilip Rosedale compared Second Life to a drug-induced high, but he's not the first to make that comparison. From Adam Pasick's interview with Linden Lab chairman Mitch Kapor:I do think Second Life can be a mind altering experience -- Second Life, SL, LSD ... maybe not an accident! When you're in Second Life and you're having a mixed reality event

Maybe Mitch just got some bad acid?

Zombie Avatars?

Visions of John Carpenter's "Night of the Living Dead"
or would it be an Avatar Statuary Garden?
OVERCOUNTS: Second Life's absentee population - Valleywag:

"As any illusionist will tell you, the trick is mainly in getting the audience to look at the wrong thing. In Linden's case, they want you to think that cumulative users matters when it doesn't. A new user won't care one whit that, as of last year, 1,422,846 people had tried Second Life. What they want to know is how many of those people will still be around to interact with now?

This is the question the press should be asking -- 'How many of those users from 2006 have logged in recently?' Linden won't answer, of course, but it might be interesting to hear how they square the invisibility of the one population number that actually affects user experience with their stated goal of transparency and openness. "

Starry Starry Morn

With a nod to Joni Mitchel ...

Good morning for hot tub.
High single digits, clear skies, haven't had that for a while. Late moonrise.

Caught a couple satellites, couple meteors, on particularly nice, covering much of the view angle.

Refreshing, now for a bit of coffee

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Whoa ... not so fast

To paraphrase Al Gore : "An Inconvenient Report"

IPCC report on Climate - New York Times:

"In his film “An Inconvenient Truth,” Mr. Gore has done a brilliant job of reaching the masses by combining a sober science lecture with a horror movie: gigantic ice sheets quickly melting, seas rapidly swamping vast areas, hurricanes relentlessly battering the coasts, the Gulf Stream stopping and plunging Europe into an ice age.

But there are two problems with this approach. One is that scaring people doesn’t necessarily make their political leaders do anything substantive.

The other problem is that most of the horror-movie scenarios are looking less and less plausible. Climate change will probably occur not with a bang but with a long, slow whimper, as you can see in the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

and about the graphics right out of Hollywood ...

The report concludes that it’s “very likely” that humans are now the main factor warming the climate. But even as the panel’s scientists are becoming surer of the problem, and warning of grim consequences this century and beyond, they’re eschewing crowd-thrilling catastrophes. Since the last I.P.C.C. report, six years ago, they haven’t raised the estimates of future temperatures and sea levels.

While Mr. Gore’s movie shows coastlines flooded by a 20-foot rise in sea level, the report’s projections for the rise this century range from 7 inches to 23 inches. The panel says Greenland’s ice sheet will shrink and might eventually disappear, but the process could take “millennia.” The Antarctic ice sheet is projected to grow, not shrink, because of increased snowfall.

The scientists acknowledge uncertainties and worrisome new signs, like the sudden acceleration in the flow of Greenland’s glaciers several years ago. But the panel, unlike Mr. Gore, didn’t extrapolate a short-term trend into a disaster, and its caution is vindicated by a report in the current issue of Science that the flow of two of the largest glaciers abruptly decelerated last year to near the old rate."

Valentine's Week

Busy: (note that not all were directly my actions)

1) Negotiated increased ownership in Earthy.com LLC.
2) Got word that Red Cedar Technology (RCT) landed Delphi as worldwide design tool for all component-level optimization tasks, Quite a coup.
3) Working on financing for significant bump in production for Purity Foods.
4) Then today got call from party that owes a fair chunk of change in a legal settlement, wanting to move forward.

And it's only Tuesday ...

Hope this is right

ValleyWag on Flickr and prospects for YahooPhoto

I rather like my Flickr, and would not be pleased if it went away

Yahoo Photos shutting down, Flickr triumphant?

yahoo%20photos%20goes%20down%20to%20flickr.jpgTime to upgrade this from rumor to unannounced fact -- that's our bet, anyway. "Consolidation" was the word seized upon most in Yahoo exec Brad Garlinghouse's "Peanut Butter Manifesto." And consolidating the duplicate services provided by post-acquisition Flickr and Yahoo Photos makes sense. Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield denied there would be any merging, but that doesn't rule out "consolidation" by way of elimination. For the whys and wherefores, read on. When we predicted that competing products like Flickr and Yahoo Photos would be consolidated, Butterfield reassured nervous Flickr fans:
I betcha Flickr keeps going more or less on the same path (always evolving, sure, but more or less the same) for a long, long time to come.
He went on to call us out specifically:
It's interesting to hear all the different perspectives on this. ... Very different from the inside, but it's mostly stuff I can't talk about. However, I can say that I'm really, really happy about all the recent changes. Valleywag has a lot wrong (just factually wrong, but it shows up in their interpretations) so I wouldn't put a lot of stock in it. All good! And in particular, all good for Flickr and it's future :)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cory weighs in on 2ndLife

Blast from Cory (via Valleywag):

Exporting your Linden wealth

RU Sirius interviews sci-fi writer, futurist, and Electronic Frontier Foundationer Cory Doctorow on a variety of subjects, ending with Doctorow's riff on Second Life wealth:
In many ways, that in-game wealth is meaningless unless it's bankable in a system that's responsive to democratic principles. In other words, you can accumulate a lot of money in apartheid-era rand, or Soviet-era rubles, but it doesn't really mean anything because you can't really export your wealth -- because the state controls access to it. And even if you can, you can't export the source of your wealth, right?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Coming in from Right Field

I'd take a different approach, buy on bad news, or reporting of bad conditions, lighten up on good news.

From the American Enterprise Institute:

"Want to get rich in the American stock market? Here's some advice: Don't watch the news.

I'm not being facetious here. One of the iron laws of U.S. news reporting is that the economy gets positive reviews under Democratic presidents and negative reviews under Republican presidents.

In 2004, the Virginia-based Media Research Center (MRC) produced a stark summary of the disparity.

In 1996, Bill Clinton ran for reelection as president. The U.S. economy was doing well at the time: unemployment down to 5.2%, inflation under control at 3%, and overall growth at 2.2%. And the press reported all this good news: According to the 2004 MRC study, 85% of all major economic stories on the economy in the summer of 1996 were positive.

Eight years later, George W. Bush was running for re-election as president. The U.S. economy in 2004 did much better than in 1996: The economy grew at a 3.9% pace, while unemployment and inflation roughly matched their 1996 levels (5.4% and 2.7% respectively). Yet this time, 77% of all major media economic coverage was negative. (For the full report, see www.mediaresearch.org/realitycheck/2004/fax2004
.) And since the 2004 election, the barrage of bad news has continued: reports of housing bubbles, warnings of an imminent collapse in the U.S. dollar, and so on.

The economist John Makin has done some interesting calculations on the consequences of the euphoria of the '90s and the persistent gloom of the '00s. As the economist who most accurately predicted the Japanese stock market crash of the late 1980s, Makin deserves attention when he assesses valuations.

Makin points out that the usual determinants of stock prices are a function of expected corporate profits and interest rates. The more we expect companies to earn, the lower we expect interest rates to be, the more we will pay for a share in a company. Based on this formula, economists calculate a "fair market value" for stocks--a base line around which they expect stocks to trade.

Between 1998 and 2000, the S&P 500 traded at a premium of some 60- 80% above fair market value: Investors, it seems, were making the mistake of believing Bill Clinton's PR--and of course it ended in tears. In the single year 2000, the S&P dropped from almost 1,600 in March to 1,300 by year end. The S&P finally hit bottom at under 800 in the fall of 2002.

Then the recovery began. Investors who disregarded the gloomy Bush-era reports from CBS and The New York Times noticed the rise in corporate profits and the reductions in interest rates. They began to buy and buy and buy--pushing the S&P past 1,400 at year end 2006.

Makin, however, points out that even at 1,400, the S&P remains some 20% below its "fair market value": "If the stocks in the S&P 500 were currently valued as they have been on average over the past 20 years, the index would be at 1,775 instead of 1,420."

Politics '08 already

Dick may be controversial, but he does seem to know the "game".
Interesting insight on '08 and prospect driven by "crowdsourcing":

Hillary and Rudy could wrap it up this year

The nominees for the 2008 presidential race will be selected in 2007. The tempo of the new political process, driven by 24-hour cable news, Internet bloggers, conservative talk radio, and liberal NPR is so rapid that the nomination race cannot exist in stasis waiting for Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina to get around to holding their votes in early 2008. Well before they open their caucuses or polling places, this nomination, in each party, will have been decided by the national media coverage during 2007.


Saturday, February 10, 2007


The Bush Administration working out a deal with North Korea?

What's next, a deal with Iran? Progress in Iraq?

Doesn't the Times remember that the Bushies are bumbling saber rattling idiots?

Deal to Shut Major North Korean Nuclear Facilities Appears Closer - New York Times:

"BEIJING, Feb. 9 — North Korea and the United States appeared on Friday to be inching closer to a deal that would establish a schedule for the North to shut down and seal its main nuclear facilities within two months, in return for shipments of fuel oil from South Korea and the beginning of talks over normalization of relations with Washington.

But the top American envoy negotiating the deal here cautioned that the two sides remained stuck on “one or two” small issues.

“Nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed,” the envoy, Christopher R. Hill, an assistant secretary of state, told reporters as he returned to his hotel Friday night. “So I just want to be careful about predicting success tomorrow.”"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Whew, I thougth maybe I was just clueless

Enjoyed the first season, unsure of the second, and thought that maybe I just didn't "get it"

NYTimes : The Unseen and Unexplained, Inching Closer to the Truth

"“Lost,” on ABC tonight, is the most intriguing of all the series that traffic in the supernatural, mostly because it defies its own illogical reasoning. As the third season resumes after a three-month hiatus, nothing about the fate of the plane wreck survivors marooned on a paranormal island (or is it an archipelago?) makes much sense. But the real mystery of “Lost” is not the Dharma Initiative, the Others or why some characters are named after British philosophers (John Locke, Edmund Burke). It’s whether the writers actually have a cohesive story line that ties together all the unexplained subplots."

I thought maybe the plot was complex, set as a puzzle you had to solve... but maybe not. Maybe it's more like a long running soap opera.

"The fans of these kinds of serialized thrillers are unusually passionate and devoted, carrying a clout not unlike that of anti-abortion activists — their intensity is in some ways more powerful than their numbers. The writers of “Lost” say they pay close attention to Web sites and blogs devoted to the show, and sometimes adapt the script accordingly.

A reference to “Our Mutual Friend” surfaced at the end of the second season, a hint that the show’s executive producers identify with Charles Dickens. Yet “Lost” seems less like a sprawling, serialized 19th-century novel than like “American Idol”: the show’s writers and producers are so responsive to public reaction that viewers may as well be voting characters on and off the island by phone and text message."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Lots of good stuff from Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network.
Met Peter some years ago at PCForum

Some snippets:

Schwartz at Davos 07: Clinate change keeps on coming:

"At the Yale reception spoke with Zedillo about the impact of the biofuels industry in the US on Mexico…pricing corn out of the tortilla market for the poor of Mexico. They may have to break NAFTA to survive the US move in ethanol."

But NYTimes says that's OK:

The Price of Corn - New York Times:

"The historical cheapness of corn has driven it into nearly every aspect of our economy, in the form, most familiarly, of corn syrup. The low price of corn over the past half-century lies at the very foundation of America’s historically (and unrealistically) low food prices.

Gratifying our two major appetites — cheap food and cheap gas — used to seem easy because both corn and oil were abundant. Cheap oil helped keep corn prices low because it cost farmers less to run their tractors and combines.

But we are entering a new dynamic now. While there has been talk recently about refining ethanol from sources other than corn, that could take a while. So at the moment what we are trying to do is gratify those appetites from the same resource: agricultural land. No matter how high prices go, what will need to change isn’t the amount of corn acreage available or even the size of the enormous harvests we are already getting. What will need to change is the size of our appetites."

Different sort of Conservative!

Schwartz at Davos 07: Non stop morning:

"Thursday morning:
The morning began at 7 with a breakfast conversation with David Cameron, the Tory leader. He joined me because of a comment I had made at the dinner the evening before. I must say I continued to be surprised by him. He intends to really lead on environmental issues in Britain. He said, “After all shouldn’t a conservative be for conservation.” "

And maybe not all is hopeless in Iraq:

Now I am in the great hall in panel on Iraq, chaired by Richard Haas, the President of the Council on foreign Relations with a Sunni and Shiite VP of Iraq. Much to our surprise the panel was modestly positive. They focused on how to get beyond the politics of exclusion. On the other hand they argued they would need peace keepers for a long time, even possibly under a UN mandate, as a last resort. They even agreed that they were not far from reaching agreement on oil revenue sharing. Graham Allison of Harvard rose to ask whether the Iraquis would really come with their own security forces. And the Sunni VP gave a fairly detailed response on how the forces would develop and intervene. And even the Shiite VP agreed strongly that Iraq would remain one country.

Interesting spin on demographics - call it "anti-aging formula"

Schwartz at Davos 07: Limiting ,population, growth, Africa and Jimmy Wales:
"My first session of the day was The Procreation Choice…about reproductive technologies and all the issues surrounding them. I was the moderator but the panel was terrific. A Columbia Professor Raymond Fisman who has studied how people choose at sperm banks (what is really desirable sperm) and how they choose dates, Prof. Robert Winston of Imperial College, London who argued that gender choice was about to become a real issue, but the rest of the issue was irrelevant. But most profound was Ingrid Mattson, the first woman head of the Islamic Society of North America. She took the conversation in a surprising direction focusing on the immigration issue and how some countries are now trying to raise their birthrates through technology to avoid becoming immigrant societies. She also pointed out that, of course, limiting reproduction has been and continues to be the most critical reproductive decision that women are making today."

And more "anti-aging"
My lunch event was on extending human lifespan. In the end there was a lot of agreement on the technology potential but the real issue they focused on was cost and associated inequities. If we can’t all live longer should anyone?

Africa in the Sino-American Century
Schwartz at Davos 07: Limiting ,population, growth, Africa and Jimmy Wales:

"Africans need to develop the strength to really negotiate with China. Richard Haas said that Africa is now part of globalization …not just an internal matter for the continent. Now linked to the world in at least ten ways…energy, HIV/AIDs, terror, developmental, trade (as negotiators), conflicts, genocide, governance, role of AU, role of external powers. He argued that there is a need for the US and China to come together on how to deal with Africa."


Schwartz at Davos 07: Fragmenting Europe and final thoughts:
"Prof. Victor Halberstadt, one of Europe’s leading business intellectuals walked over and joined me for a particularly interesting conversation. He wanted to challenge something I had said a year or so before; that political Europe would be internally absorbed in integrating all the new members of the EU for decades to come. He too said they would be internally absorbed but for a different reason. He sees Europe fragmenting, but not along nation state lines. Rather it is tearing itself apart along many seams, immigrant vs. native, religion, class, age, and culture. The European vision of the post WWII generation has been lost at the very time that the internal tensions are becoming ever greater and the bases for agreement ever weaker. He believes that most of the energy of these societies will be burned up in just holding their countries together. It will mean slower growth in Europe as interest groups buy each other off out of the state coffers and that economic adaptation will be very slow in coming.

Based on a further conversation at his home in Amsterdam, he also believes that at least one of the major fault-lines is likely to be the increasing role of religion in politics in Europe. This will not be about issues of religious values, e.g. abortion, gay rights, etc. as in the US. These are settled issues in Europe. It is more about the politics of identity and Victor sees parties like the German Christian Democrats becoming more Christian. It is another way of creating a unique sense of identity now that the European dream may be dying and the nation state has been semi-absorbed into the EU. It gives people something strong with which to identify. As before in European history, this is unlikely to have a happy outcome."

I only covered a bit, there is a lot more.

Different sort of "Mile High Club"

250 mile high club?

Astronaut Charged With Attempted Murder - New York Times:

Guess it means that space is becoming "normal" ...

Stooper Bowl

Different views of Ads

NYTimes : "Super Bowl Ads of Cartoonish Violence, Perhaps Reflecting Toll of War"

"No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials."

WSJournal : "Super Bowl Advertisers Play It for Laughs"

"Slap-happy men, a celebrity bad boy and a feel-good Coke ad won the game within the game during Super Bowl XLI, impressing ad-industry pros and consumers, and showing once again that humor is the best way to grab viewers' attention during the gridiron classic."

Hey folks, this is Football, big guys bashing each other.
It's not the Olympics.

I tend to lean towards the Journal's side on this one... you watch for something entertaining, not political. I frankly laughed out loud at the Paper-Scissors-Rock one.


Early AM, spotted this in WSJournal, front page online:

Democrats are seeking ATM relief.

Bet they intended to say "Democrats are seeking AMT relief." Alternative Minimum Tax, not Automatic Teller Machine

Monday, February 05, 2007

Food Blogs?

Thought maybe there would be some interesting sources here
Sharp Bites - New York Times

But, seems that most of the blogs are about eating out, not cooking and eating in.

This is more like it: Meg's Blog "Megnut" and from Meg I discovered "Serious Eats"

Mission accomplished

We have water.

Back story:
Checked the cabin yesterday, mainly because of cold, but also to get out and about.
Little did I know.

Just past noon.
We've got heat "trickled" on, lowest setting possible on propane heater, holds mid to high 40's. Last fall we had the crawlspace "foamed" to insulate, therefore did not drain plumbing.

Well ... no water.
So, drop Shirley off at home, load up gear, run to Traverse City, normally about 20-30 min, now more like 45+ as it was blowing snow, sometimes visiblity down to 100ft, or less.
Make it to Lowe's, stock up on heat tape, Infra-red lamp etc.
Snow not quite knee deep around access panel to crawl, it would get tromped down pretty well.
Tape pipes, back home for zip-ties, extension cords (better one than packed) thermometer, more work in crawl. Pressure in tank, but still no water, crawl in mid 30's... about 4hrs blown out of afternoon.
Wrap up, pack up before game time and keep fingers crossed.

Back this AM... ta-da... we have water, no signs of burst pipes.

Later... will do more of a "tidy" job of it.

Door to Crawlspace


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Wanta Bet ?

Quick review of Long Bets

"Long Bets is a nonprofit foundation that calls itself an “arena for competitive, accountable predictions.” It lets anyone make a prediction and take wagers on it, with the proceeds going to a charity named by the winner. The bets made so far are from $200 to $10,000, on topics ranging from the driving habits of Americans in 2010 to whether the universe will stop expanding. Mitchell Kapor, the software guru, is betting that in 2029 no computer will have passed the Turing test (by conversing so much like a human that you couldn’t tell the difference). The physicist Freeman Dyson’s money is on the first extraterrestrial life’s being found somewhere other than a planet or its satellite."

Note : my prediction (257) is still open "Hydrocarbon fuels will be the "fuel of choice" for personal transportation for the next 50 years"

Snot to cold

Near Whiteout
Can only see maybe 100yards out onto the lake
"Lake Effect" snow & blowing snow

Ran the snowblower, just to get outside
Almost noon and it's still zero outside

Cold enough that your snot freezes in your nose

Friday, February 02, 2007

éminence grise

Paul (Boutin) on Valley "Fashion"

Hey... I can dig this :

1. Dyed hair. Valley gals get to color. You don't. It'll show, and everyone will know. If you're going gray, skip the Grecian Formula and wear your salt-and-pepper with pride. "Wow, do you know what that is?" an old friend I ran into recently asked, pointing excitedly to the first touch of gray in my sideburns. "It's an extra hundred an hour in consulting fees!"

I suspect I have more salt than pepper... now how to cash in on that.


Where do some of the "talk radio" hosts get their "rock solid" solid information?
Maybe out of thin air.


The controversy started with a quickly discredited Jan. 17 article on the Insight Web site asserting that the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing an accusation that her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had covered up a brief period he had spent in an Islamic religious school in Indonesia when he was 6.

(Other news organizations have confirmed Mr. Obama’s descriptions of the school as a secular public school. Both senators have denounced the report, and there is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign planned to spread those accusations.)


The Clinton-Obama article followed a series of inaccurate or hard-to-verify articles on Insight and its predecessor magazine about politics, the Iraq war or the Bush administration, including a widely discussed report on the Insight Web site that President Bush’s relationship with his father was so strained that they were no longer speaking to each other about politics.


With so much anonymity, “How do we know that Insight magazine actually exists?” Professor Whitehead added. “It could be performance art.”

But hosts of morning television programs and an evening commentator on the Fox News Network nevertheless devoted extensive discussion to Insight’s Clinton-Obama article, as did Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio hosts.


Just after noon
Mostly "Lake Effect" snows, sometimes it was pure "white out" where we couldn't even see the shoreline.

Another few days due.
We only got a few inches so far, some communities and areas north and south to get a foot to two or three this weekend.

Change of Season

Skiing in the woods

Finally put up the chainsaws and related gear, swapped for the ski's and snowshoes.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Gig

Well, my friends at Earthy have added me to the masthead

Earthy Blogs @ Earthy.com:

"Where we sound off about our favorite food topics."

Guess it's time to dust off an old blog, pull together some fresh entries.

Please note that these guys are pros, I'm a rank novice. But this will light a fire under my backside to get better!

Watch out pantry/kitchen, here I come...

What's goin on here ...

So it's all over CNN like white on rice:

Suspicious Devices in Boston Turn Out to Be Ad Campaign for Cartoon - New York Times

BOSTON, Jan. 31 — Boston temporarily closed parts of bridges, subway stations, an Interstate highway and even part of the Charles River on Wednesday after the authorities found what the police described as suspicious devices at nine places.

But the devices, which included circuit boards, turned out to be part of a marketing campaign by Turner Broadcasting to advertise a cartoon television show, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”

Didn't see anything on CNBC, granted I was busy sorting out a lame router/LAN, but ...
NOTE : Turner and CNN are both Time Warner outfits... and Time Warner was releasing earnings.

Bit of hype? or News covering Hype?