Thursday, August 30, 2007
Apparently the Home Depot crowd - the "weekend warriors" - have gotten hold of pneumatic tools and it's been an unfortunate development. This Old House runs a gallery of mistakes along with some "rules of save your thumb" for inexperienced air tool users. You can view it here - it's the link of the day.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The other day I came up with an idea to squelch all this primary crap. I think everyone should petition their state legislature to put me in charge.
Seems to me that really it isn't fair that the same couple of states get to decide who's left by the time we get to the conventions. It doesn't really seem right that a few people in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina have such weight to throw. So when other states started to inch their primary elections earlier it certainly made sense from one perspective.
But this tit-for-tat rescheduling is a little stupid, and it looks like now we'll be having the first primary in January - if someone doesn't decide that their state needs to get on the record this year. The DNC already smacked Florida for moving their election by telling them that if they move their primary it can be as early as they want, but if they don't leave it where it is there electors won't be going to the convention.
That's one way I guess.
I mean, solving the Iowa monopoly by making the primary season 9 months long is sort of shooting yourself in the foot to stop a toothache. It doesn't solve the problem and it hurts a little bit too.
The communities that rally for the status quo are always touting their patriotism and saying they should get the first primary because they take the voting so much more seriously. Its a nice thing to say, and it even makes a little sense. Does it track?
I looked up 2004 election data. New Hampshire was fourth in turnout and Iowa was seventh. So I guess maybe they do take it seriously, but they weren't the champs. South Carolina was 50th out of 51 (the District gets a spot) only besting Hawaii - and really I think I might forget to go to vote if I lived in Hawaii. The top three? Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Maine. So if it's about valuing the franchise shouldn't they get to move up?
So here's the thought: Six primary dates, two weeks between primaries beginning in May. That makes "primary season" May, June, and July. Conventions in August, election in November. States vote in the order of descending voter turnout in the last Presidential election - prove you care and you move up, don't turn out and your primary moves back. First primary is one state, then two, four, eight, sixteen, and then the rest.
Really I think there ought to be a level at which you just don't get a primary. Can't turn out 50%, next time you just sit on the side. At 50% only Hawaii would have missed the cut. But maybe that number ought to be higher.
On that system this elections primaries would look like this:
May 1: Minnesota
May 14: Wisconsin, Maine
June 1: New Hampshire, Alaska, Oregon, Iowa
June 14: South Dakota, Colorado, Washington, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Florida, Vermont
July 1: Delaware ,North Dakota, New Jersey, Connecticut, Nebraska, Montana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Idaho, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois
July 14: California, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, North Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, New York, Tennessee, District of Columbia, Mississippi, Nevada, Indiana, Arkansas, Texas, West Virginia, South Carolina, Hawaii
Someone still gets to go first, but if you're unhappy with your slot you can do something about it - turn out more voters. I think it might also help people keep better voter rolls, as now not knowing who's dead or who moved away can significantly effect your primary slot.
It tightens up the whole calendar, so maybe there'll be less spending (but probably not). It means that the next election might not happen in the same order as this one, which ought to help bust up primary "machines" that have to favor one candidate over another.
Anyway, just a thought.
Back to school. Guess we'll have to get into the swing of things before posting picks up again. I've had two faux classes so far - policy rundowns. One more course intro tomorrow and then the first full blown class is Thursday.
So far the hill is pretty steep. Got to get me some sherpas or something.
For those keeping track, I am teaching Technical Direction solo and participating in Studiocraft and Studiocraft II as a CAD instructor. Somewhere along side of that I have two thesis projects to make happen. This semester would have been Production Planning too, except the curricular review ate it. Guess I'm lookking to pick up a fall class when we figure out what we're doing with the rest of the roll-out.
I am also once again coordinating the frosh Stagecraft class although I am not teaching it (its like all the prep and all the grading but none of the facetime, probably the worst possible distillation - still, it makes the class possible). On top of that we're Crazy Scheme again this year, trying to produce all of our shows with no Grad3 or Senior Technical Direction students. I sure hope the Juniors are up to it.
How's the joke go?
"Back on your heads."
Posted by David at 1:08 AM
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
We must be starting again. Yesterday and today were orientation for new students: undergrads yesterday, grads today. My role in grad orientation was made somewhat easier at the very last second when we received an email from our lone Grad1 saying she wouldn't be attending. Whatever it was, she must have tried real hard to make it work out to have waited so long to be telling us she'd be unable to get it done - either that or the admission was a mistake to begin with and we dodged a bullet. I'd prefer to think it was the former and not the latter. So after a brief introduction I went back to working on shelves - expect a picture tomorrow.
Yesterday we did our standard dog and pony for the undergrads. When I introduced myself I told them "you will probably ask me for a staple, or if I have seen Louis. I don't have a staple, and I haven't seen Louis." It got a nice laugh, which was funny because there's no way they could have had any idea what I was talking about. It was something that was supposed to be funny a month from now when they are standing at my office door asking me for those very things. Liz made a fairly impassioned speech about theatre. She talked a lot about how the life seems to have been let out of the industry and how we were counting on the new members of the field to take up the responsibility for energizing things. They seemed to take it well.
Dick did a laundry list of operations issues and so he could take a break he had me cover grading. I did it without using the term "The Bradley Scale" which I coined a few years ago. I think I shocked one of my co-workers when I said "If you're someone that always got A's, you shouldn't expect to get A's." After I said it I thought that perhaps it could be interpreted as "if you've always tried hard to do well before, you need no try hard now" which is of course not what I meant at all. So I tried to clean up the mess by saying "You should aspire to get A's, but in all likelihood you are going to get a bunch of B's." I think they got the message though. Later on in the morning while a group of the students was presenting their devised piece to demonstrate the "education" pillar one of the kids said "I am going to be everything you want me to be... and a little bit more, so I can get that A!"
I wonder if they'll remember when they get those B's.
The best part of the session though was the group that did the "experimentation" pillar. There are these helium balloons on the stage the whole morning, one balloon for each new student color coded by option. At the end of the session we traditionally have a "launch" to symbolize the start of their CMU experience. This is symbolized by the organized litter of the balloon release. The group doing "experimentation" just set out to do a bunch of things that would make us uncomfortable: swearing, talking about disgusting things, invading personal space and the like. One of the "and the like" things was to start popping the balloons. The students of course just thought it was a disturbing sound and a destructive act, as they didn't know the balloons had any significance beyond decoration. Several of the faculty actually quaked though, and my boss asked the air "What do we do?" The head of directing could not have been more pleased, and we gushed over how they changed our plan and broke the conventions of society. I just thought it was kind of funny.
Now, I wonder if the copier will work this weekend...
Monday, August 20, 2007
Dvorak Uncensored » Prez. Bush Is The Danger Our Forefathers Warned Us About: "So, the question is, was this the intent all along? Was the war (against Iraq, not against the 9/11 terrorists who had nothing to do with Iraq and is a whole other kettle of fish) a pretext to put all these totalitarian measures into effect? Was the religious right-wing desire for Taliban-like control of the populous to be implemented under the guise of safety and security, just like Hitler promised the Germans? If not, funny how it’s ending up that way."
Posted by David at 9:47 PM
Toolmonger » Blog Archive » From The Flickr Pool: One Well-Thought-Out Tool Bag: "After reading our post earlier in the week asking what you carry in your toolbox, TM reader dbthetd posted this photo the contents of his to-go tool bag. All the contents you see pictured above fit into a roll-up/strap up bag that looks like it won’t rattle and will unfold to offer easy access to the tools. Check out the pool for more photos, including the bag rolled out on a table and all packed up for travel."
Close reading the White House's Presidential Advance Manual. - By Dahlia Lithwick - Slate Magazine: "George W. Bush is certainly entitled to choose his White House advisers, attorneys general, counselors, friends, and pets based solely on the their inability to tell him no. The rest of us have increasingly come to question the wisdom of such insularity. We just can't do it in his presence."
Posted by David at 8:44 PM
Sunday, August 19, 2007
With sticktuitiveness I could not have anticipated I have completed three years for publishing this blog. The page also hit 50,000 visits this year. That's fairly staggering.
I looked at the second anniversary post before starting this and I was interested to see that it says the blog had shifted from politics to life and work. If I hadn't said it then, I certainly would say it now. The page has gone from a commentary platform to a communication tool, sounding board for ideas, and almost an online portfolio. I am posting more pictures (even some video) and writing shorter pieces. It seems also that I am more likely to post a link to a political or current events piece than I am to write about it myself. Partly I think this is due to the feeds. I'm reading quite a bit more and often when I get a kernel of an idea to write from by the time I get to the end of my feed list I've found a piece saying just that. If you're missing the opinions, subscribe to the "shared items" feed. Most of the source material winds up there.
Memes: 26 over four posts
So, I've broken the "post per day" barrier. That's about crosslinking more than writing I think. Memes dropped way off, which is in the end probably a good thing.
Some highs and lows:
That's probably get most outbound links too.
although that was voting, maybe that shouldn't count. There were a few 7 and 8 comment posts but overall I think commenting is down.
We'll do three: one found, one I took, and one someone took of me...
Top 10 Posts:
Going through I started with 21, but I've narrowed it to ten. A lot less politics, not really even much complaining - ok a little complaining. Overall a nice set of posts I think.
#10 Believe it or not, I can Explain This
#9 We The People
#8 World Breathes a Sigh of Relief... Braces for Coming Culture War
#7 Perhaps it can be Thought of as Conservation
#6 Public Service
#5 Yard Art
#4 What Did You Do With Your Weekend?
#3 It's Game Day
#2 Grading, Derby Style
#1 What Is "Theatre" About
It's a wrap.
- Battlestar Galactica
- Think Progress: Clinton Takes on Fox News
- Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007
- Jim Kalb's Palindrome Connection
- Donor's Choose
- Keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh
- Thoughtform Design
- I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?
- Free Router
- 'Sgt. Pepper' at 40: An Homage of Homages
- 12 On / 12 Off
- Pittsburghese Translator
- Bee-Ewe-Tee-Full Creations
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Web Worker Daily » Blog Archive The Not-To-Do List: Bad Habits to Stop Now «: "
1. Do not answer unrecognized phone calls
2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night
3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
4. Do not let people ramble—forget “how’s it going?” and embrace “what’s up?”
5. Do not check e-mail constantly—“batch” and check at set times only
6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers
7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm—prioritize
8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7, seven days a week—make evenings and/or Saturdays digital leash-free.
9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should"
Posted by David at 3:50 PM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Kevin and Joe are both currently up for reappointment. I figure quite a few readers here might have something they would want to say about that.
If you do, I would write something NOW (deadline for solicited letters was like last week) and email or fax it to the Drama School right away to the attention of Jen Chapman.
Fax is: 412-621-0281
Jen's email is: email@example.com
Think Progress » Judge: Bush Admin’s Case On Spying Tantamount To ‘The King Can Do No Wrong’: "The three judges on the court were unsatisfied with the argument, offering various stinging comments and rebuttals:
- “Is it the government’s position that when our country is engaged in a war that the power of the executive when it comes to wiretapping is unchecked?” asked Pregerson.When Deputy Solicitor General Greg Garre argued that “other avenues” than the court system were the proper forum for complaints about government surveillance, Pregerson shot back: “What is that? Impeachment?”"
- “This seems to put us in the ‘trust us’ category. ‘We don’t do it. Trust us. And don’t ask us about it,’” said Judge M. Margaret McKeown.
- “Every ampersand, every comma is top-secret?” queried Judge Michael Daly Hawkins about a withheld document.
- “”Are you saying the courts are to rubber-stamp the determination of the executive of what’s a state secret? What’s our job?” asked Pregerson.
- “I feel like I’m in Alice and Wonderland,” observed McKeown.
Posted by David at 2:00 PM
Windows: Disable Windows Update restart nag - Lifehacker: "Windows installed another round of updates and now it's asking you to restart. Again. One simple command line entry can disable this obnoxious reminder."
Posted by David at 1:44 PM
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
McClatchy Washington Bureau | 08/14/2007 | Prices for key foods are rising sharply: "The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its July inflation report that egg prices are 33.7 percent higher than they were in July 2006. Over the same period, according to the department's consumer price index, whole milk was up 21.1 percent; fresh chicken 8.4 percent; navel oranges 13.6 percent; apples 8.7 percent. Dried beans were up 11.5 percent, and white bread just missed double-digit growth, rising by 8.8 percent. These numbers get lost in the broader inflation rate for all goods and services, which measured 2.4 percent for the same 12-month period."
Posted by David at 9:53 PM
What happened to the last project?
Today I rescued one of the Dino Workshop refugees. I have one more that I think I may try to save, and there's a T-Rex a student thinks they can resuscitate. The rest? Compactor.
But every cloud has a silver lining. Here's the rescue subject getting used to it's new habitat:
Is it me, or is this a lot more aggressive looking steg than we learned about when we were in school. I remember these as being more level postured. This front leaner looks downright dangerous for a herbivore.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
USB Desk Lamp | GeekAlerts: "This small and affordable USB Desk Lamp ($6) uses five LED bulbs to give you a good working light for those long hours by the computer."
A quick web check says a Littlelite 12 will run you $61.95 - and here I think I still want one, but maybe its getting a little ridiculous?
$6 or $60? Hmm.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Today I reupholstered a chair. Wasn't what I thought I would do today. I figure the cats will have it back to its pre-repair state by morning... Seems to me that families of US servicemen accused of crimes overseas ought not have to panhandle to support their legal representation. We sent them there, we ought to pay... I can't make up my mind when trying to decide between Qdoba and Salsarita's. Good thing there's usually something else to do it for me... The other day I tried to find Giant Tinkertoys online. It's astonishingly difficult... I should be doing precollege evaluation forms. I appear to be blogging... Just once it would be nice to be able to tuck something extra into a budget at work rather than trim the thing down to the bones before we start... The project purchase for the upholstering was a Craftsman Staplegun. It's an ergonomic one with the backward handle... Is it me, or a zombies really "in" right now??? The humidity is finally down to 50% Maybe we can turn the air off tonight... I am wondering lately if blogging will end the ability of show producers to keep their work from being reviewed in preview. Seems unlikely they would make patrons sign non-disclosure agreements... The government seems to be acting real fast to authorize funds for that bridge. Way to save face buys. I guess it wouldn't occur to you to allocate the money to keep things from breaking in the first place. Here's another place where profit motive is not our friend... If you were a high school TD, would you hang an information poster in your shop that was branded by a college program? I just don't know... I think whenever someone calls a lefty a "tax and spend liberal" the retort ought to be "at least I'm not a serial credit abuser." If righties want kudos for cutting taxes, they have to also take the lumps for cutting services - TNSSAAFL... There's a blogaversary in a few days. I wouldn't have thought I would still be at it...
Precollege 2007 ended today with a second day of interviews. It seems like everyone had a fruitful experience. Here are the (ambiguous due to age) students that particularly distinguished themselves in my little world:
Congrats on a truly excellent summer performance.
If this commentary were a stump speech, I would vote for him.
Marketplace: What's happened to our infrastructure?: "Commentator Tim Bedore says America's way of economic thinking is to blame for the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis."
Posted by David at 1:02 AM
Friday, August 10, 2007
CRACKED.com - 11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy: "“They may take our things—but they'll never take our FREEEEEEDOM!” when we have our nail clippers taken away from us at airport security."
Because a movie true to the events of 2001 would have been about Super Bowl XXXV (a 34-7 snooze-fest), the release of the Planet of the Apes remake and the Spice Girls breaking up. Oh, and Mir, the world's most advanced piece of space technology, falling to Earth in a fiery blaze and crashing into the sea.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Really, anyone that says 125 degrees and 15% humidity is the worst, and responds "yeah, like sticking your head in the oven" when you tell them "but it's a dry heat..." Those people have never been through a humidity reading like this. And while that 70 degrees is nice, it's also 10:45pm. The afternoon was, unfortunate.
I swear you had to be PADI Open Water certified to leave an air conditioned environment today.
Posted by David at 10:44 PM
Man Proves "Forensic Files" Theory Incorrect - Dies: "Earl F. Ellwanger Jr. from Provo, South Dakota, fatally shot himself while trying to disprove an episode of 'Forensic Files,' a popular TV crime show, say authorities. Ellwanger, 55, accidentally shot himself in the stomach and died at the hospital."
Posted by David at 3:52 PM
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
So I promised a little more on the Philly trip. The occasion was I suppose the end of the summer and the coincidental presence of my inlaws at a conference in town. We'd gotten the idea in our heads that we would go there to see them, and then figured we could parlay that into a trip to Morimoto we've been planning for quite some time.
We arrived and checked into our hotel. It was about 400 degrees out Saturday, and we hadn't pre-arranged for tickets to Independence Hall (I swear I did this ages ago and it was a walk in thing - but maybe not), so we struck out to find someplace air-conditioned. We wound up at the Constitution Center. They have a little multimedia show, a fairly large informational (edutainment?) exhibit, and a life size, three dimensional reproduction of the painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Here I am with your buddy and mine Ben Franklin:
The craft of the exhibit is pretty good. Its the kind of project I would have liked to have done when I was in commercial fabrication. They have lots of interactives, a whole lot of images, and a blessed few artifacts. Of particular note is the sound design. The designers did an excellent job of isolating and imaging multiple audio tracks such that they are intelligible and audible but do not compete with each other. If you are into sound, this is worth the price of admission.
After the Constitution Center we went to see the Liberty Bell. It's still there:
Growing up I had somehow managed to miss the Liberty Bell. I think it fell under the heading of "too much hoopla." There's still a fair bit of hoopla now.
Back to the hotel; nap, shower, change, and back down the street to dinner. I've wanted to go to this restaurant for a while. The Iron Chef TV show counts me as a fan, and then on top of that they did a "making of" this particular place for Food Network called "Morimoto RAW" which I have actually considered using for Production planning class.
The interior is very neat and clean, very modern. The seats have color changing lights in them that switch every couple of minutes, enough so it is interesting, not so much that it is annoying.
So speaking of annoying, I tried not to be by not using the flash on my camera. Even though I held real still and opened the aperture up as far as it will let me, my pics from inside the restaurant are a little dark and blurry. So, suffice it to say that everything looks better than my photos.
We did the "omakase," the chef's tasting. We did that even though we'd just been informed that Morimoto was not in the restaurant that night.
First course was a Hamachi Tartare. It was in a broth based on soy sauce that seemed to have bonito flakes in it. The dish also wore a little hat of caviar. Very, very nice. I could have eaten seven.
A have to confess not remembering the name of the second dish, and I can't really even identify it from the menu I can find online. It could be the zensai sakizuke from the dinner menu, but it might also be the warm whitefish carpachio from the lunch menu. I would lean toward the latter, as it was a very thin protien dish, but the name of the former has more traction in my head. The only reason I hesitate is that the menu says "five pieces" and as you can see in the dark, blurry photo below there are only four. But maybe they do four for the tasting.
The zensai sakizuke is listed as anti-pasto. This really fit into that niche. Although it was fish, it had a real ham feel to it. Again, very nice.
Salad. So, one of the most interesting things about this mean for me was that I ate everything. I normally have a fairly narrow protein and starch diet. I'd worried that going to this restaurant and especially doing a tasting menu that I would be faced with many things I wouldn't want to eat. But in this case I ate every single thing that was put in front of me. The salad was sashimi salad: mixed micro greens, tuna tataki, and shoyu dressing. I never eat salad. I ate this. It was great.
I also accidentally used my flash and blinded several people.
Next up: soba carbonara, soba noodles, edamame, bacon, black truffle. This is available as an app or an entree. I could have eaten three of these easily. Just fantastic.
Entree: Black Cod Miso, just like it says. There was a little garnish of red pepper and three (3) beans. This was hard to eat with chopsticks. They gave us a knife and fork but I figured I was up to the challenge. I probably should have caved. This was light and sweet. The fish was flaky and moist and the skin was crispy.
After the main dish we had a sushi tasting. I think maguro, suzuki, kanpachi, hamachi, & kisu; but mostly I am guessing. This was really good sushi, good fish to rice ratio, and good tasting rice as well. Mostly what it did was make me want to come back and just do sushi. In the context of the tasting menu it just became a blur.
The food festival is almost at an end. Now we have desert: a mini apricot cake with vanilla mousse. Just enough to button up the whole thing.
We've talked a lot about this meal since being there. I have been trying to figure out where it goes in the context of the other restaurants I have been to in my life. Certainly it is top five without question. It's right up there with 808 and Eleven. I think 808 might have been better, but Morimoto might edge Eleven. Or for all three it might just come down to what you order on what night. Mrs TANBI was surprised at how meaty it was, even if it was fish. She thought there would have been more of a vegetable focus. Like I said, I ate up and enjoyed every single thing they served. It's great food and a great time, and if you happen to win a cash prize for something and would like to blow it all at once, this would be a great choice.
Off to the hotel to food coma through the night.
The next day we got a comfortable start and went for brunch. My mother-in-law had found a place in Philly's Chinatown that does dim-sum off of carts. This was all new to me, but they said it was authentic and fun. It certainly was authentic.
The food was fine. I didn't care for chicken feet. It was amazing to see how quickly the place filled up. We got there fairly soon after they opened, maybe the third party to be seated. By the time we left there wasn't a single empty table.
We had a few hours to kill before heading back to the airport so we went to the art museum. My favorite part of this excursion had to be the museum exterior. They must be doing a renovation to the masonry, so in the interim that are shrouded with scaffolding. In a real class design decision someone decided that the scaff would be boring and they made themselves a sheath - with a picture of the museum as an architectural blueline.
These were my favorite pieces form the museum trip:
Ink on paper - Son Man Jin - 2001
This was part of a calligraphy exhibit. The piece is like seven feet tall. Something about it just seemed very interesting to me.
Oil on Canvas - Jacques Villon (Gaston Duchamp) - 1912
This piece caught my eye because I think I see two views superimposed on top of one another. One image appears to be a seated figure, and the other appears to be a close up like a head shot. Nothing with the painting references the close up, but I feel fairly certain it is there and intentional. But then, I am not much of an art consumer.
All the eating and exhibits behind us we take the train back to the airport and return to overcast, sticky Pittsburgh. And a fun time was had by all.
Food That Travels Well - New York Times: "Incorporating these measurements into their assessments, scientists reached surprising conclusions. Most notably, they found that lamb raised on New Zealand’s clover-choked pastures and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produced 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton while British lamb produced 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton, in part because poorer British pastures force farmers to use feed. In other words, it is four times more energy-efficient for Londoners to buy lamb imported from the other side of the world than to buy it from a producer in their backyard. Similar figures were found for dairy products and fruit."
Posted by David at 2:17 PM
Monday, August 06, 2007
Always there to try to help a buddy. Katy says:
I have had an Etsy account and an empty shop for years now (since November 2005, right after they started), and have decided to really try my hand at crafting for sale. The product line, at this point, will include record bowls, woven flowers, coasters/mug rugs and spiral notebooks. The notebooks are the things that I am most excited about, as I have some great ideas for them and a coil binding machine (manual punch, electric roller insertion) on its way from Canada, and supplies on order from a US vendor. As much as eBay is annoying, you can get good deals there with a lot of effort (and the help of eSnipe).Bee-Ewe-Tee-Full Creations - the link of the day.
You can help me out in a number of ways, some of them right now, and others in the future (watch this space!).
I think that 5 ways to help are enough for now. Tell your friends, and keep an eye out on my pages.
- Go to my etsy shop here: Bee-Ewe-Tee-Full Creations and "heart" me to put me on your favorite shops list.
- I have a logo of sorts that I have used in the past for tagging items under this name. If you are able to help, I need some graphic design help, once I scan in the sketch that I do. I've got that covered at a friend's house.
- If you have any sort of interesting stuff you think I should use as notebook covers, old vinyl records or unused paper (blank, lined, gridded, colored, etc...), let me know and I probably will make it into stuff.
- When the binding machine gets here, I will be more than happy to beat Kinko's price and make your books for you! The thing needs to earn its keep, even if it is making workbooks and marketing material, or securing your knitting pattern booklets.
- There will be some naming contests coming up on this here blog! With prizes!
You people make me sick.
The birth of the U.S. torture program. - By Dahlia Lithwick - Slate Magazine: "The most damning part of this damning article comes at its conclusion, when Mayer explains that, following years of brutal interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, it remains entirely unclear which parts of his voluminous confessions are true and which were fabricated—either to end his abuse or to inflate his ego."
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Today's link of da day is a translator I found online that helps one to sound as if they are from picksburg n'at.
Here, try it, type in: "Are yinzes gowen through Squorl h'l on yinzes way to watch da stillers n'at. Could yinz stop at da Jine Igl and pick up some beer, chips, and dip?"
It's a zillion laughs, anna link of da day.
I drive through a tunnel every day going to work. Well, thats a misstatement, on days where the people going into the tunnel haven't slowed down so much that traffic is backed up for miles I drive through a tunnel to work. Most days its backed up I think to myself "What are these people afraid of? Like the tunnel is going to collapse!" Today I wondered how many cynical people sitting in traffic in Minneapolis think to themselves "What are they afraid of? Like the bridge is going to collapse!"
I'd be funny if it weren't so not funny.
I can't say as I am surprised that what with all the effort the various governments have been making to protect us from Al Keda, that with our head turned one way the house would fall over. DO you think that was the terrorist's plan all along: distract them to the point they ignore their infrastructure and watch the whole country just fall over. Is it possible that by not maintaining our systems that we're letting the terrorists win? I swear Osama Bin Laden is thinking "Ha, what a black eye! And I didn't even have to leave the cave."
A story on NPR today said that 20% of all bridges on interstates were "structurally deficient." Apparently its not all that bad as that can mean that the shoulders are too narrow as well as mean it is listing and going to fall over. But still, thats one in every five bridges. There are people in Vegas that regularly bet those odds. Seems a little risky for the traveling public.
It'd be nice to think that someone in a position of power would see the New Orleans levies, the massive NYC power failure, a bridge or two just drop into a river and think maybe we're missing something. Maybe all that time they're spending reading our email and moving people around through extraordinary rendition could be put to better use. Perhaps the time and effort appearing before congress and saying "I don't recall" could be put to better use.
How about this: if the Bush administration agrees to spend on infrastructure in the next year an amount equal to what they spent in Iraq last month we will all, as a country, stop caring about who decided to fire those US Attorneys.
I shouldn't knock W exclusively for this though. (There's lots else to knock him for - its nice when poor sentence structure leads to fun.) Its not like the bridge actually fell over yesterday, it just finally fell over yesterday. The pattern of maintenance and inspection that lead to it falling over had been in place for quite some time.
We're more dependent that we realize on these infrastructure items. The flood and the blackout were hard to miss, catastrophic. But in reality its likely true that many things are in a position to bottleneck but for just one failure. What if the bridge to drop had been the Q in New Haven? That's three lanes each way and jammed pretty much all day every day. The alternates are two bridges , each one lane for each direction, both draw bridges to allow local river traffic, and both only accessible after driving a few miles through neighborhoods - in one case through a residential neighborhood.
The loss of the tunnel I drive through would run the entire traffic pattern right through a picturesque suburban neighborhood - that is until they make everyone get off an exit earlier so they drive through the more urban, lower income neighborhood. Want to see what that's like? They've been closing the tunnel for road work on the weekends. Without commuter traffic there are still miles of delays.
Still, it seems like the accident has already jump started a round of inspections. That seems to be the case in the aftermath of every incident. But its not the impetus we lack, its the follow through. We're coming into an election cycle. We're all too tired of hearing about foriegn policy. I don't want my heart broken over health care again. Let's make them talk about our vulnerable infrastructure.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
I had a Facebook account for like 30 minutes last night. I'd been meaning to try and then I got an invite from a student and so, OK, I'll give it a whirl. After about 15 minutes I had 9 friends and a picture. I'd looked at some other pics and pages. Then it hit me. Although I have no Xanga and I never did Friendster, I have Blogger, LiveJournal, MySpace, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, GoodTheatre, YouTube, Picasa, & Flickr. Isn't that enough social networking? Plus, as a married nearly 40 year old how much "virtual" social networking do I need? Seems more like time is running out and if I am going to socialize with people I ought to actually hang out with them.
I considered for a moment doing this Profile Linker thing I found with Stumble. It purports to manage all your web 2.0 sites as one gigantic profile. This seems like a good idea to me. But after a few seconds I decide that the server for Profile Linker is in a basement vault somewhere in Langley - it just has to be, doesn't it? So, maybe if one of you tries it first and doesn't get sent off to Guantanamo. Maybe then I can let the paranoia fade and do it myself.
So, no profile linking. That decision leads me to deactivate the Facebook account. They were really interested to see why I was shutting it down. Interestingly on their little exit interview there was not choice for "I am too connected already."
I was telling my class about this and how I had all those other accounts and they fairly unceremoniously informed me that all of my accounts were crap and that Facebook is where it is. So we know where tomorrow's college students have their accounts.
Still, I can't help think that Facebook is oh, so 2006. You have to check it. I am through with checking. It's all feeds now - you need a refresher? It seems very awkward to me that there weren't RSS feeds available for the features in Facebook. And while I am sure that with some third party apps it may be possible, syndication appears at least to me to be fairly standard for a community of this type. LJ has feeds. MySpace has feeds. Blogger now has like 3 different feeds for each page. You can have a post feed, an all comment feed, or a comment feed for a particular entry. But on Facebook if you want to see what someone has written on your "wall" you have to check? So last year.
Maybe someone will convince me, and I will light up the account again. It was interesting to see some of the people that showed up for invites when going through my address book. Some of my cousins and my brother and sister-in-law all appear to have accounts; my boss and several other faculty seem to have accounts. I wonder how many of them actually check the page though. Probably comparatively few. Still, make the right pitch, or convince me the profile linker isn't part of some Homeland Security project and maybe I will reconsider whether I am cool enough for Facebook