... seeking simple answers to complex problems, and in the process, disrupting the status quo in technology, art and neuroscience.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mapping America's Census

The internet is wonderful.  Here it is only 24 hours after release and anyone can drill down to the block level of every city in America.  What a country!

Mapping America: Every City, Every Block

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

200 Years of Economics in 4 Minutes

This is one of the most impressive demonstrations of the effects of industrialization I have ever seen :

200 Years of Economics in 4 Minutes

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

One VERY Impressive Piece of Malware - Stuxnet



It's hard to believe its development will stay secret forever, so someone will eventually take credit and maybe even write a book.  Whatever the case, and whom ever created and managed it, Stuxnet was one amazing malware campaign with it's zero-day exploits, subtle damage approach and peer to peer upgrade channel.  Don't worry if you're a technophobe, the article below reads like a Hollywood script and brings to mind how Churchill subtlety used Ultra (or didn't use it) to further his objectives.  The story even has a climax, with discovery day cleanup already prepared - very impressive.  Here's a link :



And the more technical Wiki version :


It makes one wonder what unknown code may be running on other computers...

Be prepared.

Rod Coleman, General Manager - Sierra Computer Group

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saline Valley Springs Review

11-14-13 Critical information - South pass needs high clearance and is slow down by the lake (which has returned!).  The north pass is MUCH worse :

But some hope of improvements before Thanksgiving:

Saline Valley Road Work

Good luck.




First posted on 11-17-10:







I've been asked about Saline Valley from so many friends, it's time to post a general review of the area for it's hot-tubs, hiking and generally great spot to get away.


As some of you may know, Saline Hot Springs used to be on BLM land  "just off the map" to the west side of Death Valley until it was annexed.  In many respects, Saline Valley is Death Valley in miniature - low valley, tall mountains and great hiking.  In the 1960s,Hippies built some soaking tubs and planted some palm trees at the hot-springs.  

In 1994 the Feds made Saline part of the official Death Valley Park and won't allow any more development.  But they won't allow any destruction either.  Nudity is still the norm. When people try to change things, the park rangers put it back.  Strange how the liberal government types wish to conserve.  And small government conservatives like to build liberally.

Now there are several pit toilets and many "camp spots" lined in rock.  Winter weekends are a great time to enjoy the warm weather (1100 feet elevation at the salt flat, 1300 feet at the springs), and dramatic hiking (6 to 10 thousand foot mountains).

Mostly it's quiet, but several times a year crowds gather.  There's a baseball game on Presidents day.  Christmas through New years is always busy, though it sometimes freezes at night.  Easter is the last big weekend before it gets really hot.  Summer is the the slow season.






The biggest party of the year is for the Thanksgiving potluck.  I've been maybe five times.  It's a fun group from all over the west and even some from Europe.  Last year about 400 showed up.  Bring a blank tee-shirt for the silk screening, get your toe-nails painted and enjoy the music.  Last year there were even movies in the evening.  Dinner starts about 2:00 PM on Thursday and the soup potluck on Friday is almost as good.






Directions:

If you've had trouble finding directions to Saline Hot Springs, it's because no one wants to be blamed for putting you on that road.  Or getting you lost.  Believe me, it's not a road you'll want to drive just for the fun of
it.  And in the summer, people die out there.

No matter how you do it, it's 60 miles of bad road - each way.  My rule of thumb is to stay at LEAST four days.  It takes that long to forget the drive in.  Having said that, you CAN make it with most any vehicle.  I've even seen a little Honda sedan there.  Just be careful you don't break any bits off.  But I wouldn't try with any long motor-home or trailer than has entry and exit angle problems.  Soft roaders with 7 inches of clearance will do just fine - if you dodge the rocks.  Lower than that, be extra careful.

There's another reason you won't find much driving advice on the net - conditions change all the time.  The north, south and east passes close for various reasons.  I always check these sites before I go out.  There's almost always a report from the last few weeks :


Saline Valley Talk

Death Valley Talk

Saline Valley road runs north and south between highways 168 and 190. The springs are 7 miles east of this road and turns off near the north end of the valley.  When you come off pavement on 168 at the north end (there's a sign), you'll be at 7600 feet, so snow can be a factor even in November.  The sign may say the road's closed.  It rarely is.  The park service does this to discourage traffic.  It works.  The meek drivers at the springs are rare.

The north pass starts with a reasonably graded gravel road, but soon you find LOTS of sharp rocks and more than a few bigger ones to dodge.  It's a good idea to air-down your tires to about 20 lbs to decrease tire damage.  It also improves traction.  One ford pickup brought two spares but needed three.  Fortunately, they were close enough to hike in to the springs and Lee had a spare that fit.  Did I mention to check your spare before you leave home?  I've popped one each on two different trips in the last six years, but none since I started airing-down. It's a small sample, but be ready.

Anyway, off into Marble Canyon from the north - you'll know it by the switch-backs and old mining buildings.  From there it's through the trees and out to a panoramic view of Saline Valley.  This is the top of Ten Mile grade which takes you to the bottom of Saline Valley.


When you get near the bottom, there's a road to the right that goes to Turtle Jim's.  Ignore him.  Continue straight until the road gets level and flat on the bottom of the valley.  There you'll find an ungraded road which turns off to the left.  There is no sign and the park service will take it down if you make one.  If you get to the sand dunes, you went too far.  Turn around.

Coming in from the south off highway 190 (well marked turn-off), the first few miles of road is busted pavement.  Once you hit gravel and go through the Joshua forest you'll climb to South Pass.  At the top is a beautiful view off into Panamint Valley and a road to the right.  Don't take it unless you're headed for the Race Track.  Bare left and down into Saline Valley.  Here are some north faced switch-backs.  There's not as much snow at 6100 feet, but there IS a nasty shaded spot if you're trying to get out.  If you DO get a storm while you're at camp, start early to drive out before this spot gets ice-packed by everyone else driving out.  


Once you get to the flats you still have a good 20 miles of sandy wash-board road.  Airing down is not as critical from the south as there's not as much sharp rock.  But then it only takes one.

Go west around the lake and past the dunes on your right.  About another mile on is that ungraded road to the east. If you start up out of the valley again, you went too far.  Turn around.  This road to the east is the
final section and the worst road.  You probably went too fast on all that wash-board, but stay slow on this section and watch for wash-outs.  If you get over 20 MPH, you'll slam your springs.

A few miles in is a cool sign for the bat road, which is a story in itself - but stay on the road east.  At night you'll see lights up ahead.  The camp lights were the only way I found my way in on my first trip here totally in the dark.

The first springs are where Lizard Lee keeps the lawn.  Another 3/4 of a mile up is another set of tubs. and lots of camping space.


See you in the hot-tubs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Instead of Burning Man...

(These just get better and better...)

Pay an escort of your preference to not bathe for five days, cover themselves in glitter, dust, and sunscreen, wear a skanky neon wig,dance naked, then say they have a lover back home at the end of the night.

Tear down your house. Put it in a truck. Drive 10 hours in any direction. Put the house back together. Invite everyone you meet to come over and party. When they leave, followthem back to their homes, drink all their booze, and break things. Stack all your fans in one corner of the living room. Put on your most fabulous outfit. Turn the fans on full blast. Dump a vacuum cleaner bag in front of them.

Buy a new set of expensive camping gear. Break it.

Lean back in a chair until that point where you're just about to fall over, but you catch yourself at the last moment. Hold that position for 9 hours.

Only use the toilet in a house that is at least 3 blocks away.

Drain all the water from the toilet. Only flush it every 3 days. Hide all the toilet paper. Set your house thermostat so it's 100 degrees for the first hour of sleep and 50 degrees the rest of the night.

Before eating any food, drop it in a sandbox and lick a battery.

Spend thousands of dollars and several months of your life building a deeply personal art work. Hide it in a funhouse on the edge of the city. Hire people to come by and alternate saying "I love it" and "dude, this sucks". Then burn it.

Set up a DJ system downwind of a three alarm fire. Play a short loop of drum'n'bass until the embers are cold.

Make a list of all the things you'll do different next year. Never look at it.

Have a 3 a.m. soul baring conversation with a drag nun in platforms, a crocodile and Bugs Bunny. Be unable to tell if you're hallucinating. Lust after Bugs Bunny.

Cut, burn, electrocute, bruise, and sunburn various parts of your body.Forget how you did it. Don't go to a doctor.

"Downsize" last year's camp by adding two geodesic domes, a new sound system, art car, and 20 newbies.

Don't sleep for 5 days. Take a wide variety of hallucinogenic/emotionaltering drugs. Pick a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend, or both.

Spend a whole year rummaging through thrift stores for the perfect, most outrageous costume. Forget to pack it.

Shop at Wal-mart, Cost-Co, and Home Depot until your car is completely packed with stuff. Tell everyone that you're going to a "Leave-No-Trace"event. Empty your car into a dumpster.

Listen to music you hate for 168 hours straight, or until you think youare going to scream. Scream. Realize you'll love the music for the rest of your life.

Spend 5 months planning a "theme camp" like it's the invasion of Normandy. Spend Monday-Wednesday building the camp. Spend Thurs-Sunday nowhere near camp because you're sick of it or can't find it.

Walk around your neighborhood and knock on doors until someone offers you cocktails and dinner.

Bust your ass for a "community." See all the attention get focused onthe drama queen crybaby.

Get so drunk you can't recognize your own house. Walk slowly around the block for 5 hours.

Tell your boss you aren't coming to work this week but he should "gift"you a paycheck anyway. When he refuses accuse him of not loving the"community".

Search alleys until you find a couch so unbelievably tacky and nasty filthy that a state college frat house wouldn't want it. Take a nap on the couch and sleep like you are king of the world.

Ask your most annoying neighbor to interrupt your fun several times a day with third hand gossip about every horrible thing that's happened in the last 24 hours. Have them wear khaki.

Go to a museum. Find one of Salvador Dali's more disturbing, but beautiful paintings. Climb inside it.

Or just go to Burning Man!

See you in the dust!


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

King Tut and Colin Chapman





This picture made me realize how minimal transportation can be.  In Tut's time, horses were too small for a man to ride.  It took TWO of them just to get pulled around.  Which makes this chariot maybe the best example of Colin Chapman's, "Simplify and add lightness".

King Tut's Ride

Now, if we can just get a modern low-cost car under 2000 lbs.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PermaBurn Directions



If you're not familiar with PermaBurn, here is a link to posts from the first two year's camp-outs...



Thanks to CyberBiker for providing this Google Map link..



If you haven't been out, there is 5 miles of gravel road, some of it has dips that would challenge anything with a flat exit angle, such as a long over-hang RV.   But there have been trailers as long as 24 feet, a full-sized Greyhound bus and one fully loaded Geo Metro, so any normal car will make it if you dodge a few rocks.  High clearance or trucks, no problem at all.


(click to expand)

How to get to PermaBurn...

Take 395 60 miles north of Susanville to Madeline, California
(the 395 junction is just east of Susanville).

Go 6 miles north of Madeline on 395 to the 134.92 mile marker at 41 7'43" 120 30'0".


Watch for the orange or pink or mylar tape from this point on.  If you go to Google map you won't find any names on any of these roads, but the mile marker is past Sage Hen and before South Fork Mountain Road.  On the ground, the key is the mile marker and tape at each junction.

You have five miles of gravel road to go.

Take a left onto the shortcut to a gravel road.

Take another left to go south on this gravel road.

Go 0.1 miles till you reach the green gate.  Open the gate and go through.  Please remember to close it back.

Go 0.4 miles until you see a second green Gate on the right with orange tape.

Turn right through the green gate, opening if you need to.  Leave the green gate open or closed as you found it.

Cross the yellow cattle guard about 30 feet beyond the gate.

Go 2.4 miles up some hills and across a flat.

You will see a sign for the reservoir to the right - stay to the left.

You will also see another yellow cattle guard and orange tape.

You are at 41 6'45" 120 32' 6".



Go just BEYOND the cattle guard, and take an immediate LEFT turn on the dirt road on the other side of the fence.  Turn left just AFTER the cattle guard, not before!

Climb 2.2 miles south on the dirt road.

At some points the road tilts pretty bad, and there are a few rocks protruding but a normal car can make it with care.


You will reach a small hill with a couple of trees and then come down into the PermaBurn site.  The last hundred yards which was so bad last year has been newly worked and is in much better condition.

The best camping is in this first valley.

Welcome to Permaburn!

Welcome to Stone Soup!



Where to Camp

There are two ponds on the hill with some trees around them.  Unfortunately, this is also where some free range cattle come to drink and find shade,  AND leave their droppings.  There were only a few mosquitoes last year - not really a problem.  But to minimize all of these factors, we will be setting up Center Camp along main street a quarter mile back in the lower valley.  You can of course camp where ever you choose but we'd like the significant performance camps along main street if possible.

See ya at PermaBurn!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stone Soup 2010 Set for the 18th, 19th and 20th of June!

FINALLY!  Summer is here and the weather looks great for Stone Soup.  Here's the latest :

NNPS is providing a center camp shelter, Greg Glover a music venue where Darkemeth will be playing house and psytrance.  Help Me BDSM camp will be giving demos.  The Poly camp will have an intro presentation and pot-luck on Saturday after noon. Diva Den will provide chill space.  Hib will be presenting Liquid Chess as well as a balloon with a mile of line. After Saturday will be Cari's birthday party!

There will be an update and PermaBurn meeting Sunday morning at 10:00 AM at center camp.  Be there if you're a PermaBurner or interested.

The RSVP list is growing.  Add your name with camp plans and head count by emailing :

sudden.net@gmail.com

What : Stone Soup Encore - 2010 - Burner Camp-out at PermaBurn
When : June 18th, 19th & 20th (early and late camping is fine)
Where : Madeline, California - 60 miles north of Susanville
Entrance Fee : $0.00, nada, FREE!




If you've never been to Stone Soup, here's a little background.  The Reno area has Burner events all year long.  Most are to raise money for theme camps or other causes.  Often they are limited by cost, small venues or city constraints.

Stone Soup is different.  It's not about raising money.  It's not held on public lands.  It's not limited in size.  There are few restrictions.  You can bring your dogs.  You can bring your kids.  You can bring your dirt bikes or ATVs.

Stone Soup is about whatever you wish to express, in the purest way possible.  It's the closest thing you'll find to an old-school Burner camp-out; or the early days on the playa.








So why's it called Stone Soup?

You may have heard of the Grimm Brother tale about three Napoleonic soldiers returning to a war-torn and starving village in hopes of a free meal.  As the villagers are at first unwilling to share any of their meager food supplies, these soldiers decide to get creative.   They set up a pot full of water and begin to boil a large stone, announcing a dinner of "stone soup" will be available for all, just as soon as it's cooked.

Then one of the villagers offers to add some salt - just to give it a little flavor.  Next, pepper is offered up by another.  Soon other villagers begin bring forth their modest vegetables and other contributions to create a wonderful soup.

In no time, they all eat well in spite of first intentions.  The point is, you won't need to bring much to PermaBurn, just what you need to survive, and what you wish to add to the experience.

For those who didn't join us last year (or didn't make it up the hill), PermaBurn is 640 acres of northern California now officially organized as The PermaBurn Collective.  In the spirit of Burning Man, PermaBurn has gifted this volcanic terrain for the weekend, with virtually no restrictions on how you wish to express yourself.

We'll use the PermaBurn site as our soup pot.  Greg Glover (founder) has thrown in port-a-potties as the stone for the soup.  (Am I pushing this metaphor too far?)  In any case, because of this wonderful gift, we don't need to charge an entrance fee.  So come on out and join us.  Express yourself!  Be free!  For free!

Just like on the playa, and as in the story Stone Soup, WE get to add all the rest.  What would you like to add to the soup?


Link back to this site for on-going updates.  More importantly, email me with YOUR plans so I can help you hook up with others and coordinate similar activities.  Let me know if I can post your name, email and or phone number here along with your camp plans.  Plus I'll need a head count for the potties, so...

RSVP your camp plans and head count to...

sudden.net@gmail.com


NNPS Hosting Center Camp - The center camp shade structure will be hosted this year by the Northern Nevada Polyamory Support group, who will also be presenting, "Introduction to Polyamory", on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 followed by a pot-luck for everyone at 6:00 PM followed by a birthday party for Cari.

Tunes - Greg Glover will be providing a music venue where Darkemeth will be playing house and psytrance.

Liquid Chess - BadAss (Hib) will be presenting his full-scale chess art project.

Helium - Hib will also be deploying a balloon with a mile of line.

Camp Quadzilla will provide transportation options.

Camp Help Me - A BSDM camp with be set up by Camp Help Me.  Stop by for a whack.

Diva Den Chill Space presented by Cari.

PermaBurn - There will be an update and PermaBurn meeting Sunday morning at 10:00 at center camp.  If you're a PermaBurner, or are interested, please join us.

What will YOU add to the flavor?

What : Stone Soup 2010 - Burner Camp-out at PermaBurn
When : June 18th, 19th & 20th (early and late camping is fine)
Where : Madeline, California - 60 miles north of Susanville
Entrance Fee : $0.00, nada, FREE!

RSVP your camp, art plans and head count to...

sudden.net@gmail.com


If you're not familiar with PermaBurn, here is a link to posts from the first two year's camp-outs...

AfterBurn, Reheat, Stone Soup and First Ashes


Thanks to CyberBiker for providing this Google Map link..

Stone Soup - PermaBurn Location on Google Map


If you haven't been out, there is 5 miles of gravel road, some of it has dips that would challenge anything with a flat exit angle, such as a long over-hang RV.   But there have been trailers as long as 24 feet, a full-sized Greyhound bus and one fully loaded Geo Metro, so any normal car will make it if you dodge a few rocks.  High clearance or trucks, no problem at all.



(click to expand)

How to get to PermaBurn...

Take 395 60 miles north of Susanville to Madeline, California
(the 395 junction is just east of Susanville).

Go 6 miles north of Madeline on 395 to the 134.92 mile marker at 41 7'43" 120 30'0".



Watch for the orange or pink or mylar tape from this point on.  If you go to Google map you won't find any names on any of these roads, but the mile marker is past Sage Hen and before South Fork Mountain Road.  On the ground, the key is the mile marker and tape at each junction.

You have five miles of gravel road to go.

Take a left onto the shortcut to a gravel road.

Take another left to go south on this gravel road.

Go 0.1 miles till you reach the green gate.  Open the gate and go through.  Please remember to close it back.

Go 0.4 miles until you see a second green Gate on the right with orange tape.

Open the green gate and take a right.  AND close it back.

Cross the yellow cattle guard about 30 feet beyond the gate.

Go 2.4 miles up some hills and across a flat.

You will see another yellow cattle guard and orange tape.

To the right, will be a sign for the reservoir.

You are at 41 6'45" 120 32' 6".




Go just BEYOND the cattle guard, and then take an immediate LEFT turn on the dirt road on the other side of the fence.  Turn left just AFTER the cattle guard, not before!

Climb 2.2 miles south on the dirt road.

At some points the road tilts pretty bad, and there are a few rocks protruding but a normal car can make it with care.



You will reach a small hill and then come down into the PermaBurn site.  The last hundred yards which was so bad last year has been newly worked and is in much better condition.

The best camping is in this first valley.

Welcome to Permaburn!

Welcome to Stone Soup!




Where to Camp

There are two ponds on the hill with some trees around them.  Unfortunately, this is also where some free range cattle come to drink and find shade,  AND leave their droppings.  There were only a few mosquitoes last year - not really a problem.  But to minimize all of these factors, we will be setting up Center Camp along main street a quarter mile back in the lower valley.  You can of course camp where ever you choose but we'd like the significant performance camps along main street if possible.

That's all I can think of right now.  Email  me your questions, camp, art plans and head count to...

sudden.net@gmail.com

Or just click on "Comments" below.  Either will work.  I will post the updates here from time to time.

What : Stone Soup 2010 Burner Camp-out at PermaBurn
When : June 18th, 19th & 20th (early and late camping is fine)

Where : Madeline, California - 60 miles north of Susanville
Entrance Fee : $0.00, nada, FREE!

See ya at Stone Soup 2010.

See ya at PermaBurn!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Favorite Droid Apps


RealCalc

Here's my favorite Droid app so far.  It's an RPN calculator from Brain Overspill.  Though not an HP emulation, they've taken the best of calculator UI / PDA design and combined it with an RPN option.

Though I'm not a fan of long press, in this case it's faster than using shift.  For instance in conversion, enter a number (or result of calculation) then hold down the EXP key (not show in outdated photo). A dialog pops up. Select units and it displays all the other forms - very quick and easy.

As noted above, the picture is outdated and also in Algebraic mode - they also have %, Rotate and Swap XY.  When they get around to financial and stat functions, it'll be perfect.  Nice work guys.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ron Paul Reduces 2400 Page Health Care Bill to One Page







































This has got to be the greatest example of an alternative reduction to essential need in the history of our country.  Even when written up a a law, it will be far smaller, and more importantly, FAR more effective.

Ron Paul is to be congratulated.

Here's the link...

And here's the text...



Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

Statement Introducing the Private Option Health Care Act

May 27, 2010 
Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Private Option Health Care Act. This bill places individuals back in control of health care by replacing the recently passed tax-spend-and-regulate health care law with reforms designed to restore a free market health care system.

The major problems with American health care are rooted in government policies that encourage excessive reliance on third-party payers. The excessive reliance on third-party payers removes incentives for individual patients to concern themselves with health care costs. Laws and policies promoting Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) resulted from a desperate attempt to control spiraling costs. However, instead of promoting an efficient health care system, HMOs further took control over health care away from patients and physicians. Furthermore, the third-party payer system creates a two-tier health care system where people whose employers can afford to offer "Cadillac" plans have access to top quality health care, while people unable to obtain health insurance from their employers face obstacles in obtaining quality health care.

The Private Option Health Care Act gives control of health care back into the hands of individuals through tax credits and tax deductions, improving Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts. Specifically, the bill:

A. Provides all Americans with a tax credit for 100% of health care expenses. The tax credit is fully refundable against both income and payroll taxes;
B. Allows individuals to roll over unused amounts in cafeteria plans and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA);
C. Provides a tax credit for premiums for high-deductible insurance policies connected with a Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and allows seniors to use funds in HSAs to pay for medigap policies;
D. Repeals the 7.5% threshold for the deduction of medical expenses, thus making all medical expenses tax deductible.

This bill also creates a competitive market in heath insurance. It achieves this goal by exercising Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause to allow individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines. The near-monopoly position many health insurers have in many states and the high prices and inefficiencies that result, is a direct result of state laws limiting people's ability to buy health insurance that meets their needs, instead of a health insurance plan that meets what state legislators, special interests, and health insurance lobbyists think they should have. Ending this ban will create a truly competitive marketplace in health insurance and give insurance companies more incentive to offer quality insurance at affordable prices.

The Private Option Health Care Act also provides an effective means of ensuring that people harmed during medical treatment receive fair compensation while reducing the burden of costly malpractice litigation on the health care system. The bill achieves this goal by providing a tax credit for negative outcomes insurance purchased before medical treatment. The insurance will provide compensation for any negative outcomes of the medical treatment. Patients can receive this insurance without having to go through lengthy litigation and without having to give away a large portion of their awards to trial lawyers.

Finally, the Private Option Health Care Act also lowers the prices of prescription drugs by reducing barriers to the importation of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved pharmaceuticals. Under my bill, anyone wishing to import a drug simply submits an application to the FDA, which then must approve the drug unless the FDA finds the drug is either not approved for use in the United States or is adulterated or misbranded. This process will make safe and available imported medicines affordable to millions of Americans. Letting the free market work is the best means of lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

Madam Speaker, the Private Option Health Care Act allows Congress to correct the mistake it made last month by replacing the new health care law with health care measures that give control to health care to individuals, instead of the federal government and politically-influential corporations. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Great American Bubble Machine

First posted on 07-08-09...






It isn't often that I pass on a link I get in email, but if you haven't seen this video of Matt Taibbi, or read his Rolling Stones article about Goldman Sachs, by all means click the link.

You may have heard me admit that while I saw the housing bubble, I didn't call or even understand the oil and credit bubbles - now I do.

I'm not normally open to conspiracy theories, but this one rings true...

The Great American Bubble Machine

OK. I just got a copy of the actual article which goes into a lot more depth and detail. Who says hard-copy publishing is dead? If you saw the video, you might think potty-mouthed bluster. And if you read the Rolling Stone web summary, you may begin to wonder. But if you read the detail, you'll wonder why congressional hearing haven't started yet.

Matt Taibbi delivers on his bluster.

It's worth buying an actual copy of Rolling Stone.

So if you have ANY interest in our current economic situation...


This is a MUST read.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Pull to the side, Segway. YikeBike Coming Through



Remember all the hype just before Segway was introduced? It was suppose to change forever the way people traveled. Except for a few mall cops and airport security, the future hasn't turned out quite the way they planned.

While not very good for standing around, the YikeBike may actually live up to Segway's hope of useful personal transportation...

YikeBike in Action 09-22-09

YikeBike Review 04-08-10


Engadget YikeBike Review 01-19-11



Monday, April 05, 2010

Xetum





Xetum is a new collection of California designed, Swiss made timepieces. Each piece walks the line between functionality and style. Check them out here http://www.xetum.com/

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Rocky Mountain Plan - Water Enough for All

OK.  I admit it.  I have a weakness for grand solutions to grand problems.  I first heard about this back in the 80s and out of curiosity thought I'd Google to see how progress was coming along.



Considering the state of environmental politics not to mention international boundaries, I'm sad but not surprised to report, not much has happened since I first read about it.  Here's the only reference I could find...

The Rocky Mountain Plan


So what IS the Rocky Mountain Plan?  It's nothing less than diverting water all the way from the Arctic Circle, and spreading it across the mid-western United States and even into California, Texas and Mexico.  Here's a summary.  I'm posting it here because grand ideas shouldn't die just because they are grand (note the 2200 foot drop for energy production).


"The Rocky Mountain Plan, conceived by William G. Dunn, Consulting Engineer, is a potential massive, international water and power development project that would distribute water and power throughout the West from Canada to the Mexican border.


Principal sources of water are the Peace, Athabasca, and Smoky rivers in northern Alberta (Canada), and upper tributaries of the Mackenzie River in northern British Columbia, which flows into the Arctic Ocean. Additional sources of water are the Kootenai and Flathead rivers and Clark Fork in western Montana, which are upper tributaries of the Columbia River. Water would be diverted for use within the Yellowstone, Missouri, and the Snake rivers in the northwestern United States, and upper tributaries of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers in Alberta.

The water distribution system would include several large reservoirs with a total storage capacity of nearly 100 million acre-feet. Project yield would range from 12 to 25 million acrefeet per year, depending on aqueduct and reservoir sizing. This water would be distributed through more than 5,850 miles of aqueduct for use in southern Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, all of the western states on both sides of the Rocky Mountains including west Texas and California, and northern New Mexico in the Colorado River and Rio Grande valleys.

New energy developed under the Rocky Mountain Plan would come from a huge hydroelectric project called the Whitehorse-Skagway Division, collecting water from the upper tributaries of the Yukon River and releasing it through a 2,200-foot power drop into an interior inlet of the Pacific Ocean near Skagway, Alaska. The 33 billion kilowatt hours of power produced by this system would be conveyed in a 2,000-mile transmission line to Alberta, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest for general use in the power market, and for project purposes. Three large storage reservoirs with a total storage potential of 60 million acre-feet are proposed within the Columbia River Basin. These reservoirs would include large pumped storage facilities that would reregulate the power developed in the Columbia River plants and in the project power plants, and that also would produce some new power.

The entire Rocky Mountain Plan, including power facilities, was estimated to cost between $40 and $50 billion in 1977 dollars. One of the significant advantages of the Rocky Mountain Plan is that it could be staged to provide significant water and power benefits during early development."




Thursday, March 04, 2010

Keep Your Laws Off My Body by John Stossel

I've always been impressed with John Stossel.  When he was on ABC, you could see working around the edges of issues now and then.  Looks like Fox is giving him the opportunity to open up both barrels!

Sex, drugs or kidneys, he's get my vote!

Keep Your Laws Off My Body

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Burning Man Panomatics






Burning Man is a target-rich  environment for photographers.  And you see them everywhere you go.  They are using everything from camera-phones, to Nikons, even full video.  But here's one camera I didn't noticed while it was happening.

These images appear to be from some kind of spherical 360 degree camera of some sort, with some very careful reconstruction.  However it's done, the result is amazing.  If you aren't careful, you'll make yourself sick dragging the mouse around.  Almost like waking up Sunday morning after the Burn.  But what a powerful viewing tool!

Plus, this one tour covers a LOT of Burning Man 2009.  Imagine how many photos you'd have to click through to gain this perspective.  And the night scenes are great - almost like being there!

So if YOU want to control the camera at Burning Man, click through...

Burning Man Panomatics

Don't forget to use your scoll-wheel for zooming.

Comment from Dave Cline -  - Welllll... This is what I THINK made the pictures:

0-360.com




Thursday, January 21, 2010

World's Smallest Political Quiz




“The best government is that which governs least” John L. O’Sullivan 1837

Many of you have heard my political positions - government is about twice the size it needs to be and should be limited to no more than 25% of our production. Further, government shouldn't do anything we can do better as individuals. Finally, there should be no crime without a victim other than the perpetrator.

Zoe first sent me this test a couple of years ago. I just rediscovered it. These ten questions will reveal a lot about who you are politically. And personally. Though obviously biased, it's impressive in how it simplifies such a complexity. But after all, how much government do we really need?

FYI, I got a perfect 10 out of 10.

Please post YOUR results in the comments below. I'd like to know how my friends think.



Monday, January 18, 2010

How to live to be 100+



TED once again delivers. This time it's on lifestyle and h0w to extend it. Dan Buettner presents a nice summary of lessons learned from "Blue Zones", suggesting the following advice...

1. Move naturally and consistently, but moderately - walk and garden

2. Find regular downtime - meditation or prayer

3. Have a word for purpose and use it - Eekyguy

4. Drink a little every day - wine is best

5. More plant-based diet - less meat

6. Only eat to 80% of fullness - Hada hatchi moodi - Confucius

7. Keep loved ones close - build groups

8. Be part of a group - trust and trust worthy

9. Right tribe - find friends who live these ideas

Give it a click.

How to live to be 100+

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Movie Mashup - Netflix Rental by Zip




Here is a tool where you can use the internet to look into the soul of a zip code.

It takes a few minutes to realize what is being measured here, but when you do, you'll discover an amazingly powerful tool. It provides information not only about what kind of people live where (which we've had for a long time). More importantly, it provides information about how they THINK about any given topic - by ZIP code. Or at least topics which can be associated with movies. Next it may gain a dynamic dimension as new films are released. Wait until Avatar is release and we see where it is NOT rented!


Click on a city and then scroll the most rented bar from left to right - fascinating! Don't get caught up in relative popularity of movies. The less popular films provide more specific data. Then watch how they vary by zip code. It says so much about how people pick their homes and end up living near the like-minded.

Sure, there's no drill down into each skull, but politician work district by district anyway. And yes, politicians have been tailoring content for years. But can you imagine the next election cycle where local speeches will be given with different subtle movie references by zip code? Good thing they will be captured on video and brought together on the internet to keep them somewhat "honest".

Giving THIS sword has AT LEAST two edges.

Just imagine what the next mash-up will be. Porn rentals anyone?