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Archive: August 8, 2003

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Friday,  08/08/03  09:13 AM

There's a lot going on this morning, its all happening...

Time carries a levelheaded survey of the California gubernatorial race - the political Earth moves.  We do enjoy providing entertainment for the rest of the world out here :)  The essence of the Time piece is that with Arnold and Cruz' entries, Davis is dead, and the race becomes a straightforward Democrat vs. Republican contest.  "The campaign will hopefully shift from debates on whether a pornographer can run a state to who has the best plan to save the world's fifth largest economy from imploding in red ink."  You bet.  Unlike when Jesse Ventura took the helm in Minnesota, California has big problems, and we need real solutions.  Whether an outsider - even a well-connected outsider like Arnold - can be more effective than an insider remains to be seen.

rhesus macaquesWired reports the rhesus monkey is rapidly becoming an endangered species, due primarily to the Ebola virus.  Aside from the value of this species on its own, they are tremendously useful (if also controversial) as proxies for humans in health research.  Plus, they're smart, and cute.

When I was at CalTech in 1977, I worked in a neuroscience research lab which used rhesus monkeys for vision research.  They are amazingly human-like, friendly, communicative, and fun-loving.  Fortunately the work of this lab didn't involve destroying animals, but I could see where it would have been very difficult for the researchers if it did.  It was quite easy to form relationships with the little guys.

Harry Pierson reflects on a bad presentation.  In which we again discover that we learn much more from failure than success.

Proving once again that some people have too much free time, we present Cow FooThis is hilarious!  [ via Robert Scoble ]

tadpole galaxyYahoo reports on a fascinating picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the "tadpole galaxy".  This is actually a big galaxy consuming a smaller one, using its superior gravity to "suck" the little one into it.  Cool!

The NYTimes has an interesting article about choosing roommates at college.  Apparently there are now "dating services" which match roommates for compatibility.  It makes sense, but it probably isn't much of a business opportunity, after all poor customers make poor customers.

You've heard about Apple's cool new iChat A/V software, right?  It is "videoconferencing for the rest of us".  But did you know you can hook it to your Tivo?  Aha, I didn't think so.  Wired reports Marc Zeeder uses it to rebroadcast pay-per-view soccer games recorded on his Tivo to his friends.  Now that is cool.  And it must be tried ... :)

Jabra headsetI've been investigating bluetooth wireless phone headsets, and this review by Howard Chui was right on the money.  I like the Jabra headset (pictured at left); primarily because it comes with an adapter which enables non-bluetooth phones to work.  {My Treo 300 is not bluetooth-capable.}  This could be a great solution...  stay tuned...

Speaking of Treos, Philip Greenspun traded in his Treo for a Compaq PocketPC, primarily because his Treo kept breaking down.  However his initial experience is pretty negative; battery life is miserable, he misses the Treo's keyboard, and "carrying a separate phone and PDA is painful".  The grass is always greener, until you cross the fence :)  Personally I love my Treo...

The BBC reports Microsoft is preparing new versions of its mouse that will be fitted with wheels that tilt as well as roll.  This would enable horizontal scrolling as well as vertical scrolling.  Cool, but not new; I've used an IBM trackpoint mouse for years which has the same capability.

"hand blogging"Don Park illustrates a low-tech way to blog, "hand blogging".  His discussion about this is fascinating; he imagines using a camera-equipped cell phone to enable merchants to blog their current wares and prices.  "Guess how many people in the world know how to type?"  Good point.  In this scenario people would blog even though they don't have the ability to view their blogs themselves.  Another variation is capturing handwritten notes as images (no handwriting recognition) and blogging them "as is".

In a similar vein, Tim Bray considers a slim book of verse.  The virtues of books are undeniable, and will be difficult to duplicate with any electronic form.  But hey, the virtues of horse carts were probably undeniable, too...

Google has begun testing Google News Alerts.  They will send you email whenever there is a new news item on a topic you specify.  This is a pretty cool "clipping service"; I can imagine on a for-fee basis it could become quite a revenue generator.  Who wouldn't want to know if there was new news about themselves, or their company?

John Robb points out that Google News Alerts could be used to automatically post to a blog.  Once having done so, the content of the blog could be published automatically as an RSS feed.  To which others could subscribe :)  So perhaps this isn't quite the for-fee opportunity it might at first appear to be...

butter HarleyJust when you think you've seen it all, you realize "it all" is much larger than you thought.  Here we have a woman making a Harley Davidson motorcycle out of butter.  I am not making this up.  [ via Michael Feldman ]

 

Blogging the Sail-a-Thon

Friday,  08/08/03  11:26 AM

As you know, tomorrow I'm sailing with my kids and their friends in the Westlake Sail-a-thon, a charity event to benefit the Casa Pacifica Children's Crisis Center.  For nine hours participants sail "laps" around Westlake and our team will be trying to break the record of 47 laps.

Since I know each of you will be anxiously waiting to see how we do, I thought it would be fun to blog our progress during the event.  I'm going to take my trusty Treo on the water and will be sending email updates to my blog server, which will be posted in realtime.  So you can monitor this site (or my RSS feed) between 11:00AM and 8:00PM tomorrow (Saturday, 8/9) and you'll know exactly what's happening!

Fujin, god of wind
Fujin, god of wind

Oh, and by the way, please make your offerings to the wind gods.  We'll need a nice breeze to be able to break the record.  Each lap is about one mile, ½ mile upwind, and ½ mile downwind.  Upwind my C-15 can go about 10mph, assuming a reasonable breeze, but we have to tack back and forth, of course, so the actual speed made good is about 7mph.  Downwind we'll only be going about 5mph.  This means it will take about 10 minutes to sail a lap, so in nine hours of continuous sailing we could do about 54 laps.  We won't be able to sail continuously for nine hours - there are human requirements like food and bathroom breaks to consider, to say nothing of fatigue - so breaking the record will be a challenge.  But we'll have no chance without wind!

Finally, thanks again to all of you who are sponsoring usWe are now at about $1,500, assuming we break the record and sail 50 laps.  That is so awesome!

 
 

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