Critical Section

Tuesday,  11/18/08  11:43 PM

Whew, today was a  l o n g  day; I spent the day working in Vista, meetings and discussions from dawn to dark, and didn't escape for a ride until 9:30 (!); I just got back.  Glad I got it in though, I was in a first class funk, and rode it off somewhat.  Still there may be an edge left, sorry in advance :)

putting the air back inThe Economist on Putting the Air Back In.  A great explanation of the current financial crisis and the options available to governments to address it...

the money holeThe Onion wonders: Should the government stop dumping all our money in a giant hole?  Classic.

Apropos: Obama's Car Puzzle.  "Even as GM teeters toward bankruptcy and wheedles for billions in public aid, its forthcoming plug-in hybrid continues to absorb a big chunk of the company's product development budget. This is a car that, by GM's own admission, won't make money. It's a car that can't possibly provide a buyer with value commensurate with the resources and labor needed to build it. It's a car that will be unsalable without multiple handouts from government."  Are you getting this?  GM is spending all it's money building a car that won't make money, while asking you and I to pay for their ridiculous union worker's wages and retirement plans.  No thanks.

So Malcom Gladwell has a new book out, Outliers.  The early reviews are a bit, well, negative; consider this one in the NYTimes:  "Much of what Mr. Gladwell has to say about superstars is little more than common sense: that talent alone is not enough to ensure success, that opportunity, hard work, timing and luck play important roles as well. The problem is that he then tries to extrapolate these observations into broader hypotheses about success."  Joel Spolsky does not like anecdotes as proof of anything, although he himself engages in the same thing :)

I think this book suffers from something different; some of Gladwell's observations are more fundamental than others; Tipping Point, for example, was more insightful than Blink.  This seems more derivative than either...

Fomalhaut BWow, real pictures of exo-planets; the first is FomalHaut B.  Sounds like the name of a "B" movie :)  These planets are all really big, Jupiter-like gaseous giants, but at some point I'm sure we'll find another Earth...  how cool will that be?

Sailing Anarchy has an innerview with Dennis Connor!  (Entitled "hell freezes over" :)  A lot of DC's observations are pretty dead on, IMHO:  "In just a few years we went from all-amateur teams at the very top echelon of the sport, to teams of paid professionals earning something comparable to what they might be making at home as a plumber or carpenter or painter or whatever."  I've seen this myself; when I was a kid, all sailors were amateurs, even the best, now, at nearly every level they're pro.  Check it out.

the Winding RoadYay, Winding Road is available as a downloadable PDF again.  We win!  (In case you don't know, this online 'zine was formerly a PDF, then turned into this weird must-be-online-to-view thing.  Through it all the content remained excellent, but I missed the simple download and view model, and now it's back...)

I continue to love my Kindle; Slashdot looks at the economics of the Kindle...  This is all very interesting, but nobody buys a Kindle to save money on books, any more than they buy an iPod to save money on music.  The key in both cases is the ability to easily carry way more content around with you.  It is fundamentally better.  That it also costs less is a bonus :)


this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained