Critical Section


Friday,  12/05/08  06:22 PM

Today was the most beautiful day outside, so naturally I spent it inside, debugging code, and peering out the window.  I did get in a short ride which was long enough to discover it was colder than it looked :)  Tonight we have a nice dinner planned to celebrate my birthday (this just goes on and on, doesn't it?) and tomorrow I am riding a 200K, Magoo's Ride to Mugu, my first long ride in two months.  I'm really looking forward to it.  (And after the ride, we get to watch USC dismantle UCLA to secure a rose bowl berth; I'm really looking forward to that, too :)

Meanwhile, it's all happening...

Cal Study: Poor Kids Lack Brain Development.  Here we have a classic case of mixing up correlation with causality.  A new study shows a correlation between kids' brain development and their economic stratum.  Naturally the liberal media (who have been carefully coached never to imply that people are different) assume the causality is from the economic stratum to the brain development.  But does that really make sense?  Let's turn this around; imagine a group of smart people, and a group of dumb people.  Turn them loose in the world, who is going to make more money?  Ahem.  And who is going to have smarter kids?  Ahem.  And later, when a study is done, which way should the causality run?  Really the headline should read: Cal Study: Kids who Lack Brain Development are Poor.  Sigh.

Trek: "we believe in bikes"I love this Trek commercial: We Believe in Bikes.  The mantra of the cyclist.  I love it.

l'Hydroptere sets mile record for sailboatsl’Hydroptère’s new record ratified by the WSSRC, 46.88 knots over 500 meters.  "l’Hydroptère has bettered her own record and has become the fastest sailing boat on the planet over 500 meters and one nautical mile.  The WSSRC, the British decision-making organization concerning records, ratified yesterday l’Hydroptère’s latest performance.  On 13th November, while training on the speed base at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, Alain Thébaut and his crew took advantage of the favourable weather conditions to beat their time and establish a new record over 500 meters."  Wow.  You must click through and view the video to really appreciate how fast that is over water.

Seth Godin: How to answer the phone.  "The only reason to answer the phone when a customer calls is to make the customer happy.  If you’re not doing this or you are unable to do this, do not answer the phone.  There is no middle ground on this discussion...  Saving 50 cents a call with a complicated phone tree is a false savings."  I so agree with this.  [ via John Gruber, who does too... ]

Amazon's KindleCNN reports: A year later, Amazon's Kindle finds a niche.  Boy I'll say it does, it is the iPod of books, for sure; I [still] love mine.  I've completely transitioned to reading from my Kindle instead of reading books, the form factor is actually better for reading at night, and of course much better on airplanes etc. because it is smaller than 200 books :)

Better Place proposed coverage in HawaiiThis is awesome: Hawaii makes electric car part of green power initiative.  This is another huge Better Place installation; the other day California announced a plan for Better Place coverage also.  I don't know if they're going to be successful, but they're certainly giving themselves a chance.  They'll have sufficient scale for the economics to start working.

Paul Graham: The high-res society.  "An ambitious kid graduating from college now doesn't want to work for a big company.  They want to work for the hot startup that's rapidly growing into one.  If they're really ambitious, they want to start it."  This is absolutely true. 

It reminds me of a story told by my friend Paul Fiore who founded Digital Insight; one day he was sitting around with friends talking about their ambitions, and someone said "I want to own Jets season tickets", and Paul said, "I want to own the Jets" :)

Truphone - VoIP for your iPod TouchCult of Mac asks Did you know your iPod Touch is a phone?  No, actually, I didn't know that...  so you need the Apple premium earphones which include a microphone, and you need VoIP software from Truphone.  Oh, and you need to have a WiFi connection.  I wonder if this is a dancing bear, or actually useful.  I'll have to try it - stay tuned...

Vanatu crabZooillogix: Thousands of new species discovered on tiny island.  "An expedition to a tiny island in the South Pacific's Republic of Vanatu has yielded hundreds of new species, including possibly 1000 new species of crab.  153 scientists from 20 countries participated in the survey of Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific, scouring caves, mountains, reefs, shallows, and forests collecting species.  Out of over 10,000 species collected, the researchers are predicting that as many as 2000 may be previously unknown to the scientific community."  Awesome!  Check out those pictures, they're amazing...

Interesting story from Slate: Inside the world's most annoying economic crisis.  Apparently there is a perceived shortage of coins in Argentina, such that a 1-peso coin is worth more than a 2-peso note.  And the shortage is only perceived, despite the fact that "everyone" is convinced there is a shortage, there really isn't.  Just shows how the value of currency is determined by confidence, not intrinsic worth...

massive ship with radar platformAn excellent picture of a giant ship carrying a giant radar platform, found on Digg with the title "Massive".  Indeed it is.

happy sky over L.A.The Astronomy Picture of the Day: Happy Sky over L.A.  The Happy comes from the smiley face made by Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon, but it could equally apply to anyone standing on Mulholland Blvd looking at that view.  I've seen it many times, but it is none the less breathtaking.

 

 

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