Rhett Butler of Mongabay talks about his upcoming State Department sponsored trip to Indonesia, where he’ll address thousands on the subject of biodiversity and property rights. We cover US consumers’ relationship to Green Marketing, corporate pioneering of sustainable economies, and more!
My (now former) roommate Ulrich describes his epic road trip from California down to the southern tip of Chile in his trusty Jeep, with a kayak mounted to his roof. The trip took over four years and included a three month pit-stop in Guatamala (“an excellent place to learn Spanish”) and six months in Panama, where Ulrich now owns a small retreat center / compound.
I grew up nearsighted pretty badly in my left eye (20/200, or -3.0) – my right eye too, but to a much lesser degree (20/35 or -1.0). I hated the idea of sticking stuff in my eye every morning and glasses didn’t appeal to me much as a kid, so I just went around with everything kind of in 2D. Sports like shotput and wrestling were obviously not too badly affected, and soccer even was not that bad (the ball is big and slow enough that parallax and ball size can give you enough cues with one eye to know where the ball is), but tennis didn’t work out so well for me. Around college I started wearing glasses as an experiment, mainly encouraged by girls who thought they framed my face nicely. And so it went for years – which mainly worked. But sometimes it’d be challenging – like when scuba diving, skydiving, snowboarding, or going to 3D movies and having to wear two sets of glasses at once. Sometimes I like to just let my nose rest and take my glasses off my face. So I started thinking about getting laser eye surgery.
Curious about the (TM) and (R) symbols by brand names? Interested in whether your company needs a trademark? I hope to here clarify for you what a trademark is, how to register one, and how to get your trademark registered internationally!
Because stories are told from a first-person perspective, they concern themselves with the subjective truth of the observer. different observers of the same factual events are recorded as different stories with different truths. many conflicting stories can be created from the same factual observations depending on the perspective of the observers. differences cannot always be resolved through dialogue, because the difference of opinion may not result from factual disagreement but rather from observer bias.
Anger resolves little. we get angry because it suits us to do so; it allows us to express our feelings and we temporarily feel better about having a candid exchange. but angry speech does not concern itself with being understood or with conveying ideas other than pain and guilt. angry speech concerns itself only with inflicting pain. regardless of motivation or provocation then, the presence of angry speech should always be relected as a weakness of the speaker, a lack of ability to seek an appropriate resolution. anger means you’ve lost.
Assume the other is willing to listen, can be convinced, and is willing to change. Assume the other means well and wants to be a positive influence on the world. Assume everything’s going to be okay. Assume you can understand things well enough to make a difference.
Speech for speech’s sake is intellectual masturbation. Do not talk for the pleasure of talking; speak to be understood and have your ideas acted upon.
Seek to have your hypotheses invalidated – ask in all things “how am I looking at this wrong?” and quest for your foolishness as eagerly as hunting for gold. If you look for confirming evidence, you will find it, even if it is weak. If you seek to have your ideas overthrown, however, you will quickly grow in wisdom. If you aren’t regularly seeing what a fool you are, you are probably just not looking hard enough.
you must remember
that every action matters
that few act deliberately
that much is decided by those who wish to decide
the world is as small as you make it
life is as pliable as you let it be
you are every bit as much a victim as you wish to be
you make a decision to be happy
an absolute decision with real impact on those around you
as a result of a relative feeling
you will find everything you look for in this life
you will find beauty and tragedy,
hilarity and joy and loss and bitterness.
and what you see is true, all of it,
but what you choose to meditate on,
what you choose to observe
makes the universe more of that,
so if you see the universe as cruel and immovable
then it becomes a little more cruel and immovable
not just for you
but for everybody
and if you choose to see the wold as lovely and full of promise and hope
then so shall it be
You have an obligation then to see all things
(so as not to make decisions in ignorance)
but to be particular in the matters you reflect upon
for it is in these things
that you form the universe whole
in your mind
and make your dreams and nightmares a reality.
I’ve been losing weight for a month and have managed to shed around 12 pounds; I’ve still got a ways to go, but I’ve been happy enough with the results and have received enough good advice about the topic that I thought it would be worthwhile to share. These thoughts are “wildly premature” because hey, I haven’t lost a huge amount of weight yet or kept it off, etc, so you’re free to wholly discount everything here. I’ll post again as I’m further through the process.
The experience itself has a small value, providing tidbits to recall later context for other experiences.
But raw experience cannot be shared effectively – the realtime essence of another consumes and overwhelms the viewer, requiring complete attention and subsumption into the experience of the other.
So there is value in compressing the experience for digestion by others and truthfully most of the real-time is low bandwidth.
One can have several different takes on this.
One is to focus on making the realtime higher bandwidth, to have more vigorous adventures, to have deeper and more moving moments and interactions, to be – in a sense – living a movie.
But this is too much for many.
Another is to consume compressed experiences, to read and listen to stories and process the concentrated essence of the lives of others.
Another option is to accept the low bandwidth nature of life.
Finally, a Zen option is to see that which already exists with in life and pay more attention to it, to perceive it in higher bandwidth.
I’ve been following with keen interest the development of solid state drives (SSDs), which are basically really fast and reliable flash memory to use instead of the current rotating magnetic drives. Why does this matter? Well, first and foremost, they don’t rotate, which means that they don’t have any moving parts, which means they could last much longer and consume less electricity. But most importantly, the computer does not need to wait for the read/write head to either pivot to the right place on the disk or wait for the right bit of data to rotate underneath it. These two wait times are usually combined into an average “seek” time. This “seek” time has only very marginally improved in the past 20 years. It’s clear how to improve the seek time – make hard drives rotate faster (lowering average wait times for a piece of data to rotate underneath the head) and make the disk smaller, reducing the distance the head has to travel to get to a piece of data. In the past 10 years, hard drive seek times have gone from ~9ms to ~6ms while storage sizes have gone from 20GB to 1.5TB. So, 30% faster seeks and 100x more data. So we’ve hit a bit of a brick wall in terms of how long it takes to get a piece of data from a magnetic hard drive.
The real answer is to not spin, but it has been just so darn cheap to make high-density hard drives that the cost-per-byte of other solutions has not been able to hold up. And it won’t for some time to come. But, fascinatingly enough, that may not matter. Because about five years ago we hit a magic tipping point where people (generally) stopped filling up hard drives. It seems around 100GB is the magic limit for most regular computer usage. With the demand curve on storage size tapered off, it became inevitable that the solid state solutions would start catching up. And that brings us to today. Or rather, to the end of 2010, which is what my two and a half bold, related predictions address:
1) Hard drives will be gone.
Excluding backup devices, consumer computer devices will not come standard with rotating magnetic hard drives by the end of 2010.
Why? Hard drives will still be larger, but it won’t really matter for the vast majority of people, who won’t use more than about 100GB of data and don’t want to worry about losing it. Like tape, hard drives will still be around as backup media, since our last-mile broadband issues won’t be solved by 2010. At least in the US. (Backups then as now won’t commonly be done to the cloud. Even assuming regular homes will have 2mbps upstream [optimistic!] backing up 100GB of data will still take 5 solid days to complete, versus a USB 3 hard drive which could do it in 17 minutes.)
2) Windows 7 will boot in seconds.
Microsoft is secretly developing an SSD-optimized (log-structured) filesystem for Windows 7 that will allow it to boot in seconds. This will be the principal selling point of Windows 7.
Microsoft has been very clear that speed is a primary goal for their next operating system. Experience accelerating Vista with hybrid drives has given them the start of the technical chops they need to be able to deal with the unique properties of flash memory. Their touchpoints with enterprise customers and storage vendors give them clear visibility into the developments happening in the space where the inevitable domination of SSDs should be obvious. Furthermore, Microsoft would want to keep these developments quiet to avoid spurring on currently-immature Linux flash filesystems like logfs. That way when Windows 7 launches in early 2010 there will be a large performance differential between it and any other desktop operating system. The marketing message will be simple: “The power of Windows, up and running in seconds.” This will be the last straw that gets people to upgrade from Windows XP.
2b) SSDs will come bundled with a Windows 7 Upgrade.
If bet #2 above holds true, since most of the performance advantages of Windows 7 will only be realized on a computer that has a solid state drive, to upgrade effectively requires you to also swap out from XP and your magnetic drive to Windows 7 and a solid state drive. This will be a HUGE driver for SSD upgrades when Windows 7 comes out in early 2010, helping bet #1 come true by driving quantities of scale. Because Microsoft will recognize the importance of SSDs to WIndows 7′s success, they will partner with vendors to offer an affordable “upgrade bundle” that combines an XP->7 upgrade with an SSD and costs less than $500.
Conclusions from this? Short hard drive companies that don’t have an SSD play, go long on the SSD manufacturers, and expect Microsoft to drive an unprecedented number of upgrades to Windows 7 in 2010, blowing the pants off of a (let’s be frank) incredibly lackluster Vista launch.
My coworker Joël and I were today discussing the different ways we can communicate and how “serious” each was. From lightest-weight / most innocuous to most intimate and serious, we came up with the following:
- Facebook poke, friending someone on Facebook
- Twitter @person, Facebook wall post or picture comment, MySpace comment
- Twitter direct message, Facebook message, MySpace message
- Instant message
- SMS / phone text message
- Attending the same event
- A phone or Skype conversation
- Meeting one-on-one
- Handwriting a letter
This is my first review of an MRE from the Sopakco Sure-Pak 12. I got the version without heaters.
The chicken pesto pasta was pretty good. The overall sauce was a little on the thick side and I think could have benefitted well from a little zest, tang, and/or kick. But the quality was good and the chicken tasty. The pasta was not mushy at all and the pesto aftertaste lingered nicely without being too garlicky. 6/10.
The cornbread stuffing tasted alright but the texture was a little slimy on the outside, not at either end of the fluffy (cornbread) or gooey (stuffing) ends of the spectrum. Palatable but not delicious by any stretch of the imagination. 3/10. The “Osmotic Cranberries” were delish (9/10) and the peanuts alright (5/10). The crackers and peanut butter were so thick and pasty I think they immediately corked my duodenum. Yeesh. (2/10) The instant coffee was passable. (7/10)
Overall, this was not a meal I would regularly eat for pleasure. It was passable and would fill, but doesn’t strike any particularly interesting culinary chords, if you know what I mean.
David’s Awesome Tunes You May Not Have Heard (for Brett)
- “Tabula Rasa” by Arvo Part
- “American Boy” by Estelle feat. Kanye West
- “Your Mama” by Kennedy
- “Dirty Laundry” by Bitter:Sweet
- “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus
- “Mars” from The Planets by Gustav Holst
- “Love Beat” by Yoshinori Sunahara
- “Special” by Strange Fruit Project
- “Singin’ in the Rain” by Mint Royale
- “DVNO” by Justice
- “Proper Education (club mix)” by Eric Prydz
- “Flutter” by Bonobo
- “Curves” by Royksopp
- “Do Whatcha Wanna (Soul party remix)” by Ramsey Lewis & Mr. Scruff
- “So Long” by Mr. Scruff
- “Sun in My Candlelight” by Wahoo
- “Smile (Simlish Version)” by Lily Allen
- “Cassius 99″ by Cassius
- “Madan Exotic Disco” by Salif Keita
- “Take me Back to Your House” by Basement Jaxx
- “Windowlicker” by Aphex Twin
Also known as: David’s Guide to Getting Drunk in Style.
With eight years of wine tasting experience, I’ve now become the sommelier (wine steward) for the house I live in, Rainbow Mansion (nothing to do with our sexual orientation; we’re at the end of Rainbow Drive). We drink a kind of startling quantity of alcohol, being eight strapping men and women in our 20′s and early 30′s who like bringing over friends and entertaining. It’s not unheard of for us to down half a case in a night and most evenings see one or two bottles dispensed with. So I’ve been tasked with keeping us supplied with quality, affordable liquors. So I make a point of trying a lot of different kinds of wines, beers, sakes, and liquors to bring the best home to the house. The great news is that the Good Stuff is often not startlingly expensive or even hard to find. It just needs a little researching. And that’s where I come in, so you don’t need to do that “hard work”.
Cheap Beer. Need to bring a six pack to a party and don’t want to be the chump bringing Bud Light? Good, cheap choices are Fat Tire, Widmer Hefeweizen, and Corona (with a lime in it of course — please bring the lime). They’re all good, widely available, and not very expensive. Heineken’s a little watery for my taste, but not a terrible pick. Sapporo goes well with Asian cuisine. And if you can get your hands on a six pack of Sam Adams’ Cherry Wheat, you’ll be a hit with the ladies. Please, please don’t show up with MGD, PBR, or Natural Light, even if it’s to be ironic.
Quality Beer. Boddington’s and Guinness are absolutely rock solid staples for quality beer. Incredibly drinkable and smooth nitrogenated beers, they have reached the same kind of unimpeachable staple perfection as Heinz hit in ketchup and French’s in mustard, Sriracha’s in Asian spicy sauce, and Tapatio in Mexican hot sauce. But I digress. Just make sure to buy the tall cans of these beers and serve them cold – pour them immediately after opening into tall, refrigerated pint glasses. Smithwick’s gets an honorable mention here, and Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale is the best of the bunch but VERY sadly not available for sale in the US. (I got hooked on the stuff in New Zealand and miss it terribly.)
Corked Beer. Everyone (including myself) is a sucker for Belgian ales with a champagne top. It just feels classy to decork your beer. Chimay Blue has you covere here. ~$10 for a wine-sized (750mL) bottle. Very tasty. This beer, like other Belgian ales, is actually ideally served in wine-like glasses to be sipped, not pounded. (There’s a time and a place for the red Dixie cups; this ain’t it.) Allagash’s Curieux is another Belgian-style ale, this one aged in Bourbon barrels; quite tasty and sophisticated.
Now most Americans haven’t had a lot of experience with sake. What experience they have had has been bad. My first take on sake was during college, watching anime with some friends, and we thought it would be really “authentic” to grab some sake to go with the anime. So we bought the cheapest stuff we could at the local liquor mart. We heard that traditionally sake is served warm, so we stuffed it in the microwave and served what came out. Good lord it was terrible, like getting assaulted by dirty gym socks. I decided that was it for me and sake.
Fast forward about three years from that to a trip I took to New York and some friends of mine wanted to drag me out to a sake bar. My protests were quickly waylaid as it became clear that noodles would also be served as I had missed dinner altogether. They bought a nice bottle (served cold) and gave me a sip – it was delicious! I was “reintroduced” to the world of sake.
Now if you happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would very highly recommend you take a day trip out to Takara Sake Factory in Berkeley. They provide free sake tastings (with an adorable museum) every day. And you can get some very, very good sake there very cheap. I’d particularly recommend the Shirakabe Gura Tokubetsu Junmai ($16/bottle), which serves amazingly well at room temperature and will absolutely convert new people to sake. The Sho Chiku Bai Organic Nama is refreshing and tasty (and a ridiculously cheap $7/mini-bottle), but the Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Crème de Sake is really what will win you friends. At $43 per CASE (12 small bottles), this stuff is one of the best deals for any kind of quality alcohol anywhere. And yes, trust me, you want a case of the Creme de Sake.
It seems that America over the last few years has begun to overcome its fear of wine. I’m very happy for this. The wine world can seem scary, with its pretentious personalities, complicated lingo, innumerable varietals and geographies, and marketing hocus pocus. But all of this serves to obscure the simple fact that alcoholic grape juice can be pretty damned tasty.
And tasty is really what it should be all about. NEVER feel pressured into buying a wine because it’s fancy or because you’re supposed to like it. The whole point is that you should like it. If you do learn words to describe the wines you drink, it should be for the primary purpose of finding other wines you like to drink, not to be pompous. So start with whatever comes to you, like “this reminds me of bubble gum.” Or “this smells like Grandma.” It’s fine. And if you find out you like a very unsophisticated or discount supermarket wine? Well, f— the haters. Know what you like.
The best white table wine in America is probably Carnival by Peju, a French Colombard that retails for about $16 a bottle; very lightly sweet and incredibly drinkable. Mondavi’s Fume Blanc is a little drier and is also a very solid and palatable white for even discerning palates at $15 a bottle. Navarro makes some of the best “off dry” (read: “lightly sweet”) whites out there, including their delectable late-harvest Riesling and, unbelievably, a Gewurtztraminer GRAPE JUICE that is out of this world – perfect for your Mormon friends. (Ditto their Pinot Noir juice.) Thankfully, I don’t like Sauternes at all, so won’t comment on them. The best port wines are the Vi Sattui 1999 Vintage Port ($34) and the 2006 Brutocao Ruby Port ($34)
Roederer’s Estate Anderson Valley Extra Dry (only available at the winery) is about $21 a bottle and is pretty much the only champagne I actually like. Yes, I’ve tried Dom Perignon and all sorts of other fancies, but most fizzies don’t sit well with me. Mind you, I won’t pass up a mimosa or a bellini.
In most other civilized countries in the world, red wine is as commonplace as water (and maybe consumed more often). My favorites are Chilean Malbecs from Mendoza and Californian Pinot Noirs and Zinfandels. Specifically the the 2006 Duckhorn Migration Pinot Noir ($32/bottle), Imagery Zinfandel ($45/bottle), Benziger Tribute ($80), and Opus One ($150). The only wine club I belong to is Benziger and their sister wine Imagery is fantastic as well. The most FUN red wines probably come from a crazy old Dutch grandfather’s shack – visit Van Der Hayden Vineyards and you’ll probably be greeted by several children running screaming around the yard. It’s awesome.
Honey wine (also called “tej” if you’ve ever had it with Ethiopian food) is quite good and can surprisingly vary across the board from very dry to (less surprisingly) very sweet. There’s a lovely meadery in South Bay called Rabbit’s Foot Meadery, definitely worth a visit.
A talk I gave at the Peninsula Linux Users’ Group about the history of PBworks.