I'm headed out now to celebrate and see the sights.
Happy New Year from Gone East
The bostondirtdogs, Red Sox news site:
12.31.03 GMT: As of this update, the second A-Rod-for-Manny deal has not been finalized, therefore we are shutting down the site in protest as indicated on 12.18.03. Thanks and have a safe and happy New Year.
Josh Marshal, Talking Points Memo:
It's always been more or less an open secret who the perps are in this case [the Plame case disclosure of the name of a working CIA agent]. And they're very high-level folks -- people with deep influence of the formulation and implementation of policy. And the wrong-doing here is directly related to the execution of policy. So if a crime was committed, and if an indictment is forthcoming, it will bring under scrutiny a whole complex range of wrong-doing (though not necessarily criminal wrongdoing) relating to administration war policy and intelligence manipulation and other stuff we can go into at a later date.
Dan Gillmor : "I doubt anything can restore much credibility to this arcane system, but anyone who wants to honor Tim Berners-Lee gets my support."
Fury.com: "To an Englishman, 100 miles is a long way. To an American, 100 years is a long time."
An international team is pioneering a new source of information about climate change: old sailing ships' logbooks.
... The 19th and 18th Century logbooks from UK, Dutch, French and Spanish fleets yield "consistent and reliable" data.
Cliwoc says its work is slowly building up "one of the most accurate pictures yet of daily weather over the oceans."
Ed Cossette, Bambino's Curse:
Since when is it expected that a fan is supposed to love all the sports equally? Since when am I supposed to lock behind the closet door my Red Sox fetish just because it's football season and the Patriots are doing well?
Don't get me wrong, I like Tom Brady and company just fine. I watch the games. I root loudly. And I want very much to see that Super Bowl bling bling again.
But the Patriots are not the Red Sox. Baseball is not football. The two are not on equal ground in my mind, apples and oranges.
...I accidentally broke open all the M&M bags in the rack.
The company will re-introduce color four to six months into the new year by running a contest in which six bags - out of the more than 100 million in retail stores - will contain colored M&M's. Each of the six will contain M&M's of the same color - one each for red, yellow, green, blue, brown and orange.
The purchasers of those bags will receive grand prizes.
FedEx announced Tuesday that it would acquire Net-savvy business-services company Kinko's in a $2.4 billion cash deal.
Kinko's, which offers a range of Internet services from online printing to Wi-Fi access, will provide FedEx a leg up in electronic document delivery, said Jess Bunn, a FedEx spokesman.
"For years, FedEx was in the physical delivery of documents, but now we are moving into the electronic delivery of documents," said Bunn. "Kinko's receives electronic documents, and prints them out. The logical extension is to have them delivered by FedEx."
One ironic thing about this is that FedEx is legendary for moving heaven and earth to provide great customer service, yet over the past few years many people have observed that Kinko's staffers can hardly be bothered.
Sensing a chance for comeuppance, Trey put on his "stone-cold-supportive-protector" face and said with great dramatics, "You know what ... we flushed him. We flushed him because you made us [pause for effect]. You killed my girlfriend's fish. No, you made her kill her fish ... Happy holidays."
I remember when Honda only made motorcycles, and we all though it was really odd that they started making cars.
RobH, yet another friend with no blog of his own, points to these:
A new Honda coming to a dealer near you?
Press coverage: www.motorcities.com
More pix: forums.thecarfanatics.com [Oops this links seems to be "broke". Maybe Rob will find us another. --Jack]
Test flight video: www.honda.co.jp
Doyenne blogger Halley Suitt is holding her Dean House Party tonight. I can't make it, but you should.
In the Gone East comments area he reports, "Ayup! Xmas in Illinois with the in-laws. A word to the wise: Do NOT book a flight that involves transferring from US Airways to United or vice-versa. It just sucks and you will end up at home missing a suitcase or two."
A few thoughts on the recent "discovery" of Mad Cow disease in the U.S.
(1) News stories reported that meat from the cow went to eight different states. So this means that they suspected this cow of having MC, but they still chopped it up and sent it to the stores, without waiting for the results?!?!
(2) This whole thing is a classic example of why we need to become a more "distributed" world. One sick cow in the Pacific Northwest, has shut down the beef industry for the entire country. If I was in the Northeastern US cattle biz, I would be doing everything in my power now to create a reputable, REGIONAL, meat testing and approval system. Distribute and compartmentalize.
(3) I know it's kinda weird, but all this talk about cows and beef, has given me a craving for a cheeseburger.
Because it's Next.
'Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill, and we saw fire. We crossed the ocean, and we pioneered the West, and we took to the sky.
The history of man is on a timeline of exploration, and this is what's Next.
Associated Press, via Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON - The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.
In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning."
It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.
I was talking to Sherm, and he tells me that it's unseasonably cold in the San Francisco Bay Area today. "Low 40s," he says. That's just the opposite of today's weather here in Greater Boston.
Hi temp was almost 60F.
I like it.
A couple months ago I discovered "chocolate pudding in a tube". I loved it. So did North, my nephew who lives in Vermont. Problem was that, no sooner did I discover this ingeniously packaged delight, it was being discontinued, and was no longer available in the stores.
Boston skyline from high ground to the north. Click image to enlarge.
There's a rumor floating around the net that the Patriot II Act got chopped up, spread around as parts of other legislation, and signed into law quietly during the excitement of Saddams capture.
[Thanks Betsy Devine on the #JoiIto IRC channel]
A notice of proposed rule-making released this week by the Federal Communications Commission might lead to big changes in oversight of the nation’s radio-frequency spectrum...
The notice... seeks ideas on how to encourage use of smart radios, or wireless communications devices that are more flexible at using RF spectrum.
FCC chairman Michael Powell, in a statement accompanying the notice, said that smart radio technologies will become necessary. There is a shortage of spectrum for new wireless services, while much of the spectrum already allotted goes unused.
If this were implemented right, it would do even more than make more effective use of radio spectrum. It would bust-open the current limits on the creation of low-budget, specialized, radio stations. With a properly designed spectrum architecture, anyone could set up a small (inexpensive) transmitter and start broadcasting. (No worries about interfering with other stations. Just like when you setup a new wifi basestation.) You could broadcast special interest music, local news, personal opinion. It's free speech/press in a new powerful form.
Unfortunately this cool potential is one of the biggest barriers to its implementation, or at least its proper implementation. The IP cartel will oppose it because it dilutes the value of their existing channels and frequencies. Look what they've done to kill internet radio.
I've added a link in the right-hand column that will take you to a list of the most recent comments left on this blog. This may make it easier for those of you (Sherm) who leave a lot of comments (Sherm) and want to keep track of followups (Sherm).
The great Boston Common weblog hasn't been updated since Dec 24. What's up with that?
Getting ready for the Pats game in a few mins. A win today gets us home field for the whole playoffs. That would be good.
Although I still say that the playoffs are a crapshoot. On any given day, even the best team can get beaten. So let's not count our chickens...
Speaking of counting chickens... I know this may be perverse, but I really wish the Pats had lost one of their last few games. If we win today, then to win the superbowl we will have to have won something like 16 in a row. It's not hard enough to get into, and win, the superbowl, but we have to put together an other-worldly winning streak like that too?!
Coffee fuelled the information exchanges of the 17th and 18th centuries
WHERE do you go when you want to know the latest business news, follow commodity prices, keep up with political gossip, find out what others think of a new book, or stay abreast of the latest scientific and technological developments?
Today, the answer is obvious: you log on to the internet. Three centuries ago, the answer was just as easy: you went to a coffee-house.
There, for the price of a cup of coffee, you could read the latest pamphlets, catch up on news and gossip, attend scientific lectures, strike business deals, or chat with like-minded people about literature or politics.
Philip Greenspun writes about setting up his first website TEN YEARS AGO:
Nearly everyone to whom we mentioned our little obsession said that we were wasting our time and that nothing especially interesting was going to come out of the Web protocols.
And now, after just 10 years, there are 30+ Internet cafes in Ushuaia, Argentina, the capital of Tierra del Fuego and the southernmost city in the world (54 degrees south latitude)...
[Note: what follows is some very geeky stuff.]
I have to look around the net and see if others are thinking about this, but I had an idea over the holiday.
It occurs to me, that in some notable ways, a blog and a forums discussion group are really very similar. They have more of less the same underlying data structure, but they are displayed in different ways.
A blog is a main posting followed by zero or more comments. A forum is many threads made up of one or more postings. Both have permalinks, and the ability to include links to other resources, and add new comments/postings.
The big difference is that they have different "voices" and social interactions. A blog is primarily a one-to-many thing, and a forum is many-to-many.
But both can be drawn from the same database at the same time.
What would it be like if these two "communities" both inhabited the same data structure, the same collection of postings and replies? Readers/visitors could choose to view it as a blog with a single main "commentator", or as a forum with many, more or less equal, contributors.
Think of it as two different organisms, simultaeously occuping the same environment. They mostly function independently, but sometimes they interact with each other. Producing food (ideas) for each other, and working together to compete more effectively (by screening and tuning each other's ideas).
The abilitity to exist separately will promote the generation of more diverse kinds of ideas, and the ability to overlap will energise each side, provide crossover possibilities, and oportunities of scale.
Symbiosos. Is anyone looking into this kind of thing?
This is a great development. All kinds of live audience presentations become possible if you aren't chained to the expense and logistics of distribution via reels of film.
Reuters Technology via Yahoo!:
"The digital image is brighter, sharper, the colors are more crisp and the image is a bit steadier," says Patrick von Sychowski, an analyst with Screen Digest, the British-based media research firm.
After years of Hollywood hype, 2004 could truly be a watershed year for digital cinema. A recent surge in investment by theater chains and technology companies means the number of digital projectors in cinemas will more than double to over 400 in the next 12 months, Screen Digest reports.
from Gone East.
I've been racing around today finishing up various Christmas tasks. We New Englanders are all in the proper Holiday Spirit since it's RAINING on Christmas Eve. Ah well.
In case I don't make it back here again before, I hope you all have a very happy and merry holiday.
Joe Namath has apologized to ESPN sideline reporter Suzy Kolber following Saturday's embarrassing interview in which Namath told Kolber he wanted to kiss her.
"Joe apologized," Kolber said in a statement. "I accepted. It's over." Namath made the apology during a phone call to Kolber Monday night.
RickF, another good friend who doesn't have a blog (what am I doing wrong?), called my attention to the fact that an old theatre friend of ours is now the co-host on Tech TV's FreshGear. I haven't actually seen the show yet, but there's a new ep on tonight at 8:30.
We had a lot of fun doing shows back in the PA Players days. We could tell you stories about Steph, she could tell you stories about us. :-)
Break a leg, Stephanie!
[Stephanie Siemiller pic from Tech TV website]
In his siliconvalley.com column John Paczkowski has collected people's stories about their first computer.
John Schiltz: My first computer, like 600K other Americans, was a Timex Sinclair 1000 : I bought it in the Fall of 1982 and learned basic Basic programming, saving my code onto a tape recorder (sometimes this even worked). It had a bubble keyboard and used the TV for a display. I still have it in it's original box in the garage.
Mine was also a Sinclair. One of my biggest computer thrills ever was when I upgraded it to 16K (K!!!) of RAM. "How will I ever use all that space?" I programmed it in BASIC and Z80 assembly language. I also used it for word processing (!!!). Later I spent alot of time working with a friend's Texas Instruments PC, and another friend's Apple II. Then I got myself a Radio Shack Model 100, my first laptop. In '84 I got my first Mac, and I've had only Macs ever since. Time flies when you're having fun.
If systems are making up thier own minds about performing tasks, why hasn't that story made the front page of your newspaper?
[Picture photoshopped by me.]
A Day in the Life, New Year's Eve: "take a photo an hour to illustrate your day december 31st 2003 12 Noon until january 1st 2004 12 Noon."
Still waiting to hear from my Calif. friends.
[Map from earthquake.usgs.gov]
SMcCarthy.com: Joe Namath's drunk interview on ESPN
By the way, yesterday really was the shortest day of the year. By anyone's measure, there's more hours of daylight today than yesterday.
You know how your browser lets you make the typeface larger and smaller on a website that you're viewing? Usually it's something like COMMAND-PLUS SIGN, and COMMAND-MINUS SIGN. I use this feature all the time.
I use it because my eyes seem to be older than the rest of me, and also the fact that type appears larger on Windows screens than Macs screens, as a result, many (Windows-based) website authors tend to set their sizes too small.
Well, there are many websites that I visit all the time that have too-small type. And I always have to change the type size so I can read it comfortably, then change it back when I leave.
I wish that my browser would let me set it so that every time I visited a particular site, it would automatically make the type larger or smaller, whatever I set. And when I left the site it would return it to the default.
iTunes has a feature like this. If there's a song in your collection that was recorded louder or softer than average, you can tell iTunes to always adjust the volume by a certain amount when listening to this song.
That's what I want for my web browser.
Originally sold to Congress as a means of fighting terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Patriot Act has been used in numerous criminal cases unrelated to terrorism probes, officials say.
In addition, some financial institutions have been citing it to explain why they're now asking for sensitive personal information from their customers.
Citizens looking to join college savings plans, for example, have been told they must provide extra information under the act.
[Via Dan Gillmor]
One of the world's lightest and smallest robot helicopters has been unveiled at a Tokyo exhibition by the Seiko Epson company.
The designers say the 70-mm-tall device could be used as a "flying camera" to enter earthquake-shattered buildings.
[Pic from BBC story]
Wired: Are you more or less worried than when you wrote "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us"?
Bill Joy: My biggest worry then was that people weren't paying attention. Obviously 9/11 changed that, but I'm not sure we've learned the right lessons. We can't go out and rid the world of evil, as our president seems to think. These technologies won't stop themselves, so we need to do whatever we can to give the good guys a head start. And we still don't get it about epidemics. Even SARS was just a TV story about a bunch of people wearing masks.
I love the TV show Friends, although I'm a little depressed about it ending in a few months. Here's a quote I came across a few days ago that's been rattling around my head since I first read it. Jennifer Anniston in Esquire Magazine:
"I'd done about seven hundred failed shows before Friends , and there was no reason to believe that Friends would be any different. Right before it aired, the director, Jimmy Burrows—or Papa, as I call him—flew the six of us to Las Vegas. He took us out to dinner and said, 'You don't know what you're about to embark on. You better take care of each other.' We had no idea what he was talking about. Then he gave us each $500 and said, 'Enjoy it. This is the last time you'll be able to walk through a casino without being bothered.' Papa is one psychic Jew."
SteveG relays the Boston Globe's report that his friend, Ravi Jain, along with "transportation pioneer" partner Stefan Economou, and a small entourage, succeeded in being the final car to travel along the elevated central artery.
Economou put the car in drive, crawling forward at 5 miles per hour as Jain stuck his torso out the window and waved farewell to the city.
And then, a new era... Also from the Globe:
...a tunnel routing Interstate 93 under downtown Boston finally opened Saturday, replacing the hulking elevated highway that has marred the landscape for more than four decades.
The opening of the southbound lanes was a milestone marking the last stretch of major construction in Boston's Big Dig, one of the largest and most expensive public infrastructure projects in U.S. history.
[MORE: Ravi Jain has posted video of the drive over on his blog.]
Here's a good list of geek movies to track down in theatres and on DVD this winter.
Hollywood Reporter: "Short list for Oscar effects race set. Seven films are on the short list for the visual effects Oscar race."
Associated Press, via Yahoo!:
The American soldier, who bears the duty of "living with and dying for a country's most fateful decisions," was named Sunday as Time magazine's Person of the Year.
The magazine's editors chose the nameless soldier to represent the 1.4 million men and women who make up the U.S. military...
SteveG and I were talking awhile back about whether it was important for a blog to have a really big audience. I wouldn't mind having a REALLY big audience for Gone East, but small is OK too. Doc Searls puts it well today:
To me blogs are just linky journals. What matters most about them is not where anybody falls on the power curve , but that every writer inhabits a place where anybody can write anything about anything, with a good chance that, if it's interesting, others will find it, remark upon it, and use it to scaffold a shared understanding of whatever-it-is , and then some.
Associated Press, via Yahoo!:
LOS ANGELES - A group of hungry cats began to eat their 86-year-old owner after she suffered an apparent stroke and couldn't get up for nearly a week, officials said Thursday.
Mae Lowrie, who lives with seven cats, was discovered unconscious and riddled with bite marks Wednesday night at her Panorama City apartment, Fire Department and hospital officials said.
As some regular readers know, my Mom got her first computer about a year and a half ago. Since then she's mastered many computer activities. Email, Web Browsing, Chat, Online Bingo, Google, and more. This Christmas she's doing her first real venturing into online shopping.
Interestingly, her favorite part of this process seems to be using the online, package tracking systems. Part of her regular morning routine -- actually, many times a day -- is to check on the location of her latest purchase.
"It's in Chelmsford," she announced from her keyboard yesterday.
Then this morning she said, "Two days ago it was in Californina. Yesterday morning it was in Chelmsford, and last night it arrived in Lynnfield. It left Lynnfield at 9:26 this morning. I think it's gonna be delivered some time today."
[UPDATE: In the comments area, Mom says, "12:06 PM Package delivered. That's one more Christmas gift checked off."]
Halley's son, Jackson, has discovered his passion. "Jackson does not have a passing interest or mild enthusiasm for this robot-building enterprise. He is completely drunk on the stuff. Last night marked the beginning of his LIFE. "This is what I love," he told me, glowing."
"I don't bother people who call them sprinkles," said Vince Joyce, 21, a jimmies loyalist and employee for seven years. "But if you call them shots or dots or ants or black beads, I say something: 'You mean jimmies, right?'"
...MIT students had much better luck with their version [of the 1903 Wright Flyer], which mysteriously appeared yesterday morning 150 feet in the air, atop the institute's Great Dome. The wood-and-canvas plane, with a 45-foot wingspan, was the latest in the storied history of "hacks" -- ingenious, harmless pranks -- carried out by mischievous and brainy students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A technology which has, as its primary advantage, an ability to create abundance, carries within it the potential to create problems invulnerable to simplistic solutions. Like genies let loose from the bottle, they are almost impossible to control. We can't solve traffic congestion by reducing the speed of traffic to 10 KM/Hr. Nor can we solve obesity by reducing the shelves in the supermarket, or Spam by making it difficult and costly to send e-mail.
It's not that it is physically impossible to do these things; it's that people will resist with all their might, those who attempt to replace new found abundance with their parents' scarcity.
According to a press release published on their website, Burt Rutan's X-Prize entry achieved a major milestone on December 17, the 100th anniversary of the Wright brother's first flight.
The SpaceShipOne rocket vehicle was released from the White Knight mothership at 48,000 feet, it fired its rocket engine, and climbed to 68,000 feet, then glided to safe landing at Mojave Airport in California.
This is a major step forward in Rutan's program to win the X-Prize by building a privately funded craft that can take three people to space, return them safely, and then repeat the trip within a few weeks.
SpaceShipOne experienced a partial landing gear failure on landing rollout. In their release, Scaled Composites, the makers of the craft, reported, "Damage from the landing incident was minor and will easily be repaired. There were no injuries."
This is very cool, and more than makes up for the unsuccessful Wright Flyer re-creation at Kitty Hawk.
Here's a site and a chart that makes it "quite simple" to determine whether that person you met at the family reunion is a second-cousin, a first-cousin-once-removed, or something else. Eventually I'll figure out how to read this thing. Let me know if you crack the code.
Today is the First Flight Centennial. The 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother's first powered, controlled flights at Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina.
As I wrote over on the VAA15 website, "On this historic day let's remember and celebrate the Wright Brothers, their crew, and all those who have made contributions and sacrifices over the years in the development of aviation."
The BostonDirtDogs website is reporting that the A-Rod trade is a done deal and will be announced officially by the end of the week.
Headline: SADDAM WAS TURNING INTO SANTA Magical Contract Found in Pockets
Story from a couple weeks ago on CNN.com:
SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) -- Alarmed at the use of camera phones to catch individuals in compromising situations, South Korea has ordered manufacturers to ensure that all new handsets emit a beep whenever a picture is taken.
[Thanks John Robb weblog]
I'm accustomed to the fact that popular entertainments, like comic strips, are on a long lead-time. Doonesbury, which has always been the most topical of comic strips, would lag current events by a couple of weeks as the artwork was created and then sent through the pipeline.
So it is with pleasant surprise that I see some notable "internet" cartoons, are reacting to the Saddam news within days.
B6 d++ t+ k+ s++ u f i+ o x e l c--
[Thanks Scott McCloud]
John and Belle wonder about Saddam's denials:
Has any villain, in the history of the political world, ever done the Shakespearean/super-villian thing and just said: I did it because I am a villain. Villains like doing evil.And they quote a Shakespearean villian:
I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
I've known for some time that the most popular pages, in the archives of this blog, are the Survivor updates that I've written. For some reason Google has assigned a very high page rank to my Survivor postings, especially when one searches for "All Star Survivor". And that brings a lot of readers here.
All-in-all, I typically get 10-20 visitors per hour to this blog. Last night, from 11-midnight -- in other words, just after the Survivor Finale ended -- we got 300 visitors. And already today we've seen over 900 visitors.
I predict that this is an indication of a huge looming demand for the All Star Survivor season that is scheduled to premiere after the SuperBowl. It's gonna be a smash hit.
I think Sadaam Hussein is an evil man, and he should be punished for all his crimes and atrocities.
But has anyone noticed that in lots of blogs, people are saying that they hope he's "tried and then punished". Isn't it supposed to be "tried, and then, if found guilty, punished" ???
I've been up here in S NH for a weekend of family birthdays, Survivor, and watching the snow.
Here in Nottingham, they got about 6 inches of snow. There's no sign that it turned to rain as it was forecast too. And it's now stopped snowing. I understand that the snow in Boston turned to rain pretty early on.
Scott, my brother who thinks that snow is the natural climate of New England, is out playing with his plow truck, clearing the driveway.
I expect to head back the Boston around noon. More here later.
The Second Vermont Republic is a group that is trying to rouse interest in secession among the state's 600,000 residents to avoid what organizer Thomas Naylor calls "imperial overstretch" and "corporate homogenization."
Didn't some southern folks try this secession-thing a while back, with less than pleasant results for all involved?
Make your own South Park Character: SouthParkStudios.com
Free-agent closer Keith Foulke reached agreement with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, choosing to join the escalating arms race in the AL East rather than re-sign with Oakland.
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. - A weeklong celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of the first flight by the Wright brothers opened Friday with airplane exhibits and schoolchildren chatting with astronauts aboard the international space station.
I just spent a really nice afternoon with RickF, my good friend from Calif who used to think I was a jerk.
We ate at Fanieul Hall Mkt, wandered around the waterfront, walked up to the Common, took the T to HSq, surfed some bookstores, sat in a coffee place for about 2 hours talking, ate again, at Border Cafe. Very pleasant afternoon. Thanks Rick.
The latest Nomar trade rumor (heard on WEEI850 radio) is that he and Trot Nixon will go to Baltimore. I've gotten used to the idea of losing Nomar, but I won't be happy if we lose Trot.
Several genes involved in the development of hearing seem to have undergone "positive selection". That is, it seems that the capacity for hearing in humans has been specially tuned by natural selection. This in turn might have made possible, or at least helped along, the elaborate spoken language unique to humanity.
Psychologists in Canada have finally proved what women have long suspected - men really are irrational enough to risk entire kingdoms to catch sight of a beautiful face.
There's been alot of confusion about my earlier post about the "shortest day of the year". Let's see if I can say it better this time.
First, I agree that the official shortest day of the year is Dec 21, give or take a day. That's the day when the time from sunrise to sunset is shortest.
But, Dec 8 is the day when the sun sets at the earliest time of day. On that day it sets at 4:08 pm here in Boston. After then the sunset starts getting later in the day, 4:09, 4:10, etc.
Here's where it gets complicated. Since I am very seldom awake at sunrise, the daylight at that hour is not really important to me. To me, it's more important when we start having more daylight in the afternoon.
So I consider it an important seasonal milestone when we start having "longer days" in the afternoon, when I'm up and about.
Dec 8 is that milestone. In my world, the days have started getting longer again.
BTW, if you are in the other camp, and care more about sunrise than sunset, then your days don't start getting longer until early January. That's when the latest sunrise occurs.
I made the mistake this afternoon of trying to drive my car into Cambridge, and the Harvard Sq. area.
Not only were there very few parking spaces available, but I think that Cambridge is still under a snow emergency, so the spaces that were open would get you a ticket, or towed.
It's been two days since it stopped snowing, and it seems like alot of towns have stopped working on snow removal. So much snow fell that they need to do more than just push it to the side of the street. They need to get the bucket loaders out, put the stuff in dump trucks, and haul it away. Most all the streets I drove in Cambridge, Somerville, and elsewhere, still have four foot snowbanks on both sides of the streets.
I wonder if they are intentionally waiting to see how much of it melts in the rain that's forecast for the next few days, and then they'll start spending money on hauling it away.
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. By my -- admittedly odd -- standards, today is the shortest day of the year.
Today is the EARLIEST sunset of the year. The sun sets at 4:08. It does that for the next couple of days and then starts setting LATER. The sunrise continues to get later each day, so the actual hours of daylight continue to go down. But since I'm never up at sunrise, the SUNSET is actually a more realistic indicator of the length of the day. Starting now the days start getting LONNGER. Sorta.
Ozzy Osbourne was seriously injured Monday in an accident on the grounds of his estate in England and underwent emergency surgery, a spokeswoman said.
The 55-year-old rock star was riding a "quad bike," or all-terrain vehicle, on his Buckinghamshire property when the accident occurred, according to publicist Cindy Guagenti.
His injuries were not considered to be life-threatening, she said.
Today is my baby sister's birthday. Judy lives up in NH, near the Maine border, with her husband and two girls. She's the great mom among us kids. I've always admired her common sense, maternal instincts and her tireless devotion to her family. She throws great parties, and she sews too. Happy birthday.
Associated Press via Yahoo News:
Former Vice President Al Gore intends to endorse Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination, a dramatic move that could tighten Dean's grip on the front-runner position.
Well, I guess now he just needs to actually win some of the Primaries.
Red Sox Shortstop Nomar Garciapara is speaking out over the past couple of days, saying that he doesn't want to be traded from Boston. He's saying that he likes the city and the team. He also is protesting that he's not been briefed by the team regarding the trade talks that most everyone believes are ongoing.
He was just interviewed by phone on WEEI Radio. He's still on his honeymoon in Hawaii. I missed the beginning of the interview, but the gist of it seemed to be that he wants everyone to know that he's not unhappy here, and he wants to stay. When asked if he's be willing to play another position if A-Rod came to town, he was non-commital, but he left the door open.
I give him some credit for coming out and saying he wants to be here. Red Sox Nation typically likes a player who appreciates being here.
Just a thought: the Sox recently cut loose second-baseman Todd Walker. Maybe the plan, or one possible plan, is to move Nomar to second. Could work. The thing is, that the conventional wisdom around town is that in order to pay A-Rod's salary, they need to exchange Nomar's $10-15 mil per year for a player in the $5mil range. So it may not be practical to keep both.
This is why the offseason in Boston is only slightly less interesting that the regular season.
Nomar quoted in the Boston Herald:
"No words have ever come out of my mouth -- publicly or privately -- that I don't want to be there," Garciaparra said. "I also believe that my actions have shown I don't want out of there. I go out there and play hard and give it my all, day in and day out, not just on the field, but off. I have a (charitable) foundation there."
No new husband likes surprises on his honeymoon, least of all someone like Nomar Garciaparra, who takes comfort in routine and the predictable. But after the Red Sox shortstop's recent nuptials to soccer star Mia Hamm, Garciaparra received some unexpected news from an unlikely source.
[The MIT Media Lab] ran an experiment giving students $10 and telling them they had to stare at a screen for 45 minutes or buy content on various models: subscription; prepayment; micropayment. The results: They consumed 10 times more content on subscription basis than by micropayment. "The pain of payment has an unbelievably large effect," Ariely said. But when asked what method they preferred -- specifically, what method would yield the highest quality content for them -- the subjects said micropayment. So business-model as they do, not as they say.
Something I missed in the excitement of T-Day and being sick for the past week. United Press International:
The next America's Cup yachting contest will be held off the coast of Spain.
The BBC said the Swiss team Alinghi, which won the America's Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, last March, chose Valencia, Spain, to host the 2007 America's Cup races.
The Spanish city beat competition from the Atlantic port of Lisbon, Portugal, and the Mediterranean ports of Marseille, France, and Naples, Italy.
This is what Sherm -- my friend who lives in California, but says he misses the snow -- would look like out shoveling.
[Reuters pic of a man in Cambridge, Ma.]
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. It's interesting that I haven't seen a single comment or remembrance about this.
I've been hiding-out, indoors, from this snowstorm.
But I went out for the first time, late this afternoon. I shovelled most of the driveway by hand, cause I thought my Dad only had a little, electric snowblower.
After dinner, he says he'll get the blower out, and come help me finish up.
Well, I'm back outside, shovelling away, and he comes rumbling around the corner of the house with this mongo big, self-drive, heavy duty snowblower. It didn't have a seat, but it almost could have.
That's the last time I shovel this winter.
Wil Wheaton blogged about this today, and it's stuck in my head. Robert Heinlein's Five Rules of Writing. Here's what Wheaton said about them (you gotta scroll down a bit). And here's what SF writer Robert J. Sawyer had to say.
The Boston Herald is reporting this morning that Red Sox owner John Henry has met with Alex Rodriguez. Many believe that this is a sign that a trade for this powerful player may be imminent.
It's expected that the deal would be: trading Manny Ramirez for A-Rod, with some cash possibly being included. Then, to open up the shortstop position, and save some $$ to pay for the deal, the Red Sox would trade Nomar Garciapara, possibly to San Diego.
I have no problem seeing Manny leave town, he's been a major distraction and doesn't seem to have the right attitude. Having A-Rod in Boston would be a real plus, but his $20+ million dollar salary concerns me a bit. Finally, I always thought of Nomar as being a career Red Sox, but once we've gotten used to the idea, neither I, nor most people calling the sports radio talk-shows, are really all that bothered by the idea.
It's been snowing since late last evening here in the northern 'burbs of Boston. I haven't been out yet, but I estimate 2-4 inches on the ground here. The wind's been blowing, so the snow is drifted thinner and deeper in many spots.
The forecast is for it to slow down a bit, then resume even heavier this afternoon and evening.
I've been hearing this term for a week of so, and only just now found an explanation. I'm not sure if I agree with this, but there could be something to it, and it's getting alot of buzz around the net. Stephen Stanton, Tech Central Station:
"South Park Republicans." The name stems from the primetime cartoon "South Park" that clearly demonstrates the contrast within the party. The show is widely condemned by some moralists, including members of the Christian right. Yet in spite of its coarse language and base humor, the show persuasively communicates the Republican position on many issues, including hate crime legislation ("a savage hypocrisy"), radical environmentalism, and rampant litigation by ambitious trial lawyers. In one episode, industrious gnomes pick apart myopic anti-corporate rhetoric and teach the main characters about the benefits of capitalism.
This guy in New Jersey forgot to renew his auto registration. When he got pulled over he tried to talk the officer out of a ticket, with no success.
While the officer was back in the patrol car writing ticket, the guy pulled the registration form out of his bag, called a friend with his cell, and had the friend quickly complete the registration online.
He still got the ticket, but the officer cancelled the towtruck.
Geek's Dilemma: Which technology will be useful later on. Like I've said a zillion times in the past, there's never been a technology that I've played with and learned that at sometime in the future hasn't paid off at work or on a job. So its important that I do play and keep exploring technology and working on pet projects, but there isn't enough time in the day.
[Boldface added by me. -- jack]
Paul Krugman, NYT Op-Ed Column:
One thing you have to say about George W. Bush: he's got a great sense of humor. At a recent fund-raiser, according to The Associated Press, he described eliminating weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and ensuring the solvency of Medicare as some of his administration's accomplishments.
Then came the punch line: "I came to this office to solve problems and not pass them on to future presidents and future generations." He must have had them rolling in the aisles.
I wish I weren't so cynical about the actual motivations and intent of these kind of statements from the President. Cause this is what we've needed a president to say for almost a generation now. NRO.com:
When President Bush delivers a speech recognizing the centenary of heavier-than-air-powered flight December 17, it is expected that he will proffer a bold vision of renewed space flight, with at its center a return to the moon, perhaps even establishment of a permanent presence there.
I'm not gonna out him just yet -- cause I'm still open to financial inducements from either side -- but today is someone in Gone East Land's birthday.
He likes his cranberry sauce fresh out of the can, and his cooking is every bit as good as his mom's. He's proud that he wears short pants all year round, yet he insists that he loves, and misses, winter's cold and snow. He works harder then anyone I know at being profane and shocking. And he's the most generous and loyal friend I've ever had.
It's only ONE year now, old man.
It's gonna snow tomorrow. A lot.
Looking out the window, I can almost see this coming.
New Red Sox field manager Terry Francona has been on the TV and radio here over the past few days. I'd never heard him speak before. He sound's like an interesting guy, and he says some good things, but his voice is much deeper than I expected.
And is it just me? or does he sound (Real Audio via Boston.com) a little bit like Former Minnesotta Governor Jesse Ventura?
Amazon.com now lets you zoom in to create "best-seller" lists based on various groups and geographical locations. I'm not so sure how useful this really is, and I'm a little concerned with the privacy issues with providing this info about smaller groups.
Anyway, here's Cambridge, MA.
[BTW I've never really understood how Amazon's URLs work, so this one may not. If not just go to Amazon and find it.]
It seems that a lot of the A-list bloggers have been laid low by this flu over the past couple weeks. Me too.
When it began on Sunday I thought this would be a day or so. But it's really only this afternoon that I'm starting to feel human again.
And of course, now they say we're gonna have a blizzard on Saturday. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Terry Francona was officially named as the new manager of the Red Sox today.
[UPDATE This snowglobe thing is getting alot of linkage around the net. That seems to have made its availability up-and-down. If it doesn't work, wait awhile and try again.]
Dave Winer thinks this is winter. Sorry Dave, but this is just the beginning.
Weather for Cambridge : Clear, low of 17, chance of flurries. There's no doubt about it this time, winter has arrived.
In a couple months, you'll be calling this kind of weather, "Spring".
This is either the silliest idea I've seen in awhile, or it's genius. I lean toward the former.
It is misleading for a letter, or for any graphic symbol, to have two different designs. Confusion might set in when school children are taught to recognize words even before they have learned to recognize different symbols for the same letter.
To remedy this, Alphabet 26, a plan based upon the logic of consistency, proposed that of the 19 letters that have dissimilar symbols 15 letters should use the uppercase designs and 4 letters should use the lowercase designs. The other 7 letters already have identical symbols.
[Read the whole thing... Click on "Introduction" at the top of the screen.]
Curt Schilling in today's Gordon Edes, Boston Globe, column:
...he learned that the key to preparation is understanding when a hitter is going to swing at a pitch and when he is going to take one.
"Once you understand that," he said, "the key is throwing a strike when he's taking and a ball when he's swinging. It can be done. Hitters are creatures of habit. They do things on certain counts and in certain situations that they don't in other counts and in other situations. For a freakin' $13 million a year, is it too much to ask me to know when that is?"
[Thanks Bambino's Curse]
Halley, and her son Jackson, got their christmas tree.
Jackson and I had so much fun decorating the tree. We have some seriously goofy ornaments like my Barbies (classic Barbie in a bathing suit, Harley Davidson Barbie, 1960's Red Flame Barbie) along with Marilyn standing on the subway grate from "Some Like It Hot" and Scooby-do on a toboggan, the Dunkin Donuts white styrofoam cup with the orange and pink logo, together with the Dunkin Donuts Munchkins box on a little ribbon. I love the ones he's made in school over the years. We didn't have a top star ornament so we put his toddler-sized santa hat on top of the tree to crown it.I'm really looking forward to the holidays back in Cambridge. Does Harvard Sq do a New Years thing? Or does everyone go over to First Night Boston.
Zeldman tells the story of a kind stranger in Istanbul.
He had hiked several miles out of his way to help two American strangers, simply because he saw that we were lost.[Read whole story.]
Doc Searls has posted a detailed piece on the future of radio.
...here's the punchline I'll be coming to eventually: syndication + internet radio.
I haven't digested it all yet, but there're some interesting ideas there if you're curious about audio/video blogging.
I'm feeling a little guilty, about my lack of productivity, as I suffer through the final stages of this cold/flu. But maybe I'm only kidding myself. Maybe I'm really still sick. Andy Ihnatko recently went through something like this.
Back in the saddle again, after being sick as a dog all week.
Then there was the day I slept for 18 hours, then the next day when I woke up about six or seven hours later than I imagined I would (ie, about four or five hours later than I imagined I would have filed my newspaper column). And that was the weekend.
At least I have the sudden novelty of conventional waking hours. For nearly a week, my sleep cycle was perfectly normal, but only on that as-yet undiscovered planet where the day is 39.2 hours long. Here on Earth, it's a different story, but I now find myself waking up at around 4 or 5 AM.
It seems alot of people have been sick lately. Dave Winer, "Thanks to Vitamin C, echinacea and lots of rest, my first cold of the winter appears to be over ".
I haven't written about Survivor in a few weeks. So here goes. Warning, there are Spoilers in "Continue reading..." and probably in Comments too.
Like most everyone, I was sad to see Rupert go. But it was inevitable. I keep reminding people that you don't "win" Survivor, you "survive". All Players have now seen, in past seasons, that the Jury respects someone who "plays well" so the group is motivated to kill off anyone who might be more admired when it gets down to just two. Rupert was clearly working hard to play the game and inevitably, that would make him a target.
Now, about the "big lie". I've loathed Jon from the very start, just like most everyone. But I have to admit that his "dead grandmother" ruse is pure genius.
Another Survivor strategy, that has evolved over the seasons, is the idea that you want to try and be in the final two with someone who is disliked. I figured that was why they were keeping Jon around. Cause in the long run he was so obnoxious that he'd be no threat.
But now he finds himself, potentially, in the unique position of being most loathed, but also having pulled off the most clever tactic ever. Even if he keeps the dead granny lie a secret for the whole game, he's possibly made himself a very sympathetic character. He clearly plans to milk this for all he can.
[The possible spoiler here is that Jeff Probst has never liked John, and seems willing to out him. At Tribal Council he showed absolutely zero compassion to this player who had apparently suffered a tragic personal loss. The question is will anyone get the hint, and start questioning Jon's story.]
One interesting scenario would be if, god forbid, it got down to Jon and someone else in the final two, and the Jury voted for Jon out of sympathy... then we cut to the live TV version of that final Council, and now the Jury has all seen the shows, and know they've been made fools. That dynamic would be interesting.
As some New Yorkers have learned the hard way, the mere existence of an ashtray in a place where smoking is prohibited can lead to a summons. It doesn't matter if the ashtray is stored well away from public areas. It doesn't matter if it is used as a decoration, or to hold paper clips or M&M's. No ashtrays are allowed, period.
"I think what I was most appalled about," [said one person caught with ashtrays], "was the constitutionality of [The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene] being able to come in and search my office. Unlike the police, they don't need a search warrant. They just walked in on an anonymous tip."
[If you have trouble with the fancy way IHT displays its stories, here's a version that is simpler.]
A few of the readers of this weblog have noticed a change over the past few months.
For the past three years I've lived in the seacoast area of New Hampshire. I've renewed my relationships with family and old friends. I've worked on some interesting and fulfilling projects and made many new friends. But throughout that time there's been a siren sound calling me from the south.
I've written in this blog about some of my recent visits to Cambridge. Finding a great burritto place... Watching Dave Winer's reactions to moving to Cambridge... Sherm's favorite Chinese place... or just visiting and wandering around.
The change that you've probably noticed over the last couple months is that I've been spending alot of time down here. And it's time to make it official.
This is no longer a New Hampshire blog, it's a Cambridge blog. I'm temporarily living in the 'burbs, north of town. But I'm looking for a job in Cambridge or Boston, and I expect to eventually find a place to live in or near Harvard Square. Later today I'm going out to buy a T-Pass!
I'm already missing things from the NH Seacoast, but I'm really enjoying rediscovering things from my earlier days, and just hanging in the square.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. When you're all stuffed up with a cold and fever, Nyquil is the best. Slam one of those little shot glasses of deep red, harsh cherry flavored syrup, climb into bed, pull the covers up over your chin, and ride that thing out.
Add that to the "how did we ever live without" list: Duct tape, cordless screw guns, and now Nyquil.