Monday, October 31, 2005


Something scary for Halloween

I'm not sure what to make of this IKEA TV commercial. (Click on the "Life Outside Work" TV Spot at the bottom)

The claim is that if the stuff we buy costs less, we can work less. So, let's leave work early so we can go to Ikea and buy stuff.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Code is Law

This weekend is volunteer weekend for me. I'm taking a break from the startup to code up a few things for friends who are organizing good things. I'm not sure if I would be doing any of this stuff had I not read Lessig's Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace a few years back. There are those essential books that allow you to see the world in a new way for the first time and then there are those that get you off the couch and do something. Lessig's is one of the latter. Although programmers can't seem to do much about corporations writing in laws that screw people, they can return the favor and write code to screw the legislation-writing corporations.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


More Corporate Behavior

I happen to be in Houston earlier this week and caught the fake flu vaccine story on the news. Okay, suspicious. But now, consider the legislation our friends in the pharmaceutical industry are trying to pass.

I need to come up with a synonym for unbefuckinglieveable. It is my understanding that the legalese in this legislation provides for shielding our friends from mislabeling drugs. Oh, how convenient! It also applies to mandatory vaccines.

No surprise that the senate committee that approved this is named HELP.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Peter Savich fan club on

This is pretty funny on many levels. Peter's blog and podcast are among the few most intelligent and focused ones I've seen on the web. What's funny to me is (a) someone has created a MySpace page for his blog - I thought that was only for rock bands and (b) MySpace is owned by FOX. I can no longer say that FOX is totally full of crap.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Episode IV: A New Distraction

...found at Boing Boing.

Friday, October 21, 2005


God is really pissed off

Hurricane Wilma Is Most Powerful Storm in Atlantic History

Funny how all this "inclement weather" was delivered immediately after Pat Robertson advocated killing the democratically elected leader of Venezuela.

Maybe God doesn't like it when so-called pro-life Christian leaders advocate killing people and maybe he especially doesn't like it when Robertson's millions of followers don't even blink.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


A Positive Story on the Web

I like this little website. It has a positive message which is nice to see every once in a while.


In the fray

I joined in on the worldchanging discussion here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


WMD flu Counterarguments

...and Weblogsky points us to some counterarguments to those of us who think it is reckless to post the DNA recipe:

Secrecy vs. openness: Three counter-arguments to Kurzweil and Joy

Let us address all 3 counter-arguments:.

(1) from Jon Dugan:
The goal of human health is too important to stop people from doing research and publishing results.

This is the core of the matter. My claim is that Dugan is confusing "human health" with profit. The health industry is motivated by profit, not human health. If you can't afford to pay the cost (determined by maximizing profit) of the medicine to save your life, you die. It clouds the issue to appeal to fairy tale notions of benevolent institutions.
I would argue there are no "wrong hands" for information to get into. We are collectively responsible for situations that create the anger and misguided behavior that lead to mass destruction

It only takes one person out of billions to unleash the pandemic. I'm not a statistics expert, but that doesn't seem like good odds. Any of us who have operated an anonymous online forum can tell you that it is inevitable that one person shows up and destroys the forum for everyone. I agree that we are collectively responsible for each other but that doesn't mean I'm going to give everybody access to the button.
Getting everyone to play together and hide information will only work when all involved agrees to hide it.

We need to define "all involved" for this sentence to have any meaning. If all involved is a handful of people, then it seems we can achieve this easily.
One person can spill the beans.

We would have been better off if we didn't fund a 10 year research project to map the DNA of the 1918 flu and publish it.
After these major disasters happen, those that are left will have to realize we are not here to compete against each other, but for us all to survive (preferably well). Hopefully it won't be too painful for humanity to change our story.

This is apocalyptic thinking. I've heard it before.

(2) from Peter Swire:

His argument seems to be a hope that there are more good guys than bad guys and therefore the good guys will triumph. There are a lot of assumptions here. I haven't read his paper yet, but I imagine it is not focused on addressing security issues of life and death. The openness idea may be fine when the consequence is that you have to reinstall your operating system, but unless the good guys know how to bring your dead corpse back to life, I do not share the good guys argument.

(3) from Thomas Leavitt:
The current plague of spam, computer virii, spyware and malware may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise, by providing us with the basic techniques and technologies necessary to implement similiar systems in the "real world".

Again, we have someone using the world of computers to address the problems of a life and death pandemic killing millions.
We are going to have to accept that death from attacks of this sort is a fact of life - our level of success will be judged not by whether we prevent them from happening at all, but how well we limit the scale of these outbreaks when they occur

This is true. And nature has provided that for us through sexual recombination. However, when nature developed that mechanism, it did not have reckless idiots publishing WMD recipes on the taxpayer's dime either.

OK, so there you have it. So far, the counter-arguments seem weak, so why was this reckless action executed?


Intelligent Design

I would love to embrace this theory of intelligent design I have been hearing in the media so much lately would it not be for the annoying presence of evidence to refute it. Here is the latest data point curiously not covered in the mass media:

New Primate Fossils Support "Out of Africa" Theory


Things that make you go Hmmmm....

I miss the music of the 80s. But seriously, perhaps out of the frustration of not finding WMD in Iraq, we've published a blueprint for them much worse than a blueprint for a nuclear bomb. How did we let this happen? Did I miss a meeting?

Recipe for Destruction

Maybe I'm not being open-minded, but this isn't right. Our country is totally out of control.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Own less

Nice poetry.



This JibJab cartoon debuted on Leno last night. It answers the question that confuses the hell out of American shoppers (and so-called economists): "Where does profit come from?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


What's new...

I'm blogging at Ashley's blog today. I'm taking it easy and doing laundry tonight because last night, Lewis and I made it over to Toni Price's Hippy Hour. Lewis got me hooked on this weekly ritual. This was his first time since returning from his North American summer tour. Toni will be at the Continental Club in Houston Friday night. Lewis and Matt are juggling at the Texas Renaissance Festival this month. Age of Walmart at Jo's Coffee tomorrow at 7:30PM!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Universal Instant Messenging

The shoe has finally dropped. Microsoft and Yahoo are finally going to merge their IM networks. Historically, this may be the biggest development on the Internet since the release of Mosaic. It may take a while for this to sink in. Imagine if Sprint cellphones could not talk to Cingular cellphones. You ask someone for their phone number, but "Oh, sorry, it's no good. We're not compatible" Take another example. Suppose web sites were browser specific and every other website you tried to view, you would either need to start up a separate browser or you would be blocked. Totally absurd. It's hard to imagine but that's been the state of affairs with IM.

What does this really mean? It's a doubled-edged sword. It means that now, IM can be integrated into web applications and email. It means the web will become more real-time. Ideas will be transmitted a lot faster. However, due to overstimulation, attention spans may become even more reduced than they are now.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Pro-Life SUV Killing Machines

It's probably not surprising that "the chance of killing or seriously injuring a pedestrian is two to four times higher for someone driving an SUV, or 4X4 vehicle, than a car." It seems the data shows that raising the front hood 2 feet increases the impact by a factor of two.

I walk a lot and I am always especially careful around SUVs and it has had nothing to do with their higher front hoods.

My experience is that SUV drivers, for whatever reason, often think they have the right of way when a pedestrian is crossing the street. The typical situation is that an SUV is facing me making a right turn while I'm crossing the street. Whereas car drivers generally have the patience for me to get across the street before they make their right turn, I am too often forced to stop on a dime in the middle of the street because an SUV has somewhere really damn important to be. Maybe its a feeling of entitlement, maybe they're too distracted with their cellphone or Garth Brooks CD or maybe they're not aware of the concept of mobility without a vehicle and we're invisible to them. In any case, this article didn't make me feel any better about my odds when crossing the street. It's time to give Ned Ryerson a call.

SUVs pose greater danger to pedestrians -- scientists

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Corporate Behavior Film Series at Jo's Coffee

"Bring a chair but please leave your coolers at home--Jo's has lots of yummy treats for the whole gang including $2 Long necks during the show."

October 13
Dream Sickle shows

"The Age of Wal-Mart"

October 20
Frank Meyer shows

"Super Size Me"

October 27
The Missing Tapes show

"The Wall Street Fix" and "Bigger Than Enron"

{Two(2) Sixty(60) minute documentaries}

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