Thursday, December 6, 2007

Barack O'Ballywood

"East meets West meets acid." Turn away if you're not into weird Bhangra/presidential candidate mashups.

Thank you HTWW.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Throwing Bush under the bus

Wow.

Joseph Stiglitz buried Bush in Vanity Fair. It's stuff we all know, but it's a succinct, super-brutal rehashing of the ruin wrought by Bush over 7 years. I haven't been following political news closely of late, so maybe I had some Bushenfreude withdrawl.

(Speaking of which how dated does this article seem? "As an economic strategy, the tax cuts have plainly worked." Really? More than negative real interest rates of the time?)

Anyway, read on - The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fox Business Channel: "Oh, The Arabs. OK."

I'm home sick, so I get to blog a little. But I'll just post about this awesome flub by the Fox Business Channel.

Run with the story first, then change course as needed. Brilliant.

http://valleywag.com/tech/clips/fox-business-newss-apple+amd-flub-323889.php

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bear Stearns: Up In Smoke



"Bear Stearns announces stock spliff" - I wish I'd seen it while it was up on Bloomberg still. I guess something has to get you through the day when your stock is getting smoked. I kill me.

Title and screenshot taken from Minyanville. h/t to, who else, Dealbreaker.

Update: funnier because of a WSJ article today, that talks about the CEO smoking pot.
After a day of bridge at a Doubletree hotel in Memphis, in 2004, Mr. Cayne [CEO of Bear] invited a fellow player and a woman to smoke pot with him, according to someone who was there, and led the two to a lobby men's room where he intended to light up. The other player declined, says the person who was there, but the woman followed Mr. Cayne inside and shared a joint, to the amusement of a passerby.

Is this Murdoch's WSJ or what?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

They could have just hired me

Apologies that I didn't blog about this the MINUTE I heard about it, but if you haven't heard of the SAC Capital scandal, let me fill you in.

A senior trader, Andrew Tong, thought that junior traders were too aggressive. But where there is a problem, there is a solution - I'll let DealBreaker explain:
For those of you who don’t have Google alerts set up for “some pretty fucked up shit,” Andrew Tong, who was fired last year from the hedge fund, has accused Ping Jiang of sexual harassment that had Tong taking female hormones (which he bought on the black market) in order to reduce aggressiveness and make him more effeminate, and, in turn, a better trader. Additionally, there’s been talk of “sexual relations between two men.” Tong has also stated that the hormones caused him significant emotional and physical distress, as well as impotence.

You can also watch the video on CNBC about the story. Pretty screwed up, right?
Up in Stamford, SAC employees are flummoxed. Not by the accusations, per se, but the rationale behind them. "If taking female hormones actually helped you do your job, they would simply hire women here," one said. "But they don't.”

Umm, yes, because the senior guy was having sex with the junior one...

Anyway, I was a complete wuss when I was trading, I had no idea that style was in demand.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

R.I.P. My Alter Ego


It used to be, when you googled my name, the top hit would be a page on the Philadelpia Eagles site, doing a fan spotlight of someone with my name (even including the 'Jr.'). It was a tragic, but uplifting read. He talked about how he and his father had bonded over being fans of the Eagles, and how after his father's passing, he was able to continue being a fan.

That site is no longer up. It seems that it was taken down from Eagles site, and if you google me, it doesn't show up anymore. But, as many of you have seen, the picture from that site lives on, as my avatar in various places (like in Google Talk). I discovered that the site was down when someone asked me "What's that picture?" I was upset when I couldn't find it. It was like I lost an old friend. The article was a funny heartrending portrayal of a man - a man who wore funny hats with Eagle's wings on them.

Most of the details from that article escape me. I remember he mentioned his rough upbringing, and there was some story about how he taunted a Giants fan at some contest in a bar.

The only remnant of the intense Eagles fandom of my tocayo is a pic still on the Eagles site, shown above.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Meet me at the front


During my first visit to the gf's new school, I spent a couple of minutes waiting for her at the school's entrance on Hester St. I felt weird - hanging outside of a high school, after school, by yourself, just looking around, I felt that everyone was looking at me, wondering what I could possibly be doing there. Not that it was a big deal, but I was glad when she came down to bring me in.

Fast forward a week or so - The school makes the front page of the Post. The headline: After-School Sex Specials. There was a brothel operating nearby, that was targeting the school's students, operating out of the Robo-Pong Training Center, a ping pong hall.
The men would try to lure students to the Robo-Pong Training Center by distributing business cards outside the school, sources said. The cards were printed only with a contact number, an image of a topless woman - and a word, "Good."

It seems Time Out New York put a clip up of that very place on YouTube (that's my speculation). I'd never heard of robo-pong, but it is like a batting cage for ping pong, in that you have a machine aim balls at you to hit. Anyway, from Gothamist:
The NYPD ran a sting operation and undercover cops (from the 21 Jump Street division?) were told, "You can pick any of these girls for sex, and it will cost you $35." A police source told the Post, "It was obvious that they were targeting young students, because the prices were so low [$35-60]. Most brothels charge at least $100."

This is the kind of stuff that ruins the reputation of men who are waiting outside of high schools for their girlfriend-teachers. KS - I'll visit your school, but meet me at the front.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dragon Wars

The How The World Works post begins like this:
WARNING: Under no circumstances should the following post be interpreted as a positive review of the movie "Dragon Wars: D-War." By reading any further, you absolve How the World Works from all potential liability for psychic pain suffered, in this universe or any other, as a consequence of viewing "Dragon Wars."

I'm such a freak, I kind of want to see it.

He goes on to quote Dustin Pittman at The MovieBoy.com:
"Dragon Wars" is destined to go down in history as one of cinema's most blunderingly, catastrophically bad big-budget films of the last few decades. Only worth seeing with a large group of friends and a bottle of hard liquor by your side, the movie bypasses the barest hints of behind-the-scenes sanity and enters a realm where the viewer legitimately wonders if what he or she is watching was made by homo sapiens."

Not likely though. I already got the gf to see another South Korean movie, The Host, with me (which was very good). I doubt I'll have luck on this one too, especially when I can't possibly lie about it maybe being good. 17%!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh, Canada!


Has anyone realized that the Canadian Dollar is almost nearly the same value as the US Dollar? Above is a 6 month chart.

The Canadian Dollar buys you about 96 cents, way up from when I last pondered this, when it was 70 cents.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Wire shout out

Sudhir Venkatesh, the guy profiled in Freakonomics for spending time with street gangs in Chicago for grad student work, recently fielded questions from readers of the Freakonomics blog.
Q: Do you think the HBO series The Wire gives an accurate portrayal of gang life? It is clear from the show (if it is as real as it seems) that traditional policing strategies are very ineffective.

A: I am a huge fan of The Wire. I actually watched Season Two with a group of high ranking gang leaders/drug dealers in Chicago, who desperately wished that the series producers would make a separate show about Chicago! Everyone in the room agreed that the writers did well to show the nuances in the underground economy.

Remember, season two was with the white people. Of course, the gritty accuracy was not good enough to get an Emmy nomination...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

East Village Scene

On CraigsList, via DealBreaker:
Anyway, you brushed by me as I approached the bar--you looked up at me and said "hi, how are you?" I said, "Oh, you know, pretty good, closed an industry-changing M&A deal today. It's likely to double my bonus." Your reaction was not what I expected. I know that inside, you were indeed impressed, but the look on your face didn't quite evince the same sentiment. This, of course, caused me to panic. I quickly retrieved the BlackBerry from its plastic hip holster and began to type furiously. Being engaged in an important email discussion with several important Industry Leaders and DealMakers, I had no time to engage in further human contact. But that's too bad--maybe you could have saved me from this soul-destroying life that I've become hopelessly lost in.

DealBreaker also quoted Ben's article, quoting Ken Langone, re: private equity. He said it was the most clicked article that day. Why? Maybe it has to do with the subtitle - "...Home Depot's co-founder says private equity is pretty simple, 'kind of like sex'"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Post-peak oil dentistry

Some lines of odd questioning, with odder, creepy answers can't go un-blogged, and they weren't thanks to How The World Works. But I'll steal his idea. This is from a blog devoted to the transition to a post-peak oil world. The (paraphrased) question:

How strong will the demand for dentists be in a post-peak oil world?

Dentist #1: Well, as I see it, we are in a society near the edges of collapse. I don’t actually think the governmental structures will be able to function in the long run, so spending five years on a dental course may not be in the individual’s best interest, unless a slow steady decline can be envisaged. It all depends on how bad things get.

There may well be a decrease in the availability of refined carbohydrates reducing rates of tooth decay, but conversely, food shortages will of course effect peoples immune systems and will likely increase the risk and rate of gum disease. Also as society trends downwards, people will look for ways to escape from an ever increasing sense of despair through distractions like alcohol and tobacco (a government that wants to cling to power will make sure these are available in my opinion).

I think this may become my first screenplay.

Seriously, I want to grow up to be half as good a blogger as Andrew Leonard.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My entrepreneurial spirit


LessonSeek.com has launched!! Someone clicked an ad, and I made my first 6 cents!

Of course, it cost me 67 cents of Google ads spending to get that 6 cents...

Two notes - I don't see the Google Ads on my site using Firefox, which isn't cool. [They're there, I just had ad-blocker on my Firefox] Second - to my friends, don't just click the ads! Google kicks people off the ad network for exhorting others to click on ads.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Facebookin'


When you're looking up friends on Facebook you never know what you're going to find. Like a group devoted to hating a friend of yours (or at least a person with the same name)

Some other interesting finds below. I blurred the names to protect people from the massive scrutiny that would come from being mentioned in my blog, of course.

Katy


Jake - is this a pic from sophomore year with Neal?


Frank - I knew him when...


Negin?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Optimal smoking

Tim Hartford answers the question, "So at what age could I sensibly start smoking in order to achieve sufficient pleasure to make the shortening of lifespan worthwhile??"
If you’re 20 years old and smoke in full defiance of the risks, you still have a chance to look brash, daring and just a little bit sexy. If people see you smoking at 60, they won’t realise your brilliance in taking up the habit at age 58. They’ll simply assume that, pathetically, you’ve never been able to quit.

My advice, then, is that the optimal consumption path for cigarettes is either never to start, or to start young and stop fairly quickly.

Nice, me. Still, I can't wait to take up smoking again at age 70.

Here's the link to Tim Hartford's writing, which I recommended to a friend recently. I've blogged about a post of his before.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Online dating

Not the best ever, but let's just say the topic is hot among my crowd.



You don't like? What about candidate Bloomberg as Celebrity Abortionist Doctor Atheist Von Gay of France.

Oh Video Dog, it had been so long.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Notes from a goodreads.com user


Here is my profile. I signed up for daily emails, so I could keep up with which books my friends read. But I was shocked at how much antipathy I felt towards people, whom I genuinely like, when I got the email pictured above. 342 new reviews?!?

If reviewing all the books you read in high school, to up your goodreads.com review count, while simultaneously hating your friends for doing the same, is hypocritical, well...

Seriously though, once we all finish reviewing all the books we've ever read, this will be excellent to keep up with what your friends are reading, and what they thought of the book. Also, if you look up a book, you can see how all your friends rated it, which is nice.

It felt good to link to a prior review in my goodreads profile. That was the first thing I ever wrote on the internet.

My previous experience as a book reviewer has clearly helped me as a goodreads reviewer, as you can see below. No, I didn't game this -

Avg Ranking by my friends (minimum 20 rankings):
me: 3.04 (Nice, average review is near the mean. Owning up to the bad reads in my past.)
Jake: 3.24
Katy: 3.39 (141 reviewed. She's pure evil)
Melissa: 3.49
David: 3.67 (We're getting into love-fest territory over here)
Cathleen: 3.77
Nina: 4.00 (Review Halldor Laxness. That will help you out here)
Julia: 4.00
Tara: 4.30 (!!!!!!!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Jotting Randomness

I'm trying out Windows Live Writer to write this post.  It's basically an app like MS Word, but for blog posting.  It works for blogger (duh).

LessonSeek.com is coming...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not Baseball

First, MetsBlog makes the Huffington Post.

Now, they offer a surprisingly good summary/review of the Sopranos finale. He changed his mind after reading other reviews, and re-watching the episode (group-think alert!), and while the nuggets there everyone else probably got from more regular blogs, a lot of it was new to me.

Monday, May 7, 2007

You say hiatus, I say screw you

Sorry, things have actually changed in my personal life, which is why I wasn't blogging. But my personal life has no place here.

I wish I'd read up on the candidates before not watching each party's debates recently.

"Sometimes Optimus Prime is a robot, other times a truck. Which is it, Mr. Prime? America deserves a leader that doesn't transform whenever it's convenient."

WALTER MONDALE

Pro: Has spent last 22 years going over tape, reviewing mistakes, plotting, scheming, waiting, watching, preparing to pounce like a 79-year-old Minnesotan panther.

Con: None.

From McSweeney's. The Republicans are covered here.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Speed Dating Answers

I had to post about this. The economist Tim Hartford, in his [Dear Economist] Financial Times gig, was asked by a woman if "the One" right man was out there. His reply was based on a study of speed dating data - punchline at the end if you're too bored with this (bold type is mine):
First, marriage offers economies of scale in production, particularly production of children. Husband and wife can each specialise in different skills, according to their comparative advantage. I fail to see why you cannot realise these economies of scale with almost anyone. Second, there are economies of scale in consumption. One garden will do, so will one kitchen.

The real question, then, is whether you can stand the person you marry enough to enjoy these efficiencies. Here, economics had little to say until a recent breakthrough by the economists Michele Belot and Marco Francesconi. They examined data from a speed-dating company, and discovered, unsurprisingly, that women like tall, rich, well-educated men. Men like slim, educated women who do not smoke.

The more intriguing finding emerged when pickings were scarce. Women ”ticked” about 10 per cent of men as worthy of further investigation, regardless of the quality of a particular crop. If the men were short and poor, then the women lowered their standards, and still picked 10 per cent. The men, too, abandoned unrealistic ambitions. They ”ticked” about a quarter of the women, regardless of quality. This happened even though each could have a complimentary speed date another time if he or she found no one they liked.

My conclusion: even when there is little to be lost from maintaining standards, people are very quick to lower them. My advice: do likewise.

I am now going to say this to the single women I know - I can claim it as the 'analytical' assessment.

Here (pdf) is the paper that is cited, which I won't have time to read through. I also found another article about this.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Seder Lessons: When $11.5M Won't Buy You $8.5M

My family has a new tradition - Chabad sponsored seders in Orange County for one of the two nights. As a small, outsider, not-especially-social group, our foursome usually gets our own table.

This year however, the Rabbi sat another gentleman at our table - a Christian (more on that in a bit) realtor named Bob Lawrence, who owns the Hudson Valley Realty Company. He was a nice, polite man, but he was not shy, and quickly began talking about how he has been in the news. A quick Google search verifies this.

The story revolves around Camp LaGuardia, a massive homeless shelter in Orange County, where New York City housed many homeless people. Of course, this was hugely unpopular in that community, which fought back, and won, as Camp LaGuardia was recently closed. New York City sold the property to Orange County for $8.5M.

According to Bob Lawrence, Orange County is now refusing a $11.5M offer for that same property, the reason for which is alluded to in a seemingly unrelated point in the Times Herald-Record article:
Lawrence's client has been an issue of quiet speculation. Some believe his buyer is somehow related to the Village of Kiryas Joel, a claim he disputed yesterday.

"This is not KJ," he said, referring to the densely populated Hasidic Jewish community. "My client is not part of KJ."

Why bring up Kiryas Joel? It is a Hasidic village upstate, which is, frankly, HUGELY unpopular by the other residents of the area. This has led to many clashes. The Wikipedia article does a good job of fleshing them out - disputes over water, sewage, taxation, and voting fraud. There was also a Supreme Court battle, which began over the funding for educating disabled children, but which rested on the legality of funding the schools themselves (the decision - no, state funding of religious schools is not allowed. Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist dissented).

Back to Lawrence's point - he says that the only reason Orange County won't deal with him is because he has dealt with Kiryas Joel before, and because of antisemitism generally. He claims that the first question he was asked by reporters, at the press conference he held on the subject, was if his client was Jewish. He refused to answer. The second question was why hold the press conference - to which he replied because of the first question. He says he sees similar antisemitism in many of his real estate dealings, in the press upstate. I admit, I was kind of shocked to hear all this, but don't know what to make of it. More on this is coming - I was talking to him shortly after an hour and a half interview he had with the Record.

Beyond the above, there was some interesting banter. Lawrence is meeting with Donald Trump in the next couple weeks. He mentioned his affinity to Jewish people derives from his religious beliefs, solidly Christian, unlike Catholics, whose belief in Purgatory precludes them from Christianity (I didn't really push to question him more on this point). He even mentioned that atheists admit God, when they say they don't believe in him (as I sat there quietly).

All in all, an interesting seder. This will probably spawn a few follow-ups.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

HuffPo links to MetsBlog?

I've been very busy, thus not going through the Google Reader, and not posting.

Catching up today, I found this odd - a MetsBlog blurb mentioning they had been linked to by The Huffington Post. In my (roughly) year of being an intense feed subscriber, that may be the oddest juxtaposition ever. So what could possibly be on MetsBlog that would be newsworthy to HuffPo?
In the last few days, I have been sent several e-mails complaining about the Rudy Giuliani advertisement that frequently appears on MetsBlog.com via Pajamas Media (PJM).

For what it’s worth, I do not purchase the ads. I rent all graphical ad space to PJM, who, in turn, sell it to whomever they choose, be it Sony, Rudy, Target, or another company, candidate or interested party. Therefore, you can refrain from harassing me via e-mail, or in the comments section, since I did not recruit, sell or post the ad myself. Also, if you have a problem with Giuliani's past policies, I suggest you e-mail him, or his campaign, since there is not a whole lot I can do about what he once did, or did not do, while serving the people of New York.

The HuffPo post, which just copies the above text, used a title which is flat-out wrong. The ad was not removed by Matthew Cerrone. But he did ask Pajamas Media to remove ALL campaign ads (not just the Giuliani one).

I don't see any political ads there right now. Hopefully, Pajamas Media complied. It would be great to be get my updates on Lastings Milledge without worrying about the political ramifications.

Note: He hurt his hand! May cost him the roster spot he deserves.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kakuro Love

Today brings a treat for puzzle geeks - the Times has a profile of the "Godfather of Sudoku," Maki Kaji. His company, Nikoli, is the worlds preeminent publisher of puzzles, of which Sudoku is the most popular.

A lot of the article is spent on discussions of other puzzles though, and Kakuro is mentioned a couple times. Which is cool for me to read, only because I am really into Kakuro, much to the chagrin of KS. You can try it out, the Times provided a few 'new' puzzle variants you can try. Let's just say, I DOMINATED Will Shortz's time (I didn't time myself, but I easily did it under a minute).

Do I think Kakuro is going to take off? Not even a little bit. There's a steeper learning curve, as one has to memorize unique sums, and it's just not as elegant as Sudoku. I like it because it has more constraints than Sudoku, and that makes for a few more things to juggle around in your head. Also, the Google Trends graph for the two doesn't look good for Kakuro.

Anyway, Nikoli lets users submit puzzles, and readers' comments guide the creation of further puzzles, which is cool. So more puzzles from Japan are coming, even if they're not as big as Sudoku. Awesome.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BumpTop Desktop

Updated - see below

On a rare visit from Jacky last summer, he was telling some of us about a program one of his colleagues (they're graphics PhDs at the University of Toronto) was creating, that was a physical interface for GUI desktop management. Basically, instead of having a computer desktop filled with icons, you can interact with files and icons like physical pieces of paper, and piles of paper.

Fast forward roughly a year, and David Pogue blogged about seeing BumpTop at the Technology, Entertainment, and Design, or TED, conference. Which is what Jacky was talking about (I'll probably update this with word from him). They have a video on YouTube, included below.

It seems really cool, but Pogue's (and other commenters') issue is that this may not be all that practical. But it is really novel - I can see why Jacky was into it, and would bring it up. In Pogue's post it also states that at the TED conference, BumpTop was demoed using a laptop, not the tablet interface shown in the video.

Update: Got word from Jacky, with a couple of interesting notes. I'd missed the best video, the Hip-Hop BumpTop video ("There's physics on this desktop, it's 2 1/2 D..."). He also mentioned the BumpTop website, which I forgot to link to in the first run. That's the kind of shoddy blogging you get when you blog at work.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Everything Reminds Me Of Somethinig

A couple of years ago, I went to Jake's birthday party, hosted at his "backyard" (hey, for NYC, it counts). Late in the night, we were loud, and a neighbor woman from the adjacent brownstone threw water on us, from maybe 2 floors higher.

Fast forward a couple of years, I see this. There is nothing new under the sun.

What's the best part? It's a toss up between the "I didn't do it" T-shirt, and the blatant racism.

The vid has been making blog load slow. Click over to Glumbert to see it.

Lost Writers Read Buzzfeed Too

Locke throws the dude between two poles, and he gets microwaved or something. Meanwhile, I'm' thinking, "wait, this seems familiar..."

What happened to Mikhail when he hit that fence looked like a combination of the Vomit Beam meets the Active Denial System

The Vomit Beam doesn't really need explanation. What's the Active Denial System? Also known as the Goodbye Weapon, I think the Gizmodo headline says it best -

"Nonlethal Gun Makes You Wish You Were Shot with BFG"

Buffett Hating

Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon just a hair from being the world's richest man, scoffed yesterday at Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for "playing Santa Claus" to cure poverty's ills.

Slim climbed on his meanie soapbox just days after his $49 billion fortune was ranked by Forbes as the third-richest behind that No. 1 Gates and No. 2 Buffett - only a few billion shy from eclipsing them both.

"Poverty isn't solved with donations," he said at the unveiling of his own health care initiative. Slim continued that building good businesses do [sic] more for society than "going around like Santa Claus."

It's so odd to hear anything but reverence for Warren Buffett. This guy is keeping it real - real crazy capitalist. Hating a guy after he's made billions from investing in business growth, for using those billions towards providing health care, water, hospitals and schools? From everyone's favorite paper, The New York Post. If the Post is calling you a "meanie," you must be a HUGE asshole. And doesn't Carlos Slim sound like the nickname Bush would have given him anyway? I'm guessing he loves Bush.

(h/t to DealBreaker. That means hat tip. Took me a sec to figure it out first time I saw it.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ricky Gervais, Steve Carell, George Bush

The (Oval) Office, made by SuperNews for Current TV.



BTW, I really like the American version of The Office, probably (gasp) more than the British. But the best single scene ever belongs to David Brent, when he breaks out the guitar in the middle of a training session. I cried when I first saw this.

The Paranoid Style

Quoth Richard Hofstadter, in The Paranoid Style in American Politics - 43 years ago -
The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. . . .

As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.

Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated -- if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid's sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

Glenn Greenwald does a great job of connecting this to both Cheney, and Osama bin Laden. It's been great lunchtime reading. I Just added him to my Google Reader. I hope he isn't as prolific a writer as Andrew Leonard - I only have so many hours in a day.
As always, it is the warped, delusional and paranoid rhetoric of Osama bin Laden which shapes our foreign policy and molds (and mirrors) the thinking of our highest government officials. Osama bin Laden, from the remote Pakistani cave in which we are told he is forced to hide, has proclaimed an apocalyptic theological battle, and therefore, that is how we must approach the world. After all, Bin Laden says so, and -- as always -- he's right.

Perhaps most amazingly, Cheney continues to pay lip service to this notion: "The war on terror is more than a contest of arms and more than a test of will, it is also a battle of ideas. We know now to a certainty that when people across the Middle East are denied freedom, that is a direct strategic concern of all free nations."

But no rational person can dispute that we are losing that "front" of the "war" as completely as is possible.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Terrorist Surfer!!



Run from the beaches!! Rumsfeld was right!!

The article refers to an internet surfer. BORING.

MBA for Econonic Growth

What’s missing is the sort of method that would permit economists to test the possibility with which Iain Cockburn, of Boston University, only half in jest, closed the NBER meeting last week: that superior American productivity of recent years owes to the vast numbers of MBAs and lawyers churned out annually by the nation’s professional schools.

The conventional wisdom, of course, is that the US trains far too few scientists and engineers. But you could take the view, said Cockburn, that having a lot of very talented people thinking about the issues in a serious and systematic way was a key to superior performance. It just wouldn’t be easy to find a persuasive way to test the proposition.

I'm planning on getting my MBA, so my antennae are sensitive to MBAs being mentioned. From David Warsh's online weekly Economic Principals. He's the guy who wrote my favorite book of the last few years, Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations.

Frustrated and Pragmatic? or Psycho and Enabling?

I think the former. Tina Johnson, a Marine mother, approaches Congressman David Obey (D-WI), who supports Pelosi's current bill - which Bush will veto anyway.

While the Congressman behaves like an ass, I feel for him. My take is he's frustrated, and trying to do what he can. The guy who claims he submitted the vid to the media, makes some good points, among them:

If you don't have the votes for a war bill, Congressman Obey, you should rewrite the bill. Now, there are two ways to do that. One is to please the Republicans by taking out all the constitutionally questionable benchmark / timetable nonsense that Bush will ignore anyway. The other is to please the progressive Democrats and the American public and write a serious bill that includes Congresswoman Barbara Lee's amendment requiring that all funding go to a withdrawal to be completed by the end of the year.

I hope one of my two friends who will read this will disagree with my sympathy for Obey, and will explain it to me (I'm looking at you Jake...)

Thanks to Video Dog.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Exclusive Matching Technology




These two screenshots are from emails from CareerBuilder.com. I get search results emailed to me daily.

In the first one, the top part is my search results. CareerBuilder has added on jobs that its "exclusive matching technology" believes are similar.

So it's matching technology thinks that "Part Time Cafeteria Clerk" and "Personal Trainer- Fitness" are similar to "Qt. Research Analyst-Alternative Investments" and "Account Executive - Fiancial Mkts - $150K+ Total Pkg."

In the second, smaller screenshot, you see a position is open for an "Analyst - Entry Level & Experienced." Talk about a tough job to get at an entry level! The listing is actually inquiring to fill analyst positions, ranging from entry level to experienced.

Job searching is much worse than online dating. MUCH worse. And I think online dating is really miserable.

"300" As...

...As Supporting the Bush Doctrine -

Western Civilization is on the verge of attack, and we must hold strong to our principles, and not let the effeminate, weakling Persians subdue us.

...As A Critique Of The Bush Doctrine -

The commander of the largest army in the world, tries to invade a foreign land, to subdue it. The idealistic, heroic, few stand strong against the tyranny, and gain the moral victory.

...As A Promotion For Animal Cruelty -

Pushing elephants off a cliff!?!

...As NRA Promotion -

The Persians are coming!! Isn't Molon labe Charlton Heston-esque?

...As Iranian Discrimination - Link

For sure we see a lot of political motivation and ignorace from Hollywood esp WB company in making movies like this. I wonder who is behind all these false made up movies which is mostly distorts the truth about Iranians. Iranian community are not really proud of their Islamic government, but they are one of the most nationalistic nation, who honors their past,esp pre-Islamic periods. We all accept the fact that Persian lost two wars to Greeks, we are completely cool with it, no problem, but the way Warner Bros shows Iranian in this very unhumanistic, savage, benladin looking and incompetent is outrageous. I ask all the Greeks or Greek-American how do you feel if they show
Your heros the same way they portray Iranians. Just imagine WB make another movie and Michal Jackson with even more fricky make ups and turkish language plays the role of Alexander? What do you really feel?

The next comment on that thread -
They had Colin Farrel play him it was almost as bad

...As Hot -

You'd think if you've seen enough movies, you've seen one where everyone is buff. Wrong.

...As The Male Cosmo Magazine-

I seriously thought I should kill myself for not being super buff. I'd never felt so flabby.

...As A Mirror -

No, seriously. I am brave in the face of near-certain death by cab driver everyday.

...As A Bit Of Joy -

Good to see McNulty.

...As A Violent Action Flick -

We all know how these work, right? Overacted cliches, but if you know this going in, maybe you can just say "Wow, it looks pretty fucking cool."

...As Memorable - Link
Go tell the Spartans that their sacrifice was not in vain; their long day's fight under the cooling shade of a million falling arrows safeguarded the West and guaranteed, all these years later, the right of idiots to make rotten movies about them.

...As Incitement To War - Link

If 300, the new battle epic based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, had been made in Germany in the mid-1930s, it would be studied today alongside The Eternal Jew as a textbook example of how race-baiting fantasy and nationalist myth can serve as an incitement to total war.

...As Commentary On The Post-9/11 World -

IT WAS WRITTEN IN 1998!!!

Update: Ahmadinejad took the bait. Was the graphic novel also a conspiracy between US "cultural authorities" and Frank Miller?

Friday, March 9, 2007

Dm! Dm! Dm! Dm! Dm! You Hear It Here First.


Google Reader - you provide me with so much information. Google News - you keep me up to date when I'm lazy.

But seriously, the main article you link to for news about the Dem's plan to pull out of Iraq is from MTV News? Come on...

The pic was the RSS feed from 'Google News - Popular' stories, in Google Reader.

GM Crops Scare Everyone


Buck Uranus, chief astronomer for the William H Carpenter Foundation in Nevada, believes the extraterrestrials are refusing to create crop circles in GM maize, wheat and other cereals because of fears of possible side-effects.

The scientist has conducted a major survey of crop circles created over the past five years and says he has not found a single example left in fields containing GM crops.

"In my spare time, I channel messages from alien beings," said Uranus, "and from what I've been hearing, these guys have got some serious reservations about what we're doing down here. One of them told me he's even thinking of using another planet for his artwork."

Thanks to the World Inquisitor for breaking this story. I don't know why it never occurred to me to look up sensationalist tabloid content online. The dude's name is Buck Uranus! Hat tip to Salon's HTWW. No, I didn't almost believe this. Pic by neo_der_stuntman

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Follow Up: From the Donald Rumsfeld Flickr Account



This post is following up on the update from here. Following is a quote from Rummy (Could this really be his account?):

I asked the Pentragon artisits to make me up some "mood boards" of what a possible skirmish might look like if we encountered enemy whilst deploying special forces from our proposed Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS - a combatant submersible developed for clandestine insertion and extraction of Special Operations Forces) and this is what they came up with. We are the good guys in Orange. The al-Qaeda terror network are the evil ones in black.


The evil ones in black! Good stuff. Is their underwater motorized propeller a sign that al-Qaeda has more evolved underwater technology? Or are we just vastly superior swimmers? This is very troubling. Also, I think the amorphous yellow blob on the left is a chemical weapon exploding, as it is distinctly different from the amorphous yellow blob on the right, which looks like an explosion. Have to upgrade this to VERY troubling.

This shows some interesting foresight on his part. Prepared for everything. I HIGHLY recommend poking around the account, some great pics. This might be good for several posts. Who the hell is Kiki D?

Update: Fine - so the subtlety wears off quickly on the Flickr stream, and I'm stupid for half-believing it was possible. Great for a while, then the stream degenerates into stupidity. Oh well. Of course, too good to be true. They should have kept it subtle, so the casual viewer (like myself) could buy into it for a while.

Newt Gingrich reviews Schumer's book. Positively.

Via Freakonomics - Newt Gingrich reviews many books on Amazon.com. His review of Schumer's new book, Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time, on Amazon.com, is really interesting. Here's part of it:

I am surprised to be recommending Senator Chuck Schumer's Positively American and yet it is a very powerful and effective book.

Schumer is a liberal and very positive Democrat but he is also very smart and has some profound insights into contemporary American thinking.

For any Republican who would like to understand what happened in 2006, the Schumer explanation is compelling and sobering. He and Rahm Emmanuel have understood that a hard left Democratic Party will never be a majority. They were prepared to recruit candidates who were electable and to accept that those candidates would infuriate their more liberal wing. They saw a center-left majority as preferable to a happy leftwing minority. It is a formidable warning about how they will run 2008 and beyond.

Makes me want to buy it.

Update: Comments for that post on Freakonomics has a link to Donald Rumsfeld's Flickr account,

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Conservatives Make Everyone Awkward

A few years ago, one of my coworkers, when describing Ann Coulter, said "she deserves to be gang-raped." I had no idea who she was at the time - this was like 2001, and I didn't even know punditry was an industry yet (SO naive) - but it struck me as way over the top harsh.

But he was on to how crazy she is. Way before I heard other people hating her.

In this clip, she calls John Edwards a faggot. The crowd reaction is awesome though. You can hear the nervous approval while scared to publicly approve of the way she spoke crowd, mixed with the rest of the crowd, in stunned silence.

Note to people in that crowd: that moment of nervousness, where you look at the person next to you, to see if it's OK to laugh - that's not you overcoming your fear, and taking a brave stand against political correctness. In that moment, you are overriding your conscience, which knows such hate-mongering is wrong, but going along with it.



In the second clip, Glen Beck makes an ass of himself. Great silence ensues. AWKWARD!!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Relive the crash with me


I have been day trading for five years, and I've never seen anything like yesterday. The market was down more than 500 points at one time yesterday. It was crazy. The chart here is a one minute chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The elipse was the major intraday crash, that happened right around 3PM. That one large red bar, corresponding to the action at 2:59, represents a roughly 180 point plunge. In one minute!

The thoughts running through my head at that time - Shit, I just covered my short positions (I had), and orders are slow. SDOT, the main order routing system we use, had intermittent delays all afternoon. This means that when I sent an order to buy, instead of the usual sub-second turnaround, I had to wait something like 30 seconds. When the market was as active as it was yesterday, 30 seconds is forever. So no, I didn't break the bank yesterday.

One of the most viewed vids on YouTube is 5 minutes on CNBC yesterday. This was on all the televisions in the office, so you can see below what was on all around us. One trader started shouting "Citigroup!" as a 15 million share block trade went off (so he said, I can't see it). Everything fell off a cliff at once, probably as large sell programs hit the markets when as a new low was made. People started standing up. The guy behind me flicked his hands like Ali G. The conversation went like this:

me: you killing 'em?
him: I covered just before this.

In other words, the sell-off was so rare, that he was celebrating a market move that he wasn't involved in. Then the market just gapped down. That NEVER happens.

There is going to be a follow up post, the premise of which is going to say that a LARGE reason that the move happened in the way it did was the recent implementation of Hybrid (i.e. electronic) trading on the NYSE, which has only rolled out in the last few months. I'll also probably edit this post to add drama, but I'm trading currently, and trying to rush this out.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Private Equity Greening

Texas Utilities was taken private in a $45B leveraged buy out. Why do I care? Not because I'm loosely in finance. It's because the new owners are going to shut down 8 of 11 dirty coal plants that were planned. Environmentalists rejoice! Private Equity Heroes!
The unusual decision by the two equity firms to engage in discussions with environmentalists before the deal reflect the change in the investment climate for coal-fired plants, environmentalists said yesterday.

The deal approved last night "sends a pretty powerful message that you cannot embark on a new coal-fired generation plant without doing very extensive due diligence and making sure the risks are manageable," said Dan Bakal , director of electric power programs for Ceres, a Boston-based nonprofit coalition of environmental and investor groups.

Kevin Bacon to Strom Thurmond, in 3 leaps

Kevin Bacon was in Loverboy (2005) with Matt Dillon, who was in Malcom X (1992) with Al Sharpton...
...who is descended from former slaves of Strom Thurmond. Really.

I REALLY hope this brings up a series of "who's related to the slaves of who" factoids.

Thanks Oracle of Bacon

Why I'm Not a Christian

It has nothing to do with Bertrand Russell. I would never say anything like this:
“Every Christian knows that Jesus the son of God and man died and rose again on Easter Sunday,” a New York Archdiocese spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, told The New York Post on Sunday. “No alleged DNA test or Hollywood film is going to change that.”

This is probably widespread already, but I've been under a rock. This fuss over James Cameron's documentary, that supposedly offers DNA and historical evidence that Jesus was mortal, and was married to Mary Magdalene, is going to be a HUGE fight. I'm OK with that.

I'm sure the evidence amounts to nearly nothing. I'm just saying conclusive DNA evidence would persuade me. That guy combined, as things that wouldn't dissuade him from his beliefs, DNA evidence and a Hollywood film. That is crazy.

I'm probably going to watch this stupid documentary. That is, assuming it's on Discovery HD, not just regular Discovery Channel.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'd Be The First Non-Puerto-Rican Puerto Rican President

Debra Dickerson was on Colbert a couple weeks ago, primarily because she believes Barack Obama isn't black, because as she put it "'Black,' in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves." This is the kind of semantic argument that is completely meaningless in the real world, but making "black" a meme is perfect for the blogosphere. There are 472 comments, 202 blogs link to Dickerson's "Colorblind" article.

She has a point (and she doesn't seem like a crazy ideologue about this, see the clip below), but it is useless to look at things through such a prism. If Obama isn't black, then is any white person not descended from slave owners not white? Is a Latino not a Latino if after a couple of generations, they lose their fluency in Spanish? We can disaggregate until we're only examining individuals, but breaking up people by race, or gender, religion, political view, or even union-membership is done because generalities, although they are inaccurate, make for lazy, simple ways to analyze information.

My father was born in Puerto Rico. My mom was born in Europe, en route to America, after her parents *left* Poland, being Jews. However culturally, it is hard to argue I am anything other than white. I have white skin, I'm nerdy looking, I'm not fluent in Spanish, and the Latino part of my ethnicity is a non-factor in my life, and the Jewish part is only a very minor one.

But I'd make the distinction between being a multiple-generational White American, and recent (first or second generation) American. Bill O'Reilly seems like a cultural specimen only appropriate for anthropological study, not a real person to me. I have no personal experience ever dealing with people like him. But he is representative of a strong plurality of the country with which I self-identify. I've always felt a stronger affinity to first generation Americans, and Jewish-Americans (gf who is DAR-eligible notwithstanding).

Recently, I've come to believe that my distrust for and estrangement from the O'Reilly types is as much because of political upbringing as my cultural or ethnic one. I'm not a cultural representative, I'm just me, and happily at that.

There was a less popular follow-up article on Salon, "Black vs.'Black'" The article is written by a mixed-race person, half-Japanese, who examines the issue from that perspective. He mentions in the article that he put down white when asked to list his ethnicity on a university form. He calls it a "matter of intellectual honesty."
The truth is, I don't think of myself as either white or Asian. In fact, I don't think of myself in racial terms at all. If asked, I of course identify myself as what I am -- mixed-race, or Eurasian, or half-Japanese. I try to work the Scottish part of the mix in as well, because I like trumpeting my weird mongrel gene pool. But although I know I am a person of mixed race, that fact plays only the most minor role in my sense of myself. I am a mixed-race person, not a "mixed-race person."

Amen to that.

He has thoughts on what being 'white' is though:
I do that not because I see whiteness as a positive identification, or as my identity, but for precisely the opposite reason: because whiteness is the marker of racial invisibility in America. White, in other words, means no race, not the master race.

That I'm not so sure about, but that will be the topic of another post.

Dickerson on Colbert:

Why I'm CEO-esque

For potential employers out there, I want you to know - I also play silly video games on wireless devices, and I'm good at them. So I learned on CNBC today that this was a very senior executive thing to do.. They did a bit about addiction to BrickBreaker, the game included on BlackBerries. This follows the WSJ article.

Not being a BlackBerry person, I'm content to dominate Zuma on my iPod.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fabulous People and Iraq

One of the many great responses in this New York Observer article, asking people at an exclusive nightclub about Iraq:

I asked her about Iraq.

“A rack? You mean titties? Like a really big rack?”

Iraq.

“Don’t ever waste a moment in life. Fly to the moon and play amongst the stars, be happy, understand how lucky we are—and don’t fight,” she said. “I feel personally connected in one way—I’m a mother, and every day in Iraq somebody is losing their child. My little girl will never go to Iraq. I’m sorry, she’ll go to Prada.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

State Senator uses Sullivan County in a POSTIVE Comparison

State Senator Bonacic, a Republican (sorry, member of the Republic Party), in a speech at the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce

On Ulster County economic development: "Business opportunities have come and gone in Ulster County. … There is a malaise here. Even Sullivan (County) has a heartbeat."

Awesome. Sullivan County is definitely going through a minor renaissance, as an artsy getaway. More to come on that.

And on Spitzer...
On Gov. Eliot Spitzer: "At some point, he will have to compromise. (If not) The only thing that can happen is gridlock."


This comes in an article from the upstate paper, the Times Herald Record.

Monday, February 12, 2007

'God, Inc' Is Hysterical

'What department are you in?'
'Miracles.'
'You mean like seeing Jesus’s face in a tortilla?'
'No, that’s publicity.'

There are 6 episodes. Here is episode 1. Thank you again Video Dog!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

International Catfight! Also: I Only Read Headlines

I had a busy weekend of accomplishing nothing, so I'm just catching up on my Google News World RSS feed. One noticeable trend - only losers call out people from their own country (I'm looking at you Democrats...)

Putin's blasting us while showing off how cool he is in the Middle East, Obama is fighting with the Australian PM, McCain is calling out Europe for Afghanistan, and the US is calling out Iran, again.

Dems want to make a big deal out of pre-war intelligence. Boring! Maneuvering within one's jurisdiction would be interesting before I read my news through RSS Feeds. But, a US General is trying to advise the Indian Air Force which fighter jets to buy. That's more like it!

Of course, RSS feeds don't really make one more knowledgeable, unless one follows a LOT of links. "Pelosi Hungry For Private Jet, Unchecked Power!" would make a great headline, but of course, the story would have no substance. But in small ways, examination of the media is occurring. Frontline is having an examination of the media, for four weeks.

My favorite, of course will be The Wire, which in its fifth season will examine mass media in Baltimore. Quoth David Simon, "The last question we want to ask is this: For four seasons, we have depicted that part of urban America that has been left behind by the economy and by the greater society, and chronicled entrenched problems that have gone without solution for generations now. Why? What is it that we see and sense about these problems? To what are we giving attention, and what is it that we consistently ignore? How do we actually see ourselves?"

Also, Jake commented on media coverage recently.

Note: No one watches Frontline, or The Wire, or reads Jake's blog.


Update: Maybe you can gleam a lot from headlines. From Salon.com's excellent political blog, War Room:

Here we go again

Consecutive headlines from ABC News' Daily Investigative Report:

"Report Says Pentagon Manipulated Intel"

"Pentagon Says Pre-War Intel Not Illegal"

"Gates: U.S. Can Prove Iran's Iraq Role"


Headlines:

U.S. Says Iran Leadership Arming Iraqis

Australian Leader Criticized by Obama Over Iraq Troop Comment

Putin describes US as 'very dangerous'


McCain criticizes Europe on Afghanistan

US Gen advises India to pick F-16 over F-18

Thursday, February 8, 2007

L-L-Loser


I think all columnists, bloggers, opinion types should make bets all the time. That way, we can tally how well they do at predicting stuff. So I give Jonah Goldberg all the credit in the world, for offering to bet on the outcome of Iraq. Problem is - he was dead wrong.

Two years ago, he offered to bet Juan Cole that... well, I'll let him explain it:
Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn't want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let's make a bet. I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading. If there's another reasonable wager Cole wants to offer which would measure our judgment, I'm all ears. Money where your mouth is, doc.

He clearly lost. Here's the response. Kind of sore-loserish, if you ask me.

P.S. - I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is on stuff too.

Pic by powerbooktrance

$12B - Whatever

From the Guardian: How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish.

Cash distributions from the back of pickup trucks. Paying contractors $2M in cash in duffel bags. Hundreds of thousands just stolen. $500M for "TBD." Most lost to corruption and waste. This is awesome. But no worries - this was Iraqi money.

Money quote (pun intended):
Bremer's financial adviser, retired Admiral David Oliver, is even more direct. The memorandum quotes an interview with the BBC World Service. Asked what had happened to the $8.8bn he replied: "I have no idea. I can't tell you whether or not the money went to the right things or didn't - nor do I actually think it's important."

Q: "But the fact is billions of dollars have disappeared without trace."

Oliver: "Of their money. Billions of dollars of their money, yeah I understand. I'm saying what difference does it make?"

Maybe I Should Work For These People

"Market savvy, socially irresponsible, we don't give a shit." Via Dealscape.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Too funny

From TMZ, via Salon.com's The Fix:

"We love what you're doing. You're so great for the country! And we'll be sure to vote for you."

-- An older couple on the street mistaking Will Smith for Barack Obama. (TMZ)


And a preview video from Human Giant. Apparently they're getting a show on MTV.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Follow Up - Newsom in Rehab for... Adultery?

So Gavin Newsom is going to rehab. For adultery? Well, no. For alcoholism. Want a headline/link? What about this - "Critics angry, not shocked by Newsom disclosure."

Sound familiar? Hey, if it's good enough for Mark Foley, Mel Gibson, Kate Moss, Isiah Washington (gayhab), Patrick Kennedy, Tara Conner, Michael Richards... I'll stop now. Salon has a great wrap-up. At some point, doesn't this become really transparent?

From here:
"This isn't new. This has been going on since the days of Errol Flynn. It's an attempt to move from villain to victim," said Richard Levick, of Levick Strategic Communications, a Washington crisis-management firm.

Update: YouTube video of Gavin's "meltdown" when asked about alcohol here. SF Chronicle story here. Thanks again, unwitting Video Dog!

Of Course Rock Beats Paper

Uphill Both Ways' video proves this better than the Bud Light Super Bowl ad. I'll let you decide.



And the Bud Light ad...

Haggard's back in the closet!

Rather, he's cured. Read about it on the site exgaywatch.com. No, they don't promote "gay-conversion."

Reminds me of sketch from Mr. Show (LOT of Mr. Show on YouTube, thankfully):

This Is Not My World

I know I'm a trader, but I'm a prop trader, for a small firm. This is not land I occupy. All kinds of pics at the link too.

BS#2: You haven’t seen murder on the dance floor until you’ve seen me on the dance floor. I’ve been break dancing since I was twelve—wait, no eleven—and I kill when I’m out there on that varnished piece of wood. KILL!
BS#1: He’s not blowing smoke up your ass. I know, I’ve seen his moves.
BS#2: You know how I sealed the deal in my Goldman interview? First, I was like, “Lloyd, I’m up to my ass in offers from other banks—Lehman and Merrill to name a few. But Lehman doesn’t have the same prestige and I don’t feel like having to explain myself every time I want to get pawsy with a client at Merrill." And second, I cleared all the chairs out of the way and I got down and I showed the man my moves. My moves, baby! MY MOVES!!! I don’t think I need to tell you, the man was impressed.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Grizzly Bear Man

OK, Video Dog has some good Travis and Jonathan vids, and looking through their site, I found out they did a parody of Grizzly Man.

Need I say more? Enjoy.

Wait, there are counter-insurgency experts?

In my email, I see this headline: "Officers With PhDs Advising War Effort." It talks about the circle of people with military and academic backgrounds, assisting in the counter-insurgency planning. One of the guys, the Aussie anthropologist, and others were talked about at length in a great New Yorker article, which I missed a couple weeks ago.

The WaPo article is an OK rehashing, but the New Yorker article in particular is the only non-miserable, non-repetitive, non-partisan, constructive, slightly optimistic (though admittedly resigned) piece about the Iraq war I've read in a long time. Figured I'd link to them. The gist - that a military effort should be a tiny portion of the GWOT, that we're getting crushed in the media/information/i'd-say-'marketing' side of the war.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Jake and I can take Serena and Conan

Last night devolved into Wii playing, which was a lot of fun. A LOT of tennis was played. Jake and I became dominant players. So when I saw one of the YouTube most viewed vids was Conan O'Brian vs Serena Williams at Wii Tennis, I had to watch. Stupid NBC pulled it off of YouTube though, which is fine, but they don't offer the video among their videos online (I'd link to them, if they had it). So, after searching a lot, I finally found it:


Via: VideoSift

If they pull that, try here.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Bostonians are my favorite stupid people

So Boston was recently freaked out by a guerrilla marketing campaign for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, thinking it was terrorism. I know. That is being covered elsewhere, by people more skilled than me. I just wanted to point out, you can buy "I survived 1/31/07" t-shirts.

I wanted to say to Chris, a huge ATHF fan who recently moved to Boston - that must hurt a little.

Update: from an IM with Chris:
honestly Im too embarassed about how the city handled it to talk about it much :)
I was donating blood at mass general hospital when this broke and I was like 'Whats Err doing on the news'

I also wanted to embed this video:

People Love Gavin Newsom

Someone (maybe Colin?) recently told me they thought Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Fran, was electable on a broader scale than one hippie city, whose name is used to add serious disdain to the already hated word 'liberal'.

He's loved by Streetsblog, and bothers Bush, so he's a winner in my eyes. But dammit, it just came out, he cheated on his wife - with his campaign manager's wife! Talk about a bad boss. Now, while I'm sure no true liberal can start hating Newsom, I'm sure a lot of people will agree with this, from the article:
If it were a matter of Newsom having an affair with a single woman, that would be one thing, but to go behind a trusted aide's back and have an affair with that person's spouse, certainly makes Newsom seem unprincipled," one person wrote. "It's not a matter of sexual prudishness; it's a matter of trustworthiness. Newsom failed this one badly. I supported him until now, but he's lost a lot of my respect.


Update: Admission video - Bill Clinton's lesson was learned by someone.

Google...going down? No.

I apologize in advance. This is a really long post about Google. Move on if that's not your thing.

So, of course Google's not going down, not anytime soon. Still, I'm so committed to various Google services, everything about Google is on my radar.

Currently I use Google Base, Blogger, Bookmarks, Calendar, Co-op (for the custom search engines), Docs and Spreadsheets, Gmail, Notebook, Picasa, Reader, Personalized Search, Talk, Video, Alerts (SO underrated), Desktop, Earth, Finance, Maps, News, Toolbar for Firefox, Mobile Maps, Mobile Gmail, SMS services, Blog Search, Notebook, and occasionally, Trends. Phew - I'd link to the sites for those services, but that would take me all day.

It's been great, and is getting better, as these products get more interwoven (note the Google Reader links, and NYC Food Search on my Blogger blog). So I'm a little sensitive to the "Google is going down" sentiment, I'm smelling the first whiffs of.

It started with a post at the Micro Persuasion blog, titled "Wikipedia is the next Google." The premise being, as Google is taking down Microsoft, Google is ripe for being taken down. While I'm a fan of the Micro Persuasion blog, and Wikipedia, that argument is silly. Just because Google has far it can fall, doesn't mean it will. Wikipedia is a great reference, and I use it all the time, and I find it mostly credible. Still, it is subject to getting hijacked, aka "Wikiality" and speaking of, its content for Stephen Colbert is probably more extensive than for most American Presidents. So while Wikipedia is good for searches on nouns and prevalent topics, you couldn't use it to search for lyrics, such as "I'm as serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer." I'm also Googling stuff to research this blog post, not using Wikipedia.

I came across another post, viewing the "Wikipedia vs Google" battle in terms of open source, vs for-profit. His point - Wikipedia has more useful information about San Francisco than a Google search. From the post:

If I want to learn about San Francisco, I could type 'San Francisco' into Google and see what Google’s computers spew out. I can trudge through the results and hopefully find what I want if I spend enough time.

Well, that really depends on what you're looking for. Wikipedia isn't going to give you information about a restaurant in San Francisco, suggested itineraries, a street corner in San Fran, or any "fat tail" information. If you Google San Francisco, there are links to further refine the search, by topic.

What people are missing is that where Google may be vulnerable is its attempts to take down MS Office. Frankly, I use Google Spreadsheets, and it is crap compared to Excel. Also, I dislike both Word and Google Docs. So when I read about the Zoho Notebook buzz, it seems like this is the only service I've seen that would replace anything I use by Google. More on Zoho to come.

Update: Here is the Zoho Notebook Announcement video, on YouTube.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Not Enough Raf-Looked-Over Content?

OK, There is even more stuff for you to check out now. On the right, I'll have links to stuff I find interesting or funny. Just another way that Google kicks ass, is by providing the functionality, through Google Reader, very easily. Basically, if I tag stuff as I read it, it'll appear on the right. Very simple.

Of course, this is great for my lazy-writing-effectively-re-blogging habit. So be it.

In wholly unrelated news, I created another custom search engine, for teachers, with the help of KS. If you know someone that needs to search for lesson plans, I'm including the link here, because the site is otherwise unlinked-to.

Teachers' CSE

This, of course, follows my NYC Food Custom Search, which is frankly, good stuff. You can search on the right, but here is the link for the homepage:

NYC Food CSE