Friday, June 29

2 links, then bed

+ kottke's right about Facebook: it is the new AOL. it's proprietary, and that's not good. soon, someone will give us the same connectivity in an open platform and Facebook will go back to being a college hangout. For now, Facebook is fun. When someone offers me the same stuff on an open platform, including tracking Facebook, I'm outta there.

+ Gingrich urges moving beyond party lines in Iowa City visit. My memory of Gingrich is pure, unadulterated partisanism. So, you know what? He doesn't get a hearing on this from me.

Thursday, June 28


Dan (tdaxp) and Fei got married, catching me totally by surprise.

(This is the Dan who proposed to Fei on his weblog.)

The timing was a matter of convenience, based on lots of visa/green card/immigration issues. The civil ceremony took place in the middle of the day, everyone in civvies, then bride and groom went back to work!

Wedding Day
Wedding + 1

Nothing conventional for Dan!

Anyhow, congratulations Dan and Fei!

Tuesday, June 26

One problem with the internet

I love the internet, of course.

But, many times, the masses are asses, in both the real and virtual worlds. There's a lot of noise out there.

I, myself, don't have trouble finding the signal: find some good sites and keep an eye on who they read.

So, with that preamble, I give you this post from kottke:

The Dunning-Kruger Effect: "the phenomenon whereby people who have little knowledge systematically think that they know more than others who have much more knowledge". "Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Meanwhile, people with true knowledge tended to underestimate their competence." (via cyn-c)

The solution? Smart people should be less humble? I don't think so.

Maybe it's for smart people to remember that, absence evidence to the contrary, people we don't know, in real and virtual worlds, are 'innocent' of intelligence, wisdom, being well informed, and good intentions until proven 'guilty'.

Not that we assume everyone's stupid, foolish, ignorant, and evil. We should reserve judgment. Don't give people more credit than they've earned. Don't get fired up when someone we don't know does something dumb. In many ways, that's to be expected.

What do you think?


Have you heard of Parkour? I hadn't. This is why we have the internet.

And you thought nothing good could come out of France ;-)

The Wikipedia entry starts:

(Le) Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or l'art du d├ęplacement[1] (English: the art of displacement) is a physical art of French origin, the aim of which is to move from point A to point B as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body.[2] It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment — from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls — so parkour can be practiced in both rural and urban areas.

That definition leaves out the coolness, so let me help you with that ;-)

First video to watch: David Belle, the leading light, in a chase scene from a movie.

One of the first things I thought: 'Parkour' resembles 'Parker' of Spider-Man fame. I'm sure this comparison has been made before.

In fact, upon watching these videos, Wil said 'That guy's like Spider-Man.' ;-)

More? this compilation

Finally (for this post), 10:43 from a French documentary .

Sunday, June 24

AFI (again), FBI and FOIA, PIE, and FLV to mp3/4

+ AFI redid their top 100. And I have opinions, of course. But I don't feel like writing them up.

+ Get Grandpa's FBI File (automated FOIA submission)

+ Etruscans Were Immigrants From Anatolia In Ancient Turkey

+ convert YouTube videos, etc. to mp3, mp4 etc. (via tdaxp) (I've been telling him to use Audacity, but I admit this is better ;-)

Wednesday, June 20

WTC, Bloomberg, and Lessig

+ Purdue scientists have done an extensive simulation of one of the 9/11 impacts. The video is on YouTube: Scientists simulate jet colliding with World Trade Center. Their press release. (And, Jim: you must watch it.)

+ Glowing article on Bloomberg's reign. Then he leaves the Repubs. Run coming up?

+ Finally, the latest from Lawrence Lessig. I'm a distant admirer. He's switching his career focus from intellectual property to combating the unfair influence that money has on our system.

Sounds great. Not sure you can build a culture on the creation of wealth and then de-emphasize it in politics. But maybe he'll find a way.

Of course, I'm oversimplifying. Read his post if you want to know more.

Tuesday, June 19

One more...

I haven't read anything brilliant by Malcolm Gladwell lately. I read The Tipping Point and Blink and recommend them both.

This TED video comes from 2004, back when Gladwell was still a genius. Portions of the ideas in this video are *thrilling* to the likes of me.

How a man discovered there is no perfect Pepsi, there are only perfect Pepsis, and changed the commercial food industry, with his first great success being Prego Extra Chunky.

Pixar, Middle Earth (and more Google)

+ Pixar's next 6 movies (maybe), including 1 live action (via kottke)

+ Middle Earth overlaid on Europe (wish the contrast was easier to see, but there you have it)

The professor said:

The action of the story takes place in the North-west of 'Middle-earth', equivalent in latitude to the coastlands of Europe and the north shores of the Mediterranean. ...  If Hobbiton and Rivendell are taken (as intended) to be at about the latitude of Oxford, then Minas Tirith, 600 miles south, is at about the latitude of Florence. The Mouths of Anduin and the ancient city of Pelargir are at about the latitude of ancient Troy. Letters, 375-376 (#294)

+ Maybe I spoke too soon on Google. The latest: they're going to be carbon neutral, including electricity purchase, independently audited.

Seadragon, Ratatouille (and Google)

+ Jaq said we should all watch this video, then Paul said so. They were right. Amazing digital video-handling technology. Watch it!

+ kottke raves about Ratatouille. We sure are looking forward to it in this house.

+ Who loves Google more than me? Nobody.

But their touting of their solar installation rings a little hollow to me. Great. What about their giant data centers that have to be built near power plants because of the huge amount of energy they use. Maybe I'm too cynical, but this comes off like more of a publicity stunt to me, knowing what I know. What do you think?

Saturday, June 16

REM: Hall of Fame

I didn't watch the induction back in, what was it, March?

I did see some mp3s of the show, so I grabbed 'em.


I liked Eddie Vedder before, but his induction speech was amazing. He really did a nice job of hitting some real REM high points.

Best quote: 'If REM had a secret weapon, I would say that it was Mr Mike Mills ... The secret weapon is his voice. It's like a second lead vocal. I think it is what makes so many of their songs absolutely haunting.'

Truer words have never been spoken.

Second best idea: Bill quit because he couldn't do any more photo shoots ;-)

Check out the video or the mp3s.

First time watching the video. Peter's drinking a glass of wine. Ok.

Anyway. Enjoy.

Addendum: Also enjoy their great version of Gardening at Night, one of my top 3 REM songs (with Shaking Through and Fall on Me), on video or in the mp3s above.

I'm a Thinking Blogger!

This is totally overdue. Let's look at the date: Jaq gave me a great compliment all the way back on June 4th and I've been restoring my session since then, waiting to post.


Anyway, he named me a Thinking Blogger, though we often disagree. I really appreciate it. Thanks, Jaq.

Now, I need to link to the thinking blog that started it all. Check.

Next, I need to name five weblogs that make me think. That will be easy:

Stokes Kith and Kin
Brad Boydston

The last three have all been nominated before. Maybe the first two have, too.

That's why they're on the blogroll, folks. We have a high value on thinking over here at 'interact'.

Friday, June 15

MUST post these links...

or stop keeping the tabs open!

For some reason, I haven't really felt like posting this week.

+ Christine put up pix of her trip to Washington DC with Elizabeth and the Girl Scouts . Happy for my girls.

+ Funny Father's Day gift on defective yeti that I don't want (hint: Luke and Vader together).

+ I was looking for something for Tom on the Huffington Post and found this headline: Joint Chiefs Chair: I Was Forced Out. Ok, I'll check it out. Problem is, he didn't say that, not that way. So,

1. That's playing too fast and loose with the headline.

2. I think it's a bummer that Pace can't continue. He seems like a good guy. But he has to leave, politically, because the of the Bush Administration's incompetency in handling Post-war Iraq. Sure, Pace bears some responsibility. I'm not sure he deserves to be fired, though. Or, if he does, so does President Bush. I'm sure many of us can agree on that.

Nevada psychosis, via Washington

We can all agree I'm no raving conservative, right? (Right? ;-)

But when Harry Reid says General Petraeus 'isn't in touch' with what's going on in Baghdad, that's just crazy.

I'll take Petraeus' view over Senator Reid's every time.

Wednesday, June 6

Did you know?

+ Did you know Lewis Carroll made up chortle?

+ Did you know the most viewed video on YouTube has been watched 49,936,818 times? I actually like that one, and number five (off color) and number seven. For that matter, I've linked number 14 on here before...

+ Speaking of the most viewed videos, a friend sent me the Free Hugs Campaign video, and I watched it ( number 11). Website. Interesting. My openness to more hugs is in conflict with my resistance to saccharine...

+ Brad linked the AP rundown of how the presidential candidates self-report on religion. Even with their busy schedules, it sounds like they attend church more than me! ;-)

Tuesday, June 5

We need more Facebook

I absolutely love Facebook's design and interface. The News Feed on your homepage is SO great. Unlike MySpace, where you have to go visit people's pages and there might or might not be something interesting, in Facebook, it comes to you.

It just occurred to me, while checking some feeds and sites, that the app I really want is something like Facebook for the whole web: that kind of integrated news, all in one place, running conversation threads.

I'm sure we'll get this soon. And, actually, it could be from Facebook.

You see, Facebook is getting a lot of (geek) press for the open API (standards) they just rolled out. They already allow me to automatically post from my weblog feed to Facebook...

I say, bring it on.

2 important uses for camera phones

Just a friendly reminder: A lot of us have camera phones now. Don't forget to use them when it's really important. The 2 important uses in this article: personal security (photograph a sketchy or threatening person) and accident documentation.

Camera Phones: Ten Ways to Use Them

Sunday, June 3

Sunday Burst of Weirdness is right!

Jaq links the video of the minor league manager who went berserk. I happened to see it on ESPN at a restaurant today. Glad we have it on YouTube!

Don't fear China

A lot of news this past week on the Pentagon's China risk assessment. We had a post on Ares and a fairly pessimistic comment, which finally prompted me to go on the record, reprinted below:

+ China's economy depends on ours and Taiwan's. they go to war with us, their economy goes in the tank
+ they've got the biggest urbanization in the history of the world going and still hundreds of millions of rural, dissatisfied poor
+ the 'trade deficit' is mostly old accounting, stuff we ship there for assembly and then get back to sell
+ on the contrary, China is funding our military deficit operations by owning roughly a third of our sovereign debt (which they own because it's a rock solid investment. in fact, some argue it's too conservative a place to keep their money)
+ very little oil flows from the Persian Gulf to the West. most goes east to India, China, and Japan
+ China's 'aggressive' military spending is still only about a fifth of ours. if we can't build a better military than theirs forever with those kinds of numbers...
+ they want to be more capable. they want to be seen as a player. they want strong defense. they don't want Taiwan to declare independence for the time being (they're fine with the status quo)

they have said they want to rise peacefully. we can hedge against an alternative path, trust and verify, and benefit from their economic explosion or we can try to set them up as a 'near peer' that we need a new Cold War with. i sure hope we choose the former path.

Saturday, June 2

In the news...

+ Billy Donovan's leaving NCAA Florida to coach NBA Orlando. Prediction: it won't work. Who was the last successful NCAA-to-NBA coach? Can't name one. Now the failure I can name off the top of my head... And the NFL failures, too...

+ Eric Mangini (Jets) helicoptered to his mother's graduation. Nice story.