May 182005

Anna and I are taking a long weekend and going to head up the coast in a convertible to SLO. The coast is fun by itself, but we will also be going to check out the Pasa Robles Wine Fest. We went in 2003 and enjoyed it a lot.

PayPal is pushing further into the banking/credit arena. The potential was there years ago, I wonder why they are just starting this now? I’m all about big bank competition, but PP will have to get a lot better at customer service for me to trust them further than simple transactions.

Showing the US how it is done – Brazil pushing ethanol and biodiesel

Interesting stuff: Qatar is using cobalt to turn natural gas into a powerful, clean-burning diesel fuel. While this is going to be great as an additive, I don’t think it is going to be a full replacement for fuels. Last time I checked we didn’t have a lot of extra natural gas to cover that.

Would you believe me without a link? A handful of clay, yesterday?s coffee grounds and some cow manure: the ingredients that could bring clean, safe drinking water to much of the third world.

Banksy strikes again, this time on his side of the pond: The British Museum gains “Early Man Goes to Market

And in Banksy style, the secret wall. Synopsis – Rent a hotel room. Remove art or mirror. Slap down some art. Replace art or mirror.

This is an interesting photo project from the La Guardia and Wagner Archives: Public Housing – New York Transformed 1939-1967. It is amazing to go through the photos of old neighborhoods and buildings.

May 042005

I finally got around to exploring the site that had the moss graffiti information, It is a really fascinating bit of work. The Ideas Factory contains some projects to have people reinterpret their surroundings. The Secret Worlds and Nature Reserve projects also force a shift in perspective. But they do it in a very magical, almost child-like way. I really enjoyed her work.

Along the same lines, I followed the link from Boing Boing to the twisted films of PES. Great stop-motion work. The KaBoom! short is fantastic.

I’ve been following the smart car’s move into the US and Canada with some curiosity. I like the concept, and think it is they way we should be moving – a small, light car for the majority of your use (single or double commuting) rather than the “wow look at the cargo room” extreme most of this market leans towards. However this Wired article seems to have some pretty bad news for the cars after import. It is rated to 60mpg in EU, but after being modified by G&K Automotive Conversions to meet the tougher U.S. emissions standards, the car received an initial Environmental Protection Agency rating of just 37 mpg. They are wanting a retest (obviously) since they think they should be up around 50. Still, it doesn’t look good when compared to the hybrid civic (45mpg), prius (60mpg), or insight (70mpg)

How about getting better mileage on your same car when you switch tires? Apparently you can get up to a 6% increase in fuel efficiency just by buying tires that have low rolling resistance. Makes sense, wonder why this isn’t a major selling point?

I listened to this in the car coming back from my eye appointment: Bus Showdown: New York vs. Los Angeles. LA has managed to speed up some buses by making them express (fewer stops) and giving them more time to catch lights. This has made trips up to 30% quicker for some routes. About time. I think there is a lot more we can learn from Curitiba, Brazil.

Ah yes, more bad stuff in crap we use every day: Chemicals in Food Containers Linked to Prostate Problems in Developing Mice

Lastly, some good news for Stephen Colbert – he is getting his own show. He will have a half hour spot after The Daily Show to do interviews and whatnot. The guy is hilarious, I hope it works out.

Jan 242005

Anna and I saw Finding Neverland at Hazard 7 last night. It was my first time back to Hazard since Madstone died off. They seem to be keeping most of the good things about Madstone, but I wonder if they are going to survive as a regular theatre by charging 9 bucks. There are better seats out there for that price. I just hope they keep doing the latin film fest.

We both enjoyed Finding Neverland. It had a slight tearjerker formula, but I enjoyed the story. My favorite element of the movie was the mix of fantasy and reality. A similar feeling to Amelie or Big Fish in that one person was seeing something that others were not. Great visuals and the acting was well done, some of the better performances by kids I have seen.

Prefab Fab. Residential Architect covers modern prefab pushers and the potential they offer. Good information, but nothing groundbreaking.

Theo Jansen’s animals – immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind. I’ve wrote about him before, but wired gives him another look.

Good to see environmental rules and the proliferation of discarded devices push firms to design gadgets that are easier to recycle and safer to dispose of.

Your daily “we are screwing ourselves” report: report warns point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages.

Jul 022004

Walked down to TNT last night. The exhibit this month was on the Mexican-American experience. They did it like a hands on museum geared towards adults. Displays, buttons to push, etc. Quite interesting.

Interesting.. though I think I will wait for the peer review: Scientists have found evidence to suggest we do have a sixth sense and can tell when we are being watched, even through CCTV.

Wow. This makes you wonder if people are so ‘crazy’ for thinking injections make people sick: Nigeria’s Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about contamination of specially purified water used to make up injections. It said that of nearly 150 brands it tested, only two were actually sterile and safe for use.

New Bush CDC guidelines denounce condom use, while teaching abstinence as the only way.

Bush doesn’t like the Irish press.

A Miami Herald investigation has found more than 2,100 Florida voters — many of them black Democrats — were incorrectly on the state’s list of felons potentially ineligible to vote.

The FBI wants you to watch out for the wolf, I mean terrorists, on the 4th.

Paul Krugman hits the nail on the head for his Fahrenheit 9/11 review: It would be a better movie if it didn’t promote a few unproven conspiracy theories, but those theories aren’t the reason why millions of people who aren’t die-hard Bush-haters are flocking to see it. These people see the film to learn true stories they should have heard elsewhere, but didn’t. Mr. Moore may not be considered respectable, but his film is a hit because the respectable media haven’t been doing their job.

Solar is here, but we are shipping it to Europe and Japan.

Mar 252004

Black Ships and Samurai. 200 Japanese and American graphics depicting the 1853-1854 mission by Commodore Matthew Perry that led to the opening of Japan to the outside world. The Core Exhibit brings together a wealth of rarely seen graphics from both sides of this historical encounter. It is really quite amazing how the different (art) styles and culture saw the same events. Great job by MIT & OpenCourseWare.

People, please erase your old hard drives.

Scramjet going to be tried again.

Bush put on a slide show, calling it the “White House Election-Year Album” at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association 60th annual dinner, showing himself and his staff in some decidedly unflattering poses. There was Bush looking under furniture in a fruitless, frustrating search. “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere,” he said. You see… its funny… because we lied! Zing!

Now for some real news: Richard Simmons Cited For Slapping Man At Airport