Archive for August 2010

PAYPAL IS THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD

August 31, 2010

What John Cole said.

Google bombing run to commence in 3…2…1…

Now.

Seriously — I’ve got an acct. w. Paypal, and while they have not done to me what they have done to John (memo to self — no debit cards from companies whose offices I can’t walk into), I smell the grasping hand for that last little bit of float in every transaction I make with them.

Image:  Guy Pène du Bois, “The Confidence Man,” c. 1919.

More Treats: CERN, Physicists, Hippopotami, Higgs Love, Flanders and Swann edition

August 30, 2010

Via ThonyC, from Blake Stacy ab origio, this transport of delight*:

For those of you too callow, or merely victims of a deprived childhood to get the ur text from which Cern’s songbirds derive their version, here’s the original, by the irreplaceable Flanders and Swann:

*And just because I do truly love you, and we need all the happiness we can get at the end of a week that featured goldbug-cultist-grifter Glenn Beck’s misspelling of the word “honour” and the start of the final days before the students arrive…

…here’s the source of that little bit of F&S slyness with which I chose to open this farrago:

Curse You Carl Zimmer: Vicious Distraction Edition

August 27, 2010

So, a day or so ago Carl Zimmer tweets the existence of the Netflix iPhone app, boasting of the loss of his productivity.

A Trojan horse if there ever was one.

What a way to clear out potential writing competition.

Downloaded the app today.

Found myself watching episode one of the first season of Miami Vice.

I am fail.

Curse you, Carl Zimmer!

May the mosquito of vengeance hum in your ear from now to the time of the first better than break even human made fusion reactor. (Twenty years off since 1960 and counting.)

Image:  Robert Duncanson, “Blue Hole, Little Miami River” 1851 — and yeah, I know about which Miami it is.  Sometimes you gotta stretch.

The Way David Macaulay Works

August 27, 2010

Something of a Friday brain dump seems to be going on chez Inverse Square. I’m trying to help out a little on what would for me be another David Macaulay-hosted project.

(Info on first one in which I participated — the Peabody award winning Building Big — is here.)

That led me back to the video of the talk David gave at MIT a couple of years ago, when I had the fun of hosting him for a few day-long visit. (I’m the guy introducing David whilst forgetting to introduce myself or my program — an academic rookie’s mistake.)

But David makes no such errors. The talk, titled “The Way David Macaulay Works” is a wonderful fully illustrated tour through his career and the process through which he investigates the built and the natural world. Have fun.

The Way David Macaulay Works: Finding Ideas, Ma…, posted with vodpod

Quote of the Day: Cosma Shalizi, or why mathematicians are delightfully different from other people

August 27, 2010

Presented without comment, from a stray announcement on Cosma’s invaluable, slow-cooked blog, Three Toed Sloth.

Every human relationship is a unique and precious snowflake, but do we treat them that way when we model them mathematically? No.

Image:  Hiroshige, “Kambara,” number 16 from The Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido, 1831-4 (Hoeido edition). And yes, sometimes I do post so I can put up (and look at) pix I love.

My latest letter to President Obama/Alan Simpson must go edition

August 26, 2010
I’m back, sort of, though still buried in start of term nonsense,
But just to dip my toe back in the water — here’s what I just shot off at Whitehouse.gov on the subject of why those who hate you get so much love.  It amazes me still that the White House just doesn’t seem to get it.
Alan Simpson’s truth telling on  his view of Social Security is exactly what we need right now: the organizing incident that should allow us to let the voters know what a GOP return to power really means.
And yet, instead of fighting that good fight (and getting lots of folks like me revved up again– see below) as of now, President Obama seems content to accept the usual non-apology.  Stupid policy and stupid politics, all before breakfast.
Yes, I’m that grouchy.
Anyway — here’s what I wrote.  Feel free to express yourselves to 44 at this address.
Alan Simpson’s remarks about Social Security were offensive — no, strike that — brutally demeaning to all those in retirement scraping by, and to all those who work hard to understand the serious problems we face as a nation.
But that’s not the real problem, nor the reason I ask you to force Simpson off the committee.  Rather, it is his commitment, revealed again, but pursued over decades, to destroy the entire Social Security system, rather than to reform it as needed.
Look — I get emails daily from President Obama, from OfA, from all kinds of folks, asking me to renew the extraordinary effort I put out to create the kind of country I believe we need in 2008.  I spent more than I had, and I took weeks off my job to pound on doors in New Hampshire for candidate Obama and the rest of the Democratic ticket.
Now you want me to sign up again — and yet you give a position of enormous influence and some real power to a man who stands against everything I stand for.
You gotta make a choice.  You want me — and by extension the Democrats who view government as a crucial tool in building a better society — to pony up time and cash this year?  Then choose sides now.
Simpson has to go, both for substantive reasons and because the one thing we all need now the most is a reason to get out into the fight again before November.  Trust me:  it’s good for all kinds of reasons to take a stand against those who stand against you.
Make it happen.
Yours,
Tom Levenson

Image:  Paulus Potter, Four Cows in a Meadow 1651.

Brain Candy — Ex Tagger Art as Performance, Big Al edition.

August 11, 2010

Visiting friends now, just before I head off to my mountain internet-less fastness.

Last night I got to talking with the eighteen year old in the house, who has been doing remarkable work with at-risk kids in his community* and he showed me this video taken at the big inspirational conference his organization put on to connect with the community with whom they engage.

For reasons that are probably obvious to regulars here, it connected with me.

Enjoy:

*word from the street:  marijuana is the easiest abusable substance to get, and causes few problems; alcohol is only slightly more difficult for underage drinkers to acquire, but causes many, many problems. California voters this November might want to take note.


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