Saturday, September 4, 2010

Self assembling Motorcycle!

This is a very creative video. I had to share it here. Doesn't hurt that it's a very nice bike, too!

Self assembling Motorcycle!

Has the war on drugs failed?

Has the war on drugs failed? For an answer to that, check out this talk at Google by Stanford "Neill" Franklin:

Mr. Franklin is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He says that, from a law enforcement perspective, it has failed. As for LEAP he says, "We teach people about our failed policies. We teach about what occurs on the front lines."

Also, don't miss his comments about HBO's show, "The Wire." This is around 10:05 of the video. Maybe I need to watch that show!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Occasionally they tell the truth, part 4

National Review Online: Bennet Bombshell: Trillions in Debt, ‘Nothing to Show for It’

Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, knows the truth. He mistakenly admitted it recently during a town hall meeting on August 21st.

"We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet. In my view we have nothing to show for it. We haven’t invested in our roads, our bridges, our waste-water systems, our sewer systems. We haven’t even maintained the assets that our parents and grandparents built for us."

He also said, regarding high public employee pay and benefits relative to the private sector, "This is a time when we need to restrain wages in the public sector."

Or was it a mistake? Of course it wasn't. I don't know much about Michael Bennet, but I do know one thing about all politicians in general: You can't trust a damn thing they say in an election year. And what a surprise, Bennet is running for re-election in ... wait for it ... 2010. Hey, how about that, 2010 is THIS YEAR.

So what do you think Bennet really believes? Is he a fiscal conservative, as these quotes might suggest? And as the Fiscal Discipline and Fiscal Responsibility sections on his website suggest? Well, his father worked for Carter, and he worked for Clinton. Bennet is an Obama supporter. I'll ask again: Do you really think he's a fiscal conservative or is this just election year posturing?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Glenn Beck Rally - What does it mean?

I didn't follow the Glenn Beck rally closely, so all I know is what I've read about it, the good and the bad. However, one article seems to stand out above the others. I say that because Glenn Beck himself tweeted this about the article: "The ONLY guy to actually get it!"

Chicago Boyz: "I Think I See What Glenn Beck is Doing"

Net Neutrality, Part 2

I've said before that I don't know what to think about Net Neutrality (Net Neutrality - Google and Verizon, August 11, 2010). Is it all about equal access to the Internet? Or is it really about government control of the Internet?

This article from illustrates this question perfectly:
"Net-neutrality group challenged by ties to MoveOn.Org, ACORN"

Yes, there is a headline political issue here (leftist groups versus conservative groups). But read a little deeper and check out these quotes from the article, which echo my questions about net neutrality:

"GOA was one of the charter members of Save the Internet, but a spokesman for the gun rights group said times have changed.

"'Back in 2006 we supported net neutrality, as we had been concerned that AOL and others might continue to block pro-second amendment issues,' said Erich Pratt, communications director for GOA.

"'The issue has now become one of government control of the Internet, and we are 100 percent opposed to that,' Pratt said."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Geosocial Universe

Here is a great infographic from
"Infographic: The Geosocial Universe"

This is a great way to show what we're doing when we're online. More importantly, it shows just how much this activity is moving from our computers to our mobile phones.

Couple observations:

It absolutely shocks me that GMail is below Yahoo and Hotmail. I've used them all and there's no comparison. Yes, I'm biased, but it's not even close. I switched to GMail in my personal life long before I took a job here.

The mobile access component is the key. That is the battlefield at present. We used to have desktop computers. Then we had laptops. Now, increasingly, we use our phones to do our e-mail and social networking--no computer needed. This trend will continue. Have you seen the cool phones available now???

The services that are mostly outside of the "access the site via mobile device" circle are on their way out (Friendster, MySpace, etc.). Those that make themselves easy to access via phones, and those who take advantage of the unique features of mobile phone access, will win.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Want to stay and home and get paid? Get a government job!

This is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's just too easy. Even by government standards this is amazing.

"Worker at taxpayer-funded agency in Virginia plays hooky for 12 years"

No one could have predicted the housing bubble. Right?

No one could have predicted the housing bubble.

Except some people did. Check out this YouTube video, which quotes a 2003 interview with Ron Paul.

Monday, August 30, 2010

For all of you Hotmail users

This is an oldie (2007) but a goodie. Amazing what a little surfing will find.

While we're on this theme...
Microsoft Designs the IPOD package

Young will have to change names to escape 'cyber past'? Google will do our thinking for us?

Fascinating story, from the Telegraph:
"Young will have to change names to escape 'cyber past' warns Google's Eric Schmidt"

As if the headline weren't enough, consider the thoughts at the end of the article:
"Using profiles of it customers and tracking their locations through their smart phones, it will be able to provide live updates on their surroundings and inform them of tasks they need to do."

"'We're trying to figure out what the future of search is,' Mr Schmidt said. 'One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type. I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.'"

Here are a couple more views on this subject, first from the Wall Street Journal (Holman Jenkins):
"Google and the Search for the Future"

Next, from Nicholas Carr:
"Brave New Google"
Check out this sarcastic quote from this article:
"I hope Google will also be able to tell me the best candidate to vote for in elections. I find that such a burden."

And finally, going back to March, from Fortune/
"Top 5 moments from Eric Schmidt's talk in Abu Dhabi"
These quotes really sum up Google's self-view, as expressed by Schmidt. Is Google full of itself and overly self-righteous? Or is it just realistically expressing the fact that it is a powerful, influential company?

1. "If you're a famous television producer, you'll build a show on the Internet first …."

2. "Advertising that is more targeted is worth more money. … Eventually, the revenue in the digital world should be higher."

3. "Would you prefer someone else?"

4. "There are many, many things that Google could do, that we chose not to do."

5. "Google sees itself really differently from other companies …."

I like #5, because it is true in many ways. But #3 is the most interesting to me. Do you trust Google to have so much information about you? Would you trust government more with this information? (I wouldn't!) Easy for me to say, Google already knows a LOT about me! As the article points out, accurately I think, "It was quite the effective moment that showed we still trust government less than we trust Google. But should we trust either?"

What do you think? Scary that a company knows so much about you? Willing to trade some privacy for productivity?

I don't know the answer, but whenever I hear stories like this I go back to my default joke: "Be nice to your Android phone. It will remember how you treated it when its kind takes over..." [insert forced laughter here] ;)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ranking teachers. Finally.

The LA Times has done some great work on teacher quality recently. Most astounding is that it is naming individual teachers, calling them out. Finally, some accountability! The teacher's union is going to love this!

I believe this information should be made publicly available for all schools. Let the parents decide where to send their kids. And let us, society as a while, decide the best way to educate our children.

I believe that parents are the greatest influence in educating their kids. But the numbers show that teachers make a big difference, too.

Summary by, Marginal Revolution:

Link to the LA Times article:
"GRADING THE TEACHERS Who's teaching L.A.'s kids?",0,258862,full.story

On the other hand...

It is very difficult to rank teachers. Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal:
"Needs Improvement: Where Teacher Report Cards Fall Short "

Major points include:

"One perplexing finding: A large proportion of teachers who rate highly one year fall to the bottom of the charts the next year."
What accounts for this year-to-year variation? Can we trust these rankings?

Even if imperfect, are these rankings still better than nothing? "'Damn near anything is going to be an improvement on the status quo,' says Daniel Willingham, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia."