Baikal Wins YUKOS Auction

Interesting development - from a very interesting part of the world: Lake Baikal: One of the oldest, deepest, most biologially diverse lakes in the world - containing about a fifth of the world's fresh water; more than the Great Lakes, combined. Info on the Tunguska Event of 1980: Info on the Irkutsk region from Kommersant, "New Russia's First Independent Newspaper".



"Karaoke Revolution"

Wait! Don't write this one off; check it out - really. Give it a chance and think about it... This isn't going to generate a whole new crop of pop sensations, but it really looks like good, clean fun - that might actually, as a side effect, improve one's singing a bit. And wouldn't that be nice? :)



"Loose Parts" comic, by Dave Blazek: "In the land of the blind, the one-eye'd man is king." And what if the one-eyed man is just making it up?... Hauntingly familiar, eh?


Home tech support

My daughter just called me downstairs because she had trouble logging in to the computer. On the way downstairs, I told her to make sure that "caps lock" wasn't on, because that's what the problem was last time. She called up that "the little arrow thingy" wasn't there, so that wasn't the problem. (One time I showed her, and she remembered. Did I mention she's 6?) When I got there, she said "Watch!" and proceeded to carefully type the password I'd given her, to demonstrate that she had it right. It worked. She turned to me and said, "It's just like magic when you're here." Which, for anyone who's done any tech support, is an old story. :)



I spent most of the day wrestling it (on the servers I run), and trying to minimize the collateral damage - without causing too much collateral damage of my own. What a huge waste, all around. Gad.


Reasoned, civil, discourse?

I had an illuminating conversation in the lunch room at work the other day:
A bunch of us were shooting the breeze. And somehow (I forget the context) someone observed how stupid people are. It was shortly after the election and I opined that it wasn't necessary to look any further than the results of the election to demonstrate that. One of the people there took offense to that - rightly so: I'd proven that, regardless of the speck that may or may not have been in anyone else's eye, I was sporting a beam in my own. And I had been whining (again) about reasoned, civil discourse - the lack thereof. Oops.
I do indeed think that the majority of voters were mistaken; I disagree with them - but that's a whole different way of saying it, isn't it? It doesn't demonize - and who responds well to being demonized? And I re-remembered a bit of wisdom taught me by a college friend: Perhaps the people who voted "wrong" didn't have all the info. Perhaps they were too busy trying figure out how to feed their kids the next day. Or pay for a hospital bill. Or whatever. I've also come to understand that when I say "I just don't understand!", it's possibly because _I_ don't understand; the fault may be my own. I do think we voted the wrong folks in, but I think it behooves us all to be civil and open-minded about it - all of us, especially those of us hoping to convince the country to make some changes. Not in the overly-PC, touchy-feely way, but in the we-screwed-up-and-obviously-need-all-the-help-we-can-get way.

Updating the laws on wine

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments from winemakers who want to ship their products to customers at home.
(Ref: Good Morning Silicon Valley's First Edition newsletter; highly recommended.)
Of course there are issues with selling to minors (and a whole side discussion on the efficacy of that law…), but these are things that can be dealt with - we should be able to have wine shipped home. (After all, we can drive over a border, buy it and transport it easily enough. Not so easy if it's across the continent though...

I can see how various industries and agencies have stakes - both ways though; I'm sure California (and other exporters) want these old laws brought up to date.

FWIW, In Vermont, it actually is apparently possible to get a temporary license, but it's unclear what you could actually do with it. Here's a good article from wine.about.com: Current US Wine Shipping Laws: Vermont.

Security: Not just theoretical & not just for geeks

California will spend $691,000 to mail notices to 1.4 million Californians next week alerting them that their personal information might have been accessed by a hacker in August.
Via Good Morning Silicon Valley's First Edition newsletter; highly recommended.


Wives and their dogs

The Other Coast, by Adrian Raeside

BTV Italian!

The Burlington, VT area doesn't have too many Italian restaurants, but a few: Far and away the best: Trattoria Delia. It's got the ambiance, the menu and most of the wait staff that I've encountered, really care about their work. Also very good - and, unlike Trattoria Delia, open for lunch: Cannon's. Not a huge menu, but someone in the kitchen has done their homework, and is willing to push the envelope. Well worth the trip out on North Ave.


Found in our local K-8 school's weekly newsletter:
I-Parent Safety Tip
Know intellectual property and copyright regulations. Using file-sharing programs for downloading music can open up your computer to identity thieves by giving access to your personal information. Downloading music and movies without paying for it is illegal.
Oops: A perfect opportunity to open the discussion up, but it's been pared down so far (at least one hopes that's the problem), it's just wrong. But I bet the kids know that anyway. :)

"What do you want to do with your life?"

Interesting experiment; check it out. (Link above.)


Neal Stephenson's MetaWeb

If you haven't read any Neal Stephenson yet, go do it now: witty, incisive, engaging... great stuff; one of the better authors of this time. And for those of us diving in a little deeper, check out MetaWeb (link above); lots of great background.

Jon Stewart's "Crossfire" appearance

If you didn't catch this on TV, it's rather amazing. And click through for the other video of Stewart's commentary on a following Daily Show. Or try this. I first heard about this on Good Morning Silicon Valley; well worth checking out frequently.

Electronic Voting

NY Times: TECHNO FILES Electronic Voting 1.0, and No Time to Upgrade By JAMES FALLOWS
Great article with lots of good info, and some fresh angles.

new Google filtering

If you use Google, check your Google preferences: They recently changed the default to have filtering _on_, so you may not know it, but Google is deciding what results to keep from you. Just as requested by the Chinese government - and perhaps others... Even more interesting, I'm pretty sure I explicitly turned if off (a long time ago), but found it back on this morning.

"Do Not Call" list & Mobile phones

You may have seen a copy of this recently:
In a few weeks, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls on cell phones. Call this number from your cell phone 888-382-1222. It is the national Do Not Call list. It blocks your number for 5 years. Please pass on, Here is online form ...
The "Do Not Call" list & its website/phone# are legit, and they will register mobile numbers as well as land lines. However, it's apparently not imminent that there will be any release of mobile numbers; some debunking by: truthorfiction snopes but still a good idea to get on the "Do Not Call" list - as long as you trust the government to manage it well... (Thanks to my Dad for a pointer.)