[maximal embiggenation rule in effect]
Aphid in an Epiphyllum blossom.
Cypripedium reginae flaskling
Who lived in a pineapple under the sea?
Who died in an oil spill because of BP?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/30/india-heatwave-deaths *I see the climate-crisis massacres are recommencing
*Maybe atmospheric scientists made up all those dead Indians for money, and invented the oil spill, too
http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_869_en.html *Good thing a cold snap on K Street equals a cooler world
9-11, Enron, Iraq, Katrina, mortgage crisis, bailout, euro crisis, climate crisis, oil spill — we’re led by liars and sleepwalkers
Every major event that hits us is a fake, a fraud, a provocation, a panic or an organized denial — never anything we foresaw or averted
We’re way past the point of rationally managing events and into a business and politics of “lemming retention”
*And I’m not even angry — I’m saving my temper for the endless, ugly, Soviet-style ordeal of watching the Gulf Coast drown in tar
– tweets from @bruces (Bruce Sterling)
I’m not in the ‘it’s our (collective) fault’ camp. Yes, it’s impossible to argue that our oil addiction is not at the root of the Gulf disaster. But we, as a civilization, do a lot of things that involve risk – develop drugs, fly aircraft, drill and refine oil – and we have institutions/mechanisms in place that are supposed to mitigate these risks and ensure that there are good plans for when things go pear-shaped. The proximate cause of the Gulf spill (wrapping safety issues, inspection issues, lack or inadequacy of disaster planning into one package) is regulatory capture. Interior’s Minerals Management Service was not doing their job, to put it mildly. To paraphrase, power elites have always been with us, but it seems that in the past 15 years or so the world has gotten tougher to manage, while the (American, at least) power elite, aka Villagers, has become populated by nepotistically placed incompetents. If we’re going to make it through the crisis bottleneck that looms, we need to do better. My suggestions:
I’d love to see full cleanup costs extracted from, and Clean Water Act fines levied against, BP. If that means BP’s US assets are auctioned off and the company ceases to do business in this country, all the better. It would be a salutary lesson for many large entities.
One nice thing about transitioning from ‘old guys who get fat in the winter‘ to just old guy out for a ride is that stopping to see the sights is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I’m not in any particular hurry and if I see something I want to check out, I do.
Semi-hidden patch of flag iris. Sorry about the quality – I don’t know what was up with the cell.
A BIG white oak. I’ve known about this tree for years, but today was the first time I stopped and said hi.
I saw the Goggomobil Dart in town yesterday and popped by to make sure it was not for sale (it’s not). Out back there was a second Goggo.
Goggomobil Dart (Australian)
Goggomobil TSxxx (Bavarian)
Reduce, re-use, recycle
The title of the post comes from a zine published back in the early 70s (called -anyone? anyone?- Low and Slow) covering the wild world of hang gliding. How wild? Folks were making gliders out of Visqueen and bamboo. I mailed off for a copy – because I wanted to build one – sadly, it’s long gone, though a post here suggests I can reread all the Low and Slows on a DVD. Enough of all that – the point of the post: my bike racing (venue = triathlons) days are done – I’ve found myself wanting a bike I can just jump on and ride (comfortably). My fast but twitchy road bike does not exactly fit the bill. My old mountain bike, however…
So, let the conversion to two-wheeled Vista Cruiser begin! IMHO, there are 2 things that determine 90% of overall bike ‘feel’: frame geometry and tires. You’re not going to do much about frame geometry – about the only thing you can alter is the front fork and that costs $$$. Tires can make a surprising difference and unless you’re racing (in which case, why aren’t you running tubulars?) fatter ones than current fashion dictates are what I suggest. Here’s the bike – after the pic I’ll run through current and planned mods.
‘Fatter tires’ is relative – although they’re much thinner than the knobbies that I took off, these are fat road rubber. They’re Kenda Kwests (the 100psi variety) – a nice balance of volume and low rolling resistance. I also mounted a rear rack and put on new, longer grips – I like riding with my hands close together, as if I’m up on the flats on a drop bar. The shakedown ride today was a success – the bike rode like a dream.
I haven’t decided whether to move pedals over from the road bike to this beastie – I’m leaning towards yes. The road bike’s saddle will probably come over at the same time. After that, the next order of business will be handlebars. I have an On One Midge ready and waiting, but because road handlebars are not the same diameter as mountain bars I need to replace the brake levers (not too $$, and I wanted to do it anyway) and swap the thumb shifters for barcons ($$$, and though I LOVE bar-cons, I would have made do). The other short-term priority are shopping bag panniers – the grocery store is within easy biking distance – ’nuff said.
Down the road a bit, I’d like to tweak the drive train a bit. I don’t know whether the chain stay will accommodate a significantly larger middle chainring, but if it will I’ve always been partial to half-step setups – with the triple it’d be a half-step plus granny (and contra Mr. Brown, I’ve used a half-step setup successfully).
Way down the road I’m thinking about fenders, lighting, a front rack – part of me says that I should just save my pennies for a Velo-Orange frame (or something similar) and build up a baguette hauler around it. We’ll see. First order of business is to re-integrate ‘just hopping on the bike’ into my life.
Update – the saddle and pedal switch happened this morning, before a second shakedown run (pics from which will be posted later today).
Big brass faux rivets!
Maps are metaphors.
In A Series Of Maps
Of The World As Known At Different Periods;
Constructed Upon An Uniform Scale, And
Coloured According To The Political Changes Of Each Period
The Empire of Cyrus the Great
At the time of the Death of Constantine.
The Empire of Kublai Khan
I love the David Rumsey Map Collection – this find is via a tweet from @bibliodyssey. Any map series that references the Massegetae and Sogdiana is a good one.
“Valentina Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times during her three day spaceflight in Vostok 6 in 1963. First woman in space! .”
“Born in Shanghai to missionary parents, Shannon Lucid became the eighth woman in space when she flew aboard the Shuttle Discovery mission STS-51-G in 1985. Shannon made four more spaceflights including the 1989 Atlantis mission to launch the Galileo probe to Jupiter, and a stay aboard the Russian Mir station saw her break the record for the longest time spent in orbit by a woman. 188 days in space!”
I may have a chance to consult/volunteer/help out with a project that combines elements of social media, augmented reality, bar coding, street art, locational stuff and probably a couple other things. So… I figured I’d better take the plunge and get a Foursquare account set up. Foursquare is an app that let’s you check in from various venues (including bomb scare sites >grin<) – the idea is that if you’re out for a night on the town, friends can track you down easily. Once they’ve done that, the mini-mob shows up as being together and additional friends might be motivated to jump in. At least as important as the ‘find me’ aspect (based on what I’ve seen of real world use) is, first, the game aspect of foursquare and, second, tweeting “I’m here” as part of your general tweetstream. Foursquare hands out badges (not real ones – for real Foursquare badges, Nerd Merit Badges has your back) – there’s a certain amount of competitive jockeying for Mayorships and the badges deliver some positive feedback for Foursquare use.
Foursquare is at its best when combined with a location-aware phone – you can check in with any phone that has either a data plan or text capabilities, but it’s a bit cumbersome. My phone (Nokia E71x) has a GPS, but there’s no native Foursquare app for the Symbian operating system. A quick google turned up Waze, which describes itself as “a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road.” Waze is a crowdsourced route and driving conditions system – fire up Waze on your phone, drive around and the Waze client uploads info about where you are, how fast you’re moving etc. It can then ‘see’ slowdowns, traffic jams etc. It also allows you to explicitly report accidents, speedcams, etc. and -important for my original purpose- you can use it to check in on Foursquare. Original purpose aside, it is a really cool idea – instead of some central authority issuing traffic advisories, the traffic itself does the monitoring.
A few thoughts/links:
An aside on privacy: Facebook has been -justifiably, in my opinion- getting pummeled for its approach to privacy. Partially in reaction, the Diaspora project has been getting a lot of attention – like receiving $174,339 towards a goal of $10,000 on kickstarter (you read that right). Enthusiasm for a Facebook replacement is high, but here’s a post arguing that Diaspora may be cursed by early success.