A new bike parking location is open at Pittsburgh's Century Building, 130 7th St, between Penn Ave and Fort Duquesne Blvd. $100/year gets you access to two bright-green, locked shipping containers for secure bike parking. There are also bike racks under an awning provided free, covered bike racks.
The Bicycle Commuter Center is the brainchild of Bill Gatti from TREK Development Group, the company that developed the Century Building. They're trying to attract young people to live downtown, and to build foot traffic in the area.
They're not quite bike lockers, which are very cool, but this is the next-best. It's a small good thing.
Some of my pics are here
This is one of my favourites
There is an article in The Australian today that says we have pledged $25m to Afghanistan to pay the Taliban to lay down their arms.
Anyone who knows me will be amazed when I declare that I AM FUCKING SPEECHLESS!
The Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Comet.
We have read that the Pittsburgh Comet may shut down.
Say it ain't so.
We'll build you a stadium.
We'll give you a sweetheart deal on the land.
We'll arrange corrupt financing.
We'll make closed-door backroom development arrangements.
We'll ignore Council and the voters.
You can ride in Burkle's jet.
We won't pay anybody a living wage.
You can put up all the digital signs you'd like.
Zoning won't be an issue.
Don't sweat the neighborhood issues.
We'll do these things, not because you'd like them, but because
they'll give you things to investigate and blog about.
Say it ain't so.
Residents of Mount Lebanon are quite confident that neither of these cute hamlets will present any challenge to their dominance.
But there's a problem with building websites for Beaver businesses: web filters and parental controls tend to exclude websites that include certain words, as today's story in the New York Times regarding the renaming of a Canadian magazine will illustrate.
In 1920 when the Hudson’s Bay Company began publishing a magazine for its 250th anniversary, The Beaver probably seemed to be a good title. The company owed much of its early fortune to the trade in beaver pelts.
The Beaver, which was initially a bit of in-house boosterism, evolved into a respected magazine about Canadian history. Last week Canada’s National History Society, the nonprofit group that now publishes The Beaver, decided that the Internet required the magazine to undergo a name change.
There are workarounds. You avoid repeating the address on every page. You can present the address as a typographic image, rather than as actual text. You can submit the site to various web screening services and hope to make the whitelist.
There may be Seven Words You Can't Say on TV, but there are many more problematic words on the web.
Roam presents a series of thought experiments that takes the reader through his perspective on drawing. He asks, How come in Kindergarten everybody can draw, and by 12th Grade nobody thinks they can draw? His Visual Codex provides generic examples of the type of pictures you might use in different situations, determined by the interrogatives (when where who what how why) and by a selection of five dimensions that he identifies.
Roam recommends Vanity Fair Everyday napkins for drawing, but says that most any will do.
Where Edward Tufte is a minimalist and a purist, Roam is more of a generalist, more concerned with generously communicating an idea than the efficiency of how many dots are required to display meaning.
This was a very good book that I'll make use of whenever I think about how to make a conceptual presentation.
This is a good article by Sean Parnell as it highlights how veterans are 'abandoned' by the services.
Maybe that's not enough of a change. Maybe we should think bigger.
Neil Freeman takes realignment to a higher level, and considers what the map of states would look like if they were realigned the way Districts of the House of Representatives are. Here's his view of the 50 states (click the image for his site):
In our present format, the population of states ranges from 493,782 to 33,871,648. In Neil Freeman's depiction, the population of states will range from 5.4 to 5.6 million. Major cities and their suburbs are in the same state. His map restores the historical structure of the electoral college and the political alignment of the United States' federal system.
In this image to the right, I've overlaid the existing state boundaries above our regional map in Neil Freeman's depiction.
In the areas that I'm familiar with, these boundaries make contemporary sense. Breaking Upstate New York into Erie, New England, and Susquehanna makes great sense. I think the Ohio split into North Coast and Sohio makes sense. I like the way the State of Allegheny works. I think that the States of Allegheny and Erie would be better off in the new structure than they currently are, combined in the same entity as Philadelphia.
I think we'd have better national politics with a state map like this.
Facebook has become an information bubble. It knows so much about so many people, but the real treasure is that it knows who your network is. This accumulation of glommed data is a marketer's fantasy come true. And yet, Facebook has not found a way to make money.
This week's New York Times artice, The Three Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now, is notable for a few reasons. To myself it's notable in that it's lifted, word for word, from its original position on Read Write Web. Usually the Grey Lady does not simply repurpose content from another source without explicitly acknowledging the provenance, but perhaps times are changing.
The most important thing about the article is its urgency and its degree of specificity; click this, hover there, choose this. This sort of specific guidance from a source with geek credibility is commendable.
IANAF (I am not a Facebook-er), but I've had friends show me what they do on Facebook. I haven't tried it because I'm concerned it's a lot like doing heroin, one flirtation and you're hooked. That seems to be the case among people I know.
Last week a friend of mine sent me a link to his Facebook page so I could see his avatar image. I also saw the avatars of a dozen of his friends. Being somewhat geeky, I pressed Shift/F5, the page refreshed, and I saw another dozen friends. I did that a few times and realized that anybody can sequence through all of any Facebooker's friends.
I followed a few of the links, because I know some of his friends. On their Facebook pages, I found other people I knew among their friends - these would be "co-friends". I found I could even drill down to friends-cubed, third-level friends. This is sort of the opposite of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
The thing that concerns me is that people are loading their information about themselves and their friends into Facebook, assuming that FB is (1) benign, (2) cost-free, and (3) sustainable. The problem is that eventually, Facebook is going to have to make money.
When a guy with a forest needs money, he sells firewood.
When an Afghan farmer needs money, he sells opium.
When a company with your information needs money, they sell your information.
In his new book, Jarod Lanier writes regarding Facebook, "The real customer is the advertiser of the future, but this creature has yet to appear at the time this is being written. The whole artifice, the whole idea of fake friendship, is just bait laid by the lords of the clouds to lure hypothetical advertisers—we might call them messianic advertisers—who might someday show up".
"The only hope for social networking sites from a business point of view," Lanier writes, "is for a magic formula to appear in which some method of violating privacy and dignity becomes acceptable."
Facebook users are giving this Corporation most of their key information. Facebookers that take surveys and complete profiles give even more information that helps FB assign them to various demographic profiles.
This picture was taken at Diamond Head, an extinct volcano in the south east of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. In the background is Waikiki.
To get here, the bag lady endured a two hour journey. It began with a bus ride from Waikiki, then a walk up to the crater, through a tunnel that cut through the outer edge of the crater, a climb up a worn and well trodden path that was wet and slippery from a week of showers. Indeed some parts of the island were still without power due to the storms as the bag lady continued her journey to the top of Diamond Head.
She was well prepared. She had on her rain-proof hat, a 99c raincoat and a $6.99 (plus tax) umbrella. She carried this stuff in her red bag – no fancy back-packs here.
It was no easy journey. She bent over with the exertion required for the steep climb, puffing and panting, her knees aching in protest. The intermittent showers failed to dampen her spirit within. She tackled the steps, two sets, and rested in between. Then she tackled the spiral staircase.
Suddenly she was at the top, 232 metres above sea level. She could see nothing because of the heavy rain. She waited, and waited some more. Fifteen minutes later there was a break in the weather.
That’s when I took her picture.
The grin never left her face.
She was not from Oahu, but Australia. This was her first trip overseas to Hawaii. She had dreamed of visiting this place for many, many years. Michener’s novel lit a flame within her that didn’t diminish even after the 30 years or so since she had read the book, and now finally, in her fifties, she had arrived!
Her name is Paula, she is a remarkable woman. She is intelligent and attractive. She has a keen and somewhat warped sense of humour, with an eye for the ridiculous. These are her obvious traits. But her inner strengths of compassion, kindness and caring for others may not be obvious to some because it is hidden behind her humility.
It has been a special privilege and honour for me to share my life with Paula for the last 15 years.
I married her in Honolulu on Monday 3rd December 2007.
We don't have any magpies around our place in Wollongong, but there are still plenty in the bush.
I do miss their warbling.
I went off photography for a few years when digital manipulation came in. These days any old shot can be tarted up, sometimes too much in my opinion.
I still think there is something magical about getting a great shot, being in the right place at the right time; like this one of the magpie.
To me photography is all about light, and how it plays on a subject. I'd like to do a photography course but I am a hopeless student. I usually end up asking a zillion questions and dominating the class.
So I taught myself about photography.
I am in awe of the professional guys though.
Notice the mirror on that sharp bend?
The moral of the story is...
Check a bloody normal map before taking a Garmin shortcut!!!
I wuz in Tumut over Christmas and on my way back to Wollongong I decided to call in and see an old Army mate at Queanbeyan.
Now I know the way - pop down to Gundagai, zoom along the Hume Highway that is double divided all the way to the Canberra turnoff - ezy.
But my Garmin was having non of it.
I gave it its head.
It took me on a short cut through Wee Jasper, I reckon it took me over an hour longer.
But the scenery was nice.....
Unbelievable! A tiger, a lion and a bear living together - and they are mates.
Well probably until one of them gets a girlfriend, and then it's all over.
More story and pics ....
After that project, she was seconded to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which could be described as a Green Peace splinter group. She was refitted with Kevlar wrapped around the carbon-fiber hull, and was equipped with speakers capable of 9,000 watts to disrupt whaling operations. She was re-christened Ady Gil, after a Sea Shepherd sponsor. Her mission was to join Sea Shepherd's 2009-2010 anti-whaling effort and physically block the harpooning of whales.
The Japanese whaling fleet was not unprepared. Their company included the Shonan Maru 2, which is described as a "security and utility" vessel. For two days, the Ady Gil had prevented the whaling fleet from taking a single whale. The Ady Gil had announced their intention to ram the stern (disabling the rudder) of any ship that harpooned a whale. Also, the Ady Gil was towing a rope while sailing close to whaling ships in hopes of fouling the propellers. Finally, series of maneuvers culminated in the Shonan Maru2 ramming the Ady Gil. In the photo at right you can see the Ady Gil under the Shonan Maru.
There's always at least two sides to a story. Japan's Cetacean Research Institute, which supports the whaling for research purposes (I guess it's for their own good), claims that their vessel was attacked by the Ady Gil. The Ady Gil was flying a pirate's flag, and had the skull-and-crossbones painted on the hull.
One crewmember of the Ady Gil suffered broken ribs in the collision. The violence was limited to the collision; there was no shooting. Another Sea Shepherd vessel attempted to tow the Ady Gil to port, but the carbon-fiber trimaran was lost enroute.
Here's a video of the ramming, you may want to mute your speakers - language not appropriate for young audiences.
Here we have activists and industry engaging in acts of war on the open ocean. National governments once held a monopoly on the legitimate use of organized violence. What makes this interesting to me is it's another indication of the diminishing hegemony of nation-states.
The true believers in the Sea Shepherd vessels are no different from their fellow travelers in other conflicts who are willing to be martyred for their cause. The industry, with shadow support from government, is the true seat of power.
Finally, it must be said that this represents another round in the geek Pirates vs Ninja internet meme (Pirates=Sea Shepherd, Ninja=Japanese security vessel). (also)
Connecting the dots, or pattern recognition, is something humans are supposed to be good at. It's an essential survival skill, and it's the subject of much research. While individuals are excellent at pattern recognition, organizations don't seem to be very good at it at all.
On 12/23, before the Detroit attack, I blogged about alternative New York magazine covers that summarized the decade. I really liked the one that summarized the decade through an image of connected dots because that was the phrase for the failures that led to 9/11, and I thought we'd been trying to make ourselves a connect-the-dots decade.
I also liked the artist's work because it suggested that reality is a probability distribution, if you think about the dots as waves rather than particles, and at times that's a good way to look at things.
In the aftermath of the Detroit attack on NWA flight 253, an Airbus 330, and recognizing that we failed at pattern recognition in both 2001 and 2009, I've revised the artist's depiction.
I wanted to include a video of PeeWee Herman playing "connect the dots" on Magic Screen, but for the first time YouTube gave me bupkis.
From cartoonist Steve Benson: